Denormalizing Anger

I Can't Take Much More Of This Shit
I Can’t Take Much More Of This Shit (via @effinbirds)

Everyone is angry.

Look around you. Everyone is angry about something.

It seems like everyone is angry all the time. About anything and everything.

Sure, politics and the state of the world take center stage, but it doesn’t stop there. From big things to little, it seems like everyone is angry and complaining about something.

Anger is the new normal.

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Helping Animals is Helping People

Helping Animals and their Owners in Emergencies

That’s the mission of a non-profit organization for which I volunteer: the Washington Animal Response Team or WASART.

We emphasize the “helping animals” part a lot. Our stories include horses being rescued from sticky situations — sometimes literally if they’re stuck in mud, perhaps more metaphorical if they’ve fallen and can’t get up — dogs that have gone over cliffs or accompanied owners on a hike only to discover that they can’t make it back on their own, or livestock and pets needing temporary shelter during wildfires or other natural disasters.

These are our stories. They’re what we do. They’re what you think of when you think of WASART.

There’s another part of what we do that is perhaps even more important, albeit easily overlooked…

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Bag Like an Artist

Groceries

I’m naturally pretty good with spacial things — I can imagine how physical things are in relationship to each other, how things go together, that kind of thing.

That eventually served me well at my first job, as as a bag-boy at a local grocery store. Putting things in bags was one thing; anyone could do that. Putting them in efficiently, maximizing how much goes in, keeping cold things together, putting fragile items on top, making sure the bag wouldn’t weigh too much –leveraging my spacial reasoning, these were things that came naturally to me. They still do.

To me it was as much art as it was work.

Which is how work really ought to be; certainly the best work.

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“Get Up Early” is a scam. Do this instead.

Alarm Clock

One of the currently popular so-called productivity hacks is to get up an hour or two earlier to get your best work done first thing.

It’s a scam. In fact, it’s the exact same scam as Daylight Saving Time. While it might feel like you’ve created this new magical time that was just waiting there for you to take advantage of with its additional productivity, it comes with a cost that no one talk about. Either you must actually sleep an hour or two less, or you need to compensate by going to bed an hour or two earlier.

Read more“Get Up Early” is a scam. Do this instead.

Facts, Misinformation & Priorities

  • Fact check before sharing. It makes you more authoritative, and makes the world a better place.
  • Misinformation shared only serves “the opposition.”
  • Focus on what’s truly important.

My morning was derailed by three separate articles that really struck a nerve. The concepts are so simple and important, and yet so often ignored, I’m having a hard time thinking about much else.

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Technique Overload

I’m not a self-improvement junkie, but it’s certainly something that I have interest in. The process began years ago when one of my managers at Microsoft introduced me to an assortment of books and resources on the topic, most notably Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since then I’ve done a lot of reading, tried an assortment of time-management tools, watched videos, and tried various … I’ll call them “techniques”.

I ended last year over-techniqued.

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Not. My. Monkeys.

I have opinions.

(I’ll wait for everyone that knows me to stop laughing….)

I tend not to be terribly shy about sharing said opinions.

(Again, another pause for the audience to catch their breath….)

I recently read an article that discussed how the Dutch are somewhat more “brutally honest” when it comes to opinions, and are often puzzled when people don’t accept and understand that they’re offered with the best of intentions. My Dutch heritage apparently runs deeper than I thought.

Of late, though, I’m trying to take a different approach when I react and want to share something I think important. And a simple phrase is helping.

Read moreNot. My. Monkeys.

My Top 5 Books for 2016

I was surprised to find that according to GoodReads, I’ve read over 30 books this year. Honestly, that’s a higher number than I expected. I’ll call a couple of them “also-rans”, meaning I might have bailed early, or given them the “scanning” rather than “reading” treatment, but even so – that the number of “real reads” is even around 25 is gratifying.

So, if Bill can do it, so can I: here are the top five books I found most valuable this year.

Read moreMy Top 5 Books for 2016

Be The Change…

I’m dumbfounded. I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed.

I’m dumbfounded by the results. Like many I never thought someone this clearly unqualified for the job stood a chance of getting it.

I’m ashamed of the results. “We the people” are not at all who I thought were were. I am ashamed of the fact that so many people honestly, truly believe that someone who speaks to the worst in human nature would be the better choice to lead this country.

I’m embarrassed by the results. Nothing more publicly demonstrates what “we the people” really are than who we elect to lead us. We’ve just confirmed every outrageous stereotype of “the ugly american” to the rest of the world. As a people we are more like him than not. And that’s embarrassing.

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It’s the Thought that Counts

It's the thought that countsOver the last few weeks we’ve seen reports of another celebrity scandal where some high profile individual is losing their business, their connections and basically their reputation because of some words that they’ve used in the past.

As I’ve discussed before, we give bad words too much power. Heck, we give mildly offensive words too much power – by considering them “offensive” at all.

Honestly, it’s not the words that matter.

Read moreIt’s the Thought that Counts

Courage

Words like courage and leadership and inspiration are hard to define and quantify, yet we know each when we see examples around us. Sometimes it seems that as a culture we perhaps use them a little too often and by doing so devalue their use when they’re more truly appropriate.

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What Language!

Oh My!
Some years ago I was chastised by a reader for using the word “sucks”, as in “networking sucks”. He took pains to point out that its origins were pornographic (I’d throw in beastiality as part of the origin depending on your corner of the world – at least in my highschool there was always a donkey involved), and that my use of it was vulgar, and even so far as to promote the decline of the language.

I can sort of see his point, but in reality when I write for Ask Leo! I write to be *accessible*. That means I try to write using familiar terms and in a conversational style that people can relate to, and of course understand.

Almost everyone relates to something sucking.

Read moreWhat Language!

A 9/11 thought…

The best way to honor those that lost their lives 10 years ago today is not to ruminate on the horrors, but rather perhaps pause briefly & remember … and then move forward; live a full and happy life, and every day be thankful that you are able to do so. I’ll probably avoid most … Read more

Fighting with Dragon

No, the title is correct, I’m not fighting with dragons I’m fighting with Dragon. Specifically I just had a nightmare scenario with Dragon NaturallySpeaking that I wanted to document.

I do want to be clear however that I think Dragon NaturallySpeaking is fantastic technology. Speech recognition dictation is just magical to me. In fact I’m using it right now to dictate this very post. (It’s not perfect, so do keep an eye out for speech recognition mistakes, I think I caught them all but very easy to miss. It is pretty darn accurate, though.)

The problem was getting here.

A couple of days ago I apparently started experiencing tendinitis in my left wrist. It was quite painful and after drugs and ice didn’t really help I decided to wrap my wrist in such a way that would prevent certain kinds of motion. That helped.

But of course it made typing next to impossible.

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