faux support: cup sizes

Starbucks expresses our ounce options in the faux elegance of Short, Tall, Grande, Venti Hot, Venti Cold and Trenta Cold cup sizes. Wawa is cup sizesmuch more utilitarian if no less direct with 12, 16, 20, 24.

How easy it is to lean on this support system when confronted with an endless day of meetings, intense job responsibilities, family obligations and the day-to-day activities that keep our stomachs and bank accounts full.

The support of coffee.

continue reading…

rising interest: corporate bonds

Cutthroat. Merciless. Fierce. corporate_bond1

Cold-hearted. Brutal. Harsh.

Corporate executives operating with less ruth than an oceanic whitetip shark.

These descriptions may well still be the norm for the Fortune 500s and Russell 2000s out there, yet more and more corporations are demonstrating a rising interest in the opposite approach—offering generous and extended paid parental leave (Netflix), providing free college education (Starbucks), building collegial campuses filled with free gourmet cafeterias, play areas and creative fun (Google), and countless etceteras. These environments yield dedication, gratitude and, to be sure, a willingness to work that much harder.

continue reading…

making a choice: hard rock

How many times have you found yourself in that crushing space, faced with the dilemma of making a choice between two much-less-than-ideal alternatives? Having to choose HardRockthe lesser of two evils speaks for itself, yet difficult choices are often the most helpful in the long run. Why, then, are they generally looked upon as eagerly as invasive surgery?

But our days are filled with just such decisions. Here is one area of life for which acting dispassionately is inarguably the best course of action. Put the inescapable emotional component into perspective and move forward. Avoiding such decisions only makes them harder to make and accept.

continue reading…

the freedom of patience: losing wait

Perspective is among the defining aspects of our days and nights, offering myriad ways to endure what cannot be changed. Why is it, then, that some people consistently face the clock with equanimity and acceptance, while others fight reality with the relentlessness of a watch’s hyperactive second hand? LosingWait2

Two people find themselves in stultifying rush-hour traffic, each needing to attend a key meeting, yet it looks like they’ll be late. (Sure, the easy answer is to simply leave earlier, yet so many no-fault things can interfere with that obvious goal.) One of them constantly cuts in and out of traffic, airbrushing cars right and left, and perpetually instigating the seeds of road rage, with all of that activity gaining a whopping quarter-mile “advantage” after half an hour. The other calls ahead to notify colleagues that he’ll be 30 minutes late, and asks whether the meeting can be delayed or promises to do whatever it takes to catch up with what is missed. He then uses the extra time to make hands-free calls that he’d otherwise have to get done while at the office, or listens to an engrossing audio book or language-learning CD. His blood pressure remains within safe levels and his day is that much richer, generally absent of stress-induced barking.

continue reading…

cutting screen time: embracing turnoffs

Few of us wake up in the morning looking forward to a day of turnoffs.Turn-your-email-off

Yet such days can be filled with the kind of productivity and focus simply not possible without them. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have demonstrated concrete findings that reveal how removing the nonstop distractions of email during the workday not only reduces stress but enables tangibly sharper focus. “We found that when you remove email from workers’ lives, they multitask less and experience less stress,” said informatics professor Gloria Mark, who coauthored the study, “A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons,” with a UCI project scientist and U.S. Army senior research scientist, funded by the Army and the National Science Foundation.

continue reading…

moving forward: reading & righting

Arguments. Disagreements. Disputes.

Or perhaps with a bit of floor polish: contretemps.

They have happened every day among friends, lovers, relatives, spouses and business associates since the beginning of time. Must this state of affairs continue unabridged, accepted as the cost of getting up in the morning, as inevitable as stale bread? Or can people learn to read problems in light of the bigger picture by considering the brevity of life and how genuinely good it feels to be generous, to be forgiving, to be proactive in righting the mistakes that each of us inevitably make? Does the ego really need to hold sway as some sort of unchecked emotional dictatorship?

continue reading…

the meter of daily life: electric company

The refrigerator and stove. ATM and auto-pay. Self-service checkout.20110912170939_Choclectrique

The computer, smartphone and iEverything. Facebook and Twitter. Google and untold others.

Drive-up, drive-through, drop-off everything.

These and all the other accoutrements of daily living can be accomplished with little or no human interaction. But what do our hours mean without meaningful or even passing companionship? In the drive for technological supremacy and efficiency, many tasks can now be accomplished at any hour of day or night, with just a few keystrokes or drops of gas.

continue reading…

the result of indecision: bad whether

In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare makes clear that “our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to badwhetherattempt.” Over four hundred years later, these measured words are as relevant as ever. Must indecision continue to rule the centuries like some perverse King Henry loop?

Three weeks ago, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a way that was initially presented as decisive action, yet was anything but that as its gestation and subsequent reporting had more back-and-forth lobs than a championship tennis match.

The business world rarely has so much at stake (though, to be sure, untold lives have perished due to mercenary decisions and cut corners), yet reckless overspending, massive layoffs and criminal conduct routinely hit the headlines. At the same time, nimble organizations that can decisively weather crises, adapt to changing circumstances and wear the non-stretchable fabric of integrity not only survive but thrive.

continue reading…

the brain-body connection: flat tired

a lack of transparency: stained glass

Why is transparency within the realm of all types of communication—friend-friend, parent-child, husband-wife, manager-employee—so consistently elusive? Why StainedGlassmust the ego so quickly approach the greasy fast-fed drive-thru that values expediency and quick profit over healthy dialogue? Why do so many start with perfection as the baseline, from which there is no room to breathe?

Imagine almost any type of scenario. You’ve borrowed a friend’s or parent’s car and have had an accident that was your fault; does the car’s owner not far more appreciate an immediate admission and pledge to do whatever it takes to right the situation, rather than an elusive answer and possible insurance or courtroom fight? You’ve missed a Friday deadline at work to the detriment of a client relationship; does the client not far more appreciate an immediate call and pledge to work through the entire weekend to right the situation, rather than an elusive excuse and possible contractual fight?

continue reading…