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Be the Squeaky Wheel

In an overly communicative society, boldness is often the key to notoriety, wealth, and even acclaim

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Throughout history people have stepped into the limelight at critical junctures and become immortalized for it.

* Moses told the Egyptian pharaoh, “Let my people go.”

* Jesus told an unruly crowd, “Let he that lives without sin cast the first stone.”

* Martin Luther nailed his 99 reforms to the door of the Catholic church knowing this would set off a landslide of controversy.

* George Washington confessed to his father that he did in fact chop down the cherry tree, saying, “I cannot tell a lie,” …not really, but that’s the myth.

* Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech but equally of note, endured jail, hosing down, and discrimination for what he believed.

You probably tend to admire those who adopt broad sweeping causes related to freedom, truth, or human rights. It seems as if bold, positive, decisive action has often served as the catalyst for followers to take up the lead. Such action can become a turning point that historians dutifully record.

Genius in Boldness

The German philosopher Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once said, “Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” In an overly communicative society, boldness is often the key to notoriety, wealth, and even acclaim.

While there might be 8, 12, 15, or several dozen female singers with the range, voice quality, and talent equal to or exceeding that of Katy Perry, she is among the few who captures the headlines.

Andre Agassi might not have been the most talented player on the pro tennis circuit, but  during his playing days he was the one that most people could recall most easily. Beyond the arenas of sports and entertainment being the squeaky wheel has impacted other social arenas.

A particular inventor still owns the record for holding the largest number of U.S. patents. He is the widely celebrated inventor of the phonograph. He is commonly regarded as the inventor of the light bulb although he merely improved on it and, most important, made it commercially available for the masses.

He also made dozens of improvements to other existing products. Can you name him? Undoubtedly, you can since he’s Thomas Edison.

So Many Before Him

Thomas Edison was not the original inventor of electric light. He improved upon a principle that others had already discovered. In 1802 Sir Humphrey Davy produced an arch light. He was followed in 1844 by Jean Foucault who made an arch light strong enough to illuminate the Plaza de la Concorde in Paris.

By 1860 Sir Joseph William Swan devised a crude light bulb and eighteen years later demonstrated a successful carbon filament lamp at New Castle, England. This was ten months before Edison invented the light bulb.

A second inventor of equal brilliance and contribution to society revolutionized the automobile industry. He’s credited with having ushered in a new era of ignition systems, vehicle performance, and vehicle safety. He patented a painting process that prolonged the life of cars by reducing the incidents of rust.

With four hundred million vehicles in America alone and more than a billion throughout the world, surely you can name this hallowed inventor. Right?

Okay, here’s a huge clue: He also became a philanthropist and to this day his name is part of one of the foremost cancer research and treatment facilities in the world which he help found. Who is he?

Give up?

He is Thomas Kettering for whom the Sloan-Kettering Institute is partially named. Why does virtually everyone know the name of Edison, and nearly no one knows the name of Kettering?

Perhaps Edison’s inventions were more consumer-oriented or impacted more people more quickly back then. One hundred years ago, everyone was likely to turn on a light switch, but not everyone owned a car.

Consummate Squeaker

Edison, as it turns out, relentlessly promoted himself. He constantly talked to the press and gave interviews. He always issued pithy quotes. He went out of his way to grandstand. He often bragged that he got by on very little sleep per night, a claim later proved to be untrue.

Edison was always looking for opportunities in which to get into the news, and equally important offered product and service contributions of lasting impact.

Kettering was not a meek or mild lab scientist. He was a strong leader within the organizations he formed. He also gained the reputation as someone with quick wit who could both give and take a joke.

Yet, unless some dramatic, Oscar winning movie about Kettering appears in the future, it’s unlikely that his name will ever be as widely known as Edison’s.

So it is in many arenas of life.

Two performers, alike in major respects, with a similar array of accomplishments, might have different experiences in terms of what they earn, how they are perceived, and how they are remembered.

Think about those whom are the most visible to the public. Are these people hesitant to voice their views, or are they both seen and heard?

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

Provocative Questions to Get You Moving

What would make you pause and think about what’s really important?

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Suppose I asked you four questions to make you pause, think about what’s really important, perhaps take some action steps, and get you moving in a positive direction. What might I ask?

Here are four such questions:

* What would you do if you truly only had six months to live?

* What would you read if you could only pick six books for the rest of your life?

* If you could return to any age what would it be?

* If you could live anywhere other than here, where would it be?

 

By way of example, here is each question with my own answers to help stimulate your thinking:

What would I do if I truly only had six months to live? I would visit everyone who ever mattered to me one more time; visit all my childhood haunts; visit three or four tourist destinations in the world that I’ve wanted to see; eat like an incredible pig; parcel out my assets carefully and accordingly, safeguard my daughter’s financial future and well-being to the best of my abilities; and donate many items to charity.

If I could only read six books for the rest of my life, they would probably be The Timetables of History, Childhood’s End, The Call of the Wild, The One Hundred, From Dawn to Decadence, and The Culture of Celebrity. Runners-up would be The Demon-Haunted World, Crime and Punishment, Moby Dick, MacBeth, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and The World of Our Fathers

If I could be any age what would I be: 38, because at that age I had the optimal mix of capabilities and faculties, unbounded potential, and unbridled enthusiasm. My career as an author was beginning to bloom and amazingly I hadn’t yet been on my first of 45 cruises.

If I could live anywhere other than here, where would it be and why aren’t I there? The places I could settle include Asheville, NC; Austin, TX; Monterrey, CA; Sausalito, CA; Tucson, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Vancouver, British Columbia; London, England; Paris, France; Vevey, Switzerland; Montreux, Switzerland; Bruges, Belgium; Helsinki, Finland; Gothenburg, Sweden; Stockholm, Sweden, and any place where it is spring, birds are chirping, and large lakes invite you to swim.

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Life

21 Ways That People with Work-life Balance Are Different from Others (Part 3)

Even in our fast-paced society, slowing down is continually attainable

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Here is the final set of seven ways the people who have attained work-life balance set themselves apart from the rest:

15) The typical person is easily distracted by daily noise and interruptions. Those with work-life balance monitor and manage their personal space to minimize distractions.
* carry ear plugs
* sound proof your workspace
* find alternative work locations and spaces, such as a picnic table or park bench * visit www.yogasleep.com

16) The typical person focuses on finishing the workday in order to drop back and relax. Those with work-life balance are productive at work and have a life for the rest of the day after work.
* leave work at a reasonable hour
* reduce TV watching and web surfing
* employ your den as a mini-gym
* engage in invigorating leisure

17) The typical person engages in inactive leisure, i.e. watching TV, web surfing. Those with work-life balance employ leisure for novel experiences, learning, and physical activity.
* live closer, not farther from work
* rediscover hobbies
* join group activities
* peruse local event notices and attend

18) The typical person intermittently invests in his or her own well-being. Those with work-life balance strategically purchase goods and services that support their well-being.
* buy in multiples when all supplies will eventually be used up
* make strategic purchases…
* if it saves one hour a week
* if it takes up little space, is portable, expandable, flexible, can be traded in

19) The typical person longs for the good old days when the pace of life was slower. Those with work-life balance recognize that even in our fast-paced society, slowing down is continually attainable.
* acknowledge and accept the world as it is
* seek to change aspects of your personal environment over which you have control
* consider the 80-20 rule and ignore low-payoff tasks and activities
* emulate the role models in your industry, organization, or profession

20) The typical person over-collects work-life balance tips hoping that such information will rub off on them. Those who have work-life balance ingest the insights of others, and ultimately follow the beat of their own drum.
* put what you learn into motion
* adopt new behaviors until they become habits
* establish new personal systems
* develop rewarding rituals

21) The typical parent passes their hectic lifestyle on to their children. Those who have it teach their children what is needed to continually experience work-life balance
* remember: children learn most from observation
* exhibit behaviors that you want them to emulate
* include them in activities, ask for their opinion
* act accordingly: actions speak louder than words

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