Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 232, December 2018)

Maria and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Best, and Happy New Year!

A free monthly newsletter about balancing life, work, and relationships based on the books and popular workshops conducted by Alan Weiss, Ph.D. Past copies are archived on our website:
Copyright 2018 Alan Weiss. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1934-3116 

Balancing Act® is our registered trademark. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. Please use the ® whenever the phrase "Balancing Act" is used in connection with this newsletter or our workshops.

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

1. Techniques for Balance

2. Musings

3. The Human Condition: Great Expectations


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The art and science of balance in decision making:

• Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” and, if you can easily live with it, then the decision is worth the risk.

• Compare “upside” with “downside” and make sure that the potential benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

• Ask yourself if you can reduce the probability of the risk occurring and/or ameliorate it if it does occur.

• Ask if anyone, anywhere, has successfully done what you want to do, or come reasonably close.

• Always have a “plan B.”

• Only ask people with proper experience for an opinion. One learned opinion is worth more than hundreds of guesses.

• Language informs behavior. Tell yourself you can do it and will be successful, don’t keep second-guessing yourself.

• Never regret a decision, it does no good. Just try to keep improving your circumstances, even if you have to change direction.

• Remind yourself of all the good decisions you’ve made as you’re trying to make another major decision.

• Rejoice in victories. It’s fine to take a metaphoric “victory lap.” My dog does it every time he catches a Frisbee.

Welcome to America’s new Dark Age: the age of hate.

There are, apparently, no bounds on our behavior when we fight for a good cause. And if it’s our cause, then it’s a good cause. If it’s not our cause, then the other people are despicable.

We once were able to disagree, debate, argue, and compromise. I define “compromise” as something you can live with, not something you’d die for. But compromise today is seen as weakness. We are in an irrational society when people use vulgarity to condemn vulgarity, screaming to attack screaming, and vindictiveness to counteract vindictiveness.

You are red or blue. Right or left. Acceptor or denier. For or against. A boomer or millennial.

The fact is that we are individuals. We cannot define ourselves or our friends or even strangers with arbitrary labels placed on metaphoric drawers into which we drop others. We cannot exist well in a pluralistic society by enslaving ourselves to identity politics.

I root for the New England Patriots and my wife loathes them. We sit on opposite sides of the couch with our German Shepherd between us effectively preventing physical confrontation. We yell and we rant, but then the game ends and we’re over it. We continue our loving relationship and the dog goes on to canine interests.

But that’s a game played during a short season. We’re not in a game nor a season in our lives. We need to disagree healthily, accept the outcomes, and behave rationally. Either that, or we need more German Shepherds.

One of our problems is that we expect everything to work, perfectly, endlessly.

Our antecedents were constantly fixing things: plow shoes, wagon wheels, clothing, leaking roofs. Our parents fixed things that may have included the car, the refrigerator, a lamp.

We seem to feel any failure is catastrophic and the manufacturer ought to be sued. Or we should simply throw the item in question away and purchase a new one which, presumably, will work perfectly.

We once owned a beautiful Jaguar sedan, but even the service people told us that it needed a quart of oil monthly because there were small leaks that could not be fixed, mistakes in manufacturing beyond a local retrofit. We loved the car, so we did just that.

“Resilience” is defined as the ability to quickly recover from difficulties; toughness; the ability to “spring back into shape.” Too many of us suffer from false expectations and expect perfection instead of applying resilience. That’s one reason we have so many spurious lawsuits. That’s why some bicycles come with an absurd sticker admonishing, “Turn light on when biking at night.” Really? Is that akin to “Put toes in shoes first”?

My father-in-law used to stick his head under the hood and fix whatever was wrong with the car. Today, we call the service people, want the car picked up, fixed, and returned within the day. Try to get a watch fixed and it will take two months because jewelers just sell things, the repairs are specialized and take place in a cave somewhere in Bavaria.

We’ve lost that “spring back into shape” and toughness. When cable TV fails to record a program, or our electric razor fails, or the microwave undercooks, we don’t go to plan B and find some other way. Instead, we scream at the fates, ask why the universe is so unfair, and hug service ostriches on airplanes.

Those guys with “the right stuff” brought Apollo 13 home after an explosion in space. Is it unreasonable to think we can bring the groceries home after a flat tire?

I ordered replacements for a favorite pair of casual shoes on the internet. I was very careful about purchasing the same model and specifying the size. When the shoes arrived, they pinched badly. I couldn’t understand the difference in fit but I unhappily wrapped up the shoes to return with the label provided.

As I did so, I found the cardboard inserts used to maintain the shoes’ shape in shipping still inside the shoes. Once I removed them, the shoes fit quite well.

Very Special Offering: Alan’s Riff

I’m inviting you to join me monthly in 2019 for Alan’s Riff, a semi-improvisational hour with me during which I’ll discuss combinations of the following:

• Current political and social trends and events

• The economy and financial options

• Business trends, interpretation, and predictions

• The current headlines

• The arts and entertainment

• Ideas and provocations that challenge you intellectually

I’ll take any questions in advance and also during the calls via computer. Every call will be 60-90 minutes and recorded for your ongoing use.

My intent here is to enable you to:

• Become a well-rounded, informed, object of interest

• Understand how to view and dissect issues

• Develop as an engaging conversationalist

• Ask questions that you can’t ask elsewhere

• Improve your sense of self by being better “educated”

• Take better advantage of opportunities around you

• Improve your critical thinking skills

• Stand out in a crowd

Fee: $1,200

Sign up here: Alan's Riff

Livestream 2019

Join me for 10 sessions of 60-90 minutes with real-time Q&A (and also a recording distributed afterwards) on personal growth. We’ll deal with creating your own metrics, sustaining an abundance mentality, becoming “healthily selfish,” and ending procrastination, among other topics. You’ll be able to ask questions before, during, and after. Join your colleagues from over a dozen countries in my third year of livestream broadcasting.

Sign up here: Livestream 2019

Thinking BIG

You can’t “think outside the box” if you’re still in the box. And any box is too small for any true entrepreneur. Yet you probably don’t realize the dimensions of your current, unconscious confinement. Join me for a BIG day in Miami in January to learn how to instantly think in larger terms, be seen in a larger light, and live large.

Sign up here: Thinking BIG

Fifth Annual Million Dollar Consulting® Convention—2019

Almost 60% of our 2018 attendees immediately signed up for next year in Washington, DC during cherry blossom season. You can save $1,000 by registering in the next month. We already have an Emmy-winning anchor woman and Hall of Fame speaker; the global leader and author on sales strategy; two marketing and strategy experts from Europe; and someone who will demonstrate how you can instantly create super media promotion, among others in our lineup.

Sign up here: Fifth Annual Million Dollar Consulting® Convention—2019

Growth Access

This is my intellectual property repository, approaching $100,000 of video, audio, textual, and workshop materials available to you without restriction and for life for a one-time fee of $2,500! We add to it regularly, and most recently included six livestream recorded broadcasts of an hour each from last year. Imagine reviewing the video “In the Buyer’s Office” just before you go to the buyer’s office.

Sign up here: Growth Access

Workshop Workshop

Learn how to create, organize, deliver, and support a workshop with minimal labor and time. A lot of people attend my sessions twice, the second time to watch how I do it. This is the first reprise of a session I did five years ago. You’ll emerge with a template to create and deliver workshops effortlessly and rapidly for any client or for public sessions.

Sign up here: Workshop Workshop

Breaking Through

Join me for the next SAC regional meeting: Breaking Through: Take Your Business to the Next Level, March 27th in San Francisco. I’ll be speaking in the morning, followed in the afternoon with additional content from colleagues, and the following day I'll be conducting the Workshop Workshop, which you can sign up for on my siteSpecial early bird pricing is available through 12/31/18 for SAC members at $199, members of my community at $249, and the general public at $299. Click here to register. Or, you could join SAC and enjoy this conference at SAC member pricing as well as many other benefits. SAC members will also receive a 20% discount to my Workshop Workshop the following day in San Francisco (only one discount may be applied).


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Balancing Act® is a monthly electronic newsletter discussing the blending of life, work, and relationships, based on the popular Balancing Act workshops and writing of Alan Weiss, Ph.D. Contact us for further information at: [email protected].
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© Alan Weiss 2018

Balancing Act® is our registered trademark. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. Please use the ® whenever the phrase "Balancing Act" is used in connection with this newsletter or our workshops.


See Writing on the Wall, featuring Koufax the Wonder Dog.





If you have to try to prove you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re clearly not.

Alan Weiss