Friday, August 13, 2010

How could Jefferson have known?

How did Jefferson know?
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the
brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement:
"This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to
gather at one time in the White House with the exception of
when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
Especially read the last quote from 1802. When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe .Thomas Jefferson The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. Thomas Jefferson It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. Thomas Jefferson I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. Thomas Jefferson My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. Thomas Jefferson The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'


Tough economy? You are over 50? What are you going to do?

Tough economy? You are over 50? What are you going to do?
I have many friends that have lost a fortune with the recent economic crises. One of them owned a million dollars in General Electric stock and it has lost almost 70% of his money. I have a lady friend who has her 401 k money in only one stock, a very well known company in Puerto Rico, that is why I won’t mention names, but she has lost a considerable amount of her “retirement nest egg”.
I love what Sparky Anderson, former manager of the Detroit Tigers said: I have got my faults, but living in the past isn’t one of them. There is no future in it”.
Important lesson: never place all your eggs in one basket and look ahead.
Let’s face it, people are living much longer than they used to. It is estimated that science has added 40 years to a person’s life expectancy in the last century, unless you live in Ethiopia, Somalia or fourth world countries. In some of these countries, life expectancy is under 40 years of age. We are very fortunate to live where we live.
Things the economic situation has changed in the last five years, you may want or need to return to the workforce.
I know that just to think that you are jumping back into the labor market may be a very distressing thought, but it really doesn’t have to be.
The challenge of finding a job, again, has nothing to do with a well written resume or trying to convince a recruiter that your experience will beat that very young college graduate she interviewed fifteen minutes before you arrived for your interview.
It all starts with your mind set, what you really believe you can contribute and how do you demonstrate the value that you could bring to the company that is considering you for a job.
Rapid change captures people’s attention and how we react usually reveal more about us as individuals than any type of situation we may face.
For example, faced with the very same changing circumstances, one person will get nervous and start sweating about the perceived problem, while another person is thinking about the possible benefits the change might bring. It is as simple as optimism versus pessimism: Concentrating on the opportunity as opposed to concentrating on the problem. Yes, it might seem like a simple difference in outlook, but believe me, is makes a profound difference in how it affects your performance and your outlook in life.
How about you? When change hits, which way does your mind or your attitude go?
Towards worry, anxiety, apprehension, distress, fear or misery with the situation? Or into hope, ambition, confidence and a belief that there will be a positive outcome?
You know, if we look at your behavior, we will probably find a pattern. Most people tend to lean one way or another and what is very interesting is that if you are not sure, you just have to ask your wife, husband, your loved ones or your co workers. Go ahead, ask them and they will certainly tell you. That is called “reputation” and whether you like it or not, you certainly have one.
You will go along reacting to change with either an optimistic, positive spirit or with bleak, frightful, gloomy thoughts.
And what is really a shame, over time; this way of thinking will become a habit.
This gets to be a problem or let’s say an issue, in a world where change is faster than ever in history and accelerating.
Our mind set can become a huge, but really huge asset or a serious, a very serious liability.
A negative mind set bleeds your energy, as well as the energy of others, especially people you have to interact with on a daily basis.
It weakens your determination, your self confidence and it affects your problem solving skills.
You limit yourself by focusing on problems and doing so will have an awful effect on your ability to spot opportunities.
What is worse, this pessimistic attitude will suck the joy and happiness out of your life, will leave you emotionally dissipated, less amiable to be around, and more vulnerable to stress and to getting physically sick.
Ah, on the other hand, a positive outlook, motivates, empowers, and actually fortifies you. Psychological studies conducted in many countries by psychologists, psychiatrists have repeatedly and reliably proven its therapeutic impact.
According to research, this is the way winners think, this is why they get paid more, they get sick less often, win more races, live longer and are much better at adapting to change.
Optimism points a powerful laser beam into the dark corners of a sick economy, hopeless situations, and perceived lack of solutions, revealing possibilities that are right there in front of your face, but you simply are not able to see or recognize.
The positive minded individual decodes events from the angle of confidence and finds opportunities, (some people call it luck) in places that the pessimist doesn’t even think of looking into.
I went to a conference today in a university and at the entrance of the conference room there was a machine that allowed you to clean your hands. The inventor of that machine has made millions while many others were only thinking not to shake hands with anyone because they could get sick. Some saw the problem, others saw the opportunity.
My clear message to all is that thoughts have power. The way you think will have a definite effect in your feelings and those will shape your behavior and consequently, it will determine your results.

Creativity: How to get more of it, how to apply it in life?

Creativity: How to get more of it, how to apply it in life.
I am now in Brownsville, Texas, just finished a speech for the Brownsville Independent School District. The audience was composed of school principals, assistant principals, and school administrators.
I was very impressed when I walked into the high school this morning. It looked like a college campus. It was so clean, so modern, and so full of life and people with smiles in their faces and an attitude of “what can I do to help you”?
I compare that with some of the high schools we have on the island and it is like night and day. Why in the world, I ask myself often, can’t we have modern schools, with all the money that we have in the budget for the school system? Why can’t we be as creative as they are to use their money in more effective ways?
The auditorium where I spoke had state of the art equipment; they even taped the speech with a television studio quality camera.
In the cafeteria, an excellent breakfast, eggs, potatoes and some Mexican dishes, plus the customary orange juice.
They had an area with laptops computers so that anyone that needed to connect, could do it right there in the cafeteria. The laptops were left in the cafeteria while I spoke at the Auditorium and guess what? They were not stolen. Last week, we all saw how a school was vandalized here in Puerto Rico and they took and or destroyed their computers.
They had another plasma television screen with information about the weather and what is happening in the world at the time.
Well, I needed to get that off my chest.
Let’s now get into the meat of the article.
We all have had days when we don’t feel that motivated or our attitude has taken a dive. Driving to work we encounter a hostile driver, maybe we get a flat tire or our car dies. That always affects you psyche, doesn’t it?
Nothing we do gets us going and we feel in the dumps.
I confess that this never happens to me, it seems I have positive DNA or something in my nature, inherited from my mother, who I call, Mrs. Positive and it trickled down to me, somehow.
Some people that are feeling that way have told me that it isn’t a good feeling to have.
I tell them that you can‘t sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. You can’t be an amateur and sit around to wait for inspiration to penetrate your brain. The real pros get up and go to work and they face whatever they have to face with a “can do attitude.
Yes, some people are born with creativity already ingrained in their brains, and I am sure you have a bunch of friends who fit into this category.
For those that are not born with creativity, and by the way, that is a facet of your personality that can be measured, it is called Originality which means open to new experiences, and there is a way to develop at least some measure of creativity.
Imagine if you could walk into your meeting room and you had all your executives sitting in their chairs waiting for you and you could take a device from your pocket, press the red button and all your executives would start offering valuable ideas that could improve the effectiveness of the business. That would be cool, wouldn’t it?
Well, that device doesn’t exist, yet we do have some ways to make people more creative.
Let’s explore a few ideas in this article.
Keep a diary or a journal. Any idea that comes to your mind, no matter how crazy that idea, you jot it down. I prefer a real notebook or agenda because it allows you to make drawings or sketches, although that is a personal style issue and I leave that to you. When you need to boost your creativity, you go to your notebook and you apply some of the ideas you have written in your notebook.
Search your surroundings or environment as a source of ideas and inspiration. Believe me, no matter what you do; you will constantly be in touch with creative ideas, with stuff that happens to you on a daily basis that you can do something about. People find inspiration in many places but if you are looking at the same boring four walls the whole day, you are limiting your perspective and you will need to get out, to go to different places and change your perspective.
Ask questions. Ask why and how to determine if there is a better way to solve a problem or a situation that presents itself or falls in your lap. When I try to analyze these situations, I always ask a few questions myself: What am I missing? What can I add to this situation that would transform it? What if I mixed A with B, what would happen? You know, go through the what, why, when, how, how much, how often. This helps quite a bit.
Combine random elements of the problem. In fact, why don’t we try this exercise right now? Look at two items, any two items in your desk right now and figure a way to put them together. For example, a letter opener and a clock could be turned into a letter opener with a clock in the handle of the paper opener. How about a paper clip and a rubber band? That is a tough one, but I bet that if you thought about it, you would come with an idea. It might not be a useful idea, but at least you are training your brain to think differently, out of the box, looking for possibilities.
Turn problems around. Turn you mind inside out and look at the opposite of what you want. Exploring how to make a situation worse, can sometimes give you ideas on what not to do, what not to try and what the worst consequences could be.
Recruit intelligent people. Bounce ideas off another smart person or several smart persons and challenge them to give you ideas or to take a look at their life experiences and think of something that could help that they have faced in the past. Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to your own ideas or experience.
Change your reading habits. Read stuff you normally won’t read. Look at blogs, at how to books, magazines, newspapers, paper and digital and search engines in the internet.
Last night I realized that I needed an example from world of schools and I remembered that last October, during the TED conference in Long Beach, California, I met Mark Feinberg and David Levin who started the KIPP schools. I went into Google, looked for them and was able to find the five pillars of their success and used it in my speech. They loved it.
Something very important and I realize very difficult for many people, especially successful business people. Be willing to tolerate failure. When you try different approaches, you have to fail sometimes. Make sure you use your failure as a lesson and move forward.
Have you ever heard of your inner child, or the child within you? Transactional Analysis made this concept very popular in the seventies and eighties. Kids are not afraid to take risks and or make mistakes. They take big risks, sometimes ridiculous mistakes, but then they try something different. Their brains are not trained to look for what is safe or secure.
Relax, meditate, do yoga or Zen. Get in touch with your inner self, your subconscious and give it a problem. Then totally turn your brain off. You will be surprised when an answer pops up. Exercise is a great way to stimulate your brain while at the same time you develop your muscles. But remember that a tired mind won’t generate ideas, so you have to take it easy and relax when you have to.
Finally, look for ideas in areas outside of your own discipline. For example, the legendary football coach Knute Rockne got the idea for his very effective offense by watching the dancers at the Radio City Hall in New York.
Citibank didn’t invent the possibility of taking care of clients from the comfort of your car, McDonald’s did and Citibank used the idea and now thousands of businesses do the same thing.
World War I military clothing designers borrowed from the painter Picasso and Braque to manufacture more effective camouflage patterns for tanks and guns.
Picasso was certainly a very creative individual, not very humble if I may say so, but indeed very innovative in many areas of his life. He gives much credit to his mother who said to him, “If you become a soldier, you will become a general. If you become a monk, you will end up as the Pope.” “Instead, I became an artist and wound up as Picasso”
We need very creative minds in Puerto Rico right now to help our economy.
For example, last year, 9,000 properties were sold and this year, only 1,900 have been sold. We need incentives from the government to help this very important segment of our economy recover, and sooner rather than later.