Balance, Don’t Forget It!

Balance is one of those things that I think a lot of people go through life without. It applies to just about everything and can be hard to achieve. In fact, we often forget to look for the balance in every situation.

Here are some examples:

1) Horseback Riding – The rider must balance their weight on the saddle. Lean too far right or left and you risk falling off. Lean too far forward descending a steep hill and you risk tumbling forward, horse and all. Constantly maintaining balance in the saddle is the key to happy horses and happy riders.

2) Triathlons – During a triathlon, the triathlete is balancing speed with energy exertion, meaning that you want to finish in the fastest time possible but still have energy left to make it across the finish line. Fail at fueling your body correctly or pushing yourself too hard and your performance will show it. Balance the speed and energy to be a successful triathlete.

3) Swimming – The key to moving through the water is perfect balance, which creates minimal drag. Michael Phelps (sorry, you can’t talk about swimming and not mention him) is somewhat of a scrawny guy, but his success comes from finding the most streamlined position and movements in the water. Phelps does not need power when he is not losing speed to drag; he just needs enough to maintain. Balance makes you a happy, efficient swimmer.

4) Nutrition – Eating lots of one thing, really doesn’t work for the human body. In fact, the phrase concerning moderation is right on. Eating a balance of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and fats is the key to feeling great and losing weight.

5) Personal and Professional Life – Working too much can lead to burn out. Not working enough can lead to bankruptcy and foreclosure. Not having enough fun can lead to depression. Not exercising enough and eating too much can lead to obesity. I think you know where I am going with this. Life balance is about getting paid to do something you enjoy, hanging out with the people that make you laugh, going to the symphony, and even sweating a lot playing basketball or running through the neighborhood. Finding balance in life can be difficult and many die never having it.

As you are reading this, ask yourself, Where is the balance in this moment? Is the lighting just right? Is your chair comfortable? What can you do to bring balance to the moment?

When you get up tomorrow, keep balance in mind all day. Observe your world and find the places that you may have forgotten where balance exists or needs to exist.

DON’T FORGET IT!

Immersion, The Good, Bad and the Ugly!

Immersion is the concept of surrounding yourself with a given subject to concentrate on learning it.

The GOOD
The good is that immersion is a very efficient way of learning something. You can jam pack a lot of information in a very narrow window of time. Picking up the basics of a new language or skill is possible over a long weekend.

The BAD
Immersion usually occurs for a limited time. From a day to a few weeks, immersion is not something that you want to do for long. The learner risks burn-out as the human body needs to time break old habits and adjust to the new knowledge.

The UGLY
Immersion can overwhelm the learner. In such a short time, a lot of information gets thrown at you. While it is important to absorb as much information as possible, sometimes grasping the larger picture and concepts is all you can do.

My weekend at the Total Immersion swim clinic was definitely, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
1) It was good because I made huge improvements with my swim stroke.
2) It was bad because it was so short and I wish I had a little more than two days to grab all the information and absorb more detail.
3) It was ugly, by the end of the second day, my brain was so overwhelmed with information that it was almost exploded.

Have you ever tried immersion and experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Winning, Are You Ready?

Wins only come every so often. If they come too frequently, they lose their value. If they are too sparse, our willingness to achieve them dissipates.

When a win occurs, we often find ourselves on cloud nine. All of the sudden, your world is the happiest place on earth; you want to share the good fortunes. All of the hard work put forth payed off; the stress, the pain, the lack of sleep, the lows and the highs. Wins become the ultimate motivational tool toward bigger and better wins. They almost become addicting.

For every winner, there is a loser. No one likes being the loser. Just as winning is a great motivational tool, so is losing. However, losing can also be made terribly worse by winner whom rub it in. While you should be happy for yourself, you should always be respectful of those who competed with you.

Winning is a delicate thing. Sure, you want to be happy, strive for that next big win and continue life in your happy place, but it is a double edged sword. Ask yourself:

1) Is your next big win real? Making decisions and setting goals on cloud nine can be like getting stuck at the craps table in Vegas.

2) Do you fully understand what it took to win? Knowing how far and how hard your journey to the win was helps set realistic goals for the next win.

3) Did you take the time to address the losers? Addressing the losers is a great way to build their confidence and yours. Ask them what they think about your win and their views on the competition. If they don’t want to share, then they are sore losers.

With these questions, you can be ultimate winner. Are you ready to win?

Components of a Comfortable Office

As I begin considering a home office remodel, I have been looking at pictures of offices.  If a picture appeals to me, I try and figure out why.

Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:

1) Dark hardwood desk and cabinetry.

2) Clutter Free (indicates sufficient storage)

3) No Visible Accessories (printers, staplers, etc are hidden)

4) One to two plants

5) Decorative lighting including spot lighting and general task lighting

6) Ergo Chair

7) Creative use of wall space either for art or accessories including pens, whiteboard, etc.

What features of your office do you find essential and/or creative?

Mistakes and Beyond

Sometimes they a subtle mistakes only known by you.  Other times they are huge and everyone in the universe knows of them.

Sometimes mistakes are of your own doing, other times mistakes are out of your control.

Treating a mistake like a learning experience can also be a detriment or a godsend.  If you are analytical like me, dwelling over my mistakes is a really a waste of time as the depth and analysis goes beyond understanding what should have been differently.  Understanding the mistake and moving on knowing you are a better person because of it, is something no one can take away.

Moving on after you make a mistake will lead you to success.  An opera singer doesn’t leave the stage when they miss a note… that wouldn’t be fun for the audience.

Focus on your goals and move beyond the mistake as a better, more experienced person.

The Humor in Realization of Getting Older

As we go through life, we expect things to change.  But, we are not always conscious of the change.  Humans live in the moment, plus or minus seven days.  Beyond this bracket, we are not always consciously aware of the relative changes we made.  We do not realize the signs of getting older.

For me, realization of getting older slapped me in the face this weekend.

1) Driving – All of the sudden, everyone was driving at a much faster speed than I was.  On a two lane back road, I was constantly pulling over to let other motorists by.  I remember years ago when I couldn’t drive FAST enough.  No I can’t seem to drive slow enough, which I find funny.

2) Music – These days, jazz and classical are tops on my list.  So when a neighbor rented their house to college kids this weekend and they broadcasted their music to the entire universe, I suddenly realized that I was on the other end of the situation.  Yes, I blasted my loud music when I was in college, so I have to laugh from the other side of the “fence.”  The music kids listen to today, just doesn’t make sense. My grandfather said the same thing about my music in the mid-1990’s.

3) Food – Back when I was growing up and in college, fast food was a major part of my diet.  These days, rarely would fast food be consumed.  Instead it is replaced with whole grains, vegetables and low sodium soups.  As we get older we pay a lot more attention to what we eat and what the doctor tells us.  Sure, a Big Mac would be great, but I could do without the coronary by-pass.

As we age, we are not always conscious of, but when I look at these examples I have to laugh.  Being on the other side of the age spectrum is humorous.  Kids will be kids and the older you get, the more you appreciate their position.

What the funniest moment when you realized you were getting older?

The Humor In Realization of Getting Older

As we go through life, we expect things to change.  But, we are not always conscious of the change.  Humans live in the moment, plus or minus seven days.  Beyond this bracket, we are not always consciously aware of the relative changes we made.  We do not realize the signs of getting older.

For me, realization of getting older slapped me in the face this weekend.  

1) Driving – All of the sudden, everyone was driving at a much faster speed than I was.  On a two lane back road, I was constantly pulling over to let other motorists by.  I remember years ago when I couldn't drive FAST enough.  No I can't seem to drive slow enough.

2) Music – These days, jazz and classical are tops on my list.  So when a neighbor rented their house to college kids this weekend and they broadcasted their music to the entire universe, I suddenly realized that I was on the other end of the situation.  Yes, I blasted my loud music when I was in college, so I have to laugh from the other side of the "fence."  The music kids listen to today, just doesn't make sense to me. 

3) Food – Back when I was growing up and in college, fast food was a major part of my diet.  These days, rarely would fast food be consumed.  Instead it is replaced with whole grains, vegetables and low sodium soups.  As we get older we pay a lot more attention to what we eat and what the doctor tells us.  Sure, a Big Mac would be great, but I could do without the coronary by-pass. 

As we age, we are not always conscious of, but when I look at these examples I have to laugh.  Being on the other side of the age spectrum is humorous.  Kids will be kids and the older you get, the more you appreciate their position. 

What the funniest moment when you realized you were getting older? 

The Feynman Alda Approach

“Paying Attention to the apparently trivial intrigued me.” – Alan Alda

“Curiosity had the power to engage me completely. It sent me to a zone where time stopped and I floated through that infinite space between dots on the face of a watch.  Curiosity could make me feel more alive” – Alan Alda

“I love puzzles.  One guy tries to make something to keep the another guy out; there must be a way to beat it!” – Richard Feynman

Both Richard Feynman and Alan Alda are truly inspiring. Both men impacted our world in very different ways, yet their underlying approach is the same.  The approach of understanding and even cracking the most trivial, mundane things in our world.

For Feynman, this led to a highly successful career as a physicist who played a key role in developing the atomic bomb.  For Alda, this led to a wonderful educational documentary TV series called “Scientific American Frontiers.”

Trivial Curiosity is fascinating.  (image modified: Pixar)

Trivial Curiosity is fascinating. (image modified: Pixar)

It is this curiosity and quest to understand the world around us that takes us down different paths.  From marketing to product development and market research, understand the trivial and finding ways to beat the other guy can lead to huge successes. Curiosity is at the core of our human behavior.

What was the last trivial thing that got the best of your curiosity?

Note Quotes from :
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself – Alan Alda
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” – Richard Feynman
(see book page for more inspirational books)

Making Monday Inspirational

I find Monday to be most un-inspiring.  Being the first day following a pretty fun weekend and the first day of a five day work week, the psychology just does not give Monday the same energy as Friday.

THIS MUST CHANGE!

But how do WE make Monday an inspirational day?  Well, let’s be creative!

A. Half day Monday.  We had them in school, so why can’t we have them in the workplace?   However, that half day has to be spent doing something productive that is of the employees own idea. That means the time can not be spent fulfilling a request, a project suggested by another person or a daily task.

B. Creative Monday.  For the entire day, we would do creative tasks like working soduko puzzles, drawing pictures, painting, dancing, etc, etc.  The idea is to allow us time to develop our own task that is creative and empowering.  Get the brain working!

C. Work From Anywhere Monday. With great remote access solutions like GoToMyPC, working efficiently away from the office is possible.   Let us work from the beach, our favorite coffee shop or even a wine bar! woh!

D. Choose your cube day!  For some of us that work in cubicles far from windows and natural light, an inspiring thought is to kick someone out of their cube by the window and occupy it, even for an hour!  So, why not have a first come, first serve, choose your cube day.  Bring your laptop, calendar, and coffee cup for one day and see the light!

Anyone have any other thoughts on ways to make Monday inspirational?

A Post for “Bud”

Someone, who shall remain nameless, just said “thanks, bud!”.  While I know this is a common phrase used informally amongst acquaintances, I have always cringed when someone has directed it at me.  Maybe it was an old supervisor that called everyone “bud,” but never really developed the relationships worthy of such a reference.  Following this experience, I came to believe the reference to someone as “bud” is simply a lazy, un-caring habit that does nothing to build relationships.

What would you rather hear:

“Thanks, bud!”

“Thanks, (your name)!”  [i.e. “Thanks, Aric!”]

Which is more personal and gives you warm fuzzy feelings?   The second one in my mind comes across as professional and inspires relationship building. The second one is more powerful, the first is lazy. Bottom line, the second shows a level of respect that “bud” will never give you.

After conducting a google search for “someone called me bud,” there is a clear split on the opinion of its use.  As much as I found internet users talking about how much they find it disrespectful, I found an equal group saying how ridiculous it is that people are having the discussion about “bud” being disrespectful when it is an accepted phrase.

Let’s go one step further.  In the corporate environment that I work in, I have never heard anyone refer to another person as “bud.” We use first names out of respect.   Therefore, I want to propose the theory that the use of “bud” is related to social relationships.  As an anthropologist, there are often subtle differences in the common language of a society, differences that typically align with one’s relationship with another. I consider “bud” to be highly informal, since I have never heard someone of a more professional status use it.   This also explains the differences I found in the Google search.  Unfortunately, this is just a theory as I would have to conduct more research and interview those that responded online to determine their perspective and relationships.

Whether or not you use the word “bud” in conversation is up to you.  The point of this post was to make the reader aware that the use “bud” isn’t always an acceptable term. The rules and guidelines surrounding it’s use are quite loose and its meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

Please post a comment, I would love to hear other perspectives on the use of “bud.”