Life Lessons

Lesson 151

There's no shortage of gadgets on the market today to buy and enjoy. The only ingredients lacking may be the time to use gadgets and the extra money to purchase them. With only 168 hours in a week, it's seems prudent to chose meaningful gadgets and be very stingy with your free time. Most working aged individuals will usually consume at least 40 hours a week at their job and an average of 3 hours a day or 15 hours a week getting ready for and commuting back and forth to work. Thus at least 55 hours or 1/3 of those 168 are consumed by one's career.

Lesson 152

A common path involving stress and leading to depression can occur by having to live with one's own conscience. The dictionary describes the noun conscience as:

Conformity to one's own sense of right conduct

A feeling of shame when you do something immoral

Motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions

Can it be any wonder then, that if an individual chooses to engage in money making schemes that injure or infringe on others, that they will probably suffer from some maladies of conscience?

Lesson 153

If you are alive and breathing, you will be facing obstacles every day regarding your progression through your life cycle. How you deal with them and how you learn from them will determine the degree of success you will have in overcoming your obstacles. This lesson was inspired by witnessing a 50 mile traffic jam of cars and trucks all trying to get to the seashore on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Lesson 154

Being a Monday morning quarterback, or an observer of others performance in the games of life, is always easier than being the quarterback on the field who has a half a dozen 300 pound men chasing them during game-time, trying to knock them out of the game. There's absolutely no pain in making comments as an observer, suggesting what other performers could have or should have done in the heat of battle. However isn't that what we all seem to do throughout life as parents; coaches; teachers; mentors; employers; or any other capacity as a way to help others "see the light?"

Lesson 155

When the Dow Jones Industrials finally closed above 14,000 on July 19th, 2007, it appeared to me to be a milestone surrounded by way too much optimism. CNBC, Fox Business News, and too many financial analysts in the business publications I read were too bullish for my liking. On July 19th, the analysts were already predicting that Dow 15,000 was just around the corner. The hard lessons I've learned during the booms and busts of the past all began when everyone was so optimistic. Whenever this occurred, a painful correction seemed sure to follow.

Lesson 156

According to leading marketing information provider, The NPD Group Inc, retail sales of video games, which includes portable and console hardware, software and accessories, generated revenues of close to $12.5 billion in 2006. That exceeds the previous record of $10.5 billion set in 2005.

Lesson 157

Success stories in print and audio from all walks of life seem to draw my attention like a magnet. I really enjoy reading or listening how individuals overcome obstacles and make their dreams come true. This past week I was totally inspired by an article I read in Fast Company Magazine titled "Girl Power." This article is described with a headline by the author Chuck Salter who writes:



SHE'S LOL (laughing out loud) ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK.

Lesson 158

Two buzzwords that keep popping up in all my magazines is "Disruptive Change." We all know that change is inevitable. However, disruptive change has taken on a whole new priority for entrepreneurs and start-up companies with the emergence of cheap computing power and the growth of the Internet.

Lesson 159

If you are a home owner or even a renter, a well stocked ORGANZIED toolbox, accompanied by an ORGANIZED supply of bolts; nuts; nails and accessories; can save you lots of money as well as lots of pain and suffering throughout your lifetime. Because sooner rather than later, you are destined to need this stuff in order to live safely in your dwelling! And just for the record, I personally would rather go to the dentist and have a tooth filled before I tackle most routine repair and replacement jobs around the house.

Lesson 160

In this lesson we will discuss two distinct ways to view most of what happens to us in life. The first is through the eyes of a pessimist. Pessimism is a disease of impaired vision which, unfortunately, cannot be corrected with eyeglasses. It is a state of mind caused by a limited perspective that shows us only the bad side, the problems, the difficulties and the reasons why something can't be done. Keeping this definition in mind, you can see how counterproductive it is to be a pessimist or to even be associated with pessimists on a daily basis.

Lesson 161

Complaining seems to be a favorite pastime with many people. People will complain about their boss, their employees, their spouses, their parents, their government or just about anything to anyone who will listen. A major reason why people choose to complain is because it's very easy to do. It's much easier to point your finger outward than inward. It's much easier to blame someone else than it is to look at yourself and make some changes. And since it's easier, people will tend to do it. In this lesson, let's look at a hot topic of modern times: Obesity.

Lesson 162

Instincts in the animal world are characteristics that are programmed through heredity to perform a particular behavior. For instance, ants and bees do not have to learn to be workers in their respective colonies - they just become workers at birth by instinct. Likewise the African Wildebeest runs with the pack just minutes after its birth to protect itself from being eaten by lions or tigers. These are all examples known as instinctive behaviors.

Lesson 163

We all learn about the KISS Principle early in life. KISS is an acronym of the phrase "Keep It Simple, Stupid", and the KISS Principle implies that simplicity is better than complexity in our personal and business lives. While I am a firm believer of the Kiss principle, for this lesson I would like to add the ingredients of efficiency and consistency to the principle, to round out a three prong method for long term success. This lesson was inspired by an article in the October 15th, 2007 edition of Forbes Magazine titled Back To The Future by Joann Muller.

Lesson 164

Being a workaholic can be more dangerous than it actually appears. Take it from one who knows, and was fortunate enough to find balance in life before having to pay an extremely high price in many ways. In this lesson, we will delve into this workaholic syndrome, to better understand it and how to deal with it.

Lesson 165

"You can get whatever you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want." When I retired, my employees gave me a beautiful clock/plaque that was inscribed with this phrase, because they heard me preach it so many times. They remembered me by this phrase because I tried to live by this philosophy and proved first hand to myself and others that it really works. However I cannot take credit for coining this phrase. It happens to be one of my favorite quotes, by a renowned speaker and professional trainer named Zig Ziglar.

Lesson 166

Did you ever see a tiny tugboat pull a 100,000 ton cruise ship? Or did you ever witness a locomotive pulling 100 train cars full of cargo weighing a million tons? If you did, you probably noticed that the most difficult job these two had in common, was to get started. However once they got moving, the laws of physics took over, as they built up the momentum to move mountains of weight with very little effort. In this lesson, we are going to discuss what it might take to get you moving into action to accomplish some worthy cause.

Lesson 167

Everything in life starts with a thought, positive or negative. Having the ability to choose and direct our thoughts is what separates us from other living species. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to be more negative than positive when it comes to our thinking, which forms many debilitating attitudes that hold us back in life.

Lesson 168

Emotions can work as the most powerful forces inside of us. Under their power, human beings can perform the most heroic as well as the most barbaric acts known to man. Emotions can motivate a person to sacrifice their own life to save another, as in fire fighting; or intentionally take their own life and others in a suicide bombing. How we channel the power of our emotions will ultimately determine most of the actions that we perform during our lifetimes. You can view emotions as fuel and our mind as the pilot which together propel one's actions.

Lesson 169

In last week's lesson we discussed in detail the emotion of DISGUST. And this week I have decided to exercise the powers associated with the emotion of disgust in an effort to appeal to my peers, the "Baby Boomers" which represent the largest economic and political force in the nation.

Lesson 170

This lesson is about FOCUS! We must all learn to FOCUS on the really important tasks that will have the greatest impact on achieving our happiness and goals in life. We just cannot afford to spend valuable time to aimlessly go through life doing the easy stuff that anybody can do. In order to accomplish meaningful goals we must FOCUS like a laser beam on what really matters at our jobs and in our private lives.

Our brains cannot think more than one thought at a time. Thus, we must think about, FOCUS on, and complete only the tasks that are most important to us right now.

Lesson 171

Promises by individuals, business people, and politicians are quite easy to make in life. Keeping promises is not as easy. "Just tell them what they want to hear," some say, "and you will get what you want." Many business people do just that, knowing that they can't come through on the promises they make. Too often that doesn't seem to stop them from achieving some short-term success. However once their clients figure out their habit of over-promising and under-delivering, their slide downward can be quick and painful.

Lesson 172

This week's lesson is all about ENERGY. It's fair to say that every healthy human being is born with a truly amazing level of energy. The point has often been made that no adult, not even the most highly conditioned tri-athlete, could sustain the level of physical activity that a one or two year-old maintains throughout their day.

Lesson 173

One of the most important qualities for all of us to develop is the ability to persevere through life's obstacles and challenges. I believe it's so important to continually recognize that EVERYTHING COUNTS in our life. Every action you take daily either benefits you in some way or hurts you. Everything either adds up or takes away. Everything either contributes to your success or moves you away from it. Nothing you do is neutral. And all success is ultimately the triumph of persistence.

Lesson 174

Indifference is the mild approach to life where you simply drift along with events as they occur and not care much about what happens. It's the disease of attitude that keeps people from investing the time to cast a vote in elections and then complain about the integrity and quality of our leaders. It's an attitude that develops over time without even realizing how it influences your decisions. In this week's lesson we will discuss why we should remove the shackles of indifference.

Lesson 175

Chief Executive Officer is a title that has a nice ring to it. It's also a title that earns some people in major corporations millions of dollars. After all, millions are chicken feed to a company like Goldman Sachs or Proctor and Gamble if their CEO helps their company to earn an extra billion dollars. So how does one prepare for these positions? It's not easy however there are methods. In business management just as in personal management of your own, you must take charge.

Lesson 176

How thirsty are you for KNOWLEDGE? This is a great question to ask yourself, as we end one year and begin a new one. It's a great topic for a lesson that can perhaps change your entire outlook on life in 2008.

Lesson 177

Decision-making can cause knots in our stomach; keep us awake in the middle of the night; or cause us to break out in a cold sweat when it comes to signing on the dotted line. However, it surely doesn't have to be this way. In this lesson we will delve into the decision making process, in an effort to make decision making more enjoyable.

Lesson 178

Accountability for ones' actions seems to be eluding government officials and the populace at large. It's common to blame costly errors on the circumstances of the times or better yet, to blame bad decisions on others. In this lesson, we will discuss the art of accountability, in order to attack the problems of our times. It's time for individuals to take responsibility for their actions, and bear the consequences of their poor decisions.

Lesson 179

Did you ever wonder why so many human beings seem to take their health for granted? Why do so many individuals wait until they are ill to begin a plan to restore their health, when they might have been able to avoid their illness in the first place? With health care costs soaring, we may all need to reevaluate our personal philosophies regarding our health, and NOW is a good time to do so.

Lesson 180

If you are a regular reader of my lessons, or listener of my podcasts, I hope that you have noticed that the words in these lessons come directly from the heart of the author. But for those words to be really meaningful, they must come from someone who not only believes them but actually walks his talk. Someone who dreams, plans, and executes his goals on a daily basis. Someone committed to improving his own life, as well as improving the lives of all who will listen.

Lesson 181

Most enterprises are made up of a team or several teams of people who must execute the core functions of the organization. Each team is usually assigned a leader who takes the responsibility to choose and direct his or her team members toward the successful completion of the goals of the organization. When success is achieved, the leader can certainly become a hero of the team. When failure is imminent, the leader usually gets the blame. However, for a team to be successful, all of the members must individually take personal responsibility for its success or failure.

Lesson 182

If I had to choose one human behavior that I have very little tolerance for, it would be that of someone "Making Excuses." However, if you are interacting with other people, it's difficult for a day or even an hour to go by, without being subjected to some type of excuse as to why someone didn't do something they promised or were expected to do as part of their responsibilities. In this lesson, we will discuss why you should make every effort possible to always come through on your promises and avoid making excuses.

Lesson 183

Everything good or bad relating to our lives on this planet, or the universe for that matter, revolves around the balance of systems. Hurricanes follow extreme air and water temperatures. Divorce usually follows a relationship that gets out of balance. Poor health is a usually a result of not eating a balanced diet or perhaps not having a balanced exercise program. We get blood tests, MRI's and hundreds of diagnostic tests to search for what's out of balance in the systems of our body.

Lesson 184

Happiness is a word that can potentially have more definitions than any other word you can think of. That's probably due to the diversity of people, customs, relationships and mindsets. Everyone seems to want more happiness in their lives, yet it tends to elude most people.

I believe this may be so because "responsible minded people" always seem to be putting off happiness to some future date. Their excuse for doing so is that they never have enough of one thing or another to enjoy being happy right now.

Lesson 185

"You ARE truly successful!"

If you told 10 people you knew whom you believed were successful and observed their responses, it would be a learning experience. Most of them may be surprised about how you viewed them and some may even disagree with you. But it is nonetheless true that we are ALL successful.

Lesson 186

The phrase "Time is Money" has been around a long time. But never before in the history of mankind, has it been more important in our professional lives. Computing, software, and most recently smart phones and GPS have helped us to measure what we do; where we go; and how long it takes more accurately. In this lesson we will explore the 168 hours of time we have each week. No one has any advantage over anyone else. However, how we spend or invest our time will have the greatest impact on the quality of life that we lead.

Lesson 187

For this lesson, we will describe FLEXIBILITY as the speed and ease with which you are able to adapt to changing conditions. And there's no doubt that conditions can change very quickly in our lives and in the marketplace. On any business day we can watch instant changes in the market value of oil, commodities and a company's stock price. Just in one day last Friday, we watched the market value of Bear Stearns, the fifth largest investment bank drop 40% of its market value. By tomorrow it may be down by as much as 95% of its market value, if a bailout occurs to prevent its collapse.

Lesson 188

The word salesperson can have many different meanings to different people. But primarily it is associated with a particular person who sells products or services as an occupation. However, the number of people involved in the selling process stretches far beyond a particular individual who sells a product or service for a living. In this week's lesson we'll discuss the why I believe we are all salespeople in some way!

Lesson 189

In my opinion, being ACCOUNTABLE to YOURSELF for the plans and actions you take daily, is perhaps the single most important distinction of a mature and responsible individual. In this week's lesson, we'll try to elaborate on this observation.

Lesson 190

It would be a rare day in our lives, if we could live 24 hours without having to deal with some type of disappointment. In this week's lesson, we will delve into the topic of Dealing with Disappointment.

Lesson 191

The 21st Century has been a great teacher of business cycles and economics thus far. We have witnessed the so called bubble and burst at the turn of the new century, followed by the housing bubble and burst; which unfortunately caused the present credit bubble which has already begun coming apart at the seams. One may argue that these bubbles and busts were all driven by the vast accumulation of wealth chasing higher returns on capital invested. Or by fiat monetary policies and cheap credit the Federal Reserve has artificially pumped into the market during the last seven years.

Lesson 192

Why do we have to lose someone or something to recognize their value and importance? Or why do we take so many important things around us for granted, realizing their true value only when they are gone forever? In this week's lesson, we will delve into becoming more aware of what's really important in our lives and why we should cherish and protect what's valuable to us.

Lesson 193

Worry is a multi-billion dollar industry stretching its tentacles into publishing, pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy. Of all the diseases of attitude, this one is probably the most destructive and debilitating of all to individuals of all ages. In this lesson, we will discuss why you should not allow worry to drain your energy.

Lesson 194

In this week's lesson, let's discuss how facing the facts of life head on, in a very positive way, can help us all reduce the stress caused by our reactions to negative people and events. Many events that happen in the world around us are really tough to swallow. And unless we live in a cave, isolated from all other human beings, we are going to be exposed to a lot of negative media and will have to interact daily with people who display poor judgment and behavior. It's just inevitable that we must deal with some individuals who are inefficient, uncaring and downright ignorant.

Lesson 195

Self esteem is perhaps the most important ingredient that makes up one's character. High self esteem can propel you to attempt and accomplish great things in life. Low self esteem can serve as an anchor to hold you back from experiencing life's most precious satisfactions. In this lesson we will delve into this very important ingredient.

Lesson 196

In this week's lesson, I would like to discuss one of my favorite topics, which I just can't seem to speak enough about. That topic is how to avoid learning things the hard way during our lifetime at an institution of high frustration.

Lesson 197

I often wondered how much better our world would be if we could reverse the ratio of criticism to praise. It seems like everyone has lots to say about what's wrong in this world and little to say about what's right. In this lesson, we will discuss why we should make every attempt possible to praise more and criticize less.

Lesson 198

Being a small business owner is as part of the American Dream as owning your own home and raising a happy, healthy family. These are all worthy goals, however to be successful in all of them takes an individual who is willing to continuously learn and grow to improve each day. In this week's lesson, we will discuss a business strategy that may sound contrarian, however I know firsthand from experience that it works. I was inspired to write this lesson by an article I read yesterday in the June 2008 issue of Inc. Magazine.

Lesson 199

Every week we hear about more bankruptcies, business failures or mergers. We learn of financially stronger companies stepping up to buy a failing competitor who just can't seem to make it in the marketplace. Even though this news may appear negative at times, it should not be viewed as a sign of doom and gloom for the economy at large. Instead perhaps we should view these occurrences as a stimulus to become better in your own job, or to get better as a manager or owner of your own business. In this week's lesson we will discuss why it's so important to serve your customers BETTER!

Lesson 200

It only takes one small doubt in your life to send your positive thoughts, dreams or aspirations into a tailspin. How many times have you had a great idea, a burning desire to accomplish a worthy goal, or perhaps wanted to start a new and exciting career during your lifetime? You then shared this idea with a close friend or relative and their first impression was to doubt your decision to move forward.