Asking Questions

The most powerful way to interact with others is to ask questions but that is not how we do it.

We more often talk about what we think, what we know and what we feel and totally miss the opportunity to learn and gauge the emotions of those around us.

I worked for a person in broadcasting who constantly questioned me on the latest rumors in the radio industry even though he was more connected to it than I was.

I finally said, “Why do you always ask me about the things you already know?” and he answered, “that’s how I learn more about the industry and about you”.

Asking open ended questions instead of making statements is a skill worth acquiring.

P.S., it works with children, too.

The Best Decisions

More bad relationships are started by doing the reverse – thinking with your heart and not your head.

Feeling with your head is also the reverse of what works best.

To make the best decisions think with your head, feel with your heart – not the other way around.

Rotate Your Greatest Hits

My mother used to prepare the same basic Italian meals – needless to say Sunday and Wednesday were pasta days.

Occasionally she would vary.  Fish on Friday.  Special menu for holidays, birthdays and events.

When I programmed radio stations, we played the most popular hits in a tight rotation over and over again making sure that the most popular songs were being played.

There are things in our lives that make it special – routines, things that always bring us joy.

Rotate life’s greatest hits to make you happy and make it possible to endure all those not so nice things that we have to deal with.

Don’t postpone joy – put it on repeat so it can play over and over again.

Assume You’ll Win

It amazes me how many college students doubt themselves before doing projects, papers, discussions and even internships.

And they may be young and full of potential but they are not the only people who doubt themselves.

The last person to bet against you should be you.

It’s far better to assume you will win and banish every thought of failing.

Imagine if a football team took the field and said, “I’m worried about winning this game”.  Bingo.  Right there, they lose.

We do the same thing by placing a bet on self-doubt instead of self-confidence.

You’ll win.  Period.

If you don’t, you’ll learn and win like that.

The next time you try anything, never bet against the most important person in your life – you.

Shy People

I was shy growing up – so much so that my teachers told my parents to force me to join a theater group to get over it (obviously I protested).

Although I went on to a career on-air in radio and television, teaching and public speaking, I never got over it.  In many ways, I’m still shy and I’m sticking to it.

Sometimes there is an outgoing me and sometimes a private me.

It’s possible to learn how to be bigger, become more outgoing when necessary and even perform in public.

One of my favorite things to do is start a conversation face-to-face with someone I don’t know.

That allows me to channel my “shy” at the same time proving that I can “be bigger” when it is appropriate.

A loud mouth is not better than a wallflower.

It is far better to be many things when needed than all things that are never needed.

The Formula to Win Friends

It’s not about us – it’s about them.

Self-absorption is not new.  It’s been around forever.

The one way to guarantee to make more people like you without having to be someone you are not is to talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Ask questions.

When was the last time someone asked you questions about how you are doing or feeling or about you thoughts and opinions?  And then actually listened without chiming in with their input.

This approach gives you great power to make people crave being with you rather than trying to impress them or win them to your way of thinking.

Then watch … more often than not, they will ask about you.

The power to make friends by being a good listener.

Worry About the Future

Millennials and Gen Z both agree that worrying about the future is the biggest problem they face and it’s certainly not limited to this age group.

51% of 13-17 year-olds and 46% of 18-36 year-olds tell researchers at YPulse something catastrophic will happen in the next five years.

Worry is useless.

Most things we worry about never happen and what few do are not exactly as we feared them.

There is fear thought and there is forethought.

Forethought is thinking about how to manage fears, lower expectations.

One way to change the way you look at worry is to write down your fears every time you have (or obsess) about them.  A month later, see the price you paid for worrying about a fear that feels real but statistically does not have a great chance of happening.

Or as Dale Carnegie called worry – sawing sawdust.

Training for Life’s Marathon

Ever watch a marathon?

After running for hours, the winners are the ones who find a way to dig down, give it everything they have and sprint to the finish line.

In horseracing, jockeys do this with the help of a whip.

According to Running USA the averages are 4:16 for men and 4:43 for women.  About 20% of the participants in the New York Marathon take longer than 5 hours to finish.

Just finishing a marathon is a worthwhile goal, but to win it more is required.

Life is a marathon.

Work is a marathon.

We train for marathons.

We should train for life.

Winning is giving all you have leaving nothing unused.

The Death of Kobe

Life is so short.  He was so young.  His daughter, Gianna, full of promise.  His family devastated.

You never know.

Makes you sad and concerned about how can it be possible to have it all and then have nothing.

When my daughter’s middle school experienced the loss of one of their students to cancer, these young people were shaken and moved to pay their respects and remember his brave fight.  Perhaps not knowing how to grieve, they returned to their daily lives.

The things we cannot anticipate and cannot control are reminders to live life to the fullest and value it.

Tell the people you love that you love them even if you have a hard time finding the words.

Deal with every day adversity even if it isn’t terminal.

And live the only way that is 100% guaranteed – fully focused in the present.

In Search of an Even Keel

Stay in the moment and push back on negative thoughts.

How long can we go without being negative?

Keeping a distance from negativity in any form pays big benefits.

If it’s a painful loss, search for something good.

A huge disappointment – push back on negative thoughts and find a positive.

Imagine how the goalie felt who let the winning goal in to allow the other team to win the Stanley Cup?

Or how coach Pete Carroll handled the sudden defeat of his Seahawks against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.  Russell Wilson’s goal line slant was intercepted giving Carroll and others plenty to second guess for years to come.  Should they have run the ball in one-half yard to a second consecutive Super Bowl victory instead of pass?

Carroll is still coaching – in fact the Seahawks made the playoffs again this year.

Weathering bad luck, misfortune and nagging hurt is easier when you try to maintain an even keel knowing that life is like a roller coaster anticipating both highs and lows.