Friday Food for Thought
Instead of judging others by actions, try flipping the script and assuming the other person has good intentions. You don’t need to know what those intentions are, just put yourself in their shoes. I’ve tried, and when I do, I’ve noticed I’m better for it.
“If it looks like duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck”. How many times have you heard that saying? And have you ever really watched a duck? Outwardly, they appear calm, collected and generally unflappable. They even don’t mind spending time with their heads and upper body under water, tail in air searching for snacks. What you don’t see though, is the feverish pace their feet move to keep going. Ducks are weird!
Recently, I heard someone attribute the following quote to Dostoevsky: “every man is not only responsible for everything he does, but for everything everyone else does.” I was intrigued and did some research. Although I could not find that specific quote, he did say “in truth we are each responsible to all for all”. Both quotes express similar ideas, and both are daunting. It seems I am responsible not only for myself, but also everyone else? How is that in any way right, fair, or even possible??!
Labor Day: the unofficial end of summer, the end of hot dog season, the third most popular day to have a cookout, and the unofficial NFL season kickoff. (Go Eagles!) The idea for Labor Day first became public back in 1882. The unions in NYC decided to have a parade to celebrate union workers and even gave up a day’s pay to be there. Other cities started having parades and, within a few years, certain states made it a holiday, later becoming a legal federal holiday. So, thank you, laborers (shout out to my new hubby 😊), for the long weekend!
If you are of a certain age or a movie buff, you might remember the movie “The Sting”, released in 1973. It is based on the novel “The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man” by David Maurer. It’s a great movie about a grifter or con man that takes revenge on a crime boss for murdering his friend, another con man. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it; it was nominated for 10 different Academy Awards and won 7 of them. Like I said, it’s a great movie. So, where am I going with this?
Have you ever noticed that entrepreneurs are a weird bunch? Most that I know personally or know of are type A personalities. They see a problem, find a way to fix it, and then figure out the details later. They accomplish a lot; their mindset is different, more determined. Now that I think of it, certain mindsets from folks in all walks of life are what makes the difference. Here are a few examples that have left an impression on me…
Procrastination – it’s an ugly word, and something we are all guilty of at some point. The word has a dual meaning; it is derived from the Latin “procrastinare” which is “to put off until tomorrow,” but it is also derived from the Greek word “akrasia” which is “doing something against our better judgment”. This is interesting; perhaps we procrastinate because whatever we are dragging our feet on doing, is in some way against our better judgement. That, at least, makes procrastinating sound a little bit better! It also makes it easier to admit that last week’s blog was a challenge. I had the topic and the time but kept avoiding doing it.
“Here, try this!!” We have all heard that numerous times in our lives. Sad thing is many of us are quick to decline the offer without consideration. But why? Why not try something different even if it’s outside of our comfort zone? Is it that we are complacent or that we want to “play it safe”? I’ve heard that the older we are, the less likely we are to try new things, mostly because of fear of getting hurt, physically, and emotionally. But trying new things is what keeps us young; it allows us to grow and to find new activities that may become our new favorite thing. So, why not try?!
There is a certain “F” word I dislike intensely and even borderline hate. It’s not the one you may be thinking of; I use that one a lot 😊. The one I hate is one I have been told on occasion that I am devoid of. I’ll give you a hint: remember, I am simple, and I like “facts” (love that “F” word!). Give me facts all day long… I can work with and solve problems with them. Facts, like the other F word, can be fun!
BHAG: BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL!!! Sounds crazy, unachievable and scary! What were Jim Collins and Jerry Porras thinking when they first coined the phrase in their book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”? A BHAG needs to be big, seemingly impossible and forward thinking. Most importantly, it should provoke action and a sense of urgency. In short, a BHAG is inspirational and aspirational.
Hi all, this is Helene. As the Toby Keith song goes, “occasionally, I wanna talk about me (me, me, me)!”; so, Vijay agreed I could do exactly that this week. Everything happens for a reason, right? Have you ever wondered what the reason is or when/if we ever find out? Or even if there is truth to that saying? I think it’s fascinating to consider the possibilities, which is exactly what I’ve been doing the last few weeks after a vacation was unexpectedly interrupted. We hit a deer while riding on a motorcycle. It was a remote, two-lane country road in Illinois late Sunday morning (Father’s Day). We stayed upright and steady as the deer came up the windshield and fell off to the side; we are fine. Unfortunately, neither the deer nor the bike survived. That was the outcome, now here is the story…
I am a simple person. I take things at face value without reading into them or searching for hidden meanings. If I have doubts about what someone means, I ask for clarification. Simply put (😊), I mean exactly what I say, and while I expect the same from others, I understand that words have impact and misunderstandings happen. I know that sometimes things should be said differently. It’s the same with actions; just like words, the same actions can take on a completely different meaning for each of us. That sounds strange; how the heck do we all survive and navigate this? It’s complicated!
Hey all – Lauren here again! I asked Vijay if I could write his blog this week before I go away for my wedding and honeymoon. Plus, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays! I’ll tell you a few reasons why…
It’s all about me—isn’t that the common theme lately? When did we become so self-centered and entitled? I’ll pause here to warn you that I am about to get on my soap box (again)! 😊
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! There are two accounts for how Father’s Day originated. The first is that it was celebrated in 1908 to honor hundreds of men lost in a mining accident. The second is that it was first celebrated in 1910 when a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father for raising her and her siblings alone. She came up with this idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. Even though the movements started around the same time, Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914, but dads had to wait until 1972 for their day to become official.
90% of everything is crap, at least it is according to Theodore Sturgeon. Sturgeon was both a science fiction writer and a critic, and he made this observation in the 1950’s. It was meant to describe the low quality of work in the science fiction genre at that time, and eventually was applied more broadly to other areas.
Expectations are tough, aren’t they? Consciously or unconsciously, we form them for every situation and are often disappointed in outcomes. Have you ever wondered why that is or how you can change it?
It’s Memorial Day weekend and summer is upon us, unofficially anyway! Time for bar-b-ques, beers, pools, beach, sun; the list is endless. I thought I would have a new member of the team write this week’s blog for a change in voice and perspective. This week’s blog is brought to you by Lauren.
These last two weeks have reaffirmed that travel is good for my soul! Hopefully, you noticed that I did not publish a FFfT last Friday. Instead, I took a break and enjoyed my trip. I’d like to say this was intentional, but the reality was that as the trip progressed, the schedule became packed and there wasn’t time to focus to write this blog. I admit, it drove me a little crazy, so maybe I still am a workaholic 😊.
I am on a trip with a bunch of foodies, touring Scotland and Ireland for 17 days. Our plan is to learn about these countries through sightseeing, local cuisine, whiskey, wines and enjoying the company of the group and locals. I was (and still am) excited about this trip and the chance to experience new things and meet new people. Most of all, I am excited to spend 17 days away from my daily life for the first time ever.
Elon Musk is in the news once again. This time, he made the headlines for his $40 billion purchase of Twitter, which will make the platform a private company. As with most things, people are passionately taking sides. They are debating the pros and cons, questioning Twitter’s future, and judging Elon’s motives. Some have even analyzed the content of Elon’s own personal tweets to support their views, good or bad. Common wisdom suggests that Elon’s motivation is his belief that Twitter should be a platform for free speech and should not censor content, as they currently seem to do. Freedom of speech is a sentiment we can all get behind, right? 😊
After holding out for a long time, my neighbor finally wore me down and I started watching the “Ted Lasso” show. It turns out that I should have listened sooner! It’s a great show and I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the seasons. Most of the series emphasizes positivity in the face of adversity, a message that we all need to be reminded of.
Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Otherwise, happy Spring! This weekend marks the end of the Lenten season of fasting and repentance, with celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am neither a Christian nor a religious person. In fact, for the most part, I avoid conversations about religion other than those with a very good friend. Those conversations are usually over whiskey and cigars.?
We are once again in “award” season and as usual, there is controversy and drama. Let’s set aside conversations about slapping, outrageous outfits, egos and right from wrong. I’ll let smarter people than me sort that out. I like to focus on the moments when truly amazing talent is discovered and awarded.
Earlier this week, I toured the Barnes Museum. If you live in Philadelphia or plan to visit, it’s a tour worth taking. I am not an art aficionado. In fact, I often look at pieces and do not understand them. I do like history, though, so the story of how Dr. Barnes amassed such a large private collection and then left it in his Merion, PA home for the public to enjoy is fascinating. For 90 years (1922-2012), his former neighbors protested the traffic this attraction drew to an otherwise quiet neighborhood until the Barnes Foundation relented and a new home for the collection was built in Philadelphia’s museum district. Imagine leaving such a gift to the public and posthumously annoying your neighbors at the same time—now that is masterful multi-tasking!
One of the members of my cigar club is an expert on everything. No matter the topic, he knows everything and is happy to tell you that you are wrong. He will tell you how wrong you are in your own area of expertise, even if it’s what you’ve done all day, every day, for years. You are wrong; he is right. A casual observer might think he is very smart and well experienced. But in reality, he has never done most of the things he talks “expertly” about. He has never been in the “arena”.
A friend of mine recently needed an ear to bend and I was happy to lend him mine. He was grappling with a problem but as he shared his story, I realized the solution was simple and I wondered why it hadn’t occurred to him already. Simple solutions to complicated problems are my superpower, after all.
Years ago, when I worked at The Franklin Mint, one of the perks was access to their sand volleyball courts. Aside from the leagues we played in competitively, a few of us also played for fun. During one of the “fun” games, the opposing team did everything they could to throw us off. It worked. They really got in our heads, which caused us to make careless mistakes. We weren’t communicating well and started losing, which in turn made us angry.
I am one lucky guy! For the last two Friday Food for Thoughts, I talked about a health issue and the resulting procedure I underwent. Modern medicine and technology are amazing; I was home in less than 36 hours and was even able to attend a friend’s 50th surprise birthday party the next day. I almost blew the surprise by telling the friend I could not make the event, remembering just in time that it was a surprise. Whew!
I usually save posts about gratitude for November, but last week I was reminded of how lucky I am to be part of such a supportive community. Almost immediately after last week’s FFfT, many of you started reaching out to ask if I was okay or if I needed anything...
Last weekend, I realized I needed a break. I was stressed and decided to take several days off and enjoy a long weekend. It was supposed to be a relaxing time…as luck would have it there were other forces trying to ruin my time.
In the movie “Bad Boys 2”, actors Joe Pantoliano and Martin Lawrence center themselves by chanting “Woosa” when frustrated. Lately, I’ve found myself needing to do something similar because I’ve been losing patience quicker, and often over small things. People are...
A professor once told me, “Say it with confidence and people will believe you.”
I have friends that complain about everything, no matter how small the issue, and friends who like to brag, no matter small the success. I even have a few friends that argue about most things and usually because its fun. This begs the question, “Why are these people...
Years ago, a speaker at a Leadership seminar I attended said that a 10-minute break every hour is optimal for peak performance. How is taking a break every hour productive? It seems so counterintuitive!
A legacy can be whatever you want it to be. What do you want to be remembered for? As we start this new year, it’s a good time to reflect on your legacy.
This year has been full of ups and downs. I have spoken to many folks about how the year went for them and I have heard some very interesting answers. For some, it was a great year. For others not so much, and both for a variety of reasons.
The holiday season is in full swing, and it seems there are more parties and social events than ever this year! I must believe all this activity is a combination of the restlessness caused by the situation over the last 18+ months combined with the holiday season.
During orientation for a club I recently joined, another new member raised their hand to ask a question. The session leader responded with “The answer is yes; now, what is the question?” That’s a tough standard to live up to.
A lead character in a show I watch told her fiancé after a fight: “I love you; I will see you at home for dinner, but right now, F&^% you”. Earlier this week I asked a friend what was on her mind, hoping for an idea for this week’s topic. Her response was “people are annoying”. Clearly both events have different backstories, with one being a real-life event and the other a script, but between them a theme emerged.
It may seem like there’s greener grass on the other side of the fence, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. It’s just different.
The holiday season is here! Take the time to enjoy your loved ones and all of the traditions of the season.
Though the times they are a-changin’, one thing remains the same: respect and appreciation of others is invaluable.
How fast does time move? Blink once and 6 years have already flown by! Take a look back at some of Vijay’s toughest posts over the years.
We use our imaginations to solve the issue at hand. Yet, we rarely realize how much more of an impact our solutions can have.
The secret to success? Don’t give up! The harder you work towards your goal, the more opportunities you create, and the luckier you get!
Sometimes taking a deep breath and a step back can make a tough situation seem a bit better.
If you stop limiting yourself, think of all you could accomplish.
It’s hard to remain in the present moment instead of thinking of what’s ahead or behind, but it’s worth it. Enjoy the ride.
You need the journey that a question gives you to arrive at the destination of an answer.