Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Charming Romance

Every so often there's a movie that's better than the best. I'm making it a habit to recommend them whenever I encounter them. Yesterday we saw one that is simply brilliant!

We lived in Dublin for two years and really got to know the Irish humour, which if you're not familiar with it, can easily be a bit awkward. However, once you see where it's coming from, not only in real life, but in a movie it can be hilarious.

The plot of Leap Year is superb. The actors outstanding. They're able to create this magic chemistry and feeling that's so Irish. I felt right at home again!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The 3 Energies Behind Sales Success

Eight long years of research and hard work have come to an end. The longest project of my life in business has finally resulted in the publishing of the 3E book. And all of this for YOU!

3E is the branded abbreviation short for "The 3 Energies Behind Sales Success".

3E is about how to influence people effectively. Learn how to:

* successfully kick-start and maintain large scale movements and communities

* run projects successfully by always focusing on what matters most

* present a message that appeals to the masses and be remembered

* influence key decision makers you thought were impossible to reach

* win major clients, even in a suffering market

* in short, become a master of sales and selling

* or to make it more personal, be a better more influential father or mother

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Regular Family Meals

Early morning breakfasts and afternoon dinners are more important to the family than I knew. If the family gets together once or twice a day it will have a long lasting effect on each family member.

When Lillian and I heard the statistics and long list of positive effects resulting from regular family meals we decided to stay focused on following through with it.

We thought we did pretty good prior to this focus. One of the first discoveries we made was that quite frequently one or more family members was indeed missing, due to some prior arrangement or commitment we had made. It took some effort to change the habit and get into the routine of saying "no" to protect those family appointments.

The second discovery we made was that meals have become a highlight of the day. There is such a big difference between a meal where everyone is present and a meal where someone is missing. Family conversations have gradually turned from quarreling to communication and sharing. It's never simple and straightforward, but we can sense a "faster rate of improvement" when we're all there. It's easier to influence the family for good.

The third discovery was a seemingly simple but important principle. When the family gets together on a regular basis (i.e. daily), it becomes the outward expression of healthy routines and living. As with most statistics, it usually is not the empirical behavior itself, but the underlying lifestyle or pattern that really is the root cause of any future outcome, be it positive or negative. (For instance, making sure everybody gets their vitamins or listening to individual concerns making sure everybody is doing good.)

Today I would enthusiastically encourage any parent to make an extra effort to have regular family meals.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Will Web Democracy Influence Language Development?

When in doubt of how to spell a particular word or how to apply a particular phrase I know a lot of people will do a Google search in stead of turning to the dictionary. Do we always find that the majority of people apply the written language “correctly”?

All languages constantly change and evolve. In practical terms this means that what used to be a misspelling, wrongful pronunciation, or even faulty conjugation of a word may change or be formally updated as an accepted way to speak and write. Did I lose you..?

Let's consider one example, which I know constantly confuses people whose mother tongue is not English. Consider the word “dialog”. In school I was taught traditional Queens English, or what is generally called Received Pronunciation (RP). We were told that the correct way to spell dialog was “dialogue”. Since English is a very conservative language (and culture) changes or language updates take longer to adopt. Such is not the case with the American language (i.e. US English), which in many ways is much more colorful, not to forget the amount of slang that it has. Slang inevitably influences the formal language over time.

Thus ariseth confusion!

Did you ever wonder why English is so consistently inconsistent when it comes to pronunciation and spelling? It simply is a very hard language to learn compared to many other languages, like e.g. Spanish (which has a much closer kinship between spelling and actual pronunciation). English truly takes a lifetime to learn. Not only because of its richness in terminology, but because of its conservativeness. Spelling is rarely or seldom updated to accommodate the way people actually speak. This growing mismatch leads to millions of young people across the globe having to learn a huge glossary of exceptions. Yes, in fact, I'd say much of the English language is “an exception”. I'm not saying that's bad. All I'm saying, it helps to be aware of it.

The interesting phenomenon of today's instant and immediate web crawling and indexing of information by search engines effectively picks up what we might call “the democratic web power of the written word”, something which we've probably never witnessed quite as powerfully in the past. It means that when a growing amount of people misspell or misuse a particular word or phrase, language experts and authorities now more easily may statistically spot and pick up those tendencies to consider if they should be accepted as formally right or wrong.

The question that remains to be answered: Will this web democracy influence language development? And if so, will this transparency speed it up or slow it down? Or maybe I'm mistaken altogether. You tell me...

PS! Did you find any misspelled words in this text? ...and are you sure? ;-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm Sorry Are Magic Words

Any long term relationship will at some point need to include "I'm sorry". In fact, maybe these words are the most important and "cleverest" words we ever speak, simply because they imply a critical look at ourselves and a desire to change and improve. It sometimes is what a father, mother, spouse, child or friend needs the most from us.

Of all words and expressions we may utter, the most soothing and diplomatic of them all would in my opinion be "I am sorry". If they are truthfully spoken and sincerely meant "I'm sorry" expresses humility and a high degree of self awareness.

"I'm sorry" is sometimes what a father, mother, spouse, child or friend needs the most from us. Why? Because they probably don't actually demand that we necessarily change, but more so that we at least - as a beginning - confess our weaknesses and faults. In other words, that we are trying matters more than change, because over time any relationship will "fail". But failing without trying again and again is the real failure.

From my experience with marriage counseling, I fear one of the main reasons couples "begin the process of separation" may be for a lack of these two words: "I'm sorry..."

If we can conquer ourselves by clearly stating what we are sorry about, I feel confident that the likelihood of a successful marriage or friendship quadruples, and maybe even much more than that.


Long Term Development
Yesterday my wife gave me the usual haircut. I love getting that haircut. She does a fantastic job! However, this time, at some point during the conversation, she pointed out to me that I was overly critical of how she was cutting it. I had not been sufficiently self aware and criticized her for how she was cutting my hair. At first, I felt embarrassed and tried to defend my behavior. Obviously, this only made things worse. I had to swallow my pride and admit that I was being childish. And I admit. Swallowing that pride hurt bad!

But, and this is my point, looking back at it now the whole thing was completely insignificant. In fact, today, the day after, now I'm embarrassed that it was so difficult for me to say that I was sorry. I'm thinkin', that's exactly how it is most of the time. We're so caught up in the moment that we lose perspective and the bigger picture.

Conclusion..? The closer another person comes inside our most intimate circle of existence the more vulnerable we become. This vulnerability seems to me is the single most important aspect of personal growth. For while it may be perceived as a major threat to our ego, it mainly is "letting other people in" to truly influence us for good. Then, when we're getting that much needed feedback about any of our flaws it is critical that we put aside our pride and ego and take it in, even though it may seem useless in the moment.

For me... I get energy and renewed motivation every time I'm able to sincerely say I'm sorry. Maybe not in the actual moment, but yes, those few minutes afterwards... they're priceless!

Because --today-- you'll make mistakes again, today is another opportunity to say I'm sorry.