Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 223, March 2018)

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:
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: Non-collaboration


Every day I provide 3-5 brief, pithy pieces of advice for growth. Join the thousands who read these "quick hits" every morning. Over 8,000 followers! Why aren't you among them?


Free consulting newsletter: The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset:
Monthly, fast advice on consulting techniques with case studies.

Listen to my new, free Podcast Series on iTunes or on The Uncomfortable Truth


• Procrastination is caused by fear. Don’t try to “learn” how to stop procrastinating, find out what you’re really afraid of.

• If you’re not sure what to do, watch someone who does (the best person to watch is your host).

• Rational people act in their own self-interest, not others’. Position what you need from them in that context.

• In a day when Apple can sell you a $10,000 computer without a scintilla of instructions, why do you still feel it necessary to ply your clients with manuals, links, and collateral?

• The simpler something is, the faster it will be implemented.

• Every flight attendant is doing a similar job. But some are focused solely on the tasks (serving and removing meals, for example) and others are focused on the results (happy customers). What are you focused on?

• The sign of a shallow intellect is “going overboard” with no prudence. We don’t have a “checkless society” or a “paperless office,” and we’re not going to have solely (or even predominantly) driverless cars and robotic help. (The notion of a driverless car transporting cannabis purchased with Bitcoins makes me giddy.)

• Don’t judge yourself by the exception. Jobs or Branson or Zuckerberg may dress like slobs, use profanity, and insult others, but such behavior is not going to improve your chances of impressing a buyer or getting a promotion.

• When the car or taxiing aircraft next to you moves forward, it can appear as if you’re moving backward. If the competition is doing the moving forward, then you are moving backward.


I’ve just run one of my yearly gatherings in my community which tends to average between 50 and 60 people. I have a load of fun at these as the host/emcee, and I found this one especially easy to facilitate. I was under the illusion it was because I’ve become so excellent doing so until my wife remarked casually, “This was a very nice group.”

I gave some thought as to why this group was “nicer” than any other, and I realized, there was zero ego bouncing around the room (I, myself, don’t count). I didn’t have to tactfully (or New York-style) have to caution anyone, or mitigate grandiose behavior, or stop someone with logorrhea.

You’ve no doubt been in meetings where there are people who believe they’re attending a showcase of their “talents.” I remember a guy who would always comment on every issue, even after I said, “Let’s move on,” and quote obscure Greek philosophers or Einsteinian observations. One of my friends coined this aberrant behavior as “attempting to prove you’re the second smartest guy in the room.”

There is also a huge difference between someone who says, “Let me suggest some things that might work for you,” in response to a request for help, and someone who says, “Let me tell you how I do it.” The former is focused on the request and the latter is focused on self. (And the response is, inevitably, three times longer.)

My observation is that a vast insecurity underlies these ego outbreaks. Secure people don’t feel as if they have to “strut their stuff” in public, are content being quiet, and are not frightened by the realization that they don’t know something. But the insecure are afraid that their silence bespeaks some kind of ineptitude or ignorance, and that there is a direct correlation between the length of time one speaks and native intelligence. (There is actually an inverse correlation.)

Since I didn’t have to expend any energy curtailing, corralling, and combusting rampant egos, I could provide more teaching with less effort.

Which leads me to believe that we don’t need a coat check outside of conference facilities, but we do need an ego check.

And, the person running it deserves very large tips.


My wife and I had to change plans recently and wound up with two seats in different parts of first class. I asked the man who sat in the aisle next to me if he’d switch, and he hemmed and hawed and said, “Well, no, not really.” My wife asked the woman next to her who provided merely a curt “No.”

It didn’t kill us, but we found it quite rude.

I once met a friend for lunch in New York who told me that my wife had called him while I was traveling down (pre-cell phone) to let me know someone had thrown a rock through a window at our house, but everything was okay. (Turned out the perpetrator thought someone he hated still lived there!) I went to the one public phone and asked the woman chatting casually with someone on it if I might use it because I had an emergency back home.

“Sure you do,” she said snottily, and turned away still chatting. The maître ‘d allowed me to use the restaurant phone.

We see such lack of polity every day, from the drivers who refuse to allow us to merge even though it’s our turn, to the store employee who refuses to try to find something for us and merely points in a general direction. We love to hear stories of people doing favors for each other, and “paying forward” good deeds, but there are these other cases of anti-social behavior, not perpetrated by sociopaths, but merely a natural reaction of selfish people.

Let’s put aside the “bad day” that all of us occasionally experience. There are those amongst us who habitually will not cut another person some slack in the best case and, in the worst case, won’t even allow others what they are rightfully due.

Why is this?

I think it’s due to a vast inferiority complex that has to be fed with an attitude of superiority and disdain. Such people need desperately to “enforce” power over others. Merely taking their turn is demeaning because it implies someone else comes first. These are the first people to stand up and block your view but yell at someone standing up and blocking theirs.

What these people miss, however, is the normal “kindness of strangers.” They don’t become happy recipients of good gestures by others because they’re so busy grabbing everything that’s not nailed down. They never receive thanks for a good turn because they never extend one.

So, while they’re so intent on claiming their turn they’re losing part of their lives.


I went to the coat room of our club after dinner to find my jacket while waiting for my wife, who was talking to someone she knew. I was pleasantly surprised to find in my heavy winter coat a pocket I had never used and which would come in handy when driving and needing to reach for money or tickets. I also wondered why the zipper clasp had moved from right to left—how could I have done that?

I was not pleasantly surprised when my wife told me I was wearing someone else’s jacket.

Super Global Best Practices 

I’ve gathered the best practices of entrepreneurs, boutique firm owners, solo practitioners, academicians, and authors to create a vibrant day of improved performance that will immediately increase your business results and decrease your labor intensity. I’m guessing people will be rushing out during breaks to change proposals, alter online work, and create new initiatives. AND the first five to register in the UK and Australia will be my guests for dinner!

Sign up here: Super Global Best Practices

Self-Esteem Growth 

I’ve been asked to conduct this for a fourth time, this one in Washington, DC (perhaps there will be cherry blossoms). This isn’t remedial, but rather a limited-attendance, intense examination of how to improve confidence and self-worth continually, to fully realize your potential.

Sign up here: Self-Esteem Growth

The Threescore and More Teleconference 

Based on my newest book due out in April, if you are over 50 or plan to be over 50, you need these techniques. We too often surrender control as we mature, rather than seize it and increase it. I’m 71 and on top of my game. Wouldn’t you like to be, as well? (Buy the book and receive free admission, see below.)

Sign up here: The Threescore and More Teleconference

The Teleconference on Religion 

No conversions expected, this is a friendly discourse on the origins, nature, and influence (or non-influence) of religion in today’s world. I’ll share some of my personal journey, and prompt you to consider some issues no matter what your beliefs. All proceeds will go to a local homeless shelter.

Sign up here: The Teleconference on Religion

Threescore and More, The Book

You can purchase this pre-publication, and gain bonuses ranging from free admission to the teleconference above to personal coaching, and even a free workshop seat in May.

Preorder here: Threescore and More

And one other thing...

The Million Dollar Consulting® Convention 

In Boston in April this year, with luminaries such as Suzanne Bates, Chip Bell, and Dorie Clark on the main stage, as well as 12 great concurrent sessions, networking reception—and me! We already have 125 people from all over the world, register while we still have room.

Sign up here: The Million Dollar Consulting® Convention


Having problems viewing this email, click here.
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].
To subscribe, send an email to: [email protected].
To change your address or to unsubscribe:
Web link:

© 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.





The risk is never about being provocative or outside the mainstream. The risk is about being boring.

Alan Weiss