True Failure and Success

Some people don’t take action because they believe being seen as slow to act is less negative than acting and being seen as a failure. I view people who act, fail, learn, and then improve as great successes. In fact, that’s the story behind every great success. But I’ve never met a great success who became one by failing to act.


What Are You Thinking?

Major league baseball players often place weights on their bats while in the “on deck” circle preparing to go to bat. The philosophy is that the bat will be lighter without the weights, therefore their swing will be faster and better able to hit a fastball. Data analysis showed that there is zero correlation between those using weights and those not using weights in terms of hitting effectiveness, and even those who sometimes use weights and sometimes do not, show …


Learning How to Learn

The problem with higher education today to a large extent is that it is still mired in the prelapsarian mindset of teaching content. In an age of instant investigation via any number of technologies, people are still asked to memorize dates and places and names. Now, I realize a doctor has to know where the kidneys reside, but bear with me. College should teach students how to learn. In the antediluvian days (say, the 50s), content seldom changed. Today it changes by …


Enough Is Enough

Anything taken to an extreme is usually dysfunctional. Barry Goldwater, Republican candidate for president, lost the election by saying things like this: “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.” He said that in his convention acceptance speech in 1964. He lost in a landslide. Too much excellent food will cause problems. Too much work, vacation, exercise, entertainment—you name it, is going to cause stress, low productivity, anxiety, physical problems, alienation. Too much “service” in the restaurant causes interruptions, not …


  Good intentions are not synonymous with good advice

  People you trust and who truly may have your best interests in mind are not always capable of providing you with good advice. That’s because they haven’t been in your position. They haven’t experienced what you’re experiencing. And they don’t have your attitude. And they’re not you. Everyone in the stands always knows what play to call, or what pitch to swing at, or how to handle the broom around the stone. (Did you like that one?) But it’s …


You Came to Hear Me Speak, I Didn’t Come Here to Listen to You Speak

A guy came up to me during a session break yesterday to try to nitpick a statistic I use which is unequivocally true. I told him there were two ways to look at it, right and wrong, and I was right and he was wrong. I’m happy to accommodate people who don’t agree with my point of view, or who have tough questions, or even objections. But I have no tolerance for ego needs which demand that someone be heard …


To Be or Not To Be (in an Elite School)

I attended a top-rate public school (Rutgers) on government loans, scholarships, and part-time jobs. There’s no way an elite private school could ever have been in that picture. I received a great education. I think the main reason for attending elite schools such as Harvard or Princeton is to make contacts which, supposedly, will stand you in good stead later in your career. Maybe so. I made all my contacts after I entered the workforce, and I haven’t done too …


Let’s Talk

The best way to address a business audience is as if you’re having a conversation with someone. Don’t “present.” Don’t be theatrical. Use humor, stories, and solid examples to support your points. Don’t stand in one place, move around. Smile. Take questions. (Can you imagine talking to a friend and saying, “Please hold your questions until later, if we have time.”) Don’t use PowerPoint, which is hackneyed and removes the focus from you. Don’t use handouts that divert attention. If …


The Bully

I received a book order for about $80 from New Zealand. The credit card was rejected. When I wrote to the purchaser about this he responded with invective, claiming my processing system was “from the 80s,” even though it was his bank denying the transaction. When I confronted him, and told him what he could do with his order which I’d now never fulfill, he told me he was a “man of God” and that I didn’t understand his sarcasm, …


Doom Loop

The doom loop traps you when: you need cash, you’re nervous about the meeting with the prospect because you need cash, you’re ineffective in the meeting because you’re nervous, you don’t get the business because you were ineffective, and now you need cash more than ever and are more nervous than ever. Break the cycle. The chances are you’re not going to be evicted tomorrow, or starve, or be thrown into debtor’s prison. Stop thinking about cash and getting a …