Is There Such A Thing As Too In Touch

I heard a report on NPR yesterday that one-third of the 18-34 year old demographic confessed to using their mobile devices in the bathroom.

In fact, 9 percent of iPhone water damage comes from – well, accidently dropping their phones in the toilet.

I’m not sure there is much difference – except sanitary considerations – from reading a newspaper on the john and texting someone.

The real issue is not connectivity.

It’s balance.

And in a digital world people are so connected that it begs for more balance.

No time to disconnect and think.

This is personal and different for everybody.

As a Professor of Music Industry at USC I asked my students to give up their cellphones and iPods for two days.  They did it reluctantly.

When they reported back to their class on what happened when they went analog, many confessed to enjoying the respite although every student couldn’t wait to get their digital devices back.


Quality of communication instead of tonnage.

Manageable and meaningful social networks not just large lists from which to harvest “friends”.

These issues have always been critical to effective communication even before the digital age.

Scott Peck reminds us “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”

We can multitask some things but we cannot multitask and effectively communicate.

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  • @Scott Simon Thank you, Scott.  I appreciate it.

  • Ah, the bathroom and media usage. Always used that when pitching radio in the old days, “Who can watch TV in the shower using electricity?” The battery is the most under-appreciated app!
    Jerry, love your articles. Good luck with your upcoming conference. I’ll pass along the word about it to people who really need a lifeline in their job and career.

The Gift That Really Keeps On Giving

There was an article in Tuesday’s New York Times about how dads are increasingly making the decisions on what toys to give to their children as part of the changing family.

According to the article:

“For the first time in Barbie’s more than 50-year history, Mattel is introducing a Barbie construction set that underscores a huge shift in the marketplace. Fathers are doing more of the family shopping just as girls are being encouraged more than ever by hypervigilant parents to play with toys (as boys already do) that develop math and science skills early on.”

Or as psychiatrist Maurene O’Brien, quoted in the piece and consulted on the new Barbie set said, “Once it’s in the home, dads would very much be able to join in this play that otherwise they might feel is not their territory.”

Actually, the toys don’t matter all that much.

What matters is giving the gift of time.

That’s what I always liked about golf as a divorced father.  Plenty of time to be together, play, talk, wait and bond.  Who said the game is too slow?

The gift that keeps on giving is always on sale for 100% off because it is free.

But in our workaday world where stressors mount hour-by-hour, we increasingly see relationship solutions as being mobile, digital and materialistic because we are so jammed on time.  Time is money and we often wind up spending it on the wrong things.

The father I saw dining with his two daughters in a Chinese restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ a year ago put on a clinic for how not to parent.

He was on his Blackberry for most of the dinner.  His young children chatted with each other while he was distracted – not their dad.

As the holidays come upon us, could this be the year that we realize that an hour spent visiting a person in an assisted living facility is a gift all by itself – one that will always be a hit.

That the toy you give a child almost doesn’t matter, but the time spent together does.

Splurging on presents for your spouses or partners is nice but non-distracted “face time” is the wrapping that makes it perfect.

Rick Warren says we must prove that our relationships are important by investing time in them:

“Words alone are worthless. My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.”

We can give this present this year!

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Positives From the NFL Shooting

Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and himself last week leaving their infant daughter without parents and his teammates devastated.

There are plenty of issues that have come to the fore:  the effect of head injuries, domestic violence and suppressing problems that need outside help.

But the thing that tugged at my heart was seeing fellow teammates question whether they had done enough to be there for their troubled friend.

Out of bad comes good, but it will not replace the two victims nor will it undo the hurt that their daughter will have to deal with.

Sometimes the good is separate and apart.

Like learning the value and necessity of being able to communicate positively at all times.

God knows we have more communications tools today than ever in the history of civilization.

My best friend used to send me a note each and every (and I do mean every) time we would meet for lunch or dinner.  Just a quickie to say thanks and share something positive.

I still have every one of his notes.

People want to know someone is listening to them.

That they care.

Now we can use Twitter and Facebook to say nice things to one another and let others know we are more than just quick “Facebook friends”.

Or email and text to say something quickly and positively.

Perfection is not attainable in this life.

Being human is quite enough as long as we all feel someone cares.

Take a chance and encourage a friend or family member.

Tell the world about a fellow worker’s accomplishments.

Get the accent off “me” and return it to where it belongs – “you”.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”  — Ralph Nichols

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  • Jerry, Great commentary. Thank you for expressing your thoughts. I agree and believe that
    people in general, share this:  We all want to feel like we matter…to our friends and family,
    industry, society. Those who hold powerful positions have an even greater opportunity to make a difference.
    Thanks again for writing such a thoughtful piece.
    Valerie Smaldone

The Power to Empower

The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar died last week at the age of 86.

His messages were powerful as he spoke to audiences worldwide – in his heyday speaking 150 times a year and even into his 70’s preaching the gospel of self-help 50 times per year.  He earned $50,000 a speech!

Messages like:  “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time” and “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile”.

At the core of Ziglar’s approach to motivation is this secret to empower others:

“Our whole philosophy’s built around the concept that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”.

But we live in a self-absorbed world where people increasingly and outwardly seek that which they want at the exclusion of others.

American politics is about no compromise.

Often employers adopt the take it or leave it attitude which has more than paved over their “my way or the highway” approach.

Empowering those close to us to achieve their goals, too.

Our fellow workers to be better because we are part of their lives.

Believing in our children enough to be their silent partner on the road to success and happiness.

It’s about relishing in the role of helping others get what they want as a ticket to getting what we want.

Ziglar said empowering others “works in your personal life, your physical life.  It works in corporate America.  It works in government.  It works everywhere”.

And some hints of how to begin empowering others as well as ourselves were revealed in Ziglar’s New York Times obituary:

Be grateful.



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Friends Who Betray

Few things are more powerful than friendships, but when we feel betrayed by a friend, there is great hurt and the feeling of loss.

Also, self-doubt. 

After all, we often wind up blaming ourselves rightly or wrongly.

The closer we are with others, the more vulnerable we become.

So I have a 4 step road to recovery that I would like to share with you.  This applies to anyone of any age and is particularly useful with children who are devastated when they feel betrayal for the first time.

  1. First and fast determine if the perceived betrayal is a misunderstanding.  Once emotions take over it is harder to resolve the misunderstandings we all have in life.
  2. Accept apologies.  Not harboring anger is what friends really do.  Forgiveness does not always mean forgetting.
  3. If they feel as badly as you do, consider reaching out to see things from their perspective.
  4. Ask yourself if you want to remain friends with the person who betrayed you.  All healing is painful but it can also be beneficial.  Sometimes moving on is the best option.

Adversity can actually strength friendships as George Washington pointed out: 

“True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”

We earn the right to be a friend.

I love this definition of a true friend:

“Your friend is the man (person) who knows all about you, and still likes you.” (Elbert Hubbard)

Thanks for sharing these daily thoughts with people you care about and please feel free to keep the conversation going by making a comment below.

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  • You are too kind!  My mouth is in good hands!

  • Hi Jerry,
    I’ve enjoyed following your blog.  I like this one in particular. Hope all is well. Happy holidays to you and your family.
    Laura (your faithful dental hygienist)

Living in the Present

I’m bad at this and yet it is important – living in the now is the only place to be.

It makes sense.

There have been many outstanding books to extol its virtues.  Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” comes to mind.

Yet the very thing that makes us succeed – the ability to focus on the future — is not an adequate formula for personal happiness.

What is a person to do?

Not look ahead?

Just being aware of the demands of life and career is a good first step.  But I have found these thoughts helpful:

  1. Appreciate the moments of today.  Do not postpone joy.
  2. Forget about past hurts and move on – let go, put it to rest and feel the exhilaration that automatically places you in the present.
  3. Stop worrying.  99% of that which we worry about never happens and the 1% that does occurs rarely the way we feared it.  Needless worry relegates us to the past and not the moment.
  4. Start each day in the now – commit to it.  It gets harder to do as the day goes on and life happens but concentrating on today and not tomorrow’s worries will be a good beginning.
  5. Give your undivided attention to someone – perhaps a friend, parent, partner or a child without the focus on you.  It’s hard in a world of digital devices and social networks, but concentrating on others is an automatic homerun for living in the present.

As I said, living in the present is not easy for me.

When all else fails I take my inspiration from this thought:

“Children have neither a past nor a future.  Thus they enjoy the present – which seldom happens to us”.  (Jean De La Bruyere).

+ Comment on this post
  • @MartinGreenberg Thank you Marty

  • good stuff Jerry

  • @emic3 Thanks for the retweet

  • @jdVoiceovers Thanks for the mention!

  • @bccloutier Thanks for the retweet!

When You Lose Faith

Sir William Osler said, “Without faith a man can do nothing, with it all things are possible”.

But we are human and we have ups and downs.

Times when we are at peace with our ability to believe in ourselves, in others or how we choose to live our lives.

Sometimes unexpected events hijack our faith.

An illness, the loss of a job or the death of a loved one.  A friendship broken, angry words spoken or disruption that comes from one of life’s many hurts.

When faith wanes, channel a higher power.

Something or someone larger than life so that you gain the ability to let go of what ails you at the moment.

Did you know that Mother Teresa spent a lifetime dealing with doubts as she tended to the less fortunate people of India?  Mother Teresa said, “I have no faith – I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart and make me suffer untold agony”.

Mother Teresa wasn’t being scandalous.  She was being human.

So let me share with you what bolsters me when I struggle to maintain a strong belief in myself or others.

It comes from Scott Peck:

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers”.

Look up.

Thank you so much for sharing these daily messages with people who matter to you. 

+ Comment on this post
  • @Diane Cartwright Thank you, Diane.  Out of bad comes good again and again.  Everyone successful and happy can point to a turning point, a darker time that required perseverance.

  • Sir William Osler was paraphrasing Christ.  When friends have betrayed us, dear loved ones have passed and our careers have slid off life’s tenuous cliff, how do we find solid direction again?  Faith alone doesn’t seem strong enough.
    I admire your tenacity, Jerry.

  • Tis the Season……spread the KARMA

How To Get Rid of the Blues

The holidays can be such a wonderful time of the year, but they can also be a time of great loss and disappointment.

Meanwhile life goes on and we try to rally ourselves when we’ve got an unexpected case of the blues.

I’ll tell you how many people nip it in the bud.

They get busy focusing on someone other than themselves.

For example, another individual who needs a helping hand.

A person in need of a friendly ear.

Or to those who have bigger problems than we have.

One of my fellow Dale Carnegie instructors used to distribute 3×5 cards to his classes on the first day.

He would ask his students to write down and number the three biggest problems in their lives but without identifying their name on the card.

The instructor would then ask the class to pass the cards to the center aisle, collect them, shuffle the pile and randomly redistribute them to their “new” owners.

He would ask, “How many people by a show of hands would like to have their own card (with their own problems) back again?”

Never did even one person prefer their “new” problems to the ones they have.

I adopted this technique in my speaking but also in my life and the results are the same.

So, it could always be worse and if you want to make things better right now, a bit of gratitude along with the willingness to get the focus off your problems and onto helping someone else is the solution.

I love to write these daily messages to you.  Would you do me a favor and share with those who may also appreciate them?  Thank you!

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  • Two voices are better than one!  All the best.

  • Hi Jerry! What great advice! I’m going to remember that for future classes that I teach! It also played well into my new blog that is about to launch! I’ve been following you for quite some time, and will be utilizing some of your advice….. watch out! :)

What Employees Want the Most

Their bosses think it is money, but employees want – no, crave – appreciation.

And appreciation costs nothing to their employers.

Taraci Motivation compiled a list that compared what employees said they really wanted and what their employers thought they wanted.

For instance,

  1. Employees ranked appreciation as what they say they wanted most from an employer, but their bosses thought they would rank it 8 out of ten.
  2. Employers thought good wages would be what their workers said came first, but employees say it was only fifth on their list.
  3. It gets worse – feeling “in” on things was ranked second by employees but employers thought their employees would rank it dead last – at tenth.

This says two things.

How out of touch employers and employees are with each other’s wants and needs which is actually alarming if you think about it.

And secondly, but more important, the awesome power of appreciation as an affordable motivator that never goes out of style.

Appreciation as the first thing that employees want is nothing new –similar studies confirmed it as long as two decades ago.

So if you want to motivate an employee – or for that matter, anyone in your life – express appreciation in person, in writing or in deed.

Voltaire said,

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing.  It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well”.

Or as someone once said,  “If you don’t show appreciation to those who deserve it, they’ll learn to stop doing the things you appreciate”.

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  • @Chuck Johnston Well put, Chuck

  • I think most employers probably know these things… BEFORE they become employers.  Then they forget what it was like on the other side of the desk.

The Best Thanksgiving Ever

If you want to guarantee the best Thanksgiving holiday you have ever had, here is a surefire way.

Often the football games, children, families catching up understandably affect the spirit of a holiday whose reason for being is the expression of gratitude.

So, try this as you sit down and dig into the turkey and all the goodies.

You be the one to get everyone’s attention just before the meal begins and say something like this to the person(s) who prepared the meal looking them directly in the eye.

“I want to express to you how much we appreciate the time and love that you put into this meal.  All of us at this table are thankful that you made all of this happen so that we might be together today.”

There are two key elements.

You taking the lead.

And you expressing gratitude for the group.

Don’t be surprised to see teary eyes and a wonderful human relations appetizer for dinner.

It’s also a great teaching lesson to children gathered at the table.

Try it and report back in comments.

And have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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