The Tao of Introducing Change (or a lesson in marketing)

Tao-of-ChangeTo accept change
timing must be right

For timing to be right
a lesson needs to be learned

For a lesson to be truly obtained
there is no other way but experience

For experience to be gained
time has to pass

Therefore,
Change is inevitable
Yet change attempted before its time is futile

That is why
a mediocre idea with great marketing
is superior
to a great idea
with mediocre marketing

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How are you?

If you reside in the USA, you probably hear this three word question a dozen times a day, “How are you?”
Alongside “I love you,” and “Call me, let’s do lunch,” “How are you?” is among the least meaningful statements spoken in American English today.
I still remember, ages ago, me somewhat fresh off the boat, being asked by a friend, also an immigrant but one that had lived in New York for ten years prior, if I already learned to speak American.
“American?” I asked puzzled, “you mean English.”
“No,” he persisted, “American. It’s what Americans say in English in-between the lines.”

how-are-you1Admittedly, at the time, though fluent in Hebrew and English, American I was yet to acquire. Sentences such as “Can I get it in writing,” which is American for, “Are you serious? Is what you just requested me to do worth you being sued?” meant to my untrained ears exactly what they literary said. Thus when someone asked me how I was doing, I thought they actually meant it. Ha!
I should pause here for a moment, and, for the benefit of readers who do not live in the USA, or, at least not in metropolitan USA, explain that “How are you?” had come to replace greetings such as Hello and Hi. But rather than just say Hi and Hello, or even, God forbid, Good morning, somehow, over the years, it became acceptable to pretend like you care. Along these lines you may see a person on the go, not pausing even a second to hear a reply, mutter “How are you?” at a co-worker or an acquaintance, and immediately be on his way. You may also witness a conversation, where the question is popped, and without as much as a break for inhalation, it is immediately followed by some other sentence or inquiry such as “How are you? (no pause,) Where you able to finish the reports on the Drake acquisition?” or “How are you? (no pause,) Did you hear what just happened to Billy?”

Often I was tempted to actually try and answer the HAY question, but it is futile. I am likely to be answering an empty space, moments earlier occupied by someone who didn’t really care.
All I am left asking is how did we, as a society, turned so shallow? No, don’t answer that. It was just another HAY question…

About Prayer

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Boomerang Kids or The Curious Case of The Dog That Didn’t Bark

figure4.4Much has been said about adult kids still living with their parents. The Boomerang generation, as they are often nicknamed, stays home at staggering numbers.

While causes for this rise had been linked to difficulties in finding a job due to the economy, to a rise in college enrollment, to a decline in the role of the marriage institute, and even to a generation of parents that is not so keen on letting their offspring leave the nest, I would like to offer a completely different perspective.

tshirt1Before we discuss this phenomena, let’s explore for a moment Alzheimer’s Disease. No, it’s not because the current generation of parents are forgetting to kick their kids out of the house; it’s because just over a hundred years ago Alzheimer’s Disease hardly existed. Why? Because back in 1900 an average person was expected to live to a respectable age of 47, and at 47, very few people developed this degenerative disease which is most often diagnosed in people over 65 years of age. Stay with me – we are getting to the Boomerang generation and the dog that didn’t bark shortly.

You see, from the 1500s to around the year 1800, life expectancy throughout Europe hovered between the ages of 30 and 40. Now imagine this – you are expected to live a mere 35 years. In that stretch of time you may wish to marry, bring up kids of your own and make a life for yourself. Would you stay at home with your parents until you are 25? Not likely. You would be out of the house as soon as you can reproduce, marry and get at it, it being your life’s ambitions. Life back then was simply too short.

young2Nowadays, when people in the developed world are expected to live to their 80’s, there is no rush. Modern life loads us with requirements. We need to study longer just to catch up. And when it comes to family life, modern medicine allows us to reproduce much later. Thus there is no rush to leave the comfy nest, no rush to find a spouse, no rush to build a family.

Where is the silent dog in all this? It is present in us ignoring what is too obvious to notice. We tend to compare selective statistical facts such as at what age kids venture on their own, job availability, divorce rate. Yet our longevity and the pace of life were all but forgotten. It is not the single critical element in this equation but it is sure up there on the list. It leaves me pondering at what age will kids leave home when science finally extends life expectancy to a 120.

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The Paradox of Wisdom

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You never listen to me anyhow…

Danger

I recently overheard a mother yell at her kids, “it doesn’t matter what I say; you never listen to me anyhow!”

This brought to mind other such statements including, “you don’t love me anymore,” “I am not being appreciated,” and “I told you once, I told you a thousand times…”

Have you ever said any of the above? Have you heard it being said to you, or to others? If not, you may be an alien. But for most of us, residents of this planet Earth, these statements, and many other variations on the above theme, are quite common.

It is worth taking a closer look at what these statements really express.

When a person says any of the above, what he or she are really expressing is that they would like to be of importance – as a parent, as a love object, as someone of significance. Yet, as a listener, what the other person, be it a kid, a spouse, or a boss is hearing, is exactly the opposite – that the person speaking does not really believe someone will ever listen to him or her, that they will never be loved again, that no one will show them the appreciation they deserve. Furthermore, these expressions become a prophecy that quickly fulfills itself. Someone that tells you they are not being appreciated probably shouldn’t be appreciated. Someone who thinks no one listens to her, is likely not worth listening to. The speaker ends up achieving the exact opposite reaction to what they wished.

Let us reflect on this for a moment. Did saying “you never listen to me anyhow,” or “I told you once, I told you a thousand times,” really helped change anything? Did whomever you said it to, magically started to listen to you and do as you wished?

And, being in the other seat, how did you feel towards the person saying these statements? More appreciation or maybe quite the opposite – more rejection and despise?

It is the power of words. It is better to express a positive desired outcome than a negative feeling. Tell your kids, “I would be so glad to see you cleaning up your room,” instead of, “you never listen to me.” And, instead of “you don’t love me anymore,” say “When you show your love to me, my heart overflows.”