Politicians elected in November and taking office last month are already soliciting funds for the next election. When do they have time to legislate?


Balancing Act®: The Newsletter

(No. 283, March 2023)

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Balancing Act® is in four sections this month:

  1. Strange Occurrences
  2. Musings
  3. The Human Condition: Forgiveness
  4. ORTIYKMWOYBNT-O Department

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Honors Test
  • Politicians elected in November and taking office last month are already soliciting funds for the next election. When do they have time to legislate?
  • We didn’t see the spy balloons because “we weren’t looking for them.” What else aren’t we looking for? Is that why they didn’t see Godzilla coming?
  • Speaking of which, an F22 fired a missile at a balloon barely moving and missed it. Not only did that sortie probably cost $20 million, but how is that pilot going to do, God forbid, in a real dogfight against another aircraft?
  • On one streaming service we’re good for the season of a show, but on another we’re supposed to pay for the same show for every episode. Can’t they coordinate this?
  • Spell checkers cost me far more time than they save if I leave them active.
  • Not only is there no one pumping gas anymore with whom to talk sports or politics, but the automatic pumps pitch video and audio advertisements while you’re trapped pumping the gas yourself. There’s no escape.
  • Why does someone spamming you trying to sell marketing services think anyone would purchase marketing help from someone who has to spam to try to get customers?
  • The Super Bowl halftime show is simply a demonstration of excess passing itself off as a performance. There is no musicality, no “artistry,” despite the fact that people call themselves “artists” only slightly less than those calling themselves “best-selling authors” or “sought-after speakers.”
  • Now they’re after Roald Dahl’s books to apply woke hygiene, so the “fat peach” can’t be called “fat” anymore. In another generation at this rate, there will be about a hundred “safe” words remaining in the English language and most people will just be pointing and miming.
  • There is such meanness and bullying going on today that I imagine even those perpetrators’ dogs aren’t giving them unconditional love.
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

In his fascinating new book, Magic Words, Wharton Professor Jonah Berger (whom I know and has spoken at my events) reports this interesting experiment: When a person sought to break into a line waiting at a copy machine with no excuse for breaking in, they were usually turned down. But if they said they had to break in “because a project was overdue,” they were usually allowed in.

But the real “kicker” is that when they said, “because I need to make copies,” they were also let in, even though the excuse was pointless because everyone in line was there to make copies.

The preposition “because” here is a justification, providing some sort of reason for a request. The mere word (hence, “magic words”) creates sufficient reason to grant the request even if the ensuing explanation is weak.

I recall a woman barging into a crowded delicatessen in New York, exclaiming, “I’m double parked and I just need a few things!” When she left, having jumped the line, someone observed, “She doesn’t have a car!”

The owner replied, “She does that all the time, but I figure she must have some good reason why she can’t just wait in line, so I let her get away with it if no one else complains.”

If you don’t think this works, ask yourself (as Dr. Berger does in the book and in my discussion with him on my blog, Alan Weiss’s The Uncomfortable Truth®) who you think runs more or writes more:
Someone who runs, or “a runner.”
Someone who writes, or “a writer.”

Thanks for reading this. —Alan Weiss, the thinker

We have nothing to fear but fear itself


Early in my career, I landed a one-day workshop with Bristol-Myers, the huge global pharmaceutical company (today, Bristol Myers Squibb) in Toronto. Back then I created small workbooks for participants with my approaches to innovation.

When I distributed the books, there was some murmuring, and the vice president, my buyer, took a look and said the following to the group: “Take out a pen and just cross out the first ‘e.’”

I had spelled this new, giant client’s name wrong: Bristol Meyers.

Everyone did as they were told and the workshop proceeded without a hitch, and was a huge success. Afterwards, I profusely apologized to the vice president.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ve done worse and so has everyone at this table. Your content was excellent and you weren’t hired for your spelling or graphics.” (At which point I realized my graphics weren’t all that hot, either.)

I’ve never forgotten the lesson he taught me that day. I can still remember a proposal for USAir on which we printed USAirlines, and the buyer rejected it out-of-hand. Of course the airline nearly went under and was acquired and disappeared, a fate I don’t think was unrelated to that buyer’s small thinking!

I’ve always since tried to forgive errors if they aren’t deliberate (I don’t forgive rudeness) and they can be repaired. (“Just cross out that first ‘e.’”)

Bristol Myers became a very good client and, accidentally, an excellent mentor.

I'm an Old Cowhand...

I threw on a robe hanging in my closet to go downstairs with the dogs early in the morning. It is a robe from the Four Seasons Hotel, which my kids bought for me as a gift.

I don’t wear it often and was surprised to see the monogram “MLV” on the pocket, and realized it was purchased for someone else. When I went back upstairs I showed this to my wife.

“You have it on backwards,” she said, exasperated. Sure enough, it read “AJW” when I turned it inside-out.

Development Opportunities
Building Self-Worth

Building Self-Worth

My overwhelming experience is that dysfunctional issues such as procrastination, excuses, fear, guilt, and other performance blockages are caused by low self-esteem. By that I mean a lack of self-respect and a lack of confidence in your own abilities. Join me for 90 minutes on Zoom to learn the specific techniques to build self-esteem and enjoy far more success and enjoyment in life. March 16.

Quarterly Insights

Quarterly Insights

I’m providing four, hour-long Zoom sessions on current trends, my predictions, innovative marketing ideas, and the success factors of my global community every three months beginning in April. These will be recorded and distributed. You can ask “live” questions during these sessions. $1,000 annually.

The Advisory Suite

The Advisory Suite

Join me for coaching in groups or one-on-one in a variety of configurations that suits your needs and timing. Rapid, pragmatic improvement, as always.

Alan Weiss's Coaching Confidential™

Alan Weiss's Coaching Confidential™ Newsletter

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Million Dollar Consulting® Global Online Program

Million Dollar Consulting® for the World

I’ve provided 14 modules with videos from me, from your colleagues globally, slides, and text. They include everything from launch to self-esteem, proposals to fees, closing business to creating a brand. No upsells! It’s only $115. What do you think about a 10,000:1 ROI? We have over 500 people from 47 countries.

Million Dollar Consulting® Global Online Program ADVANCED

New: Million Dollar Consulting® for the World ADVANCED

The new program is available in March, you can order now, and it contains over 60 videos and has 15 modules focusing on what to do in the buyer’s office, overcoming crises, financial planning, and much, much more.

Master Master Class


On March 21-23 (2.5 days) I’m offering a unique session into my own success and techniques, and how I see things that others don’t, enabling rapid agreements and high-fee, low-labor projects. Can you identify patterns and contradictions in others’ behavior? Can you respond “in the moment” with a pithy example or quote? Can you produce social proof immediately for your ideas and approaches? Can you readily identify the most likely influence on a prospect? I can, and I’ll show you how in this intense session that’s going to be one-time only. You can attend this in person or virtually! $5,000, includes most meals (but not virtually!).

Sold out in person, remote attendance available.

Sentient Strategy

Sentient Strategy

Sentient Strategy, my new book, will be released in March. It’s a revolutionary approach being facilitated by over 70 people in five countries. Here’s how you can reserve advanced copies of the book and gain bonuses for doing so.

Next Sentient certification sessions, 6 and 7 at 5 pm US eastern time, three hours each, write me to apply: [email protected]

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