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Keeping promises

Keeping promises is hard. It requires us to do things we don't want to do. But keep those promises you must do. Otherwise, do not make them in the first place. But since you have made them, you must keep them, especially if it would benefit all those involved including yourself.
Recent posts

Leadership and empathy

If leadership was easy, everyone would be great leaders. Leadership unifies a team to do what it does best. It takes patience and understanding -- it takes empathy. Having the skill of empathy allows the leader to know when to motivate and when to step back. People will do the right thing if they are the right people.

How's your conduct

Minding your conduct isn't simply having manners as if it is superficial but more about self-control where your behavior is worthy of respect, from others and also from yourself. Ask yourself the following questions as guidance:
1) Is your conduct appropriate if published in the front page of the Wall Street Journal?
2) Is your conduct in conformity with why your children or dog love you so much?
3) Is your conduct up to the standards of people you admire?
If your behavior fails these three questions, then you must reevaluate your conduct and up your game.

Choose good people

A couple of days ago, I wrote about working with difficult people. Simply don't work with them. There are too many other people who are willing to work with you to bother with the difficult ones. I'm in the middle of negotiations and frankly will have to decline. Not over price, not over what the property is. It's over who I will work with. Forgetaboutit. Not worth it. Sometimes you have to learn to say no.

The problem with race

The problem with race is none of us chose to be a particular skin color or ethnic background. No one. What we do choose is how to act today and at any particular time. Should we choose to be honest, this tells people about our character. Should we choose to have integrity, this tells people about our reputation. So would it not make more sense to be proud about what we created for ourselves instead of what was given to us? We certainly would not deny where we were born but we should not be tied down to it like it was the end of the story. You write your own narrative and let your decisions and actions speak more about you than where you came from and what you look like.

It's never impossible

While meeting with a friend yesterday -- he's the most epic one I have -- I remarked that a particular task was impossible. He then casually replied, "It's never impossible." 
Why of course. Nothing is really impossible, because presented in a different way using a different method, anything is possible. "It's never impossible" seems like an empty platitude but it makes logical sense in a world where things do indeed get done and progress is being made every day. To say something is impossible is giving up before even trying -- and I would argue without trying everything possible to make it work. Because it will work.

How to wage battle (of the everyday)

People sometimes say that business is war, but in actuality, conducting life properly is like war. Being able to organize and make things work, there must be strategy, execution, and constant attention. Otherwise, inertia and entropy set in and things fall apart again. A manicured lawn doesn't happen by accident but due to continual care. It's enough to say why bother. Well, for today, let's bother to talk about it.
So here are the three tips on how to wage battle (of the everyday):

Prepare to face conflict every day. Even though you might face none today or even perhaps the entire week, you will run into it especially if you work around people. Sun Tzu said, do not depend on it not coming, but be ready for it in case it does come. 
You pick your battles wisely. You don't fight every battle that presents itself. Those battles have to be worthwhile enough to fight. You've enough time and energy in the day for one or two at most.
You can indeed convert an enemy into …

How to motivate yourself on Mondays

A major accounting firm not too long ago tried to call themselves "Monday." Any typical human being who works for a living would tell you it was a mistake but they promptly explained that Monday was the first day of the business week and what thriving businessperson wouldn't like that? Surely logic would win out. Well, it didn't. They got panned soundly by virtually everyone including the Wall Street Journal and wisely decided to stick with their old name.

The lesson of the story is Monday has a bad rap. It is perhaps the busiest day for most people and so it's not a day people look forward to. But why not? Sure it's busy but is busy necessarily a bad thing? Regardless here's what I do to motivate myself for Monday:

1) Monday is a clean slate to start over again. Remember when you said the most inappropriate thing last Thursday? Or when you missed a deadline last Tuesday? Well, in business time, all that is ancient history. Most people can't remember …

How to stop procrastination

It seems like the hiccups, everyone seems to have their own solution to the problem of procrastination. My solution has always been self-discipline. I tell myself if it is important, it is worth doing right now. If it will take some time to finish, at least I would have started and would be farther down the path than if I don't do anything. Worrying about it won't make it go away.

Don't get me wrong, the reason why I know my method works (at least for me) is I sometimes experience procrastination myself and it does creep up on you if you are not aware. But take heart; you are stronger than you think. You have to cajole and force your way to the first step, because taking the first step is the hardest but the most critical. That's why the best writers suggest if you have writers block and afraid of writing crap, then write crap! That's right, they suggest to write anything, even a list of jumbled words. But the act of writing encourages your mind to keep on going, t…

Blogger is da bomb

After doing my research on what blogging tool to use, I decided to go with Google's Blogger. Am I glad I did because it is everything I wanted: easy to learn and use, customizable, and it was up and going in only one evening of setting it up. I'm so happy about Blogger that I proudly inserted on the pull-down menu a logo that says, "I power Blogger." Way to go Google and Blogger!

How to make works of art

Nobody wants to put out shoddy work. It not only doesn't work but it fails the initial impression test as well. So how do you create works of art you are proud of?

First, you spend the time to make it right. If you are in a hurry and worry more about getting it finished, then you probably won't finish very well. You need to be willing to rip it all out if you find you made a mistake to correct it and make it right.
Second, you need to pay attention to the details. Ask yourself how you would feel if you see something that wasn't right? Would you be "ok" with that? Probably not. If not, then up your game and make it right.
Third, don't just do what's good enough -- do what is extraordinary. Do something special that most people would not see but if they were to see it they would be immensely impressed. You do this because you take pride in your work and make sure it is great inside and out.
If you can't say with confidence that your product or service i…

How to make real progress

With the web full of hacks, tricks, and hustling, I wonder whether real progress is actually being made. A person can never have respect, especially for oneself, when he or she shortchanges others in the name of profit. You might win once or even twice but those ill-gotten gains will eventually catch up with you. The idea that one person wins and the other loses in business is an idea that has never been true, ever. Businesses that have survived and grown large are those that provided a product or service that benefits others and society as a whole. If another business does it better, then that is even better for consumers.

So in order to make real progress, you must not look for shortcuts but in proven methods. The telltale sign of a proven method is one that requires much practice and hard work. But that's ok because you want to go into an endeavor that you also find enjoyable. It also ensures that those who make it are the ones who paid the steep price, not the ones who forced …

How to create a peaceful family

The family is perhaps the most important aspect in life if not the most important. It affects our health and well-being and if there is trouble in the family, everything else suffers.

Now trouble in the family ranges from many causes but one of the most common is arguments that get out of control. One way to approach this is not to thoughtlessly following your old habits of arguing back. Even if you're right, you won't be producing the result you seek. The default position is one of listening. Let the other person talk and let him or her work out the issues. Often that all it is. If you are to respond, let it be words of positivity and caring. Your objective is to de-escalate the tension, not increase it. This works for either the spouse or children.

How to respond to people who say false things about you

There isn't a person alive who hasn't been accused of being someone they are not, especially in a negative light. So how do you respond to it when it happens to you?

The first question you need to ask yourself is are the things they are saying true? Not what you think is true but are they true? This is tricky because sometimes people put doubts in your head even though it is indeed the right thing. So you must be very careful and cautious about believing one thing and not the other.

For example, if a person has been accountant all of his or her life and someone criticizes his or her accounting skills, that criticism might surprisingly stick. It might even keep him or her up at nights. But don't believe that junk. If you have made it, you are capable, not in all areas but in the areas that matter.

However, if someone says your tax accounting knowledge is lacking and you haven't studied the tax code in over a decade, you might consider it. The clue is whether the critici…

How to make time

Benjamin Franklin advised us that a dollar saved is a dollar earned -- so too with another valuable thing in life: time.

Whenever you say to your child that you don't have any time to play or to do exercise or to improve a skill, stop right there. That's not true. You do have time if you evaluate your time closer.

One idea to make time is to not waste it. Everyone wastes time. You can highlight this waste by keeping track of your time for the next week. Keep track of every 15 minutes. Then add up the minutes you spend doing each activity. What you will discover might surprise you.

Another idea is to prioritize what is most important. When you do, are you spending time on them or are there other activities outside of what's most important. If you are truly serious, cut them out, and you will free up tremendous amount of time.

Third, if you find yourself tired and exhausted throughout the day, sleep more. That's right: spend more time sleeping and getting the rest you ne…

The purpose of life, or how best to live life

Today's topic seems ambitious but it is not. Often we make things more complicated than it really is. Although it isn't complicated, it's not simple either. It can fit in a blog entry but it is longer than normal.

Life is a singular view of the world seen through your own lenses. And every person has his or her unique pair. That's why we don't always see things eye to eye. And that's ok. We need to be cognizant of it though. Reality -- whatever reality is -- probably isn't what we are thinking. What is reality is probably something else, especially how we are feeling at any particular moment. 
If the above is the case, we need to be very careful about making rash decisions that would negatively affect our lives permanently. Your default position must always be of great caution, to not cause harm if all possible, to not be mean if all possible. You don't have to be nice, but you can always try to not make a bad situation worse. Sometimes it means keeping…

How to be the person you want to be

Role modeling is big for me. There are many people who can talk so well but it means little when it hasn't been tested and put in practice. So when I see an exceptional example in the wild, I tend to gravitate toward that person and learn from him or her. In essence, I will ask myself "What would he or she do?" in many matters I encounter. 
In my case, he was an executive I worked for many many years ago. I am still friends with him long after he retired. If I were to act like him, I know I can do no wrong and so I will pretend I am him in demeanor and attitude. 
Therefore, if there is a person you know personally (I advise against celebrities you don't know because the picture they paint might not be reality), you can do something similar. When you encounter a challenging situation, imagine you are him or her and suddenly you will know what to do.

Positive news

Politics. It can turn a friend into an enemy fast. How is that beneficial to society? It mostly isn't. Fact is, unless a person is hurting others, there is no reason why anyone should be treated less than human.

I want to see more positive news. I'm sick and tired of seeing news of strife and division. There has to be bright spots in even arguments, and so where is the reporting of those times? That would be a newspaper I would subscribe to because it is actually doing society a valuable service: giving us hope in resolution of problems. Instead of only telling us what went wrong and shocking -- where all we do is complain about it -- also tell us what went right and surprising.

How to succeed at what you do

The alternative title to this blog entry is how to not fail at what you do. Failure is likely when you try to do things outside of your control. In those cases, you are merely spinning your wheels mentally and physically and the bad part is there is nothing to show for it in the end. Because it's outside of your control!

What you must focus on is what you can control. This means your own actions such as your reactions to what happens to you. You can also plan things out to be more prepared. But trying to control what others do brings much grief and unhappiness. It isn't beneficial either to you or the person you're trying to control.

Can you still fail in your own actions? Sure. But the chances of success are significantly higher. You know you. With caution and attention, you will likely succeed in employing your actions. Since how others respond belongs to them, not you, it is outside of your success equation.

For example, if you are a singer, you can only train your voic…