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Busy?…or Productive?

April 17, 2014
Busy?…or Productive?

The English language has lots of odd quirks.  Try eating a deserted dessert in the desert.  Bowing to a bow.  Tasting apple in a pineapple.  Finding quicksand that’s quick or a boxing ring that isn’t square. And that’s only the beginning.  Perhaps one of the oddest things about how we communicate is our pat answer phenomenon – the act of asking and answering questions with automatic responses.  Here are a few examples to illustrate this phenomenon: Q: “How are you?” A: “I’m fine.” Q: “What’s new with you?” A: “Not much.” Q: “How have you been?” A: “Busy.” It’s the…

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The Bad Rap of Being Shy

March 18, 2014
The Bad Rap of Being Shy

How do you solve a problem like Maria? First, surround her with seven precocious children.  Then, add a widowed Captain who needs dragged out of his reserved shell.  Splice in some singing because good harmony never hurt anyone.  Then watch Maria shine. For Fraulein Maria in The Sound of Music, that story works because of one important fact about her personality: she was an extrovert. “I can’t seem to stop singing wherever I am,” she admitted to Mother Abbess in her thick, blunt way from under her thick, blunt bangs. “And what’s worse, I can’t seem to stop saying things…

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The Good of Bad Jobs

February 6, 2014
The Good of Bad Jobs

We’re unsatisfied at work.  We’re so unsatisfied, in fact, we’ll spend our unsatisfactorily earned money to watch movies depicting the dissatisfaction. The Devil Wears Prada, aka Misery with Management, grossed over $300 million.  Office Space, aka Cubicle Purgatory, became a cult classic.  9 to 5, aka Secretaries Finally Get Even, became the 20th highest grossing comedy of all time. And that’s not even taking into consideration Clerks, Clerks 2, Clerks 3, Working Girl, The Secret of My Success, Fight Club, Reality Bites, American Beauty, and on and on. Big discontent is big business. Hollywood seems to grasp our penchant for feeling disconnected…

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Grace to all and to all a good night

December 19, 2013
Grace to all and to all a good night

Everyone has a Red Ryder BB gun.  It’s that one thing you can’t survive the holidays without.  For nine-year-old Ralph “Ralphie” Parker in the holiday classic A Christmas Story, his Red Ryder BB gun was actually a Red Ryder BB gun. “I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle,” he said over and over. He yearned for it above all else.  He thought about it, talked about it, did everything he could think of to get it.  He asked.  He pleaded.  He petitioned Santa.  If work would get him that Red Ryder, then work he was…

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How Creativity Really Works

November 22, 2013
How Creativity Really Works

The Muse is a fickle creature, an immortal that flutters about on a whim, flashes her enigmatic eyes on whom she chooses, and, at her parting, has caused many an ulcer. She has hair the shade of a fleeting sunset as it slips into the mystery beyond the horizon and a mind to woo with ardor anyone who can enchant her with genius.  She ravages deadlines, devours expectations, and will act when she pleases.  And not a moment before. She touches only the gifted and elite, the special and supreme. For the mere masses, she cannot be tamed.  She cannot…

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Providence Favors the Foolhardy?

October 24, 2013
Providence Favors the Foolhardy?

No one taught Harland Sanders how to quit. They didn’t explain that failing at everything means you stop trying anything.  They didn’t tell him that life was unfair.  They didn’t convince him to settle for the pittance he could receive from a government check.  They didn’t persuade him to believe he simply wasn’t smart enough to figure this whole messy life business out, that his background made success impossible, that his poor start in life guaranteed his dependence on something or someone, that his lack of education ensured his destitute standing. And if they tried, he didn’t listen.  Instead, he…

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