Thursday, September 30, 2004

"The truth about..."

During this political campaign season, much information purporting to be the truth about some candidate or another has been disseminated. It seems that most of it has been successfully disputed by others. Have we lost touch with what the truth is, or is the truth so subjective that different people genuinely see it differently? Whether you are a George W. Bush or John Kerry supported seems to have an effect on your view of the world (or perhaps your view of the world forces youto support one or the other). Since no one person can know everything, does this mean that our selection of a candidate is inherently flawed? As in jury trials, I think that the theory is that the imperfections cancel each other out. The same applies to business or our personal life. Certainty is a powerful force in persuading others to support us, but some small measure of scepticism is useful in reaching the correct conclusion.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

In many fields some win by focus

Over the past weekend, The New York Times had stories about Barry Bonds as he hit his 700th homer, and Heather Locklear in her new role in the series "LAX." Examining the careers of these two apparently different people, it is clear that each of them has shown focus and determination. In their professions they face much public scrutiny, and so many lose their way. People wifh extraordinary talent can lose a sense of direction. This weekend, we also read about the arrest of Mcauley Culkin on drug charges. The career of Orson Welles exemplified that of a man with unusual abilities who never fulfilled his promise. We see so many with talent who never succeed and wonder why. While we cannot discount the place of luck - being in the right place at the right time - there are many who never take advantage of the opportunities which come their way. Furthermore, many people make their own luck.
Winning is not just a matter of being lucky or working hard. It comes from being thoughtful and focused. Focus is difficult to achieve as it requires abandoning some goals we may also have. Many gifted people have a wide variety of things which interest them and this can be an impediment to success.
The approach I recommend requires focus and strategy rather than simple hard work.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Optimal Thinking

The most important message I stress is that we are not victims, but can take control of our lives. No one should ever rely on luck or a deus ex machina to make them happy. That lottery ticket will not make you happy. That does not mean becoming Polyanna and ignoring all sad or bad events. We need to face and recognize negatives and weaknesses, but move beyond them in a positive way to explore all the possibilities. The book "Optimal Thinking" contains some excellent self diagnosis tests and processes to gain this ability. I heartily recommend it to all.

Sunday, September 12, 2004


Why do people procrastinate? By doing so, they give up responsibility for what happens to them. They lose control of an aspect of their destiny. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing not only well, but also as promptly as it can be.
I see this is so often linked to a victim mentality. By delaying doing something, one can absolve oneself of responsibility. Sadly, this is not true. Inaction is a decision, and often the wrong one.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Online Networking - no flip-flopping

I have been known to be simultaneously a proponent of online networking and issue warnings about it. To be clear, I am a believer in the potential for it and that the software is improving fast. However, I do caution people not to expect too much from it. The flaw in the system is more likely to be driven by human factors than by technology. People can be unresponsive, selfish, uncomprehending and incomprehensible. I do believe it will improve as more people become used to using it. For the younger generation, it will become second nature. One of the most useful resources on this topic is
In brief, I encourage everyone to use it, use it with energy and good judgment, but not to expect it to be a panacea.