Category Archives: Blog

Danger of Insecurity

Insecurity!

We all feel insecure at times.  Sometimes it may be a new situation or environment which leads to a sense of insecurity.  However, I want to focus on those deeper rooted feelings that we may not be good enough.  This lack of self worth expresses itself as insecurity.

Bogs You Down

The manifestation of insecurity is truly an anchor.  It prevents us from living a full, normal life.  Feelings of insecurity usually result in a socially isolated life and in extreme forms can produce paranoia.

Feelings of self doubt are crippling.  Even if we are prepared to execute something we can easily do, we can be tripped up by self doubt.

Don’t confuse unpreparedness, which causes nervous doubt but is limited to a specific event, for insecurity.

Relationships

Feelings of insecurity impacts relationships negatively.  If we don’t have a good self image it makes a having good relationship difficult. If we don’t love ourselves (warts and all), how can we love another person?

Roots of Insecurity Are Multi-Faceted

There are many causes and theories of how one becomes burdened with insecurity, such as a terrible childhood or subjection to bullying.  However, I am not a therapist and though it may be helpful to unearth the root cause, I would rather focus on an acknowledgement of insecurity, moving forward to chip away at it.

Insecurity can be overcome or mitigated.  It may take time and patience but the rewards are huge and must be pursued.  You can balance an acknowledgement of any shortcomings you may have (while working to improve them) but still believe and recognize your own self worth.

Don’t confuse, for example a lack of education, or physical awkwardness with your value as a person.  The world is filled with smart, athletic, successful individuals who are terrible people.  Our culture elevates someone with Hollywood good looks, tons of money or possesses some talent.  However, those superficial attributes are just a tiny slice of each of us.

You are important and valuable. You have as much to contribute as anyone else on the planet. Some may be able to express themselves or a point of view easier than you, but that does not make what they say or believe any more valuable than your views.  Don’t let yourself get caught up with what other people may or may not think of you.  Being a selfless, humble, honest, loving individual is the true measure of a ‘valuable’ person and in the end the only thing that counts.


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PUSH BACK

NEW BOOK ON THE WAY!

I am excited to announce the upcoming release of a new book!

It is called Push Back and will be available in all formats soon.  The book is a thriller, exposing the realities of present day China.

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Occupy Wall Street and Class Warfare

Just a few quick points on the growing divide and debate over our nations finances.

(P.S. – I am not nor ever have been a part of Wall Street, Finance or Banking)

1. The 99% Versus 1% – If you took all the money that everyone in America made over $100,000.-, capping the incomes of everyone at maximum of 100K per year (even for Brad Pitt, NFL quaterbacks, Google execs etc.) It would only be enough money to fund the US Government for two (2) months.

2. If you took all the money everyone in the country (taxing it at 100 percent) the US Government would still have to borrow money to pay its bills!

3. The Great Divider in Chief, Barack Obama, made a lot of noise, protesting the crazy bonues Wall St executives got.  It was out of whack, HOWEVER, where is he now when the Government Agencies, Fannie & Freddie Mac, are paying 100 million dollars in bonuses!?!  These two agencies have LOST 142 Billion dollars of our money.

4. Could it be the rancourous rhetoric being thrown around have helped to harden positions and contributed to the failure of all politicians to agree on a deal to cut our debt?

5. The debt owed by America is now over 15 TRILLION Dollars (not counting trillions of debt off the balance sheet)

6. Anyone reasonable has got to agree we have to cut spending now!

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The Left and the Right Get Their Own Nations

The country is deeply divided.  The split seems irreconcilable; the two sides are just too far apart on an ideological basis.  The rhetoric is loud, increasing and hardening positions.

Barack, Divider in Chief, is fanning the flames, deepening the divide, pitting Democrats and against Republicans, the successful hard working class against the entitlement class, the young against the aging.

What can we do about the stalemate?  Is it inevitable that we turn into Europe? Albeit without the charm!  Are we doomed to loath and fear nearly half of our fellow countrymen?

Two Americas

Why not split the country into two?  It may sound radical but why not explore the possibility of dividing the country into two distinct nations where each could manage their economic and social matters according to their beliefs.

The tensions would evaporate and the race to see what ‘model’ works would be on.

The liberals can have states like New York, New Jersey and California while the conservatives can claim Texas, Florida and Virginia.  We could give each ‘new’ nation a share of sun-belt and rust belt states and split those states with unclear majorities.

Doing this would discount the growing authority of Washington and leave it to the new nations to decide whether they want more control at the local level or a growing central authority.

Conservatives trapped in liberal states and left wingers in right wing states would have a type of ‘passport’ for citizenship in the nation where their hearts lie but not be forced to move.

Trade and commerce between the new nations would not change and future barriers prohibited.  Matters of national defense for example or other former federal responsibilities that could not be reasonably handled alone would be funded by the two new nations based upon the population count.  No more unfair subsidies.  Easements and rights of way would remain as they are but States within the new nations would be given back the responsibility for education, welfare, health etc.

I realize it is a delicate subject but I am stunned no one is talking about an option like this.  It’s revolutionary but I believe we need to look at it.  It would cause a lot of dislocation and take a long period of time to assimilate but does anyone really believe the current environment we find ourselves in will resolve itself fairly and peacefully?

I would love to hear your ideas to move this debate forward.

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Fear

Fear is a part of our existence.  Our DNA is hard wired and our physical responses to real danger are instinctive.   But fear is not danger but a mental perception of a possible danger.  This is a key distinction that almost everyone misses.

Fear lives in the unknown. We are afraid of what we don’t know. We feel fear when we are unsure of the outcome of a situation and it cripples us.  We need to learn how to tame fear.

Permitting fear to guide your existence allows your mind to create a negative response to the unknown. You hear a sound in the middle of the night and immediately feel threatened. You lie still in the bed hoping nothing else will happen as your mind bubbles up all kinds of negative scenarios.  It is simply illogical!

Why not get up and see what the sound may be?  If it is a real danger you are not helping yourself lying in bed!  Check it out if it bothers you and get back to sleep.

We have fear of looking foolish, heightened by the media’s projection of their image of perfection.  This fear prevents us from becoming who we really are.  It keeps us from pursuing our dreams, living small, stagnate and full of regrets.

What’s the downside?

If for example, you have to speak in front of a group what is the worst thing that can happen? You flub it, or do just an okay job? So what!  You are not the focus of the audience’s day, it is forgotten so fast.  Ever been to a boring speech or bad concert? How long did you hang onto it?

It’s a good thing to feel nervous and desire to do a good job. However, we need to channel the nervous energy we feel into positive action.  Acknowledge the presence of your nervousness, it happens to everyone, even seasoned pros, athletes and performers.   If you don’t feel nerves at all, you don’t care and that’s worse!  You just need to put it into proper perspective.

If you cannot convince yourself that your presentation is not going to cure cancer and feel undue pressure, then get better prepared.  Practice and prepare if it’s a presentation, performance etc.  If it’s a social thing, ‘practice’ in smaller, less intimidating situations.  Preparation is the antidote but will not completely cancel your nerves.  It is also important to know that your audience wants to like you and that you know your stuff better than 90 percent of them.  Prepare, do and move on.

Make a Real Effort, Its All That Counts

We all have different interests and goals; it’s what makes life and people so interesting!  I love meeting people with unusual passions; it’s refreshing to see them pursue them vigorously.  Don’t be shy, whether you want to learn to dance, swim, read tarot cards, learn to ride a bike, paint etc. block out your fear and start participating.  Stop being self conscious, the world does not revolve around you.  When and if criticism comes your way, use it constructively even if it came mean spiritedly.  Learn from it and strengthen your resolve to grow.

This quote by Teddy Roosevelt says it all, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; who strives valiantly; who errs, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Get Going

There is a substantive difference between fear and danger.  Our need to control and insulate ourselves imprisons us in a small, supposedly safe existence.  Say yes to life now, stop saying no due to unfounded and unrealistic feelings of fear.

If you do not do well in your endeavor don’t allow it define who you are and don’t let it get to your heart. Just as importantly, if you do well don’t let it get to your head!

For a memorable example of dealing with fear in a life threatening situation check out Marble Mountain – a memoir of a Vietnam helicopter pilot. It’s a gripping insight at the incredible challenges the brave men and women who served faced.  Marble Mountain Link Check it out!

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Occupy, Smoccupy, Its Not Protesting

The disorganized mob known as Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots are another media creation.  The media coverage is lending credibility to the nonsensical gatherings.

They get favorable media coverage and when things get violent as they often do, they are quick to point out that it is only a few of the many protesters.

The mob has had ample time to formulate a message or purpose for their disruptive ‘occupations’.  A protest, by its definition, is an objection to specific policy or actions. It must must have a goal.  Overthrowing capitalism is not a goal.

There are many effective means of protesting and with the advent of social media its been easy to get thousands of people to be involved.   The so-called Tea Party had definable goals and coalesced around them to become a formidable political force.  They have sucessfully converted their displeasure into action, what polar opposites the occupy gang is.

Closing businesses or a major port as the Oakland mob did, does not accomplish anything but make economic matters and quality of life worse.

This looking like a third world protest, with property being damaged, people injured and general chaos.  If the folks who grumble are unwilling to offer anything other than they dont like our systems they are fee to leave for say Cuba or Venezuela.

Occupy Oakland Movement

The Occupy Wall Street nonsense has reached a new low as a mayor, Jean Quan, of  Oakland lent her full support to the movement. This unbelievable support was reinforced even after the mobs violent activities last week.  This deranged mayor even allowed city workers to take the day off to participate.  Who the heck is paying the city workers salaries?

It’s gone way too far, police and city officials where these mobs camp out must stop accommodating them and force them off private property.

Capitalism may not be the perfect system but it clearly is the best one, providing a living standard far higher than those outside the United States. There are surely inequities, some people make way too much, but do we want the government dictating what people can make?  How did that work out for the Soviet Union?

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Class Warfare – Occupy Wall Street?

We are in a dangerous period in America.  The pitiful state of the economy has exposed a volatile split in the way people view the current state of our nation.

This split is now being exploited and inflamed by politicians who believe they can somehow benefit from the anger and protests.

I realize there is tremendous anger towards what is called Wall Street.  Some of it is justified, they took big risks, get crazy bonuses and some firms got bailed out by the taxpayers.

Although it sounds good to blame our current economic straits on Wall Street, they didn’t crater the economy alone, there are others who contributed significantly – the Government – who pushed bankis to lend to people who could not afford to own a home, thousands of government regulators who failed to do their job, borrowers who hoped to flip the properties they bought for a quick profit, and people who simply lived beyond their income levels, using the equity in their homes like a piggy bank and maxing out their credit cards.

Does it make sense to target what people call Wall Street?  I don’t think so, we need the banking system, it acts like a utility.  Without electric for example, we cannot do much and without a sound financial system we are dead in the water. Also let’s not forget that for every CEO or hot shot trader making ten million dollars a year, there are thousands of hardworking employees making normal salaries.

There is enough blame to go around but the question is where do we go from here?

We can never achieve anything if we are pitted against each other.  Targetting those who have acheived some measure of success is a zero sum game.  I find it interesting that the finger is pointed at Wall Street excesses, but no complains when dysfunctional Hollywood actors get thirty million dollars a picture.  Are we also going to attack athletes who make tens of millions? Or how about Google, Facebook, Apple etc whose founders make zillions.  Do they make too much?

Whether the compensation is fair or not is not the question, its the system we have.  I don’t agree with the crazy money some make, but why are we wasting time attacking them.  It is called capitalism and it is the best system by far.   Occupy Wall Street and its supporters don’t like the bailouts (and neither do I) but bailouts are a type of Socialism not capitalism! Government intervention in the private sector is definitely a part of the problem.

A point that the Occupy Wall Street crowd claims is that no one makes it alone, that America provides the infrastructure, system (capitalism by the way) and education.  True to a small degree, but lets not forget that these things were built and supported with your tax dollars.

Americans have always been able to come together against an external threat or problem that needs solving.  Yes, we do have a terrible habit of waiting till the water level reaches our noses before acting, but I fear we are losing our ability to pull together and get problems solved.  It appears we have turned into a nation of blame placers.

We can never be the great country we have been with only half the people in the game.  Protests are fine but should not inconvenience people, hurt local business, destroy property and obscure the real problems.

Instead of these silly protests, why don’t people present detailed written proposals with solutions and start doing the hard work to get America back to the top!

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Statement of Purpose

To increase your productivity and enhance your confidence it is essential that you have a purposeful attitude.

Have a purpose or mission to accomplish, makes achieving your goals easier.  You should be focused on your task or goal.  All your actions and thoughts should be directed towards the goal.

This mind set increases your confidence and it is proven that confident people have an easier time with achievement.

How Do You Get Purposeful?

Think about what it is that you either want to do or are responsible for doing.  Set your goal, or review your tasks.   Focus on what steps you will take to achieve the goals set or mandated.  It is always a good idea to write them down as reinforcement. For example,  I want to ‘stop smoking, lose weight, reduce my golf handicap, learn a language, obtain a promotion, increase my sales etc.  This process transforms you from walking around in a reactionary mode into a proactive, purposeful state of mind.

Next, it is time to visualize doing the things that make progress towards your goal.  It’s not silly, visualizing the steps you need to take brings them to life.  Then visualize you actually achieving the goal and what positive changes it brings to your life.

Before you go to sleep, think about what you need to do the next day.  Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed, keep it positive, focusing on the next step only and the satisfaction, or relief it will bring.  When you wake up, set your mind to the tasks of the day, review the actions needed and get going.

The momentum you build by completing daily tasks necessary to achieve the ultimate goal, creates a level of confidence that is invaluable.  You will also obtain a sense that you must do something, lest you waste a valuable day of your life.

Don’t get ahead of yourself, success is a bunch of tiny victories, peppered with losses, strung together.

It is critical to accept setbacks as natural part of your growth, and to enjoy the small gains made en-route to the big goal!

Set your mind to a goal and break the steps into small increments to guarantee success!

You can do it, start believing in yourself.

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How to Save Time

I decided to put this valueable information all in post rather than a downloadable PDF. Put these into action ASAP & give feedback.

Practical Suggestions to Create Time To Pursue Your Interests & Increase Productivity.

Business

Little Mo – Many business experts and consultants stress the big picture or big task/project.  Rightfully so, if we don’t accomplish the big things the smaller one usually won’t matter.  Because larger scale projects require more thinking and pondering, you can find yourself stuck by over analyzing. What works for me is to tackle a series of small tasks first.  The momentum and sense of accomplishment is something I build on.  It clears my head, readying me for the larger tasks at hand.

Touch it – Do it.  Too often we handle a document, review it, only to deal with it later.  A waste, you’ve invested time in it, complete it now; otherwise, you will re-read / re-review it when you actually deal with it.  Live by the Touch it Once rule!

Email, a huge consumer of our time, is a great place to implement this concept.  When you open an email, deal with it, if possible.  Even if you need to check another document, email etc. for the answer, you will save time, gain momentum and clear your mind to focus on the next.  Only flag the emails that absolutely need input or careful consideration. Read, act, then go on.

Shorten and reduce meetings – We have way too many meetings, wasting the collective time of all the attendees.  First, invite only critical persons, too often people are in meetings with nothing constructive to add or learn. (I am fan though of including, at times, junior staff/interns, as a learning experience) Many meetings are just plain unnecessary. Use email/phone/ or video conferencing if truly necessary.

Don’t let attendees get too comfortable.  Do away with the coffee and donuts, I like standing meetings. Get to the point and get to work.  Shorten meetings, use a timer and let people know you are.

Strategy meetings require ‘homework’ beforehand to be productive.  Demand that participants come prepared otherwise you and the others are wasting valuable time.

Personal Life

T.V.  As if we didn’t already know this sorrowful fact, we watch way too much TV, wasting hours to the detriment of our goals and pursuits.

I confess to being an ex-news junkie but the news rarely changes during the day.  The networks just spin it a bit differently.  Rarely is there a REAL developing story that compels us to watch.  I am not talking about the endless babble about a storm that is days away yet is covered from every minute angle. Pick a news broadcast you like and give it no more than an hour a day.

We are all connected in some way during the day, if there is something you need to know, you can be sure you will know it.  Being an hour or three behind the story will not change a thing.   TV news once a day, should give what you need, watching 2- 3 times a day is just regurgitation, even during a crisis

A TV pet peeve is the time spent on the weather. Broadcasts start with a tease and continue, giving a ridiculous amount of detail.  I couldn’t care less about Doppler pictures and temperature readings in 30 different places.  All you need is what the highs and lows of the day are and if sunny, cloudy or precipitation expected.  You can get all this on your phone, web, or in seconds on the weather channel.

Use commute time productively – We spend a lot of time commuting and if we use that time on something like reading a book we want to, studying something we have an interest in, listening to an audio book if we are driving, or the news and weather so we don’t have to waste time watching it on tv!

Bank on Line – I realize there is some trepidation about this subject but clearly it is as safe as any other means we use to pay bills.  You can set up your regular payments and forget about them.  Schedule your payments to vendors who accept payments via ACH for the last due date. No need to address envelopes and buy stamps.  You will also have an easy organized place to check your payment histories.   I also advocate receiving bills on line.  Schedule for payment and then save them into a folder, dramatically reducing the handling time.

Reading material – Slim it down, we are inundated with reading materials concerning the field we work in. Depending on the area of expertise, condense the publications/materials you read.  Most times they are all a version of each other.  Find the one that covers the bases and stop wasting time on others. A great example are newspapers, there really is no need to ready two or three papers a day.

This said with an eye towards the flood of sources we now draw from (web, mobil, tv, radio, print…)

DVR – Instant time saver -get a DVR, 30%, yes 30%, of each hour is devoted commercials.  Record a show, fast forward thru them and ‘pocket’ the time!  An easy way to pick up time.

Don t make your schedule based upon TV programming!  Use your ‘prime time’ to pursue your hobbies and interests.  If you choose, you can watch your ‘DVR-commercial free’ later (in place of the news and weather you already know!)

Lunch hour – we all need to be refreshed but we can use our lunch time to pursue an interest we have or to get a bit exercise (freeing up time we wd use later in the day)

Multi Task – we are a nation of mult-taskers, or so we think.  They number of people who cannot perform two routine tasks simultaneously is astounding.  Learn to do it NOW!

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Slackers – How to Handle Them

We know them, they are in the office,  are in our department, they are everywhere.

They are the slackers. They do little, hide a lot and get by while aggravating the hell out of us.

Slackers take credit for work done by others, pretending to have contributed.

Slackers are experts at appearing to be busy and engaged.  We may all get equal credit or pay but the reality is that in a group of five, at least one will not make any meaningful contribution.

Take the Slack Out

The only way to deal with the slackers in our midst is by a combination of tight management and encouragement.

First, we must have an honest but polite discussion. Preferably one on one, but if you are on a team or group of some sorts, you can have a meeting and bring the topic up.   Keep it on business terms, don’t attack the person.

Try language like the following;

We need everyone to participate equally in this department or on this project.  It is not only fair but essential to have everyone share the work.  Otherwise, we will be unable to accomplish our goals and will make appropriate changes to address the failures of those responsible. Make it clear there will be harsh consequences for failing to contribute meaningfully.

With the warning in place, you need to designate, if in management or request such from a manager, a specific task and a corresponding time line for completion.  When you designate to a known slacker, you must be definitive in what and when it is expected.  If you leave anything unclear you can be sure they will exploit it.

It may be easier, though tedious, to break down the task into tiny components with corresponding timelines, or to hand feed each piece.  That leaves the slacker with very little wiggle room.  You should engage the slacker, being sure they acknowledge they have what they need to do the task at hand.  Then you need to monitor the progress according to the time line set.

Document any failures, you will need them.

If you are not in a management position then you must get the evidence and be tactful.   Ask for a review or meeting and during that time of feedback you can say you are being held back by someone who is not carrying their weight.  This is a time to identify the person and specify the failures.    General, wishy-washy complaints will not work.  If you want management to take action give them hard evidence!

The Effort is Worth It

We must acknowledge that in any setting there will be one or two who step up and do the lions share.  That is a fact of life.  However that being said, we should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage.

The main thrust is to grow and improve our situations, failure to address slackers is unacceptable.

If you can either expose a slacker and they contribute or are tossed out, you will reap benefits in productivity, not to mention the stress reduction!

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