5 suggestions for youth to help stand out in a crowd

cell phone meme

Recently I was asked by a much younger colleague what advice I would give to someone like him to help him stand out and be noticed.

My first reaction was to try to shy away from this kind of thing.

Who the heck am I to be giving anyone advice?

I’m still trying to figure things out myself.

The more I’ve been learning, the more I’m realizing how little I really know.

Plus, in my past, I struggled with listening to someone who was trying to provide helpful advice. (Who were they anyway to give me advice?).

Nevertheless, I figured I’d step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

Here are five that came to mind.

There are probably dozens of others that deeper and more complex.

However, I figured why overcomplicate things?

Let’s keep it simple to start.

  1. Try looking up from your device more often.

Devices are here to stay. Eliminating them doesn’t seem practical or helpful.

Yet, we are spending a lot of time looking down at them these days aren’t we?

Your improved posture will stand out. You will be just a little taller and in likely better health over the long term.

You get the benefit of enjoying your surroundings.

Not only will you bump into things less often, but you will be different than most.

  1. Try getting comfortable having more face to face conversations.

Interpersonal connections can be greatly enhanced when you are looking directly at the other person. There seems to be something special and unique about seeing facial expressions, experiencing the body language, the style of the clothes and smell of the perfume/cologne.

Opportunities to do this form of communication seem to happen less often now (and they will increase when you look up from your device more often).

Developing this capability further will not only help someone be more distinct, it will allow the opportunity for more in-depth relationships and a more fulfilling life experience.

  1. Try starting sentences with a word other than “So..”

My preference would be to drop the vocal pause altogether.

Given that you absolutely must have one, try another one.

Any other one.

It will at least be different.

  1. Try ending sentences with a word other than “… Right”

See #3 above.

  1. Try listening a little more, with higher quality

Our world is more and more interconnected at an increasing rate.

There seems to be a lot of exchanges (talking and writing) going on.

Communication? Perhaps not as much.

Communication to me requires an engaged exchange where each is connected with an interpersonal rapport.

Here is where listening can help make the difference between an exchange and communication.

I remember the Epictetus quote “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Improving the quantity of listening is helpful most of the time.

Improving the quality of listening, though, can really help up the engagement to a whole new level.

Are you really committed to the conversation?

Have you eliminated distractions?

Are you making an effort to make the discussion meaningful?

If so, you are distinguishing yourself.

Listening to advice that others are trying to convey. Hmm. There’s an idea.

Come to think of it, these are all good things for me to work on as well.

Have an extraordinary year!


A sincere “Thank you”

As the holiday season nears it’s peak and we finish out the year, i can’t help but express my gratitude.

To my friends, family and colleagues, your successes are impressive and enthusiasm for life is inspiring.

Regarding your trials and tribulations, I hope we will learn and grow from them.  However I can assist, it will be my pleasure.

To those who I haven’t been in touch with recently, I haven’t forgotten about you and hope to reconnect soon.  When we do, it will be like old times.

To all those who have engaged, discussed and sparred with me, I appreciate your candor, honesty and civility. I try to do the same.

I consider myself honored and privileged.

Together, let’s make 2015 extraordinary!

Take care.

Sometimes simple = powerful

Tie shoes

One primitive lesson I learned over twenty five years ago still sticks with me to this day.

It was the way I was tying my shoes.

I was doing it wrong.

What an “aha!” moment it was.  After I learned the better way, the quality of my life went up (albeit small) and I had one less thing to worry about.

If I were asked to provide a tip to others, the topic would not have entered my mind.

Perhaps I thought it was so simple that everyone knew this already.

Perhaps I thought it was too short and sweet.  Not “meaty” enough.

Perhaps it would be just too embarrassing for someone so educated to share something so uncomplicated.

Or perhaps I thought this should be left to others (e.g. parents, elementary school teachers).  Someone else should do it.

Yet, we all tie our shoes.

Most of us (certainly me) have experienced the frustration of having them untie on us or look disheveled.

Back in 2005, Terry Moore decided to share this in a presentation at a TED conference.

The length of the presentation?  Only about 3 minutes.

It now has over 4.5 million views.

Sometimes the simplest advice can have a powerful impact.

Going forward, I will be less afraid to share what I’ve learned.  I won’t assume that others have or should have done this already.

If I get criticized for being too basic or obvious, I’ll look down and see how they tie their shoes.

Be well.


Life expectancy and general health

It’s nice to see life expectancy rise.

For me, it’s quality of life as well.

I’m not sure about the Obamacare comment and the impact on general health.

But it is a good gentle reminder to keep health in mind.


Mortality S*cks!

Infinity q x equals 1

Death is a moving experience in so many ways.

I’ve had an uncle pass away recently.  He’s a good man and was loved by many.

Growing up, I always remembered him as the young and vibrant one.  He played baseball and I’m sure other sports back in the day.  He had a big heart and it was heartwarming to hear all of the stories and recalling all those memories again.

Diabetes and other ailments took their toll over the years.  He apparently spent the last years of his life really battling them.  I’m sorry he and his family had to go through that.

After the funeral I found myself wondering so many things.

  • How did this passage of time happen so quickly?
  • Why had I not stayed in touch with more of my family members (and more often)?
  • Why do I always enjoy the fellowship of getting together with family and friends, yet it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like?
  • Why does it take the passing of a loved one for me to make these assessments?

Sound familiar?

To this day, I sometimes take things for granted.

I assume that certain family & friends will be around.  I assume that we can get together sometime and that sometime is soon, just around the corner.  I assume that things will stay pretty much as they are.

I assume that I will be around for a while, and my health will remain good.

Yet, none of these assumptions are ones I should be making.  In fact, it seems pretty obvious given the overwhelming evidence of events happening around me each and every day.   Yet, it seems so easy to sometimes get distracted and lose this perspective.

These events give me those gentle reminders that I indeed have a limited time on this earth.   I will seek out abundance now and not wait to make it happen.  It’s my job to do all I can to make my contribution, however modest, and make the world a better place as a result.

I have no idea how long I have but It will not be forever.

Oh, and about that picture.

It’s what’s called actuarial notation.  “q” is the probability of death. “x” is age.  Infinity is the time horizon.

It basically is saying that the probability of death for everyone is ultimately 100% over the long run.

I don’t have to like death when it happens. But I get it, it will.  I have a lot left to do so I’d better get on with it.

Rest in peace Uncle Billy.

Be well.

11 Toxic Behaviors That Will Steal Your Joy

It’s always nice to get reminded of various energy sapping behaviors that will rob me of experiencing the joys of life.

I note #2 “Being overly connected to technology” as a bit ironic given that I’m posting this to a blog.

The full article is attached.

1. Comparing yourself to others

2. Being overly connected to technology

3. Taking things personally

4. Participating in drama

5. Living somebody else’s dream

6. Striving for perfection

7. Holding onto your vision too tightly

8. Re-living the past

9. Worrying about the future

10. Not making self-care a priority

11. Taking life too seriously


However, given that I’m told that I have a tight, brief writing style, perhaps it’s not considered “too” connected.

Be well.