January 26, 2010

Laugh it out

Slowly, but surely I am reading the book: Emotional Intelligence; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (amazon associates link).

Even though I am not done, so far it is great! While reading, I found something that I thought was extremely valuable, and figured I wouldn't wait to share.
Good moods, while they last, enhance the ability to think flexibly and with more complexity, thus making it easier to find solutions to problems, whether intellectual or interpersonal. This suggests that one way to help someone think through a problem is to tell them a joke. Laughing, like elation, seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely, noticing relationships that might have eluded them otherwise--a mental skill important not just in creativity, but in recognizing complex relationships and foreseeing the consequences of a given decision.
I have always found that "stretching my legs" helps when I get stuck on a tough problem. I look forward to laughing it out as well.

Try it out. Let me know how it works.

January 20, 2010


“Be pro-active, not re-active.”

If you ask any of the players that I coach, I would imagine that this saying would be one of the things that I constantly say to them that they probably get sick of hearing. The idea is to know who you are and what you want to do; be sure not to get overwhelmed with circumstances and dictate how the game is played, on your terms.

Whether projects are running late, or the down economy is putting a squeeze on a business, I recently find myself really wanting to give my soccer advice to these people around me. As your project plan, or business plan strays from your original expectations, don't grasp to try regain your original ideals, plan to learn; move towards your new definition of success.

Reaction is playing another person's game. The best thing you can do, is be you. Regardless if you end up succeeding or failing, don't you want it to be on your terms, not someone else's or outdated terms?

January 14, 2010

Entitlement and Instant Gratification

(I recently spent some time cleaning up some old unfinished posts. There were a few that I figured I would finish and publish. This is one of them.)

I read an interesting post recently about the sense of entitlement that is commonly associated with Generation-Y. Although she never comes out and says it in the post, the author proposes that this is a positive trait rather than a negative one as often suggested (usually by those of older generations). She asks:
While a sense of entitlement is seen as a negative trait which has resulted from years of gold stars and coddling*, could it really be a positive trait which Gen Y has evolved into having?
It is a very interesting question, so much so, that I have found myself asking many people of different generations and experiences over the few months or so. I have heard many different opinions and ideas in those conversations. Sadly this post isn’t the finding of extensive research, or even a recording of the diverse opinions that I have heard. Instead, this is my two cents on the topic.

I believe that there are many times where perceived entitlement is often a lack of patience that is becoming a very common trait of the younger generations (myself included at times). This stems from the fact that most of us have lived in a world of instant gratification. Technology has changed things so drastically (see Here Comes Everybody). In day to day life, kids graduating college today never had to make any weekend plans with a large group of friends before they left school when everyone was together, they would simply wait only hours before and chat with kids online, call cell phones, and today send text messages or propose plans on facebook for all to see.

Technology and the internet have also broken the mold in traditional business as well. No longer do people need to steadily work their way up the corporate ladder to achieve success. Ideas and products can now go viral and in seemingly no time become wildly successful and CEOs can be in their twenties.

Is this entitlement? Or do those people of older generations need to unlearn what they think of how business is supposed to work? If I aspire and push hard to become an owner or head of a company in the next 5 years, do my actions while trying to accomplish my goals make me entitled or simply motivated and inspired by aforementioned changes?

Entitlement is defined as “belief that one is deserving or entitled to certain privileges” by Merriam-Webster. By that definition, entitlement could never be a positive trait. But do young people really expect something for nothing?

Well, I’m sure there are people out there like that…and I believe that is a very negative trait. But I also think that a majority of young people are really products of their upbringing of instant gratification. These kids have lofty goals and want to achieve them as quickly as possible and are eager to do so through non-traditional ways if need be. Is that a bad thing? I’m not so sure. What do you think?

* original text read “coodling”, I took the liberty to fix what I believe was a misspelling of “coddling”

January 6, 2010

Book: Here Comes Everybody

I remember hearing about this book, Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (amazon associates link), when it came out. There was quite a bit of fan fair and praise for it and thought that I would check it out. But, I never really did.

It wasn’t until recently after I saw a video of Clay speaking, 1) that I realized how much I am interested in Clay’s work, 2) how fantastically brilliant he is, and 3) I remembered about his book that I was going to read.

Anyway, this book is a fantastic read. Although not completely evident by its title, this book discusses many different ways the internet and technology are distinctly reshaping our world with interesting, real stories. He then explains how and why these technological changes are making the impact they are with very clear and concise explanations. This is a great book even for the non-techies who are looking to get a clear, thorough picture of how our world is being shaped by the internet and similar technologies.

This was the first non-fiction page turner I've read it quite a while. Good stuff.

January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

(I wrote this post before Christmas, but couldn’t get it posted until after my trip…sorry about that)

I know that I am a few days early, but the winter solstice was a few days ago. Every year when it comes around, I'm glad to know that the days will begin to get longer again. Since I was in high school and learned that this day was historically seen as rebirth or new beginning, it always leads me to start looking back to see how I have gotten to where I am today and also to look forward where I want to go.

I’m not real big on resolutions, as they tend to be geared towards things that people don’t like about themselves, and typically can’t change (or have a very hard time doing so). Instead, I try to take a more long term view. It usually boils down to one question that I apply regardless the topic. “Am I better today than I was yesterday (or rather better this year than last year)?” with the main focus on continual improvement rather than very specific goals.

Have you gotten better this year in the things that you would have liked to? Could you do better than you did? What’s the next step, how will you move forward?

If not, what can you do to “right the ship?” Have you adjusted your priorities to meet your expectationw, or do you expectations need to change?

Here’s to another year of being a better you. Cheers!