Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 234, February 2019)

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 2019 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: Scarcity


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• Don’t just accept tours and offers, even when they’re free. I love wine but wine tours bore me to tears. After all, I also like leather, but I don’t go out in the fields and stare at cows.

• Carry a shoe horn in your briefcase on airplanes. Your feet swell if you take your shoes off to get comfortable.

• If your attitude is that everyone is out to cheat you, then you’re probably feeling bad about cheating people yourself.

• Jet Blue has the best coach and first class service in the US right now.

• My Apple Care protection replaced an iPad Pro, third generation, which I dropped in New York, for a total of $49.

• At a good hotel, always ask if the house car is available.

• If you can’t tell a complete story within 60 seconds, trust me, it’s WAY too long.

• If you want to really understand what “spitting in the wind” means, try arguing with strangers on Facebook.

• Amazon Prime is a great buy, even it were for just the movies and series alone.

• It seems to me the drone-as-a-toy phase was only slightly shorter than the hula hoop and pet rocks.

• FedEx and UPS people in the trucks are terrific, it’s the backroom people and management who are unpleasant. Maybe they should put in day a week on the trucks.

There is some music that is fine in the background. I don’t mean “elevator music,” I mean most of the stuff that people play in ear buds while they’re doing something else. The music is an augmentation, not a destination. I find instrumentals are superb in that capacity, but also songs where the lyric isn’t telling much of a story. Of course, “bland” to one person is a concerto to another, and I recognize that.

Music is wonderful for memories. We can usually recall a certain place and time when the music with which we identify it is played. Songs like “For All We Know (We May Never Meet Again)” enrich every graduation memory, I’d think. I used to listen to Bocelli when I built my first train layout as an adult, and I have never been able to disconnect them. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has struck an unbelievable holiday note.

I’ve also found that some music can’t be background or augmentation music. It must be carefully listened to, carefully heeded. I find this with almost any Sinatra or Billie Holiday song. I find that KD Lang’s “Hallelujah” is mesmerizing and emotionally wrought (written by the recently deceased Leonard Cohan). Billy Joel has always struck me as the troubadour of our times, and it’s hard for me not to attend closely to “Piano Man” or “Keeping the Faith” or “Shades of Grey.” A lot of people have sung “Skylark” but rarely as powerfully as Linda Ronstadt did.

Ella Fitzgerald and Vic Damone had superb voices but focused on the quality of the notes more than the story they supported. Sinatra and Holiday told stories, both mainly about loneliness.

I like sad songs on occasion. But early in the day, or before a speech, or flying on an overseas flight, I want to be lifted up, elated. I have eclectic tastes in music, which I think is a good trait, because I can determine for myself how I want to feel. It may be “Bolero” or “Ol’ Man River” or “The Lady Is A Tramp.”

Of course, there’s always the point that I can’t sing at all though I wish I could, and I’m living vicariously through these artists.

That’s okay. No harm, no foul.

Have you ever observed (or, heaven forbid, been a part of) a group of people at a restaurant where one or more of them insists on dividing up the bill according to what people ordered? Or have you seen people who deduct the tax before calculating the tip on the total?

What about the person who defies logic and says, “These are the rules and this is the way it’s done!” I love it when someone has just a drip of liquid in a container that can hold a total of five fluid ounces, but the TSA personnel demand it be discarded, even though the actual amount is clearly less than the three-ounce maximum. “If the container says it holds more than three ounces, then it can’t be taken on board, even if the actual contents are less.” Of course not, that’s the stupid rule.

I understand “don’t walk” on the lighted sign, but if it’s 110° in the shade, and you can see there are no cars within two miles of you, and you still decide to melt on that sidewalk for another minute, that’s not prudence. That’s an obsessive/compulsive disorder.

I call this “scarcity” because it’s a scarcity of judgment, of confidence, or knowing when exceptions to rules are called for. You can’t stand up in an airplane during takeoff and landing, but when the seatbelt sign isn’t turned off during a calm flight, most flight attendants allow people to use the rest room to avoid kidney damage, and some passengers will disregard the few rigid flight attendants who insist on a rule over your health at the moment.

I had a professor in grad school who gave me an “A” and I pointed out that I didn’t do the optional assignment required for an “A.” “I know,” he told me, “but you were so good in class I made an exception.”

He taught me a great deal more that day than merely how to earn an “A.”

I visited a periodontist for a bridge replacement consult recently. On leaving, the very nice receptionist says, "That will be $90 for today." As I'm paying, I spot a huge basket of free, travel-size toothpaste which I'm always running out of for my kit.

I tell her, "For my $90, I'm taking toothpaste," and scoop up a dozen, putting them in two pockets of my jacket because they won't fit in one.

The receptionist looks out the window and looks at me and says, "Isn't that your Bentley out there?"

"What's your point?" I ask, departing with my receipt and my toothpaste.

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

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• 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

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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.

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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. 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.

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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.

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Join me in Las Vegas for an intense day during which every participant will develop their next big thing. Examples: Million Dollar Consulting, The Purple Cow, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, the black swan phenomenon, the dysfunctions of teams. Emerge with the wherewithal to be seen as an iconic presence in your field. Never offered before.

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Breaking Through

Join me for the upcoming SAC regional meetings: Breaking Through: Take Your Business to the Next Level, March 27th in San Francisco and May 29th in Boston. I’ll be speaking in the morning, followed in the afternoon with additional content from colleagues, and the following day (San Francisco only) I'll be conducting the Workshop Workshop, which you can sign up for on my site. Special early bird pricing is available through 2/28/19. Click to register for San Francisco or Boston. Or, you could join SAC and enjoy these conferences 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).

Six Figures to Seven

A unique offering formerly presented in Las Vegas, London, and Sydney. This one is in New York solely for those making six figures who want to improve their top lines dramatically. Two intensive days with a huge return on the investment.

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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 2019

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.




You can spot someone who’s highly “expressive.” If they can’t gain applause from others, they applaud themselves in front of others. “I was honored to be asked to speak at….” 

Alan Weiss