Apr 292011

Most people spend too much time and energy trying to find out or prove that something is someone else’s fault. Blaming anyone for anything, no matter if the indictment is deserved or not, leads to a terrible self-defeating domino effect on one’s own life.

“I did not get the crucial promotion because Mr. Harrison preferred Henry instead of me.”

“I didn’t sell my shares of LSI at $82 when I had a chance because that darn broker talked me out of it — I could have retired on that money…”

“I didn’t win the big deal because David leaked internal information to the customer after he joined our competitor.”

Some of these accusations might be true, but does assigning the blame help or hurt you now?

The answer is always the same — when a person engages in blaming others, he takes himself off the optimistic path for quick comebacks and successes. A person that does not blame instead jumps right back on the horse the next day and tackles life with a positive “I’ll win the next battle” attitude.

Blame no one. It sets you up for excuses of why you then didn’t succeed for the next year, or two, or three, or ten.

Accept complete and total responsibility for your own success — it is an extraordinary moment of awakening. Learn from set backs but instantly move on.  Think about today and tomorrow, not yesterday and last year: your new successes will soon follow. Not only will you have more energy, lower blood pressure, and a more positive outlook, you will also learn from temporary set backs and wind up much wiser over the course of your lifetime.

Blame does not belong in the mentality of the Optimistic Few (even when you are right!).

Apr 182011

I wanted to post my thoughts on this topic, before there were a lot of candidates with their hat in the ring.

Why do we Americans never elect a time-tested, highly-experienced, proven track record business man or business woman to the highest office in the land of business, free markets, and capitalism? We have not in recent history, preferring lawyers and professional politicians.

America is a massive, complex organization.  Seems prudent that just one time, we would elect someone that has succeeded running more than one large complex organization before they got on-the-job training at the White House.  For some reason, given the last 50 years of election results, many Americans don’t really think they should check the resume of the person that will sit at the helm of our $3 to $4 Trillion spending budget.

Mr. Perot had bad timing being born in 1930 (at least for Presidential aspirations).  I think the time is right for a business man with an optimistic vision to win and cut through the extraordinary red tape and waste.

Lets elect someone with proven, verifiable ability to lead and handle big numbers like $4,000,000,000,000 / year in tax payer funds.

Apr 152011

The U.S. tax code is still a mess, and has always been a mess, because it lacks American ideals.  Our President keeps touting a “tax the rich” plan that has little chance of success (do the math) — and more importantly, is about as un-American a proposal as one can come up with because we are (or want to be) the land of opportunity and fairness — does anyone want to live in an America where you only want to strive to be mildly successful?

It really is not as hopeless as it seems, if more of us voters start supporting core American ideals of fairness and the logic of simplicity.

If we are the land of the free, free to make our own choices, free to succeed, free to shoot for the stars, there are only two plans that make sense:

1) Flat rate taxes – everybody pays their share.

Everybody pays 15% or 18% — period.  No exceptions.  No deductions.  Most people don’t realize that at these kind of rates, we would get enough revenue to support the vast majority of government spending.  We should also make the not-so-thrifty government look up what the words ‘balanced budget’ means in Websters and have our politicians figure it out.  Why do few people realize that if someone is not forced to balance their budget, they never will.

Some people argue that the people that earn more should pay more. They would under this plan too — 18% of $1 M in income is a heck of a lot more “paid” than 18% of $35 K.

2) Federal sales tax – each person decides what he or she pays.

Same basic idea.  You are free to buy whatever you wish.  The more you choose to buy, the more taxes you contribute to the national coffers.  Make thrifty decisions, reduce your tax bill.  What’s not fair about have the choice to buy or not buy stuff?

Yet, our tax code that us citizens approved through are duly elected public servant representatives currently taxes the “richest 5%” for more than 90% of the U.S. tax bill, and the Obama supporters are mad as hell and want to tax them more.  Given the lack of fairness of at all right now, why don’t we confiscate all the wealth at the top starting with the top 1%, then the next 1%, and so forth, until everything is paid for?

Better yet, lets redistribute the wealth of those nasty rich people (who, by the way, are also the most proficient producers of new goods and services, and the producers of most new jobs) and give it to the lowliest members of our society that need a big payday for not adding much if any value to our society and economy. I’m sure that these people would invest their newly found money wisely, driving new employment, smart innovations, and greater American competitiveness in the global economy.  What’s the downside? Even if new generation didn’t invest wisely, the new car industry would be happy because there would be a lot of new shiny cars depreciating on the roads.

We could even blend #1 and #2 and still be fair and encourage the optimistic American dream.

Of course, unemployment would edge up temporarily, given the massive layoffs at the IRS (85,000 employees) and tax preparation companies (500,000?), but I’m OK with that, because America would ultimate have a fresh half million smart people to work on stuff that actually contributes to American forward progress and GNP, instead of paperwork friction.

Apr 072011

Too often, we find ourselves surrounded with people that have limited expectations of their success and life’s trajectory. This does not help us, but its darn hard to find a group that thinks big and positive.

That’s where books can help a lot. If you can’t find the right super-optimistic guy to hang out with this week, a guy who will drastically improve your attitude and help you see things in a different light, head down to Barnes & Noble or start surfing at Amazon. Well chosen books offer optimism on demand.

Guy Kawasaki is one of the Optimistic Few… he’s a guy who seems to nail venture creation just right. I highly recommend two of his books, Rules for Revolutionaries and The Art of the Start.

Life is too short to waste.

IM Optimism Man

Apr 012011

Think on paper — this concept is near religion with me.  I have found that any time I commit anything to paper (or a written file on my PC, smartphone, or tablet), I produce better stuff, clearer thinking, crisper plans.

In my productivity jedi “tools” arsenal, one of my very favorite lightsabres is Mind Meister (http://www.mindmeister.com).

Mind Meister is a mind map, which is new-fangled-speak for outlining circa 2011. Outlines are fantastic for developing a concept from a few key ideas to any finished IP (intellectual property) product, no matter if it is a white paper, thoughtful letter, powerpoint slideshow, business plan, or software specification.

The world seems to have gotten away from outlining which I believe is a mistake — outlining a project is an easy way to plan — every good carpenter measures twice before pulling out a saw… plan before diving in for better results.

What makes Mind Meister really shine in my eyes is that your mind maps are available on any networked PC or Mac, on your iPhone, or iPad. Without a doubt, the PC / Mac full screen is best, but once I have an outline in development, it is easy enough to add and edit using the iPad or even on the small screen iPhone. It is built from the ground up to collaborate — so any number of people can all add and edit a mind map together — it works very well. Mind Meister also offers methods to zap ideas directly to your account via email or micro-widget — so flashes of brilliance are not lost while ordering margaritas at your favorite Mexican cantina.

Lastly, Mind Meister offers enough export and import options to make me confident that I can save off my data in case the MM guys implode or get bought out in the future.  I’m a believer in always being prepared for Murphy’s Law.

I recommend trying Mind Meister and see if it fits your world.  The best time to try it is when you are ready to produce some IP — like the next time you need to write a paper or create a presentation for work.  Having a real project really helps a person explore the potential of any technology. They do offer a free trial. I’ve used it for almost two years and am quite happy — 8.5 out of 10 stars in my own internal rating system — I only wish they would offer an alternate “traditional outline” view for the times you would prefer to see old-style outlining instead of new-style circular mind mapping.

I.M. Optimism Man