Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Everyone's expecting you to quit

The difficult part of instigating change is getting the buy-in - first from yourself then from anyone else with a vital say in the matter.

But follow-through is the section where self-instigated change really falls apart. The assumption is that you won't have the energy, determination, to see things through - companies make billions on this (complaint (aka customer service) departments, marketing, etc), and politicians do as well...

I remember going to DC to join the March for Women's Lives in April, 2004. The next day GWB said something along the lines of 'everyone's entitled to their opinion' - and that was the end of that. Over 1 million people gather to speak their voice, and it gets rebuffed by one short line. Fortunately the number of protesters is enough to carry the movement even if it wasn't acted upon immediately.

Here's a response regarding Hong Kong's push for democracy:

"China knows Hong Kong can be controlled effectively ... even if there's another half million strong protest, Beijing will not be concerned," said Jin [Zhong, a veteran China-watcher and the publisher of the Hong Kong-based monthly magazine Open], referring to a pro-democracy protest in 2003. "It knows Hong Kong people are civilized, they'll go home and go to work the next day, it will pass."

As you're setting your resolutions for the coming year - rather than joining the ranks of those who expect you to quit, make sure you have enough momentum and support to carry yourself through the challenging times (set schedules, do a project with a friend, or organization, keep your purpose for the change clear, and/or get a coach).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Finding the perfect job - one week at a time

Most people search for jobs online, or through a few people they know.

Sean Aiken is trying out a new job each week to find out what works for him.
Week 2 - Talk Show Intern
Week 8 - Dairy Farmer
Week 19 - Brewmaster
Week 24 - Veterinary Assistant

Week 33 - Stock Trader

It's ambitious, he's pulling it off, and I'm fairly certain he'll end up in a place he didn't expect to be. (Perhaps being the focus of more documentaries?)

For some great videos (and ideas on what jobs are out there) visit Sean's blog - oneweekjob.com. And for help with your own career search or switch, contact me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Duct tape gets rid of warts - now we both know

In last week's Best-of episode of NPR's 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' NBC news anchor Brian Williams was asked a series of questions about duct tape - the worlds most useful product.

Turns out it's also better than cryotherapy at removing warts. Here's how to do it, and a link to the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine studies in 2002 that confirmed the treatment.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Outrage - it's what people expect

Many people take their sports very seriously - particularly those on the national professional level. And you'd think that the quarterback of an NFL team would be at the top of such a list.

When asked if he was angry, shocked or embarrassed by turning over the ball 4 times (costing his team 28 points, and the game), Giants' quarterback Eli Manning responded with, "Just disappointed."

Now, in addition to being upset about losing the game on such a poor performance, many fans are even more furious at him because he isn't feeling more - that he isn't caught up in the wave of emotion that has swept over them.

The thing is that Eli Manning has never been one for big emotions - not after important games where he's played superbly, nor after dismal ones. I think this is one of his best qualities.

Who would you want in tough situations - an even-keeled guy that could keep a clear head, and not get confused by his emotions, or an erratic one that's subject to wide swings depending on the moment? (remember how quickly Howard Dean lost his elect-ability after his scream/rant in the '04 primary?)

In the long-run, it doesn't pay to have big mood swings anyway.
After all, we don't really know what's going to happen next as a result of an event (as is well illustrated by a Chinese parable).

Friday, November 23, 2007

How are you feeling?

Part of releasing stress is being able to identify what you're feeling. I've found that keeping both a short and long list of feeling words nearby is extraordinarily helpful.

One game I sometimes play is to figure out what action would need to happen to trigger a feeling, and then either try to make it happen, or pretend that it did (the body can't tell the difference between real and imagined events anyway).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More on how to sleep better

Without proper sleep, you are much more susceptible to stress, lowers cognition rates, and makes us more vulnerable to illness (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity).

So what can you do about it? Turns out some very simple steps... (in addition to those already mentioned)

- From NYTimes article:
Curing Insomnia Without the Pills

"The behavioral strategies for better sleep are deceptively simple, and that’s one reason why many people don’t believe they can make a difference. One of the most effective methods is stimulus control. This means not watching television, eating or reading in bed. Don’t go to bed until you are sleepy. Get up at the same time every day, and don’t nap during the day. If you are unable to sleep, get out of bed after 15 minutes and do something relaxing, but avoid stimulating activity and thoughts.

So-called sleep hygiene is also part of sleep therapy. This includes regular exercise, adding light-proof blinds to your bedroom to keep it dark and making sure the bed and room temperatures are comfortable. Eat regular meals, don’t go to bed hungry and limit beverages, particularly alcohol and caffeinated drinks, around bedtime.

Finally, don’t try too hard to fall asleep, and turn the clock around so you can’t see it. Watching time pass is one of the worst things to do when you’re trying to fall asleep."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Write or Wrong?

Whichever side you fall on with the Writers' Guild strike, there's one thing that you must agree with - it may or may not affect my appearance on Letterman.

Considering that Late Show has gone to re-runs (no one to write Top 10 lists), it may be a while until my segment airs. Since there's no way for me to know one way or another what will come of it, all I can do is shrug, and proceed with the implied understanding that I'll make the best of whatever happens. (after all, I still have the subtle satisfaction that my life is awesome)

But you guys didn't come here to read that - you want Letterman-style entertainment! ith that in mind - I provide my first Top 10 list...

Top 10 things I learned from taping a Late Show segment:
10. A camera crew does not mean a celebrity is in the vicinity
9. Food is not provided at shoots
8. Arrive early
7. Be prepared to wait
6. Share meaningful content within seven second or risk being cut-off
5. Sit on the tails of your jacket - it'll help you sit up straight
4. New Yorkers will be so oblivious to a camera setup that they'll walk in the three feet between camera and actors
3. Check your zipper
2. Let the comedian be the funny one - they dislike being upstaged
1. Take everything with a grain of salt - it's a comedy show afterall

Friday, October 26, 2007

Take care of a few things before you die ...

The idea of Death triggers a lot of stress in people, and leads to some big questions: when will it happen, what will it be like, how should one prepare for it?

1st - it'll happen when it happens, but at least it's not right now.
2nd - it'll be like cute puppies jumping in your lap and emitting lots of love (at least that's how I like to imagine it).
3rd - preparation? That's what I have people for!

Said person just happens to be Wills, Trusts, & Estates lawyer, George Bischof, who's been kind enough to share his knowledge on the top 3 concerns that people seek him out for.

If you have kids, assets, or a life, you should take a few moments (13:34 to be precise) to find out the best ways to protect them.

You’ll learn about guardianship, how to minimize taxation by the government, living wills, healthcare proxies, and more.

If the audio player doesn't appear above, then copy and paste the following into the address bar of your web browser:

(or right click and select "Save as" to download the podcast.

Please submit suggestions of future topics you'd like to hear interviews for via the comments section or send me an email.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm not a mind reader, just a prognosticator

Remember my post on paparazzi?

I recently taped a segment on life coaching for
Late Show with David Letterman where I was one of five life coaches to work with Andy Kindler (a comedian they frequently have on the show - do a search on YouTube for examples of his comedy).

For about 90 minutes on a park bench in Central Park we discussed, among other things, the stresses of a stand-up comedian and relationship issues. We poked fun at life in general, the people watching us, and coaching over the phone.

I have no idea what will make the final edits, but was told by the director, "You're going to be happy with it." So that's a good sign.

I am very thankful to those I contacted for help and advice on how to best prepare for the experience. You were all great! You definitely helped me get in the right mindset by playing up my strengths, and putting the risk and expectations into perspective.

Strengths: My improv and performance background tremendously helpful. While we were talking I was oblivious to the camera, crew, and passers by. I was very calm, and tried to balance coaching Andy on the issues he presented, as well as keeping the mood light (it is a comedy show after all).

Risk and Expectations: People put in this position for the first time are expected to not look good. Anything above that is just bonus.

I'll be given up to 24 hours notice prior to air-date. Which means you'll be given even less to Tivo it. I will send out an email to my newsletter as soon as I get the info. If you're not yet signed up, do so, or check back here daily during November ;)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Instant help for your stress

As a coach, I'm an advocate for people taking a big-picture view of their life. I want them to be able to envision themselves 3 years, 5 years, or more into the future, and then I can help them plan and follow a route to get them there.

But I also realize that there are many small obstacles that make the immediate moments in that journey difficult.

That's why I incorporate short-term, stress reduction methods, while proceeding along the long-term stress release path I set up with clients.

So, what's a fast, easy way to reduce stress? Aromatherapy bypasses your higher cognitive brain functions to trigger responses directly. That's why you'll sometimes smell something, feel a different way, and then try to figure out what it reminds you of. (As opposed to smelling something, figuring out what it relates to, and then feeling a different way.)

The first oil I recommend people try is called Peace & Calming - a very fitting name since it's formulated to result in that effect. Apply a drop to the occipital lobe (the bump on the back of your head where the spine enters the skull), the pulse points on the inside of your wrists, temples, and 3rd eye (between your eyebrows, above the bridge of your nose).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

one time you don't want to be 'all right'

If your car was making a squealing noise every time you made a left turn, would you take it to a mechanic to get it fixed or would you just accept that the car was broken and continue driving it? (besides, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left) Which in the end makes you "all right"

Realizing that you get stressed each time a particular situation arises, and not fixing the core issue is just as foolish as making right turns for the rest of your life.

You did a great job with step one - realizing that your car is squeaking. For step two all you need is a good mechanic.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One reason to smoke

Taking a cigarette break - while often frowned upon - is still an excuse to take 5-10 minutes away from one's work and stop and breathe awhile. No doubt there's some chemical effect to the additives in tobacco products, but I think smokers often just enjoy the time to slow down and breathe.

If only we could find some excuse to do so without actually smoking ... that really would be something...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Making the best even better

A recent Reuters article mentioned how Tiger Woods' constant pursuit is to get more power out of a natural golf swing*.

The problem he faces? "I tend to slip back into the same old faults."

The same is true of most people's approach to stress - we all have old faults that get in the way of our natural motion to release our stress easily. Our best strategy is to make adjustments to see what serves us better.

We each, like Tiger, have many opportunities to see the results of our adjustments. Unlike Tiger, however, it's harder to measure or track (In Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness he gives ample evidence why we're not so good at keeping track of our feelings). You may want to set up some measuring tools and get an objective coach to help you out.

* recognize the voice? ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Why I love improv

wonderful, exciting, stressful, scary, reckless, daring, focusing, uncanny

There are a many different ways to think about the experience of stepping on stage with no idea of what you're going to say, or what's going to happen.

The best performers have studied techniques that will strengthen their abilities, bringing them greater awareness, and flexibility. When they go on stage they always try their best, and realize that regardless of what happens, they'll be ok.

Performing with SeanThey'll review their performance and laugh about their brilliant (and not so brilliant) moves. The top performers will look for ways to improve for their next performance, often seeking outside, trusted opinions, to help them excel. In the end however, they never beat themselves up for missed opportunities - and there's always plenty).

Sounds a lot like life too, right?

Taking yourself and your life too seriously? Take some practice swings - improvise.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thoughts on Labor Day traffic

Labor Day is the busiest day for car-travel in the U.S., and there's a good chance that if you're on the road you'll hit slow-moving traffic.

Here's a few ideas in case you're:

Running late - and having to alter one's carefully synchronized/choreographed day (much like when they miss their train)
thought: If you were creative enough to come up with one plan, you can just as easily create another scenario.

Feeling disrespected - after all, if they knew how important you were the other drivers would get out of your way.
thought: Who would you be willing to get out of the way from? Maybe that's them coming now.

Lack of forward motion - sometimes it just feels nice to be moving, and there is definitely something pleasant about the wind blowing in your hair, but if you haven't figured it out yet, you can't always get what you want.
thought: you never have to hit your brakes if you're moving the slowest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I can't stand paparazzi either

I occasionally stop what I'm doing and thank my lucky stars that I have my space and privacy instead of swarms of people following me around.

Hey, you never know when you may be famous, so enjoy your obscurity now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Trouble sleeping? Here are some tips!

One sure fire way to help reduce stress is to get better sleep. It allows the body to spend less energy focusing on survival (approximately 30% of your energy goes towards processing what your eyes see), and more energy healing and rejuvenating. The University of Maryland Medical Center has these tips on how to sleep more quickly and easily (such as Progressive Relaxation, Toe Tensing, Deep Breathing, Guided Imagery, Quiet Ears).

Another technique I've been advocating lately is to massage lavender oil your feet just as you get into bed. It not only has a pleasant aroma, but helps calm, relax, and balance both physically and emotionally.

It's important to keep in mind that these are just tools to help you cope with whatever is causing you to feel so distressed. You can apply tip after tip, but wouldn't you prefer to just sleep soundly, easily, and feel well rested when you wake up?

Fortunately there's a
system to help you do that.

But at the very least start by giving yourself a set amount of time to sleep each night and protecting that time.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stuck in the subway

It took 13 years.

I've been living in Manhattan for quite a while now, frequently using the public transportation system, and today is the first time I've been stuck in a train for an extended period (over 15 minutes).

No one in my subway car was happy about it, but everyone seemed to take it in stride. I was amazed. No one expressed a sense of entitlement, "this shouldn't be happening to me!" but there was a fair amount of, "All they (the Transit Authority) have to do to fix this is ..."

I turned my attention to jotting down a blog post and smiling at the coincidence that yesterday I saw a movie where all the transportation systems in the US were disrupted - so my predicament was fairly tame in comparison.

My gratitude list (aka, at least I've still got this going for me):
The lights are on
The air conditioning is on
The conductor is telling us why we're delayed
I have some water in a bottle
We're passing by other, non-moving trains

And those are just some of the 'practical' ones before going onto:
A fight hasn't broken out
I'm not wounded
The ceiling is sound and hasn't collapsed on us
Rats aren't storming the subway cars
No reports of anthrax

45 minutes later, I was at my subway stop and late for a meeting - a good number of the attendees were also late, and some had yet to arrive.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Is Stress Contagious?

The news has been aflutter with articles about a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine that indicates that Obesity is 'Contagious'.

I've been saying that about stress for quite some time. It's one of the core principles of my definition of stress - "A reaction that commonly occurs when your current situation doesn't match your ideal version of that situation"

The more common stress is in your life - the more it's seen as acceptable, beneficial, or natural - the more likely you are to choose it (and yes, unless your life is in immediate danger, you are choosing it).

So rather than congregate or interact with people whom "Stress Out" find another group (or create one) that values other modes of interacting and expressing themselves - maybe a group that tends to laugh rather than gripe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The music of life

Yesterday I listened in on an interview with Tal Ben-Shahar (Harvard professor who lectures on Positive Psychology) talk about how goals are the means to enjoying the journey. Which goes right along with how I prefer to differentiate between living a life of purpose with high standards vs. a life towards goals with high expectations (I'll elaborate more on this soon).

Alan Watts has a simple comparison between the journey of life and how we listen to music, and the creators of South Park created a fun depiction to emphasize the message in Watt's speech.

(in case you can't see the video - see it directly on YouTube)

(Thanks to Maneu for the link)

Monday, July 23, 2007

?eil a ro ,hturt eht ti si (aka How to Catch a Liar)

(Is it the truth, or a lie?)

Lying can be hard, stressful work. It's been made more difficult by the research in Aldert Vrij's recently updated book - Detecting lies and deceit: The psychology of lying and the implications for professional practice (in press) - which states that a very effective method to detect a false story is to ask the person to tell it backwards.

Turns out that keeping your lies straight is harder when you're being asked to twist them around in your head.

[Thanks to Dan Goldstein for being on the pulse.]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How I always catch my train

The subway is my main form of transportation. As such, I see a lot of trains pulling out of the station*.

I often hear people cursing the train, their bad luck, or the elderly woman who was moving slowly down the stairs. These people have a very strong attachment to an imaginary life. I don’t know what kind of magic and wonders they expected to happen as a result of the recently departed train, but whatever it was is gone, and the sooner they accept that the better.

Imagine walking up to an ATM – would you get mad at the person ahead of you because they’re about to receive the $20 bill that you have big plans for? That $20 bill has pulled out of the “ATM station.” That $20 has a unique adventure ahead of it, but so does the one about to enter your pocket.

The same can be said of you and your train ride. Yes, you could have one set of adventures if you caught the earlier train, but you’re now faced with this set – the one the universe has given you the opportunity to take.

“Your train” is the one you actually end up riding, not the one you planned on taking.

Congratulations, now you’ll never miss your train again!

* At which point I think, “great, I’m early for the next one” (I actually feel that more and more often the trains are just arriving at the station).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Workshop: Improving Relationships Through Improv

(A communications workshop for non-improvisers)

Tuesday, July 17th from 7-9pm

Want to make a great relationship even better?

Whether you have been together for 3 dates, 3 months, or 3 years, there is always the opportunity to:

- Deepen your connection
- Add more playfulness to your relationship
- Enhance the excitement
- Express gratitude
- Deepen your trust
- Share more
- Create more openness
- Be willing to make mistakes
- Explore ways to say things that are hard to say
- Build the relationship together
- Support each others' development
- Take cooperation to a new level
- Be present
- Have fun

Why improv?

Improv is founded on the concepts of open communication, playfulness, boldness, sharing, agreement, and acceptance.

These are the core elements of the most successful and exciting relationships.

Learning improv games is the easiest, most light hearted way to hone these communications skills.

How it's taught:

This workshop is not about being fast and funny. Instead, we will walk you through some of the tools and theory of great improv, as well as play some games (like those on the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?). In this safe environment, explore different ways to listen and express yourself.

Come be a part of it!
Register now!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I feel stronger already

Part of what I love about my work is that I get to learn and experience new tools to help my clients learn about themselves.

My friend Craig Jennings recommended I take the assessment that comes with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths.

I must say that I think it's very accurate, and I'm now working on leveraging them more in how I coach and build up my business.

Here are excerpts of the explanations of my 5 greatest strengths:
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity.

Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You instinctively observe each person's style, each person's motivation, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships. Because you are such a keen observer of other people's strengths, you can draw out the best in each person.

Excellence, not average, is your measure. Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding. Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but is much more thrilling.

When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible.

You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people-in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends-but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Independence Day is fast approaching for those of us in the United States. And while my first thoughts of this anniversary tend to go in the direction of backyard barbecues, frozen drinks, and fireworks (Sorry revolutionaries!), when I think of independence from a stress release perspective I focus on the various ideals we hold as self-evident.

"Of course I want that! It's obvious why! Jeeze you're slow."

Maybe you're referring to your career plans, finances, relationships, spirituality, or other aspect of your life.

For this Independence Day, I'm going to take a look at what self-evident truths I'm holding onto, and let one or two go.

My hypothesis is that I'll feel a lighter, freer, and more able to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My new favorite question?

"Would you like the subtle satisfaction of knowing your life is awesome?"

I came up with this question while trying to describe what I'd like to feel when people work with me.

However, a problem soon emerged. I couldn't contain the satisfaction level to that of "subtle." Pretty soon I was downright gleeful, and giddy.

It got to the point where I had to coin a new word - "gliddy" (gleeful + giddy).

I now often find myself gently fluctuating between the different states.

Wondering how your life could be awesome too?

The answer to that is simple in concept, but difficult in execution - you have to look at everything that's going on in your life, and not only accept it, but view it as the best thing ever (move over sliced bread!)

(I never claimed this method was original)

Those of you stuck in the objective reality of your situation are SOL (though maybe I can help).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to find extra hours in your day and enjoy them more!

My colleague, Karin Vibe-Rheymer-Stewart of DailyMastery.com, and I are leading a fun, informative 90-minute workshop where you will:

- Discover how you can stop stress dead in its tracks
- Tame your stress-inducing, time-wasting monsters
- Conquer your stressful emergencies once and for all
- Find out how to create stress-free relationships
- Change your relationship to stress… for the better

It takes place in NYC on Tuesday, June 19th from 6:30-8pm.
I encourage all of you to register!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Stress Reduction Method #481 - Talk to yourself


It's not a diary, well... it could be.
It's not a confessional, well... it could be.

All I know is that every time I send a message to myself I'm filled with glee. Especially since I quickly forget when it'll arrive. Try picking random dates in the future - months, years, decades out.

NB: If you sign up for an account you can change the email address it gets sent to - if you don't want an account you may want to own www.yourname.com (so that you still use the recipient email address)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Annoying vs. Necessary

Today I was discussing with a client how annoying a person could be in relation to how necessary they are as well as when they are told about their behavior. The following chart is what we came up with.

People start out being "Welcome." As they become more annoying, they enter the "nuisance" zone where they are usually told about their disliked behavior. If they keep up the negative trend, they then become "avoided." In addition, if this is in a work environment, too much more and they'll be fired.

Everyone can be a little annoying, but the slack they get (i.e. when they shift from "welcome" to "nuisance" to "avoided" is in direct proportion to how necessary they are. In the chart below Person A (PA) has a "necessary value" of 6, and Person B (PB) has one of 18. As a result, PA has only two "annoying units" before they told about their behavior. If they continue to 5 units, they're given up on and just muttered about behind their back. Once they reach 7 units they're fired.

Meanwhile at 7 units PB is only now shifting into "nuisance" area - being told about their unacceptable behavior.

So basically we all have a choice if we want to be "welcome"
1) Get along with others (i.e. don't annoy others)
2) Become more necessary
3) Not interact with others

Or you could just not care what others think.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Forget something?

On Tuesday I went to see Seth Godin talk about his latest book The Dip. The talk was great, I got him to sign a copy of the book, take a photo with me, and told him that I was the one who sent him this picture of a remarkably un-remarkable shoe store.

At the start of the Q&A session after his great presentation he mentioned that he would give out prizes to the people who asked the best questions. I (and apparently everyone else in the room too) were enjoying the moment so much that no one remembered about the prize. I had even walked out talking with a guy about his video company.

s we parted ways outside the venue I recalled that the prize had not been awarded. The problem is that NYC "cool etiquette" requires that I shrug the prize off as unimportant and walk away. The kid inside me required that I shake off outside approval (aka looking cool) and go back and find out about the prize. We all know what I did...

I went back and got the prize! The Purple Cow Award given to those Transforming Business by Being Remarkable

(btw, I did ask a really good question about what strategies he'd use to engage the world-view of people who want their kids to go after their interests, not just do things to get into college.)

I get the prize, heartily shake Seth's hand, and once again leave the venue. After walking a full block I check my phone for messages, and also to see the photo with Seth, but I couldn't find it! I tried three times... this was not good.
Had I closed the phone too quickly and the picture not saved? Could I go back and ask him to take another picture? Wasn't that going to be too weird? I could tell that he was going to remember me, but no longer in a good way if I went back.

I had overcome NYC "cool etiquette" once, but twice? I wasn't strong enough. So, I accepted that somethings were just not meant to be.

A couple of days later I uploaded the recent photos to my computer ... and lo and behold...

Some possible morals:

- Don't worry, be happy
- Be more careful
- There's a fine line between assertive and obsessed
- [insert your moral here] (or in the comment section)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I hate it ... until that other guy likes it

On my way home last night I saw Mario Batali coming out of a ramen noodle restaurant that opened a while ago on 2nd & 13th. To me ramen noodles are pretty plain and basic food. I don't understand how so many have opened up in my neighborhood, let alone how people are willing to put up with waiting on a line (or just loitering) outside for some when there are plenty of good alternatives that serve up more than just noodles.

All that changes when you start asking a famed chef about his and his two dinner companions' descriptions of their meal. They proceeded to quickly list four "must haves" while rubbing their bellies and wistfully remembering their just-finished meal.

So now I have to go try that place ... the place that I've shaken my head at for months now as too trendy and "what's the point."

Worst comes to worst - I'll try it, shrug my shoulders, and move on... but at least I'll understand a bit more about why others will wait on line for it.

P.s. I tried the "amazing" pizza place next door and I don't think my palate is sensitive enough to appreciate the fineness of the ingredients.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Do you have two minutes?

I recently attended a two day workshop on the Sedona Method - a technique developed in 1952 by Lester Levenson, when doctors told him he only had a short time to left live. (He lived another 42 years because of this method.)

It takes you through a series of questions that gently confront and breakdown emotional frustrations.

Naturally at the end of the workshop I was feeling very relaxed and open. It was a gorgeous eventing and I went to eat dinner in the garden of a restaurant around the corner from my apartment.

I continued my habit of exchanging a few polite words with the waitress. At one point she said, "I wish I could be as relaxed as you are."

"Do you have two minutes?" I replied.

She said she didn't - at least not right then, but came by a few minutes later. I had her sit down across from me, took her through the Sedona Method, and humbly accepted her sincere thanks when she got up feeling more joyous and calm.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Of course I'm busy!

We in NYC are very proud of how busy we are.

There's even an unspoken scale:
really busy
insanely busy

Around here there's a status to busy - an implication that "if you're not busy, you're wasting time and not taking full advantage of your life."

I don't have a problem with people being busy - they wouldn't be in NYC if they weren't interested in "doing stuff."

But there's still a question: "Where are all of your activities taking you?"

If your activities aren't bringing you closer to your ideal life, then you're left bouncing around, or spinning your wheels in the same routine. Which to me sounds a lot like not taking advantage of your life.

So go ahead, be busy, but pick a direction to take yourself - even if you change it later - because life never stops ... until it does.