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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 233, January 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: Shocked at the Norm


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• Stop responding to other people who are intent on judging you. You simply enable them when you respond.

• If you have to submerge a food in sauce or toppings of some kind, the food itself is not worth eating. Kale comes to mind.

• I’ve realized that the dog believes he’s helping me by playing Frisbee, and that I’m not the one providing some favor for him. This is somehow disturbing.

• If you took every food scare that comes along seriously, you’d be dead from malnourishment.

• I tend to think of people commuting in heavy traffic every day of the week to work in tall buildings at mundane desks as prisoners.

• If we keep applying “presentism” with current causes and values to prior times it becomes not a movement but a racket seeking victims. (And if you go far enough back, we’ve all said something we’ve regretted afterward.)

• One of the rudest, most degrading acts is to simply talk “over” someone instead of allowing them to finish a sentence.

• I know people find peace and solace in a variety of ways, but I can’t see how riding a lawn mower for hours on a weekend is one of them.

• People who only take photos of themselves, as if posing for fashion shots, during their vacations have a special kind of arrogance.

• Legalized marijuana, legalized sports betting—are we becoming modern and progressive or lazy and oblivious?

• This is probably my character flaw, but I find it obnoxious when some service person whom I’ve not met before chooses to call me “Alan” right from the first meeting.

I watched people of all persuasions and positions come together to pay respects to George H.W. Bush. I heard wonderful words, funny stories, and poignant remembrances. These often came from former opponents and foes.

We deal daily, it seems, with people with whom we disagree, often virulently. They may be strangers, acquaintances, even family members. The disagreement is sometimes a debate, sometimes an argument, sometimes a vendetta. We sometimes, as a result, forsake former friendships and sever family ties. We assign derogatory labels: deniers, bleeding hearts, bigots.

People often face the deaths of friends and loved ones realizing the last encounter with them wasn’t the one that they would have wished for. They pine for another chance, attempting to somehow rewrite the final words, the final sentiments, the ultimate feelings.

What if we took a pause in our enmity, a break in our antipathy, and considered the eulogy first? Does that sound macabre? Well, as you read this, every major newspaper and broadcast news outlet has a pile of obituaries and honors “in the bank” awaiting the demise of famous people. What if we all considered what we would like our final encounter to be like with someone—and how we’d prefer to remember them and reflect on their influence—before we allowed our anger to ignore what they had to say and to define them as an “enemy” or “ignorant” or “dumb”?

It’s touching how sensitive we are to people’s merits and contributions when they die, but it’s confounding how insensitive we are to their presence while they’re still with us, albeit in disagreement with some of our cherished values, beliefs, and, often, myths.

I know it’s a bizarre thought for some of you, but what if, before condemning and slandering and castigating someone who disagrees with us, we considered what we’d be feeling and saying if they were no longer with us? And, for that matter, would people be saying how much they missed us, focusing on our great, lasting influence?

Or would they just be saying, “Good riddance!”?

It’s been snowing in what is now New England for 10,000 years. Yet the weather reporters act as if snow in December is a rare act and people respond as if they’re totally unprepared. They remind me of my dogs, who seem startled that the yard is still in the same place every morning.

We get frustrated by traffic resembling parking lots during rush hour. People constantly change lanes as if there’s some roulette bet that will get them in a faster lane. They ignore mass transit, are late for work or important meetings, and find themselves spending four hours—equal to half of their work day—driving in high stress conditions. Yet even the squirrels know that the Route 93 Expressway to Boston, or the 405 outside of LA are horrible, clogged roads. Why do we seem so surprised at this daily occurrence?

Bad weather delays planes. Traveling on the day before major holidays is agonizing, and a delay could mean you miss an event or celebration. Immigration agents can often be surly and unpleasant. Your internet connect and/or power will sometimes go down, and if you haven’t saved your current work it will disappear. If you don’t check your credit card bills you might miss the small, illegitimate charge appearing there every single month.

Every contractor’s estimate of costs and completion dates will be underestimated every single time. The beach parking lot and the best seats at the resort pool will be filled before 8 am. You will always wait in a medical office. Your taxes will usually be higher than you had hoped or even calculated. In the long run, you will lose money gambling in casinos, and usually also in the short run.

There is a chance that the understudy will replace the star you came to see at the performance. Your kids will have accidents in the car. Your insurance rates will gradually climb, never decline, as time goes by.

When you make a mistake, if you refuse to apologize, you’ll just make things worse. If you disregard or don’t believe what I’ve written here, you’re going to have a stressful, unhealthy future.

Why are we so surprised by normal life?

I had asked that my car be picked up for service and was assured it would be returned the next morning. At mid-morning the next day, I called to make sure of the return. But the message I left was unreturned. I called back an hour later.

“I’m very sorry,” the service manager said, “but we can’t find your car. We’re frantic. We wanted to locate it before returning your call.”

“I’m stunned that a Bentley dealer could be so careless with these cars,” I fumed.

“Bentley? Sir, we’re Mercedes, we service your SUV. Was it your Bentley that was picked up?”

“Er, well, as a matter of fact, ah, yes.”

“Would you like me to transfer the call to their service area across the lot?”

(What I’d like you to do is pretend this entire event never happened.)

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

The Next BIG Thing

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.

Sign up here: The Next BIG Thing

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 1/31/19. 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).


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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.




Stop telling people how good you are and start telling them how much you can help them to get better. 

Alan Weiss