Sunday, August 31, 2003

Labor Day is coming...different takes on work

"The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work."
-Richard Bach

"To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth."
-Pearl S. Buck

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through
the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in
whose presence his heart first opened."
-Albert Camus

"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work
is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must
be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as
well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing."
-Thomas A. Edison

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only
with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the
gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy."
-Kahlil Gibran

Taking life too seriously?

"Do not take life too seriously; you will never get out of it alive."

"Reality is something you rise above."
-Liza Minnelli

"The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender,
religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is the fact that, deep
down inside, we all believe we are above-average drivers."
-Dave Barry

"Sure, I turned down a drink once. Didn't understand the question."

Great line from Seabiscuit and more...

My wife Mary and I saw the movie "Seabiscuit" last night. One line from the movie really stuck with us: "Everybody thinks we found this broken down horse and fixed it, but he fixed us and in a way…we fixed each other too." Isn't that exactly the way life is at times?

Then we sat down at dinner next to a couple with a physically deformed 3-year old son. The little boy desparately wanted attention, which Mary gladly gave him. Our hearts filled with sorrow in seeing the little boy, then we realized what a powerful teacher this youngster was about love, real beauty and perserverance in life. You could say that the little boy fixed some things inside us that needed fixing.

Seabiscuit is a life lesson teacher, but I think the little boy may have actually given us more.

I say: "Rejoice. All of us have so much to be thankful for."

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Where's the service?

Customer service is the catch phrase of the day. Every industry is promising exceptional customer service. So what's the problem? Even though everyone is talking about exceptional service, very few businesses are actually delivering it. Where is the service? "I suspect there are very few people who can sit down and name five businesses where they receive exceptional service every time they deal with them," says John Tschohl, founder of the Minneapolis-based Service Quality Institute and author of several books, including Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service. "That doesn't sound like a service society to me." Source: Baby Boomer News

On a personal level, my wife and I have been thoroughly frustrated by the lack of service by insurance companies, home mortgage lenders, lawn care professionals, health care service providers, educational institutions, government agencies, hotel chains, restaurants, website hosting services, and other members of the "service sector." If this is service, I hate to see the alternative. Personally, I think most "service" today is D-I-Y.

What is your niche?

1 a: a recess in a wall especially for a statue b: something that resembles a niche;
2 a: a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted; b: a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species; c: the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption; d: a specialized market.

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

What is politics?

A kid goes to his Dad and asks, "Dad, what are politics?"

His Dad replies, "Put it this way; I am the breadwinner of the family so I am capitalism. Your Mom is the owner of the money so she is government. The government is the provider for the people so you are the people. Your baby brother will be the future, and the nanny is the working class. Now think about that."

So he went to bed. He was woken by his brother. The baby had pooped in his diaper. He went to tell his parents, but he only found his mom asleep in the bed. He didn't want to wake her, so he went to the nanny. The door was locked. He checked through a hole and saw his Dad in bed with the nanny. He went back to bed. The next morning, he went to his Dad and said, "Dad I know what you mean now."

"You do? Tell me."

"OK, while capitalism is screwing the working class, the government is sound asleep, while the people are watching the future being pooped on!!!"

Friday, August 29, 2003

An inter-generational perspective of success

It's FRIDAY...I just couldn't help myself...This too is conscious living...

At age 3 ..... success is .... not peeing in your pants.

At age 12 .... success is .... having friends.

At age 16 .... success is .... having a drivers license.

At age 20 .... success is .... having sex.

At age 35 .... success is .... having money.

At age 50 .... success is .... having money.

At age 60 .... success is .... having sex.

At age 70 .... success is .... having a drivers license.

At age 75 .... success is .... having friends.

At age 80 .... success is .... not peeing in your pants.

Source: Tell Me a Joke

I can't believe we made it...and some reflections on the baby boomer leadership style

Read this and tell me if this has anything do with why Boomers LEAD the way they do. Duh.

If you lived as a child in the 40's, 50's, or 60's, looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have...

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Our cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cupboards, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No mobile phones. Unthinkable.

We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth, and there were no law suits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame, but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. We ate patty cakes, bread and butter, and drank cordial, but we were never overweight...we were always outside playing shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, video games, 65 channels on pay TV, DVD movies, surround sound, mobile phones, Personal Computers, Internet chat rooms ... we had friends. We went outside and found them. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rung the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a guardian - how did we do it?

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever. Football and other sports had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with disappointment.... Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law - imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

And you're one of them. Congratulations!

Source: Tell Me a Joke

Put a little humor in your tank

Tell any of these observations ring true in your life?

1. I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.
2. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
3. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
4. Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.
6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
7. If it weren't for STRESS I'd have no energy at all.
8. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
9. Once over the hill, you pick up speed.
10. Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
11. Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
12. I know God won't give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.
13. Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
14. We cannot change the direction of the wind...but we can adjust our sails.
15. Some days are a total waste of makeup.
16. Do you believe in love at first sight ... or should I walk by you again?
17. If the shoe it in every colour.
18. If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out.
19. Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
20. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
21. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
22. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
23. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
24. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
25. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
26. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
27. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
28. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.
29. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.
30. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.
31. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
32. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.
33. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

Source: Tell Me a Joke

Life is a theater, invite your audience carefully

Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a DISTANCE. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of, or at least minimize your time with, draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships.

Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention. Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know or appreciate you?

The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you...the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of Your Life.

"If you cannot change the people around you, CHANGE the people you are around." Remember that the people we hang with will have an impact on both our lives and our income. And so we must be careful to choose the people we hang out with, as well as the information with which we feed our minds.

We should not share our dreams with negative people, nor feed our dreams with negative thoughts.
It's your choice and your life..... It's up to you who and what you let in it......


People in our lives

I ran across this piece. It was just what I was looking for. Maybe it will be of some help to you.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON ... It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to end the relationship. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON... It is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.


Ask God and see what He says

A Beautiful Prayer
By David N. Drake

I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take it away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own! , but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh,
Finally you have the idea. THIS DAY IS YOURS DON'T THROW IT AWAY. May God Bless You, "To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world"

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Thoughts about life

"He that is born to be hanged will not be drowned."

"The shortest answer is doing."

"Left to themselves, things seem to go from bad to worse."

"Nature always sides with a hidden flaw."

Another 80/20 Proposition

Daniel Goleman says in his book, Emotional Intelligence: "There are widespread exceptions to the rule that IQ predicts success--at best, IQ contributes about 20% to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80% to other forces. These other characteristics are called emotional intelligence: abilities such as being able to motivate oneself abd persist in the face of frustration; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; and to emphasize and to hope."

Where should you retire?

Allow me to answer this question with another question: "What factors should you consider in picking a place to retire?"

In looking around, I find the following factors are most instrumental to retirement location decisions:

1. Proximity to family and friends.
2. Climate.
3. Taxes.
4. Medical care.
5. Housing.
6. Transportation.
7. Culture and recreation.
8. Social interaction.
9. Elderly services.
10. Education/lifelong learning.
11. Personal interests and local support of them.
12. Safety.
13. Affordability
14. Job opportunities [New one] Many retirees are headed back to work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Life is...

like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end it gets, the faster it goes.



There is no Way to happiness,
happiness is the Way.

-Thich Nhat Hahn

What do you value?

The masses value money;
honest men fame;
virtuous men resolution;
and the Sage the soul.

-Zhuang Zi

But what is evolutionary cybernetics?

Evolutionary cybernetics can be defined as the study of how the processes of variation and selection give rise to organization. This means, first of all, a study of the dynamics of distinctions, connections, variety, closure and constraint, that is, the fundamental aspects of organized complexity. This will allow us to better understand how systems emerge out of unstructured aggregates of components, and how variation and selection take place at different system levels and between different, co-evolving systems.

Read more here.

Ask an evolutionary cyberneticist...

Question: What is the purpose of it all?

Answer: Evolution does not have a purpose, in the sense of a fixed goal to which it is advancing. However, although evolution is largely unpredictable, it is not random either. Selection can be seen as having the implicit goal of maximizing survivability or fitness. This implies a preferred direction of evolution, which is in practice characterized by increasing complexity, adaptivity and intelligence.

Want to know more? Go here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Happiness: An Economic Perspective

People want to be happy. But do we know what makes them happy, and how society can be best organized to promote happiness? We know more than is generally realized. Recent lectures at Centre for Economic Performance in the U.K. reviews evidence from economics, psychology, sociology and neuroscience and draws conclusions about what priorities would serve us better in creating a happier society.

To read what Richard Layard, Co-Director of the Centre for Economic Performance in the U.K. has to say about happiness from an economic standpoint, click here.

This work reminds me that Tibet measures its economy from the standpoint of Gross National Happiness.

A special thank you to Mindy Lemoine from U.S. EPA for calling my attention to this very interesting piece of research.

Why are we really here?

This is a question that has plagued every generation of Man from the beginning of time. It is a fair question for us to ask ourselves if we are willing to await and listen to the answer that comes to us. Here is what some others have found in their own journey to discover their meaning if life.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
-Robert Byrne

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life... I think that what we're really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.
-Joseph Campbell

I'll play it first, and tell you what it is later.
-Miles Davis

I was going to change my shirt, but I changed my mind instead.
-Winnie the Pooh

We are all born originals.Why is it so many of us die copies?
-Edward Young

It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute... that gives meaning to our lives.
-Anthony Robbins

Science versus wisdom

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

-Immanuel Kant

Seek essential knowledge

To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge. To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Who are we to believe?

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

-Andre Gide

Monday, August 25, 2003

What is life all about?

Has this question ever settled into your consciousness? I know it has occurred to me more than a few times in my life. This is a cyclical question that reminds us to give thanks for life's blessings and to continue reaching for new challenges and opportunities that help us grow "meaning" in our lives.

Butterflies and hummingbirds...

are two unique ways that God teaches us about beauty, the sweetness of life, and why we should see the garden as a perfect metaphor for life.

See yourself as art

Each of us is a divine work of art. Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, try thinking of yourself in this way. We are evolving art forms that change in response to new life conditions. Learn to appreciate your own inner beauty.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

What do we "really" know?

"What we know is a point to what we do not know. The first questions are still to be asked. Let any man bestow a thought on himself, how he came hither, and whither he tends, and he will find that all the literature, all the philosophy that is on record, have done little to dull the edge of inquiry. The globe that swims so silently with us through the sea of space, has never a port, but with its little convoy of friendly orbs pursues its voyage through the signs of heaven, to renew its navigation again forever. The wonderful tidings our glasses and calendars give us concerning the hospitable lights that hang around us in the deep, do not appease but inflame our curiosity; and in like manner, our culture does not lead to any goal, but its richest results of thought and action are only new preparation."

From: "The Senses and the Soul"
from Uncollected Prose, Dial Essays 1842
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Lady's Prayer

Native American's speak constantly about Mother Earth. This short prayer is a re-make of the original Lord's Prayer, using a femine personification of God. The male personification has been dominant in most Western religions.

My question is: "Do we need to sex type God at all? Can we transcend the sex typing of view of God to something higher, more integrated and whole?"

"Our Mother who art all things,
Our Lady who art the moon, sun, and heavens,
Hallowed be thy name
By thy sovereignty of the sacred land,
Thy divine will be done
On Earth as it is in all realms
Give us this day our daily bread
Bless and guide us, Great Goddess
And protect us from all harm and evil
For thine is the power, beauty, and love
Forever, and a day. Ayea!"

-Sirona Knight

Spiritual Types

Want to know what your spiritual type is? Here's a great opportunity to gain some insight. Consider taking the online quizz found I did, and I learned some valuable things about why do I do Conscious Living, meditate and other things.

Go here to take the 10-minute quizz. It's worth it.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

The Biology of Business: Seven Principles

Summary in Business Spirit Journal,

1. Aggregation: This is a fundamental property of Complex Adaptive Systems. In contrast to the notion of hierarchy, behavior is not directed from the top down, but rather is the emergent consequence of ever-changing interactions. One of the principal roles of management is to aggregate workers and resources into groups to perform tasks. A manager acting to reengineer a business process, for example, might dictate a solution, perhaps by building a factory or buying a machine, but thus lock the business into a particular solution that might become obsolete. In contrast, a solution that is “soft assembled” and that uses the external environment (consultants, outsourcing, partners, regulators, customers) is more likely to be able to adapt to continual changes in the demands of market.

2. Non-linearity: Far and away the most common methods for analyzing markets, economies, and enterprises are based upon assumptions of linearity: the whole is the sum of the parts; the future is a linear project of the past. The principles are crisp and clear and the mathematics simple to grasp. The problem is that very few things in nature or commerce behave linearly. It is the rare exception rather than the rule. In non-linear systems, small incremental changes can invoke sudden unexpected changes. Complex Adaptive Systems do not try to duck the complexity and unpredictability of non-linearity through assumptions. Rather, it recognizes that non-linearity is the more prevalent case, and develops methods to cope with it.

3. Flow: Flows are networks of interactions: people, natural resources, orders, goods, capital, and products that characterize an enterprise. The direction, rate, persistence, and typing of flows essentially define the structure and character of an organization. For example, value is created through a redirection of flows when a failing company is acquired, reorganized, and becomes profitable. The new owner may have kept the same people and assets, but adjusted the work flows, unlocked bottlenecks, and engendered new forms of self-organization and selection. Where a company has become too rigidtoo fixed in its ways to recognize new markets or new opportunitiesnew value can be created when an outside force comes in and sees what those in the company have failed to see and is able to unlock value.

4. Diversity: In an ecological perspective, diversity refers to the number of different species that inhabit an ecosystem. The persistence of any individual agent, whether organism, neuron, or firm, depends on the context provided by the other agents. Each kind of agent fills its own nicheniches are created by the interactions of multiple agents; the greater the number of agents and interactions, the greater and the richer the diversity of environment. Diversity can be regarded as a form of economic and social wealth because the greater the diversity, the greater the economic growth through the emergence of new niches or markets.

5. Tagging: Since tags are a way of labeling and giving significance to something, they are the most critical (and least appreciated) components of self-organization. Without tags, natural selection and self-organization would be impossible. So critical is the tagging in the human immune system, for example, that it effectively determines the identity and survivability of an individual by deciding which of 10 possible proteins are foreign and which are for the “self.” Markets are not possible without tagging, as prices are types of tags. Changes in price tags drive market behavior. Fashions are forms of tags; brands are tags; job titles are tags. Corporate politics and positioning are all enhanced or thwarted by tagging. Tags launch self-organizing behaviors. Although the notion of tagging by itself may not be a startling insight, when seen in terms of how it can be used to affect aggregation, flows, diversity and the fitness of the organization, tagging becomes a critical management tool.

6. Internal Models: Internal models are simplified representations of the environment that anticipate future action or events. Stereotypes are types of internal models that simplify the complexity of the environment to anticipate specific behaviors. There is considerable debate over the extent to which self-organizing systems have explicit internal models. One view is that all representations are implicitthat knowledge is embedded and embodied in a variety of actions and activities. An internal model simply prescribes a current action, under the prediction of some desired future state. An overt internal model is used as a basis for explicit exploration of alternatives, a process called “lookahead.”

7. Building Blocks: Fitness and the ability to stay within the “sweet spot” entail being able to recognize regularities and constraints in an environment, and to evolve an effective repertoire of reusable responses. These regularities and associated repertoires of actions are the building blocks without which complex forms of self-organization are impossible. Environments that are relentlessly novel are not survivable; hence, survival and fitness depend upon being able to recognize and exploit environmental constraints. Internal models are composed of building blocks. Building blocks are used in creating bodies of knowledge and new sub-languages. The notion of reusable business processes is fundamental. MIT’s Sloan School of Management, for example, has made tremendous efforts to identify libraries of reusable business processes.

Source: John Clippinger, The Biology of Business

The Tao at Work

By Stan Herman, Author, The Tao at Work
In Business Spirit Journal

Once upon a time
the simple could be seen...

That all reality is virtual,

That chaos encompasses order,
and order chaos.

That clarity and peace
interweave elegantly
with difficulty and battle,

and that spirit is the sinew
that binds all the world together.

From these conditions
arise the billion others
with which we live.

Failing to recall that this is so,
you miss the world's significance,
the direction of its change,
its uses and its destination.

And so you may feel lost
and frightened.

Through her deeds,
a great leader reminds people
of their possibilities.

Her greatness rises not
upon the tower
of spectacular achievement,
but from the foundation
of the ordinary.

She stands not above
but among those she leads,
upon the same earthy foundation,
and beneath her lies the solid rock.

All leaders announce themselves
as servants of those they lead.

For some these protestations
only mask their pride.

The great leader recognizes
leadership is a duty
no more important
than any other.

Think in terms of systems, not machines

Here is some interesting advice to get you out of the machine-thinking box:

1. Learn to be comfortable with contradictions. See your own life as a movie.

2. Learn to look at problems as possible opportunities. If you want to improve processes and systems, look in the very places where the problems appear. Use beyond-tangible and beyond-linear ways.

3. Learn to focus on people's "better sides." Use win/win, not win/lose. See the beyond-tangible elements. Make new relationships with beyond-linear reasoning.

4. Pause to look for connections in the "big picture." Things get done in the white space in between.

5. Look for systems and develop an appreciation of them, e.g., anthills, baseball fields, etc. Look for systems everywhere. The effect will be logarithmic.

Source: Naomi Rose, Bringing the Soul into the Workplace

Friday, August 22, 2003

The Friday attitude

Have you noticed that people's attitude about their life tends to shift on Friday? I call it the Friday attitude. While much unfinished work may remain on our desk, we develop a sense of completion around our work week on Friday. For those who allow themselves to relax some on weekends, Friday is a vital transition day when our energy shifts to home, family, friends, relaxation and recreation. Don't ask me about the Monday attitude, especially on Friday...

Meaningful work...

should be our goal in every field of endeavor and industry. There are two components to meaningful work. The first is the "meaning" that we bring to the work we do. This is the intrinsic value of work to the worker. The second is work that creates value for those we serve. This is the extrinsic value of the work we perform. A better job is a more meaningful job.

Tennis Talk

What do you call a softly hit shot? A dink. What do you call someone who hits really soft shots regularly? What else...a dinker.

What does it mean to chip and charge? That is to hit a slice shot and then storm the net.

What do you call a below-average tennis player? Grrrr... a hacker.

What is the National Tennis Rating Program? It is a system that rates players numerically from a 2.5 (beginner with basic skills) to a 7.0 (world's best players).

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Generational improv

Each generation is a theatre. The stage is set to suit the needs of a particular place and time. As we look back across history we see two things--many re-productions of the same play, and also a great deal of improv. Maybe generational improv is just another way of saying that we create our own reality as we go through life.


George Nemeth wrote me earlier this week and used the term "disposable" to describe how people at times treat one another. I agree with George. People are not to be used and discarded. Instead of honoring people when they grow older, there is a tendency in our society to discard them and treat them as less worthwhile.

As a child growing up, I learned a great deal from my grandmothers. Both were loving, engaging and wise. They allowed me to stand upon their shoulders and see the world. Because both of my grandfathers had died when I was very young, I had much less of an opportunity to get to know them.

Young and older people have much to offer each other. Each offers the other a mirror for learning and contributing to family, work and community.

Early years cast the personality die

According to an article in the August issue of the "Journal of Personality," a child's early behavior predicts later personality. This may not be any great revelation to most parents watching their children grow up, but some good research can always help as put these issues into perspective. As I think about this matter, it makes me wonder what children learn at that age that shapes their leadership abilities as adults.

A child's behavior is a good predictor of what he or she will be like as an adult, according to a team of scientists led by Avshalom Caspi and Terrie E. Moffitt, both of whom are professors of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.

The team observed 1,000 3-year-old children and assessed each one's behavior. Ninety-six percent of the study participants were also examined as adults, through self-reports and reports from those who know them well. The team says that the study participants' personalities as adults are strongly linked to their behavior as children.

"These longitudinal data provide the longest and strongest evidence to date that children's early-emerging behavioral styles can foretell their characteristic behaviors, thoughts, and feelings as adults, pointing to the foundations of the human personality in the early years of life," the scholars write.

Armed with that information, the team says, parents, teachers, and behavioral scientists can design better and earlier interventions for improving children's development.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Web of Life

"This we know.
All things are connected
like the blood
which unites one family.

Whatever befalls the earth,
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life;
he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
he does to himself."

-Ted Perry, inspired by Chief Seattle

"Fear and inability to trust...

are two of the most important limiting factors for executives (and the rest of us). Fear of criticism, of ridicule, of failure keep us from actualizing our potentialities to a far greater extent than is immediately apparent. Because we can't trust, we try to do by ourselves what can't be done alone. The most important thing to learn about fear and trust is that both are choices--unconscious choices, but choices nonetheless. That is to say, we can choose to trust and not to fear."

-Willis Harmon
Global Mind Change


Some of us were made...not to fit into the traditions of this culture,
...but to be the seeds for a new one.

-C. Derk Janssen
The Changing Colors in a Sunset: Poems by C. derk Janssen

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Community development...

would be an easier job for all of us if we started out by considering how we will use the community to fulfill the psychic needs of human beings for love, understanding, compassion, and expression. The inner and outer worlds must mess to constantly "give new life to life."


begins with ourselves. We must be able to lead authentic lives before we can ably lead other men and women in future directions.

Monday, August 18, 2003

What We Take for Granted

Last week's blackout was a serious reminder that we need to raise our consciousness of the infrastructure that supports all of us. We tend to take much for granted in life. Electricity is just one of many things that we take for granted. Another is people. The ultimate infrastructure of any community is its people. Celebrate the people you share a community with today.

Bridging the Intergenerational Divide

People from different rungs of the intergenerational ladder have something to learn from and teach each other, if only they were willing to dialogue in a more open way. Every city needs new experiments in bridging the gulf between generations so we don't continue to grow so far apart.

What is one thing you can do today to help bridge this growing divide?

Sunday, August 17, 2003


happen everyday. Life and everything about it is miraculous. Accept life as a miracle and you can see the world in a grain of sand. Miracles are etched into everything we see, touch, smell, taste and feel in life.


is the ultimate experience of life. It is our Divine calling to be happy. Allow yourself to be happy. It is an inexpensive vacation from whatever causes you suffering.


Being in the flow of life is the greatest feeling in the world. When I think of those times in life that have been most special to me, those were times when I felt totally connected with "Life Central."

What comes to mind? Making that game-winning tackle in a high school football game. Discovering a Middle Woodland Indian archeological site along the Cuyahoga River in the early 1970s. Playing a great game of tennis with my wife Mary. Giving a moving speech to an audience that explodes with applause. Being in the delivery room when your two sons are born. Standing atop a grassy hill on a bright summer day gazing down on the medieval City of Pecs in Southern Hungary. Feeling deep peace during an extra special meditation session.

It is really great to feel life!

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Personal Energy

Our essence is energy. Each of us is comprised of a complex alchemy of energy.

I have become more aware of my own personal energy and other's personal energy. It's a wonderful thing. In a way, this is a consciousness breakthrough for me.

Allow yourself to feel your own energy presence and other's energy presence. To truly feel another's personal energy, we first must understand and feel our own personal energy. This is important so we can distinguish our own energy from that of another human being. It's a very powerful experience when it happens.


Where would we be in life without our friends? I give thanks for my friends.

It gives me such joy to know there is a friend there when I need one. I went through a period in my life when I was uncomfortable asking for help from my friends. Then a couple years ago, I realized that is what friendship is really all about. Give and take is important to growing friendships. They really don't work as one-way streets where one party does all the giving or all the taking. Balance is important to healthy friendships.

Finally, having different types of friends is important. It's nice to have friends who are like you, and friends who are different than you are. We can learn from both.

Set aside a day in the near future to celebrate your friends. You'll find it incredibly enriching.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Summer's Stay

There are many who say
They could live forever
In summer's heated play,
In the dreams lived by day.

Short nights, long days sway
The vision of light.
We trust in Ever
We have fullest sight.

The costumes are Eden
No sweaters or coats to coat
Soft skins exposed, no moat
To my castle of hope.

We tasted beach air
We bathed in the fair
Drops of true ponder.
We sated salt hunger.

Too hot to think
The hour is a tee
That waits a golf ball
That will never leave.

Time has slowed me down.
I am a live flower.
My summer is brief
In cut flower reefs.

In a seeing tower
Dolls don't have power.
Toys are for pleasure
Tongues are for measure.

The hour I treasure
Has hand-woven clouds
To feather my pillow
To fly from my doubts.

For it is in Summer
That faith meets a drummer
To wean souls from mothers
With heartbeats and signs

The design is brilliant,
Clear and resilient
It's in the green green eyes,
Green veggies to fry.

Its in the scent of lime,
The Aquamarine ring,
Its the promise of things
That can't outlast their rhyme.

In Summer's stay,
We, foreign strangers
We visit and dine
Life's kind and divine.

Summer dwells on islands,
in sands, coconut fare.
We became I, one brand:
"Love", God's true name for care.

Source: Lana Deym Campbell


That is one of the most important lessons we should learn from yesterday's blackout. What happens in upstate New York has consequences for Ohio, Canada and many other places. The world we live in is a much tighter and more complex web than we can ever imagine. Our interconnectedness underscores the importance for all of us to lead sustainable life styles that recognize how we touch each other's lives and worlds. Sustainability starts with greater consciousness, which could benefit all of us.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Rise to Your Higher Self

Each of us has a destiny to rise to our higher self. In doing so, we leave behind the clutter that fills our heads. Try asking yourself this question today when you feel under pressure: "What is it that my higher self would have me do?"

Economic Development From the Indian World

Is there an enlightened way to think about economic development?

Here is how many Native Americans think about it. Imagine three circles. The largest circle on the outside is Nature. The second largest circle inside the Nature circle is Culture. The smallest circle inside the Culture circle is Economics.

Get the picture? Economics exists inside Culture and Culture exists inside Nature. How would our approach to economic development change if we adopted this view?

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


Lately there has been a lot of buzz about "tolerance" as a factor in stimulating the growth of creative economies. Tolerance is one of the three "T's" in Richard Florida's book, The Rise of the Creative Class. I agree that tolerance is a key factor in sparking our creativity.

Tolerance starts at home. What does that mean? It means we must first tolerate our own creative energy and instincts before we can tolerate others. Be committed to your own creativity and tapping it daily and it becomes a lot easier to accept those who are different than you are. Self-acceptance is a major step in accepting others.

Personal Knowledge

Within each of us is a deep pool of personal knowledge that is rooted in our life experiences, personality, relationships and psyche. Too often we open a book or turn to a web page for answers and forget to visit our inner well. Tap your personal knowledge as a source of wisdom and guidance for everyday life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

ED Futures is Back Up and Stronger Than Ever

I called George Nemeth out of sheer desperation about my "sick" ED Futures blog. George did surgery on the blog, backed up his moving van to the site, and moved it over to my corporate home page. The new address for Economic Development Futures Web Journal is:

Stop on by the see our new look and new digs.

My sincere thanks to the ingenious George Nemeth! Thanks George.

Beware of the New Worm

It's called MSBlaster and it is trying to "worm" its way into the MS Windows Update site. Read all about it here.

MSBlaster targets four versions of Windows operating systems: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The worm attacks computers through a flaw in the part of Windows that handles Internet traffic and lets computers share files, among other activities.

Unlike a virus, MSBlaster is considered a computer "worm'' because it does not require computer users to open an e-mail attachment or take any other action to spread automatically from computer to computer. Home computer users who leave computers constantly online to the Internet through DSL or cable are among those most at risk.

Conscious Bumbling

That's how I feel at times when there is no clear path to a solution for a problem I face. Not only do I "bumble through," but I "consciously bumble through."

Career Pathways

I have been thinking a lot about "career pathways" in my field, which is economic development. Clear career ladders or pathways do not exist. This is problematic for people working in the field because they are not sure how to progress from one job level in the field to the next. Many top-out quickly and migrate to other fields. Despite being a fascinating field, professional growth potential of practitioners is restricted by this situation.

Why are there no clear career pathways and ladders? This situation exists because economic development is an "emerging" profession, which means that people working in the field are still trying to define the field's core knowledge base and professional practices. Yes, you guessed it. We have been making it up as we go along. In theater, they call that "improv." All of us know that there is plenty of improv in local economic development. Just look at the economic development scene in Greater Cleveland.

I believe we need a greater "consciousness" of these issues in the field. First, we need a consciousness of what we do, that is the actual work we perform. Second, we need to know more about the impact and implication of what we do on society. How much are we helping and who do we help? Third, we need to take stock of "how" we do things. Are we doing our work in a professional and ethical way. Finally, we need to experiment with new strategies and techniques and learn from our experiments. That takes openness and a willingness to improve upon what we do.

By my estimate, there are at least 25,000 economic development organizations across the country. That is only an educated guess since an actual census of organizations and people working in the field does not exist. The people who work in these organizations deserve more help in understanding how their careers will develop in the future.

Do you have any thoughts of this issue? I'd like to hear them. Thanks.

ED Futures is Under the Weather

If you visited my other blog, Economic Development Futures, and noticed that there are no new posts for Monday, August 11, that is because some type of server problem at is causing the site to not receive new posts.

I have been trying for three days to get the Blogger folks to respond to my emails and pleas for help. I have three words for this: "lousy customer service."

This is frustrating because a good blog takes work, which I have invested in ED Futures. It's also disappointing because many people visit ED Futures on a daily basis looking for new information.

Bear with me. As some sage said a long time ago, this too shall pass.

New Look

Conscious Living has a new look. I hope you like it.

Please let me know if you have any trouble viewing the blog. Sometimes new templates create problems. Websites appear differently on different computers. Try adjusting the text size under "View" in Internet Explorer if the entire page does not load. At least on my computer, the site is very readable. How does it appear to you?

Monday, August 11, 2003

How we organize our world...

Have you ever noticed how our feelings often influence how we organize our world? I look at my cluttered desk at times and I realize that I'm also feeling cluttered inside. I look at what tie I choose to wear to a business meeting and I realize that the color and design on the tie reflect my mood inside. There is a connection between our inner and outer worlds.

Looking for the good volleys in life...

Life is at its best when we experience the good volleys...that is when we are fully engaged with another human being and together you keep the ball going back and forth across the net.


is a powerful poison to all who harbor it, and all of us do from time to time. Sometimes it's very hard to let go of our resentment, but eventually we must, lest it destroy the good parts of us. Like most feelings, resentment is learned. The answer is to de-program ourselves of this feeling when it arises.

Sunday, August 10, 2003


is a game, but it teaches several important truths about life.

One is that you need a partner to play. Where would we be in life without our family, friends and work colleagues?

Second, life is like a tennis court in the sense that to score points and win you must keep the ball in bounds. That is the life balance issue.

Third, life has its share of nets that we have to get over. The nets are simply reminders to elevate ourselves to a higher cause and purpose in everything we do.

Fourth, you have to take your turn serving and receiving. Life is truly about giving and receiving.

Isn't it amazing what you can learn from a silly little game?


is a special destination in your heart. Visit it often. It's open 24/7/365.

Saturday, August 09, 2003


Have you ever really thought about the "experience of being amazed?" I would be amazed if you haven't.

As I sit in my easy chair, my laptop carefully balanced on...where else...but on my lap, thinking of something worth saying on this beautiful Saturday morning, it occurred to me how important "amazement" is in our lives. Amazing, huh?

Mr. Webster says the word amazement goes back to 1595. I find it "amazing" that folks before that were not amazed. Just think how amazed Christopher Columbus was when he stumbled upon North America. Just think how amazed Adam and Eve must have been to discover their own nakedness for the first time in the Garden of Eden. By the way, I think it is amazing that nobody has ever done a skin flick telling us the Adam and Eve story in pictures. Maybe they did and I just missed it.

In any case, Mr. Webster says that amazement means "consternation" and "bewilderment." A simpler word comes to my mind: "surprise." Things are amazing to us when they surprise us; that is when they challenge our sense of expectability. Amazement also is closely tied to our sense of belief and our ability to appreciate things in life.

Our beliefs shape what we know and they shape what we expect in life. In my view, amazement is an act of appreciation. At the moment something amazes us, we engage in an act of "appreciative inquiry," as sage David Cooperrider at Case Western Reserve University calls it.

I think it is good to be amazed in life. Sometimes we think we are so damn smart that nothing amazes us. Shock TV and journalism try to rob us of our ability to be amazed at anything that happens in life. Children have no problem being amazed at what they discover in life, unless of course they are inhibited by us adults from experiencing their own sense of amazement. Amazement, in this sense, coincides with innocence. Boy, we don't use that word much today, do we? When was the last time anyone said: "The President innocently submitted his budget to Congress for its approval."

Sometimes you have to be careful with your morning meditation not medication...some "amazing" meta-thoughts, like the experience of our own sense of amazement, pops into our heads. Amazing, huh? Wow!

Friday, August 08, 2003

If you had but one…

wish for next two generations, what would that wish be? Mine would be that the family survives and flourishes as an institution in society. Coupled with that, that young and old people alike would learn to really love themselves for who they really are.

What color…

of the day is it? Who needs a clock to keep time? Allow your inner artist to remind you where you are in your day by what color it is.


I love summertime! Summers were an especially great time when I was a kid. They were so full of adventure and excitement. Getting up at the crack of dawn was never a problem. By lunchtime, we had a solid five hours of playing in. The day extended well into the night, as we capped most days by chasing lightening bugs and looking for shooting stars. Childhood summers were filled to the brim with spontaneous living. What the day didn’t present to us, we instantly invented for ourselves. It feels good to remember my summers as a child. Hey, there was life before work after all.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Let hope...

follow you like your shadow, support you like the ground beneath your feet, and help you fly like a bird in the wind.


Reminds me that summer is entering its final stretch, the sun is moving farther away from us, and Nature is about to speak to us in different colors.

You are...

your own travel agent in arranging your next inner journey. The best part is that there is never a penalty for changing your plans, you get to decide whether you want to fly direct or stop at an interim destination, and you decide what you want to eat to nourish yourself during your travels.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Your work...

Remember that your work is always more than what you get paid to do, and yes, all of us need to make enough money to meet our obligations and invest in our dreams. Hold a vision of abundance in your mind, allow that vision to fill you, and then simply go out and do your work.

Thought for the day...

Be grateful for whatever you have. Give thanks for your family, friends, professional colleagues, and all the blessings that make up your life. Allow the good side of your life to grow and flourish. Trust in your own goodness and act in line with that faith.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

The medicine wheel...

"In many ways this circle, the Medicine Wheel, can best be understood if you think of it as a mirror in which everything is reflected. The Universe is the mirror of the people, the old teachers tell us, and each person is a mirror to every other person. Any ideal, person, or object, can be a Medicine Wheel, a mirror for Man. The tiniest flower can be such a mirror, as can a wolf, a story, a touch, a religion, or a mountaintop."

Source: Hyemeyohsts Storm, Seven Arrows, 1972.

This hit me with such great force as I read this quote in a new book given to me by my wonderful friend, Derk Janssen, from Prescott, Arizona.

It tells me that my calling is really that of being the medicine wheel builder in the world that God saw fit to place me. Actually, each of us is a medicine wheel builder in whatever we do in life. All we ever have to do is mirror the truth that lies within us.

Old age...

Here are some sagely insights about those of us with gray hair.

"It is better to wear out than rust out."

-Bishop Richard Cumberland, English philosopher

"To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am."

-Bernard Baruch, American financier

"Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives."

-Maurice Chevalier, French singer and actor

"Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old."

-Washington Irving, American essayist

When is it ok to lie?

According to George Nemeth, "A lie is intended to deceive someone. If you're living by the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want to be deceived, then go about deceiving people. If you don't want to be deceived, don't do it."

Well said George, and congratulations on the interview in the August 2003 issue of Inside Business Magazine.

Blog on...

Fellow bloggers,

Check out the July/August 2003 issue of American Demographics Magazine. It contains an article about blogging and its growth. One of the conclusions of the AD analysis is that 83% of Americans have no idea we're out there. It also says that blog readers tend to be young to middle-age males.

The story contains a graph tracking unique monthly visitors to The numbers have grown steadily since January 2002. Nearly 2 million unique monthly visitors showed up at in March 2003.

It should be available online shortly on the AD website.

Monday, August 04, 2003


"The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out."


Two-headed snakes in business...

"Management and union may be likened to that serpent of the fables who on one body had two heads that fighting each other with poisoned fangs killed themselves."

-Peter Drucker

On competition...

"When elephants fight, only the grass gets hurt."

-Swahili proverb

Take care of the "big rocks" in life first...

This is a wonderful story that you will enjoy reading. It was written by a Harvard student who has chosen to remain anonymous.

"At Harvard I had a professor who taught us in one lecture the subject of management. One day this professor spoke to us — a group of business students — and, to drive home a point, used an illustration we will never forget.

As this man stood in front of us he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes." Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"

By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?" "No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!"

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?" One student raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!" 'No," the professor replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

What are the 'big rocks' in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in FIRST or you'll never get them in at all."

Sunday, August 03, 2003

The true self...

"The more elaborate our garb and lofty our titles the easier it is to lose sight of the fact that our true identity and value have to do not with our social status, but with the Mystery we embody."

-Tom Stella, The God Instinct

The work of the artist...

Thinking of a career in art? Have a spouse who is an artist? Interested in Richard Florida's notions about the creative economy? Browse the information from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook. Available online here.

What type of work do artists perform?

Artists create art to communicate ideas, thoughts, or feelings. They use a variety of methods—painting, sculpting, or illustration—and an assortment of materials, including oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencils, pen and ink, plaster, clay, and computers. Artists' works may be realistic, stylized, or abstract and may depict objects, people, nature, or events.

Artists generally fall into one of three categories. Art directors formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators create original artwork using a variety of media and techniques. Multi-media artists and animators create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, computers or other electronic media. (Designers, including graphic designers, are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Art directors develop design concepts and review the material that is to appear in periodicals, newspapers, and other printed or digital media. They decide how best to present the information visually, so it is eye-catching, appealing, and organized. They decide which photographs or artwork to use and oversee the layout design and production of the printed material. They may direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing.

Fine artists typically display their work in museums, commercial art galleries, corporate collections, and private homes. Some of their artwork may be commissioned (done on request from clients), but most is sold by the artist or through private art galleries or dealers. The gallery and artist predetermine how much each will earn from the sale. Only the most successful fine artists are able to support themselves solely through the sale of their works. Most fine artists must work in an unrelated field to support their art careers. Some work in museums or art galleries as fine arts directors or as curators, who plan and set up art exhibits. Others work as art critics for newspapers or magazines, or as consultants to foundations or institutional collectors.

Usually, fine artists specialize in one or two art forms, such as painting, illustrating, sketching, sculpting, printmaking, and restoring. Painters, illustrators, cartoonists, and sketch artists work with two-dimensional art forms. These artists use shading, perspective, and color to produce realistic scenes or abstractions.

Illustrators typically create pictures for books, magazines, and other publications; and commercial products, such as textiles, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards and calendars. Increasingly, illustrators work in digital format, preparing work directly on a computer.

Medical and scientific illustrators combine drawing skills with knowledge of the biological sciences. Medical illustrators draw illustrations of human anatomy and surgical procedures. Scientific illustrators draw illustrations of animals and plants. These illustrations are used in medical and scientific publications and in audiovisual presentations for teaching purposes. Medical illustrators also work for lawyers, producing exhibits for court cases.

Cartoonists draw political, advertising, social, and sports cartoons. Some cartoonists work with others who create the idea or story and write the captions. Most cartoonists have comic, critical, or dramatic talents in addition to drawing skills.

Sketch artists create likenesses of subjects using pencil, charcoal, or pastels. Sketches are used by law enforcement agencies to assist in identifying suspects, by the news media to depict courtroom scenes, and by individual patrons for their own enjoyment.

Sculptors design three-dimensional art works—either by molding and joining materials such as clay, glass, wire, plastic, fabric, or metal or by cutting and carving forms from a block of plaster, wood, or stone. Some sculptors combine various materials to create mixed-media installations. Some incorporate light, sound, and motion into their works.

Printmakers create printed images from designs cut or etched into wood, stone, or metal. After creating the design, the artist inks the surface of the woodblock, stone, or plate and uses a printing press to roll the image onto paper or fabric. Some make prints by pressing the inked surface onto paper by hand, or by graphically encoding data and processing it, using a computer. The digitized images are printed on paper using computer printers.

Painting restorers preserve and restore damaged and faded paintings. They apply solvents and cleaning agents to clean the surfaces, reconstruct or retouch damaged areas, and apply preservatives to protect the paintings. This is very detailed work and usually is reserved for experts in the field.

Multi-media artists and animators work primarily in computer and data processing services, advertising, and the motion picture and television industries. They draw by hand and use computers to create the large series of pictures that form the animated images or special effects seen in movies, television programs, and computer games. Some draw storyboards for television commercials, movies, and animated features. Storyboards present television commercials in a series of scenes similar to a comic strip and allow an advertising agency to evaluate proposed commercials with the company doing the advertising. Storyboards also serve as guides to placing actors and cameras and to other details during the production of commercials.

How much do artists get paid?

Median annual earnings of salaried art directors were $56,880 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,290 and $80,350. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $109,440. Median annual earnings were $63,510 in advertising, the industry employing the largest numbers of salaried art directors.

Median annual earnings of salaried fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators were $31,190 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,460 and $42,720. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,580.

Median annual earnings of salaried multi-media artists and animators were $41,130 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,700 and $54,040. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,740, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,560. Median annual earnings were $44,290 in computer and data processing services, the industry employing the largest numbers of salaried multi-media artists and animators.

Earnings for self-employed artists vary widely. Some charge only a nominal fee while they gain experience and build a reputation for their work. Others, such as well-established freelance fine artists and illustrators, can earn more than salaried artists. Many, however, find it difficult to rely solely on income earned from selling paintings or other works of art. Like other self-employed workers, freelance artists must provide their own benefits.

Education pays...

Is there any question in your mind that educational attainment pays off? If there is, you might want to check out this chart. Click here.

And yes, lifelong learning is the only safe strategy to ensure that your knowledge and skills are keeping up with future work realities.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Listen up...

"A former executive of a company which had been taken over in a corporate merger gave this description of what had happened to his company's executive personnel. We got the mushroom treatment. Right after the acquisition, we were in the dark. Then they covered us with manure. Then they cultivated us. After that they let us stew awhile. Finally, they canned us."

-Isadore Barmash, writer.

What others expect...

"Never win 20 games, because then they'll expect you to do it every year."

-Billy Loes, American baseball player


"Do you resent doing what you are doing? It may be your job, or you may have agreed to do something and are doing it, but part of you resents and resists it. Are you carrying unspoken resentment toward a person close to you? Do you realize that the energy you thus emanate is so harmful in its effects that you are in fact contaminating yourself as well as those around you? Have a good look inside."

From The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Beware of committees...

"Committees take hours to put into minutes what can be done in seconds."

Government should outlaw committees of more than one.

Going for it...

"You've got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing."

-Arthur Ashe

Ok, so I'm going for it!

"Humble people...

don't think less of themselves--they just think about themselves less."

-Anonymous, the Greek Philosopher King

Patience is a virtue...

Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...Patience is a virtue...

Bear with me while I rant...

Have you ever gone through a period when it seems like nothing, or more accurately many things, are not going so well in your life? I'm sure you have. Lately, I have been feeling that way. That doesn't mean that there have not been bright spots, because there surely have been.

Life can be a struggle, especially when it is trying to teach us crucial lessons that we must learn to grow into our true trusting, honest, loving and compassionate nature. There are some incredibly tough lessons that I am in the process of learning at this time. Most of them call upon me to ascertain what is really most important to me in life. Many are causing me to think seriously about what I really have the capacity to accomplish in life. When it's all said and done and the final accounting results are in, what have I really accomplished with my life? Every once in a while, we feel compelled to punish ourselves with that question. Ouch!

A wise personal advisor has reminded me several times that each of us creates our own personal reality in life. When I was growing up, my father used a simpler version of the same advice: "You made your bed, now lie in it." Gee, that sounds great, right? That reality includes everything along the spectrum from creating our own happiness to setting the stage for our own sadness. That is both the blessing, and at times the curse, associated with free-will.

Along with our wonderful free-will comes personal responsibility. It's far easier to accept responsibility for our life successes than our failures. Our ego takes delight when things go right in our life, and it becomes a relentless battering ram that pounds away at us when things don't go as we want. Sound familiar? I know...ditch the ego!

I have been pretty darn lucky in my life so far. Blessed is probably a better way to describe the life I've had. I am truly grateful for my loving family, devoted and caring friends, interesting and fulfilling work, and the many other gifts God has seen fit to give me. Have I made the most of these gifts? At times, I have, and other times I have not. It is so easy to take people, things and opportunities for granted. As they say, "you don't realize what you've got until it's almost gone."

At 52, my preference would be to do more coasting at this point in my life. Then reality sets in when I look at our retirement investments and other responsibilities. Get real, Donnie Boy! But then again, who wouldn't like to lay on a beach somewhere instead of haggle with a client over fees and final report revisions?

We condition ourselves to believe that if we work real hard, some day we will enjoy the fruits of our labor. Didn't somebody call this belief the "American Dream?" How did a smart guy like me get suckered into that one? Some days the pay-off, at least in terms of money, peace, satisfaction, happiness and other things, is just not there. I know...that's when we need to take the long view of things.

Did I ever tell you that it is a royal grind being a sole practitioner? Actually, it's a pain in the butt many days. Yes, the freedom to do things I enjoy is great, but with that freedom comes the full responsibility to create my own opportunities and deal with my own problems. And it's a damn lonely path to travel at times. Some days you simply tire of the grind of marketing yourself, doing projects, paying the tax man and all else that goes with running a small business. And now you know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.

Yes folks, this is a genuine 24-caret gold "rant." They are pretty darn boring for other people to listen to, but I think everyone is entitled to one once in a while.

Thanks for listening.
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