Category: Success (Page 1 of 8)

Forty-Five Days of Celebrating My Birthday

The other night was technically the last night I plan to celebrate my birthday with a ‘Birthday Dinner.’ If you want to know, my birthday is in Early March, and I started celebrating it the night before with dinner in Red Bank. Split a giant tomahawk steak for two, and then continued for most of the month. Three trips to Nola’s in Garwood and Sally’s in New Haven for Pizza, 99 Favor Taste and Gyu Kaku for BBQ/Hot pot, Pine Tavern for some steak, and Beckets in NY, Chegg in LBI for wings. I might have missed a few more, I am sure I have. 

Yeah, I enjoyed going out with friends and family. I know in years past I would celebrate a few times and let move on. This year seems different where I almost wanted to find celebrations. Of all the things I have discovered about myself in the past few years writing this, is that I do have a zest for life. Thought throughout my life there have been obstacles the lessons from my parents that they were temporary hurdles or minor inconveniences. I struggled to understand they would always end. 

I have been given the advice that others have problems, often more challenging than yours, and that people would die to have my issues. Just this past weekend while hanging out with a DJ friend of mine who said every time you are frustrated, remember you can play piano and guitar, that are thousands like me that cannot play either. These reminders are why I spent a lot of time celebrating my life. Yes, I might not have some things that are important to me, but I spent time with people who remind me, I have more than others. 

The question really should be is why am I stopping celebrating my birthday? The answer is a bit more optimistic; it is that I want to celebrate life instead. In thirty years, I would love to have the health and youth that I have now. I did spend the last year getting myself in shape, though the latest injury is a struggle, but I need to realize that I need to look to see how far I have come.  

This is starting to sound close to a post I made previously about when climbing a mountain you need to occasionally look down. It is a derivative. That was looking more at a specific task, that if the task takes a long time to accomplish, you need to make sure you see how far you came versus only looking on how far you must go. This states your life is the mountain, and only looking down once a year is not enough. In many cases people talk about how you ‘survived’ another year. I do not want to be one who was told they survived a year; I want to be one who as my kids say ‘slayed,’ the past year.  

Each day may have a challenge, and some challenges pile up, but all of them are just that, something that I know I can get through. I may need help from family, friends, coworkers etc. And spending time with them, dinner, show, just hanging out celebrates our ability to get through the latest hurdle. My current hurdle is an elbow injury, and I did go for help. I doubt I will take out my Physical Therapist out, but my daughter helped me do a few things, my friends helped me with others. The key is do not waste time being frustrated, the problems will be there, and if you get one, another one will show up. Just like any other milestone, celebrate getting past it. My birthday celebration each year will be about how I crushed it.  

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; but it is moderated.

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 an AI tool that allows me to reuse them. I double checked with ZeroGPT, this was not written by AI

Make Mistakes While You are Young…

I made the mistake of saying this to my children, and of course they made one. Fortunately, this mistake is a small fender bender or easy to hit the undo button. In a conversation with a young coworker, I said it, and she looked a bit befuddled, as everyone tells her that and she has no idea what it means.

To better understand this notion of making mistakes while young, let us first explore what we mean by “making a mistake.” In life, you are going to make some adult-level decisions, things like whether to go to college, what college to attend, and what major to choose. At 18 and sometimes 17, these are very adult choices that can determine a lot of the outcome of your life. The interesting thing about many of these is that they are easily changed.

Transferring colleges is not too difficult. If you picked the wrong school, it may bother you or upset you, but it is easy to leave at the end of the semester, take time off, or find a different school. At the end of the day, when someone looks at your resume, they are looking that you got a degree, not how many schools it took you to obtain it. Both of my kids transferred, and one happened to transfer multiple times.

And the decisions do not stop with college. Even after taking your first job, it is not a life sentence. Larger companies have opportunities to transfer, or you have the option of finding a new job. I understand not everyone has the same options, as some may be locationally challenged or face other obstacles in finding a new job.

Now, when I use the term “young,” I am not necessarily referring to chronological age. In many cultures, age determines adulthood, such as at 13 in the Jewish culture or 17 for a driver’s license, 18 for voting, and 21 for drinking alcohol. In Japan turning twenty is known as “Seijin no Hi” or coming of age day, were they dress in traditional attire and attend ceremonies. And the last example is the Amish who at 16 you are seen as transitioning to adulthood, they go through a period called Rumspringa where they can start to explore the outside world.

What I mean by “young” is that you have options open due to the lack of other dependents. Once you have a significant other and/or a family, the decisions are no longer about you. This is a time when it is important for you to have conversations with someone else. I was fortunate to have two of these with my late wife. The first was her changing careers where we set up a plan for her to go back to school and become a teacher. The second was when I was offered a job in NY City, which would reduce the time and flexibility of being closer.

In the end, the key is to remember that the freedom to make mistakes when you are young is not a license to be reckless, but more permission to explore and find your path. Make the choice knowing that you can change your mind or change direction without beating yourself up about it. This should give you the freedom to make decisions without second-guessing. There is a difference between being reckless and freedom, knowing the difference is for another lesson.

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; but it is moderated.  

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 an AI tool that allows me to reuse them.

Do you know what is real, and what is AI Generated?

What if everything you read on the internet was produced using Large Language Models? That all content you thought you are reading was generated by an AI? Would you be able to tell the difference? Can you read something and say, ‘no human would right this?’  

I have some favorite blog authors as well as podcasters. I read and listen to them regularly and wondered how they can be so productive. How they can churn out content as often as they do. I also looked back at my own writing and wondered how original I am? And if you do not know me well enough those thoughts drove me into a black hole of trying to see if how to determine if content is real, or LLM generated. 

First, I found a paper that describes multiple ways to determine if content was LLM generated. Discovered another article that shares words that tip you off that something was written by and LLM. And finally started kicking around with ZeroGPT as a site that allows you to put content in, and it will give you what percentage was written by an LLM! Of course I took my recent posts, and then incredibly old posts and wondered what it would say about what I wrote.  

My most popular post ever was done recently, telling a story about a tree falling in my yard.

It thinks the first two sentences were written by AI GPT, but the rest were not. So, it believes my post was written by a human, which is good. I am not sure a LLM would think of a story like this, nor compare it to a relationship. I went through my team building posts, and then decided to go back to the really old posts.  

First, one of my favorites Disney being the new ’Historians’ as Biopics distort history. This one turned out to be 100% human written. Next my quick thought about sometimes you paint the car, sometimes you paint the fish, also 100% human written. Other ones I won’t link also turned out to be estimated at 100% human written. And one, which is a story I have told often and a quote I use often Even a Blind Squirrel eventually finds a Nut (according to Google this is the most clicked on link from their search), was estimated to be 90% human written, and 10% AGI. Strange as that was written in 2017!  

Of course, next I started putting some of the people I read, and their content to the ZeroGPT test. Most came out with excellence (5% or lower AGI) but there were a few outliers whose content was marked as GPT. I would not say it shocked me that at least a few people were leveraging LLMs to write their content. What I think was shocking is some posts were marked as almost 100% written by AI. 


I am not calling them out by putting any of their content here. And I should note, for the past year or so I have been using a text editor that has some AI built into it. It attempts to correct my grammar, my spelling etc. The AI suggests wording that might be more appropriate. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I do not agree. It is my choice while writing and editing.  

A primary concern when using LLM-generated content is the potential lack of authenticity. Bloggers may unintentionally present ideas or viewpoints that are not their own, compromising their credibility and the trust of their audience. Reader’s value genuine voices and personal experiences, which LLMs may struggle to replicate. 

Looking back at my posts, what amazed me was the influence of others on my writing. Whether it be Bruce Lee (who I quote a lot) authors like Adam Grant, Simon Sinek, other podcasts like TWIT, Hidden Brain, Huberman labs, or even just friends, my views, thoughts, and ideas are an accumulation of what I pick up. And to quote Bruce again ‘Learning is never cumulative; it is a movement of knowing with no beginning and no end.’ I have regurgitated information like an LLM, but I knowingly make choices on what I keep and what I throw out. The algorithm is not guided by any rules, other than the decisions I make. I will continue to ingest from talented authors and podcasters, and I will use them as a guide to discover more about myself. I just hope my output is not decidedly systematic and that my posts are marked as written by an LLM. 

If you made it through the whole post, one paragraph was written by an LLM, wonder if you spotted it. To answer the question, I asked in the beginning. If everything were written by an LLM, it would still be up to us readers to decide if we want to read it, if we stop, then maybe the production of it will be reduced. 

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, and the one paragraph if you can find it. Images are from ZeroGPT, I do not have a financial investment with them, I used the free version FYI.

What Astrophotography taught be about life.

My fascination with the night sky has never dwindled. When I was younger my dad purchased a telescope from Edmund scientific, not sure we were too successful in seeing the night sky, nor were able to get the Pentax Spotmatic to take pictures of it. Recently, having more free time I decided to learn about it. Driven from the Astrophysics class and the pictures that the JWTS took, I found myself diving into another hobby. 

The above picture is the Crab Nebula taken last year from the JTWS (They allow you to download the images but linked to the flikr for you to look at all the pictures. If you know anything about the JWTS, it is not a visible light spectrum camera. In other words, if you flew into space over sixty-five hundred light years away and could see the Crab Nebula in person it would not look anything like this. 

The stunning colors are done with a simple trick. Our brain can only interpret color based on the cone in our eyes absorb one of three colors on the light spectrum (Red, Blue, or Green). Ok, maybe that is simplifying how we see color, more details on how we actually see color is here. Which is a small part of the wavelength. The ROYGBIV, we remember from high school. The scientist (and for this story) and artists who help convert the data coming back from the JWTS to a picture that is visible are done with a simple trick. They assign visible light spectrum to a range in the infrared (IR above) and then render the image in color. They can even change the ranges of infrared to alter the image. There is an art to this.  

What is more amazing is that backyard astrophotographers can do the same thing. There is a website that is dedicated to displaying the Astronomy Picture of the Day (ASOD). Many were taken by NASA, but many as you scroll through the archive are taken by someone in their backyard, or at park. Taking them at home requires some special equipment, but not as much as you think but requires time. In a recent seminar I went to, the lecturer mentioned that it was often twenty to thirty hours of picture taking along with twenty to forty hours of post processing time. The below picture was taken in New Jersey by Brian Brennan, and was the speaker at a local astronomy event. He did this by stacking dozens of individual photos shot with different filters over the course of a few days. 

After hearing how long he spent setting up his rig, taking the picture and post processing my first thought that this is not a hobby for someone with ADHD. But after spending some time researching the equipment, the software etc. I started thinking differently. 

The beauty we see is not often visible to us immediately. Often, we find this beauty after interactions over days and years. I wrote a few times that effort and time needed to climb the mountain made the view better than if someone just dropped you off at the top. It is not just the work; it is the time taken to see what is there. And with each visit you may find something you have not seen before. It is like that movie that you laughed all the way through and watching it again you catch something you missed the previous times you saw it.  

But this is the same with people, we find beauty in them by interacting with them over the course of time. Sometimes we are quick to judge but often we are rewarded with our patience. Like stacking dozens of photos of varying wavelengths to provide a beautiful image, dozens of interactions with someone where the locations and situations become those different wavelengths allows you to paint the picture of who someone is. The final portrait will always be better than just one picture standing alone. 

No, I have not started taking pictures yet, my ferry photos are still my core photography. But I am starting to learn about what equipment I need, the techniques on how to take the photos, and finally how to post process the pictures into an image. I am sure just like the sunrise, sunset, my family, and my friends that I will find beauty when putting it all together. 

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 courtesy of NASA with the links in the blog post.

Career Advice at 50+ .. And giving myself my own Job Title.

Every so often I am asked for career advice, which I take very seriously. In my field, I can give examples of choices I had and made, and the paths of others who made different choices. I have a wealth of stories in my back pocket to give people guidance. But recently I was asked by someone in a completely different profession for career advice. A good friend who I have known since we were little kids. 

I could have gone to the cliche bucked “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” (Marc Anthony) Well I heard this from my parents, many teachers etc. And have previously written about following your dreams quoting people such as Jim Carrey who said, “You could fail at something you hate.” I went as far as to write about the question we get in kindergarten about what you want to be when you grow up, the answer should not be a Doctor, Lawyer, or President. All could have been decent ways to direct my friend. 

When people are asking for career advice there are a lot of key questions to ask. I did ask a few, like what is important to you right now, and what do you think will be important to you in five years? I mostly wanted to hear his concerns about the choice he had in front of him. One common concern among many people who ask for this advice is the fear of failing, the fear that they cannot do succeed at the new opportunity. How do you convince someone that they will succeed? 

To answer my friend was found in a note a scribbled to myself over ten years ago, after learning it from my daughter’s hockey coach who died in a car accident. The note simply states, ‘Hi my name is Larry, and I make a living being myself.’ I responded to my friend that if he takes this new role, what does he think he is going to do differently than he does currently. After some other questions and digging came out was that he was going to be himself. And he is going to succeed not because he is one of the tops of what he does, not because he cares about what he does, that being himself is what gets him clients. He does not need to rethink and change. He needs to embrace what makes him special, and that is to just himself. 

There are very few jobs where every moment is perfect, and every second you are content. Finding what you love to do may not match your ability and I wrote two posts about talent versus skills, but now I throw in something completely different. What about you as a person brings to what are you doing. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube of people shredding on guitar, but how many can write an original composition, how many can make it entertaining, so that you are willing to see them in concert over and over? How many restaurant owners make you feel at home when you are there, and the food tastes that much better? 

This same friend of mine said things to me for the longest time, that I did things my own way and that I did not care if I fit in if I was being myself. When I was younger, I doubted not just what I did for a living, but my life in general. While I do not know how to teach someone to find who they are I did learn to assess when a person is acting as themselves. Often it is work trying to get that real person to surface. I may not be the best coder, I may not be the best software architect, but my teams at building software being myself. Often not knowing I was doing it and not knowing how to describe what I did until I saw that one note. And this was the advice I gave my friend, in either choice you make if you are yourself success will come to you. 

Twenty plus years ago I was working at a different financial institution, and for some reason they did not give us business cards. I was often at conferences, meetings with vendors and other instances where a business card would be useful. This was a time pre-smartphone era where business cards were common. I made my own and for a title I put ‘Web Geek.’ This described more than what I did, but my attitude towards how I did it. I would prefer my business card have as a title ‘Being Myself.’  

Simon Sinek was quoted as saying “Great leaders don’t try to be perfect; they try to be themselves.” It is not simply great leaders, the quote applies to anyone doing anything and with anyone, whether job, with friends, with family or by themselves. To be great, you do not need to be perfect, you need to be yourself. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) 

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. 

I am never really annoyed by an imperfect photo, but am by an imperfect life.

For those who know me personally they have seen my pictures from my commute. I take the Ferry in and during certain times of the year the sun is at a perfect angle for some great shots. Things like weather, cloud coverage, my work from home day and other things help determine the opportunity for a great shot. There are days I bring a Digital SLR (DSLR) as I think they day will be so spectacular that a camera phone will not be good enough. 

The average person can take great shots, they may need some help in framing the picture to get better. But the software on the camera has gotten so much better over the years the small digital cameras are almost gone, and DSLRs are not selling as well.  

One thing I noticed over the years of taking photos is the imperfections in the shots.  

Now in this picture it is easy to spot cause well its circled, that is how I found it. Otherwise, a wonderful picture, no need for filters etc. The bridge on the right, the sun with two birds’ overhead, the waves glistening all give you a calm feeling that I had seeing it in person. Why does this happen? One answer is there is dust on the lens, which to me would look bigger as the lens on a camera phone is small. It could be the light reflecting off another source. And finally, there is lens flare, which happens when you are taking a photo of a light source, in this case the sun. 

Now this photo is more what I think about when I hear lens flare. 

But this blob is not about what they are, how to prevent them or even how to fix them in post processing. I do not like doing post processing, it is partly due to my ADHD, and I see the imperfections the camera records as part of the photo. First there was photoshop, and photographers would spend time cleaning up photos and making them look spectacular. Now there are software tools that you can instantly clean up that spot. Some tools will even remove background items, a stray person that walked in your photo etc.  

These imperfections in my photos I chose not to remove, even knowing it would take a microsecond with the new ‘AI’ enabled software. These imperfections are a reflection on life. First, we cannot clean up every mess before someone notices. It is not possilbe, we make mistakes, forget to do something we are truly imperfect. And the more we strive to be so, the more time we struggle to find the perfection that is not always going to be there. We also try to make our kids’ lives perfect, sheltering them from failure. In doing so we do not let them learn how to be resilient. 

Second, these imperfections allow us to learn to accept others. In a world where we are spending more time pointing out what is wrong, and finding the one thing to disagree with, we miss the beauty that is the rest of the picture. This puts us in a position where the focus is always negative, finding the positive will never come up. By recognizing the inherent beauty in imperfections, we cultivate a sense of empathy and compassion towards ourselves and others. We learn to embrace the imperfect nature of our existence and find solace in the knowledge that life’s challenges and flaws are what make it truly meaningful and worthwhile. 

Last, and the lesson I am struggling to learn is even the best are not perfect. No tennis player has won a grand slam without losing a single point, no driver who won a race says every lap was perfect, no actor in a play has done his lines perfectly every live performance, even the greatest guitarist and keyboardists make a mistake live, but here I am again not posting a blog post, not playing guitar live, not going out enough worried about one small pixel of imperfection. I do show my pictures to friends and family, occasionally post one on social media and I never cared about if it was the best one, if every pixel was perfect. Strange how I need to remind myself, enjoy the imperfections of life, they make it interesting. 

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.  

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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