Category Archives: Miscellaneous

FORTRAN

FORTRAN

80 Column CardThis will really show my age. And my history!

It’s been a long time since I remember reading a book or article by Edsger Dijkstra, and unfortunately I can’t remember the reference and I can’t find the exact quote. But this is close.

In hiring, I ask the prospect if he knows FORTRAN? If he says ‘yes’ then I don’t hire him!
— Edsger Dijkstra

(Perhaps the reference was to BASIC, or COBOL, instead of FORTRAN, but same idea)

Sadly, despite my own history, I have to think Dijkstra was right. But, fortunately, he has another quote that I was able to find that makes me feel a little better.

Perfecting oneself is as much unlearning as it is learning.”
— Edsger Dijkstra

Six Second Hugs

As mentioned in The Happiness Project, and elsewhere, the idea that hugs of more than six seconds cause a chemical release that creates some bonding. I happened to have co-read this book with a female, (who by the way is married, and I know her husband, and they live a long way away, just so there’s no confusion), and we each commented on that six-second concept.

Later, unexpectedly, she asked me if she and I had ever hugged for 6 seconds (we had some business/social occasions through the years). I was pretty certain that answer was ‘no.’

A while back, I got a package in the mail. Would you agree this represents “more than six seconds” of hugs?
Hersheys Hugs

Thanks Lisa!

Flashback Friday: Excellence from the Ziglar Corporation

 

Flashback Friday: Excellence from the Ziglar Corporation

FlashbackFriday150Flashback Friday. The post below was from December 2010. A bittersweet memory of an interaction with Tom Ziglar regarding his dad, Zig Ziglar. Just days ago I had another opportunity to interact with Tom Ziglar, and of course, it was an excellent encounter. Tom, I miss your dad. And I appreciate you!

The Ziglar Organization – Excellence (as expected)

ZigAndTomZiglar A few weeks ago I had a good reason to contact the Zig Ziglar organization, or more specifically, to contact Tom Ziglar, the CEO. Now I need to say up front, I’ve listened to Zig’s materials for years, so I had very high expectations that Tom would respond, and even that he might respond quickly. All expectations were met, and exceeded. (actually, if I expected that he would exceed my expectations, does that mean he didn’t? Hmmm… 🙂

First, a bit of background. My dad, Harold Dye, is 93. As a veteran, and a long-time military officer, he gets a lot of chances to make speeches. In recent years, however, his presentation skills haven’t been quite as sharp (again, he’s 93). Sometimes he forgets what he wants to say, or gets distracted, or even repeats himself. Nothing too surprising for his age, but it bothers him that he’s not able to give his audience the quality of talk he was able to provide in the past. My sisters and I have been trying to think of how we might help him.

Now the Ziglar part of the story. Zig just turned 84 last month. (Trivia: Zig and my dad each have November birthdays, each were born in Alabama). A couple of years ago, Zig had an unfortunate experience with a set of stairs, and he banged his head pretty hard. As a result, sometimes he forgets what he wants to say, or gets distracted, or even repeats himself. Wait, that sounds quite familiar! But Zig is still very active as a professional speaker and still draws large audiences, who pay big money, and come away very satisfied.

It occurred to me that whatever solution the Ziglar organization is using might work for my dad. So, a simple inquiry to Tom (Tom’s blog makes it very easy to contact him, and he’s quite active on Twitter as well). Now, I didn’t actually pull out a stop watch, but I know Tom responded within a couple of hours, maybe within one, and it actually might have been even faster than that. This was no form letter response. He sincerely expressed interest in my dad’s situation, explained some of his dad’s story, and how they’ve come up with a great solution. Then he went just a bit further. He said that if I had any questions, to give him a call and he included his number. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet that Tom would answer that phone personally, on the 2nd ring.

So here is an executive, of a successful company, who was willing to spend a few minutes helping a complete stranger. He certainly lived up to one of Zig’s most well known quotes, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

Thank you Tom, you helped me. All the best to you and your dad and your company.

Pick Three, or Just One?

BookWithNotesPick One

Inspired by Seth Godin post from late 2013 (well worth the 30 seconds it will take to read), re: 3 friends, 3 books.

Seth posted this roughly a year ago. The idea, pick some books, some friends or co-workers, have everyone read the same books, and build from that a shared reference point for ideas and conversations.

If three books and three friends is too ambitious, try just 1 (of each). During this past year, I’m not sure how many books I’ve co-read with friends. I asked one friend to co-read one book with me. It was great. Then had another chance. Through the year, chances have continued popping up. I can’t begin to express the great value of this shared foundation.

Pick a friend and share this idea. It may be one of the nicest things you do for your friend. And for yourself!

 

Flashback Friday: The Best Job I Ever Had

FlashbackFriday150Flashback Friday. This post is from October 2010.

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The Best Job I Ever Had

BestJob I’m often asked about jobs I’ve had in the past, and frequently, the question is asked “What’s the best job you ever had?” This is a tough question for me, because I’ve had so many great jobs. My answer, although technically impossible, is that the best job I’ve ever had is EVERY job I’ve ever had! I’ve had a variety of jobs, in a wide assortment of organizations, and I’ve enjoyed them all!

Now in all honesty, it’s not quite every job, although it’s close. I can name exactly one job that wasn’t my favorite. It was a good job. It was a good company. It had great people. I liked what the company did and I liked what I did. Culturally, I wasn’t a perfect fit, so that’s why this one particular job is my “next to favorite” job.

How can I be so lucky as to have all these great jobs? Maybe it’s just that I like working and I like to see quality products and services, and I’m willing to work hard to accomplish an objective. Maybe it’s that I get energized by solving problems. Or maybe it’s that I like challenges and new learning experiences.

I hear of people who don’t like their jobs, and that’s sad to me. I’m intrigued as I meet with people in all types of jobs who continue to be excited about what they do. It seems the concept of “work hard AND enjoy work” is alive and well. Thankfully!

Too Long, Too Short?

LongAndShortPencilsThinking about reading of “stuff,” articles, blog posts, email, etc., but not so much books. I’ve become very picky about the length of articles I’m likely to read.

It is amazing how quickly things filter into the read now, read later (which may be never), and discard now. Length is a big factor. Is this just laziness? Get to the point quickly or it hits the trash. This is also something I’m trying to teach myself. Keep it short! One of my favorite quotes, which I’m trying to make into my own life lesson:

— Scott Adams

 

Some examples:

Seth Godin. Seth can say more in two sentences than many people say in pages!

Jeff Haden. I’ve learned that most of what he says I want to read. He gives compelling headlines that usually confirm my thoughts. I tend to save and re-visit much of what Jeff writes.

Chris Huff. Chris manages to regularly touch on topics that I refer back to over and over. He’s like Seth in getting quickly to the point.

James Clear. James is my negative example. Perhaps great stuff, but over my length limit most of the time so I’ll never find out. Sad (for me, maybe for him too)

Michael Hyatt. On the border. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I usually like what he has to say, I sometimes take the time to read what he writes. Again, sad for me and him too.

Nightingale-Conant email ads. I have purchased a LOT from NC through the years. I’m on their email list. I cringe with each new ad. It’s been years since I read far enough to get to the bottom line. Wonder what I’m missing?

What’s your limit? I’m kind of thinking this post is pushing my limit!

Flashback Friday: Four Dreaded Words

FlashbackFriday150Flashback Friday. This post on meetings is from June 19, 2007.

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Four Dreaded Words

“I thought we decided”

FourdreadedwordsIf you’ve visited me in the past few years, you’ve seen this sign on my door.  We’re constantly looking at how to do meetings better, but this was one of our motivators.  We had so many meetings where the first segment of each was a rehash of the previous meting, trying to remember what decisions were made.

What’s the right answer for documenting meeting decisions, action items, information disseminated, etc.?  I don’t know, but we’ve sure found a lot of wrong answers 🙁

Best Things and Worst Things

BestWorstI’ve used these phrases so often, I might as well claim that they are original with me and quote myself!

“The best things and the worst things are sometimes the same things”
— me

“Often times, we get best and worst backwards”
— me

“The best things in life and the worst things in life are often only known in the rear-view mirror”
— me

I don’t know how many times some situation or event seemed to be great, but years later I saw that it wasn’t. Or how many times some terrible event was the springboard for something amazing. Sometimes I think of Thomas Edison and his failures, or when his factory burned down. They were terrible. Or where they?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
–Thomas A. Edison

Paradoxes

Conundrum(Yes, that is the plural of Paradox, I looked it up)

Paradox: “truth standing on her head to get attention
–G. K. Chesterton

Maybe conundrum would be a better word. You choose.

I’ve been a collector of some oddities for years. Below is a sampling. This particular set is slightly theology oriented. Keep in mind, I’m not a theologian. I believe God operates in paradox all the time. In many ways, “paradox” is another name for God! So, with that minor introduction, here are a few things that I find interesting, or even perplexing! I hope no one perceives any irreverence in this. Certainly not my intent!

  1. God wants communication/connection/relationship, yet is invisible/silent!
  2. Lose your life to find it
  3. Die to live
  4. First will be last, and vice versa
  5. Servant vs. leader
  6. Understanding vs. childlike faith
  7. Free will vs. predestination
  8. Our “call” to be sinless; original sin; the plan for salvation before the formation of the world
  9. God is not the author of sin; Satan’s fall from heaven (sin even in heaven?); Satan’s placement on earth of all places!
  10. Desire/Pleasure (lust) vs. Obedience
  11. Humility vs. God’s glory
  12. Male sexuality vs. purity/fidelity  (or female attractiveness vs. fidelity)
  13. Man is made in the image of God, yet not to be like God (especially in glory)
  14. God is spirit, we are physical
  15. Spiritual warfare — we’re told of it, to be prepared, but it’s invisible to us!
  16. Faith vs. curiosity?  (less of a paradox, perhaps)
  17. Spiritual warfare vs. the Peace of God
  18. God’s “love for all” vs. the billions apparently destined for Hell.  (created for this very purpose according to Proverbs?!)
  19. Complete surrender (to Christ) to have victory.  (must fail to succeed?)
  20. God’s testing vs. Satan’s tempting (God does not tempt)
  21. God is truth vs. use of lies [espec in old testament]
  22. God’s sovereignty vs. our ability to sin
  23. Prayer vs. God’s sovereignty.  Is prayer like fuel?  Does it change God?
  24. Sovereignty vs. fatalism (why try?)
  25. Omni-present and invisible
  26. God’s wisdom vs. man’s foolishness
  27. Trinity – a single spirit vs. Christ praying to the Father.
  28. Power is revealed through vulnerability and risk
  29. Greatness is shown in humility
  30. Wealth is revealed through giving away
  31. Love is revealed through Sacrifice
  32. Victory comes through surrender
  33. God as father, yet few (none?) examples of good fathers in the Bible
  34. David, man after God’s heart, and Solomon, wisest who ever lived.  Both miserable failures at family, both enticed by sex
  35. Selfish Wants lead to dissatisfaction, even death!
  36. Want of heaven is usually weaker than want to immediate gratification

What would you add?