You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.


It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it’s not all roses. 


In short, it went something like this:

There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 


I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 


No not about Philadelphia, but about life–that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn’t as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 


Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize (“first place”) is really not something to get excited about, because it’s in Philadelphia!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Solar Eclipse 2017

Eclipse.jpeg

In honor of the solar eclipse tomorrow, the local grocery store was selling these cool celebratory pies!


Everyone is excited about this eclipse that is cutting a path across the U.S. 


The last one that did this was almost 100 years ago in 1918.


It’s a magnificent thing to see two amazing and large celestial spheres like this literally cross paths. 

“Hi sun.”
“Hello moon.”
“Nice to meet you!” 

We are so small in the realm of these universal things…it’s almost funny how big we think we are. 


Yet, we have so much ambition and desire to be bigger–to solve problems, innovate, and delve into the depths of the sea and to the far reaches of heavens.


You can blot out the sun, but we’ll still figure out all the details on precisely when, where, and which goo goo goggles to wear so we don’t hurt our eyes. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Happiness Meter

The Happiness Meter

Ever realize that no matter how hard you strive for happiness, it almost always seems just as elusive.

There are many explanations for this:

Of course, it could also be that just because you think something will make you happy, doesn’t mean it will. Often, the fantasy does not live up to the reality, and so rather than achieve happiness, we end up disappointed.

Another explanation, from economics, is the law of diminishing marginal utility that tells us that more of a good thing, does not make us incrementally happier, rather the benefit and satisfaction that we receive from each additional unit of consumption is lower. Let’s face it, the 5th mouthful of chocolate cream pie is not as satisfying at the first, second, or third. And at a certain point, you actually will want to puke!

The Wall Street Journal had a brilliant piece on this that explained this from an evolutionary perspective–fitter organisms are more likely to survive and reproduce, so every time we make a positive decision in our life, rather than find happiness, our “happiness meter” resets to zero, forcing us to make the next positive move in our life to make us better, if not necessarily happier. In other words, keeping us unhappy, forces us into perpetual striving.

So while happiness has been correlated with our genetic makeup, life events, and values (New York Times) or even exercise, altruism, and supportive relationships (CNN), real happiness comes from living a life of meaning, where we find satisfaction in the journey itself, and not rely only on the destination.

For example, Buddhists understand that life is suffering and that we need to escape the hamster wheel of jealousy, aimless external desire, and quenchless ambition and instead seek to do good and find inner contentment.

One colleague (ex-army) of mine used to say, “everyday that I am not in Iraq and Afghanistan is a good day” and perhaps we need to think in those terms too, as we all know things can always be worse, so we would do well to find happiness not just in what we have or achieve, but in thanksgiving for what we are spared as well. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Looking Forward, Backwards

Looking Forward, Backwards

Farhad Manjoo argues in today’s Wall Street Journal that “there’s plenty” of innovation going on, despite the grumblings that their isn’t.

His main argument is that “the smartphone and the tablet ‘are’ the next big things.”

Manjoo tells us to “grow up” and calls us “spoiled children,” because we are not satisfied with these and simple future enhancements of this.

He would have us accept that there won’t be “anything as groundbreaking in a generation.”

Well, looking back at past innovation and calling that as our current and future innovation is like looking back at our past successes and simply resting on our laurels as good enough.

Unfortunately, no business can rest on their past successes–they must constantly innovate to stay relevant in the marketplace and meet their growth targets for revenue, profit, market share, and customer satisfaction.

As they say in financial prospectuses, “past success is no guarantee of future success.”

Similarly, as individuals we do not just settle for past success, but we strive everyday to make a contribution, to learn, and to grow as long as we have the strength to try.

When we stop striving, we may as well be heading downhill in the cycle of life, because as we all know, “if you are not moving forward, then you are moving backwards.”

Life is not stagnant, and yesterdays innovations are not todays creative breakthroughs or tomorrows leaps forward.

The rate of innovation is no longer measured in generations in the 21st century–and for those who think it is, they would have us accept defeat in this highly global, competitive marketplace.

While we should not be greedy, why are we so ready to say good enough, instead of really critiquing ourselves (e.g. calling a dry spell, a dry spell) and continuing the tough journey into the future.

At least Manjoo cites incremental work in privacy, enterprise technologies such as cloud computing, and robotics as tech trends – so maybe there is still hope. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>A Winner Goes the Extra Mile

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I recently came across this poem called “A Winner’s Attitude.” I don’t know who the author is, but I really like the poem. The poem has valuable leadership lessons, especially when it comes to serving our customers in earnest, overcoming challenges and obstacles, and always striving for betterment and growth. Hope you enjoy it as I did.

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A Winner’s Attitude

A winner always has a program.

A loser always has an excuse.

A winner says, “Let me do it for you.”

A loser says, “That’s not my job.”

A winner sees an answer for every problem.

A loser sees a problem for every answer.

A winner says, “It may be difficult, but it’s possible.”

A loser say, “It may be possible, but it’s too difficult.”

A winner listens.

A loser just waits until it’s his turn to talk.

When a winner makes a mistake, he says, “I was wrong.”

When a loser makes a mistake, he says, “It wasn’t my fault.”

A winner says, “I’m good, but not as good as I could be.”

A loser says, “I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.”

A winner feels responsible for more than his job.

A loser says, “I just work here.”