Staying In The Present Moment

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”      ~Thomas Carlyle~

In broad daylight and in front of cameras, the celebrity or “benevolent” politician (using taxpayers’ money, of course) tells the world that they are on the side of justice, equality and eliminating poverty.  Everyone claps politely and mindlessly as the ribbon for the new orphanage in India or AIDS clinic in Africa or job training program is cut.  Then, in a termite’s blink, another successful photo opp becomes history and the celeb becomes an indelible, instant hero.

Every one of us wants to shine and get our just dues.  Even the preacher or mullah on the pulpit gets a real high by being thought of as being inspirational or even powerful to his or her congregation.

These heady moments of greatness are often intertwined, however, with huge chunks of time when we are not being noticed, appreciated or treated fairly on our terms.

As American patriot Thomas Paine once stated:  “These are the times that try men’s souls … He that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

When we feel down, unloved, and unappreciative, the usual root of this despondency rests in how we are thinking at that moment.

Inevitably, if you are thinking about the past, then you are not empowered.

And if you are daydreaming or fretting about the future, you also are not in an empowered mode.

The only place to be is in the present moment.  That is where we touch people and things…and that is where we can make a real difference.

Whenever we dwell in the cloudy here and now, our tomorrows become brighter.

The next time you feel down or out of sorts, try to create your own ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Get interested in your world, your children, your boss, your company or anything else within reach of your senses.

Touch them or it in a manner which shows you care.  Leave your mark in this world, and your hereafters will take care of themselves.

Start now, by shutting down your PC and talking with a smile to your child, your wife or a neighbor in your rear-view mirror.  Or simply and wondrously water the flowers in your garden and sing “You are my sunshine.”

Work Around Your Imperfections

The story goes that Sir Henry Royce, the founder of the Rolls-Royce automobile and legendary engine, once overheard a couple of workers on his exacting assembly line discussing the workload.  One of them said:

“That’s good enough.”  Royce came unglued.

He walked up to the young worker, tapped him on the shoulder and took him far away from the other worker.  Then he sternly stated,

“Young man.  It is never good enough.  There is always room for improvement.  I hire you to not only watch over the assembly of a car, but to make certain that this vehicle is of the highest quality in the world.  Now get back to work and do your job with pride and passion.”

Rolls-Royce has stood for excellence and pedigree for over a hundred years since that legendary story was first hatched.

In your life is everything just good enough and passable, or do you have the mindset of a Henry Royce?  No doubt your product, service, dreams and goals could always use a tweak or ten.

Truth be it, we are not capable of perfecting ourselves and the goods and services we work with unless we ask for feedback and help.  And once we get that feedback, we need to make a monumental decision.  The decision is whether or not to do whatever it is on a “that’s good enough” basis or hire someone to get it done for us excellently, as Mr. Royce would.

My suggestion is to work around imperfections and not let vanity or pride stand in the way of your success.

Take a smaller share of the pie, if you must, in order to insure excellence.  Make your job, your company, your life resonate with the sounds and sights of excellence.

Run your life as if everything you sell or make must pass the ruthless inspection of a Joseph Stalin or your own worst enemy.

And hang this accurate Henry Royce quote over a snapshot of your family or loved ones:

“Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.”

Living To The Final Breath

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”     ~William Ross Wallace~

There are great men and woman…and then there are great ones.  One such man has just passed away at 47, but his wisdom, courage and intelligence lives on.  Randy Pausch’s final lecture at Carnegie Mellon University.  I was touched by the speech in a very deep way.

We all need to think of our legacy.  What would you want people to say over your casket?  Write down ten ideas of what you would want others to say about you.  Look at it.  Picture it in your mind.  And then go out and do your best to make it true.

Time is long and time is short.  Live it fully to your last breath.  Get inspired now by (re)watching that special moment at Carnegie Mellon.  It can’t help but touch you in a profound way.


Leveraging Your Time for Success

“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you don’t let other people spend it for you.”     ~John Dryden~

Undoubtedly, we live in a world defined and confined by time.  When we use our time poorly or in a disorganized fashion, the result is usually discouraging or disastrous.

Just like a magnifying glass captures diffused sunlight and turns it into a red-hot laser beam capable of burning a piece of paper, our life efforts can do likewise.  But to get the most punch from our efforts, we must be willing to delegate responsibility and outsource those activities which we are not adept at and don’t pay well before they drain us of the energy we will need to create and maintain our fortunes.

Several years ago an ethnic restaurant opened in western Tokyo serving New Orleans-style Cajun food  The owner, a Ghanian man with a great work ethic, could cook up a storm of spicy delicacies while his wife and one part-time assistant would prepare side dishes and wait tables.
All went well for him.  His small establishment, which at first attracted mostly foreigners and their friends, became a regular haunt for many Japanese people as well.  A few years after his launch, he moved to more spacious locale with great expectations for opening another branch shortly thereafter.  Less than a year later he went bankrupt.

What happened I will never know for sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was caused by his unwillingness to trust anybody.  I said he had cooked up a storm for 11 hours a day, six days per week, yet he never wanted to train anyone.  He told me that nobody could do things quite the way he liked.  So now he was jobless and scrambling in Tokyo.

The moral is that we need to leverage our time as entrepreneurs, because if we don’t our businesses become exactly what we wish to escape from…an hour-for-wage hell.  The idea of having a business online, offline or both should be to gain a semblance of financial and time freedom.

That can be done by finding qualified people who work on a freelance basis.  Many excellent resources are available online for this purpose.  For writing, software creation or web designing, try and

Whatever you can do well and which can clearly lead to a revenue stream, deserves your greatest attention.  Otherwise, outsource using the resources just mentioned.  The idea is not to cook up a storm until you die, but to teach others to do so.  That is a system which can leave your family well-provided for long after you pass from this world.

Discarding Political Correctness

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”     ~Maggie Kuhn~

Being a great listener is certainly an essential element of all fully-integrated adults.  You have been given two ears and one mouth, it has been said, so that you will listen twice as much as speak.  A virtuous idea indeed! which should be consistently in your mind during every waking hour.

But…you must stand for something and be willing to defend your values in order to give true meaning to your life.  Be respectful to others while being true to yourself.

This is a tough balancing act.  And when we speak our minds full force, there is a new tripwire to deal with called political correctness.   Every word we say – the anal retentive claim – should be measured by whether it has, does or could offend some group of people.

That may sound Utopian, but in fact it is a dictum of fascism.  Language is spicy, dicey or offensive according to which group you are speaking to.  Language is our inexact attempt to express clearly and understandably to others how we feel about issues and people and to explain things with clarity.

Wouldn’t you rather hear racial slurs from a racist?  Or would you rather hear something like this:  “Some of my best friends ARE Jews (Negroes, Arab, etc.)?”  Just hearing that often makes me believe that the man or woman is a closet racist with a dollop of whip cream covering the truth.

“Oh darn” is really “Oh dammit” dressed in a bonnet.  You fool nobody by saying the former because the latter is what you wish to say.  So say it, and let the chips fall where they may.

Wars and other human relation difficulties are caused by obfuscating our real mind and real intentions. When a person’s trust has been called into question, then every utterance which follows this judgment will also be doubted as a lie or a manipulation.  This same principle can be extended to relations between nations.

So spice your language when it reflects your true sentiments.  Some arching, self-proclaimed pious folks may raise their collective eyebrows, but at least they know where you stand. That’s a big plus in a world of smoke-and-mirrors.

Life In The Past Lane

A line in a song says it precisely,

These are the good ole days.

Whatever you are doing and feeling at the present moment is a result of the actions or inactions, thoughtfulness or thoughtlessness of that water under the bridge of your life.

You can bring up what happened in a nostalgic moment – the people you met and the things you did – but not one moment of history and be changed or removed by recalling it.

The good ole days belong in the trash heap.

We all have demons, regardless of whether we want to admit it or not.

The door to the past is a strange door.  It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only.” ~From Loren Eiseley’s The Immense Journey~

It is not a matter of whether mamma liked your brother best.  It is not a matter of who got what for whatever reason or who didn’t get their fair share.

It is a matter of learning how to deal with the lessons of life in a constructive manner and stop desperately clinging to the should, could and would haves that can haunt us.

Present moment living is always where the action is.  If your present moment is clouded or distorted by fear, rage, regret, disorientation or total apathy – then consider yourself to be living in the past and strangled by the future.

The time to come to grips is now.  Take action.  Talk to the customer.  Meet the prospect.  Get that webpage designed and operating.  Search out true-north alternatives to the life you secretly loathe yet inexplicably claim.

Make today’s decisions with an understanding that the flower never blooms until the seed is planted and watered.  There is a time lag between bold, positive, present-moment living and happiness at the end of the road.

Resolve in your mind to sacrifice immediate gratification for long-term empowerment.

Change lanes while you can.

Sorting Out the Clutter

In recent months I have become overwhelmed by information and clutter.  Learning is an addiction to me and it is my passion to read and absorb as much as I can about anything and everything and pass it forward.

This passion has moved to the edge of an obsession, and thus a moment of reckoning has been thrust upon me.  In writing this article, you are invited into my world and my thinking process.

How much of what you read, think and do is essential or even relevant to your success?

Are you on target in your life?  Or are you the target for other people’s wishes, whims and objectives because of your lack of focus?

What is making you wake up in the morning, splash your face with water, shovel down an empty breakfast and dash for the office or wherever?

Most importantly, what is slowing you down?  If you honestly evaluate which obstacles are standing in your path to success – however you may define success – then you will notice that most barriers are honestly of your own making and doing.

For example, I am subscribed to more than 100 marketing websites which generate mailings totaling close to 2000 per week!  No matter how fast I rev my mental engines, I can’t keep up with this maddening info tidal wave.

What insanities, what obsessions, what obstacles are holding you back from greatness?

Put them in a mental, virtual or physical file, lock the drawer, and throw away the key.  I have recently put most of those newsletters et al in an obscure Hotmail account which is troublesome (though not impossible) to access regularly.

Yes, my addiction to information is not cured, but for once in my life I am dealing with it.  I can finally hear and feel my true mind and spirit talking to me again.  I am (and you are) a storehouse of wisdom and value without the clutter.

Doing is dependent upon keeping your life simple and focused much more than in becoming a walking encyclopedia.

Of course, disregard this insight when reading this insightful newsletter.  It is full of ideas which you can put into action rather than to ruminate over.