Friday, April 28, 2006
Baboo: I want you to marry a girl of my choice.
Son : "I will choose my own bride!"
Baboo: "But the girl is Bill Gates's daughter."
Son : "Well, in that case...ok"
Next Baboo approaches Bill Gates.
Baboo: "I have a husband for your daughter."
Bill Gates: "But my daughter is too young to marry!"
Baboo: "But this young man is a vice-president of the World Bank."
Bill Gates: "Ah, in that case...ok"
Finally Baboo goes to see the president of the World Bank.
Baboo: "I have a young man to be recommended as a vice-president."
President: "But I already have more vice-presidents than I need!"
Baboo: "But this young man is Bill Gates's son-in-law."
President: "Ah, in that case...ok"
This is how business is done!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Ever wonder why some people get promotions and recognition and some don't? Or, have you considered how you might increase your chances for promotion and recognition as an excellent performer? Of course, there's no simple answer to these questions. People are promoted for a number of reasons, some fair and reasonable, and some not - that's life. Still, if you want to enhance your opportunities in your organization and want to move up the ladder and have increased responsibilities, there's one important strategy I can share with you. It's simple on the surface, but not quite as simple in practice.
Here's the strategy:
Start Doing Your Boss's Job
Here's how it works. The person most helpful or harmful in terms of getting a promotion is your immediate supervisor. He or she is the person who can help or hinder. What determines which it will be? Well, certainly your performance is important. But it's all about perceptions. You can create positive and powerful perceptions on the part of your boss by making his or her life easier. It's that simple.
If you can:
- reduce your boss's workload
- eliminate hassles the boss is concerned about
- prevent problems the boss is normally responsible for
you become more useful to the boss. That's a good thing and tends to get noticed.
Of course it isn't quite so simple. While you want to be useful to the boss, you don't want to usurp the boss's responsibilities. A great way to dead-end yourself is to take on some of the boss's job when your boss doesn't want that to happen. So, you have to know your particular boss well enough to know what you can do and what your boss doesn't want you to do. We call that knowing the limits to your authority and your action.
Here as some tips to help you out:
*Get to know your boss well enough to understand what drives him or her nuts about the "boss job". A good way of thinking about it is to ask yourself: "What kinds of problems nag at the boss? Examine whether you can do anything from your position in the organization to help address the boss's "drive me crazy" problem (often there will be).
*Decide whether you should do something to help or not. If you know the boss well enough, you will probably also know what the limits on your authority and actions might be. Still, it's always good to check it out, and offer the solution to the boss beforehand, and if necessary, request permission to get it done. That makes it less likely the boss will feel you are encroaching on his or her territory.
*Don't do any of this so that it appears you are trying to "score points", or manipulate the boss. Do it because you want to contribute to the best of your ability and with the attitude that if nobody notices, that's fine, provided it makes people's jobs easier. This is a mindset to prevent your being seen as a selfish,
There's never any guarantees in life, so I can't provide a guarantee here. But I will say that almost ALL of the people I have seen fast-tracked in organizations exhibit the ability to make their boss look good and make the boss's life easier.
And the great thing about this? Everybody wins. The organization becomes more effective. You do a good job. And your boss's life is just a wee bit easier.
"Knowing the truth is NOTHING, Awareness of the truth is SOMETHING, Living the truth is EVERYTHING"
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
You go up to her and say, "I am very rich. Marry me!"
That's Direct Marketing
You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a
One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at
you says,He's very rich. Marry him."
You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
You go up to her and get her telephone number.
The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm very rich.
You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl.
You get up and straighten your tie; you walk up to
her and pour her a drink.
You open the door for her, pick up her bag after she
drops it,offer her a ride,and then say,
"By the way, I'm very rich "Will you marry me?"
That's Public Relations.
You're at a party and see e a gorgeous girl.
She walks up to you and says, "You are very rich, I
want to marry you."
That's Brand Recognition.
You see a gorgeous girl at a party.
You go up to her and say, "I'm rich. Marry me"
She gives you a nice hard slap on your face.
That's Customer Feedback.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
by: Brian Tracy
Creativity is your key to the future. All progress comes about as the result of finding better, faster, cheaper, easier or different ways to do things and this requires the continual honing of your creative thinking skills.
Your Key Job At Work
One of the key functions of the executive is problem solving, which takes up as much as 50 percent of executive time. It can be said with some confidence that your ability to deal with problems creatively and effectively is the key determinant of your success as a manager. It would be hard to imagine an effective executive who could not solve problems and make decisions with a high level of competence.
You Are A Genius
I've studied and lectured on creative thinking for years and I've come to the conclusion that there is virtually no problem you cannot solve, no goal you cannot achieve, no obstacle you cannot overcome if you know how to apply the creative powers of your mind, like a laser beam, to cut through every difficulty in your life and your work.
Get Paid More, Faster
The benefits of functioning more creatively can be enormous. Each of us wants to earn more money, be promoted faster, and enjoy greater status, prestige and recognition. In most cases however, we can only earn more by producing more or of better quality or cheaper or faster — and this requires doing things differently, using creativity.
Step On Your Own Acceleration
The good news is that creativity is a skill and a talent that can be learned and developed through practice. With this skill, you can dramatically accelerate your personal and professional growth. By sharpening your thinking skills and exercising your natural creative powers, you can multiply the value of your efforts and rapidly increase the quantity and quality of your rewards.
Here are two things you can do immediately to be more creative:
First, see yourself as a professional problem-solver and look upon every difficulty or challenge as an opportunity to develop your creative powers.
Second, look for problems you can solve and obstacles you can overcome. The more you seek for answers and ideas, the smarter and more creative you become.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Our beliefs affect our attitude; our attitude influences the way we perform; and our performance determines our results. Attitude is critical, but attitude is not everything; performance is everything. If we think negatively, we can still perform positively.
Before we discuss how successful people react to rejection, consider the two negative reactions to rejection: (1) avoiding the situation, backing off and retreating and (2) counterattacking, becoming more aggressive and overreacting. If we understand which of these two reactions we are most likely to use, we might then realize our own solution to dealing with people who are resitant to us.
One way of seeing which way you tend to perform when under pressure is to remember the Peanuts cartoon and answer one question, if you had a choice of being Charlie Brown or Lucy, who would you prefer to be? If you prefer to be Charlie, you are the warm, sensitive person who establishes a friendship with your customers, but for fear of rejection, you might avoid any conflict, such as confronting objections or closing, and your results might be less than desirable.
If, instead, you prefer to be Lucy, you are probably the strong, assertive person who quickly establishes your position of authority, but you might become so aggressive as to threaten people and damage the relationship.
Charisma is the trait of balancing opposite qualities into personality with which most anyone can identify. In creating this ideal balance, answer questions: What do you believe to be Charlie's best quality? What do you feel is Lucy's primary strength? If your answers are sensitivity and aggressiveness, then the ideal reaction to rejection is to be aggressively sensitive or relentlessly compassionate or perseveringly pleasant.
"Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Acts 4:30A good example of someone who looked at performing always good after rejecting all the failures behind is none other than Jesus himself. Read Mathew 8:23-27. Can you imagine how Jesus stood firm in a time of failures. When you work things with Jesus, he will give you ideas to turn away from failures, and improve your performance to goodness.
I woke up this morning and knew that today,
the sun would not be shining and the clouds would be gray.
As I stepped outside, rain fell upon my head.
My car wouldn't start so I walked to school instead.
I forgot all of my assignments, I failed all of my tests.
I dropped my head in disgust and asked the Lord for one request.
"Lord, why is it that things won't go my way?"
He gently replied, "Dear child it is because you didn't thank me yesterday.
I woke you up and enabled you to see the sun again.
I gave you shelter, protected your family, and even let you make a new friend.
I blessed you far greater than I ever had before.
But you were too busy to thank me once more.
You didn't feel sick because I maintained your health.
You had money in your pocket because I maintained your wealth.
You had shoes on you feet and clothes to wear, too.
You had plenty of food to eat, and what did you do?
You ignored me and went about your tasks.
But when you wanted something you never hesitated to ask.
I was there when you needed me, and that wasn't too long ago.
But when things started going your way, it was me you did not know.
As if that weren't enough, I provided your favorite luxuries.
This was something I didn't have to do-they weren't even necessities.
And when it was time to get on your knees and show your gratitude,
You decided that after such a fulfilling day, you weren't in the mood.
So I decided to give you just a little test.
To show you how it would feel to stop being blessed."
I began to realize what the Lord was saying.
And when I got home, I fell to my knees and started praying.
He said, "My child, you have learned and you know I do forgive.
But remember to remember this day as long as you shall live."
But just a simple thank you would show how much you appreciate it.
Alan Shearer brings down curtain on glorious career
By Ken Ferris
LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) - Former England captain Alan Shearer has played his last professional game for Newcastle United after announcing he will miss the rest of the season.
"I'm finished now and I have great memories. The fact I won't be able to play the last three games is disappointing but I'm not complaining. How could I?" he was quoted as saying in Saturday's Sun newspaper.
The 35-year-old centre forward was due to retire at the end of the season but a scan on Friday revealed that he tore his medial knee ligament in Monday's 4-1 Premier League win over Sunderland.
"There's a tear in the medial ligament which, although it does not require an operation, means I will be in a knee brace for a few weeks. It's disappointing but I've had a great career.
"Some people think it was a fantastic way to go out anyway by scoring in our 4-1 win at Sunderland last week. I think they might be right.
"I had focused on going all the way to the last game of the season against Chelsea and then my testimonial," he said. "But we don't live in an ideal world.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to kick off the testimonial but there's lots of people worse off than me."
Shearer is hoping his testimonial against Celtic at St James's Park on May 11 will raise more than one million pounds ($1.74 million), all of which will be donated to charity.
His career began at Southampton where he became the youngest player to grab a top flight hat-trick and in February 1992 he scored on his England debut in a 2-0 win over France.
The top clubs came calling but he joined Blackburn Rovers, being bankrolled by Jack Walker, for a then-British record fee of 3.6 million pounds ($6.42 million).
Shearer was voted English Footballer of the Year after notching 34 goals in 1993-94 and the following season won his only major trophy, the Premier League title.
After netting 130 goals in 171 games for the Ewood Park club he joined his hometown team for a then-world record fee of 15 million pounds ($26.73 million) after being top scorer at Euro 96 with five goals and got a hero's welcome from the Toon Army.
He helped Newcastle reach the FA Cup finals of 1998 and 1999 but they lost both matches 2-0 after being outclassed by a skilful Arsenal side heading for the double and a brilliant Manchester United team on their way to a historic treble.
Shearer says he has no regrets about turning down Manchester United to join a Newcastle team still waiting for their first major trophy since winning the FA Cup in 1955.
"It doesn't matter that I didn't win a trophy because I did it my way and I lived the dream," Shearer told the Sun.
"Unless you come from the area you wouldn't understand that mentality. Playing for the club is everything."
Shearer announced his international retirement after Euro 2000, finishing his England career with 63 caps and 30 goals.
He was due to hang up his boots at the end of last season but was persuaded by Graeme Souness to play on for another year.
In doing so he eclipsed Jackie Milburn's Newcastle record by scoring his 201st goal against Portsmouth in February.
"I'm pleased I made the decision to carry on for another season," he said. "I ended up playing a lot more games than I thought I would and it's been tough on the body at times but it doesn't matter -- I've got plenty of time to have a rest now."
On announcing his testimonial last February Shearer said: "I have lived my boyhood dream, I have played in front of the most loyal fans in the world, captained my country, played for the home team I supported as a boy.
"I've also broken the goal-scoring record of an absolute Tyneside legend and now I have the opportunity to say farewell to the fans who have supported me so well throughout my career."
On Saturday he added: "I've never had any regrets."
Friday, April 21, 2006
By: Brian Tracy
Successful people have been studied in depth for more than 100 years. They have been interviewed extensively to determine what it is they do and how they think that enables them to accomplish so much more than the average person.
In this Newsletter, you learn the most important single factor of long-term success and how you can build it into your personality and your attitude. You learn how to virtually guarantee yourself a great future.
The Harvard Discovery on Success
In 1970, sociologist Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University wrote a book entitled The Unheavenly City. He described one of the most profound studies on success and priority setting ever conducted.
Banfield's goal was to find out how and why some people became financially independent during the course of their working lifetimes. He started off convinced that the answer to this question would be found in factors such as family background, education, intelligence, influential contacts, or some other concrete factor. What he finally discovered was that the major reason for success in life was a particular attitude of mind.
Develop Long Time Perspective
Banfield called this attitude "long time perspective." He said that men and women who were the most successful in life and the most likely to move up economically were those who took the future into consideration with every decision they made in the present. He found that the longer the period of time a person took into consideration while planning and acting, the more likely it was that he would achieve greatly during his career.
For example, one of the reasons your family doctor is among the most respected people in America is because he or she has invested many years of hard work and study to finally earn the right to practice medicine. After university courses, internship, residency and practical training, a doctor may be more than 30 years old before he or she is capable of earning a good living. But from that point onward, these men and women are some of the most respected and most successful professional people in any society. They had long time perspectives.
Measure the Potential Future Impact
The key to success in setting priorities is having a long time perspective. You can tell how important something is today by measuring its potential future impact on your life.
For example, if you come home from work at night and choose to play with your children or spend time with your spouse, rather than watch TV or read the paper, you have a long time perspective. You know that investing time in the health and happiness of your children and your spouse is a very valuable, high-priority use of time. The potential future impact of quality time with your family is very high.
If you take additional courses in the evening to upgrade your skills and make yourself more valuable to your employer, you're acting with a long time perspective. Learning something practical and useful can have a long-term effect on your career.
Practice Delayed Gratification
Economists say that the inability to delay gratification-that is, the natural tendency of individuals to spend everything they earn plus a little bit more, and the mind-set of doing what is fun, easy and enjoyable-is the primary cause of economic and personal failure in life. On the other hand, disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem and personal satisfaction.
The long term comes soon enough, and every sacrifice that you make today will be rewarded with compound interest in the great future that lies ahead for you.
Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, think long-term. Sit down today and write out a description of your ideal life ten and twenty years into the future. This automatically develops longer-time perspective.
Second, look at everything you do in terms of its long-term potential impact on your life. Do more things that have greater long-term value to you.
Third, develop the habit of delaying gratification in small things, small expenditures, small pleasures, so that you can enjoy greater rewards and greater satisfaction in the future.
Only the truly competent individual can be free of politics in an organization. When you're really good at what you do, you can rise above politics. It's the mediocrities at work who have to play games and every study shows that although they sometimes succeed in the short-term, they invariably fail when everyone figures them out.
Do What You Have To Do
Select your work carefully and if you don't love what you're doing enough to want to be the best at it, get out! Flee from the boring or unsatisfying job as you would from a burning building. Working at something you don't care about is the very best way to waste your life. Remember, this life is not a rehearsal for something else.
Look for Pay for Performance
One key to getting onto the fast-track is for you to work for the right company and the right boss. The right company is one that respects its people and practices pay for performance. The right company is dynamic, growing, open to new ideas, and full of opportunities for people with ambition and initiative.
How To Make Progress
A woman spoke to me at a seminar recently and reminded me that she had asked me a question at a seminar about two years ago. She had told me that she was very ambitious and hard-working but that she wasn't making any progress in the large company where she worked. She felt it was because most of the senior executives were men in their fifties and sixties and that women had a hard time getting into positions of responsibility. What could she do?
Change Jobs When Necessary
I told her quite frankly that there was nothing she could do. The senior executives and the company were not going to change. If she was really as capable as she said, I told her to find a job with a young, growing company that wouldn't care whether she was a woman as long as she could do the job.
A Success Story
She told me that she had followed my advice, quit her job, much to the disapproval of her co-workers, and found a job with a small growing company - and it was exactly as I had said. She had been promoted twice in the last 14 months and was already earning 40% more than her best year with her previous company.
Here are two things you can do to assure that you are in the right position.
First, make sure that you really enjoy your work and that you do it well. You will never be successful at a job that you don't like.
Second, be sure that there are lots of opportunities for you to grow, develop and advance in your company. Your future is too valuable to waste where there is no future.
By: Brian Tracy
Listening Builds Self-Esteem
It has been said that, "Rapt attention is the highest form of flattery." When you listen intently to another person and it is clear that you genuinely care about what that other person is saying, his or her self-esteem goes up. His or her feeling of personal value increases. He or she feels more worthwhile and important as a human being. You can actually make another person feel terrific about himself or herself by listening in a warm, genuine, caring way to everything he or she has to say.
When a man and a woman go out for the first time, they spend an inordinate amount of time talking and listening to each other. They look into each other's eyes and hang on every word. They are each fascinated by the personality of the other. The more each listens to the other, the more positive and happy each of them feel and the stronger becomes the bonds of affection between them.
The Opposite of Listening is Ignoring
You always listen to that which you most value. You always ignore that which you devalue. The fastest way to turn a person off, to hurt their feelings and make them feel slighted and angry is to simply ignore what they are saying or interrupt them in the middle of a thought. Ignoring or interrupting is the equivalent of an emotional slap in the face. Men especially have to be careful about their natural desire to make a remark or an observation in the middle of a conversation. This can often cause the sales conversation to come to a grinding halt.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, take every opportunity to make the other person feel important by listening attentively to what he or she says.
Second, avoid interrupting the other person by slowing down and pausing for a few moments after he or she has stopped speaking.
The most important attitude for financial success is long-term thinking. Successful people think a long way into the future and they adjust their daily behaviors to assure they achieve their long-term goals. In a longitudinal study done at Harvard University in the 50s and 60s, they studied the reasons for upward socio-economic mobility. They were looking for factors that would predict whether or not an individual or family was going to move upward and be wealthier in the future than in the present.
They studied factors like education, intelligence, being born into the right family, or having the right connections. In every case, they found individuals who had been born with every blessing in life who did poorly. They also found individuals who had been born or come to this country with no advantages at all who had been extremely successful. What was the distinguishing factor?
They finally determined that there was only one key attitude that mattered. They called it "Time Perspective." Time perspective refers to the amount of time that you take into consideration when planning your day to day activities and when making important decisions in your life.
People with long-time perspective invariably move up economically in the course of their lifetimes. When you spend weeks, months and years developing your skills and ability and expanding your experience in order to be successful, you have long-time perspective. The average professional person has a time perspective of 10, 15 and 20 years.
Begin to see that everything that you are doing today is part of a long-time continuum, at the end of which you are going to be financially independent or financially unfortunate. People with short-time perspective think only about fun and pleasure in the short term. They have what economists call "The inability to delay gratification." They have an irresistible tendency to spend every single penny they earn and everything that they can borrow.
When you develop long-time perspective, you develop the discipline to delay gratification and to save your money rather than spending it. The combination of long-time perspective and delayed gratification puts you onto the high road to financial independence.
Now, here are two things you can do to develop the attitudes of financially successful people:
First, think long-term about your financial life. Decide exactly how much you want to be worth five years, ten years and twenty years from today. Write it down. Make a plan. Take action on your plan every single day.
Second, develop the ability to delay gratification. Instead of buying something on impulse, put off buying decisions for a day, a week or even a month. Decide in advance to "think it over" before you buy anything. This can change the way you spend money almost immediately.
Introducing World Forum!
WF-Online is an international community created to address global political and social issues such as corruption, wars, oppression, hunger and lack of care for the environment - but we want to do more than just debate. Many people would like to actually do something about all these problems, but as foreigners, most aren't allowed to vote in or contribute to elections in the so-called leading nations. Yet the whole world endures the consequences of decisions taken by their governments. WF-Online is reaching Americans, South-Americans, Europeans and Australians who do vote, can donate to political parties and have a voice in their countries. And even politicians themselves read the blogosphere for information and are influenced by what we write. WF-Online also endorses the organisations who share our positions and are actively involved in bringing about reform. And since the world media isn't doing a good job of presenting our views on the issues we really care about, we are getting our message out and increasing the awareness of all readers around the globe.
Even if you're not politically inclined, World Forum Online offers an independent view of world events. Visiting this site will not be waste of time, infact, it might just offer you new perspective of things you thought you knew.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
A Varig airlines cargo plane from Brazil sits parked at the Mexico City airport with its nose up in the air after the cargo was unevenly distributed on Wednesday April 12, 2006. Brazil's troubled flagship airline Varig, is reeling under an estimated US$3.3 billion (euro2.7 billion) in debt and is currently in the restructuring phase of bankruptcy proceedings and last April 12, some 300 Varig employees boarded a chartered jet to Brasilia, the nation's capital, to call on the federal government to bail out the company, which employs 11,000 people.(AP Photo/Exelsior-Adrian Roque)
Friday, April 14, 2006
By CLAUDIA WALLIS
Mar. 27, 2006 It's 9:30 p.m., and Stephen and Georgina Cox know exactly where their children are. Well, their bodies, at least. Piers, 14, is holed up in his bedroom--eyes fixed on his computer screen--where he has been logged onto a MySpace chat room and AOL Instant Messenger (IM) for the past three hours. His twin sister Bronte is planted in the living room, having commandeered her dad's iMac--as usual. She, too, is busily IMing, while chatting on her cell phone and chipping away at homework.
By all standard space-time calculations, the four members of the family occupy the same three-bedroom home in Van Nuys, Calif., but psychologically each exists in his or her own little universe. Georgina, 51, who works for a display-cabinet maker, is tidying up the living room as Bronte works, not that her daughter notices. Stephen, 49, who juggles jobs as a squash coach, fitness trainer, event planner and head of a cancer charity he founded, has wolfed down his dinner alone in the kitchen, having missed supper with the kids. He, too, typically spends the evening on his cell phone and returning e-mails--when he can nudge Bronte off the computer. "One gets obsessed with one's gadgets," he concedes.
Zooming in on Piers' screen gives a pretty good indication of what's on his hyperkinetic mind. O.K., there's a Google Images window open, where he's chasing down pictures of Keira Knightley. Good ones get added to a snazzy Windows Media Player slide show that serves as his personal e-shrine to the actress. Several IM windows are also open, revealing such penetrating conversations as this one with a MySpace pal:
MySpacer: suuuuuup!!! (Translation: What's up?)
Piers: wat up dude
MySpacer: nmu (Not much. You?)
Naturally, iTunes is open, and Piers is blasting a mix of Queen, AC/DC, classic rock and hip-hop. Somewhere on the screen there's a Word file, in which Piers is writing an essay for English class. "I usually finish my homework at school," he explains to a visitor, "but if not, I pop a book open on my lap in my room, and while the computer is loading, I'll do a problem or write a sentence. Then, while mail is loading, I do more. I get it done a little bit at a time."
Bronte has the same strategy. "You just multitask," she explains. "My parents always tell me I can't do homework while listening to music, but they don't understand that it helps me concentrate." The twins also multitask when hanging with friends, which has its own etiquette. "When I talk to my best friend Eloy," says Piers, "he'll have one earpiece [of his iPod] in and one out." Says Bronte: "If a friend thinks she's not getting my full attention, I just make it very clear that she is, even though I'm also listening to music."
The Coxes are one of 32 families in the Los Angeles area participating in an intensive, four-year study of modern family life, led by anthropologist Elinor Ochs, director of UCLA's Center on Everyday Lives of Families. While the impact of multitasking gadgets was not her original focus, Ochs found it to be one of the most dramatic areas of change since she conducted a similar study 20 years ago. "I'm not certain how the children can monitor all those things at the same time, but I think it is pretty consequential for the structure of the family relationship," says Ochs, whose work on language, interaction and culture earned her a MacArthur "genius" grant.
One of the things Ochs' team of observers looks at is what happens at the end of the workday when parents and kids reunite--and what doesn't happen, as in the case of the Coxes. "We saw that when the working parent comes through the door, the other spouse and the kids are so absorbed by what they're doing that they don't give the arriving parent the time of day," says Ochs. The returning parent, generally the father, was greeted only about a third of the time, usually with a perfunctory "Hi." "About half the time the kids ignored him or didn't stop what they were doing, multitasking and monitoring their various electronic gadgets," she says. "We also saw how difficult it was for parents to penetrate the child's universe. We have so many videotapes of parents actually backing away, retreating from kids who are absorbed by whatever they're doing."
HUMAN BEINGS HAVE ALWAYS HAD A CAPACITY to attend to several things at once. Mothers have done it since the hunter-gatherer era--picking berries while suckling an infant, stirring the pot with one eye on the toddler. Nor is electronic multitasking entirely new: we've been driving while listening to car radios since they became popular in the 1930s. But there is no doubt that the phenomenon has reached a kind of warp speed in the era of Web-enabled computers, when it has become routine to conduct six IM conversations, watch American Idol on TV and Google the names of last season's finalists all at once.
That level of multiprocessing and interpersonal connectivity is now so commonplace that it's easy to forget how quickly it came about. Fifteen years ago, most home computers weren't even linked to the Internet. In 1990 the majority of adolescents responding to a survey done by Donald Roberts, a professor of communication at Stanford, said the one medium they couldn't live without was a radio/CD player. How quaint. In a 2004 follow-up, the computer won hands down.
Today 82% of kids are online by the seventh grade, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. And what they love about the computer, of course, is that it offers the radio/CD thing and so much more--games, movies, e-mail, IM, Google, MySpace. The big finding of a 2005 survey of Americans ages 8 to 18 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, co-authored by Roberts, is not that kids were spending a larger chunk of time using electronic media--that was holding steady at 6.5 hours a day (could it possibly get any bigger?)--but that they were packing more media exposure into that time: 8.5 hours' worth, thanks to "media multitasking"--listening to iTunes, watching a DVD and IMing friends all at the same time. Increasingly, the media-hungry members of Generation M, as Kaiser dubbed them, don't just sit down to watch a TV show with their friends or family. From a quarter to a third of them, according to the survey, say they simultaneously absorb some other medium "most of the time" while watching TV, listening to music, using the computer or even while reading.
Parents have watched this phenomenon unfold with a mixture of awe and concern. The Coxes, for instance, are bowled over by their children's technical prowess. Piers repairs the family computers and DVD player. Bronte uses digital technology to compose elaborate photo collages and create a documentary of her father's ongoing treatment for cancer. And, says Georgina, "they both make these fancy PowerPoint presentations about what they want for Christmas." But both parents worry about the ways that kids' compulsive screen time is affecting their schoolwork and squeezing out family life. "We rarely have dinner together anymore," frets Stephen. "Everyone is in their own little world, and we don't get out together to have a social life."
Every generation of adults sees new technology--and the social changes it stirs--as a threat to the rightful order of things: Plato warned (correctly) that reading would be the downfall of oral tradition and memory. And every generation of teenagers embraces the freedoms and possibilities wrought by technology in ways that shock the elders: just think about what the automobile did for dating.
As for multitasking devices, social scientists and educators are just beginning to assess their impact, but the researchers already have some strong opinions. The mental habit of dividing one's attention into many small slices has significant implications for the way young people learn, reason, socialize, do creative work and understand the world. Although such habits may prepare kids for today's frenzied workplace, many cognitive scientists are positively alarmed by the trend. "Kids that are instant messaging while doing homework, playing games online and watching TV, I predict, aren't going to do well in the long run," says Jordan Grafman, chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Decades of research (not to mention common sense) indicate that the quality of one's output and depth of thought deteriorate as one attends to ever more tasks. Some are concerned about the disappearance of mental downtime to relax and reflect. Roberts notes Stanford students "can't go the few minutes between their 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock classes without talking on their cell phones. It seems to me that there's almost a discomfort with not being stimulated--a kind of 'I can't stand the silence.'"
Gen M's multitasking habits have social and psychological implications as well. If you're IMing four friends while watching That '70s Show, it's not the same as sitting on the couch with your buddies or your sisters and watching the show together. Or sharing a family meal across a table. Thousands of years of evolution created human physical communication--facial expressions, body language--that puts broadband to shame in its ability to convey meaning and create bonds. What happens, wonders UCLA's Ochs, as we replace side-by-side and eye-to-eye human connections with quick, disembodied e-exchanges? Those are critical issues not just for social scientists but for parents and teachers trying to understand--and do right by--Generation M.
YOUR BRAIN WHEN IT MULTITASKS
ALTHOUGH MANY ASPECTS OF THE networked life remain scientifically uncharted, there's substantial literature on how the brain handles multitasking. And basically, it doesn't. It may seem that a teenage girl is writing an instant message, burning a CD and telling her mother that she's doing homework--all at the same time--but what's really going on is a rapid toggling among tasks rather than simultaneous processing. "You're doing more than one thing, but you're ordering them and deciding which one to do at any one time," explains neuroscientist Grafman.
Then why can we so easily walk down the street while engrossed in a deep conversation? Why can we chop onions while watching Jeopardy? "We, along with quite a few others, have been focused on exactly this question," says Hal Pashler, psychology professor at the University of California at San Diego. It turns out that very automatic actions or what researchers call "highly practiced skills," like walking or chopping an onion, can be easily done while thinking about other things, although the decision to add an extra onion to a recipe or change the direction in which you're walking is another matter. "It seems that action planning--figuring out what I want to say in response to a person's question or which way I want to steer the car--is usually, perhaps invariably, performed sequentially" or one task at a time, says Pashler. On the other hand, producing the actions you've decided on--moving your hand on the steering wheel, speaking the words you've formulated--can be performed "in parallel with planning some other action." Similarly, many aspects of perception--looking, listening, touching--can be performed in parallel with action planning and with movement.
The switching of attention from one task to another, the toggling action, occurs in a region right behind the forehead called Brodmann's Area 10 in the brain's anterior prefrontal cortex, according to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study by Grafman's team. Brodmann's Area 10 is part of the frontal lobes, which "are important for maintaining long-term goals and achieving them," Grafman explains. "The most anterior part allows you to leave something when it's incomplete and return to the same place and continue from there." This gives us a "form of multitasking," he says, though it's actually sequential processing. Because the prefrontal cortex is one of the last regions of the brain to mature and one of the first to decline with aging, young children do not multitask well, and neither do most adults over 60. New fMRI studies at Toronto's Rotman Research Institute suggest that as we get older, we have more trouble "turning down background thoughts when turning to a new task," says Rotman senior scientist and assistant director Cheryl Grady. "Younger adults are better at tuning out stuff when they want to," says Grady. "I'm in my 50s, and I know that I can't work and listen to music with lyrics; it was easier when I was younger."
But the ability to multiprocess has its limits, even among young adults. When people try to perform two or more related tasks either at the same time or alternating rapidly between them, errors go way up, and it takes far longer--often double the time or more--to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially, says David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan: "The toll in terms of slowdown is extremely large--amazingly so." Meyer frequently tests Gen M students in his lab, and he sees no exception for them, despite their "mystique" as master multitaskers. "The bottom line is that you can't simultaneously be thinking about your tax return and reading an essay, just as you can't talk to yourself about two things at once," he says. "If a teenager is trying to have a conversation on an e-mail chat line while doing algebra, she'll suffer a decrease in efficiency, compared to if she just thought about algebra until she was done. People may think otherwise, but it's a myth. With such complicated tasks [you] will never, ever be able to overcome the inherent limitations in the brain for processing information during multitasking. It just can't be, any more than the best of all humans will ever be able to run a one-minute mile."
Other research shows the relationship between stimulation and performance forms a bell curve: a little stimulation--whether it's coffee or a blaring soundtrack--can boost performance, but too much is stressful and causes a fall-off. In addition, the brain needs rest and recovery time to consolidate thoughts and memories. Teenagers who fill every quiet moment with a phone call or some kind of e-stimulation may not be getting that needed reprieve. Habitual multitasking may condition their brain to an overexcited state, making it difficult to focus even when they want to. "People lose the skill and the will to maintain concentration, and they get mental antsyness," says Meyer.
IS THIS ANY WAY TO LEARN?
LONGTIME PROFESSORS AT UNIVERSITIES around the U.S. have noticed that Gen M kids arrive on campus with a different set of cognitive skills and habits than past generations. In lecture halls with wireless Internet access--now more than 40% of college classrooms, according to the Campus Computing Project--the compulsion to multitask can get out of hand. "People are going to lectures by some of the greatest minds, and they are doing their mail," says Sherry Turkle, professor of the social studies of science and technology at M.I.T. In her class, says Turkle, "I tell them this is not a place for e-mail, it's not a place to do online searches and not a place to set up IRC [Internet relay chat] channels in which to comment on the class. It's not going to help if there are parallel discussions about how boring it is. You've got to get people to participate in the world as it is."
Such concerns have, in fact, led a number of schools, including the M.B.A. programs at UCLA and the University of Virginia, to look into blocking Internet access during lectures. "I tell my students not to treat me like TV," says University of Wisconsin professor Aaron Brower, who has been teaching social work for 20 years. "They have to think of me like a real person talking. I want to have them thinking about things we're talking about."
On the positive side, Gen M students tend to be extraordinarily good at finding and manipulating information. And presumably because modern childhood tilts toward visual rather than print media, they are especially skilled at analyzing visual data and images, observes Claudia Koonz, professor of history at Duke University. A growing number of college professors are using film, audio clips and PowerPoint presentations to play to their students' strengths and capture their evanescent attention. It's a powerful way to teach history, says Koonz. "I love bringing media into the classroom, to be able to go to the website for Edward R. Murrow and hear his voice as he walked with the liberators of Buchenwald." Another adjustment to teaching Generation M: professors are assigning fewer full-length books and more excerpts and articles. (Koonz, however, was stunned when a student matter-of-factly informed her, "We don't read whole books anymore," after Koonz had assigned a 350-page volume. "And this is Duke!" she says.)
Many students make brilliant use of media in their work, embedding audio files and video clips in their presentations, but the habit of grazing among many data streams leaves telltale signs in their writing, according to some educators. "The breadth of their knowledge and their ability to find answers has just burgeoned," says Roberts of his students at Stanford, "but my impression is that their ability to write clear, focused and extended narratives has eroded somewhat." Says Koonz: "What I find is paragraphs that make sense internally, but don't necessarily follow a line of argument."
Koonz and Turkle believe that today's students are less tolerant of ambiguity than the students they taught in the past. "They demand clarity," says Koonz. They want identifiable good guys and bad guys, which she finds problematic in teaching complex topics like Hutu-Tutsi history in Rwanda. She also thinks there are political implications: "Their belief in the simple answer, put together in a visual way, is, I think, dangerous." Koonz thinks this aversion to complexity is directly related to multitasking: "It's as if they have too many windows open on their hard drive. In order to have a taste for sifting through different layers of truth, you have to stay with a topic and pursue it deeply, rather than go across the surface with your toolbar." She tries to encourage her students to find a quiet spot on campus to just think, cell phone off, laptop packed away.
GOT 2 GO. TXT ME L8ER
BUT TURNING DOWN THE NOISE ISN'T EASY. By the time many kids get to college, their devices have become extensions of themselves, indispensable social accessories. "The minute the bell rings at most big public high schools, the first thing most kids do is reach into their bag and pick up their cell phone," observes Denise Clark Pope, lecturer at the Stanford School of Education, "never mind that the person [they're contacting] could be right down the hall."
Parents are mystified by this obsession with e-communication--particularly among younger adolescents who often can't wait to share the most mundane details of life. Dominique Jones, 12, of Los Angeles, likes to IM her friends before school to find out what they plan to wear. "You'll get IMs back that say things like 'Oh, my God, I'm wearing the same shoes!' After school we talk about what happened that day, what outfits we want to wear the next day."
Turkle, author of the recently reissued The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, has an explanation for this breathless exchange of inanities. "There's an extraordinary fit between the medium and the moment, a heady, giddy fit in terms of social needs." The online environment, she points out, "is less risky if you are lonely and afraid of intimacy, which is almost a definition of adolescence. Things get too hot, you log off, while in real time and space, you have consequences." Teen venues like MySpace, Xanga and Facebook--and the ways kids can personalize their IM personas--meet another teen need: the desire to experiment with identity. By changing their picture, their "away" message, their icon or list of favorite bands, kids can cycle through different personalities. "Online life is like an identity workshop," says Turkle, "and that's the job of adolescents--to experiment with identity."
All that is probably healthy, provided that parents set limits on where their kids can venture online, teach them to exercise caution and regulate how much time they can spend with electronics in general. The problem is that most parents don't. According to the Kaiser survey, only 23% of seventh- to 12th-graders say their family has rules about computer activity; just 17% say they have restrictions on video-game time.
In the absence of rules, it's all too easy for kids to wander into unwholesome neighborhoods on the Net and get caught up in the compulsive behavior that psychiatrist Edward Hallowell dubs "screen-sucking" in his new book, CrazyBusy. Patricia Wallace, a techno-psychologist who directs the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program, believes part of the allure of e-mail--for adults as well as teens--is similar to that of a slot machine. "You have intermittent, variable reinforcement," she explains. "You are not sure you are going to get a reward every time or how often you will, so you keep pulling that handle. Why else do people get up in the middle of the night to check their e-mail?"
GETTING THEM TO LOG OFF
MANY EDUCATORS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS SAY parents need to actively ensure that their teenagers break free of compulsive engagement with screens and spend time in the physical company of human beings--a growing challenge not just because technology offers such a handy alternative but because so many kids lead highly scheduled lives that leave little time for old-fashioned socializing and family meals. Indeed, many teenagers and college students say overcommitted schedules drive much of their multitasking.
Just as important is for parents and educators to teach kids, preferably by example, that it's valuable, even essential, to occasionally slow down, unplug and take time to think about something for a while. David Levy, a professor at the University of Washington Information School, has found, to his surprise, that his most technophilic undergraduates--those majoring in "informatics"--are genuinely concerned about getting lost in the multitasking blur. In an informal poll of 60 students last semester, he says, the majority expressed concerns about how plugged-in they were and "the way it takes them away from other activities, including exercise, meals and sleep." Levy's students talked about difficulties concentrating and their efforts to break away, get into the outdoors and inside their head. "Although it wasn't a scientific survey," he says, "it was the first evidence I had that people in this age group are reflecting on these questions."
For all the handwringing about Generation M, technology is not really the problem. "The problem," says Hallowell, "is what you are not doing if the electronic moment grows too large"--too large for the teenager and too large for those parents who are equally tethered to their gadgets. In that case, says Hallowell, "you are not having family dinner, you are not having conversations, you are not debating whether to go out with a boy who wants to have sex on the first date, you are not going on a family ski trip or taking time just to veg. It's not so much that the video game is going to rot your brain, it's what you are not doing that's going to rot your life."
Generation M has a lot to teach parents and teachers about what new technology can do. But it's up to grownups to show them what it can't do, and that there's life beyond the screen.—With reporting by Sonja Steptoe/Los Angeles, Sarah Sturmon Dale/Minneapolis, With reporting by Wendy Cole/Chicago
Thursday, April 13, 2006
11 Simple Rules For Simple Living
1. Before you say anything to anyone, ask yourself 3 things:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
3. Never miss the opportunity to compliment or say something encouraging to someone.
4. Refuse to talk negatively about others; don't gossip and don't listen to gossip.
5. Have a forgiving view of people. Believe that most people are doing the best they can.
6. Keep an open mind; discuss, but don't argue. (It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable).
7. Forget about counting to 10. Count to 1,000 before doing or saying anything that could make matters worse.
8. Let your virtues speak for themselves.
9. If someone criticizes you, see if there is any TRUTH to what he is saying; if so, make changes. If there is no truth to the criticism, ignore it and live so that no one will believe the negative remark.
10. Cultivate your sense of humor; laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
11. Do not seek so much to be consoled, as to console; do not seek so much to be understood, as to understand; do not seek so much to be loved as to love.
By Michael Angier
Mahatma Gandhi believed that we must be the change we want to see in the world. This was well demonstrated when he helped India gain its independence. Gandhi was a revolutionary man, but he accomplished India's emergence as a nation without starting a revolution. In fact, he advocated no violence. One of the most powerful countries in the world yielded to the commitment of one man and the dream of millions.
What change can we effect? What's the difference we want to make in the world?
Gandhi said, "In a gentle way you can shake the world." Here are some things to think about how to do just that.
1. Know that all significant change throughout history has occurred not because of nations, armies, governments—and certainly not committees. They happened as a result of the courage and commitment of individuals. People like Joan of Ark, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Rosa Parks. They might not have done it alone, but they were, without question, the change makers.
2. Believe that you have a unique purpose and potential in the world. It's not so much something to create as to be discovered. And it's up to you to discover it. Believe that you can and will make a difference.
3. Recognize that everything you do, every step you take, every sentence you write, every word you speak—or DON'T speak—counts. Nothing is trivial. The world may be big, but there are no small things. Everything matters.
4. To be the change you want to see in the world, you don't have to be loud. You don't have to be eloquent. You don't have to be elected. You don't even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.
5. Take personal responsibility. Never think that "it's not my job". It's a cop-out to say, "What can I do, I'm only one person." You don't need everyone's cooperation or anyone's permission to make changes. Remember this little gem, "If it's to be, it's up to me."
6. Don't get caught up in the how of things. If you're clear on what you want to change and why you want to change it, the how will come. Many significant things have been left undone because someone let the problem solving interfere with the decision-making.
7. Don't wait for things to be right in order to begin. Change is messy. Things will never be just right. Follow Teddy Roosevelt's timeless advice, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
8. The genesis for change is awareness. We cannot change what we don't acknowledge. Most of the time, we aren't aware of what's wrong or what's not working. We don't see what could be. By becoming more aware, we begin the process of change.
9. Take to heart these words from Albert Einstein—arguably one of the smartest change masters who ever lived: "All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge."
10. In order for things to change, YOU have to change. We can't change others; we can only change ourselves. However, when WE change, it changes everything. And in doing so, we truly can be the change we want to see in the world.
Inscribed on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby (1100 A.D.)
"When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world."
Since this list was inspired by Gandhi's belief, it seems appropriate to end with another of his quotes:"Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger and we will make not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large."
You might like this. This is hilarious... even an Englishman could not construct sentences using numeric, which is exclusive only to Malaysians and Singaporeans.
Ah Lek was asked to make a sentence using 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10. Not only did he do it 1 to 10, he did it again from 10 back to 1. This is what he came up with...
1 day I go 2 climb up a 3 outside a house to peep. But the couple saw me, so I panic and 4 down. The man rush out and wanted to 5 with me. I run until I fall 6 and throw up. So I go into 7 eleven and grab some 8 to throw at him. Then I took a 9 and try to stab him. 10 God he run away.
So, I put the 9 back and pay for the 8 ! and left 7 eleven. Next day, I call my boss and say I am 6. He said 5, tomorrow also no need to come back 4 work. He also asks me to climb a 3 and jump down.
I don't understand, I so nice 2 him but I don't know what he 1.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
"Life is not meant to be journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadsliding, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-- WOW What a ride."This is a blog dedicated to the wonderful game of baseball. Mainted by Bobby Yacuzzo, who describes himself as a professional chef by choice, a foodservice manager by default and proud daddy of future ML twins, this is the most interesting blog on baseball that I have eer come across.
Bobby has lots of montages and movies on his blog, showing pictues of games that he attended, and annotating them in his humourous way.
This blog is very well designed, and maintained by a true baseball fan.
Check out the Deep Fried Fish Blog -- it's quite an interesting ride!
Monday, April 10, 2006
Imagine the next time you join a discussion about Being More Productive. When you start sharing the fascinating facts on Being More Productive, your friends will be absolutely amazed.
Are you one of those people in the office who are always the first to speak up at meetings, volunteer for committees or participate in many office activities? Are you often the first one to arrive at work and the last one to leave? You are always tapping away on your computer and never have time for a lunch brake. You are always jumping from one task to the next, and you usually have a trail of unfinished tasks in your wake. Your productivity suffers.
You are not the only one who faces this problem every day. There are many people like you in the workplace who never finishes one task before moving on to the next. Half a dozen word processing windows, e-mail messages and assorted internet searches take up their computer screen's real estate. Their workspace -- and yours -- is covered with sticky notes and half-read file folders.
Before your nerves snap and you sink so deep into this mess called unproductivity, stop and re-group. Your problems can be easily solved by these two words: Set Goals. Here is an incredibly simple way to start getting these problems under control. Every morning, before you turn on your computer, write down five things that you need to accomplish that day on an index card or a notepad. Make sure you include a small task that you are certain you can complete in one day. This will give you a sense of completion that will eventually be your motivation to finish all of your other tasks. Sooner or later, you will gain a sense of satisfaction in completing daily tasks brought about by writing down your goals. Don't worry if your list is small. You will know when you can add more tasks to your list and be able to accomplish them all during your work day. When you set up your daily goals, make sure you put them in writing and then go ahead and complete all of them. This will help you!
to cure yourself of daily disorganization and unproductivity.
You may not consider everything you just read to be crucial information about Being More Productive. But don't be surprised if you find yourself recalling and using this very information in the next few days.
Be smart. Don't waste your energy and lose momentum on one task because you let yourself be distracted by another task. Work with your daily goals list. Work on finishing the tasks on your lists first, before tackling any others. Do you really need to be on the Christmas party committee when you have got three reports to finish?
Hopefully the information above has contributed to your understanding of Being More Productive. Share your new understanding about Being More Productive with others. They'll thank you for it some day.
If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the scientist who once said: "I woke up one morning and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates!" His mind tends to see things a bit differently than the rest of us. Here are some of his gems:
I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Borrow money from pessimists - they don't expect it back.
42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
I almost had a psychic girlfriend, but she left me before we met.
OK, so what's the speed of dark?
How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.
Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.
I intend to live forever; so far, so good.
If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.
The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.
Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have film.
Be kind to yourself and to someone else, and have a wonder-FULL week!
Last Sunday, the news program, "60 Minutes," had a segment on Americans working "24/7." They showed a couple where the wife has the "bare minimum" of two cell phones, and the husband "multi-tasks" all day long, talking with several people, working on his computer and exchanging emails, all at once.
Like most people, I want to get "more" done, and as a coach I love helping my clients do more, earn more, and live better. It's all in a day's work, and it's fun! But the answer is almost never to work more or "harder" and yet that's what too many of us are doing.
Whatever happened to the vision of "leisure time?" Whatever happened to the day when "labor saving devices" would do our work for us? What in the world happened?!
Far too many of us consider a 60, 70, or even 80 hour work week to be the expected standard. Whatever happened to the "break-through" 40-hour week our parents and grandparents fought for? Read the statistics. Most of us are sleep-deprived. Most of us are in debt. Most of us have hyper-tension, headaches, ulcers or other stress-related discomfort. Diabetes, associated with life-style choices, is becoming epidemic. How did this happen?
How can we change it?
There are no easy answers. We value the income and opportunity that come with hard work, long days, and busy lives. That isn't going to change. But, I think we can manage our lives much better, and some steps in that direction are actually easy, and fun. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Learn to say no. Too many people think they "must" explore every invitation or opportunity that comes their way, and that's a mistake. We get endless invitations! You can stay out all night, work all day, travel, do good and important things every hour of the day. But is that how you really want to live your life? Learn to say no, even to good and wonderful things.
2. Spend less than you make. Remember the old saying, "time is money?" It works the other way around, too. If you spend less, my experience suggests you'll immediately be less busy and less stressed. When money is not a "problem," time management gets easier, too.
3. Live your values. Every day, review your priorities. Review the things that are MOST important to you. Re-write your vision or purpose statement, talk it over with your spouse, make a tape in your own voice describing the life you truly want, then listen to it on the way to work in the morning.
4. Plan your day. Every morning review your schedule, make a list, write stuff down. Then cross off a few items. They aren't really important, you probably won't get them done anyway, and you'll have more fun. Be honest. Plan. Do the things you want to do, and include very few "have to's." Life's better that way.
5. Have more fun. Meditate or dance every day, even for only five minutes. Laugh out loud. Leave love notes or send a text message to your kids. Be sure to hug and kiss and tease and play with the people you love. It reminds you what you're working for.
6. Use time management skills. Practice "single handling." Work standing up. Put time limits on meetings, calls and activities. Close your office door so you can concentrate. Every few months (at least twice a year) read a book or take a seminar on time management to remind yourself. Get very, very GOOD at this!
This is your one and only life. Don't blow it! It's been said that time is the only resource any of us truly have, and once it's gone, it's gone forever. Work as hard and as much as you choose, but then quit! Work can be rewarding and delightful, but don't let it become an addiction. Earning money, building our businesses and "getting ahead" are things we DO, not something we ARE. Remember the distinction.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Two days before her first birthday, Alexandra "Alex" Scott was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer. Enduring chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, the little girl displayed courage and a positive outlook, captivating everyone around her.
In 2000, when she was just four years old, Alex told her parents she wanted to raise money for cancer research. She chose a time-honored kid's project, a front-yard lemonade stand, but unlike most lemonade stands she raised $2,000 in a single day.
Soon Alex's friends joined in to help, opening lemonade stands in her name. Word spread about Alex's dream of raising $1 million for pediatric cancer research. On June 12, 2004, she raised nearly $40,000 in three hours at her lemonade stand, while supporters nationwide raised $220,000 in one day at hundreds of Alex's Lemonade Stands nationwide.
Just a few weeks later on August 1, 2004, the eight-year-old girl finally lost her heroic battle with cancer. But that was not the end of the story. Alex Scott was gone, but her lemonade stand and her dream did not die.
Friends continued to work to achieve Alex's goal. And the owners of the racehorse Afleet Alex, a plucky colt who had also suffered setbacks but went on to win two of the three Triple Crown races in 2005, took up her cause. They donated a portion of Afleet Alex's winnings and convinced racetracks to sponsor Alex's Lemonade Stands whenever the horse was racing. Corporate sponsors, including Volvo, have also contributed.
Alex's mother, Liz Scott said, "It really is incredible to have her remembered by so many. We are now at about $3 million of Alex's $5 million goal for 2005. The most important thing for people to know is that Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is here to stay, and I personally will not stop raising money for childhood cancer research until a cure is found."
One little girl. One big dream. Alex's legacy of hope lives on.
To find out more about Alex Scott and her wonderful mission please go to: www.alexslemonade.org
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut and we'll talk about it." After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!"
The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair...."
To which his father replied, "Yes, and they walked everywhere they went!"