Balancing Act #172: December, 2013



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 web site:

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ISSN 1934-3116



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Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Techniques for balance
  2. Musings
  3. The human condition: Luxury wanes
  4. ORTIYKMWOYBNT-O Department



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1. Technique for balance



2. Musings


I've had still another great privilege to travel around the world, from New York to Dubai to Beijing, and from Beijing to Hong Kong to Dubai to New York. That's around 20,000 air miles.


My wife and I met women in burkas, American rock group road managers, hotel executives, people scurrying on bicycles, local store owners. We've come to the conclusion that there are, perhaps, 95 percent similarities and only five percent dissimilarities among all people (I've been to 62 countries).


People smile and laugh the same. Their facial expressions are not hard to translate. They love their families. They go about their work and chores. They have moods. They make mistakes. They cherish free time. They hunger for affiliation.


At the same time, we are profoundly grateful for our own accidents of birth. As I write this, my access to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia and an array of other sites is blocked by the government. All of the pilots on our long-haul flights with Emirate Airlines have been American. We've observed limited or denied access to common opportunities and services that we take for granted every day.


My iPhone worked as soon as we landed in Beijing. Every sign here is in Chinese and English. The outlets accommodate American electrical connections.


When we return to JFK, we'll go through Global Entry at immigration in a matter of a minute or so. But what must it be like for someone from China or Kenya or Brazil, where the waits are long and it's not likely that someone will speak their language? We passed through Chinese immigration in two minutes, and all the inspectors handling "foreign" visitors spoke English. (A friend from Germany, who speaks better English than I do and also travels the world, tells me that American immigration is often an hours-long process and entirely inappropriate.)


Travel widens your horizons, and shows you the world in color, not merely the media's "black and white." But it also enables you to realize how fortunate you are. We need that perspective. Too often, sitting back with the remote for the 50-inch TV, or deicing which of two cars to use that day, or making an impulse purchase, or relying on excellent public health and sanitation—we don't appreciate what we have.


3. The human condition: Luxury wanes


I'm writing this in a private cabin in first class on an Emirates Air A380 behemoth, with every creature comfort imaginable, including huge, expansive private shower areas. We have two lounges, private beverages in each personal cabin, our own snack basket refilled, personal stationery, and more electronic doodads than I can describe.


Yet I was momentarily miffed that, at 41,000 feet over the Atlantic, I couldn't obtain an internet connection. (While my computer, iPad, and iPhone are being individually charged in outlets that provide U.S. power.)


It occurred to me that A) I don't have to connect to the internet to write Balancing Act, and B) something is a luxury until you become accustomed to it which, for me, is single use. (A Hollywood starlet in the 1930s, said, "A private railroad car is not an acquired taste, one gets used to it instantly.")


We all remark on luxury and innovation until we use something for its intended purpose, it works and makes our lives better, and we become quite demanding without it. A remote control garage door opener is quite a significant advancement for humankind, especially when utilizing those magic buttons built in to the vehicle. But if you pull up in the rain and the battery is dead, well there's only one thing to do—pick up your cell phone to call inside and have someone open the door for you.


I've called my kids into the room on an intercom to have them fetch the TV remote control, which was out of my immediate reach and beneath the dogs' dignity to pursue. It wasn't my proudest moment, though it was one of my most comfortable.


We've become accustomed to an easy life, one where luxury and wealth are almost commonplace. By that I mean the ability to fly almost anywhere cheaply; to own a decent and safe car; to make phone calls at any moment; to watch a staggering assortment of entertainment at any time; to find information almost instantaneously.


The concept of "luxury" is waning. It's been replaced by ostentation—the 400-foot yacht, 20-carat ring, entourage, trip into the stratosphere. We're not impressed that we can call China in a few seconds while walking down the street, or that we can have a knee replaced and be out of the hospital in a day.


But that's okay. That's life as we now live it. And life shouldn't be an acquired taste. We should get used to it instantly, so long as we continue to appreciate the wonder that is our world.







Up to six people only, at my home, Feb. 26-27. Four seats remain. Some feel it's the most powerful experience I create.



LAST CALL: I'm forming a new group, six months in duration, starting in the next month, includes group meetings with me, group meetings with the team, teleconference interactive sessions, and so forth. You should be making at least five figures at the moment to best gain from this experience.

Write me at [email protected]. $7,500.



There are critical thinking skills which can be used instantly with impressive influence to solve problems, make decisions, innovate, negotiate, and so forth. This session will explain them in both detail and rapid fire use, and make you adept at utilizing them.



Don't be left in the dust, kick some up.



March 31 in New York, June 2 in LA

Learn improve in the morning, how to apply in the buyer's office and stay in the moment in the afternoon. Unique. $1,495.



Four Seasons, Palm Beach

Oct. 22-24


I have on 5 spaces available of 25 maximum attendance. Dan Pink thrilled everyone this year, and 18 of those participants immediately signed up again! I'm in negotiations for our next world-class speaker and am creating all new material for the next program. The fee is $9,500 until December 31, $10,500 thereafter. You can claim one of the few remaining seats by writing me at [email protected] or by using this site:




Personal Power


London, April 23

Bali, July 10


This workshop will explore and build "presence" and charisma. We'll create and practice the traits that work for you to:


We'll use actual examples and then create scenarios where participants will role-play with feedback from peers in a "fishbowl" environment.


In one day, we will increase your personal power. What's that worth to you?


Fee: $1,495 until February 1. $1,795 thereafter.

Growth Cycle discounts, Alan and Bentley Cards apply.


Note that Bali setting will be in a casual "retreat" atmosphere.

10% additional discount on Bali sessions until February 1!


The Pivot Point


London April 24

Bali, July 11


The pivot point is that point at which you dig your foot into the conversational turf and change direction. You "run to daylight" in the immortal coach Vince Lombardi's words.


Great athletes turn quickly toward opportunity. People do the same in successful careers and conversations. This is how to escape wandering and meandering discussions and "run to daylight." Your daylight, of course, is a proposal and a project.


In this half-day session, we'll:


We'll use extensive role-play which participants are encouraged to record for personal reinforcement.


Bonus Option


In the afternoon, we'll practice in an informal discussion group for anyone who chooses to perfect these skills still more. We will challenge each other with instant feedback on progress. This will be a strenuous workout.


Fee: $750 for the morning until February 1. $1,000 thereafter.

Bonus afternoon: $495 until February 1. $$750 thereafter.

You must attend the morning to attend the afternoon.


Note that Bali setting will be in a casual "retreat" atmosphere.

10% additional discount on Bali sessions until February 1!



Hard copy with audio files optional (containing a great deal of additional material). We expect actual printing on August 15, will ship thereafter. Great reference work, rich in techniques and approaches, provocative philosophy. A great gift, the book should be on every consultant's shelf.



Do you have a small niche audience, or a book commercial publishers don't understand, or a need to launch a book quickly? I've self-published, have a crack team, and we can get books into print that are highly impressive, hard copy and/or electronic. We can even create special web pages and video promotion.



I have selected openings in the Super Coaching Program (KAATN: Kick Ass and Take Names):


I've helped people: obtain six-figure contracts, make major media appearances, gain meetings with top people (some nationally known), have proposals closed, start new businesses, gain greater visibility, build self-worth, obtain book contracts, create new brands, improve their web sites and blogs, and so on. The original group's nine months is about to end, so there are a few openings.


THE ALAN CARD and THE BENTLEY CARD now available for 2014:




My Skype camera wouldn't work on my main computer, and I had an important call with two of my clients in Melbourne. I told them I had a backup plan, I'd simply use my laptop and its built-in camera. They said fine, and called back.


I whipped open the laptop, fired it up, and stared at a completely black screen. I could hear my colleagues speaking, but couldn't see a thing, not even my desktop. Out of sheer frustration, I hit the screen, at which point the black, leather cloth I use to protect the screen from the keyboard fell off the screen, and, behold, I could see again.


If you refuse to invest in yourself because you don't believe in borrowing money for your development, then you'll never enjoy the compounding interest of a really great investment. Wouldn’t you have borrowed money to purchase Apple stock when it was $17? Or weren't you sure it would go up, and aren’t you sure you'll go up? –  Alan Weiss