Quotes that Say Something

"Please, dad, get down and look. I think there's some kind of monster under my bed."

Life when seen in close-up often seems tragic, but in wide-angle it often seems comic. -- Charlie Chaplin

"And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear, you shout, but no one's there to hear. And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." -- Roger Waters, "Brain Damage"

Nov 19, 2013

A Great Book That Changed Me

There are several books that forever changed the way that I do things in my personal and professional life. On of them is called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  It was written by Stephen A. Covey. He referred to his habits as "powerful lessons in personal change."  Years after reading it (and listening to the author's great CD set on the same topic), ideas, phrases, and values that Covey identifies are sticking with me.

Life, work, and relationships (personal and professional) should be very different, in a good way, for anyone who is able to put into practice some mix of these 7 preferred, Covey guidelines everyday.

(The following summaries are paraphrased from an interpretation of Covey's work by Lou Adler* the CEO of the consulting firm called The Adler Group.)

Be Proactive. Take the initiative. Don’t wait for things to happen. Put in effort to operatiionalize new ideas and/or make things happen.

Begin with the End in Mind. Identify what you hope to accomplish. Define preferred outcomes before you engage in your process. Success often results from some kind of plan.

Put First Things First. Prioritize what’s important, then get to work on it. Do not be ensnared in reactions to what’s urgent or sounds more enjoybale. Prioritize different activities and balance competing objectives. Result = get more significant stuff done and make better decisions.

Think Win-Win. Consider the impact on all of the stakeholders in a situation, especially potential conflicts.
Ignore the generic. Think collaboration and teamwork whenever possible.

Seek First to Understand, and Then Be Understood. Listen carefully. Know and assess the circumstances. Don’t offer solutions or assume your approach is the best. Understand the problem (situation) first.

Synergize. This is team skills on steroids: working with, influencing, coaching and developing people.

Sharpen the Saw. Constant self-improvement is how a person remains current and relevant. Seek in all ways to become better at what you know and what you can do.

Consider the whole list. Think about how things could be different it these habits were ones you practiced in every situation that you could. This is why Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peopleis transformational.

The book:  http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People-Powerful/dp/1451639619/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384878068&sr=1-1&keywords=7+habits+of+highly+effective+people


*  Lou Adler (@LouA) is the CEO of The Adler Group, a consulting firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring.

Nov 8, 2013

Tomorrow Never Knows -- Agree or Disagree?

                  --    So, play the game of 'existence' until the end, of the beginning    --

          "Tomorrow Never Knows" is one of the most innovative and unforgettable pieces of music by The Beatles during their fertile psychedelic period. The words in the title supposedly were voiced off-handedly one day, as a malapropism, by Ringo Starr. John Lennon took note and captured the phrase. (JL says he was deep into his serious Tibetan Book of the Dead period as he did so.) Lennon's actual, heavily philosophic lyrics under the title "Tomorrow Never Knows" (see below) are loosely based on a passage written by the 1960s' avant-garde professor and author, Dr. Timothy Leary, who advocated for experiences of mind expansion through taking LSD and other consciousness-altering substances.

          The composition "Tomorrow Never Knows" was included on the Mono LP called "Revolver" by The Beatles that was published during August 1966. Rolling Stone magazine recently proclaimed Revolver as the #3 all-time great rock 'n roll album in history.

          From mid-August until mid-October, to fulfill a contractual obligation, I was immersed in writing a story -- actually it became a novella -- called "Constant Companions." So far, those who have read "CC" do not seem to quite know what to do with the story. I hope that you too will devote some time to it -- and then share your comments and feedback with me. Honestly, I just want readers to enjoy "Constant Companions," if possible, and then to reflect on the life questions/themes that it surfaces.

          As I wrote for weeks, I listened constantly to and was inspired by philosophy laden and psychedelia-laced tunes by the Fab Four such as "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Glass Onion," "Within You & Without You," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Come Together," and others -- especially "I Am the Walrus." These pop masterpieces compose something like the musical soundtrack for "Constant Companions" and for the period in American pop culture which the story describes.

          Here is a blog link to the story called "Constant Companions." The tale is rooted in an actual shocking occurrence, in an average middle class Midwestern neighborhood, on a spectacular Spring day around 1957, though the setting of the novella itself  begins in 1967 and stretches on for 27 years hence.


          Here is the song "Tomorrow Never Knows" -- about 'playing the game of existence' -- from the Revolver album.



          The lyrics as written by John Lennon:

Turn off your mind relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining.
Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being
Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
And ignorance and hate may mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving
So play the game "Existence" to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning

       --  John Lennon, "Tomorrow Never Knows"