Friday Food for Thought

Pay it Forward

A couple days ago, I had to upgrade my phone; it had slowed to a crawl---which, in the technology-driven world of today, is just short of unbearable. Surprisingly, I found the upgrade process not as seamless as it could have been---namely the lack of efficiency in the...

Perspective

The other day I was late getting into the office. I was behind a car that took a little longer than it should have after having been stopped at a red light. So I leaned on the horn. It was just then when I realized that the gentleman in the car in front of me was...

Locked Mind

There is a story about Houdini, the great escape artist, trying to escape from a prison—and it goes something like this: Houdini was invited by a small town in the British Isles to try to escape from their newly built prison cell. Houdini, who'd mastered similar feats...

Culture Matters

I just returned from a trip to Nicaragua to learn more about cigars—a passion of mine. While there, I had a chance to visit a couple of different factories. The one that really grabbed my attention was Drew Estates. Though only in operation since 1998, this relative...

My Thanksgiving Gratitude

Many of us spend Thanksgiving with friends and family eating lots of turkey, watching football and napping. On this day, we also spend time reflecting on what we are grateful for. 2017 held a few personal challenges for me and I am thankful for all of them. They have...

Innovation – A New Way to Think

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Jeff Hoffman speak. He talked about how he came up with the idea for Priceline. It came about in two ways. He began questioning everything, no matter how mundane. He got that idea from his 5-year old granddaughter. He...

Jugaad

Last week I attended a conference, the theme of which was “Jugaad.” Jugaad is a Hindi slang word that has several meanings: frugality; doing more with less; thinking and acting flexibly. Jugaad isn’t about being cheap, but about being resourceful. It’s about doing the...

Change Ahead

Paul Getty said “…experience could be your worst enemy”. Sounds counter intuitive. But it’s not. Having managed lots of projects, from software implementations to custom development, I consistently hear, “We’ve always done it this way.” Yes, there may be merit to...

Authenticity

Think about the people you’re most drawn to. Is there a common thread? Are they mostly kind? Funny? Hardworking? Share the same hobbies? I took a mental inventory of the people I’m most impressed with and there’s no readily apparent trend. One friend is passionate...

Recharging Your Battery

This week I was off my game. I had a lot of commitments and found myself completely drained by Wednesday. While my schedule is generally packed, it doesn’t usually take this much of a toll. How did I cope? Caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine. When I finally got a...

Three Truths

“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” —Chris Pine Every conversation has three truths: Your version, the other person’s version, and the actual version....

Today Not Tomorrow

“Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.”  —Thomas Jefferson We tend to procrastinate for various reasons: Fear of failure, doing an unpleasant task, lack of self-confidence, etc. The list goes on and on. I recently read a post from a friend that asked,...

Laughter

We all could use a little more laughter in our lives. Unfortunately, we live in an angry world. Many people have short fuses which often escalate into an unusually high amount of violence over what I consider to be extremely small things. Our always connected world...

Childhood Dreams

It’s been 10 years since Randy Pausch delivered his “The Last Lecture” speech, and the message is still as powerful today as it was back then. Randy’s speech was titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. His list included: Being in zero gravity Playing in the...

Ichi-go ichi-e

Treasure every moment! Recently a dear friend’s father passed away from a sudden heart attack. A couple of days later I received news that the executive director of a group I belong to also passed away suddenly. In both cases, they showed no signs of any trouble. The...

Labor Day

Just as Memorial Day unofficially signifies the beginning of summer, Labor Day unofficially signifies the end of summer (though schools seem to start earlier every year). Labor Day celebrates the labor movement in the United States and the contributions the workforce...

Walls

Our society has put up way too many walls. It is safer and easier that way, protected from the tough world we witness every day. The downside is that these barriers hold us back from growth, both personally and professionally. Recently, I heard a podcast by Brené...

Lean Into Discomfort

As an entrepreneur, every day is different and hard to predict. All my days are incredible—some incredibly awesome, some incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, sometimes I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders. Dealing with all this...

Placebo Effect

We can manifest our future with our thoughts. We’re all familiar with the placebo effect: the positive result that’s incorrectly attributed to a treatment or action. We hear about this most often as it relates to medical research, with some patients mistakenly...

Mental Block

I few years back, I lived in a rural town close to the DE/PA border. The nearest grocery store was five minutes away, but further south from where I lived. Instead of going to that store, I would drive to another town 20 minutes away to buy food. The stores were...

Simplify & Purge

Recently I was at a retreat with a group of incredible entrepreneurs discussing our challenges within our business, personal, and family lives. This group is one of my sounding boards and we get together once a quarter. One item we discussed was simplification. Seems...

Passion

It’s summer. Most folks in the Philadelphia area head to the beach on weekends. I do as well on occasion. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to walk into the Iron Room, a place that touts one of the largest collections of whiskeys in the East Coast. I was skeptical,...

Our Most Precious Commodity

You can’t buy more time no matter how much money you have. Whether you are Warren Buffet or the janitor at his company, you both have the same amount of time in a day—24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. How you choose to spend it is up to you. I believe companies...

“I Don’t Know”

I have been writing the FFfT blog for about 20 months now, which means I’ve written nearly 100 entries. Since I’ve started, the distribution list has grown significantly, as has the variety of topics. I get asked on a regular basis what I’ll write about next. My...

Liberty & Happiness

"Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country." —Marquis de Lafayette This year on July 4th while we celebrate the birth of our nation—whether it be by going to the beach, a picnic with friends and family, watching fireworks display, or all three—let’s also...

Perfect vs. Good Enough

Voltaire wasn’t wrong when he said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” The pursuit of perfection can stifle progress. Perfection is impossible to achieve. What may be perfect to you may not be perfect to anyone else. Recently we launched our new website. We...

Moral Compass

What is a moral compass? To me, it is my deep-rooted beliefs and values that guide how I conduct myself—not just some of the time, but all of the time, even when others are not watching. In business and in our personal lives, common advice drives us to focus on the...

A Life of Contradictions

Life is full of contradictions. Everywhere we look we see opposing thoughts. Just look how these proverbs contradict each other: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" vs. "Out of sight, out of mind" "The best things in life are free" vs. "There's no such thing as a...

The Art of Happiness

What does it mean to be happy? Much has been written on “happiness” and how to achieve it. Happiness is one of those things that means different things to different people. To me, happiness is a mindset—a mindset that comes with satisfaction. How satisfied you are...

Memorial Day Reflection

Memorial Day is a day of “Reflection”. A day to remember and honor American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who died...

Value of Expertise

Last week’s FFfT discussed the Rewards of Expertise. I thought I would continue the theme. I recently read a story about Picasso. It may be an urban legend, but does drive the point. One spring day, Pablo Picasso was sitting in a park, sketching, when he was...

Rewards of Expertise

I recently heard about a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s about an 85-year-old sushi guru, Jiro Ono, who has spent his entire life working to become the best sushi master he possibly can. Jiro has been tweaking and refining his craft to make the best...

Chocolate & Relationships

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” —Linda Grayson A couple weeks back a few friends and I shared an incredible experience over chocolate. Let me first tell you about the chocolate. Someone handed me a piece of chocolate. I...

Listen with Your Eyes

A study by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, shows that only 7% of all communication is based in the words we say. Of the other 93%, 38% is made up of the tonality we use and the remaining 55% is made up nonverbal ques; body language1. This means...

Go the Extra Mile

It’s hard to watch the news or get on social media over the last couple of weeks without seeing the headlines about a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight. United Airlines can’t seem to catch a break. A passenger being stung by a scorpion and staff...

Communicate to Be Heard

John Wanamaker said this almost a century ago: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” The words are still true today. Companies spend millions on marketing and trying to get our attention. With all the technologies...

Irrational Fears

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death... Death is number two... Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the...

Can’t Make Everyone Happy

Regardless of how hard you try, you can't please everyone. You cannot control what others think about you. Let me tell you a story... A few years ago, I was in charge of scheduling speakers for a group. After every speaker, a few participants would walk up to and tell...

A Book and It’s Cover

In today’s fast paced world, we make quick decisions every day. In doing research for this FFfT, I read articles that suggested we make between 35,000–75,000 decisions daily. Considering that we sleep eight hours a day that means on average we make a decision every...

Expand Your Horizons

Do something you are not good at. Expand your horizons. I am a member of an entrepreneurs group that constantly challenges me to grow; it’s one of the reasons I stay with the group. A couple of years ago, another member of the group and good friend told me that he...

Anger as A Motivator

Is anger good or bad? Most would say that anger is bad. Anger can be both negative and positive—it depends on how you use it. Anger is viewed as a negative emotion when people say and do nasty things. They curse, throw things, and destroy relationships. At an extreme...

Intensity vs. Consistency

I recently heard Simon Sinek talk about intensity vs. consistency. He talks about how it is better to be consistent than intense. I believe that works in most situations. It is better that you eat several small meals over a single large one. It is better that you...

Reticular Activation

Wikipedia defines the reticular activating system (RAS), or extrathalamic control modulatory system, as a set of connected nuclei in the brains of vertebrates that is responsible for regulating wakefulness and sleep-wake transitions. As its name implies, its most...

Focus

My friend Michelle has a saying, “Stay in your lane”. Urban dictionary defines this phrase as meaning “mind your own business”. That is certainly one definition. Michelle uses it to let people know to stay on target or on point. I take it to mean stay focused. At its...

Confidence

“I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.” This is what Tom Brady, then 22, said to Robert Kraft (Patriots’ owner) after being picked 199th back in 2000. Looks like he was right. Say what you want about Tom Brady and the Patriots but there is no denying...

Go Create

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible.” —Mark Twain, Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review I recently met an expert on innovation. He said that his studies have shown that on average, anything we perceive as new...

Tenacity & Gratitude

The Fonz was a TV character during the 70’s and 80’s. He was the coolest guy on TV. Fonz had no problems and could solve anything; always with a smile, a thumbs up, and an “ayyyy”. Recently I saw an interview with Henry Winkler, the actor that played The Fonz. It was...

Confidence vs. Arrogance

There is a big difference between being confident and arrogant. This can be easily confused since there are many similarities. Speaking with authority and being decisive are just a couple examples. The question becomes: How do you tell if someone is being confident or...

Dreams vs. Goals

I was reading Tim Ferriss’ latest book, Tools of Titans, and in one chapter he talked about dreams vs. goals. It got me thinking of the differences. Here are a few differences: 1. A dream is something you fantasize about. A goal is something you work toward. 2. Goals...

Goal Setting

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” —Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency Since 2016 FFfT ended with reflection, it is only fitting...

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