What is this crazy challenge? It’s simple — follow all these rules:
Buy no new gifts during the holidays.
Wait, whaaat? Don’t fret, there are alternatives:
Make gifts, like crafts or construction type gifts.
Bake or cook consumable gifts like cookies.
Give the gift of your service — wash cars, give a massage, babysit, clean a house, mow lawns, etc.
Buy used gifts at thrift stores.
Donate to charity, as a group.
Volunteer at a charity together.
Have a shared experience together.
Create something, together, instead of consuming.
Give to others things you don’t need (a good sewing machine, etc.).
Find gratitude for what we already have.
A brief visit to the emergency room last month reminded me of what an organization that’s pre-digital is like. Six people doing bureaucratic tasks and screening that are artifacts of a paper universe, all in the service of one doctor (and the need to get paid and not get sued). A 90-minute experience so we could see a doctor for ninety seconds.
Wasteful and even dangerous.
Even when they use technology, they have tons of isolated systems. Last time I was in the emergency room they had fancy tablets and wheel around PC’s, but then asked you the same questions and re-entered them 3 times. I actually asked if the machines didn’t have a network connection.. They had no answer.
Reacting to calls for cuts in entitlement programs, House Democrat Henry Waxman fumed: “The Republicans want us to repeal the twentieth century.” Sound bites don’t get much better than that. After all, the world before the twentieth century–before the New Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society–was a dark, dangerous, heartless place where hordes of Americans starved in the streets.
Except it wasn’t and they didn’t. The actual history of America shows something else entirely: picking your neighbors’ pockets is not a necessity of survival. Before America’s entitlement state, free individuals planned for and coped with tough times, taking responsibility for their own lives.
The Benefits Of Not Focusing
“We live in an age that worships attention,” says my friend (and Radiolab colleague) Jonah Lehrer. “When we need to work, we force ourselves to concentrate. This approach can also inhibit the imagination. Sometimes, it helps to consider irrelevant information, to eavesdrop on all the stray associations unfolding in the far reaches of the brain.”
That ability to let go, float free, does seem like an essential part of a creative mind, not just in giant ones. Those of us who make our livings closer to the ground, have to do it too. In his forthcoming book, (coming to bookstores this Spring) Jonah mentions a study by Dr. Holly White, then at the University of Memphis, and her colleague Priti Shah, of the University of Michigan.
They recruited 60 undergrads, half of whom were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). So these kids had real difficulty focusing and sticking to any one activity. All the students were then given a variety of creativity tests (including the Creative Achievement Questionnaire, originally developed by Shelley Carson at Harvard) and, surprisingly, the ADHD students generally got higher scores. When White asked, “Who among you has won a big part in a play, an art prize, a science prize?” — who has been recognized for his or her achievements out there in the real world — again it was the ADHD students who had done better.
Minds that break free, that are compelled to wander, can sometimes achieve more than those of us who are more inhibited, more orderly, the study suggests. Or, as Jonah chose to put it, there are “unexpected benefits of not being able to focus.”
Speakers say they work hard to balance speaking with their day jobs but that the personal exposure helps promote their business, too.
“It is an executive sales role,” said seasoned speaker Jeff Taylor, founder of job site Monster.com, who has started a talent management service for DJs.
This year, Mr. Taylor will give more than 20 paid speeches and roughly as many pro bono ones. A few Fridays ago, he shared tips about running a business at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Massachusetts. The next day he spoke about a similar topic at an event hosted by dental-implant maker Straumann Holding AG.
Ironwood employee Linda Musgrave said Mr. Taylor’s talk was well worth the $15,000 they paid him. Paul Patella, a senior marketing manager at Straumann, said Mr. Taylor connected with the nontechie audience by telling them to “go way outside the box.”
Everybody’s been too damn polite about this nonsense:
The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.
“Occupy” is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached – is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.
This is no popular uprising. This is garbage. And goodness knows they’re spewing their garbage – both politically and physically – every which way they can find.
Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.
Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.
And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.
In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.
Or better yet, enlist for the real thing. Maybe our military could whip some of you into shape.
They might not let you babies keep your iPhones, though. Try to soldier on.
1. Learn to sell. Everyone has sold something, some time, even if it’s just selling your mom on the need for a nap when you were three years old. A lot of people have decided that they don’t want to sell, can’t sell, won’t sell, but those same people need to understand that they’re probably not going to get a job doing anything but selling.
Small businesses always need people who can sell, because selling pays for itself. It’s not an expense, it’s a profit center.
2. Learn to write. Writing is a form of selling, one step removed. There’s more writing in business today than ever before, and if you can become a persuasive copywriter, you’re practically a salesperson, and even better, your work scales.
We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.
Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.
Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work until 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.
For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime, and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.
So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.
The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it’s really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom.
We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?”
Managers work to get their employees to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper.
Leaders, on the other hand, know where they’d like to go, but understand that they can’t get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen.
Managers want authority. Leaders take responsibility.
We need both. But we have to be careful not to confuse them. And it helps to remember that leaders are scarce and thus more valuable.
The typical person speaks 10 or 12 sentences a minute.
The atomic method requires you to create a slide for each sentence. For a five minute talk, that’s 50 slides.
Each slide must have either a single word, a single image or a single idea.
Make all 50 slides. Force yourself to break each concept into the smallest possible atom. If it’s not worthy of a slide, don’t say it.
Once you have 50 slides, do the talk in practice. Remove slides and sentences that add no value or don’t move you forward.
Now (and only now), start consolidating slides. If two or three or four slides work together as one, then go ahead and make them one. You’ve got molecules now, not atoms.
At this point, you can either get rid of slides altogether, keep them as is or lump them one more time into bigger ideas. But no (!) bullets please. What a waste those are.