Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Soft Obstacle .. The New F word

The link below is an interesting article about the new F word ("fine").

http://www.marketingprofs.com/5/arruda19.asp

Being "fine" is another way of saying that you are "OK". You don't want to be OK. (Or at least I hope that you have not settled for "good enough".)

You want to be AWESOME! And this brief article talks about how you can focus on your strengths to move beyond "fine".

Write On!

D.Wheeler

"Soft Obstacles" are holding you back ...

What is a "soft obstacle" and how does it compare to what we traditionally think of as "obstacles" to our success?

We can all recognize "traditional" obstacles - things that are between where we are and where we want to be. There is a whole "success" industry built around these types of obstacles. These obstacles are obvious, well defined and concrete. Hence, we call these "hard obstacles".

A hard obstacle can be anything that clearly and obviously stops your progress toward your goal. Examples in business could be:

  • A lack of funding (which means you have to either find more funding or find a way to get it done with less funding).
  • A lack of support from management. Again, you figure out what you need to do to convince the organization that it needs to be done.

Now, SOFT OBSTACLES are much different.

Soft obstacles are when we "let ourselves off the hook" or don't push ourselves to the level that we know is possible (or beyond what is even possible). Soft obstacles are a result of wasted time, limited ambitions and lazy thinking.

You probably won't know when you hit a soft obstacle. Things are moving along and you seem to be making progress toward your goal, but the seeds of your defeat are already planted. You have eased up and not pushed as far as you should. You have settled for "good enough" instead of "the absolute best in the universe".

Examples of soft obstacles are "denial of reality" (so you don't deal with the problem) or "limited thinking" (so you don't go far enough and end up as a late entry to a crowded market without any compelling reason for existence) or just plain laziness (this is OK, we don't need to do anything better).

If you think about it, you will see that a "soft obstacle" is often more deadly to your success than any "hard obstacle". You often don't recognize that you missed the boat until it is too late ... your product is already in the marketplace or the opportunity arises ... and passes you by.

A hard obstacle is always easier to deal with for one simple reason ... you see it and recognize it as an obstacle. This way you can begin figuring out how to overcome it.

In addition, if it is an obvious (hard) obstacle and your goal is something that someone else has already achieved (such as starting a business) then the odds are that you simply have to search out an existing solution to your problem.

The moral of this story....

Don't let yourself (or your team) get taken in by soft obstacles. Fighting them is difficult and it must be done EVERY DAY. Are you doing enough? Are you pushing hard enough? Are you far enough ahead of your competition?

Answer NO to all of these questions and start to plow through soft obstacles. Banish soft obstacles from the culture of your organization !

Write On!

Dave Wheeler

Monday, May 16, 2005

Where's the Bull (part 2)?

For more information on the book titled, "On Bullshit" that was featured on 60 minutes last night, Sunday 5-15-05, (and my previous blog entry), you can visit:
http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

This is a simple web page. Just some text about the book and the author with his photo and a link to download a video of an interview.

There is also a link where you can download the first chapter of the book, but I must warn you ... it is only 3 pages long. And the first page is a copyright notice !

Now THAT IS BULLSHIT !

Where's the Bull?

Did you see the 60 minutes show last night (Sunday 5-15-05)? There was a segment on a bestselling book by a professor called "On Bullshit" and they interviewed a number of people to explain how the world was getting deeper and deeper in BS.

A few comments....

1) 60 minutes missed a PERFECT opportunity to interview Seth Godin. I just finished reading a preview copy of his new book called "All Marketers are Liars" and it was BY FAR superiour to the people that 60 minutes interviewed. Plus, who are the biggest suppliers of BS? Marketers!
And Seth explains the good, the bad and the ugly of Marketing in his new book ... but unfortunately he did not call it BullShit (because if he did he would have been on 60 minutes).

2) I am skeptical of an academic review of BS. I expect I would learn much more useful information from someone in the "real world", but since I have not read that the BS book, I will have to withhold final judgement until I get a chance for a closer look (with a clothes pin on my knows of course).

3) The optimistic part of me was reminded of a joke by the 60 minutes piece. Copied from the following link: http://www.ahajokes.com/sea13.html

A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up.

Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist. Just to see what would happen, on the twins' birthday their father loaded the pessimist's room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist's room he loaded with horse manure.

That night the father passed by the pessimist's room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly. "Why are you crying?" the father asked. "Because my friends will be jealous, I'll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I'll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken." answered the pessimist twin.

Passing the optimist twin's room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. "What are you so happy about?" he asked. To which his optimist twin replied, "There's got to be a pony in here somewhere!"

I read somewhere that this joke was a favorite of U.S.President, Ronald Reagan, who many consider the "Great Communicator", but who could also be called a "Consumate BS'r" since he was so good that we ACTUALLY BELIEVED him !

Write On !

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Reminiscing and Public Speaking

Seth Godin's recent blog post talks about how recalling good times can bring back shared memories (and help you learn a little bit more about yourself).
see http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/05/what_i_learned_.html

I would add one thought to Seth's post ... Toastmasters!

Toastmasters speaking clubs are a great (and inexpensive) way for people to improve their public speaking skills. There are clubs all over the world and in nearly every major city ... check out http://www.toastmasters.org/ to find the club near you!

And then invite an old friend to join you as a guest at the next meeting. It could be the beginning of a whole new shared adventure for both of you!

Write On!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Three New Note Cards Released by NoteWordy.com

Norwalk, CT USA(May 17, 2005) NoteWordy.com releases three limited-edition notecards featuring art by "Wheels". These cards bring the total number of available designs by Wheels to four with each limited-edition design consisting of less than 115 prints.

"Our first NoteWordy card, Artist's Brush, has been well received," said NoteWordy founder, Dave Wheeler, "and we are excited to be able to offer three more very unique, limited-edition cards for art collectors and note writers."

NoteWordy limited-edition cards are sequentially numbered and randomized after sealing to ensure that the odds of a purchaser getting Card#1 in the series is as likely as it would be to get #58 or #103 or even #115.

All cards carry the NoteWordy Limited Edition Certification seal as well as a brief "vignette" or mini-story based on the art on the cover of the card. This added feature expands the artistic experience for the purchaser as well as the connection to intent of the artist.

These cards can be purchased online at www.NoteWordy.com or through selected retailers. Visit www.NoteWordy.com for more information.

NoteWordy.com is dedicated to improving people's lives through art and handwritten notes. The art featured on NoteWordy cards is from new, up-and-coming artists with high potential and NoteWordy.com provides insights for improving relationships through note writing. Dave Wheeler, the founder of NoteWordy.com, produces a blog focused on note writing, art as well as his views on management/marketing.


The first 4 cards released by NoteWordy Cards featured art by Wheels. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Rewards and Incentives - for yourself and others

I got the following idea from a comment left on the Creating Passionate Users blog:
Link:
http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/05/finegrained_tre.html

Comment:
In fiction writing, we call this feature gold coins. When you start out as a fiction writer, you learn that the easiest thing for a reader to do is to close your book and not pick it up again. The only way to make sure that someone finishes your book (and buys the next one!) is to "drop gold coins along the path," little moments that make the user gasp or laugh or get excited, anything that will jolt the user. It doesn't matter if it's a good or bad jolt so long as it's compelling. This tells the reader, "Look, I'm going to keep you entertained. Keep reading. And read the next one too."
If done at the right pace, you can almost guarantee the reader will keep reading, even if he violently disagrees with what you're trying to say.
Posted by: Elf M. Sternberg May 5, 2005 02:36 PM

How could this be applied to the relationships in your life? Do you "drop gold coins" to keep people interested in the relationship? I know it sounds like it could be considered "manipulative", but it can also add quite a bit of enjoyment to the lives of important people around you.

Consider for a moment how your life would be if you sent a handwritten note to someone important in your life once or twice a year. You would probably see some improvements, but how about if you sent a note every other month? or every month? Do you think that something good might develop?

And this does not have to be limited to your personal life and your friends and family. It could be used with business acquantances also. Of course the content of the notes would be different and they would have to be appropriate to the business relationship, but what better way to stay in touch than a handwritten note?

What about "gold coins" for yourself? Why not reward yourself with new experiences every now and then? Keep your life interesting and you will make it more interesting for everyone you meet !

Write On !

Dave Wheeler

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

NoteCard based on "Artist Brush" by Wheels


"Artist Brush" by Wheels Posted by Hello
This is the first NoteWordy limited edition notecard !
Visit www.notewordy.com for more information and to purchase this card.

"Good Idea" by Wheels Posted by Hello

"Heart of the Rose" by Wheels Posted by Hello

"Lighthouse" by Wheels Posted by Hello

Preview of NoteWordy Cards to be released May 6th

Three new NoteWordy Cards will be released May 6th.

A preview image of each of the cards will be posted shortly.

Check back soon !

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Don't Forget Mother's Day !

Mother's Day is fast approaching .... Sunday, May 8th.

What do you have planned for the person who brought you into this world?

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a handwritten note to your Mom?

If it's been a while, you might want to start by finding a quotation that expresses how you feel about your Mom. This way you can "get the ball rolling" and then tell her how you feel.

I did some of the work for you ... here are some web sites with quotations related to Mothers or Mother's Day as well as my favorite quotations from these sites:

http://quotations.about.com/cs/specialdays/a/inspire_mother.htm

Florida Scott-Maxwell: Inspirational Mother's Day Quotes
"No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement."

Barbara Kingsolver: Special Quotes For Mother's Day
"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't."

Elizabeth Stone: Famous Quotes On Mother
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

Spanish Proverb: Quotes About Mother
"An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy."

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/momquotes1.html

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art19813.asp
This site has probably the longest list of quotes that I found including the following really good ones:

"Men are what their mothers made them." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there."-- Robert Browning

Now how about writing to your Mom ! She certainly deserves it!
(And some flowers probably wouldn't hurt either !)

Write On !

Dave Wheeler
Founder, NoteWordy.com