March 06, 2009

Mind Control

If you listen to the network news (I don’t recommend it) you will hear that the economy has ground to a halt.  You will also hear about how all of the auto makers have seen their sales cut in half.  But did you hear about the automaker that saw sales increase 14% in January over the same period a year ago?

While the auto market had their worst January since 1963, Hyundai actually increased sales.  I heard the CEO of Hyundai on the radio a few weeks ago and mentioned it to TC North.  TC’s written about “taking the fear out of buying” in his Weekly Encouragement email

TC (aka Dr. North) has a long bio, including sports psychology research and consulting with Olympic and professional sports teams.  Somewhere a long the line, he realized that CEOs and sales people are like athletes in that a big part of the game is mental. 

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking with TC about entrepreneurship.  When Jim and I started Gold Systems, I was completely unprepared for how the business would affect my attitude, and how my attitude would affect the business.  Thankfully, Jim and I were rarely in-phase – when he was down, I was often up, and when I was down, he would pull me up.

Over the years I’ve learned how to control my attitude most of the time and now I’m more of an optimist than ever.  One thing TC taught me was to catch any negative thoughts quickly and to replace them with positive thoughts.  I know, it sounds like pop psychology gobbledygook, but it works most of the time.  Here’s how it works:

My brain catches sight of a TV news program announcing how bad the economy sucks.  I’m hardly conscious of it, but almost instantly a part of my brain plays the tape of “Look, there’s proof that bad things are happening!  All is lost!”  The conscious part of my brain, which is now on the lookout for this sort of negative thought, grabs control and says, “Not so fast, we’ve seen bad things before and survived just fine.  Things are not as bad as the talking heads on TV want to make them sound.  They are just trying to sell advertisements and suck us into watching more.  Be thankful for all that is going well, and show more compassion to the people who really do have it bad and stop worrying about your own problems.  Oh, and one more thing – good job at catching that negative thought and throwing it out so quickly!”

Now tie this back to the athlete.  When a pro basketball player misses a shot, do you think they run down the court saying to themselves, “I’m a terrible basketball player, and I’m probably going to miss the next shot too and look like an idiot on national TV, and then I’m going to lose my contract and my big fancy house and extravagant lifestyle.”  I don’t know any professional basketball players myself, but I’m guessing that’s not the tape they play.  The good ones shake it off and start telling themselves how they are going to hit the next shot and they keep their mind in the game.

I don’t believe that a good attitude is all that is needed to be a successful entrepreneur or a professional athlete.  Hard work, ability and luck are necessary ingredients.  But to quote TC again, you only have control over two things in life, your actions and your thoughts.  If you don’t get control over your thoughts, everything else is a lot harder.

Here’s a link to TC’s archive of Weekly Encouragement.

Have a great weekend!

March 6, 2009 in Current Affairs, Entrepreneur Essays | Permalink | TrackBack

August 28, 2008

In line at the DNC

History is being made today so when I was offered a ticket to see Obama today, I took it. Thank you Gillie! Even with a ticket I'm not sure I'll get in. Standing in line with 40,000 people. I've never seen a crowd this big!

August 28, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack

February 13, 2008

Colorado Weather

You've got to love Colorado - it's sunny and 65 degrees (18c) outside now, and it feels even warmer.  The weather service just issued a snow advisory for the area tonight for blowing snow and accumulations of 3 to 7 inches by tomorrow afternoon, with winds of 30 mph and gusting higher still.

February 13, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 01, 2007

Boston Terror Scare

There's lots of great coverage of the Boston Terror Scare available on YouTube.  In case you are wondering what caused the scare, it is more or less this:

You can buy it at here, and there is even a travel version, but I'm guessing you aren't going to be able to carry it on a plane anytime in the near future. I can't wait to see The DailyShow's coverage of today's events.  The Zebro video is not work-safe, or I'd link to it here.

My favorite magazine, Make, has posted some good coverage of the events and pictures of the actual devices if you are interested.  Warning - the photo in the Make coverage are also not work safe if your employer has a problem with LED cartoon characters making, as one correspondent said, "an obscene gesture."  (If you are a techie, who does work for a place like that, check out my company's help-wanted page.  We have a sense of humor.  New engineering postings will go up sometime on Friday.)

February 1, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 03, 2006

Back to work!

This year a lot of people had inflatable snowmen, santas, grinches and what not in their yard.  Am I the only one who finds it a little strange to see so many that look like this during the day?  I hope everyone feels better than this guy on the first official workday of 2006.


January 3, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

National Geographic Predicted Katrina in 2004

Like most people, I'm still trying to figure out how to help and how to make sense of what went wrong.  While it seems that the news is suddenly reporting progress being made, the first few days after Katrina had me wanting to commandeer a bus and go down and get people out of there myself.  I would have had no shortage of people willing to go along I'm sure.

We heard that this could not have been predicted, but if you read this National Geographic Article from October, 2004 you will find yourself checking the date a couple of times because it reads just like a news report from last week.  If you keep reading you will see that there was a proposal to spend 30 billion dollars over 10 years to try to fix the problem, but that was cut to 2 billion dollars over the next ten years.  Unfortunately it will now cost many times that, not to mention the terrible loss of life.  Having grown up on the Ohio River and seen it get out of its banks many times, I'm familiar with the argument that dams and levees work to a point, and then they just make things worse.  Ultimately nature will have its way.

September 7, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack