Monday, November 13, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6001.  The sandwiches at “The Market” at Bellair (TigerFuelMarkets.com/TheMarketDeli) in Charlottesville, Virginia are tasty;
6002.  (I can say) I’ve been on a double date with the same girl;
6003.  (I can say) I’ve been on a date with Steve(n) (Castano);
6004.  Kristi likes gin;
6005.  Kristi’s from Estonia;
6006.  Kristi has soft hands;
6007.  The adult milkshakes at Ted’s Bulletin in D.C. are tasty (specifically the White Russian);
6008.  The Ted’s tarts are (pretty) good too (specifically the salted caramel);
6009.  The marrow burger at Mason Social (Mason-Social.com) in (Old Town) Alexandria is (rather) tasty. . . . Go for “Marrow Mondays.”  The marrow burger is on special (all day) for $11.50 (v. $15.00 regularly);
6010.  Kevin Bacon can play the drums (specifically the djembe drum);
6011.  Kevin Bacon can (actually) sign;
6012.  It seems appropriate that the Bacon Brothers would play “Footloose;”
6013.  Attitude is not something that just happens; you choose it.  Even in difficult circumstances, you can choose to have a good attitude;
6014.  Define how responsive you are going to be.  Segment your contacts.  Who is your inner circle?  What about the next level out?  What about acquaintances?  What about complete strangers?  You can have a different standard for each.  You don’t necessarily need to tell them which circle they’re in;
6015.  Determine how responsive others need you to be.  If you acquire a new client, a boss or a business partner, ask them to clarify their expectations.  How quickly do they need you to respond?  Does it need to be immediate?  Within a few hours?  Within 24 hours?  In a couple of days?  Ask them to be specific.  This is an implicit contract;
6016.  Express how responsive you want others to be.  Take the initiative to clarify this with your direct reports, business associates and vendors.  It will result in less frustration for both of you.  It also provides the necessary accountability to make progress on your various projects;
6017.  Be proactive when you can’t respond in a timely manner.  If the other person has to follow-up, it’s a good sign your expectations are mismatched or you dropped the ball.  Instead of waiting for them to ask again, contact them.  For example: “I just wanted to acknowledge that I received your e-mail.  I am traveling this week, so it will likely be the end of the week before I can respond;”
6018.  The right words at the wrong time can be just as damaging as the wrong words.  When someone experiences a major setback or disappointment, we need to be careful not to dismiss their pain or frustration.  Likewise, it’s usually a bad idea to lecture about what they could or should have done differently;
6019.  Words left unsaid can also be hurtful;
6020.  Some teammates are more managerial and others are more entrepreneurial.  On any given team there are usually more of the first than the second.  It doesn’t matter what the environment is.  Entrepreneurs hunt down new opportunities and see rules as slowing them down.  Managers oversee existing business and use rules to keep things in order.  It’s inevitable that they’ll butt heads.  The managers want the entrepreneurs to be less entrepreneurial.  And the entrepreneurs want the managers to be less managerial.  But that is a mistake.  The hard thing to appreciate is that most teams need both entrepreneurs and managers to succeed;
6021.  Appreciation is a critical factor for team success.  Without managers, entrepreneurs don’t have anyone to hold down the shop.  Without entrepreneurs, managers don’t have business for the shop.  Until each can appreciate the other’s contribution, they’ll work at cross purposes;
6022.  You feel overwhelmed and you don’t know what course to take: 1.  Forget about the ultimate outcome.  The truth is that you probably have less control over the outcome than you think.  You can undoubtedly influence it, but you can’t control it.  Besides, before you ever get to the final destination, many of the variables will change.  Projects and deals have a way of unfolding over time; 2.  Focus on the next right action.  Since worrying about the outcome is unproductive, try to think about the next actions that will move the project forward.  This is far more accessible than something in the distant future; and 3.  Do something now!  This is key.  Something is better than nothing;
6023.  Clarity comes when you move toward your destination and correct along the way;
6024.  If you don’t say “no:” 1.  Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over yours; 2.  Mere acquaintances, people you barely know, will crowd out time with family and close friends; 3.  You will not have the time you need for rest and recovery; 4.  You will end up frustrated and stressed; and 5.  You won’t be able to say “yes” to the really important things;
6025.  Out of guilt or fear of confrontation, we take on more projects or invest in someone else’s priorities.  In the process, we dissipate our most valuable personal resources, time, energy and money, on things that aren’t important to us.  Each time we agree to something without enthusiasm or interest, we waste a little more of these precious resources;
6026.  Every time we say “no” to something that is not important, we are saying “yes” to something that is: our work, our relationships and our resources;
6027.  Smart people think, say and do stupid things all the time.  One explanation is that they’re sometimes more intelligent than critical.  Researchers, who’ve studied the discrepancy between intelligent people and stupid decisions, note that critical thinkers experience fewer negative events in life when compared to highly intelligent people;
6028.  A sin is more than a mistake.  It’s a deliberate choice to do something you know is wrong;
6029.  When we say, “We are trying,” we don’t really have to do anything.  It also provides us with an excuse for why we didn’t accomplish the outcome we say we want.  You either do something or you don’t do it.  Trying is really the same as not doing it.  It just makes it easier for us to let ourselves off the hook when we fail;
6030.  Eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary.  Language is subtle.  The words we use can program us to perform certain ways.  Using the wrong language can create an outcome we don’t intend;
6031.  “Try” is a worthless word that accomplishes nothing.  It might make us feel better when we fail, but it actually induces the kind of behavior that leads to failure;
6032.  Decide either to do or not do.  If you don’t want to do something, fine.  Don’t do it.  But don’t pretend that trying is the same as doing.  They are two completely different postures;
6033.  Everything important we accomplish begins with a decision.  We don’t slip into our greatest achievements.  We commit and then make them happen;
6034.  Commit 100 percent to the outcome you want.  Failure is not an option.  Play full out.  Don’t quit.  Don’t settle for merely trying;
6035.  After conducting an in-depth study of seventy-two high-performing CEOs, Cornell University researchers reached a surprising conclusion.  The key predictor of success for leaders wasn’t grit, focus, education, decision-making skills, a knack for strategic planning or even IQ.  It was self-awareness;
6036.  Self-awareness is the ability to monitor and regulate our thoughts, feelings and actions (and the effect they have on ourselves and others).  It requires we identify and challenge the bogus unconscious beliefs underlying the ways we think, feel and act;
6037.  Help you surface and neutralize your self-limiting beliefs: S(top)N(otice)A(sk)P(ivot);
6038.  Stop: Take four or five deep, prayerful breaths to ground yourself in your body and return to the present moment.  The purpose of this step is simply to wake up and bring your awareness back to your immediate experience;
6039.  Notice: Often we get swept up in the rush of daily activities and habitual reactive behaviors, but rarely do we step back to observe and learn from them.  Once we’ve come to a full stop, we look around to see what we’ve been missing while we were lost in our thoughts or absorbed in our work.  Is the environment around us calm or burning to the ground?  How are we connected to what’s going on?  Are we personally in a good space or do we notice we’re caught up in outmoded, habitual perspectives and behaviors?  Whatever you discover, make sure as you notice or observe what you’re feeling, thinking and doing in the moment that you do so with compassion.  No labeling, analyzing, criticizing or trying to fix anything.  Your job right now is to simply notice and nothing else;
6040.  Ask: Now that you’re awake to what’s happening in the moment, you can ask yourself three questions that will expose any self-limiting beliefs and get you back on track if you need it: 1.  “What am I believing right now?”  This is a powerful question.  After a few minutes of quiet reflection, the unconscious beliefs fueling your anxiety can surface; 2.  “Are these beliefs true?”  Of course not; and 3.  “How would your life change if you let go of this belief?”
6041.  Pivot: Once you’ve identified and interrupted the circuit on your bogus beliefs, you can pivot and make different, healthier, more helpful choices that ae in line with the truth;
6042.  Leaders face a lot of problems, but poor communication is one they often create for themselves.  According to one study, nine out of ten employees say it sabotages the success of executives.  The same study found the second biggest problem area for leaders was a lack of clear directions;
6043.  When you get tired of hearing yourself and you think that everyone is starting to get annoyed, you’re about half(way) done.  The truth is you can’t over-communicate;
6044.  5 reasons to speak up and speak often: 1.  People can’t read your mind.  When you force people to guess what you’re after, you widen the margin for error and misunderstanding.  You need to get what’s in your mind into the minds of your teammates.  That only comes with communication; 2.  People forget.  No matter how clear your strategy and tactics are to you, others will forget.  No one retains it all; 3.  People get distracted.  Modern work is plagued by distraction.  As a leader, you can do things to combat that, but you can also compensate by continually communicating what’s important to your team; 4.  People haven’t bought into your rationale.  Just because people work for you doesn’t mean they subscribe to the mission or the values behind the individual tasks they’ve been hired to do.  If you’re serious about results, you’ll either need to let those people go or bring them up to speed; and 5.  People drift off course.  Even if team members buy into your vision or the importance behind specific tasks, they can lose sight of the target and drift off course.  A leader’s communication is the compass of the organization.  It keeps everyone oriented and moving toward the right goals;
6045.  Communication is a critical factor in team alignment.  And team alignment is a critical factor in hitting organizational goals;
6046.  If you want your doctor to stick her/his finger up your butt, turn 40;
6047.  I’ve had a man stick his finger up my butt;
6048.  Prostate exams aren’t fun;
6049.  Vegetarian tacos can be tasty (specifically the ones at Chaia (ChaiaDC.com) in Georgetown).  Who knew?
6050.  The surest way to find happiness and joy for yourself is to devote your energies toward making someone else happy.  If you make an effort to search for joy you will find it elusive, largely because you will become engaged in the search itself.  Your life will be about striving.  However, if you try to bring happiness to someone else then joy will come to you;

Monday, October 30, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5951.  Discomfort is a sign we’re making progress.  When you push yourself to grow, you will experience discomfort, but it will be worth it;
5952.  You can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself, become uncomfortable, and grow.  You may think that comfort leads to happiness.  It doesn’t.  Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress;
5953.  Keep your word.  People have to learn that they can count on you to deliver on your promises.  If you commit to following up on something, do it . . . no excuses.  If you can’t do it, proactively let the other person know;
5954.  Tell the truth.  This is harder than it sounds.  Most of us like to think of ourselves as truth-tellers, but it’s easy to round up numbers, spin the facts or conveniently leave out the evidence that doesn’t support your position.  But if we are going to build trust, then we have to commit ourselves to telling the truth even when it is difficult or embarrassing.  People are more forgiving than you think.  They don’t expect you to be perfect; however, they do expect you to acknowledge your mistakes and to come clean when you screw up;
5955.  Be transparent.  People will not trust you unless you learn to share yourself, warts and all.  You have to take a risk and be vulnerable.  This creates rapport and rapport builds trust; however, be warned, you can’t use this as a gimmick or a technique.  If you do, people will see it as manipulation.  You have to be authentic.  The reason this builds trust is because you are demonstrating trust.  You are taking the initiative to go first. In essence, you are saying, “Look, I trust you.  I am taking off my mask and showing you my true self.  Some of it isn’t very pretty, but I am willing to take that risk, believing you will still accept me.”  This kind of self-revelation almost always gives the other person the courage to take off their mask too.  And that builds trust.  The relationship is deepened. It goes to a new level;
5956.  Give without any strings attached.  Nothing builds trust like love.  You have to be willing to share your knowledge, your contacts and your compassion without expecting anything in return.  The more you take the initiative to give, the more it builds trust.  Giving lets others know that you know it’s not all about you.  From this, people learn that they can trust you because you have their best interests at heart.  You aren’t merely looking out for yourself.  You’re taking care of them too.  But, like being transparent, you have to be careful how you give.  Otherwise, it will be perceived as manipulation.  You have to make sure your motives are pure.  You can’t expect something in return;
5957.  (I think) Katy Perry looks better with long(er) hair;
5958.  Apparently, Katy Perry’s mom hates the song, “I Kissed a Girl;”
5959.  Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else;
5960.  Distrust is what I have shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you;
5961.  When we trust, we are braving connection with someone;
5962.  Anatomy of trust: B(oundary)R(eliability)A(ccountability)V(ault)I(ntegrity)N(onjudgment)G(enerosity);
5963.  Boundary: I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and you hold them and you’re clear about my boundaries and you respect them;
5964.  There is no trust without boundaries;
5965.  Reliability: I can only trust you if you do what you say you’re going to do and not only once;
5966.  Reliability is you do what you say you’re going to do over and over and over again;
5967.  In our working lives, reliability means that we have to be very clear on our limitations so we don’t take on so much that we come up short and don’t deliver on our commitments.  In our personal life, it means the same thing;
5968.  Accountability: I can only trust you, if when you make a mistake, you’re willing to own it, apologize for it and make amends.  I can only trust you, if when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize for it and make amends;
5969.  If there’s no accountability, there’s no trust;
5970.  Vault: What I share with you, you will hold in confidence.  What you share with me, I will hold in confidence.  You respect my story, but you respect other peoples’ stories too;
5971.  Integrity: I cannot trust you and be in a trusting relationship with you, if you do not act from a place of integrity and encourage me to do the same;
5972.  What is integrity: 1.  Choosing courage over comfort; 2.  Choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy; and 3.  Practicing your values and not just professing your values;
5973.  Nonjudgment: I can fall apart, ask for help and be in struggle without being judged by you and you can fall apart and be in struggle and ask for help without being judged by me;
5974.  If you can’t ask for help and they cannot reciprocate by helping you then that is not a trusting relationship;
5975.  When we assign value to needing help or when I think less of myself for needing help (whether you’re conscious of it or not), when you offer help to someone else, you think less of them too.  In other words, you cannot judge yourself for needing help, but not judge others for needing your help;
5976.  Real trust doesn’t exist unless help is reciprocal and nonjudgmental;
5977.  Generosity: Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous things about my words, intentions and behaviors and then check in with me.  So if I screw up, say something, forget something, you will make a generous assumption;
5978.  A change of feeling is a change of destiny;
5979.  If this assumption is persisted in until it becomes your dominant feeling, the attainment of your ideal is inevitable;
5980.  Balance is not the same as rest.  If we think that attaining balance means finally getting a much-needed break then we’re missing something important.  It’s not about rest, though it does include it.  Balance is about distributing demands so we can stay on track.  And sometimes that takes a lot of work;
5981.  Balance is dynamic.  “Life is like riding a bicycle,” Albert Einstein said.  “In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”  The slower you go, the more trouble it is to keep your bike up.  Momentum helps us stay on course.  It’s the same for all the corrections and adjustments we make along the way.  Balance requires tweaking our schedule, task lists and more.  If you have it right one week, it still requires attention the next;
5982.  Balance is intentional.  Our bodies are programed to stay upright, but it takes a bit more focus when it comes to the complex responsibilities and relationships that make up our lives.  We have to make purposeful decisions and actions if we want balance.  It’s not accidental.  Those decisions and actions will look different for each of us, but they’re essential for all of us just the same;
5983.  Balance isn’t easy, fast or always fun.  It requires constant movement and constant attention;
5984.  Sometimes when we’re doing exactly what is required to keep our balance, we feel the most unbalanced.  That’s only because we’ve misunderstood balance; we expect it to do something for our lives that it can’t.  But once we adjust our perspective, we can see it for what it is: a difficult, but necessary way to approach our lives.  Rather than be discouraged when the challenge becomes hard, we can recognize the difficulty as just part of the course;
5985.  The key to discipline is goal-setting;
5986.  Steps to be disciplined: 1.  Determine your goal: The key is in knowing what you really want.  If you are going to succeed, you must be specific.  You must be able to see it.  Write it down and, while you’re at it, add a “by when” date.  Here’s an example: I will lose 10 pounds by December 31, 2016; 2.  List your reasons: This is often the missing piece in both goal-setting and discipline.  You have to ask, “Why is this goal important?  What is at stake in my achieving it?””  List both the positive and negative reasons; and 3.  Identify likely obstacles: As soon as you start swimming against the current, you will start feeling resistance.  It’s as if the universe conspires to keep you from succeeding.  That’s why you have to anticipate these obstacles and build strategies to overcome them.  Examples: Obstacle: Mindlessly eating for lunch what I always eat.  Strategy: Plan my lunch before I leave the house – where and what I will eat.  Obstacle: Inability to work out on the road.  Strategy: Make sure the hotel has a workout room before I book it.  Also, pack my workout clothes and shoes.  Obstacle: Eating more calories than I intend.  Strategy: Record everything in LoseIt, thus, educating myself about the calorie-count of various foods.  Researchers call these strategies implementation intentions; 4.  Develop new behaviors: This is where you should focus.  What are the positive, new behaviors you want to develop to replace the old, negative behaviors?  Examples: Drink two-and-a-half liters of water a day to stay hydrated.  Eat healthy snacks like raw almonds, celery, carrots and so on.  Chose simple grilled fish or chicken rather than beef; and 5.  Stay focused: Read your goals daily, review your reasons why, anticipate obstacles and work on your new behaviors.  If you get off-track, don’t beat yourself up.  Sometimes, it’s three steps forward and two steps back.  The trick is to shake it off and relock on your goal;
5987.  Discipline is not really about willpower so much as focusing on what you really want.  If you get clear on that, it suddenly becomes much easier;
5988.  Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.  But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope;
5989.  The psychological shift from scarcity to abundance makes you wealthy and brings you a glorious sense of freedom.  In making this shift, you’re training your brain to recognize that there’s so much more available for you to give, to appreciate and to love;
5990.  It’s not just money that you can donate.  You can also give your time, your talent, your love, your compassion, (and) your heart;
5991.  Most people know that the proceeds from a life insurance policy are not subject to income tax; however, it’s not as widely known that the proceeds are subject to estate tax;
5992.  The phrase, “To thine own self be true,” comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but it became popular through self-help books and programs.  If you’ve ever read or seen the play, you know the full story. The phrase comes after advice about being prudent and preserving friendships.  The idea is that we are true to ourselves so that others can count on what we say.  It was about having true integrity.  But if you listen to the way people use it today, they usually mean something else.  “To thine own self be true” is often used as an excuse to do whatever a person wants instead of what’s expected or even what they’ve already committed to.  This is suicide in business and the rest of life;
5993.  Honesty is making your words conform to reality.  Integrity is making reality conform to your words;
5994.  Trust depends on integrity.  If people can’t rely on your word, they won’t trust you.  They may extend some grace, but eventually, people will doubt and disbelieve;
5995.  Influence depends on trust.  People will refuse the influence of leaders they distrust;
5996.  Impact depends on influence.  You can’t make the impact you want unless you can influence others and shift their behavior;
5997.  Think of relationships: marriage, parenting, church, etc.  The strength of our relationships is measured by how much people can count on us.  If we’re not true to our word that means our relationships will be as unreliable as we are;
5998.  There’s nothing wrong with asking to be released from a commitment.  But if we can’t get free, then we need to make good on it.  If we try living true to ourselves at the expense of others, it’ll cost us our relationships, our success and ultimately everything of real and lasting value;
5999.  Leadership is less about having the right answers and more about having the right questions;
6000.  Apparently, the “Goo Goo Dolls” think they’re still relevant. . . . You’re not allowed to stand by the area where they’re being picked up by their van (at least when they play in front of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia);

Monday, October 16, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5901.  If we want more of what we want, we have to get rid of what we don’t want.  It’s the necessary, but sometimes painful process called “pruning;”
5902.  Sometimes our short-sighted attachment to what we have is what’s holding us back from growing;
5903.  Goals that lack clarity are merely wishes;
5904.  It’s better to set out ambitious, but realistic goals that include the target and some concrete ways to reach it (i.e., I am going to increase our sales this year by 10% by cold-calling a few prospective clients every workday);
5905.  Whatever are your key motivations, when you find yourself dragging your feet, stop to remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place.  Reconnecting with your why will (always) help;
5906.  To reach your goals, focus instead on the chunks or steps that you’ll need to get there;
5907.  Larger goals ought to challenge us, the steps toward getting to our goals should not.  These steps need to be inside our comfort zone and ought to require little or no courage to do.  The trick is to cut the giant into enough pieces that s/he is no longer menacing;
5908.  You should only have three main tasks per day.  To focus on three and only three, you have to filter your tasks and eliminate, automate or delegate everything that is outside your “desire zone.”  You can also have a small list of nonessential tasks that can be handled at the beginning or the end of the workday.  Your attitude toward these things should be “If I get to them, fine, and, if not, that’s okay, too;”
5909.  According to Dr. Gail Matthews, built-in accountability is one of two primary ingredients for goal success.  You need someone who will hold you accountable without succumbing to your excuses.  Their purpose in this context is not to shame you, but to remind you of the road you set out on and why getting over the finish line will be worth it;
5910.  You’re not truly proficient unless you’re able to deliver results in the role you were hired for or that you’ve convinced your organization to shift you into;
5911.  Let’s say you’re good at hitting a baseball.  That’s great, but it doesn’t mean you ought to quit your job and chase a career in the game.  Instead you might join an adult team and play on weeknights and in weekend tournaments;
5912.  Before you decide to change positions within your company or strike out on your own, ask yourself these 3 questions: 1.  What do I feel passionate about doing instead of my current work? 2.  Am I proficient at it? and 3.  How do I know that?  The last question is key.  “I just know” is not a good answer.  It all comes back to external validation.  Let’s say that while you are pursuing your aptitudes as hobbies, people see your talent and constantly encourage you to take it to the next level.  Let’s further foresee that you get serious interest from a talent scout or a record executive.  These would be examples of external validation of your proficiency at these disciplines.  When this happens, pay attention and, at least, consider moving your life into a whole new and more satisfying zone.  Because when you have both passion and proficiency, you can often get into what makes all of this possible: profits;
5913.  Every big picture that is ever created is created one brush stroke at a time;
5914.  How to become your spouse’s best friend: 1.  Make a list of what you would want in a best friend (i.e., Wanted: Best Friend; Prospective candidates will: 1.  Make me feel good about being me; 2.  Affirm my best qualities (especially when I am feeling insecure); 3.  Call out the best in me and hold me accountable to the best version of myself; 4.  Listen without judging or trying to fix me; 5.  Give me the benefit of the doubt; 6.  Extend grace to me when I am grumpy or having a bad day; 7.  Remember my birthday, favorite foods, music and art; 8.  Know my story and love me regardless; 9.  Spend time with me just because you enjoy my company; 10.  Speak well of me when I am not present; 11.  Serve me with a joyful spirit and without complaining; 12.  Speak the truth to me when no one else will; 13.  Never shame me, diminish me or make me feel small; 14.  Become excited about what I am excited about; and 15.  Celebrate my wins!); 2.  Now become that person for your spouse.  Psychologist John Gottman has spent years researching what makes some marriages flourish and others fall apart.  He found lasting relationships come down to friendship.  Couples who stay married make an intentional effort to connect, share interests and meet their spouse’s emotional needs; and 3.  Keep sowing the seeds until the relationship blossoms.  Friendships are like gardens; they must be cultivated.  The key is to be consistent and persistent without expectations.  There’s usually a reason to hope in almost any circumstance.  There’s a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.  It’s amazing what can happen when we assume the best and stay meaningfully engaged with our spouses;
5915.  Three triggers for suffering: 1.  Loss – When you focus on loss, you become convinced that a particular problem has caused or will cause you to lose something you value; 2.  Less – When you focus on the idea that you have less or will have less, you will suffer; and 3.  Never – When you focus on the idea or become consumed by a belief that you’ll never have something you value, such as love, joy, wealth or opportunity, you’re doomed to suffer, you’ll never be happy, you’ll never become the person you want to be;
5916.  The secret of living an extraordinary life is to take control of the mind since this alone will determine whether you live in a suffering state or a beautiful state;
5917.  Our lives are shaped not by our conditions, but by our decisions;
5918.  Are you committed to being happy no matter what happens to you?  Will you commit to enjoying life not only when everything goes your way, but also when everything goes against you, when injustice happens, when someone screws you over, when you lose something or someone you love or when nobody seems to understand or appreciate you?  Unless we make this definitive decision to stop suffering and live in a beautiful state, our survival minds will create suffering whenever our desires, expectations or preferences are not met;
5919.  The human brain is like a computer in that it does not believe what is true or what is false, but rather believes whatever you tell it most often.  In other words, we become the stories we tell ourselves.  You have to intentionally change that programming through repetition of what you think should matter most to you.  One form of self-persuasion is affirmations, but affirmations alone are not enough.  We need to set exciting goals and identify our key motivations for reaching them;
5920.  5 characteristics of weak leaders: 1.  Hesitating to take definitive action – One of the most important leadership qualities you can develop is practicing the art of the start.  Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.  You’re never going to find the perfect time or the perfect circumstances or be totally prepared.  At some point, you have to kick into action; 2.  Complaining about insufficient resources – Leaders who do this never get very far.  You’re in place to deliver an outcome and your job is to figure out how to get the resources or make do without them.  The truth is that, as a leader, you never have enough resources.  You could always use more of one thing or another, but successful leaders figure out how to get the job done with whatever resources they have.  The one thing potentially unlimited is your imagination.  Ultimately, there is no such thing as insufficient resources; there are only un-resourceful people; 3.  Refusing to take responsibility – Great leaders don’t do this.  They are accountable for the results and accept full responsibility for the outcomes.  Once you accept responsibility, you can change the result.  You may not control the circumstances you’re in, but you do control your response.  Changing the result is as simple (or as hard) as changing your response; 4.  Abusing the privileges of leadership – Leadership is first and foremost a stewardship.  We never hold it for ourselves; we hold it on behalf of someone else.  If you’re in a position of leadership, it’s to serve.  You’re accountable.  If you abuse it, you’ll eventually lose it.  As a leader of a company, I look at potential actions and decisions as if a reporter or a private investigator was following you around.  How would the choices you make today appear if they were on the front page of The Wall Street Journal?  Our bad decisions have a funny way of coming to light and as a leader you need to live with that prospect in clear view; and 5.  Engaging in acts of insubordination – Criticizing your boss in public is never a good idea.  People in authority eventually find out and, when they do, don’t be surprised if you get fired.  If you disagree with your boss’s direction and feel deeply about it, then confront her/him in private or resign.  This really comes down a matter of integrity.  Even if your boss is incompetent, you have the duty to respect her/him.  If you can’t do that, you need to resign.  Speaking out publicly while you’re still employed is just not an option and it’s not very smart;
5921.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff;
5922.  The undeniable reality is that how well you do in life and business depends not only on what you do and how you do it, but also on who is doing it with you or to you;
5923.  Three simple steps to ensure our peers drive us forward instead of hold us back: 1.  Study your energy bill.  Relationships can calm us down or stress us out.  The first thing we have to do is notice how our interactions impact us emotionally and even physically.  Who enhances your energy? Who sucks you dry?  Once we’re aware of how people are affecting us, we can start making informed choices about who we spend our time with; 2.  Pursue high-voltage relationships.  Try to bring positive energy into all of your interactions.  Intentionally stay close to people who do the same for you – in or out of the office.  Hang out with people, who help you grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually; and 3.  Count the cost.  We can’t avoid all draining relationships.  Being a fruitful person, the kind of person who actually changes the world around you, means that you sometimes intentionally enter negative situations and work hard to transform them.  You are not afraid of problems or “problem people,” so you can’t, nor should you try to, avoid all negativity;
5924.  It’s also critical to know who the drains are in your life, why you’re spending time with them and what their impact is.  That “why” is important.  It means you’re fully aware of the reason for your relationship.  Some costs are worth it, but you need to count them nonetheless;
5925.  You can’t avoid all negativity, but you can do your best to change it;
5926.  Your goals may be sacred, but your strategy isn’t.  All that matters is whether or not it works.  If the answer is “no,” you should feel free (and compelled) to chuck it out the window and try something else;
5927.  A plan is still important.  You might be tempted to think creating a game plan to accomplish your goals is a waste of time.  Far from it.  After all, having a plan is what gets us in motion, moving toward our goals.  Without it, we would likely never get out of the gate.  Just remember to hold it loosely as obstacles arise;
5928.  Shifting gears from one strategy to the next presumes that you believe a better strategy exists, even if you don’t know what it is (yet).  Focus on staying out of a place of scarcity and in a place of abundance that says, “My best thinking and my best strategies have yet to be discovered.  There are always more ways to get there than I can see right now;”
5929.  Show your work.  If you’re leading a team, this is a critical final step.  You must explain your rationale for changing strategy to your team and you must enroll them in your vision.  This sets your team up for alignment with you and the willingness to follow where you lead, even if it’s disruptive in the short term.  As a leader, you must also be intentional about building a culture where flexibility, change and risk taking are affirmed, so when you display these traits, they are seen as positive and not negative;
5930.  Whenever you start to suffer, give yourself 90 seconds to stop it so that you can return to living in a beautiful state.  Gently breathe and slow things down.  Step out of the situation and start to distance yourself from all those stressful thoughts that your brain is generating.  When you slow down, you realize that you don’t have to believe these thoughts or identify with them;
5931.  What’s wrong is always available, but so is what’s right;
5932.  It doesn’t matter what you appreciate.  What matters is that by shifting your focus to appreciation, you slow down your survival mechanism;
5933.  To overcome fear, the best thing is to be overwhelmingly grateful;
5934.  Life is always happening for us not to us.  Even the most painful situations cause us to grow, to expand, to deepen or to care more.  There have been events in your life that you’d never want to go through again.  Yet when you look back on it 5 or 10 years later, you see the higher purpose in it all.  You see how life was actually working for you in that moment.  Even those moments of suffering turned out to be great triggers for growth;
5935.  Appreciation, enjoyment and love are nothing less than the antidotes to suffering.  It’s all about shifting your focus away from the illusion of loss, less or never and engaging your gratitude, appreciation and love for what you already have in your life.  Take all of your negative thoughts and all of your negative emotions, trade them for appreciation and your whole life changes in an instant;
5936.  A nap restores alertness.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of twenty to thirty minutes “for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep;”
5937.  A nap prevents burnout.  Taking a nap is like a system reboot.  It relieves stress and gives you a fresh start.  Research subjects, who nap, show greater emotional resilience and improved cognitive function.  Just thirty minutes can prevent the day’s wear and tear from frying your circuits;
5938.  A nap heightens sensory perception. According to Dr. Sara C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing and taste.  Napping also improves your creativity by relaxing your mind and allowing new associations to form in it;
5939.  A nap reduces the risk of heart disease.  According to a 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, those, who take a midday siesta at least three times a week, are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease.  Working men are 64 percent less likely;
5940.  A nap makes you more productive.  The secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time; it’s managing your energy.  Numerous studies have shown workers becoming increasingly unproductive as the day wears on, but a 2002 Harvard University study demonstrated a thirty-minute nap boosted the performance of workers, returning their productivity to beginning-of-the-day levels;
5941.  Tips for napping (at work): 1.  Be consistent.  Try to nap at the same time every day.  This helps stabilize your circadian rhythms and maximize the benefits; 2.  Keep it short.  Avoid “sleep inertia,” that feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come from awakening from a deep sleep.  Long naps can also negatively impact nighttime sleep.  Nap between twenty to thirty minutes tops.  Set an alarm on your phone to avoid oversleeping; 3.  Turn off the lights.  Light acts as a cue for our bodies.  Darkness communicates it is time to shut down or go into standby mode.  If you can’t turn off the lights, use a simple eye mask.  Turn the lights back up to full brightness when you wake up; 4.  Use a blanket.  When you sleep, your metabolism falls, your breathing rate slows and your body temperature drops slightly.  Though not imperative, you will usually be more comfortable if you use a light blanket when you nap; and 5.  Be discreet.  Getting caught napping at your desk is not a good way to earn respect.  In some old-school environments, it might even get you fired.  But most people get an hour for lunch.  Eat in half that time and then go snooze in your car, an unused conference room or even a closet;
5942.  Effective leadership is an inside-out job.  Talent is important and so is education and experience.  But in the end, it is our character that makes or breaks us;
5943.  Three forces that shape character: 1.  The input we consume.  Computer geeks are fond of saying, “garbage in, garbage out.”  The same is true with our inner life.  One of the best ways to grow is by reading books, listening to podcasts and other audio programs and attending conferences.  But the opposite is also true.  Watching endless hours of mindless television, viewing pornography or uncritically ingesting the worst of popular culture erodes character.  We must be attentive to the input we consume.  It affects us in deep and profound ways.  It is the raw material out of which our character is formed; 2.  The relationships we pursue.  Jim Rohn taught that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  We have to be more intentional about the people we choose to associate with.  If you want to lose weight, hang out with people who make good diet and exercise choices.  If you want a better marriage, socialize with people who have healthy ones.  If you want to make more money, associate with people who are successful.  Conversely, dissociate from people who reinforce your worst traits.  None of us can afford relationships that pull us down; and 3.  The habits we acquire.  These are simply the consistent ways we think, speak and act in different situations.  They are largely unconscious, which is what gives them their power both positively and negatively.  Good habits lead to good outcomes.  If we develop the habit of praising our spouse in public, it contributes to a healthy marriage.  If we develop the habit of positive thinking, it can help us cope with adversity.  If we make healthy food choices, it can increase our energy, improve our productivity and extend our lives.  But bad habits can have the opposite impact.  If you make a habit of complaining about your boss, it can come back to bite you.  That’s why we have to be intentional about building good habits and breaking ourselves out of bad ones;
5944.  Research indicates we gain significant satisfaction from making progress toward meaningful goals, so the more we grind without an endgame, the more our quality of life suffers;
5945.  Clone hiring creates lopsided organizations with major talent gaps.  Build your team with diverse talents and temperaments;
5946.  Fear is an unbelievable waste of emotional resources and productive time;
5947.  Apparently, you’re supposed to walk from heel to toe (i.e., your heel lands first and you roll onto the ball of your foot and then to your toes). . . . Who knew?
Walk heel to toe;
5948.  There’s a drink made from orchids (i.e., salep);
5949.  Salep with cinnamon tastes like peanut butter (to me);
5950.  Discomfort is a catalyst for growth.  It makes us yearn for something more.  It forces us to change, stretch and adapt;

Monday, October 2, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

5851.  It’s never wise to fall in love with an investment;
5852.  The best investors know they’re vulnerable to confirmation bias and, accordingly, do everything they can to counter this tendency.  The key is to actively seek out qualified opinions that differ from your own.  Of course, you don’t want just anyone with a different opinion, but rather someone who has the skill, track record and intelligence to give another educated perspective;
5853.  One of the most common and dangerous investing mistakes is the belief that the current trend will continue.  And when investors’ expectations aren’t met, they often overreact, leading to a dramatic reversal of the trend that previously seemed inevitable and unstoppable;
5854.  Investors project out into the future what they have most recently been seeing;
5855.  Recent experiences carry more weight in our minds when we’re evaluating the odds of something happening in the future (i.e., “recency bias”);
5856.  Humans have a perilous tendency to believe that they’re better (or smarter) than they really are.  There’s a technical term for this psychological bias: it’s “overconfidence.”  To put it simply, we consistently overestimate our abilities, our knowledge and our future prospects;
5857.  Countless studies have described some of the wonderfully absurd effects of overconfidence.  For example, one study found that 93% of student drivers believe they are above average.  In another study, 94% of college professors considered themselves above average in the classroom.  There was even a finding that 79% of students believed their character was better than most despite the fact that 60% admitted they had cheated on an exam in the previous year;
5858.  Men are especially prone to overconfidence when it comes to investing.  In fact, men traded 45% more than women, reducing their net returns by 2.65% a year;
5859.  Diversification is an admission that you don’t know which particular asset class, which stock or bond, or which country will do the best.  So you own a bit of everything;
5860.  We all have a tendency to want the biggest and best results as fast as possible rather than focusing on small, incremental changes that compound over time.  The best way to win the game of investing is to achieve sustainable long-term returns.  But it’s enormously tempting to swing for home runs especially when you think other people are getting rich faster than you.  The trouble is you’re more liable to strike out when you swing for the fences;
5861.  When it comes to investing, people tend to stick with whatever they know best, preferring to trust what’s most familiar.  This is known as “home bias.”  It’s a psychological bias that leads people to invest disproportionately in their own country’s markets and sometimes to invest too heavily in their employer’s stock and their own industry;
5862.  Human beings have a natural tendency to recall negative experiences more vividly than they do positive ones.  This is known as “negativity bias;”
5863.  Psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky demonstrated that financial losses cause people twice as much pain as the pleasure they receive from financial gains.  The term used to describe this mental phenomenon is “risk aversion;”
5864.  Losing money causes investors so much pain that they tend to act irrationally just to avoid this possibility;
5865.  Having financial wealth doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be wealthy as a human being;
5866.  When people dream of becoming rich, they’re not fantasizing about owning millions of pieces of paper with pictures of dead people on them.  What we really want are the emotions we associate with money: for example, the sense of freedom, security or comfort we believe money will give us or the joy that comes from sharing our wealth.  In other words, it’s the feeling we’re after not the money itself;
5867.  The first step to achieving anything you want is focus.  Whatever your focus goes, your energy flows.  When you put your entire focus on something that really matters to you, when you can’t stop thinking about it every day, this intense focus unleashes a burning desire that can help you obtain what might otherwise be out of reach.  A part of your brain called the reticular activating system is activated by your desire and this mechanism draws your attention to whatever can help you achieve your goal;
5868.  You have to give.  If you don’t give, there’s only so much you can feel inside and you’ll never feel fully alive;
5869.  You make a living by what you get.  You make a life by what you give;
5870.  The true nature of human beings isn’t selfish.  We’re driven by our desire to contribute.  If we stop feeling that deep sense of contribution, we can never feel truly fulfilled;
5871.  Becoming financially rich is not the key to fulfillment;
5872.  People often chase after money in the delusional belief that it’s a kind of magic potion that will bring joy, meaning and value to their lives, but money alone will never give you an extraordinary life;
5873.  Money doesn’t change people.  It just magnifies who they already are: if you have a lot of money and you’re mean then you have more to be mean with, if you have a lot of money and you’re generous, you’ll naturally give more;
5874.  Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure;
5875.  If you’re not fulfilled, you have nothing;
5876.  A person is but the product of her/his thoughts.  What s/he thinks, s/he becomes;
5877.  We can’t control all the events in our lives, but we can control what these events mean to us and, thus, what we feel and experience every day of our lives;
5878.  When you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity or appreciation, you’re in a beautiful state.  In this state, you know exactly what to do and you do the right thing.  In this state, your spirit and your heart are alive and the best of you comes out.  Nothing feels like a problem and everything flows.  You feel no fear or frustration.  You’re in harmony with your true essence;
5879.  When you’re feeling stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful or fearful, you’re in a suffering state;
5880.  Most achievers prefer to think they’re stressed than fearful, but “stress” is just the achiever word for fear;
5881.  The mental and emotional state in which you live is ultimately the result of where you choose to focus your thoughts;
5882.  If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, try taking ZMA before going to bed;
5883.  Watch out for birds pooping outside of Bourbon Street Bar & Grille (BourbonNY.com) in New York City;
5884.  Apparently, pound cake is traditionally made with a pound each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar;
5885.  The difference between a cheese pie and a cheesecake is the crust;
5886.  I can say I’ve had New York cheesecake in New York (City);
5887.  You’ve got to love (the) sideboob on the New York City Subway (especially at the Fulton Street station);
5888.  When there’s several open seats together on a (New York City) subway train, there’s probably a good reason (why).  Be on the lookout for vomit;
5889.  A stone is fourteen pounds;
5890.  Apparently, Adam Duritz (the lead singer of “Counting Crows”) is an Iron Fist fan;
5891.  Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone;
5892.  The best way to predict the future is to create it;
5893.  Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development;
5894.  Whatever you’re feeding, your mind will become what you send back into the world;
5895.  Joe Sumner sounds like his father (i.e., Sting);
5896.  Joe Sumner is a backup singer for his dad;
5897.  Acknowledge setbacks, but focus on the future;
5898.  Research shows that positive, optimistic people “get paid more” and the reason behind that compensation, including metrics showing “they will actually succeed” more often than their more dour coworkers.  Because they believe in a better future, researchers believe that they actually work hard to create it.  So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy;
5899.  Physical energy is important for staying positive.  You’ve got to eat enough of the right things to keep energy in the tank and you’ve got to find a way to keep your body engaged.  Exercise is essential to positivity.  And so is a good night’s sleep.  You will not be at your best without adequate sleep which is a problem these days because Americans are getting a lot less sleep than they need;
5900.  Concentrating on your successes at the end of one day puts you in the right mindset to wake up the next day ready for something great to happen and the fire to help it along;