Sunday, December 6, 2015

FOCUS – Perspective of Daniel Goleman and William James

The Objective of Focus

Goleman (2013, p.14) cites the late William James definition of focus as, “the sudden taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought.”

This is critical to realizing that staccato ways of thinking holds severe implications for those working towards a strategic objective.

Success is not a straight line, there are many challenges one can face in during the marathon of completing a strategic campaign; whether it may be saving for retirement, losing more than 30 pounds weight, working ones way to leading an organization. Along the way will be distractions, unpredictability, changing goals based on changing circumstances, financial setbacks, changing relationships, stressors, etc.

The important thing to remember in all this is that one still must have a focus of effort for the majority of ones attention in terms of mental/emotional buy-in, daily tasks and a variety of resources.

Periodic interim goals, where one can rest and assess their position, while approaching the mountain peak of success, will help maintain the mental and emotional energy needed to succeed.

Here is a book with over 4,000 Amazon reviews that can help you focus better. You can purchase it or find it at a local library:


Goleman, D. (2013). Focus: The hidden driver of excellence.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

For Millennials - General Observations Regarding the Book “Think and Grow Digital” By Joris Merk-Benjaminsen

For Millennials - General Observations Regarding the Book "Think and Grow Digital" By Joris Merk-Benjaminsen

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF):

I think its an excellent read regarding approaches and skills required for 21st Century Leaders.

I also think "Think and Grow Digital" does very well in describing what Millennials are looking for as they break into the job and career market.

In terms of the book providing an accurate assessment of how older generations think and view of the world...I don't necessarily agree with the observations of Joris. I'm not saying he is wrong, I'm simply saying not all leaders from older generations view the world from such a self-protectionist and controlling optic.

Joris does an outstanding job describing what many people in organizational leadership are learning at the master's level of education and in their leadership experiences in the United States. Collaborating and serving teams is rapidly replacing the outdated image of a leader simply ordering and directing teams. Organizations need to be flat, not necessarily to be efficient, but to be adaptive. This is not a millennial observation, it's a cross-generational leader observation.

To be collaborative, serving, adaptive, the leader must have credibility. Credibility is based on a combination of competence, integrity, inspiration and vision. Credibility gives one freedom of movement because trust has been established.

The most treasured form of competence is not necessarily based on technical knowledge, but on having social intelligence shape relationships and mobilize a group of people toward a shared goal, or set of goals.

Leaders need to have integrity, not only in being honest, but in being humble enough to turn the reigns over to people (younger or older) who can best lead the organization to achieving its vision. The leader in this sense shapes and facilitates the environment to enable whatever generational leader needs to get the job done. Leadership in this instance is situational. There still can be a primary leader for purposes of accountability and some semblance of organizational structure, but the actual means and modes to achieve certain objectives require the most capable people to surface and lead the team toward success.

Inspiration, the ability to motivate people and to give people a sense of purpose and/or enjoyment in doing what they do is another trait. My half-century worth of life experience has taught me that inspiring people tend to draw the best response from me...I'm usually willing to go the extra mile, just so I don't disappoint that person. A sense of loyalty and camaraderie develops.

Vision...the ability to be able to identify a course of action in the face of uncertainty is a hard quality to find in leaders, but it is a quality that older generations, as well as millennials hope to find. We all want to sense of purpose in our lives; we all generally want to be a part of something big and productive.

Joris's description about what millennials are looking for in the work environment is generally the same for older generations. We want to be around leaders. Leadership does not necessarily lay in one person, but leadership can be situational. And, older generations often do want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Recommended Reading Sources:

Think and Grow Digital: What the Net Generation Needs to Know to Survive and Thrive in Any Organizations

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

Sunday, September 13, 2015

For all Generations - Be Careful Reading the Millennial Hype

For all Generations - Be Careful Reading the Millennial Hype - "A Guide to Understanding Your Millennial" from the New Yorker

Despite what the New Yorker reported about the job market being different for the the millennial, the example used appears shallow.

The article states "Some millennials are getting jobs that they like, some of them are getting jobs that they don't like, and some don't have any job at all." News flash… that same issue applies to every generation. Prior generations took on whatever jobs needed to make a living. I suspect members of the latest generation do so as well.

These challenges have been around for multiple generations, possibly thousands of years. Lack of opportunity led to the creation of wealth coaches such as Napoleon Hill of the 1930s the author of 'Think and Grow Rich"; Maxwell Maltz of the 1960s; Robert Kiyosaki and Anthony Robbins of the 1980s and 1990s; in 2015, you have a millennial by the name of Joris Merks-Benjaminsen – Author of 'Think and Grow Digital".

The bottom line is everyone faces challenging jobs markets and opportunities in each generation, and we all have to learn ways to deal with them. The issues regarding how to survive in the world will likely face each generation as it has for decades, and even centuries. Learning how to adapt, suck it up, think, plan and act is what keeps generations surviving.

I'm not discounting the fact millennials are having a hard time finding a way to survive in this world, I am discounting the fact they are not the only generation to face these challenges. Those older generations working today are having to adapt as well with company down-sizing, retirements and social security going away, and having to develop tech skills to also adapt.

We are all facing challenges together.

Cheers from someone in another generation

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The 5D Strategic Guide or 5D-SG

The 5D Strategic Guide or 5D-SG © 2015 Bob Howard

What’s in it for me you ask?

If you want to optimize the potential for success in your life, you will want to read this. It’s not about goal setting and achieving tactical gains, you are about to learn how to monitor and assess your overall life game plan that will lead up to your destiny. This is more about lifestyle.

Control Your Life, or Life Will Control You

Here’s a simple rule about life to remember; you either control your life, or life will control you. It’s pretty much that simple despite the fact that unexpected occurrences will happen in life, but little in the life of humans is an accident.  Life, the quality of life, is a result of how we choose to live it.

This is about Your Destiny

What is the 5D-SG? 5D-SG is nothing more than a simple natural guideline one can leverage to shape their lives. It’s a reflection tool to assess where you are in life by reflecting on your own life and matching your observations with the direction you hope to sustain until the day you leave this earth.  D, therefore, represents the word DESTINY; your mark on earth, the people around you, and in history.

Elements of Destiny

Our Destiny is generally the sum of five factors: Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, Habit, and Character…almost in that order.

Thoughts, Feelings and Action

Thoughts and feelings drive what we do and fail to do.  Sometimes thoughts drive move our emotions leading to action. Sometimes emotions get us thinking and lead us into action. Either will move into decisions of whether or not to act.  Even not taking action is taking action because failing to take action is still a choice.


Actions consistently conducted over a period of time can turn into habits.  Habits are actions conducted so often that it becomes relatively natural, or subconscious, like breathing.

Habits Shape Character

Habits shape our lives by influencing what we do with our time, who we interact with and how.  Habits also shape our views of the world, interactions within the world, and how people and events relate to us.  Habits shape our nature, a brand, that people say distinguishes us as individuals. This is when habits become what is known as character.

Character and Destiny

Character is the sum of how we think, feel, act, and do on a habitual basis. We do what we do because it is who we are consistently each minute, hour, day, month, year, decade and lifespan.  This all consequently serves as a Strategic Guide to our destiny. The Strategic Guide is actually not something we control, but something we flow with.  This is because the energy created by thoughts, feelings, actions, habit and character create a momentum.  That momentum is the inertia that propels us to our daily experiences and ultimately our destiny. 

Destiny – The Sum of Our Lives

Destiny is the sum of our lives, of who we are, what we believe and represent. Failing to manage and shape the natural force generated by our daily lives means we either live rudderless in reaction mode, or we direct our energies to achieve deliberate and positive gains in our lives.

How do I use 5D-SG?

Use it as a reflection tool. Take the time to reflect on what you want people to know and think about you when you expire.  Give life to that desire, and then match your thoughts, feelings, actions, habits and character towards those desires. You will likely live a life based on your own design, rather than simple randomness. It will be a miserable feeling to look back on your life with regret that you did not live to your fullest desire and potential.

A Final Thought

5D-SG does not replace faith. It does not immediately account for the unexpected such as serendipity, misfortune, illness, etc.  External influences definitely impact and shape our ability to affect our will. 5D-SG, however, can impact how we react to those external influences, and adapt to return to the life track we desire.

Nobody owns 5D-SG. Sure, I created the label, but 5D-SG exists whether I want it to, or not. 




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Liabilities and assets

Liabilities and assets


Here's the bottom line; liabilities destroy, assets produce. Liabilities benefit someone or something else. Assets benefit you. Liabilities and assets may be physical, conceptual or temporal.


Credit card debt is a physical/tangible example of a liability. If you owe credit card debt, the debt is a liability. However if someone is paying you at interest for the credit card debt that other persons debt is your asset. That person is essentially your slave.


A conceptual liability may be a lack of self-confidence in competing for a job opportunity. However, if you are a self-confident competitor, the person's lack of self-confidence serves as your asset.


A temporal example of liability is not using time wisely. Those who fail to prepare for changing seasons open themselves up to calamity. Example; those who fail to save money throughout the course of their life for retirement will find themselves barely able to survive when they are unable to work due to ill health or age. Time is therefore a made liability. Those who save and invest money during the working years may be able to retire and live life on their own terms and no longer have to work. In this example, time was made an asset.  This is because money invested overtime typically accrues interest.


Life is about managing liabilities and assets. Failure to do so can often lead to poverty. This is because the liabilities you create are someone else's assets.

Slavery with a different face

Slavery with a different face


We’re all slaves for the most part. And, slavery does not just apply to people of color, but to people who lack status, education, money and opportunity. The funny thing is you may not realize it.


Every possession comes with a price. That price begins when you trade your limited lifespan in exchange for a possession or money.


Sure, we need to earn our keep to have the necessities to survive. It is when we go beyond ‘needs’ into what are ‘wants’ that gets many of us into trouble.


You spend your limited time on earth trading your time for some kind a paycheck. While we all pretty much agree life on earth is precious, the people you work for look at your life from a different lens. You are an asset as long you produce/provide product and services that generate revenue. People make an agreement to purchase parts of your life to invest your life-force into their own dream. For you, however, it is called the JOB.


JOB means Just Over Broke. It means you want things bad enough you to trade portions of your life for possessions for an extremely small return. This is only the start.


You then take that little bit of return and then purchase a home, car and/or credit. Once you cross this line, you entered the zone whereby you transition from worker to slave.


Congratulations, you now have more than a job to survive, you now work for two, three or more people. These are the people who lend you money with interest so you can purchase your illusion of ownership over a car, home, vacation, etc. If you stop working for all these entities, you begin losing your possessions one by one. You are now caught in the rat-race of life.


Before you go on to think this only occurs in the business realm, you are mistaken. People in any hierarchical system be it business, government or society, rely on the masses to achieve their level of success in life or work. We also see this in nature amongst primates. This is noted by well-known Stanford neuroendocrinologist, Doctor Robert Sopolsky. You can see the pros and cons of being in a hierarchical society/organization in his video, “Stress, Portrait of a Killer” (link below).


Nobody starts at the top of a hierarchy, one ascends to such positions through merit, relationships and fortune. At the same time, you don’t always want to be on the lowest rung of your working life or social environment. Instead, you want to evolve, and evolving involves being competitive, as well being savvy, calm, resourceful and financially flexible.


Stress, Portrait of a Killer - Full Documentary (2008) - YouTube

The Most Important Letters of the Alphabet: E, S, B and I

The Most Important Letters of the Alphabet: E, S, B and I


If you're not familiar with the name of Robert Kiysosaki, you need to be. Kiysosaki is the author of the book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad".


Kiysosaki exposes readers to ideas unconventional in nature to design a successful financial future. One of his most important ideas refers to the letters E, S, B and I. These letters help you self-reflect as well as assess if you are heading for a life of financial freedom, or debt. To Robert the “E” means Employee. The letter “S” is for small businesses or self-employed. “B” stands for Business owner. Finally, the letter “I” stands for Investor.


Employees toil away all their life working in building someone else's dreams. Employees give a portion of their life away in exchange for an amount of money; often just enough to get by. Employees do this by having a job. To the savvy “JOB” is an acronym that stands for “Just Over Broke”. You can only work a job for certain period of time until you're too old, get sick and/or die. If you're lucky, you get some kind of retirement, but retirement pensions are becoming scarcer in the 21st century. And, the more debt you take on with your job means it you are actually working for each person, business or material item.


Being “S” (self-employed) is not much different than being an employee working a job. If you stop working, your income flow stops. The business consumes your life.


You can still have a job as an Employee and live a good life… Provided you invest, the letter “I”, your money so that it works for you. There is risk in investing, but the risk is actually higher if you don't invest because you can be assured you will have only a limited amount of money for short duration of your life. Additionally, some investments work for you while you are asleep such as stocks, mutual funds or mechanisms that bring you residual income.


You want to be "B" for business person. Businessmen build scalable infrastructure that can exist without the businessman's constant attention. Businesses are built with money from investors and hiring employees who make the businessman’s dreams come true. To learn more about these concepts read, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad".

Emotions - Control Them or They Will Control You


Emotions – Control Them or They Will Control You


Emotions are part of being human. Emotions refer to strong feelings we experience such as happiness, a broken heart, anger, fear, desire etc. These strong feelings urge us into actions and behaviors that can enable, or disable us.  


When emotions are not managed, they impact our ability to make good judgments. We become slaves to emotion which can drive our lives in an unfocused manner. The lack of focus can lead us to addictions or other issues which further cause us to lose direction and focus in life.


If we want success, happiness and prosperity, we must learn how to recognize, channel and exercise emotions toward a desired goal. If not, we find ourselves enslaved to emotions.


According to some, emotions can be so powerful they can lead to physical and spiritual self-destruction. Those emotions are lust, greed, gluttony, laziness, anger, jealousy and pride. Each of these emotions impact judgment. Each unmanaged emotion leads to the downfall of great leaders and even empires.


If you want to build an empire you must master your emotions. This ability often distinguishes the rich from the poor; the wise from the ignorant; the winner and the failure.


So, what we feel shapes how we perceive, think and act in this world. Manage your emotions, channel them, or they will control you. We become no more than a mere reactionary animal.


Emotions can cause a person who has everything to lose everything… Their wealth, honor, trust, judgment, etc.


To help mitigate the sometimes overpowering control of emotions, we need to develop a stoic approach to life through critical self-reflection and contemplation.