Busy, The Devil’s Playground

My father infamously created projects to keep my brother, sister and me busy in the summer time. Was plucking chickens a good life lesson? I can almost conjure up the nose-flaring stench today. Pew. The smell when one singes feathers off is truly distinctive, unforgettable. In our eulogies at Dad's funeral, my brother and I shared some Dad’s-crazy-project-tales. We mused that Dad completely bought into the biblical saying, “idle minds are the devil’s playground.” We divided up the stories, my brother and I, to make sure we both got laughs: Raising geese for Christmas dinner; Picking a field-full of jalapenos; Sawing wood to last all winter…and more. The funniest parts of these make-work-to-keep-kids-busy projects? Geese can be vicious creatures. They’re able to chase and peck with lightening speed. I’d arm myself with a tennis racket and practice my forehand when it was my turn to feed them. No one in our family—except Dad—actually liked to ingest geese so the leftovers eventually went to the dogs. Burning mouth syndrome. Dad said “don’t eat them” so I promptly stuffed a couple jalapenos in my mouth—in the middle of the field—and ran faster than Usain Bolt to get to a … [Read more...]

3 Labor Day Honey-Dos

In the U.S., Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer. School begins, or gets fully into swing. Darkness comes earlier. Hopefully, temps cool. If you’re in the Midwest like me, you’re less likely to be sucked up in a tornado after Labor Day. Over Labor Day weekend, most of us steel ourselves for what’s to come, knowing we’ll work without a real break ‘til winter holidays. (Especially now that retail stores are open on Thanksgiving, but I’ll stop myself from going off a rant about that). Usually, we create a "Honey-Do" list for ourselves or for others, things that must get done this long weekend as it may be our last 3-day break until New Year's. This Labor Day, prepare strategically. Be intentional. Make time to do even one of these Honey-Dos and I guarantee your journey between now and winter holidays will be smoother. Follow all three Labor Day Honey-Dos and you’ll really soar! 1. Joy Jar: Not Just for Kids “Count your blessings.” While the phrase seems a bit antiquated today, something grandma told us, what if we literally did count the good things in our lives—those moments, even split seconds when we’re filled with gratitude? Research now tells us grandma was … [Read more...]

Busy Myth?

What! Americans aren't as busy as we think we are? That's what The Atlantic's The Myth That Americans Are Busier Than Ever  professes. Dig a little deeper, beyond the tantalizing headline, and the nuances tell a different story. I'll let you read it for yourself and if you're too busy to, just know that I'm wishing you a wonderful Memorial weekend. May you turn off your mind (your smartphone, computer and tv) and RELAX! #PeaceHugs, Jone   Image courtesy of the wonderful www.jayroeder.com. … [Read more...]

As Leaders, Can We Handle The Truth?

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.—Oscar Wilde Since I saw my nephews perform in Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the truth. The play’s plot revolves around the legal defense of two Marines accused of murdering another soldier, a young man killed as a result of an informal disciplinary practice called a Code Red. In the movie by the same name, Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup, the hard-edged leader of the U.S. military base at Guantanamo. Jessup defends his leadership in the iconic courtroom scene where he thunders from the witness stand, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” The question of whether we want – and can handle – the truth dogged me last week. You know how it is, once you’re paying attention to something you spot it everywhere. For instance, an email from The Representation Project let me know that the U.S. Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 has been introduced. The bill, if passed, would require the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how media is using pictures that “materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals” depicted to sell us things. Most … [Read more...]

Stuck? Start Satisficing

Stuckism (so-many-choices-that-one-can’t-make-a-decision-easily) strikes us more and more often it seems. Sometimes stuckism is about relatively unimportant things. See this movie or that? Eat Chinese or Mexican or Ethiopian? (I mean food, you Lecters).  Other times, like one I’m experiencing now – to put my home on the market or keep leasing – feel bigger and more important and potentially more costly if I get it wrong. If you’ve ever been around little kids (I sure hope you have), you’ve witnessed what happens when you give them too many choices. You can almost see their minds spinning, the overwhelming nature of mushrooming possibilities, the frenzy created when faced with decision-making that involves what feels like limitless options. Because we’re living in a world where choices – advertisements and internet-fueled information – charge our way daily, taking the time to research every conceivable option is beyond stressful. It’s impossible. “Satisficing” makes perfect sense. Satisficing = picking the first option that meets an acceptability threshold. Economist Herbert Simon’s satisficing theory is based on the fact that we can never know enough to select the actual … [Read more...]

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