Jun 142020
One man's crisis - A vivid lesson

One of the most overused cliches often cited by motivational speakers and politicians, is that the Chinese character for crisis is also the same character for opportunity. JFK, while campaigning for the presidency of the United States, popularized this phrase in his speeches of 1959 and 1960 by saying: “In the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity.” When you question this quote one level deeper, you find out that [more…]

May 242020
Ask The Right Questions: What's My Priority?

Answer this one question, with a bit of planning color, in writing, for 8 weeks every Sunday morning with your cup of coffee. Eight weeks is long enough to start to build a habit, and great habits lead to excellence. After eight weeks, decide if you want to keep the habit. What is my #1 top priority this week? Why is this #1? What will I do about it — exactly and specifically — this week? What’s the minimum I [more…]

May 242020
I'm Too Busy and the Art of No

Many, if not most people tell me that they are too busy. Too busy every day. Too busy at work, too busy at home. They are just barely keeping their head above water, juggling it all. I believe there is an art to finding time, making time for what’s truly important versus what is “busy-work.” A lot of busy-work looks and feels important and urgent but, if you ask yourself “will this task or project that I’m spending time on [more…]

May 192020
How AI Will Change Work — for the Better

Ever since movies like The Terminator sold a lot of tickets and popcorn, we have been debating if AI will save us or eventually kill us. There are smart minds on both sides of this debate, but I’m unsurprisingly optimistic that AI will be harnessed for good. Kevin Kelly is a certified futurist in whom I find a lot of wisdom. Of course, no one bats 1.000 when predicting the future. I find his recent presentation from January 2017 well [more…]

May 032020
Opportunity Knocks: Equities in 2020

Our economy was firing on all cylinders in the last ten years and really picked up steam on the last few years. Stock gains were even stronger than the economy for three related reasons — Capital / the cost of money // has been shockingly cheap by historical standards (which reduced the gains available in bonds), The USA was the one economy that was doing great, with growing corporate earnings and confidence, while all of Europe and Asia were struggling, [more…]

May 022020
Best ~hour of "TV" in years!

If you are a regular reader, you know that I’ve been railing against watching worthless TV and streaming media for years. But not all media is created the same and of course there is wonderful stuff too. John Krasinski — in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic — just proved that the message within the “content” matters much more than the money invested in professional production. It also helps to have a positive attitude and a can-do belief in yourself. [more…]

Apr 252020
Time to Reset: 2020 is the year of _____?

If you have one goal, and only one goal, for this year, your odds of accomplishing that goal are much better, than if you have five goals. Most people don’t accomplish their January resolutions. Odds are you have already given up on any goals that you came up with last January. COVID and social distancing surely has not helped. So why not reset now, in April? What’s your one goal, now? Is 2020 the year you lose 20 pounds permanently? [more…]

Apr 052020
Overcoming Adversity and Expectations | A great "re-post"

This is a “re-post” of a great article, just so that it doesn’t disappear someday. It appears on a new (not sure how new) site that IMHO has a lot of promise: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us (definitely suggest checking in out). Overcoming adversity, especially in the dense fog of other people’s expectations — expectations greatly exaggerated by the media — is something few people experience to the level that Chauncey Billups has. Chauncey is one of my favorite basketball players of all time. [more…]

Mar 282020
Decision Making and Data

Why do people hoard toilet paper during the COVID-19 crisis? Because we do not know if there will be enough in the near future. Because we don’t know how COVID quarantines will play out. Because we don’t understand how it spreads, exactly. Because we don’t know how many people have it who are not conscious that they have it, and are continuing to spread it. Because we don’t know how many people that should be tested are actually getting tested. [more…]

Mar 222020
COVID-19 | I was wrong, but reasons to remain optimistic

When COVID-19 started, I believed that it would be generally well-contained and that the doomsdayers were being too dramatic. It felt like news channels selling more ads by getting people to tune in. I was wrong. The virus turned out to be sneakier and more-infectious than I appreciated, spreading from person-to-person for days before symptoms are felt. An outstanding question as of right now is whether some people can be infected, spreading the virus, but never feel symptoms. If so, [more…]

Mar 072020
Perhaps the Greatest Commencement Speech, ever.

I’m a believer in feeding your mind “good stuff” just as we feed our bodies “good food” to maintain health. Below is perhaps one of the best commencement speeches of all time, given by the late David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College in 2005. Don’t confuse “the best” with the “most entertaining” for there is a difference. This is not the most entertaining commencement speech. Most commencement speeches follow a tried and true motivational formula, oft focused on love of [more…]

Feb 242020
Know When to Fold'em

We live in a culture currently obsessed with “perseverance” — and I have no doubt that perseverance is a great aspect of people that succeed. Best sellers like Grit by Angela Duckworth are flying off the digital shelves. Watch this short presentation by Angela for a sense of the message. There is a problem, however. Deciding when to change gears, when to find a new job, when to sell a stock position, when to try a new method, when to [more…]

Sep 182019
Step Out of your Comfort Zone

Nothing new and better happens in life without trying something new, stepping out of your comfort zone. I believe all of us should plan and do one bold move, one courageous thing — at least once per month. The problem of course is that we are all heads-down busy 24/7. One day leads to another, one week leads to another, and the next thing you know, five years of same-ole same-ole days and weeks fly by. What’s on your goals [more…]

Jul 262019
Grow Income and Assets

Why do most companies generally grow their quarterly earnings, cash flow, intrinsic enterprise value, and market cap over time? Well, frankly, they focus on it. They report to the Street. They answer analyst and media questions. They meet with investors. What if we committed to running out personal finances as professionally as public companies run their books? What if we focused on the performance of our assets while taking great care with expenses? What if we wrote down every decision [more…]

Jun 242019
Do Yourself a Favor: Don't Announce It

Having a great idea is not the same as making your idea happen. Having great intent to help is not the same as being of great assistance. Having a awesome goal is not the same as accomplishing it. In this age of social media, daily posts, and group texts, we are more likely than ever to announce our intent. I believe this is counter-productive and will often torpedo your accomplishment. Why? Because all your friends and colleagues will give you [more…]

May 212019
A Great Commencement Speech -- “Make Your Bed”  by Admiral William H. McRaven

Success in life is simple but expect it will be hard. You have to be up to the challenge. Discipline matters. The world does not owe success to you — you must adapt, overcome, and never give up. You must be optimistic, you must believe that you can. All this and more is captured in Admiral McRaven’s brilliant address at University of Texas’ 2014 graduation. You can watch it on YouTube but I believe it is more memorable if you [more…]

Apr 022019
Have Three Mentors?

Do you have three mentors who you can call — easily, quickly, without a lot of formality — when you need advice? One common thread I find, whenever I meet someone who has enjoyed tremendous success in their career, is that he or she has been blessed with great mentors and role models, often early in their life. The truth is that wisdom is a hard thing to earn. It often comes with the price of a lot of mistakes, [more…]

Feb 172019
Brands On Your Chest

What brands are you happy to wear on your t-shirt? This is an interesting question. The older I get, the more I realize that the brands we are willing to wear on a t-shirt define how we see ourselves. In the incredibly successful society that we live in in America, most of us effectively have no problem getting yet another t-shirt. So what we choose to is a reflection about who we are, or at least the impression we want [more…]

Nov 212018
Stress May Be Unavoidable... but you can make it better for your health

This is an interesting speech by Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who has been studying stress and its effects on people’s health. In short, studies found that stress can cause harm to your health IF YOU BELIEVE that stress is causing you harm. But in new experiments, for people who believe that stress is a normal part of life, people who believe that the stress symptoms that they feel are simply messages that their [more…]

Oct 252018
Code Your Own Operating System

Most people don’t appreciate that we code our own brain’s “operating system” by choice. A more common way to articulate this is that we are a product of our habits, and most of us find that habits are difficult to change. But they are well worth considering, designing, and changing. Aristotle observed quite accurately that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I have found a trick that really works to build [more…]