A Few Interesting Items

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A really great article about connecting with others can be found at How to Become Insanely Well-Connected. Consider:

  • Being a good listener is about two things: 1) Demonstrating that you’ve heard exactly what was said by the other person, and 2) encouraging them to continue.

  • I’ll often start that conversation saying, ‘I’m wrong all the time and I very well may be here.’” Acknowledging your own fallibility and human imperfection can go a long way toward making yourself relatable.

  • End every meeting or conversation with the feeling and optimism you’d like to have at the start of your next conversation with the person. “Assume you’re going to run into everyone again — it usually happens either by plan or happenstance,” says Fralic. “There are no closed connections. The world is too small.” When you do meet again, you want the person to think, ‘Oh great, it’s so-and-so!’

The Brightest People Do 9 Things That Really Stand Out, Says a Harvard Prof has a few brilliant, summarized things to consider. I love these points from the list:

  • When confronted with a new situation they ask questions that efficiently get to the heart of the unaddressed issues.

  • It is not uncommon for a very smart person to see deeply into a problem and say things that indicate such depth, even when they are not widely understood, and their insight only becomes apparent long after the fact.

  • Smart people are a constant source of surprises — in their ideas, in their wordplay, in their questions, or in some other way. Whatever fuels their smarts cannot be corralled, and leads to unpredictable moments (at least to mere mortals).

  • There is always something about an intelligent person that you cannot quite put your finger on. It is just out of reach, and it makes them inscrutable.

An interesting article about averages and how we are always comparing ourselves to others. Read “What Are You Hiding?” which has this wonderful line which we’d be good to embrace,

If you are lucky, you figure out you are not average, love that part of yourself and find people who will also love you for it.

I’ve read three other posts this past week that have caused me to really pause and think, but I’m not ready to post them yet. Perhaps sometime later. Maybe. One was about intolerance and anti-intellectual thinking and two were about male dominance over females in society and the effects and issues. Both need further processing by me.

Please share back with me if you find a thought-provoking article that meant something to you.

The Workplace and Simplification

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A friend shared a great TEDx Talk with me recently about the workplace and simplification and about asking the right questions.

I quit my job as CIO over a year for several reasons that I won’t go into here. Since then, I’ve thought about lessons learned and perhaps, things I might have done differently at different times in the role.

I think this talk gets to the heart of it. An organization must prioritize simplification, removing bureaucracy, be nimble and fast and create a culture where asking and answering hard questions is the way things are done. Seems like more could have been done on this front.

I really did love the people I worked with there and recently had a chance to see some of my colleagues for a visit. It was a great time.

 

Post Privacy

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I read this amazing article this past week entitled Your Privacy is Over and afterward I read another article that indicated that without privacy, democracy is in trouble and in fact, can’t exist. I’ve lost the link to the later article although using search I found several along those lines here, here and here but none of these seem to be the one I’m remembering.

In any case, read the Your Privacy is Over article and give it some thought. I don’t think we really grasp the depth of this change yet its implications are huge.

privacy is threatened on a scale we have never thought about. We are entering the post-privacy age.

I wrote recently about telling someone I needed something and then it shows up on a search on an unrelated mobile app that had no connection between what I said and this app. No connection at all.

The threat to democracy that these articles are talking about is rather scary. Without privacy and secrecy, it is hard for dissent to have a safe place for dialog and organization.

Apple taking the stand to keep their mobile platforms private and secure really seems like the right thing to do even when it causes other problems.

These are some of the hard problems of the future. More on this soon.

PS. here is a post on how to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour.

Life is Damn Hard

Facebook is a weird, surreal place. There are posts about people having babies right next to friends who are battling cancer right next to people who have lost their job right next to announcements about new grandbabies. It is surreal.

I’ve reached a point where I’m mostly scared to post anything because there are so many different perspectives or experiences that people are living through and I’m worried about saying the wrong thing to someone at the wrong time.

I have friends in life and death battles with cancer. Loved ones who’ve lost jobs and because they are over 50 can’t seem to find a new one. Friends whose kids are going into drug counseling centers.

Life is hard.

I will tell you that I believe there is a story unfolding. That there is a purpose and a direction and that life if meaningful. I believe that there is an author. I believe that the Christian message is fundamentally true. This world is broken and there is a redeemer.

Christians over the years and centuries have completely messed up the message with crusades, political campaigns, and endorsements of the absurd yet I still believe the underlying Christian message is true. 2000 years ago God stepped into the world and showed us a different way. A light is shown into the darkness. There is hope.

Nothing else seems to make sense to me.

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Tonight is a night of darkness where I’m grieving for several. However, I believe there is hope and a light. If you are in a dark place, there is light. Look for it. Seek it.

 

A Suggestion for Purchase?

Monday I told a friend that I should get some chocolate chip cookie dough to cook at home. My wife is gone, I just ran a marathon, I deserve some freshly baked, hot chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday when using the Walmart Grocery app to order a few things for pickup, the top suggested item for me was Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I have never ordered such from Walmart and never searched for such. What an amazing coincidence? How is this possible? Options:

1) Using big data analytics, Walmart decided they should suggest cookies to me based on subtle hints and data gathered over time from web browsing, purchase history, zip code, time of day and what car I drive.

2) My mobile phone was with me when I made the comment about cookies on Monday. The microphone was being monitored by some cloud engine tied to Walmart and the request was turned into a suggestion next time I used the Walmart app.

3) Random chance suggested cookies out of the millions of options in the Walmart catalog.

4) Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie is one of the most shopped for items that Walmart fulfills so they suggested it to me.

Disturbing at the least.  Thoughts?

Hard Things

I ran a marathon last weekend. I was better prepared for this marathon than any of the others I’ve run.

My 1st marathon was hard and I struggled but I was naive and didn’t know what to expect so I get a hall pass for that one. My dear and fierce running partner had to get me through that one. The second one happened on a hotter day than expected with a lot of wind and a lot of allergens in the air. That one didn’t go well either. Both of those were in OKC. My next one was at Disney and everything is magical there and, of course, it went well. My fourth was in Dallas and it was our fastest one with a PR that was 37 minutes faster than any of my prior marathons.

This spring we had our best training runs ever. We were running nearly a minute per mile faster than our PR pace in Dallas. So far this year I’ve run 586 miles when last year all year long I ran 794 miles. My partner and I have a goal this year of running 1400 miles and we are ahead of that target.

My expectation for the OKC Memorial Marathon where high. Our target was 14 minutes faster than our PR in Dallas with a stretch goal 8 minutes faster. We were confident and ready.

I’m a very analytical person who uses spreadsheets and plans and writes up 4 pages of notes prior the marathon to discuss and consider with my partner. Yes, I do that. We had strategies and tactics and computers and Garmin watches.

636608467845604642Unfortunately, the temperatures on race day started higher and then rose a lot higher than expected. We started in shorts and tanks and were glad to be wearing them and when we finished, the temp was over 80 degrees. My watch said 81 degrees. We had not done any long runs at those temps this year.

Probably the back 40% of the run I was struggling due to the heat and we had to slow way down. It was difficult and hard, but we kept going. We ended up finishing about 14 minutes slower than Dallas and about 27-28 minutes slower than our target.

My reactions on race day were of disappointment because I wanted to do better. My expectations were different than what we were able to achieve.

However, as I thought more about this, I’ve completely changed my view. Just being out there, healthy and running, is an amazing gift and I’ve realized just how wonderful it is to be out there and doing these hard things.

I learned in the final, official results that I finished in the top half of my age group. I’ll take that. I realized the day after the marathon that I finished this one about 30 minutes faster than my prior best in OKC. I’ll take that. And I finished on a hot day and I’ll take that too.

And I was out there running with my dear and fierce running partner being cheered and supported by three others who traveled around the course to help and cheer for us. One of the three supporting and cheering us is battling cancer and she is a dear and fierce person herself. Just to be out there with her was a delight. Having her giving me orange slices and bottles of water and a wet towel and sending us confidence was a wonderful experience and part of a wonderful day. It turns out my biggest regret is not getting a picture of them and us together at some point in the race. The five of us getting a selfie. Note for future marathons, make sure that happens.

Go find some dear friends. Do hard things. Enjoy the experience. Cheer for someone else.  Get out there.

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Can’t Seem To Work Together

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I wrote a piece on Facebook a few days ago about the teacher strike in Oklahoma and its conclusion and results.

My compliments and thanks to all the teachers in Oklahoma, and the associated supported staff and leadership, who stood up to the Oklahoma legislature and governor and called for change. You’ve made a difference.

Mary Fallon, you were AWOL. You weren’t there on the ground trying to help find a solution. You were elsewhere. You should be embarrassed.

Now it is time to hold the legislature and our candidates for the next governor accountable for what they said and what they didn’t say.

The real issue in Oklahoma is that our legislature can’t solve problems, can’t work together, can’t collaborate, can’t compromise. Some are ideologues who can’t work with others. Some only want victory for ‘their party’ and some are just plain idiotic. I say vote them all out. Let’s put new people in our government offices and see if the new legislature can work together to solve our problems and move us into the future.

Probably we need to revise taxation on companies and industries, probably we need to consolidate school districts, probably we need to change tax structures, probably we need to reconsider what has been done in the past and find a better path to the future. Let’s elect people who can get us there.

Teachers, thank you for starting this process.

I keep reflecting on how hard it is for our elected officials at the state (and of course the Federal level) to work together. We’ve become polarized and we’ve elected people into offices who are ideologues and simply can not compromise or collaborate.

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There are times when you need to get together and figure out how to fix or improve something and it might require new thinking, a fresh approach, a break from the past, or heaven forbid, a reversal on a previous position. It just seems to me, that the number of ideas that one should cast into concrete and never reconsider or reevaluate is very small.

Perhaps, just be uncompromising and dogmatic on the side of Kindness. Maybe that is the rule to keep at all times. Make the decisions, judgments, rules, and laws that err on the side of Kindness.

Elections are circling around soon. Let’s find some people at the state and federal levels who can solve problems, move us forward and move us more in the direction of tolerance and kindness.

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