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Archive for February, 2019

Who’s tougher than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (“FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!”).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – his distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy another company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But any job; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

Everyone dreams; for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph!

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what Road Warriors do.  I’m out of practice.

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right.

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Whether you call into the radio station or not; WHO’S TOUGHER THAN YOU!

GAP

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Cynical…

It’s been on my mind lately.  I’m worried about my attitude.  I have so many blessings in my life – but happiness doesn’t feel the way I thought it would.  Maybe you can relate?

Maybe life in the 21st century is wrought with constant stress; continuous motion; always under-the-gun?  Maybe it’s my job?  My department operates by opposite patterns – we are continuously up against project deadlines; yet almost every meeting I attend starts late.  Maybe modern reality has replaced more traditional views on punctuality:

Punctuality is the politeness of kings. 

Louis XVIII

Maybe it’s me?  I know no one is perfect and everyone is busy.  Yet, I seem to be the only one bothered:

I have CDO; it’s like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order – AS THEY SHOULD BE! 

Unknown Sage

Maybe I‘m becoming cynical.  That’s not good.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary©:

1: having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: such as

a: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives… based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest…

What do you think?  Are people today “motivated primarily by self-interest”?  Are you becoming cynical, too?

I try to believe people are fundamentally good.  I think I’m generally trusting; and trustworthy.  But with today’s incessant barrage of spam; self-serving leadership spin; common people constantly being conned by crooks and congressman alike; is it now natural to become “contemptuously distrustful of human nature”?  Maybe Elmer E. Wyland, Founder of the Westernaires (www.westernaires.org ), was a closet cynic:

The more I know adults; the better I like children.  The more I know children; the better I like horses.

Today, will I feel you are motivated primarily by self-interest?  Will you be contemptuously distrustful of mine?

I don’t know – I actually smiled when I read this passage in the book Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea ©:

If you asked anybody in the worldwide offshore community… who was the best ROV operator in the business?  they would say, John Moore.  If you asked them, Who is the most temperamental, cantankerous sonofabitch they’ve ever been around? They would say, John Moore…  I have a foul temper, Moore says of himself, always have and probably always will.  I am firmly convinced that the world is mostly populated with idiots…I didn’t like taking orders from people that are stupid…

Gary Kinder

“The most temperamental, cantankerous sonofabitch around”.  Has a nice ring to it, LoL!  Maybe the world is “mostly populated with idiots”.   I hope not – that would be worse than cynical; that would be downright pessimistic:

Pessimist

A person who not only expects the worst, but makes the most of it when it happens…

In 2019 I need to re-find that trusting, good-natured person I know I can be.  I need to be less cynical; more optimistic:

Optimist

The person who makes it possible for the pessimist to know how happy he or she isn’t. 

Unknown Sage

Not to continue harping on cynical, but … Maybe it’s not being “happy” at all that should be important.  Maybe it’s something else:

I’m not happy, I’m cheerful.  There’s a difference.  A happy woman has no cares at all.  A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them. 

Beverly Sills

That’s it Beverly!  Thank you!  We all have “cares” – it’s how we chose to deal with them that matters.

OK then everyone, let’s look past our cares – and our cynicism – let’s be cheerful in 2019!

GAP

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Luv rules…

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – everyone, it’s not too late.  There’s still time to do something special for that special person.

OK, OK – so I can’t take credit for creating this awesome display of love for my love.  That was someone else’s awesome display of their love for their love.  But I can take “observation credit” for stopping along the roadside while driving through this western Illinois farming community to take the picture, can’t I?  I think my wife will give me credit for a little kind-hearted, photo-plagiarism because I know she knows tomorrow:

Love rules without rules. 

Italian Proverb

Who says men are oblivious and have no powers of observation?  OK – so a billboard is hard to miss; not very subtle.  But observing that man’s demonstration of love reminds us all that tomorrow, no assumptions; no taking her for granted; no obliviousness; no subtleties are allowed.  On Valentine’s Day, we must shout our love for our love from the top of the mountains!  Of course, we hope our women do the same for the men in their lives:

You know “That Look” women get when they want sex?  Me neither. 

Steve Martin

Tomorrow may be a special day in my marriage, but our relationship over the years has taken constant care (and patience).  Thankfully, my wife has patience:

Patience strengthens the spirit,

sweetens the temper,

stifles anger,

extinguishes envy,

subdues pride,

bridles the tongue,

restrains the hand,

and tramples upon temptation. 

George Horne

It’s easier to be patient with the little things I suppose.   But when times get tough, the most convenient person to argue with, vent to, and take our frustrations out on is often our partner, true?  Life seems to move so fast; people seem to be so stressed; the media inundates us with so many sensationalized issues.

I don’t know; are meaningful, loving partnerships easier or harder to find these days?  With everything racing at a break-neck pace, who’s responsible for maintaining a healthy, loving, long-lasting relationship?  Well, here’s a view from Wyatt Webb:

You are 100 percent responsible for 50 percent of any relationship.

Carrying more than ½ the load you say?  Yep – you and my wife, too.

Thankfully, my wife and I are still in love after all of these years.  We will do something quiet this Valentine’s Day; we enjoy our quiet time together – always have.  We’re blessed with sharing many common interests, so spending time together and “decompressing” from our fast-paced life is a nice retreat.

Like you, our conversations will span a variety of topics; children; friends; happy memories; love.  Of course, when we’re together we will also synchronize our calendars; debate upcoming projects; disagree on priorities; discuss business; and almost always review our finances.  Yuck!  Necessary I suppose, but certainly not very romantic.

Yet this Valentine’s Day I will be reminded:

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. 

Mignon McLaughlin

So here’s to February 14th – Valentine’s Day.  May you enjoy it with someone special in your life.  If you’re lucky enough to be in love, may you cherish your quiet time together; sharing common interests; being patient with life’s challenges; relishing the restorative results of romance.

And if you’re with someone but you’re not yet sure if he or she is “the one”, don’t worry – trust your gut feeling:

Love is not finding someone you can live with; it’s finding someone you cannot live without. 

Rafael Ortiz

Love rules without rules on Valentine’s Day – and every day.

GAP

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Impossible …

What do you believe is impossible?  Developing a cure for cancer at one end; or the common cold at the other?  Space travel?  At an individual level – losing weight; quit smoking; getting out of debt; finding happiness?

In the book, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea©, the main character said this about the “impossible”:

Working on the bottom of the deep ocean wasn’t impossible, it was only considered impossible… Other people labeled things impossible not because they couldn’t be done, but because no one was doing them… Realizing that impossibility dwelt only in the imagination was the gateway to a new world of thinking… 

Gary Kinder

OK, he suggests the difference between impossible and possible starts with our belief.   Then a “new world of thinking” can emerge that will lead us to overcome the impossible.  Thinking – systematically; specifically; in ways others have not thought – yet.  Lewis Thomas, President of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute said this:

A good way to tell how the work is going is to listen in the corridors.  If you hear the word “Impossible!” spoken as an expletive, followed by laughter, you will know that someone’s orderly research plan is coming along nicely.

It seems that the path beyond impossible requires dedication and great optimism.  Not some pie-eyed, there’s no place like home, close your eyes and click your heels type of optimism.  But a mindset grounded on a pragmatic process of thinking things through while avoiding the pitfalls of theoretical debates:

Green’s Law of Debate

Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Unknown Sage

In The Path Between the Seas © David McCullough details at great length how prior generations thought of building impossible, man-made monuments, of momentous proportions.   He writes about their new world of thinking; of overcoming obstacles, known and unknown, not the least of which was discovering the cause of and then the treatment for malaria.  Many thought building the Panama Canal was impossible.  Until someone figured out how to build it.

What about today?  Are we enamored with geo-mechanical monuments?  Do our beliefs center around advanced technology; the Internet-of-Things; driverless cars; and drone-delivered pizzas?  What about the Dark Web; spyware; invasive-ware; and other malware – are those “advanced”?

Will we ever center our beliefs (and our resources) on people vs. things?  Mental illness; poverty; homelessness; addictions… can enough money, energy, and commitment ever be harnessed to address these humankind challenges?  Or do we believe finding those solutions is impossible?

No matter which impossible endeavor we chose to address it’s always better when we have support from our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, fellow Americans, or just our boss, true?  But if we are going to overcome the impossible, we need that support early; at the darkest most difficult point in our journey:

Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas

Every revolutionary idea — in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever — evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:

It is completely impossible — don’t waste my time.

It is possible, but it is not worth doing.

I said it was a good idea all along.

Unknown Sage

In 2019, what do you believe is worth doing?  Can it be done?  Or is it impossible because no one is doing it – yet?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Robert Schuller

Indeed.  What impossible feat would we all do for those we know; for those we don’t; for those in need?

GAP

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