Tag Archives: ROI

What Is America’s True Mission?

Originally posted October 20, 2015

What is it that we are striving to achieve as a nation, our Purpose on Earth?

What is our nation's mission on Earth?

What did Tom Paine expect of us, or George Washington?

If we do not know our purpose then no matter what good we may achieve on the face of the Earth, we will be rudderless inside. We won’t know where we’re going or how we want to get there or who can best lead us there. We will be guided by the plan du jour. Any good we do will be random, grasping at straws of tactical opportunity to head toward the seeming good at that moment without a clear picture of the totality of our decisions. We have seen throughout history that who or what at first seems good turns out to be not as good as we thought.

If we lose sight of our purpose, the nation will be contributing little to the spiritual nourishment of its citizens. Yes, spiritual. The words that led to our nation’s birth are spiritual words: Liberty, Equality, Justice. These words, chosen by our Founders, refer to and evoke states of spiritual sensitivity in which we are swept up into something larger than our personal self, open to the duty we owe others and the Universe or God, whatever we conceive Him or Her to be. Many of us envy these ideals but consider them pragmatically irrelevant in our actual moment-to-moment Acceleritis™-driven lives.

The ideals of Liberty, Equality and Justice must be nurtured as part of our heritage if we are to remain a nation focused on such high ideals. It behooves us in this and any other election cycle to support those who will fight to keep these ideals at the forefront of their decision making.

If we want to continue to be that inspired nation, then it is time to tap into the tide of positive emotion that can energize creative thought and enable right action together.

So let’s consider again — what is our true mission as a nation?

Mainstream thinking seems best summed up by Bret Stephens in a 2014 Wall Street Journal essay, “If the world’s leading liberal-democratic nation doesn’t assume its role as world policeman, the world’s rogues will try to fill the breach, often in league with one another.”

The US has long accepted the mantle of the world’s policeman — protecting the weak from aggressors. What if that isn’t the main point of our existence?

We have the opportunity now (as always) to choose our own destiny. Let’s as a nation agree on what it is. And let’s start the dialogue, here and now.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-10-20 11:31:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Old Wounds Can Eventually Heal

Volume 4, Issue 25. Originally published September 4, 2014

Young Bill on stage with his dad Ned and mom Sandy in wingsThe year was 1954. My parents, whom I called Pop and Sandy at that time (later Ned was renamed “The Chief” by a Native American horn player in his band and I then switched from Pop), took me out to dinner in Manhattan, which I loved. (We lived in Brooklyn.) Gallaghe’s Steakhouse or perhaps it was Joe Marsh’s Candlelight Clurb, which isn’t there anymore. I had a steak. We had a terrific time. I was in a warm glow by the end of dinner when they revealed to me their secret purpose for me that night.

Joel Grey’s “Star Time Kids” was shot at the CBS studio around the corner and I was to be on live TV that night, in fact, right after dinner.

I went from cloud 9 to hell in one second flat. I couldn’t explain why the idea was out of the question, I was too upset to think clearly.

They had always gotten what they wanted out of me in terms of onstage performances. They inculcated in me from my earliest memories that I had been born in a trunk and there was no question of me not getting up there and doing whatever the act was at the time. I don’t remember ever putting up any resistance to it until the night in question, since resistance was futile. Nevertheless, suddenly I was in a situation where for reasons I could not even articulate to myself, this trouper was going to let the public down. “The show must go on” (years later my father said this with a choke in his voice, the night he went to the club the day Sandy died) but in my case the show would not go on.

They tried to compromise with me, first saying, “Okay, just sit in the peanut gallery and you won’t even have to say anything,” but I would not hear of it. The best they could do was to get me to peek in at the studio, hoping that I would relent at the last minute and show what a trouper I really was. But one look at the blinding battery of klieg lights was it. I had my fill, and we went home in a sad cloud.

Sandy tried to make us all feel better. She explained what had happened, saying, “Billy is a trouper. But he is a perfectionist and wants to prepare fully to give his best performance every time. This time we forgot that and thought it would be easier on him to not have him know about it until the last minute. It was our fault.”

Ned agreed she was right but it never made me feel any better. All my life, whenever I was having a bad moment for any reason, this was one of the regretful memories that I would beat myself up with once again.

Separately I wondered from time to time how my life might have been totally different if I had gone the other way that night.

***

One night I was dreaming that Lalita and I were at an advertising/media industry conference somewhere, not in NY. I would be speaking that night. We were meeting people before the conference. Yana, my editor (who puts in all these commas), would be joining us but was late as the conference was about to begin. At the last second she came running faster than I have ever seen her move, down the long empty corridor with a red face and a big smile.

The conference started and a gent got up and gave a tepid 5-minute opening remark. Then the MC — of all people, the late Ben Wallach, who had been the Athletic/Social Activities Director at the Hotel Brickman — called me to go on next.

In the dream I suddenly realized we had forgotten to bring the slides. I didn’t even know what the conference was about.

In previous dreams of this kind there was a hideous moment and then I would wake up.

This time was different. I realized I had no idea what I would say, but something in me felt perfectly willing to go up there and see what would come out of me. I started for the stage.

And then I woke up.

When I told the story to Lalita she said, “You woke yourself just in time to not have to experience making a fool of yourself.”

But it wasn’t like that at all. I woke up feeling exhilarated. I didn’t know exactly why at first. I knew I was pleased with myself for the total acceptance of the challenge that traditionally had been my Waterloo: being unprepared for public performance. I knew that the way I react in dreams is exactly what I would do in the future. I felt liberated, released.

Then it hit me: this was the erasure of the Star Time experience. Closure of that karma. Full circle. After a lifetime of disappointment in myself for how I’d handled that moment, I had redeemed myself. I am a trouper.

So what’s the point of my sharing this story? What do you, the reader, get out of it?

We all have deep wounds. Some are papered over by repression and some may be with us all the time. Whatever they are, if we take them out and look at them from time to time, and make it an active intention all our lives to become that which we hold as our own ideal self in real everyday life, inevitably in time — sometimes decades as in this case — we get there.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2014-09-04 12:05:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Give Thanks

Isn’t it wonderful that we set aside a national holiday just for giving thanks and breaking bread with family and friends?

leaf wreath Give Thanks

If you don’t already do this every day, take some time this Thanksgiving to count your blessings. Maybe instead of or in addition to saying “Grace”, ask everyone around the table to share what makes them thankful. Just might make everyone gathered a little more thankful for the blessings in our lives.

To all our Pebbles readers, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with an abundance of food and love.

Happy Holidays to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2013-11-27 12:00:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How a Subtle Shift Can Be Useful

Originally posted May 5, 2015

The peachy-purple-gold sunset reflects with pink iridescence on the wet sand where the sea recedes from its last sally onto the beach. Soundlessly a squadron of hunting pelicans glides past my writing hand. These two-day escapes to the seashore reinvigorate my excitement at life.

beautiful sunset on the beach

Simply clearing the decks of our mind and its latest obsessions, stepping back as the Observer and seeing the richness there is to be observed around us, we can attain peace anywhere.

When I was very young, somehow I became inspired by the notion that a slight shift in the way I look at things could have enormous effect. Now decades later, the number of times I have applied this principle must be in the millions, firmly installing it in my neurons, making it second nature for me to shift my point of view.

What I’ve learned

The thinking part of the mind and the feeling part both represent potential obstacles of different kinds.

The feelings do not want nor seek solutions. Specialized in expressing themselves, the feelings therefore wish to simply find more and better, increasingly dramatic, ways of expressing whatever they are feeling at the moment, kind of an inertial momentum (i.e. an object in motion tends to remain in motion kind of thing).

Reasoning with the feelings, using thinking to change unwanted feelings, is not inherently a strong strategy. Telling oneself to feel joy, and that happiness is a choice, so go ahead and make that choice, be strong, be positive — this sometimes worked for me, because I liked the idea of being indomitable and of not allowing anything to have power over me or my mood. At other times some part of me is clearly relishing wallowing in sulking, rage, guilt, anxiety, or whatever, as if a part of me is coming from a separate reality and visiting here on a trip specifically for the experience of such an operatic-size dramatic expression of emotion.

The strategy that works best for me is more intuitive, neither straight thinking nor straight feeling. It is through the intuition that we can make a creative and altogether indiscernible slight shift in the way we look at things, which will both fill us with the happy anticipation of effecting positive change, and enlighten us with light cast in from a new angle to reveal amazing insights.

Engaging the intuition this way has first a positive impact on hope and secondly a positive impact on curiosity. I find myself looking around in my mind for the perspective that will create the shift. I start from the assumption that my thinking mind accepts: there will always be an angle on the situation that will bring relief. So far, that prediction has always come true.

Finding that mental switch inside that leads to this subtle shift in feelings may not be so easy the first time you try it. Keep practicing.

Wishing you all a strong and agile new mind muscle, giving you the ability to seek and grasp the hidden gearshift to indomitable happiness.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Here is my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-05-05 07:50:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do what you’re moved to do.

Originally posted April 28, 2015

One of the challenges of our current reality is the pervasive condition we call Acceleritis™ wherein we feel we never have enough time to do all the things we feel we ought to do.

Don't overthink it.

Do you feel like you are always behind and have too much to do? Do you speed up your actions to the point of increasing errors that require fixing (which then slows you down and makes you feel even more behind with no apparent hope of ever catching up)?

You are not alone! We have a natural drive for closure, and the seeming impossibility of ever reaching closure on everything the mind desires closure on makes us uneasy at most times — but we have gotten used to that feeling.

During your work day or at play, are you often not sure what to do next? Try to not overthink it…

Do what most inspires you at that moment. Why? Because the chances are higher that you’ll be doing it in the Flow state, which never occurs when you are doing something because you should do it. I call that “doing it to get it out of the way”. Flow state only occurs when you are enjoying what you are doing, and doing it solely or mainly for its enjoyment.

If you’re in the grip of Acceleritis and therefore not in the Observer state, you may not know what inspires you more, X or Y or Z. The solution here is to just let your body go and watch what it does. The body often makes decisions before the mind is consciously aware of making the decision.

Don’t be driven by email/text/social media.

It has become all too easy to become driven by incoming email, texts, Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts — meaning you don’t decide what to do next, you react to the ubiquitous digital input stream. This goes on all day and you become a willing slave to others’ priorities rather than your own. Instead, practice setting aside a time each day to deal with and catch up with emails and texts and whatever else is queuing up. This puts you in charge of what you do for the better part of your day.

Create a practice to step away from the to-do list.

What works best for me is meditation — where the mind observes itself, watching thoughts as they come and go. I find this is the most effective way to allow assimilation and closure of the most salient “anti-closures” bugging my mind subconsciously at any given point in time.

Like trying to remember a name, meditation does not work by “trying to do it”, it works by letting go of everything going on inside, and continuing to let go of thoughts/feelings/ images/hunches as they arise, watching them float away (or whatever imagery works best for you). From this effortless place comes clarity that often moves you closer to closure.

Next time you are overwhelmed, step back, and do what you are moved to do!

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Here is my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-04-28 11:53:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How Did We Become So Distracted?

Originally posted March 10, 2015

We live at a discontinuous point in history.

Most of us know that the human race started evolving from primates, coming down out of trees over 1,000,000 years ago, but it’s only been the last 200,000 years that we’ve been homo sapiens.

We’ve written things down for only 6,000 years out of those million years so we have no written record of what went on before those roughly 6,000 years.

Key Survival Characteristic

My hypothesis as a social scientist is that in the last 6,000 years, written language changed the way we use our minds.

It actually started with the cave paintings, some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, using symbolism — we started to be able to look at abstract symbols to represent things like animals that we were going to be hunting.

When we moved to written language, we could see the language — the granular bits of information. Pictures don’t have chunks to them like words do.

Though nowhere near digital yet, we started to get into granular chunk thinking as soon as we got into written language.

This development marked the beginning of a revolution in the way we use our minds, and this has been accelerating for the last 6,000 years.

We started inventing things — first tools, then weapons and then media — and all of those things have contributed to the fact that we now every day are subjected to a deluge of stimuli that exceeds our ability to answer all the questions arising in our mind second-to-second.

We get into a habit of just sweeping things aside. “I’m never gonna answer all this stuff. I won’t try to answer all this stuff. I won’t even try to answer the basic question of what is life, what is the meaning of all this, what is my purpose? It’s just too many questions. I can’t answer them.” I call this condition Acceleritis™.

We see things like increasing ADD and ADHD and we see people who are supposed to be running big countries acting like high-school kids and not getting anything done.

This deluge of stimuli all the time is not good for any of us. In the face of the hugely distracting environment of Acceleritis, we are being distracted from Flow state, which I believe is our natural state and which occurred a lot more before 6,000 years ago.

This is why I consider psychotechnology, which prepares people with techniques to stay focused through complexity, to be so important. No matter who we are, the quality of our life depends upon our effectiveness in meeting challenges, whether as a parent, an executive, an athlete or a world leader.

Shutting out distractions

Most all of the techniques I use to increase focus and creativity are included in my book, MIND MAGIC, and I also share them here in this blog space — techniques like mindfulness, meditation, self-awareness and letting go of attachment. Learning to become the observer more often and not getting caught up or reeled in by all of these distractions, we can find greater clarity and reach Flow state more often. Learning to stay focused in an ever increasingly distracting world, we can ultimately increase our creativity and improve our decision making.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com.

Originally posted 2015-03-10 12:24:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter