The glass is always half full.

July 8th, 2011

With an hour to spare between a visit to the New York Public Library and ZigZag Quartet’s after-work jazz concert in Bryant Park, I decided to stroll up Fifth Avenue. It wasn’t long before a fondness for shoes drew me into Sak’s.

After browsing the shopper-crowded racks of sale shoes, I found exactly what I’d been searching for recently. A black satin, open-toed, Kate Spade heel that would serve perfect double duty for two shoeless dresses hanging in my closet. But it was size 11, and I wear a 6.5.

I approached the nearest sales associate and asked if another store might have the pair in my size. “Who was helping you?” he inquired in a tone more befitting Oscar the Grouch than a helpful salesman. “You,” I answered with a smile. “Well, I doubt we’ll have your size,” he said with certainty. “The sale’s been on for a week, and smaller sizes go fast.” To that I replied, “Well, if you wouldn’t mind checking…I’m sure there’s a pair for me out there somewhere.” Without a word, he took the perfect size 11 and headed for the computer. I was right behind him.

After punching the keyboard a few times, he told me there was one store with two pairs in my size. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “I knew it!” But Oscar wasn’t so sure. “Just because the computer shows they’re there, doesn’t mean they are,” he warned. “Our computer inventory isn’t always up to date, and it’s the end of the day.”

But I really wanted those shoes! I told him I was going to think only positively that there was still one pair left for me, and that it would ship out tomorrow. Then he paused, and his whole demeanor change. “Yes, you’re right,” he said brightly, as if something had just dawned on him. “I need to be more positive. Thank you for bringing me back to where I want to be.”

And there it was. What my friend Jay Filter had termed the Boomerang Principle when, over a recent breakfast in Milwaukee, I had described my Qinomics work assisting people stuck in a professional rut direct their energy to get back to where they wanted to be.

As for me, I have no doubt that positive energy in the form of thought – desire, expectation, knowing – works in our personal lives, too. My new shoes are indeed on their way.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

July 1st, 2011

As you head to a barbecue, family reunion, parade, concert, baseball game, park or fireworks display this weekend in celebration of our nation’s independence, I’m hopeful you’ll find time to rejoice in your own freedom.

Take a few moments for yourself. Chill. Relax. Breathe deeply. Meditate. Reflect. Walk or run or dance. Eat good food. Nurture yourself. Release your energy. Choose thoughts that feel good when you think them. Be eager. And know there is nothing you cannot be or do or have.

You are free to create the career, the profession, the business, the relationships, the life you desire. Truly, you get to decide. And that’s worth celebrating everyday of the year.

 

The universe as a hologram?

June 24th, 2011

The topics were broad and varied: From artificial intelligence to the dark side of the universe, from the latest thinking on dreaming to an exploration of genius. I had only one night open during the 4th Annual World Science Festival (WSF) held June 1-5 in New York City. So which leading-edge-of-thought program would I choose?

As I scrolled through the event listing, I found a most captivating title: “A Thin Sheet of Reality: The Universe as a Hologram” along with this description:

“What if life as we know it reflects only one side of the full story? Some of the world’s leading physicists think that this may be the case. They believe that our reality is a projection—sort of like a hologram—of laws and processes that exist on a thin surface surrounding us at the edge of the universe. Although the notion seems outlandish, it’s a long-standing theory that initially emerged years ago from scientists studying black holes; recently, a breakthrough in string theory propelled the idea into the mainstream of physics. Join us for an intriguing discussion on the cutting-edge results that may just change the way we view reality.”

I was all in when I read the who’s who of theoretical physicists on the panel:

Gerardus ’t Hooft was born on July 5, 1946, Den Helder, the Netherlands. He received his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1972 at Utrecht University His work there would later earn him, together with his advisor Martinus Veltman, the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University, and one of the discoverers of string theory, a candidate for a theory that unifies all laws of physics. An award-winning author, he is a proponent of the idea that our universe is one of an infinite number.

Raphael Bousso is recognized for discovering the general relation between the curved geometry of space-time and its information content, known as the “holographic principle.”

Herman Verlinde is renowned for his influential contributions to string theory and its application in mathematics, particle physics, cosmology, and black hole physics, His research has been recognized through several awards and fellowships from the Packard Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Royal Dutch Academy of Science.

Much of the discussion that night was beyond anything I’d heard before. I find the holographic principle sublimely fascinating. And according to Leonard Susskind, it’s clearly the wildest idea since quantum physics. And that puts us on the cusp of a major paradigm of how we view the world.

I continue to ponder a few other provocative ideas presented by these scientists who embrace and challenge the mysteries and “laws” of nature. I think often about two ideas in particular.

The first was from Raphael Bousso who explained that information encoded in light rays that have traveled for millions of years can carry bits of information from the past. “Information is not lost,” he said.

And the idea I think about the most was Gerard ‘t Hooft’s: “There must be something under quantum mechanics…Perhaps a pre-quantum world of information.” He said there are mysteries in the standard model theories of what happens in the world. And the only way to understand nature is to “ask nasty, confusing questions.” He thought that statement would be good copy for a holographic principle t-shirt. Professional energizer that I am, I know I’d wear it!

For related reading, please check out Scientific American magazine editor George Musser’s WSF blog for his pre-Festival interview with Leonard Susskind.

Three innovative leaders on shaping success.

June 17th, 2011

We’re in a continual state of becoming. It’s through learning, reflection and continual self-improvement that we become expanded versions of ourselves. Our energy powers us, our desire to achieve drives us forward, and confidence gives us momentum.

Shared knowledge this week comes courtesy of interviews with three innovative and highly quotable business leaders. There’s something to be learned from each of them.

 

Start a company. If it fails, start another one. Keep trying, and always remember that your perception shapes the world around you, so don’t settle for a low expectation of yourself.”

Josh Greenberg, co-founder of Grooveshark, in an interview with Erin Bury of sprouter.com

 

Confidence is the underlying foundation of everything: generosity, the willingness to take risks, clarity of thought, being persuasive and charismatic to others – it all comes down to confidence.

Tim Sanders, bestselling author and former Yahoo! executive, in an interview with Inc. magazine’s Dave Smith

 

If you want (people in your organization) to value your agenda as a company, they have to know you value their agenda as individuals in a very tangible and real wayHigh trust leads to high performance.

Doug Conant, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co., in an interview with Mike Myatt, chief strategy officer of N2growth

 

 

 

Tapping your creative potential.

June 10th, 2011

The energy of your creative process is what’s going to move you from the vision of what you want to the actionable ideas that will bring the results you seek.

So how can you expand your abilities to create?  What processes can you use to trigger your best ideas?

In her book, “Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity and Innovation in Your Life” (2010), Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson outlines seven different “brainsets,” or mental frameworks, that facilitate original thinking along with tips on how to cultivate these states of mind.

Her “brainsets,” or as I think of them – mindsets, for boosting your creativity are:

1.     Absorb – become more aware and see things in a new way.

2.     Connect – expand your focus to generate more ideas without judgment.

3.     Reason – manipulate differently the knowledge you possess already.

4.     Envision – think “what if?”

5.     Transform – allow yourself to examine and express your emotions.

6.     Stream – become completely absorbed and allow ideas to flow effortlessly.

7.     Evaluate – decide which ideas best meet the goal you set.

Here’s a slideshow from Scientific American magazine’s online publication that takes you through her techniques, along with some exercises that will help you start to think in these mind-expanding ways. Give them a try on your next plan, project or event and see what new ideas you can think up.