Month: February 2024

A Tree fell down and though I did not hear it, I did listen to it.

I live in a suburban area, with a house, a yard, trees etc. I grew up in the same type of environment, so this is all I know. My backyard contains ten or so trees that were planted by the builder at the request of the town. Over the years I have watched the trees grow and grow and grow. The old story of a man planting a tree with his son, and the son thanking him years later as he uses the tree is very relatable.  

As big as the trees have grown something happened to one of them. We had an intense storm with lots of wind. Well one of the trees was pulled down in the wind. After about 25 years of growth now gone in one storm. As with all homeowners the first thing I was happy about was the tree fell away from the house, and everyone was safe. Second, I was thinking what it was going to cost me to get the tree cut up and removed. Now, as I sit and look at the stump which is all that is left, I find the meaning I need to be reminded about.  

Often, we learn lessons, and we forget those lessons. The simple fact that something that takes so long to grow, nurture, and provide can be gone in one swift moment. This goes for many things in life, trust, relationships, business etc. It can be like a storm; one mistake can wipe out all that you worked hard for. Some famous people found one tweet transformed them from being famous to being infamous.  

Why did I need to be reminded? I am writing this on February 25th, my late wife’s birthday, and what is the lesson I should have learned? Should it be not to invest the time on something that could be taken away? That I act as my kids say in a ‘Yolo’ fashion? That I should tread lightly and look for any signs of weakness and do immediate repairs? That I need to attach myself to my loved ones in case they are not around? That I hold the people close to me tightly? 

All those lessons are ok, but what I chose to learn was that I should enjoy the gifts the tree had given me over the years and plant one to replace it. During the summer the tree gifted us shade from the hot sun, and in the winter, it reduced the wind. That with all relationships we should enjoy every moment that comes with it knowing that all end in someday. The time to clean up the tree and the cost relates to the healing that is needed after it ends. And planting a tree to replace it is the gift that will grow into something special. Lastly, learning a lesson happens often, but sometimes we do need to be reminded just in case.  

Disclaimer 

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them. 

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.   

Another Lesson From Bon Jovi… and why being too lazy to take down a Christmas is a good thing…

How long after the holidays are you supposed to take down your ourside lights? What about your Christmas tree? What if first I told you we were Jewish, and second that our tree is still up? And due to my daughter’s ADHD, we have not taken it down any time soon. I decided why should we? 

Last year my kids decided they wanted Christmas trees. They went out and bought three artificial trees. It was a fun thing to do. This year they put it up, and even though we do not celebrate Christmas for Hanukah when Ariel’s present came in, I put it in a gift bag and put ‘FROM: SANTA’ on a sticky note. It became a running joke as we put other presents under the tree.  

It is now mid-February, and the tree is still up. My kids are not taking it down, so I decided to do something with it. Why should we only celebrate getting presents one day (or week) a year? Bon Jovi has a song ‘I Wish Everyday Could be Like Christmas,’ so why not put all the packages that arrive under the tree. And yes, I wrote about a lesson I learned from Bon Jovi last week also, so I can hear the Jim Gaffigan voice saying, ‘How many posts is he going to do about Bon Jovi.’ I cannot promise this is the last one. Ariel and I get regular deliveries for our workout routines, we get regular deliveries for the dog and other miscellaneous packages. I put each package under the tree. Just like it is a holiday gift. The packages sit under the tree until we are ready to open them, and it is like getting a gift. 

I took a few minutes staring at the tree and debating whether I should take it down or not. One of the things I remember is the old saying ‘pay yourself first.’ Now in the investing world it is to put something away in savings. But one of the questions is what are you working for? If you pay all your core bills, and then put the rest for savings, seriously what are you working for? Having a dog is a luxury, so her treats that come in the mail are extra. I spend money on both my daughter’s and my health, this is also extra. Of course, there are books and other things I buy that are really gifts to myself. Why don’t I treat them as gifts? Why don’t i make a big deal about getting myself (or my kids) something? 

I have written previously about the importance of looking down when climbing a mountain, and to celebrate small wins on to a larger victory, and being able to get yourself gifts no matter how small should be celebrated. Keeping a tree reminds me that as packages arrive why not put them under the tree and open them like it is a holiday. Thus, you are paying yourself, and no matter how small the gift is celebrated you are taking care of yourself.  

What is the last small gift you bought yourself? Put it in a gift bag you have lying around the house and open it with the joy and excitement of Christmas.

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them. 

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.  

 

Another Lesson I learned from Bon Jovi other than being philanthropic…

Jon Bon Jovi accepted awards for MusiCares person of the year, and for those wondering if I am going to write about his philanthropic nature, sorry not this time. I found myself on Sunday afternoon in which I wrote two blog posts and just scrapped them. They both had some notes from during the week, I did some research but neither seemed to be up to my standards. What does this have to do with Bon Jovi? 

Bon Jovi released two albums, the eponymous Bon Jovi and later 7800 Fahrenheit. Both did not do too well commercially and on the third album they brought in songwriter Desmond Child. After having some commercial success with Kiss, Desmond came in with one line in his pocket. That one line is not important, it is what the band did. They wrote thirty songs together which in the infamous Pizza listening session cut it down to 10 select songs. 

I knew the story for years, and no I was not at the pizza parlor, nor was I one of the teens. It is not Bon Jovi that does this for albums, Aerosmith for Pump wrote 19 songs and from that 10 were chosen. Searching the web, artists start with twenty to thirty songs making rough demos. From that take around fifteen songs into the studio, and from that nine or ten make an album. Doing some simple math only one-third of the songs written make it to an album.  

This was not news to me; in fact, it was something that I knew about. I have jokingly mentioned when listening to an album and hearing an awful track I wondered what was cut for this one to make the album. Not songs that are not hits, but songs you wonder how it made the album at all. What I never thought about was how often I scrapped ideas and does the math add up? That everything I write meets my standards for being worthwhile to be published.  

There is musing about an artist I knew years ago who everything he painted was fantastic. One day at his house I was talking to his wife, and just said everything he does is amazing. She led me to the back where she showed me a shed of canvases that had been cut up with a chainsaw, axe, or both. And until now I have never related it to my writing. In a post just last year I talked about not being bothered about the posts I have in draft. There are many I start and just delete after I read them. 

I am now laughing as on my third attempt at writing this weekend I found one that fits my blog well. I did not want to resort to asking AI/ML to write one for me. And as I wrote previously that I do not worry too much, something will come to me. While in the shower after my workout I produced the idea of this. I produced a few ideas and started to sketch them out. This one stuck.  

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them. 

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.   

Nonverbal Confessions while trying to focus… How ADHD Strategies go wrong

I fidget, it is a way that I help stay focused due to my ADHD. I could be doodling during a meeting, swinging my feet or when at a standing desk moving side to side. These actions are some ways that allow me to focus on a meeting, a task or a thought. What I never thought about is someone who does not know me, and what they might think are the nonverbal cues I might be giving them. 

I often heard the saying that ninety percent of all communication is nonverbal. I have repeated that statement. There are some classic books about Body Language and how to read people for use in interviews, lectures and even dating. I am not sure the authors ever considered that sometimes body language can be confused with strategies for those trying to concentrate. 

The ninety percent, or the ninety three percent number was based on a study in the 1960s by professors at UCLA including Albert Mehrabian. I will leave it to you to read his study, but he broke it down to 7% Actual Verbal Communication, 38% Vocal Liking, and 55% Facial Liking. Since only 7% were verbal, the other 93% must be nonverbal. Yes, I do know that Charles Darwin wrote about it in 1872 but did not put a number to it. And over time the details of the study were mostly not discussed, and people drifted towards just using 90% as a number. Of course, in the 1960s ADHD was not even a diagnosis yet, nor did people trying to find strategies to help focus. 

I have stated before I have not yet started taking medication for my ADHD, it is not that I do not believe in it, but I do not take it and I use the words ‘yet.’ I have worked on multiple ways to manage and help me focus. If I know I do not need to take notes at a video-based meeting (not in person) I like to stand. I can sway side to side, and it allows me to focus in on meetings. If I am home, or when I have an office, I can pace back and forth, and this has the same effect. Some in person meeting I choose to have my iPad with me or a notebook and write a lot. Many of the notes are about the meeting but there are sidebar notes of other thoughts that come up. The simple fact of writing them down means I do not need to dwell on them and can refocus on the meeting. There are plenty of articles written about fidgeting and focus

While I was focused on myself and being able to get the work done, what I did not think about is how other people are affected by my fidgeting. Does the person across from me in a meeting think that my swinging my foot shows that I am nervous? What about going on a date, does changing my arms from folded to open and then to figuring out what to do with my hands show that I am not paying attention. The goal of all that was to help me focus on the conversation at hand, but I could be giving the other person nonverbal cues that I do not like them. What is even funnier, in any face-to-face conversation if the other person beings to  mirrors my movements without thinking, thus my fidgeting makes them fidget. This could be my kids, my boss, my friends, anyone.  

I do think of myself as good at reading a person’s nonverbal cues. The inflection in a friend’s voice this week let me know how much pain they were in yet trying to hide it, the glow someone had as they were super happy, the enjoyment someone had playing music live and at a concert seeing the body language as he struggled to sing with a cold. By no means am I an expert as sometimes I have no clue. Now looking at a few of them I am wondering if the nonverbal cues I was giving made them adjust, altering what would have been their norm. Sometimes the best way is to either ask or bring it up in the conversation in a playful way. Eric Martin of Mr. Big joked Friday night as he struggled to sing at one point asking the audience to sing their biggest hit as he could not hit the notes. I wrote last week about the power of words and the effect they have on the mind. Today I am talking about the power of nonverbal communication, but the caveat is one should confirm the latter. And personally, I need to verbally show that my fidgeting did not mean I was not listening.  

I am sorry if you misread me, I will try to do better.  

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them. 

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.  

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