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Posts Tagged ‘wise choices’

…gentle reminder

March 23, 2015 Leave a comment

I spent a few hours with an individual this past weekend that inspired me to remind myself (and of course anyone reading this) of a few things;

1) As cheesy as this is, this quote from a sad attempt at sustaining a franchise says it all. “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” Now that’s powerful stuff! Now, I’ve always told folks to remember that work/life balance is not a balance – it is a choice. I am sure I stole that from someone, but if I cannot remember who from – then I think it is okay. Enjoy the good, the bad and in-between as there is a point in everyone’s life that whatever plasticity exists – decays.

2) All of your problems will still exist the next day – trick is to figure out what you need to do to work smarter and solve them rather than carrying them around like rocks in your pockets. I do not like rocks in my pockets as they make funny sound when I walk. The next point speaks to this, but made a conscious decision not to carry rocks, by creating measurable chunks of achievable deadlines. Try it until it becomes a habit, like it you will. Repeat it, you shall. Yes, I was channeling my inner Yoda.

3) I was deftly reminded of Parkinson’s Law. It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Holy crap, that is an oldie (’55) but goodie! There are some insightful corollaries, applying to task management as well as technology use – very durable thought construct. Draw lines, meet them (make sure you define done) and find closure…move on to the next line.

Just a few random thoughts.

…make wise choices,

-sk

 

…which side are you on?

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I was reading an article the other day interviewing Tom Morello, one of my favorite artists – and a funny few lines came up. A certain political candidate (I think they all suck by the way) was commenting on some of bands that he enjoyed – those that partially shaped him.

One of the bands, this person was influenced by Rage Against the Machine (another favorite of mine), in which, Tom played for a bit. The amusing portion of this interview was where Tom recognized and quite intelligently (actually one of the most well articulated responses I’ve heard to date) retorted with a litany of reasons as to why this political candidate clearly had no clue about the music as people like him were the target!

Now, in true sk fashion, I’ll not even bother discussing the leftist views expressed by the bands and the hypocrisy of their messaging – now being multi-millionaires. And I want to make it perfectly clear that a certain death row inmate (that had his death sentance commuted to life w/o parole) actually deserved to die….but I suppose we all die in the end….that’s why they call it the end.

It’s all about the music – and I am not a political candidate. Message here is that if you are going to reference something in a context where it may have an impact on your (stated) belief system – make damn sure you are not supporting the opposition!

I am sure they have enough ammo on you…

…make wise choices,

-sk

…strategic failure

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I was discussing work life balance and professional/personal workload management the other day, and an interesting question was raised. What happens when your proverbial plate is literally running over – and no one cares?

I have not experienced this situation – yet. Perhaps I had, and just did not realize that it was happening? Interesting question none the less. I believe that different individuals handle varying degrees of situational stress based on a number of factors (nature, nurture..etc).

This is part of who we are and also where we are in – in terms of being on target with our life goals. What – you have no goals?

This conversation brought up another chat that I had a few months ago on the notion of chess strategies. I am not very good at this game, but that does not stop me from playing. Plainly put, you have pawns that you sacrifice, at times to gain the upper hand in the game by moving into a better strategic position on the chess board. Simple stuff. You have lots of them (pawns), in relation to other pieces, which inherently makes them expendable.

So what if you were to treat your workload as a series of chess pieces? I’m sure that most individuals prioritize their work and I am not making reference to prioritization. I am talking about straight up failing on efforts that have little real impact in order to illustrate a point made above, when all else fails.

It should be noted that I do not subscribe to this ideology, but its notion as a method of sustainability in the professional workplace is nothing short of fascinating!

So the advice to someone that is in the situation referenced above, depending on personal risk factors and overall degree of confidence is simple. Sacrifice your pawns

Victim of circumstantial whims or an agent of change…albeit at a risk. Interesting choice.

…make wise choices,

-sk

…selective outrage

September 1, 2012 1 comment

I am often reminded of how people react, when times are tough…when times actually get tough. How the same situation can be perceived differently depending on a person’s subjective ways (yep – another constant theme in my writings) and how they behave in a perceived authority vacuum. As the remnants of Hurricane Isaac start to recede from NOLA, I recall certain elements of the press making some interesting comments regarding individuals trying to survive (and thrive) during Katrina.

Same scenario, different types of people…praise for one….outrage for the other – right outrage but for the wrong reason.

“Look at those people looting, have they no shame for doing this to their own community!”…..”It is heartbreaking but motivating to see the resourcefulness of these brave foragers.”

So I got to thinking…with my abstract little brain…without getting into the obvious elephant in the room, that is 10 feet tall, on fire and yelling “pay attention to me!!!”

Individuals had an opportunity (free crap), a need (to be debated) and a situation (disaster, whereas security was compromised)….the Social Contract was broken.

The lesson here is what motivates individuals and how they react when there is no (apparent) consequence to their action (perceived authority vacuum). Some do indeed loot and do harm to one another while others forage to survive and try to retain their persona. The point is we never truly know what we are capable of until we are presented with the opportunity, a need and a situation.

Are you a forager or a looter?

…make wise choices,

-sk

…every day is Monday

June 2, 2012 1 comment

The other day, I attended the Google Atmosphere Tour in NY. It went as expected, with typical a Google-centric view on how their products and services are awesome…..no shocker there. The keynote speaker was Don Tapscott, who discussed our changing times, how we have become an hyper-interconnected world. This, in turn, has created a business and cultural transformation with shifting paradigms for everything we do – a massively complex topic to fit in a 30 mins speech. Many of the folks there (packed crowd) were tweeting, updating facebook accounts and/or looking at their free goodies….I was listening (fine fine, I sent 1 tweet).

The message from the speaker was fairly compelling; we do not predict the future, we create it.

So this got me thinking about what motivates us, propels us to accomplish great things (for those who dare). As I walked back to my car, I overheard a few folks having a conversation that ended with “thank god it is almost Friday.”

This got me thinking – why is Friday so great? Is it because the weekend us around the corner and folks need to recharge, spend time with family and/or catch up on sleep? Is it due to people’s lives being so seemingly terrible that they need to escape to the safety of the weekend? Is it a mental milestone, that when accomplished, seems to rigger a rush of dopamine? I’ll not circle the proverbial bowl discussing the fascinating concepts of neuroplasticity and how our behaviors are shaped…another time perhaps.

I often think about the impact of technology and globalization on culture, communication and collaboration – in work and personal life. How different cultures perceive time is an awesome topic that deserves a long conversation (just not now). How are our lives shaped by the time we spend with each other, the time we spend alone – and the time we spend in transitionary phases?

Is there really such a thing as a weekend off or is it about maximizing the time we have, regardless of what day? I am a firm believer in the latter, as Friday is no different, better or worse than Sunday. As our personal and professional lives continue to overlap, it is up to us to determine what drives us and how we find balance.

For me it is a simple concept.

When people walk by me and feel compelled to proclaim – it’s Friday, my retort is often the same four words…

…make wise choices.

-sk

…picking teetsie

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

On more than a few occasions I have discussed the notion of decisive action. As such, wise action often requires a fact base in order to propel us forward. In our personal and professional lives, we surround ourselves with advisors. Generally, those individuals are segmented based on numerous criteria, that often, is a combination of situationally based dimensions coupled with certain skills/knowledge.

What does one do when we have an advisor that is hell bent on giving the most ill-conceived feedback, that almost certainly has a high probability of poor results? Better yet, how do we handle those same advisors that stand to personally benefit from our failure?

I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again – Rule #1 is “Always be aware of your surroundings.” This is as much a geospatial construct as it is an interpersonal one, in that only through knowing those that you have around you – can you truly understand what motivates them.

…make wise choices,

-sk

…nemesis

May 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Motivation to overcome challenges comes from many places. I often look to examples where I can convey this in a fashion that I would be comfortable teaching my children. I realize that conveying the importance of a Bug Out Bag, for instance to a 5-year-old is probably not the best example so I have a much simpler one.

I was having coffee this morning on my deck, as I often do on Saturdays as I watched my 1-year old play with his ball through a window. Now, he and this ball have been having an ongoing battle of wits – a power struggle of control over the playroom. I watched him progress from sidestepping away from the ball whenever it came within a comfortable proximity, graduate to him yelling at it, finally to assault. This red ball was his Moriarty, his Voldemort…his Nemesis.

I can draw parallels to my own experiences and say that many of the challenges that I have faced and crushed, were done so because I compartmentalized the situation into an quantifiable entity. Sometimes, these were based on real people, others instances were of fictional derivations.  If you can humanize a challenge, then you can almost certainly always defeat it!

So tell me, what is your challenge, and more importantly…who is your nemesis?

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…make wise choices

-sk

…not-a-finger

May 11, 2012 Leave a comment

A large part of my job entails traveling to various domestic and international locations. Doing so affords me the opportunity to  meet people that I would never otherwise meet. This week, while returning from a trip to Orlando, I came upon having a random conversation with a stranger. This person turned out to be a family friend of one of my favorite raconteurs – Jean Shepherd. I will not bore you with all the details of his work, but those that are familiar with the US holiday classic A Christmas Story are familiar with his writing – a small part of what this individual contributed to radio, TV & books.

I spoke at length with this individual for darn near 2 hours, while he recounted stories from his childhood with Shep and the many pieces of history that I never knew. After our discussion, I had a renewed sense of compulsion to re-discover the many recordings of his work – not to mention a few books that I had never read. None of this would have happened if I did not take the chance to engage and converse with Murph.

What’s the point here?

The point is that meeting and conversing with individuals is a great way to find out things about them (yes I am being overtly obvious here). How this parallels in our personal and professional lives is that even though many of us spend more time with our co-workers/friends than our own families (in some cases) – we rarely know each other. Taking the time to learn from one another and then using that knowledge to form better interpersonal relationships can only serve to improve overall interactions.

There is something to be said about remembering that someone hates a certain food, cherishes certain days/events and/or avoids a certain subject due to some traumatic event. Whether you use that knowledge for good or evil…that’s up to you…

..make wise choices

-sk

…top of the mountain

April 15, 2012 2 comments

I met an interesting person in my travels that gave me cause to stop and review priorities. I walked past a random stranger at an airport and was asked how I was doing. Of course, I am not used to random acts of kindness, generosity or pleasantry. My standard smart-ass response to someone asking me how it is going, is “every day above ground is a good day.”

As I finished my retort, I looked at a man in his seventies (maybe older) wearing a hat with a combat patch from the same infantry unit that I served in, back when I was younger, stronger and faster (just to name a few). He looked right at me and told me that he could not agree more. So we got to chatting about randomly useless topics and before I knew it, he was sharing his life story with me. Usually, I disengage and just walk away, but for this old Marine, I could not do that – I was compelled to listen.

He talked about his military service, the places he went, the things he did and the nightmares he still has…college, getting married, burying his wife..etc. Throughout his storytelling he had conveyed a sense of accomplishment, failure and cycles of learning – this dude sucked me into his story. The thing that compelled me to stay engaged was his ethos on personal accomplishment. Simply put, when he felt he had accomplished a certain personal or career goal – he just stopped what he was doing and started from scratch doing something else. The paradigm seems so darn crazy but to him it made sense.

His reasoning was simple. Every mountain has one peak, every pyramid – one apex, every skyscraper one top. Once reached, you can either wait to be toppled by someone/something else – or you can just get down and find something new climb. It is not about the destination, but instead, the journey. Then he sheepishly looked at me and said “hell what do I know, I’m just some old man…”.

We both smiled and parted ways.

What will you do when you reach the  top?

…make wise choices,

-sk

…how much for…you?

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

I was reading a few articles the other day discussing the notion Big Brother a-la George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Several people aptly pointed out the stark reality that it is not the government that we need concern ourselves with – but Corporations.

I’ll wager that it is not the Corporations that are the catalyst for our private data spilling out into the ether….it is us. We have become slaves to opportunity – the hint of reward. Whether one believes in doublethink or cognitive dissonance does not matter as I am making an attempt to abstract our base intention versus thought process.

I’ll be even more harsh and say that we willfully throw our own private information for the slim chance and hope of winning – knowing full well that the chances are astronomical. We jump at opportunity to win an iPad2, cruise or some seemingly worthless trinket giving away bits of information. Once you give the data away, you cannot get it back and it inevitably results in unwanted phone calls, mailing lists, SPAM…etc. We then spend tons of time getting on do not call lists and opting out of mailers.

Then the next day, we check-in to Starbucks via Facebook or take an online survey for a chance to win a gift card…starting all over again…

Playing the lottery makes more sense – all we stand to lose is a dollar, and no one knows who you are unless you win- not a bad trade-off if you ask me.

How much are you worth?

…make wise choices.

-sk