Feb 292024
Back in the Saddle, Focused on Brevity

I intentionally disappeared from blogging for most of 2023 to work on my special project. I am now past the creative / production / post-production edits phase and on to the ‘infernal little details’ phase that always takes more time than anyone plans or appreciates. I will have a ‘release party’ for my project in May 2024. Hit me up on the contact form if you would like an email announcing the premier. The good news is that I am [more…]

Feb 212023
Taking a Break in ‘23 — Working on a Special Project

I’ve written my blog for a dozen years in a row, so it seems like a good time for a bit of a sabbatical. My posts on Optimisman will be stopped for most of 2023 because I have decided to focus on a special project: I am heads down finishing my third book and a comprehensive website that will accompany it. Sometimes you just have to clear the deck, commit, and laser-focus to get great stuff done. I’ll be back [more…]

Jan 242023
Fitness, Reality, and Crazy Expectations

One definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results. Fitness is an area where most people are a bit crazy then. Your body, my body, everyone’s body is a near perfect reflection of what it has physically done, what work it has been forced to do, over the last 1 – 3 years. The human body offers an amazing lesson and reflection of the decisions that you have made in the mid-term past. [more…]

Dec 152022
Do You Have Unequivocal Belief and Commitment?

Optimism is the most important fuel of champions, of winning, and of success, especially in the face of change. At one time or another, all of us have chased a goal when, in our hearts, we did not truly believe that we would succeed — and more often, we did not. Nothing is more important that all-in commitment and unwavering belief. Humans are in a never-ending battle with our own minds, our own anticipation of future events, our memories, and [more…]

Oct 302022
Important Lessons in Being a Leader

Too often, people in positions of power believe that they are true leaders. It simply is not true, especially in companies where employees have a broad range of options. Influence through the implied threat of salary control or employment ejection only gains compliance, not the influence that makes greatness possible. Leadership requires inspiration, initiative, vision, optimism, competence, confidence, and fairness in equal parts. Notice that a leader doesn’t have to be likable, approachable, or even a good coach, although these [more…]

Sep 152022
It's the Underlying Story that Matters

People often blame PowerPoint for bad presentations. I do not. Powerpoint is a fantastic tool, when used to tell a great story. Although no one sets out to give a bad presentation. many fall short. There are three primary reasons: 1. The presenter is sharing slides and a message that is not his or her own, or a message that is net new, first-time out of the gate. 2. There is no underlying story or outline that follows the basics [more…]

Aug 122022
Invest your Precious Time Wisely

Across lots of articles and blog posts written over the last ten years, I have pointed out how important it is to set clear goals and manage your time well. Good things to do often get in the way of great things to do. I recently had a unique opportunity to present my thoughts in a cohesive fashion to a team in my workplace, and the session was recorded. I took the recording, expanded the content a bit, and created [more…]

Jul 042022
Almost No One Wants These Four in Office

It is really hard to understand how we change the course of America in the 2020’s. I’ve asked hundreds of people that I know and the vast majority do not want Trump or Biden in office. The same people don’t want Harris or Pence either. Yet, it seems that we are barreling down the road and these choices are some of the most likely next time around. Where is the “silent majority” and for that matter, where’s common sense? Where’s [more…]

Jun 122022
All-in and Nothing to Lose: Risk, Commitment, and Home Runs

I have a habit of looking up people on Wikipedia while watching TV and reading their story. This includes actors, directors, producers, guests, politicians — nearly anyone who pops up on screen and strikes a chord. Over the years, I’ve found a trend that repeats all too often: little to lose. People with little or nothing to lose seem more willing to take risks and embrace opportunities with all-in 100% conviction and commitment than those with a lot of options [more…]

May 222022
Do you give yourself time and space to think?

It’s a busy busy life. Even when we are not busy with work, we tend to be rushing to a game, picking someone up, running an errand, or adding to our never-ending pile of stuff. When I take a full hour to sip my french roast — without looking at email, texts, Instagram, or the news — before getting started in the tornado of the day, my outlook changes for the better. I have time to think without the torrent [more…]

Apr 022022
Write down what are you looking forward to… asap!

COVID stole a great slice of our future outlook. We all had plans and goals and ambitions in 2019. COVID took the wind out of our sails. It’s hard to reboot once your habits change. We talk about vacations with qualifying statements like “depending on COVID surges” at the end of every idea. The same is true for career goals, personal missions, and shared family visions too. If you don’t have targets, not only will you not get there, you [more…]

Mar 302022
Simplification is More Important than Expertise

For every two hundred experts I meet in the information technology space, I’m lucky to meet one great simplifier, one great illuminator of the truth and what matters. This ratio must change, because people are getting absolutely overwhelmed with data and information, a tidal wave on an exponentially accelerating growth path. A simple thought for you: You can create and enjoy a great career for yourself if you decide to be the great simplifier, the one who shows people what [more…]

Feb 042022
COVID Two Years In - Where's the Data?

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I observed that one of the silver linings is that the world would learn how to better handle a global pandemic. As sad and painful the number of unexpected deaths are, the world got some game-time practice with a virus that is not nearly as lethal as Ebola. What is completely unexpected, however, is the lack of public data access. Where is the app? An app where I can ask a simple human [more…]

Jan 162022
How to Quickly Improve Your Powerpoint Presentation: the Sakalas-Seven Checklist

If you have the time, every presentation, every topic, can be fine-tuned into a compelling, captivating, and concise masterpiece. Here is a quick link (Killer Recipe for Compelling and Captivating Presentations) to help you create your masterpiece. But that is not what this post is all about. More often than not, we have painfully little time before we must present to an audience. The world of distractions conspires to keep us juggling and fighting little fires, only to find ourselves [more…]

Oct 222021
What Would You Do If Money was Not a Concern?

Too many people work at a job that doesn’t fire them up. Too many people dread Mondays, love Fridays. Too many people stick to daily toil without modifying anything, trading their best daily hours simply in exchange for money which keeps their world afloat. Then, sooner than most people realize, a job vaporizes or retirement arrives. I’m not a believer in retirement as mentioned previously, so let’s just call it ‘the next chapter’ in your life. It is up to [more…]

Jul 162021
Are you Really a Life-Long Student?

Many aspects of life work against us living large. It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut, taking the same road to work each day, fighting the same traffic, doing the same thing day in and day out, listening to the same problems, hanging out with the same friends with all their worries and petty grievances, paying the same bills. Many people find themselves in life’s quicksand, getting the same results and facing the same outlook next [more…]

Jun 082021
Three Impactful Life Hacks for a College Graduate

Life moves fast after you graduate. Many become so busy that they feel like are no longer steering their own lives. They find that their “prime” time vaporizes like a rain shower hitting the sunbaked Texas interstate on an August afternoon. A college graduate recently asked me for three life-hacks that could really help him in the real world, three habits that I wished I had developed over the last decades, three disciplines that I’m 100% certain would have made [more…]

Jun 032021
Do You Want to Influence Someone?

We all want to make an impact. We all want to not only be heard, but we want to influence people to see things our way, to do things that we would like them to do. Scientists, in a number of independent studies, have come to the conclusion that more than 80% of people follow a very predictable pattern of positivity, energy, and attention. Four out of five people are more receptive and optimistic during the morning, turning far more [more…]

May 272021
A Convenient Mirage: Income Inequality

Almost every news agency, almost every professor, almost every politician, and every Bernie supporter declares in no uncertain terms that income inequality in America is worse than it has ever been and it is getting much worse each year in recent decades. The rich are getting richer and it is an absolute travesty: the hidden message is that capitalism is bad and socialism should be seriously considered. I have argued that the wise question everything, but on the topic of [more…]