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Showing posts from January, 2018

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.

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…

My corporate story about MLK Day

Despite Martin Luther King Day being an observed US federal government holiday, not everyone observes it, including companies. 
One clear memory I have happened over 20 years ago, when I was working in a huge corporation in their headquarters. We were all working as if it was any normal day. Incoming came an email from the CEO harping about what an important day it was, this MLK Day. The words he wrote I can't remember but it was his action that was clear: it was so important that he didn't even bother to make sure to make it a company holiday. Unfortunately, such hypocrisy exists in many companies, not just this one.
Martin Luther King Day represents more than the man, who himself was extraordinary. Dr. King represents the ideal that no matter what you physically look like, it is what's inside of you -- such as your character -- that matters. Because we have no control over where we are born and who we are born to, but have some say on how honest we are (for example), thi…

Bumps behind bumps ahead

While you're riding on your bike, you'll endure roughness ahead and you experienced rougnhness behind. What you can't do is to stop pedalling because unless you're moving, you can't help but fall. You deserve better and are stronger than bumps.

When to be cautious, when to be confident

When it comes to things you can control, which are your own actions, you need to be completely cautious. If you do so, you can succeed in your aim. When it comes to things outside of your control, which are the actions of others, there you can be confident, because those actions don't belong to you anyway. Yet some people have this backwards. They worry more about the things they can't control than the things they can. This is a waste of precious time and energy.

Doing good is its own reward

When you do something good for people, let it be. If you are expecting thanks or appreciation then you're not doing good for the right reason. The best reason is doing good gives you an emotional satisfaction, and you gain self-respect, perhaps the most underrated aspect of all.

When in doubt, be kind and gentle

When you are stronger than the other person, there are times when assertiveness is necessary but it is only appropriate and effective in rare circumstances. Usually, a little bit of kindness and gentleness is sufficient. Being kind and gentle doesn't mean having ulterior motives to get what you want and merely displaying kindness and gentleness. This is fake and vulgar. Being kind and gentle is sincere, that you are selfless and truly care about the other person. It's not easy. It's not always fair. But it is the right thing to do.

Be cognizant of the challenge before you

If you want to truly improve, you must view the situation before you with the respect it deserves, especially if you have not succeeded in the past during similar circumstances. To take it lightly might cause you to fail yet one more time. Don't let it happen again by approaching it with caution. Analyze it carefully and act accordingly.

A captain's work is never done

At the wheel of your mind, you have a vast amount of power. You are indeed the CEO and captain of your own life. You must hold the wheel steady but not too rigidly, and steer when the opportunity presents itself, or stay the course when you enter a storm. Either way, your important duty is never done and you must always be vigilant.

Mistakes

Since you can't go back in time and correct your mistake, the next best thing to do is to ensure the next time you are in a similar situation you are aware of it and you are strong enough to handle it with aplomb. If not, then stay away and train and build strength.

Which is easier: to start or to keep on going?

The answer to the question of what is easier -- to start or to keep going -- is it depends! It depends because the answer relies on the person who is in question. Some people, like me, find it harder to start but when I get going I tend to keep on going. But for others, they might it find it easy to start but rarely do they finish the job. So each person must work out his or her own challenges and that is wh you can't have other people run your life but you must make it your own, and hopefully in the process, assist others along the way.

Keep it up

Sometimes you feel like giving up when you feel discouraged over what people do or when things don't go right. This is perfectly normal. You got to keep on going as if it is a test of your will. To build muscles, it requires things heavy. So too things in life that make you strong mentally.

How to do great things

The secret to doing great things in life is to do the one task before you greatly. That is to say, if building a large company is your goal, then making sure to delight the one customer before you is something you must focus on solely. For things large, nothing is too little.

With each little success builds upon each other until they all become a big mountain of success in aggregate. I like to see it like rings in a ladder except this ladder can go diagonal or sideways (even downwards sometimes) but you have to have faith that what you are doing feels right and that you thoroughly enjoy what you do if reward wasn't involved.

Should you find it too hard to have faith, consider the alternative, which is to give up and not adjust and try again to reach your dream. Should you fail, it is far better to have failed at something great than to fail and do nothing special.

In short, as Steve Winwood would say, do that sweet thing you do. Perhaps that has been your home all along and you…

Predicting the future

You can guess at the future but you can never be able to predict the future with precision. We can barely frame the present state in its exactness much less do so in the future where all the variables aren't accounted for.

We can only hope that what we do today will somehow benefit tomorrow. But you won't know how goodness shows itself tomorrow until we produce goodness today. It's very much like playing the lottery -- you have to buy the ticket before you have a chance of winning -- except the odds of making things happen in life are much more favorable.

Do good today and don't be surprised something good happens later. And if you keep on doing good, your odds will only get better. Work hard and do so consistently, and pretty soon, the odds are so much in your favor that you will be tripping over good fortune.

So invest in yourself. Invest in your future today.

Distractions

In the effort to go ever faster to get things we want done, if we really look at it, it's about saying no to those things that don't move our progress forward. To be distracted with unrelated matters is the same as stopping. Stopping is worse than going slow, because no matter how fast you go to catch up, you won't be able to go fast enough. Steady and consistent must be the pace, and that takes focus.

How to be a great teacher

Teaching is knowing and doing. You noticed I added doing. Because effective teaching isn't in the words we spew but the tangible benefits students see in our actions from our teachings. Knowledge isn't real and effective knowledge unless it works in the world.

That is not to say things have to be perfect. We will make mistakes and even mess up greatly. But then those times would be a wonderful opportunity to show people how one can bounce back. In other words, if I can do it, you can do it too. It is saying I understand the struggles you've gone through and I know how hard it is. But I believe I have found a way to handle and overcome and perhaps my sharing with you this will benefit you at least in some small way.

How to achieve peace on earth

We all seem to wish for world peace, but how peaceful are we at home or at our workplace? If not, then world peace will never be possible, since our homes and workplaces are part of the world. Therefore, start where you are, perhaps even internal, and try to create peace there first. Only then can world peace be possible.

How do I keep up my enthusiasm?

It's not unusual to be excited about something at the beginning. This is where I suspect most people have little problem. The issue is whether they do something about it initially and sustain that enthusiasm.

Why is it so difficult?

While people are excited, very few do anything about it. They either don't want to commit -- they rather do something else, usually something they are familiar with -- or they don't know how where to start. The former requires faith and the latter requires legwork.

To commit is to believe that something will work out. If they don't believe it themselves then why would they commit? Hence the problem. And doing legwork is hard work. There's the roadblock of knowing who to talk to, where to go, the upfront cost, etc. There is resistance, and frankly, too many people stop and reconsider when they feel friction.

It doesn't have to be that way.

The harsh reality is to sustain something is to not try to gather enthusiasm from what's be…

How do I prevent making dumb mistakes?

Let's face it: we all make dumb mistakes. Dumb as in the mistakes, not necessarily the person making those mistakes. Because despite how intelligent the person is, he or she can still make mistakes that simply don't make sense. The number one reason is allowing emotions to control our actions. However, our conduct is truly the only matter we can control. So we must take task seriously and with caution. When we do, success is almost inevitable with awareness and practice. If you happen to have made a dumb mistake, move on as quickly as possible. Salvage a bad mistake with  a positive response. Nobody who has ever succeeded would fault someone making an honest mistake. Apologize, don't make excuses, and focus on the present. Do not be discouraged. Doubt exacerbates a mistake. Chin up, make the next step a step forward.

Don't give up, try again

In success -- an ideal goal you are working towards -- timing is critical. Consistency is critical. Caution is critical. Like a rubber band, often you'll have to strive, pause, and strive again. Whatever happens, don't give up unless you know for sure there is absolutely no chance of success. Even if there is a 1 percent chance of success, and if success is important to you, then it is worth the old college try. Move with your eyes open but move with faith that you will succeed.

Problems

The problems that we experience in life haven't changed. They might be different in technologies but they are the same in nature. As humans, we experience the same emotions that people of old had experienced themselves. Although they are no longer here, that's not to say they didn't feel as we do now. And future generations will wonder the same when we are all gone. So take heart and be the person you want to be. It's really a choice. As long as you are here, you might as well aim for the best because much of who you want to be -- kind, hardworking, helpful -- can be accomplished immediately. You just need to keep it up.

An education sorely needed in schools

An education that has been too long neglected in the public schools and in higher education is the need to teach young people how to handle everyday emotions. It is every bit as important as math and reading, because without knowing how to control and work through people's emotions, especially the destructive ones, then even the very best students in math and reading will likely not succeed in life. In ancient times, wealthy Greek and Roman parents sent their children to skilled philosophers who taught them how to effectively approach everyday life and its many problems. If we do that today, then there would be significantly fewer societal ills and excesses.

How to control your anger

When you can remind yourself that the person who made you angry is a human being with the same kinds of emotions as yours. And, if you are able, to also remind yourself whether you would regret the next day if you were to do what you want to do right now. Another tip is to imagine how you would sound or look if your statements were published in the front page news or shown on a television show for all to see. Yes I wholeheartedly agree that anger can be overpowering at times. But I believe with more logic infused in your inner conversation, you can stop anger at its tracks and prevent major problems as a result.

How to perservere

The boring secret to perseverance is holding on despite the odds, hardship, and emotional roller coaster. And the foundation of someone holding on is faith. Now faith has nothing to do with science, as you might expect. But it's more scientific than you think. When you hold on and persevere, you increase your odds. With more time, new variables enter into the equation and if you are observant, you can simply walk on through when before there was a closed door. So if you think there is no hope, have faith. Do whatever you need to do except give up. That's what happened to me earlier today. Right now I can see the positive results of my having faith despite my doubts, doing what I could, and hanging on and letting time do its magic.

Sadness (Part Two)

Re-reading my last post it would seem that I am speaking of depression. Depression is a serious matter and should be handled by professionals. What I am talking here is plain sadness which is temporary and the worst that you feel like doing is nothing. So in this case, instead of doing nothing and mope, fill that unproductive time with something productive. If there is simply nothing you can do but worry -- which is what I'm feeling right now -- it's best to allow that time to let your mind focus on other things that have a tangible benefit.

How you can overcome sadness

You've been in a funk lately because things don't go your way. Imagine the sadness for all the many things that haven't gone people's way since the beginning of human existence. When you quit feeling sorry for yourself and do something productive that produces something tangible, something that proves to other people and you that you cannot be stopped. You didn't quit. You are bigger and stronger than your problems. Feeling hopeless is worthless, nobody wants it, and you don't want it either. Fact is, as long as you are breathing, there is always a chance, there is always hope. Now increase your chances by doing hard work. It keeps you occupied and you have something to show for it when you are done.

How to be happy

I just changed the title of this blog to "Happiness is in the Hows." This is very much in alignment with life is like riding a bike -- to be balanced you have to keep moving. Despite what I'm currently facing, I have decided to be happy. I choose to be because the hell with the things that make me unhappy and causing me to not do anything but worry. Happiness is in the Hows. Keep on moving. Keep on learning. You will enjoy it more, and frankly life is too damn short to not be.

Challenge

I stand in front of a huge mountain. It is formidable. I might fail. I am likely to fail. But I cannot give up. I need to have faith even though I haven't much right now to be quite honest.

Amount of sleep

Sleep is so important and trying to post that first blog entry last night didn't help in that effort. If it wasn't for the stress I'm feeling I wouldn't be able to wake up but I did. There are many hills and maybe mountains to climb today and it would be better that I got enough sleep. But of course we all seem to manage with perserverance and coffee.  I learned today that I must get to bed at a reasonable time tonight for tomorrow.

First blog entry to how.how

First day of the 2018 year and the first blog entry of how.how. This will be a collection of rather humble things I learned and my goal is to post at least one a day, so you can expect that from me. I hope what I share will benefit you, yet this blog is at its core for my self-improvement. I want to learn something new each and every day, no matter how small. This is something I expect from myself.