Controlling the Job Interview

I thought you would be interested in a student of mine at NYU who will be participating in our summer music business program in LA.

She wants to work in a talent agency that caters to musicians and performing artists so after being introduced to a top talent agent, she was told to write a 5-page paper on the future of the music business.

No problem — she took a course about that with me last semester so on the transcontinental flight from New York to LA over spring break, she pounded out the report on her laptop.

The talent agent was a tough character but he sent her to a second interview and finally one with a third.

In preparation for that final interview my only advice was what I am going to share with you this morning – don’t allow yourself to become the person they want, stick steadfastly to being the person you want to be.

Turns out she was offered a virtual internship but the university requires it to be in-person for the summer program so she had to turn it down.

The interviewer said, no problem – you can start in the fall when you return to New York.

No matter how badly we want something, it is important to remain true to who you are so that should you get the job, the employer also gets the best of you.

Stress-free Living

I’ve added a new course this semester at NYU – Stress-free Living & Working in the Music Industry – a business that helps so many people relax by listening yet imposing 73% mental health issues on the artists and musicians.

From time to time I’m going to share what we’re all learning.

For starters, that happiness does not come from being happy or even trying but from gratitude – it’s a tough sell until we realize that gratitude is the building block of resilience and that it is resilience that makes us happier.

My students and I are working on awakening the power within us to make positive decisions that reject neglect of mental and physical health and promote curiosity in discovering how being grateful truly works.

At the end of one class in which a guest spoke, I asked the students to tell the speaker what they liked about their presentation and – this is just as important – and cite a specific thing as evidence.

I went first to show an example and give them a second to gather their thoughts.

A good number of students waved their hands high to go next and the speaker was on cloud nine.  The students were elated because they could express their gratitude in such a meaningful way – with real evidence, no empty flattery.

You may want to try this at home (at holiday time, for no special reason) or at work – the power of gratitude in building resilience.

The Right to Disconnect

In Ireland, France, Ontario have the Right to Disconnect laws.

Even at the Volkswagen offices in Germany workers are no longer penalized for not answering electronic communications after-hours.

The most stress occurs when staying connected after work.

When sleep time decreases attention spans also decrease.

Unlocking the power within all of us to live as we choose based on our health and happiness starts with placing limits on after-hours anxiety that is not necessary.

Man 2.0

“We’ve kind of confused what it means to be a man, what it means to be masculine.  You’ve got this trope out there that you’ve got to be tough and angry and lash out to be strong. It’s just the opposite … Strength is how you show your love for people. Strength is how you are for people and how you have their back. And how you stick up for other people and [push back] against bullies.”  — Doug Emhoff

Breaking Up with Your Phone

Catherine Price wrote a book about this – a 30-day plan to take your life back by breaking up with your phone.

One of the quick hits worth considering is to put a rubber band around your phone so that every time you pick it up you are reminded to ask yourself if there is a better use for your time at that moment – that’s what she does.

The mission is not to stop using phones or social media that has become an addictive dark hole but to not automatically turn the phone into a compulsive action that robs you of living focused on what is around you.

Chill Leadership

Leadership has to do with helping others succeed for themselves and for the team while you work in the background.

Leadership is a stealth operation that’s why people who look like leaders and sound like leaders are still primarily pushing themselves out front.

An effective leader today is a coach not a superstar player.

In radio, productive salespeople do not make the best managers when their work is “rewarded” by a promotion to boss.

Wayne Gretzky was truly hockey’s “Great One” but he failed as a coach – in other words he could play the game but not help others up their game.

Coaches have special skills – they are not always the ones who manage from a position of great accomplishment – more so, from a recognition of what it takes for others to be a winner.

Even Less is More

Jimmy Kimmel takes the summer off and when he came back in the fall he was offered another three-year contract extension.

What’s this?  Work less, make more?  Not a new concept.

Johnny Carson cut back to working four days at peak popularity, then three and anyone performing at a high level in any profession either takes time off or faces burnout – even college professors take a sabbatical.

Working long and hard is a common element of success but working less so that you can continue to do more helps rewrite the expression to say “even less is more”.


No one thing changes any little thing.

But many little things can bring about one big change.

Incorporating micropractices into daily routines helps rehearse for success – for example, spending less time looking at screens starts with a little less time and endless multitasking eases when we prioritize a few things.

It’s kind of like a to-do list in a way.

The larger tasks sits there while the smaller and usually less significant ones get done because it takes less time or it’s easier.

But the revelation is chopping up big tasks into smaller parts gets the best results.

So it is with micropractices to change habits – nibble away, don’t try to gobble it all up at once.

Multitasking Surprise

Multitasking overstimulates the brain and stresses you out and stress feeds more anxiety.

It is a factor in higher levels of depression and anxiety among social media users.

Things are proven to not get done faster by multitasking – the brain is not wired to do any two cognitively demanding things at the same time in spite of how we may feel when we check more things off our task list.

There is an exception to the multitasking rule:  Choose any other thing that doesn’t stimulate the language part of the brain and it works simultaneously, no problem – listen to music, do the laundry.

I ran this past my NYU stress class recently and a few students said they liked how they felt when they multitasked until they considered the science – one thing at a time and then onto the next is the most efficient and mentally healthy way to handle a busy life.

Being Underestimated

The NFL awarded the New England Patriots multiple compensatory draft picks late in the 2000 draft due to the free agency defections.

One of those was pick No. 199 overall in the sixth round.

The six quarterbacks drafted before (combined) started only 191 games and threw 258 touchdowns.

The Patriots’ pick won 286 games in his career, including seven Super Bowls, and threw 737 touchdowns in the regular season and playoffs combined.

Tom Brady went from last to first.

I like to think about things like this because being underestimated has its advantages – we should use them.