Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wisdom from a pig-owning beauty queen

From Designing Women, Season 3, Episode 21, "The Last Humorously-Dressed Bellboy in America":

Julia Sugarbaker: Suzanne, what's wrong?

Suzanne Sugarbaker: Nothing. I guess I'm just a little depressed. I went out with Eli Cunningham last night, and his bossy nurse who tried to make me get the veal cutlet just 'cause it was a special. I thought to myself, "Is this what my life has come to? Arguing with old men's nurses over the price of dinner?"

Julia: Suzanne, you just get this way every spring. All you need's a change. You ought to just get out of town.

Suzanne: Why? It's just like here. It has been my experience, Julia, that no matter where you go, there you are.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Less is more.

From On Writing by Stephen King:

In the spring of my senior year at Lisbon High--1966, this would've been--I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: "Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft - 10%. Good luck."

Of course, for me, sometimes more is more. I often overcompensate by only verbalizing 50% of what I should say, because I'm afraid of being too verbose. Then the person listening to me has no idea what I'm talking about, because they can't read my mind. Oh well.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Know the enemy and know yourself.

From the "Attack by Stratagem" chapter of The Art of War by Sun Tzu:

17. . . . There are five essentials for victory:

  1. He will win who know when to fight and when not to fight.
  2. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
  3. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
  4. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
  5. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

Victory lies in the knowledge of these five points.

18. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hello, readers!

I hope you're enjoying the posts. I am always surprised when people actually visit my blog. So, if you have any suggestions, or you'd just like to say hello, please let me know in the comments.

Thank you!


Today's deep thoughts: Three guys walk into a bar.

From the "Real Persuasion" chapter of Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom by my former professor Steve Martin.

Persuasion is not solely the recital of logical arguments or factual information to a listener. Instead, it is the process of projecting your entire set of beliefs and convictions onto another human being. It's not about getting others to acknowledge your arguments or agree with your business case; it's about making them internalize your message because they believe that's the only way to make real change happen.

[ . . . ]

Anyone can recite facts, and two people can say the exact same words with entirely different results. Mastering the soft skills--understanding how to build rapport with skeptics, how people process and interpret information, and how to dovetail your ideas into a person's personal desires--is what ultimately makes someone influential.

To demonstrate these soft skills, we will use three linguistic role models: Ronald Reagan, Jesus Christ, and Buddha. We'll examine how they used language and communicated their ideas . . .

  • They spoke to each person individually.
  • They spoke with compassion.
  • They spoke with congruence.
  • They connected with the senses when they spoke.
  • They told stories to illustrate their ideas.

Who did you persuade today?


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Hunting and Changing

From Chapter Three ("Five Best Ways to Hunt for a Job") of the book What Color Is Your Parachute? 2010 by Richard N. Bolles.

The Seven Most Important Truths to Remember So Long as You're Unemployed

1. Job-hunting is an activity that repeats itself over and over again, in most people's lives.

2. Job-hunting is not a science; it is an art.

3. Job-hunting is always mysterious.

4. There is no always wrong way to hunt for a job or to change careers.

5. There is no always right way to hunt for a job or to change careers.

6. Mastering the job-hunt this time, and for the rest of your life, done right is a lot of hard work and takes some hard thinking.

7. Job hunting always depends on some amount of luck.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Oranges and such

From Phase Five ("Live a Happy Life") of Amy Spencer's book Meeting Your Half-Orange, which I like to apply to my life in general:

. . . Leslie credits her big move--trying a different key--for putting her in a new mindset. "Just the moving itself gave me a sense of control," she says. "Like, Hey, I did this. Me. My choice. Now, I unpack." And, she says, once you get on the path of making a big move or a big change, you get better at taking control of your life. You no longer worry how it looks to other people or whether others think it's logical or whether it makes financial sense. Once you make that first leap, it makes it easier to keep going on that path and try even more new things . . .

[ . . . ]

If you think you might need a change as big as Leslie's, just be prepared for some similar personal fallout. "People get weird when they think you're doing something off the map," says Leslie. "A lot of people didn't understand my choice. But they only saw the sweet exterior--they didn't know the sadness I was feeling. You have to be prepared for people who will not be supportive, and do what you need to do for yourself."

So how do know if a change in necessary for you? Focus on the feeling you're reaching for. Rather than jumping up and making a huge change right off the bat, give yourself a few weeks or months of focusing on what you want from a change: a new lease on life? Excitement when you wake up in the morning? Feeling like you're jumping off the hamster wheel? Go ahead, make a huge leap, as long as you doing it for you . . .


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Winning Friends, etc.

From the chapter "Making People Glad to Do What You Want" in the book How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:

  1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.

  2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.

  3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.

  4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.

  5. Match those benefits to the other person's wants.

  6. When you make you request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.

[ . . . ]

People are more likely to do what you would like them to do when you use . . .


Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Perfectly Nice Girls

From Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. I've read this book at least three times now. I have also given it as a gift, and I got my own copy signed by the author, who is a fellow USC alum.

Mistake 44

Striving for Perfection

Having been made to believe we're totally flawed, imperfect beings, women overcompensate by striving for perfection. Intellectually we know it's impossible, but emotionally we go there every time we feel insecure or less than competent. What a waste of time and energy! We would be much better off using the time we spend perfecting already good work products or relationships on new and creative endeavors.

[ . . . ]


  • Consciously reduce the amount of time you work on any given day or spend on any one piece of work.

  • Strive for 80 percent perfection. The difference between 80 percent and 100 percent won't be noticed by most people but will buy you more time to shift to other important tasks.

  • Relinquish the need to be seen as perfect and settle for being viewed as human. After all, you are a human being, not a human doing.

Like many other deep thoughts I post, this is an example of my giving very good advice, but like Alice, I very seldom follow it. I doubt I will ever get my perfectionism under control. But you readers should!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Rockfish wisdom

From Only One You, by Linda Kranz, a colorful book that was give to me by one of my colorful friends for my business school graduation. Thank you, friend!

If you make a wrong turn, circle back.

If something gets in your way, move around it.

[ . . . ]

There's only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today's deep thoughts: Winnie-the-Pooh

From the "That Sort of Bear" chapter of The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff:

In the sixty-seventh chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse named it as his "first treasure," and then wrote, "From caring comes courage." We might add that from it also comes wisdom. It's rather significant, we think, that those who have no compassion have no wisdom. Knowledge, yes: cleverness, maybe; wisdom, no. A clever mind is not a heart. Knowledge doesn't really care. Wisdom does.

[ . . . ]

Do you want to be really happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you've got. Do you want to be really miserable? You can begin by being discontented. As Lao-tse wrote, "A tree as big around as you can reach statrs with a small seed; a thousand-mile journey starts with one step." Wisdom, Happiness, and Courage are not waiting somewhere out beyond sight at the end of a straight line; they're part of a continuous cycle that begins right here. They're not only the ending, but the beginning as well. The more it snows, the more it goes, the more it goes on snowing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today's deep thoughts

From the "Be Interesting" chapter of Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz:

3. Know yourself and your talents.

I had no chance competing with the science geeks at ICI. In developing an expertise that highlighted my strengths, I was able to overcome my weaknesses. The trick is not to work obsessively on the skills and talents you lack, but to focus and cultivate your strengths so that your weaknesses matter less. I'd apply the 80/20 rule in that you should spend some time getting better at your weaknesses but really focus on building your strengths.

Or, as I like to tell people, ride your horse in the direction it's going.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One great big vicious circle

From an episode of Famous, Rich and Homeless on Planet Green:

(A police officer has declared that James and his equally homeless friend Drax are too "able" to qualify for a shelter because they have been homeless for so long. Meaning, if they had become homeless recently, they would be at a higher level of vulnerability, which would have qualified them for a shelter.)

Annabel Croft: Do not give up hope, James. We've done one step, yes?

Drax: If I take another step, I'll probably fall or something. (Laughter)

Annabel: Well, we have done one step.

Annabel narrating to the camera: It's an eye-opener, isn't it? It's frustrating. They're so beaten down by what they've come up against with all the brick walls that they really can't be bothered. And I can now see why they also sit around the street and get into a sozzled state so they can put all the pain behind them. It's one great big vicious circle.

I'd love to sit around in a sozzled state, repressing the pain of being beaten down by brick walls, my soul crushed by continual rejection. But my drive for success prevents me from doing so.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Someday I will drive around my neighborhood with my daughter

Chevrolet does not allow embedding of their commercial (why? I don't know.), so I have linked to it here: Chevy Traverse - Father and Daughter.

Yet the company does allow embedding of their Dependable Friend commercial, which I also like:


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"What you swatting at?"

"Where I come from, your sense of humor is the knife with which you cut through the wilderness of despair."

- Tracy Morgan on Oprah

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Can you stand on your head?"

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.

"Which road do I take?" she asked.

"Where do you want to go?" was his response.

"I don't know," Alice answered.

"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

I know where I want to go. Thanks, Dr. Tom!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wisdom from Being Erica

"Success is often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable."

- Dr. Tom quoting Coco Chanel


"Have you ever heard the saying, Write what you know? Authenticity is everything . . . Be what you are . . . Write what you know."

- Frank Galvin


"When you hit a bump, you pick yourself up, and you keep going . . . Things don't always turn out the way you imagine. Life deals you a hand. And no matter what cards you're holding, you have to play them . . . You learn, and you change, and you grow . . . So get back up. And keep fighting."

- Barbara Strange


"'When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.' Mother Superior. Sound of Music. I heart that movie."

- Julianne Giacomelli


"Where would we be without struggle? Without hardship and pain? It's easy to forget how much these moments teach and shape us, how different we would be without them . . . 'The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.' Albert Camus."

- Dr. Tom


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Putting myself out there

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."

- Maya Angelou

I need to maintain my courage. I need to continue believing that I will find what I am looking for, and that what I'm looking for will find me.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You know I believe it.


"I know you will find what you are looking for, even though it's not here."

I recently made that statement to someone I cared about. When I said it to them, I believed it. I still believe it, and I was right: they did find what they were looking for, and they are happy. (At least I think so. I'm making an educated guess, based on, um . . . stuff and things. I didn't actually ask them.)

After I made that statement aloud, I immediately made the following statement to myself silently:

"I don't know if I will ever find what I am looking for."

I was being honest with myself. I still haven't found what I'm looking for. I know that I have been searching for something for a growing majority of my life. There are a few times I thought I had gotten close to achieving it, but I have always failed.

I have grown tired of 1) actively chasing my dream, 2) passively waiting for my dream to come true, and 3) enduring continuous pain.

Yet tonight, as I was walking in the cold, consuming my double hot chocolate with whipped cream, the clouds of negativity swirling in my head finally cleared. After 2 and ½ weeks of woe, my ambition found a way to shine through. I had forgotten how strong my ambition can be. My ambition has often overridden my abilities, or lack thereof, like my introversion. Throughout my life, this unrelenting drive has helped me to get what I want, how I want it.

I am going to get what I want. Yes, the sadness is still there. The anger is still there. The despair is still there. But so is my ambition, which has grown more powerful over time.

Now I can make that statement to myself. I know I will find what I am looking for. And someday, someone will want to hold my hand.

(But I'm not going to Paris to find them, no matter what Google says.)