Semantics

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.”     George Bernard Shaw As I begin the oral presentation of my thesis, I point to the triangle on my large presentation pad, and say, “If your concept of love is a circle” – then pointing to the circle I continue, “and my concept of love is a triangle, our communication is going to be difficult because of differing definitions of the words we use.” The primary  objective  is to illustrate for my classmates … [Read more...]

Change The Light Bulb

“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.”          Albert Einstein, Ph.D. Our grandson Philip is helping Carol (his grandmother and my wife) to get our home prepared for the family gathering for Christmas. One task involves changing the little light bulbs that are inside the huge outside globes. Simple enough, right? When Philip asks Carol how to get inside the housing that contains these tiny bulbs, her answer is delivered with full confidence – it appears she has … [Read more...]

Wow!

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Tom Peters “Wow” hollers grandson John (JR to his siblings) as he pulls a strip of paper off of one of his Christmas presents. Even though the contents are not visible, his elevated enthusiasm for the yet to be seen toy is highly contagious to family members engrossed in this scene. Each strip of paper, revealing more and more of the gift, is followed by another “Wow”. Later during the day, in a quieter moment - which is difficult to find on … [Read more...]

Boom-Boom Room

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”       Henry David Thoreau As I walk into the room, I see Bert whom I had earlier agreed to meet here. I am a new resident in Mobile, having arrived a couple of weeks earlier in response to a job offer and promotion from the regional director of Woolco, a division of the F.W. Woolworth Company, my employer. When you are single and in your 20s, getting settled into a new town is a process full of … [Read more...]

Behavior Modification

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  Sir Winston Churchill Identification of costly behavior is one of the topics in our meeting. The ideas expressed on how to do this are really good. One committee member states the obvious; “If we identify the costly behavior without any effort to change that conduct, we are left with the potential for costly incidents.”  Two other staffers express the need to have ‘buy-in’ from all team members. With similar thoughts, another member … [Read more...]

Beach Life

“Simplicity. . . It’s like a step we’ve forgotten how to dance, a native language we’ve forgotten how to speak in a rushy complex world.”    Sandy Gingras As I turn right on Walker Key Boulevard, a special calmness comes over me. I slow down to negotiate the first of four strategically placed speed bumps on the entrance street to our beach condo community. River, our pet canine, raises up in the back seat in a Pavlok-type  response to the bumps, noting that we have arrived. My wife Carol says … [Read more...]

In Control

“Only you can control your future.”    Dr. Seuss I like to be in control of my life. I want to know in advance the outcome of the effort I make in any project.  In the event of any negative surprises, I need  to have adequate preparation time in which to plan my response. How about you? Despite my aspiration, reality exits. With two daughters and their spouses, eight grandchildren (the ‘Exceptional Eight’), and our family pet ‘River,’ I have concluded that I have very little control over … [Read more...]

Little Sister

“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Seeing the familiar number on my cell phone, I quickly press the button and say, “Hello, Janice.”  She begins, “Hey, Robert.”  (Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I am always a little nervous when answering the phone call from one of my sisters).  I am thinking about the possibility of bad news. It is part of being a certain age. Parents experience this when children call, … [Read more...]

Tiny Bite

“Just a tad,” I respond to Alison, our longtime family dentist. After first placing and then removing the permanent crown on my tooth, she is making adjustments so that my upper and lower teeth come together in unison. After several bite tests, followed by some grinding down of the crown, my teeth are almost hitting at the same time. We are getting close. Although the adjustments Alison is making are actually very tiny – fractional  in actual measurement – that difference is significant  in … [Read more...]

Just Coffee

“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you.” Zig Ziglar   As Matt approaches the counter, he remembers what had happened just a week earlier in this same convenience store. As he pulled out his wallet to pay for a cup of coffee, the clerk told him that an elderly gentleman who had just left the store had already covered the cost of his beverage. Matt hurriedly sought and found this thoughtful … [Read more...]