How a stone in your shoe makes it easier to get ahead

May 8, 2009

My new running shoes have a quirk. Small bits of gravel keep getting lodged in the treads. These pebbles cause the infamous Princess and the Pea syndrome with the way they poke up into the padding and scrape along the sidewalk. Yesterday I had one that wouldn’t budge, no matter how hard or long (or at which angle) I dragged my foot on the cement. I tried prying it out with the corner of the next sidewalk square, and even with the edge of the curb.

Finally, after wasting a ton of energy, not to mention looking like a complete yabo, I lifted my foot so I could examine the situation. It took just one tiny, concentrated, flick with the tip of my index finger to dislodge the stone. 

Most automobile engines operate with an efficiency somewhere between 25% and 30% (with up to 75% of the gas wasted!). In previous centuries, piston driven steam engines were only able to convert an average of 8% of their power into kinetic energy. These appalling stats show our historical inefficiency in maximizing energy conversions. Which is to say, we humans do a bang up job at plowing through our resources in whatever way gets us across the street (or eating the chicken) with the least concentrated effort on our part – aka we are addicted to the path of least resistance.

What am I trying to say? There is only one way to get ahead: concentrated effort.

Break out of the “path of least resistance” for a moment and take an new look at your situation. Your percieved parameters are 99% sourced from a brain looking for pattern and security. Just imagine what you could accomplish if stopped dragging your feet on the sidewalk and really took a good look what’s stuck (and why). Just imagine. I know I’m trying. Our futures might be only a finger flick away.


Feelin down? Try this today…(but please look both ways first)…

November 10, 2008

Working in gray downtown in gray November can get one feeling, well, a wee bit gray. If the symptoms are left untreated, they can progress quickly into the much more dangerous condition of cog-itis (inescapable sense of personal insignificance in the dull gray gearing of this capitalist machine, accompanied by frequent misfiring of tear ducts and a mild throaty cough). What’s the quickest way to regain one’s sense of personal power in this grand ol’ gray world? 


Try this quick remedy next time you’re standing at a crowded intersection, listlessly waiting for the “walk” light to come on: LOOK BOTH WAYS, then confidently stride out into the crosswalk with dignity and purpose – a good few seconds before the light changes. You will be shocked at how many other cog-ites blindly follow you off the curb. Now that’s power. Slightly stupid, maybe, depending on the traffic, but real power.

People follow purpose, and what’cha know, they’re following you!

(image source)

Strengthen your marriage with THIS principle of Marketing Management

July 31, 2008

Who knew walking down the aisle at Home Depot to buy a fridge could give you better footing on your trip down another aisle…

I came across a key marketing concept during some “light” summer reading: A Preface to Marketing Management, by J. Paul Peter & James H. Donnelly Jr. Selling is top priority in marketing, but how do you make sure the product isn’t returned after sale? The investigation of Postpurchase Dissonance is a hot topic in the field.

Doubts and second thoughts occur when there is a cognitive discord within the buyer’s attitudes and beliefs. Dissonance is most likely when the purchase decision is of psychological or financial importance, and/or the buyer has forgone a number of alternatives with comparable features. Hmmm, that doesn’t set marriage up with favorable odds, does it? I happen to have lucked out with a husband whose “features” are beyond “compare”, but the next section just might be helpful for those of you without a G.W. of your own (which had better be everyone reading this!).

 The textbook gives four helpful ways to prevent and/or reduce Postpurchase Dissonance:

1. By seeking information that supports the wisdom of the decision. (ooo you two have compatible astrological signs, that must clinch it!)

2. By perceiving information in a way to support the decision. (Your husband just went to Vegas without you because he said he didn’t want you getting a nasty burn in the desert sun…and you believe him)

3. By changing attitudes to a less favorable view of the forgone alternatives. (Just remember ravishing Antonio’s foot odour and Joey’s sinister collection of toy clowns)

4. By avoiding the importance of the negative aspects of the decision by enhancing the positive elements. (“He’s not poor; he’s a brilliant musician” – Note: don’t use that argument with your parents, who probably haven’t finished paying off that wedding of yours ; )

The book also suggests Postpurchase Dissonance can be reduced by admitting a mistake has been made. But really, would you want to wake up to a mistake every morning? Didn’t thing so. So if you didn’t hit the G.W. jackpot, just keep this little list in mind. And let’s just hope you have better luck picking your next major appliance *wink*

One more reason to love Agatha Christie

July 9, 2008

“We are all the same people as we were at three, six, ten or twenty years old. More noticeably so, perhaps, at six or seven, because we were not pretending so much then, whereas at twenty we put on a show of being someone else, of being in the mode of the moment…As life goes on, however, it becomes tiring to keep up the character you invented for yourself, and so you relapse into individuality and become more like yourself every day. This is sometimes disconcerting for those around you, but a great relief to the person concerned.”-Excerpted from “Agatha Christie – An Autobiography”

What’s the first reason?

If only this were true about writing!

June 24, 2008

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”Aristotle

Sure, easy for a philosopher to say! If gardening was one of Aristotle’s pleasures, I doubt you’d have found his fellow Greeks lining up to argue the perfection of his produce. I mean really, would you argue with Aristotle (even if it was about a tomato)? As for us writers, we’re stuck with the old adage:

“Practice makes perfect.”Everyone Else

My only advice to you…

June 6, 2008

~Make sure you’re living a life worth washing your hair for~

Advice from a genius

May 12, 2008

My Father is a renaissance man. He’s a stunningly amazing artist/inventor/physicist. The painting above is an example of his work (note: my apologies for the black distraction). But besides giving us a new visual language, the theory of the universe, and a revolutionary downhill ski, he is also the source of the most brilliant piece of advice I have ever heard…

“Put on a fresh pair of socks halfway through the day.” -David Fels

That’s it. Do it every day, and your life will never be the same.