News – Real and Imagined

I thought this was a funny Dilbert comic that a colleague had by their office. 

News–My Brain Hurts.


It’s not only the 24/7/365 news cycle that make it often extremely repetitive and monotonous–where “breaking news” is the same news from 5 hours ago-sometimes even from 5 days ago. Ho hum, boring. 


But it’s also the forced news, where there always has to be a story even when there isn’t one worth taking about. Every reporter has to earn their keep too. Oh no, not another cat rescue from a backyard tree! 


Hey, in the end its ratings–that drives advertising, which of course pays the bills, so don’t hold your breath as to how long we can continue to talk about the 2016 election, the Kavanaugh hearings, the Mueller Investigation, and so on. It’s the news gifts that keep on giving and giving. 


Sometimes, it’s about getting different angles on a story–however, more often it seems like just the same old, same old–how many ways can you say, he did it or he didn’t do it?


Then there is the fake news and alternative facts, where if there isn’t a story (or one that supports the sponsor’s world filter), then maybe–just maybe–we need to create one and get people unsettled or use it for social control (remember the “Echo Chamber”). And for sure, let’s not forget the power of a good conspiracy theory! People certainly are gullible, right? 


This all reminds me of a famous saying by Lenin:

There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.


In some ways maybe it was better to just have the morning and nightly news without all the B.S. in between, because…there are decades when nothing consequential happens. 


I guess we all just are waiting around for the weeks when decades happen, but when that sh*t hits the fan, who says there will even be any news to be had. 


No wonder, Dilbert says his brain hurts–doesn’t yours? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Impact of Hyperwork on Family

I am seeing this all the time now… 

Parents of little children, or even older children, who are too busy working to pay much, if any, attention to their families.

Call it a disease of the industrial revolution + information technology. 

Whether people worked on the assembly line making widgets or nowadays on the computer and smartphone answering their bosses and colleagues compulsively–it’s become a global obsession. 

On one hand, with the impending robot and AI revolution taking over jobs, people need to be grateful to even have a job to earn a living for the families.

On the other hand, with the connections to each other and our work 24/7, the depression-era saying of:

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Has morphed into:

Brother, can you spare some time?

Yes, we all need to be responsible adults, earn a decent living and pay our bills. 

But in the end, it’s not money or things that we give to our families that is the most important.  

I would argue money and things are the least important, and what is truly most precious is the love, time, and attention you give to yours. 

As the old saying goes:

Money can’t buy love.

But time and attention given to your loved ones can build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Yes, of course, people need to work to earn a living and productively contribute something to society, but it is also true that work is used as an excuse to run away from parental and familial responsibilities. 

It’s easier to give an Amazon gift certificate or a Gameboy then to actually spend the afternoon with the kids. 

These days, people say ridiculous things like:

I love going into the office to get away from home. 

But you can’t run away from your problems at home–you need to work on them and solve them.

The diabolical murderous Nazis used work as a tool to enslave, torture, and exterminate their victims as the sign over the gate of the Auschwitz (and many other) concentration camps read:

Arbeit Macht Frei  (or Work Sets You Free)

But as we all know inside, true freedom is being able to give generously from your time and effort to your loved ones, and slavery is not being able to let go of your work. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Lunch And A Call

This just seemed like a funny photo to me.


In the cafeteria, someone was checking out at the register. 


And on their lunch/food tray, they had, of course, their lunch. 


But also, they had a big black telephone.


Talking about a working lunch!


Wow, is that customer service or what? lol


This reminded me also of the BIG red phone on some top officials’ desks –always ready for that critical call in case of near world catastrophe.


So here we go Joe… 


I will eat my lunch and am ready for your call at any time. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Check The Clock

Time.jpeg

So it should be so easy…


We manage time by the hours and minutes–and moments of life. 


This sign was hilarious though:

Breakfast 6 am – 10 am
Lunch 11 am – 2 pm
Dinner 4 pm – 7 pm
We are here to serve you any time.

Really, if you’re here to serve us any time, then isn’t that mean around the clock–24/7–and not just the total 10 hours listed?


What a ridiculous contradiction!


It reminded me of another crazy story of the person who when you ask what time it is, they tell you how to make the watch.


Yes, the point has definitely been missed by the other person.


Their explanation may be very detailed and even accurate on how to make a watch, but frankly they missed the point altogether, which was simply what time is it!


We need to pay attention to our communications and be honest and actually say what it is, and not beat around the 24-hour bush. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Living In A Big F-cking Interconnected World

on-and-off

So I can hardly remember a world without the Internet, television, or travel. 


Yet if the world, as created, is just under 6,000 years old, then we only have these critical interconnections with each other for the last 100 years…that’s only a tiny fraction of world history or less than 2%!


Pervasive and invasive communications and travel like the Internet (1990), television (1927), commercial airplane (1914), and mass produced automobile (1908) have expanded our personal universes. 


Hearing stories as a kid about how people rarely traveled more than 25 miles from their villages and barely got news from far beyond that, it is very hard for me to imagine such a small world to be confined to. 


Yes, some people look back with nostalgia yearning for the simpler times and “the good ‘ol days,” but they forget how on one hand, mundane it was and on the other, how unstable and violent it tended to be. 


Now with social media, smartphones, 24/7 news coverage, and world travel, connecting with people and events irrespective of distance or even language is taken for granted, and we are always on and expected to be (the last part is one downside for sure). 


Still yet to be conquered, but I am sure not that far away, is connecting outside of our own world and irregardless of time…reach forward or back and across the vastness of the stars–it’s all one. 


Frankly, I do not know what I would do in a world limited to just 25 miles and not being able to get connected online, anytime, anywhere…what a boring and small world that must’ve been.


In the same way, once we reach beyond our own world and routinely travel to and settle on other worlds, and can reach beyond the present into the past and the future, I think the next generations will be astonished at how small we too have lived. 


25 miles…what the heck!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Innovation Is On The Decline

Light on off
You’ve experienced it firsthand, innovation is slowing down (and yes, it’s quite disappointing!).  



Do you feel compelled to get a new smartphone, TV, or just about anything else…or do you already basically have the latest and greatest technology, even if it’s a couple of years old now?



But imagine, if something great and new did come out…we’d all be dancing in the streets and eager to buy. 



That’s right, innovation is not what it was…according to the Wall Street Journal, there is “An Innovation Slowdown At The Tech Giants.”



The question is why is this happening?



No, the tech companies are not copying Washington politics (sleepy, sleepy…)! 



But instead, we may have become our own worst enemies to our ability to innovate anew. 



The New York Times today explains that our minds have a toggle switch between being focused on a task and being free to let your mind wonder and innovate. 



You can’t do both at the same time, no you can’t.



And these days, we have so flooded ourselves with information overload with everything from 24/7 work and “big data,” email/texting, social media, and thousands of cable stations and billions of YouTube videos, and more that we are forever engaged in the what’s now, and are not allowing ourselves to rest, recuperate, and think about the potential for what’s new. 



If we want more from the future (innovation, creative problem solving, and sound decision making), then we need to allow some space for our minds to restore itself.



Whether that means daily downtimes, weekly walks in the park, monthly mediations, or semiannual vacations…we need to stop the diminishing returns of constant work and information arousal, and take a little mind breather. 



Instead of chugging along our insane nonstop routines of endless activities and firehose information engagement, we will do ourselves and our children and grandchildren a great service by pulling the train over for some rest and relaxation…and only then will real innovation begin again. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We’re All Digitally Distracted

We're All Digitally Distracted

Focus, focus…forget it!

With smartphones, social media, email, texting, phone calls, meetings, and more…it takes a lot of discipline to not get distracted and actually get things done.

The Wall Street Journal (11 December 2012) laid out half jokingly that most people wouldn’t even be able to finish the article because of all the technological and people interruptions in our daily lives.

There are various aspects to this problem:

1) Digital Addiction–We love and are addicted to the information, connectedness, convenience, and entertainment that computerization, digital communications, and the Internet provide. Loneliness be gone!

2) 24/7 Expectations–Employers, family, and friends expect that we will be available to them around the clock. We are tethered to our jobs and each other with computers, smartphones, Blackberries, telework, social media, and more. If I can’t get to you, it’s because you don’t want to be gotten!

3) Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)–One of the concerns we have about getting off our devices is that we may miss out on something–that critical phone call or email may be regarding an important event, a special sale, a job interview, a long lost friend or lover, someone who needs help, or whatever. But if you shut yourself off, then you may just be missing the opportunity of a lifetime!

For most people the smartphone is the last thing they look at before going to sleep and the first thing they look at in the morning…assuming your significant other doesn’t intervene.

Even going on vacation, for many, means checking work and personal emails and voicemails…a vacation is no longer a real vacation, just perhaps less work than going into the office.

On one hand, we have more information and connectedness at our fingertips than ever before, but on the other hand, we are living in virtual, and not physical, reality.

One example is how we sit with our families and friends, but every one is on their device and no one is interacting with each other in the room.

No wonder there is a movement now to “Turn it off!” or “Leave it at home (or work)!”–We are desperately trying to balance between cyberspace and personal space.

We can’t afford to be distracted or to distract ourselves, incessantly–we need to focus on what’s important, what needs to get done, and on those who love and need us.

Whether you do a zero email day or just leave it all behind vacation–everyone needs some time be human with each other again. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)