IFX Group 2005 Web Log
- Noise blindness. (January)
- Grounding the Dream. (February)
- Change, Progress and Responsibility. (March)
- The Write Word. (April)
- You have my word. (May)
- The Bad Diet Game. (June)
- Broken Bones. (July)
- Hard Hours. (August)
- Do it yourself. (September)
- Tripping. (October)
- It isn't everything. (November)
- Quarterly Report. (December)
January, 2005 - Noise blindness.
The recent tsunami destruction in many countries around the Indian ocean is tragic both in the cost of human life and in personal loss for some of the poorest people in the world. But there is one part of this story that stands out from the rest.
The lack of animal bodies in the destruction is causing some to speculate that animals have spiritual ability or a sixth-sense that allows them to detect disaster before it happens. But what if the real answer is more simple?
Some of the hardest hit beaches were well accepted as the most beautiful out of all of the beaches in the world. Many of the visitors were there to relax and escape the noisy troubles and frustrations of their daily life. But did they really escape the noise by leaving it behind?
What if the animals were just less preoccupied with their own personal noise so they could hear and see the changes in the environment around them? To the average noisy and preoccupied person, the ability to quietly sidestep disaster could appear to be magical.
Is all the noise inside and around us actually drowning out the important things we should be hearing and seeing?
February, 2005 - Grounding the Dream.
There are times when the term
visionary is used in a derogatory way to describe someone with lofty and impossible-sounding dreams filling their head causing their feet to be too far off the ground. This most often comes from people with their feet and their minds firmly on the ground and the minutia of daily life with no understanding of how visionary people fit into the world.
The visionary is the crazy person that climbs the highest tree in the forest, looks out at the horizon of possibilities, notices a bright spot and points others in the direction to reach that spot. It is then up to the ground-level people to hack their way through the underbrush of daily life to make a path in a direction they may not fully understand.
When the two work together, the path is direct and both reach the bright spot. When the vision is lost, the people on the ground tend to run around aimlessly wondering why things are always the same. When the ground support is missing, the visionary simply gets lost in the clouds or in the underbrush.
As a general rule, the corporate world has lost all sense of vision by actively shunning and discounting visionary people as radical and dangerous. They plod around in circles, repeating their own historical mistakes and wonder why things are not getting any better. Terms like
invention are more commonly used as marketing terms and are totally missing the required visionary component that makes them useful.
We need to put the two parts back together because it takes both kinds of people to make big things happen.
If you are a person that finds dreamers and visionaries to be difficult to understand, go out and find one! You need a visionary to help point the way to distant places you can't see yet. You will spend less time wandering around and will get a greater sense of satisfaction out of the things you accomplish. And don't be afraid to let the visionary do something crazy and climb a tree or two so they can make sure the path is still going the right direction.
If you are a person that finds people that are focused on the minutia of daily life to be difficult to understand, surround yourself with them. They are the best people to translate your visionary direction into motion. Let them do what they do best without having to explain things to you. All you need to do is point them in the right direction and remind them from time to time when a small course correction is needed.
Without a vision to direct us, we are doomed to walk in circles for our whole life only to end up right where we started.
Where is your counterpart?
March, 2005 - Change, Progress and Responsibility.
The world is always changing right before our eyes, but some people are unwilling or unable to recognize the change. The world of our youth does not exist anymore and yet some still act as if things will go on unchanged forever. As a general rule, change is inevitable because we are either growing or dying. There is no third choice.
Some change is good and is affectionately called progress. But progress brings responsibility. For example, electricity brings a whole host of abilities to our homes and lives, but an unprotected wire can do a lot of damage.
The Internet is seen as a good change by most. But there is a rather large issue for those who use it. It all comes down to having a realistic perspective and understanding about networking. It is very easy for a novice to see the benefits of connecting their computer to the larger network of
inter-networked computers because they can now reach all kinds of other places on the network.
This is the point where the average person gets deceived. Thinking that the Internet is a one way connection is a big mistake when it really is two way. Other computers can reach you just as easily as you can reach them. The responsibility for your own Internet security and protection is up to you. A good place to start is to regularly perform scans for bad things like virus, worm, spyware, etc. on your computer using the latest detection and removal tools. Then look for how those bad things get into your computer and consider not using the programs that allow the bad things in. Any change that makes fewer bad things show up on your computer is a good thing.
If you are connected to the Internet, everyone else is connected to you. What are you doing about it?
Twenty years ago the business world was just waking up to electronic communication through the written word in email. This sparked a revolution that launched the BBS market and ultimately opened the door to the explosion of the Internet in a commercial way.
A century ago it could take hours to properly compose and write a letter and potentially weeks or months to deliver. Today there are more people writing more words faster than any point in the history of this planet and the expectation of instant delivery is common place.
Even with the exponential growth in the volume of written words being generated on a daily basis, the quality of those words has been steadily declining. It seems that very few people actually care if they know the difference between simple words like
no. It seems that as long as a spell checker thinks the word is correct, then it must be the right word.
Dew ewe no the write word too use sew others understand you're meaning?
The above line passes a spell check, but the individual words do not mean anything close to what was intended. Please take a few extra seconds to select and use the correct words in your communications. Those extra few seconds can help us all avoid some potentially costly misunderstandings.
Not too long ago there was a commonly accepted saying that demonstrated the trust we placed in the words that others said. When someone would say that we have their word that they would do something, it was a promise we could count on and did. Somewhere along the way we lost this ability to trust in the words of another, but maybe it is because we never had any real value to our words.
Word value is not something that can be given or bought. It must be cultivated and grown. We must start with small things and prove that what we say is what we do. It starts small with something as simple as the phrase
I'll call you back at the end of an interrupted phone call. If we call back within an hour, that adds value to our word. If we call back next week, that doesn't really add much value even though, technically, we did what we said we would.
If we are trying to squeak by on technicalities, that is the best value our words will have.
The most direct way to grow more value is to not say things we don't intend to do today without also adding the time frame it will be accomplished. If we can't do it in that time frame, say so. The value of our word will not go down because we didn't accomplish what we said, it will actually go up because we admitted that we remembered our word and cared enough to amend it and inform the person waiting to see if we can keep our word or not.
June, 2005 - The Bad Diet Game.
It is a very sad commentary on western society, and specifically the population of the USA, that so many people are so fixated on fad diets to help tame their ballooning body sizes. These are people that otherwise would be considered to be of average intelligence with the ability to think rationally about solving their own problems. But for some strange reason, all self control and possibility of rational thought are nearly impossible when it comes to food.
Take a look at the population of any other country in the world and you will find that only a small fraction of their society is obese. In some countries like Japan, many of those fat people have actually made a choice to be that way, like the Sumo. If our weight is nothing more than the result of a choice, then why can't we choose to not be fat?
In an effort to help those with minds too weakened by overdoses of sugar and fat to realize that the following is humor, we provide our official list of fantastic diets.
The most interesting thing about a broken bone is how it mends. The process of knitting bone to bone creates a structure that is far stronger than the original bone. This makes it amazingly hard to break a bone more than once in exactly the same place.
Some people break bones at the slightest stress, but most are able to go through the daily stress of life without breaking any bones. How is this possible? It might be the ability to only fracture our bones on a very small scale and repair the weakness before it becomes a full break. Ultimately it is this process of mending weak spots before a break that builds up our internal structure. It is commonly known that exercise with weights will strengthen bones, but less commonly known that it is actually the process of mending very tiny fractures that makes us stronger.
What if relationships also have an internal structure that follows mending rules like our bones? As different stresses are applied to the relationship, different levels of fractures may result. Every close relationship will experience some stress, but the most important part is how mending happens.
In the case of fractures, noticing the weakness and working to mend it early is important. If a break happens, it may require an external splint to keep the pieces aligned until the mending process can bridge the gap. If a total shatter happens, it may require that some temporary pieces be put in place to make the gap easier to mend in smaller increments. Only in extreme cases will a doctor be forced to amputate. Unfortunately, way too many people appear to be willing to go for the amputation option even when the bone is just slightly fractured.
The key to mending is to avoid repetitively stressing the break. Forgive. Don't be angry at the bone because it broke, be tender and gentle instead. Listen to the pain and let it tell you what hurts. Allow time to heal even if there is some itching. Ultimately things will be much stronger and able to hold up under much heavier stress than ever before.
The United States is the only major industrialized country whose citizens are not entitled to time off (vacation) by law with the average person working 100 hours per year more than the average Japanese and 350 more hours a year than the average European.
The average European has a more involved family life and spends much more time with their children. Maybe this is a contributing factor to why many of these countries have lasted for many hundreds and even thousands of years.
Is all that extra time at work helping or hurting your family relationships? There are plenty of real-life examples where married people publicly demonstrate that time with a kind and understanding person is worth more than money from an absent spouse. This is a case where time does not equal money when time to keep a relationship alive is what you really need.
Time is a resource we can not store. Invest your time wisely, especially with the ones you love.
September, 2005 - Do it yourself.
Gandhi once said
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Some people are unhappy with the way things are, but are unwilling to act on what they feel. Some of them openly hinder and denigrate the people who are trying to help make a difference. It is clear that hurtful comments are not doing much to help improve the situation. So why not put all that energy into something that will actually make things better?
We all will feel the impact of Hurricane Katrina, in our gas tanks, wallets and lives. But complaining about the rising cost is not helping to make things better.
If you want things to change, start in your own back yard. Do what you can to make things better for your family, friends and neighbors. For example, if you don't like the price of fuel for your car, drive less, get a more efficient car or use public transportation. This will both help your own pocket and, when combined with others doing the same, will help the whole world.
If enough back yards are changing, the neighborhood will change too. If enough neighborhoods are changing, the city will change too. And if enough cities change, the state will too. And if enough states change, the country will too. And if enough countries change, the world will too.
It all starts with changing what you can in your own back yard.
Be the change you want to see in the world and we all benefit.
Some people say that reaching the goal is the only reason for travel. Others say that enjoying and learning from the trip is the goal. The difference between these two is most visible along the side roads of our most beautiful byways.
Watch the slow drivers that cruise at or slightly below the posted speed limits obviously enjoying the views. Then watch all the frustrated drivers that pile up looking so hard for a chance to pass that they totally miss the beauty all around them, endangering themselves and others when they finally pass even when unsafe. Both drivers will reach the same goal, but only one will have enjoyed the trip.
In life there are fast and slow drivers. We all will reach the end of our trip and die sometime, that is the unavoidable goal. So the only question left is how fast we will get there and what we see and do along the way.
Is your life going too fast to let you see and enjoy the beauty around you? Are you pushing so hard to get ahead that the trip is just getting in the way? Is living life so fast that the whole world is a blur and reaching death sooner worth all that effort?
November, 2005 - It isn't everything.
- It can buy beds, but not sleep.
- It can buy blood, but not life.
- It can buy books, but not knowledge.
- It can buy clocks, but not time.
- It can buy degrees, but not understanding.
- It can buy medicine, but not health.
- It can buy position, but not respect.
- It can buy sex, but not love.
- It can buy almost anything you want, but not much that you really need.
Money isn't everything, and it often causes pain and suffering. So why should you suffer? I tell you all this because I am your friend, and as your friend I want to take away your pain and suffering. Would sending your money to me help ease your suffering?
It is bad luck to be superstitious.
- Andrew W. Mathis
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
- Edward Gibbon (1737 - 1794)
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
- Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)
People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they worry if they are catching cold.
- John Jay Chapman
All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination.
- Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)
Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.
- Dale Carnegie
Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
December, 2005 - Quarterly Report.
Why do stockholders expect so much in a quarter of a year?
It seems like stockholders have become blind to the important things required to reach long-term goals while focusing a blindingly harsh spotlight on a very short period of time.
What can you do in three months to make a drastic improvement in your life? What can you do in the three months that follows that to make an even more noticeable improvement? How many three month periods can you keep this up before you are forced to mortgage away your future to satisfy this three month period gain?
What would happen if we put this same pressure on other areas of our life? If you don't eat less and work more in the next three months than you did in the past three, you are too expensive to keep around. Every mistake you make will be met with a sharp reduction in your salary while every success you make will be met with an increase in the demand to do more.
Is this reasonable? Is this sustainable?
Here is an easy way to save everyone, including yourself, a bunch of money - don't sue. There are advertisements in almost every media promoting the
free money you can get by employing the lawyer with a track record of going after the big money. But where does that big money really come from?
There are really only three sources of money that can be tapped in any lawsuit.
- Taxpayer (when the Government pays and raises your taxes)
- Consumer (when a company pays and rolls it into product cost)
- Investor (when a company pays out of profits and rolls it into product cost)
Do you ever wonder why some products and services cost so much? Why are good doctors forced to pay such high malpractice insurance? Why are modern companies forced to retain such large teams of lawyers? Could it be that you are already paying for someone else's (or your own) lawsuit?
Before you sue, think about where the lawsuit money comes from. It may be your own pocket.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. Douglas Adams