thoughts on life

“Eighty Percent of Success is Showing Up.” – Woody Allen, Actor I first encountered this quote by Woody Allen decades ago. At the time, the idea that the majority of success involved merely showing up seemed overly simplistic and surely an exaggeration. I’ve since come to the conclusion that his statement is more true than [...]

When you’re an individual contributor, you focus mainly on time management. There are 24 hours in a day. You allocate them according to what’s most important to you. As you progress in your professional career (and as your personal life gets more complex, such as raising multiple children or caring for aging parents), it makes [...]

Many people struggle to pursue what they really want, out of fear of what people will think. When I hear this, I always ask, “Which specific people?” As in, “What are their names?” In many cases, the other person has a hard time responding. They’ll often say, “You know, ‘people.’” The great irony is that [...]

In every professional interaction, the other person communicates on two channels. First, the other person communicates verbally what they’re thinking. Second, the other person communicates non-verbally what he or she really means. The big insight is that in many cases, what someone says and what they mean are not always the same thing. If you [...]

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a dramatic decline in the number of conversations that involve critical reasoning and independent thinking. I’m very concerned by this trend. One obvious place this has occurred is in American politics. I have friends across the full spectrum of political beliefs. I am shocked at how many debates [...]

You have an enormous advantage in life when you have the capacity to tolerate the truth. Anyone can tolerate the truth when it’s positive and favorable. It’s much more difficult when the truth isn’t what you want to hear. Just because you wish something wasn’t true doesn’t make it any less valid. For example, it’s [...]

Criticism involves telling someone what they did wrong (or worse yet, telling them what’s wrong with them). A request involves asking somebody to do something a specific way next time. When you’re talking to a spouse, an employee, or your child, and they do something you don’t like, you have a few options. 1) Criticize [...]

At one point or another in your life, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Overwhelm comes in two flavors — functional overwhelm (such as when you run a car engine past the red line and it blows up), or emotional overwhelm. In this case, you have two “levers” to pull to deal with overwhelm. 1) Increase [...]

I have a confession. I talk to pigs… specifically my daughter’s guinea pigs. More specifically, they talk to me. (No, I don’t hear voices; they don’t speak English). They chirp, squeak, and squeal to communicate their wants and needs to me. Their needs almost always revolve around wanting more food or water (when my girls [...]

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