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Thursday, October 24, 2013

War of Art: Final Post--Life and Death

Life and Death: My favorite part of this book. When a person gets terminal cancer there’s a tectonic shift in his/her life. All things that were important before the diagnosis, like money and career, are now utterly unimportant; however, all hitherto deemed less important while striving for career, like family and friends, are now supremely important. When cancer comes calling, we move from ego to self and from “me” to “we.” Tom Laughlin treats terminal cancer patients by helping make this mental shift from ego to self, from formerly important to now more meaningful stuff. The results are dramatic: Patients often go into remission! Seems like living our unlived dreams can turn things around indeed. Living the dream heals us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

War of Art: Post #5--Fighting Resistance

Fighting Resistance: The successful resistor turns pro—dedicates his or her life to a calling. First, know the difference between urgent and important, and do important first. Second, learn how to be miserable. As former Marines, both Pressfield and I know how that works naturally. Third, we’re all pros at work—mostly we show up ready to play every day.  Pros get paid, understand delayed gratification, act in the face of fear knowing it will always be there, accept no excuses (you have to play hurt), ask for help, don’t take failure or success personally, endure adversity, self-validate, recognize limitations, and reinvent themselves. However, amateurs are never all-in and are mere pretenders and part-timers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

War of Art: Post #4--More Resistance

More on Resistance: So, resistance makes us feel unhappy—that we’re not doing something we’re supposed to. Self-medication, alcohol, drugs and even sex take our minds off resistance briefly, but eventually it overtakes us. Further, tribal law works to keep us as part of the tribe (the status quo) and not to be independent free thinkers. Fundamentalism steps in to fill the gap created by being cut off from the tribe. We retreat to the stories of the “good old days”—though they are often myths. Disenfranchised fundamentalists demonize their enemies to give meaning to their own lives. Criticizing others, feelings of self-doubt, fear of failure when we stretch, and taking time to “heal”—all of these can cause resistance.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

War of Art: Post #3--Nature of Resistance

The Nature of Resistance:  It’s invisible (the enemy within), insidious (tells you any lie to keep you under its control, implacable (its only purpose is to keep us from doing work), fallible (the bigger the meaning to us, the higher the resistance), fueled by fear (resistance feeds on our insecurity), and so much more. Be assured, resistance wants things to stay as they are—under its control. Change is resistance’s enemy. But never underestimate the power of resistance.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

War of Art: Post #2--Resistance

Resistance: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us.” Between the two stands resistance, warns Pressfield. He tells us that just as the sun casts a shadow, so does genius, whose shadow is resistance—the  barrier to taking the first step toward what we want. Artists face a blank canvas, writers—a blinking cursor, and all of us—a vision of our hopes and dreams. Forgoing immediate gratification in favor of a long-term gain (i.e., diet, fitness) is how to defeat resistance. When a writer begins to write his first sentence or a manager has a meeting with key people over a new idea, resistance dissipates and a new world begins.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

War of Art: Post #1--Overview

Overview: Well-known author and screenwriter Steve Pressfield introduces us to our
biggest barrier to creativity—ourselves.  More specifically, he discusses “Resistance,” which most writers know as “writers block,” and the rest of the world as procrastination. Anyone who ever started a big project after much hemming and hawing knows the feeling all too well. To overcome the resistance of procrastination, Pressfield establishes a protocol that involves preparation, order, patience, endurance and staring down the fear that keeps us from taking the first step toward change and creativity. Finally, he tells us about the origin of true inspiration that comes from discipline and resolve. Pressfield has written a book that should be given to every new artist and any business person staring at a new project. Both will benefit mightily.


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (Black Irish Entertainment, 2002) by Steven Pressfield, reviewed by Steve Gladis, PhD, October 2013.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Eat Move Sleep: Post #4--Final Comments

Final Comments: Moreover, Rath backs up these nuggets with solid, creditable research about THE most important issue we all face—individually and as a nation.

 Finally, just as Strunk and White brought clarity to writing in their classic The Elements of Style, Tom Rath has brought that same clarity to healthcare with Eat Move Sleep.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eat Move Sleep: Post #3--Great Tips

Great Tips:  Rath summarizes well. Even if you only have twenty minutes on a train ride or between meetings, just flip to the end o
o    Keep your bedroom two to four degrees cooler at night.
o    Use smaller cups and plates to eat less.
o    Make every meal last at least 20 minutes.
o    Work out in the morning for a better mood and more brainpower all day.
f each chapter. Rath summarizes the key points he makes in every chapter with pinpoint clarity. Here are a few end-of-chapter nuggets:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eat Move Sleep: Post #1--How Rath Does It

How Rath Does It: If you’re a discriminating reader who likes data to back up what’s being said, who wants language that’s direct and simple, and who doesn’t want to die any sooner than you have to, this is the book for you! Here’s how Rath does it:
•    First, he provides great evidence without it intruding on the text. He’s based it on a mound of research (370 citations), which is included at the back of the book and available for guys like me who ask, ”Who says so?”
•    Second, the guy writes well—with simple, direct and powerful language. Here’s a snippet on sugar: “Sugar is a toxin. It fuels diabetes, heart disease, and cancer…. One report aptly described sugar as, ‘candy for cancer cells.’ It accelerates aging and inflammation in the body and subsequently fuels tumor growth.” He does this in thirty bite-sized, 3-5 page chapters to make the book easy to digest.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Eat Move Sleep: Post#1--Introduction

Introduction...
There isn’t a CEO, VP of HR, or parent on the planet who is not concerned with healthcare. With alarmingly increasing obesity rates and with healthcare costs busting budgets, healthcare is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.  Statistically, 90% of us will die of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or lung disease—most of which can be rebuffed with small, incremental choices, according to thought leader and author Tom Rath in his newest book, Eat Move Sleep. Rath has written international bestsellers like StrengthsFinder and Wellbeing, which gave us a strong hint that he was headed toward a clear focus on health. Rath has done just that with Eat Move Sleep.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

HBR Innovation: Post #7--Discipline of Innovation

The Discipline of Innovation by Peter Drucker (originally published in May 1985).  Innovation is about the effort “…to create purposeful, focused change in an enterprise’s economic or social potential.” Entrepreneurs innovate…whether they’re in small companies, big ones or startups. Commitment to a search for useful ideas is what entrepreneurs share—not some genius. At its heart innovation’s about “the disciplined effort to improve a business’s potential.” Entrepreneurs find innovation opportunity in seven areas: 1. Unexpected occurrences, like failure; 2) Incongruities; 3. Process needs; 4. Industry and market changes; 5. Demographic Changes; 6. Changes in perception; and, 7. New Knowledge.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

HBR Innovation: Post #6--Classic Traps

Innovation: The Classic Traps by Rosabeth Moss Kanter (originally published in 2006). New products and services drive corporate growth; however, many companies do things that hurt them in the process, such as: 1) Investing in only blockbusters (stifles projects that could emerge); 2) process strangling (putting unrealistic performance measures around new products); and 3) launching too many small projects (creating confusion for customers). Kanter suggests avoiding strategy mistakes by funding a proportionate range of development from big bets to early stage ideas; avoiding process mistakes by adding some degree of flexibility to the budget; and avoiding structure mistakes by connecting innovators to mainstream business managers in the company.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

HBR Innovation: Post #5--Is it Real

Is it Real? Can We Win? Is it Worth Doing? by George Day (originally published in December 2007).  Many companies avoid the risk of taking on major innovative projects. Thus, most corporate innovations (85-90%) are minor and rarely lead to significant growth. However, such an approach may spell stagnation and, worse, irrelevance.   The author has developed a risk matrix chart based on two dimensions—how familiar is the company to the market and how familiar the product is. The gradation on the Y axis about the product is from low to high: “same as the current offerings”; “adjacent to current offerings”; and “new to the company.” The gradation on the X axis about the market is from low to high: “same as present [corporate market]”; “adjacent to present [corporate market]”; and “new to the company.”

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