Sitting at a sports bar at JFK watching Seattle dominate the Saints I found myself in a conversation with a bright young woman who just graduated from Occidental University in Southern California. I had asked Mia what her tuition was at this small liberal arts school and she replied 55 thousand. I told her about this article that I read in the Wall Street Journal Review section addressing the easy availability of student loans through government backing had allowed universities to raise tuition beyond reasonable levels. As a result, far too many coeds graduate with excessive debt in a soft job market. Suddenly, a former Tufts professor interrupted politely agreeing with me that the system was indeed broken but he argued that the primary cause was related to prodigious course offerings that make individual per student costs as high as 75 thousand at many private universities. I added that administrative bloat was clearly an issue as well as non facility costs have soared too. This professor was en route to Brussels having taken a job for NATO in large part because the system is now making it harder to enjoy teaching as well. He told me that tenure is more challenging than ever and schools pay increasing numbers of adjuncts less.
Much like our bloated medical system, the cost structure of college tuition is simply unsustainable. This professor was an exceptionally bright and talented guy who found a creative solution for his own life. Others, less talented or less driven might not be so fortunate. One of the keys to success in life and business is to never ever stay stuck or believe that you are struck. With enough ingenuity and chutzpah, there is almost always another way! And sometimes hiring a coach to help you find that way is a no-brainer!
I’ve been working on a novel for nearly two years now and I find that when I travel I tend to write more and more effortlessly! There are a billion reasons to travel but several stand out: getting out of your all too familiar local area no matter how cool it is tends to free the mind and offer new stimulating opportunities that free creativity! The other is that you can meet new or different people and learn different perspectives on life and business. Obviously, you don’t need to travel for this but often the act of going some place new and different opens the mind and Spirit! Sometimes, my girlfriend and I just drive up the Connecticut coast. Other times, I travel solo or do travel writing gigs! The picture above is of South Florida where I am currently experiencing a short break from the bitter cold, visiting friends, and writing!
Val DiFebo, the CEO of Deutsch NY, the advertising agency, has plenty to say about leadership and business but what stands out to me is her comments in the Corner Office (New York Times Sunday Business section) about the power of presence. “There’s a real skill and an art to reading the room, and it drives me crazy when people are not present. You have to be present.” I couldn’t agree more! Whether working with executives, entrepreneurs, or athletes, I almost always start with presence. Many people, even so-called successful people, are rarely present. Instead, they are constantly plotting, planning, or rehashing. This is limited behavior eventually leading to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Being in the here and now as much as possible is powerful for a variety of reasons – nowness unleashes creativity, spontaneity, and joy to name a few!
I’ve done a fair amount of suffering in my lifetime as have many of us. Sometimes, I tell clients that appearances are deceiving and that I’ve suffered far more than my confident, occasionally nonchalant style may show. One thing I’ve learned from suffering is that we can get stronger, more clear, and more aware but that doesn’t make it easy. Sometimes, all the suffering makes life seem pointless and yet other times, it makes us feel grateful for what we have. I agree with the Dalai Lama that helping others and working hard helps – so does creativity. There is nothing like that feeling of creativity to make us feel more alive and feel like our life experience, no matter how hard it is, is worthwhile. I also work on loving and letting go because all of us are faced with these ways of being every day. And the more we love and the more capable of letting go we become, the greater we enjoy the journey!
“At a time when many laid-off workers have to take a pay cut to land a new job, members of the millennial generation are jumping ship from their companies after just two years,” as stated in an article I just read in the Los Angeles Times. What does this mean?
As many of us already know, the business climate has changed a great deal since the recession of 2008. Americans, in general, are making less money and working more, finding it harder than ever to land compelling opportunities. I have friends and clients who got “spit out” of corporate America during the recession and have had a super-challenge getting back in. This is especially true if they are older. Not long ago, a cable TV channel interviewed me regarding my perspective on the best ways help discouraged job seekers in their forties and fifties. The essence of what I said boiled down to two things: creativity and perseverance.
I am a huge believer in taking a proactive approach to life, everywhere! I remember listening to Jimmy Johnson, the former super-bowl winning coach of the Dallas Cowboys in the 90’s, talk about another team running up the score on the loser. His perspective, which may seem a little harsh, was that the loosing team had no business complaining, instead they should get better so that running up the score never happens to them again. The essence of this perspective is to never ever blame another but to take total responsibility for your life and the outcomes in it. From a Spiritual perspective, everything in our reality is created by each of us, though not necessarily consciously.
Learning to live life proactively is a fantastic way to create your destiny as opposed to waiting for life to happen. Far too many people take a passive approach to life or at best their approach is mixed. In other words, many of us are proactive in one area, such as business, and then passive in another area such as intimacy. Sometimes, the reverse is true. Very few people are proactive across the board. And yet, if we peer into the life of an amazing person, such as Oprah, we see a very proactive approach everywhere!