Archive for Deep Thoughts

5 Dudes I’d Hang Out With

I don’t know why, but lately when I’m watching TV I think to myself, “I could hang out with that dude.” That’s how I’m judging people now – by if I could hang out with them. Celebrities, mostly. I think, “I bet you he’s a cool guy to hang out with.” I don’t even know what we would be doing. I guess we could maybe just sit around on old overstuffed recliners eating burgers and watching football. I don’t even know if I know how to hang out with dudes anymore – I’ve been married for a long time. At any rate, I decided to put together a quick list of the dudes I’ve mentally noted that I’d hang out with. I’m guessing they’ll all see this post (since a lot of celebrities keep a pretty close watch on this blog), and we can hang. Your move, Sudekis.

Jason Sudekis

 

Blake Shelton

Aziz Ansari

Paul Rudd

Kevin James

 

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The Value of Peace of Mind

A slight departure tonight from my typical marketing chatter, social media blabber and senseless rants. The past couple of days in Reno (Nevada), our community was devastated by fires that damaged dozens of homes (many now unlivable), threatened dozens more and evacuated approximately 2,000 residents from their homes. Fierce winds caused the fire to spread quickly and made it challenging to fight.

Reno Nevada Fire Caughlin Fire

Photo by Tim Dunn, Reno Gazette-Journal

Firstly, my heart truly goes out to the victims of this fire. The community has been affected by a number of disasters as of late (train crashes, plane crashes, shootings, senseless deaths, etc). And, as we’ve seen a lot of lately, the community has pulled together and truly behaved as a “community” in terms of support for one another.

But, that’s not necessarily what this article is about, either. It’s about the value of peace of mind. Many people were evacuated from their homes and spent most of those first 24 hours with no idea whether or not their home was still standing or decimated by fire. The uncertainty is almost as painful as the reality. I received notice in the afternoon (while I was at work, in the office) that there was a small fire near my house. I wasn’t immediately concerned, as my house was not near the massive fires that were burning south Reno. But strong winds were blowing embers all over the city and starting small fires. I thought to myself, “there’s no way my house is in danger.” But, as only a few minutes passed, my imagination flared up. I pictured my neighborhood in the same condition as the images I was seeing of the massive fires in south Reno. I pictured my dogs trapped and surrounded in flames. I pictured the collection of memories burning to the ground and my life changing entirely. I couldn’t stand it any more. What if I had just sat there in the office while my neighborhood burned? I jumped in my car and headed home to check on things. Before I get any further, I need to tell you that firefighters responded very quickly to the fire, which was about two blocks from my house, and were able to extinguish it. Crisis averted.

My point in all of this is that the power of peace of mind really sunk in with me. One of the things that make mankind so progressive, beautiful and inventive is our imaginations. They’re extremely powerful. We can see and experience things that may never be. The “dark side” of this is that when we’re unsure of something, our imaginations can paint a hundred scenarios and some of those scenarios cause us to worry. And some of that worry can become so intense that it consumes us and distracts us. My mind raced when I thought there was a chance my house was on fire. I cannot express the level of relief I had when I pulled up and spoke to the firefighter that told me everything would be fine. I cannot express the level of relief I had when I found out my friends were safe and their homes were OK.

There is so much power in peace of mind. 

I understand why people spend the money they do to have peace of mind – whether that’s with safety, investments, insurance, justice or otherwise. When we know for sure, we’re relieved. We remove the torture that our beautiful minds are capable of creating. We all fret about something at some point. We have all imagined a scenario or several scenarios to stand in for knowing for sure. Those companies and people that deal in the industry of peace of mind are in a fortunate position. I’ve found myself understanding why we seek the solace of peace of mind, at most any cost.

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Do You Hear Yourself Speak?

If you only knew me based on this blog, you may think that a lot of things bother me because I sometimes use this as a forum to talk about things that irk me. Fine – I’ll concede to that. And yes, this is another post like that. This one is about perhaps my greatest of pet peeves – grammatical errors and misspoken words and phrases. For one reason or another, it drives me crazy. I could easily write a post about misspellings and misuses of words (there, they’re, their), but I found this brilliant post on The Oatmeal, so I’ll just refer you to them. Here are a few examples of the screwed-up words and phrases (also known as malapropisms) that really make me grind my teeth. I’d love to hear some of yours, too…

CORRECT: ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES
THE SCREWED-UP WAY YOU SAY IT: ALL INTENSIVE PURPOSES

The initial wording is reportedly “to all intents, constructions and purposes,” instead of all intents and purposes. It basically means under most usual circumstances, in most practical situations, or for purposes that are practical. “Intensive” implies the level of intensity of the purposes. I know, they’re kind of close, but you’re saying it wrong.

CORRECT: ET CETERA (ETC.)
THE SCREWED-UP WAY YOU SAY IT: ECK-CETTERA (ECT.)
There’s just no excuse for this one. The word is et cetera – it’s a Latin term meaning “and other things” or “and so forth.”

CORRECT: ACROSS
THE SCREWED-UP WAY YOU SAY IT:
ACROSSED
“Guess who I came acrossed at the nude pep-rally today?” or “The puppy mill is acrossed the street from Wendy’s.” These are SO wrong. Acrossed does not exist. Quit adding that extra sound at the end of the word. Seriously. You sound stupid.

CORRECT: TOUGH ROW TO HOE
THE SCREWED-UP WAY YOU SAY IT: TOUGH ROAD TO HOE
Think about this one. Why in the hell would you be hoeing a road? Do you know what a hoe is (smart-asses need not answer this question)? It’s a gardening tool used to dig trenches in soil, uproot weeds, etc. So, go ahead and scrape a hoe along the asphalt – I guess that would be pretty tough.

CORRECT: FLESH OUT
THE SCREWED-UP WAY YOU SAY IT: FLUSH OUT
If you have an idea that is incomplete and needs more thinking and more substance, you need to flesh it out, not flush it out. Fleshing out an idea is like a sculptor giving flesh to a skeletal form. An incomplete idea is like the skeleton – you need to flesh it out to make it whole. Flushing it out refers to chasing it into the open like a criminal or a bird or a criminal bird.

I think I’ve made the world a little better place by educating the few of you that read my blog. Please know that if you use these words and phrases incorrectly around me, I will want to slam your head in a car door.

Anybody else have some they’d like to share?

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The Greatest Talent You Can Have

There are a lot of talented people out there in the world. Slick salespeople, creative artists, intelligent programmers. They all have a skill set that makes them special and that makes them valuable, but for my money, the greatest talent or skill that you can have is empathy: the ability to understand or identify with another person. Don’t get this confused with sympathy, which is more about feeling the same as another person. But empathy doesn’t require you to share a feeling, thought or motivation with another person. Rather, empathy refers to your ability to simply understand or identify with those feelings, thoughts or motivations – and that is a talent you can leverage in many walks of life. 

Of course, I think the unspoken caveat to having this talent is that you then know what to do with that understanding. In my line of business (marketing), this talent is essential to success. This industry is about understanding a specific target, and what motivates them, engages them, scares them, makes them happy, etc. Those who can use their skill of understanding another person can really connect with their message. 

But, empathy is a great talent in many other industries, as well. Nearly every industry that provides a product or service has another person as the end user. Those who can best understand what that end user wants are in a position to succeed. 

OK, let’s say you don’t have a product or service – you may have a boss, and it helps to understand them. What motivates them? What might they be going through? What will mean the most to them?

If you don’t have a boss, you may have employees. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t be in a better position if you were able to empathize with your employees. By better understanding them, you can get better results out of them. 

Heck, let’s move this away from work. There is incredible benefit in better understanding a love interest, or a friend, or a family member. There is benefit in understanding the cashier, the waiter, even the guy who cut you off in traffic. 

The great thing is that we’re all capable of some level of empathy. It’s that old adage of “putting yourself in their shoes.” But this is where there is varying levels of what I consider to be a talent. We’re not all great at putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We often view the world exclusively from our own perspective – which is another reason I consider strong empathy a talent. If you are able to “step in to” somebody else’s perspective and really try to understand why they do what they do, and why they think what they think, and why they feel what they feel, then you’ve really got something special.

So, if you really want to perfect a talent, I’d work on empathy. Take opportunities to really try to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Really try to imagine that you are experiencing exactly what they’re experiencing, then ask yourself how you would feel/react in that situation. This does take a strong imagination. I think you’ll find that by working on your empathy, you’ll really see the effects in your life.

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Each Passing Moment

I’m feeling particularly philosophical tonight for some reason. And, with thoughts swirling in my head from an accumulation of a week’s worth of circumstances, experiences and overheard conversations, one phrase continues to surface in my brain:

Each passing moment is an opportunity to change.

So what if you’ve made some bad decisions? So what if you haven’t accomplished what you wanted? So what if you never had the courage to say what you wanted to say? So what if you aren’t what you wanted to be? Every passing moment is an opportunity to change. You can alter your fate right now. Make up your mind. Don’t get swept away with the history of yourself. You are in charge. Make up your mind now to take the very next opportunity to define yourself. 

That opportunity is now. Don’t let another minute pass you by.

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