Give up all forms of parrotry. Start practicing whatever you truly feel to be true and justly to be just.
Do not make a show of your faith and beliefs. You have not to give up your religion, but to give up clinging to the husk of mere ritual and ceremony.
To get to the fundamental core of Truth underlying all religions, reach beyond religion.
——- AVATAR MEHER BABA
On Wednesday, Apple lowered its sales estimates for the first time in over a decade. While Apple had once predicted $93 billion for first-quarter revenue, the company is lowering that projection to $84 billion—and Apple’s shares fell over 8% as a result. Thursday morning, the Dow dropped over 650 points.
Apple is dealing with two distinct problems simultaneously:
- The Chinese market isn’t generating the revenue Apple expected.
- U.S. iPhone users aren’t upgrading their iPhones like they used to.
But while the Chinese economy and U.S.-China relations aren’t quite in Tim Cook’s control, Apple’s problems in the U.S. market certainly are.
Four years ago, iPhone users would upgrade their phones about every two years. As a result, Apple enjoyed a fairly consistent demand for new iPhones within its existing customer base. In 2018, however, studies found the average iPhone user was waiting almost three years before upgrading. The majority of people who haven’t upgraded, according to Barron’s, held off either because they found their current phone to be “just fine” or because the price of a new phone was too high. Simply put, new iPhone models no longer have that “must have” appeal to make customers shell out more money to upgrade as quickly as they used to.
This slowdown in upgrades in the U.S. market, as well as uncertainty in the Chinese market, has hit Apple hard, contributing to the tech giant’s 28% slide since November 2018. It remains to be seen if Apple will be able to course-correct quickly and—perhaps most importantly—course-correct with Tim Cook’s credibility intact.
There’s no use doing CPR on a dead friendship. Believe me, I’ve tried. Only to wind up worse off. A few months ago, I finally called time of death on a friendship I thought would survive into old age.
But people change. Our priorities shift. Or we find out we never mattered to each other as much as we thought we did.
One day, you realize you’re not compatible with your best drinking pals anymore. It’s time to let go.
What you used to have in common doesn’t matter. Memories can enrich a friendship, but they can’t sustain them on their own.
an honor of this brave, brand new year I wanted to issue you a #KindnessChallenge!
We challenge you to join us in engaging in acts of kindness. Choose an idea from the list or create a challenge of your own.
The Five-Minute Favor
If you’re tight on time, a five-minute favor is the challenge for you.
- Write someone a thank you card for a time when they were kind to you
- Call your mom
- Make an introduction to two people who should know each other
The One-Hour Favor
If you have some time left over at the end of the day, doing a one-hour favor is the perfect way to boost someone else’s happiness as well as your own.
- Write five nice recommendations on LinkedIn for people you have worked with
- Make a meal for a friend or family member going through a difficult time
- Make a personalized gift basket for someone who has had a tough year
The One-Day Favor
This challenge is perfect for when you have a day off work and want to make a significant impact on someone’s life.
- Choose a cause that you feel passionate about and commit to spending the better part of a day serving it
- Use your work skills to offer free professional services to a nonprofit
- Get together with a group of friends, coworkers or family to clean up a local park
- Offer to babysit for a friend who is a single parent and rarely gets a break
- Read all of our ideas and see what we did here
I am grateful for you,
PS- What are your New Year’s resolutions? Be sure to watch my goal-setting class! I can help you make 2019 incredible.
Song by Radiohead
Radiohead – Creep
3:56 · YouTube
When you were here before
Couldn’t look you in the eye
You’re just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
And I wish I was special
You’re so fuckin’ special
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
I don’t care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
When I’m not around
You’re so fuckin’ special
I wish I was special
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
She’s running out again,
She’s running out
She’s run run run run
Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You’re so fuckin’ special
I wish I was special
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
I don’t belong here.
Songwriters: Mike Hazlewood / Albert Hammond / Colin Greenwood / Jonathan Greenwood / Edward O’Brien / Philip Selway / Thomas Yorke
Creep lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group
“why motivation is a complete bullshit ?” by Saïda Meftah https://link.medium.com/eaULu3WgaT
“Why you should stop listening when they say success is 50% luck” by Aytekin Tank https://link.medium.com/ZoJKbI2m9S
SEASONED NUTS: QUOTABLE
“The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.” – Hedonic treadmill definition in Wikipedia
“It is a mistake,” he said, “to suppose that the public wants the environment protected or their lives saved and that they will be grateful to any idealist who will fight for such ends. What the public wants is their own individual comfort.” – Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves
Want To Be a Public Speaker? Beware of the “Exposure” Bait
If your career goal is to become a public speaker, or to offer a service where public speaking will be one of your revenue streams, you should first read this.
Oftentimes independent service providers and industry experts get asked to speak on their particular areas of knowledge to a local group or at a special event. I’ve been called to do so several times.
Here’s how the scenario typically plays out.
“Hi, I’m Ms. Organizer of the XYZ professional group. We found your web site and we’d love to have you come talk about your area of expertise to our members. Now, we’re not a revenue-generating organization, so we can’t pay you to come speak. But, it will give you GREAT exposure to those in attendance who could be potential clients for you!”
Which of the following would be your initial reaction if you got this call?
- “Wow! They want ME to come and speak? I’m so honored!”
- “Well, I could use the exposure since I’m still trying to build my client base. It could be worth my time even though I’m not getting paid I guess.”
- “OMG! I’m terrified of speaking in front of groups! I think I’m already having a panic attack!”
- “Last time I spoke to a group they told me it would be great exposure, but it wasn’t. There was no one there interested in any of my services which was disappointing.”
- “There’s no way I’m speaking for free! My time and knowledge is worth more than that!”
Most people’s reaction is typically one of the above emotional reactions, depending on how long they’ve been in business.
But when you take the emotions out of the situation, what should your rational response be?
Should you take the unpaid speaking gig, or not?
Before we answer that question, let’s consider a few things.
Do you really need the exposure?
It might be early in your business and you need to get your name out there. Therefore, you may have to do a few free speaking gigs, but eventually will have to transition to opportunities that are more of a win-win.
Some people will dangle the bait of “exposure” and try to convince you that “exposure” makes the request a win-win.
However, I’ve found in my past experience that the amount of time spent preparing a presentation was never a fair trade for “exposure.”
Is the cause near and dear to your heart?
If you’re being asked to speak to a non-profit or a cause that’s near and dear to your heart, and your expertise will greatly benefit those being served by that non-profit, by all means provide your speaking services for free!
I have developed a great relationship with a local faith-based organization that helps those who are stuck in poverty get out of their vicious cycle of hardship.
Every quarter I go in and teach job interview skills and conduct mock interviews with those enrolled in their work-life program.
I know this audience cannot afford my services and I don’t expect them to turn into clients. I provide my presentations to them and the organization as a way to give back to those in need.
While I once used to speak to groups for exposure, I now limit my free speaking services to organizations like the one described above.
Is there another way to get the exposure you need?
Free speaking gigs aren’t the only way for you to get exposure for your business endeavor. There are other alternatives.
For instance, I love to write and it doesn’t require as much of my time as preparing a presentation. I definitely get a much bigger return on my investment of time with writing than I do with any free speaking gig.
Since I have clients located in various states, it makes much more sense for me to provide free content online to an unlimited audience than it does to a small audience only in my local area.
In fact, one of my Quora articles providing free resume advice has over 150,000 views and several hundred upvotes. I could never get that kind of exposure with a speaking gig at a local organization!
To Speak or Not to Speak, That is the Question
So back to the question of should you say yes to a request to speak for free?
What kind of win-win situation is potentially available if you agree? Is it one that benefits the organization’s audience while also benefiting you?
For example, could this be great practice for a future public speaking career? Or if you later decide to add presentations to your income stream?
How you choose to handle this situation can set the tone for all future speaking gigs.
Also, it can either make or break your piggy bank if you get these kinds of requests on a regular basis.
You definitely don’t want to develop a personal brand as someone who will do everything for free!
To help you decide on your response, below are a few suggestions I shared from my own personal experience with the Freelancers Union Nashville chapter.
(Freelancers Union is a national organization that protects the rights of freelancers and independent service providers. They helped get the “Freelance Isn’t Free” law passed in New York. This law protects independent service providers from nonpayment. They have ongoing efforts in getting the same law passed in all other states.)
How to Decide
First, wait until the emotions (excitement, uncertainty, fear, etc.) subside before agreeing to anything. Ask for a couple of days to check your calendar and get back to them with an answer.
Then, in those couple of days, spend some time developing your priorities and a strategic plan for agreeing to non-paid opportunities (because if you get one request, you’ll like get more requests!).
Your plan should be made up of two lists: a “SAY YES IF” list and a “SAY NO IF” list.
Say YES if…
The “SAY YES IF” list can include any criteria that make it a win-win situation. Suggestions of criteria to include in this list are:
- If your target market/ideal client is represented in the audience. But don’t take the caller’s word for it. You know your market better than they do. Do your research and ask enough questions to determine if your market will actually be represented.
- If they allow you to promote your own business/services or sell your products at the end of your talk.
- If you get to choose a topic that doesn’t require a lot of time for additional research and preparation on your part. It should be a topic you know well enough to speak on without any notes. If it’s simply a Q&A or a panel with other experts, that’s even better because those scenarios require little to no research or preparation.
- If the prep and delivery time doesn’t cut too deeply into your billable hours. Always keep your paying clients and paid projects your top priority.
- If they offer to give you an honorarium for your time and expertise. It’s okay to ask them if they ever do that for speakers who agree to come speak for significantly less than what you’d normally charge and/or what other speakers would typically charge.
- If the organization is related to a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
Say NO if…
The “SAY NO IF” list can include the following suggested criteria:
- If at least 3 of the criteria from your “SAY YES IF” list aren’t met.
- If the organization has very specific or unrealistic demands, keeps changing details on you, or does anything else to make things difficult. An example of an unrealistic demand would be them asking you to teach their audience your trade secrets or how to do your job! (I actually received such a request recently.)
- If you’re not allowed to invite participants to visit your web site or subscribe to your newsletter.
Feel free to add your own criteria to each list. Remember, it must be a win-win situation or you’ll become resentful!
Beware though, when enforcing your criteria people may accuse you of having a sense of entitlement. But it’s not entitlement if you’ve worked hard in your industry to gain the knowledge you have.
Besides, who’s really the one with the sense of entitlement? Could it be those expecting you to give them something for nothing???
You don’t want to say yes to every opportunity. Doing so will cause you to not only lose money but also time you could dedicate to your paying clients.
You also don’t want to say no to every opportunity (no matter how fearful you are of public speaking) because you’ll miss out on helping others and also getting your name out to potential clients.
The trick is to be strategic about it.
If you start to get an unmanageable amount of requests, then it’s time to consider doing one or both of the following:
- Include presentations into your business as an additional revenue stream since your topic is in high demand. Then charge accordingly.
- Limit the number of free gigs you do per year to only a few. This will require you to be selective in which organization you want to donate your time and expertise to.
Why You The Public Speaker Are Worth It
Public speaking or performing on a stage can be an extremely stressful thing. In fact, it’s the number one fear, before death at number five and loneliness at number seven.
It can even be stressful for those who love it or have done it for years. Ozzy Osborne has been performing onstage for over 40 years and admits to still getting jitters before every show.
Even though I’m energized during or right after a big presentation, I experience a looming sense of dread the week leading up to it.
If you also experience this kind of stress, it can be a tremendous cost to you, including lost sleep or sickness from nervousness.
In addition, you’re sharing your expertise, which is basically your intellectual property. It’s what your clients are already paying you for.
You deserve to be paid for your knowledge, and you also need to be fair to your paying clients!
If you have knowledge and expertise that people want, then it’s in demand.
Don’t worry if you present it in a different way from other popular speakers. As long as you’re providing something helpful in an engaging way using your own unique approach, then you’re worth getting paid something.
And if none of the above convinces you you’re worth it, then consider this: it’s biblical. Both I Timothy 5:18b and Luke 10:7 states, “the worker deserves his wages.”
Lori Bumgarner is the owner of paNASH, a passion and career coaching service that helps people get unstuck and pursue their passions and find work they love.
This is the Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up: Once a week, I plunge into my 12-year archive and choose something worth resurfacing and resavoring as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here – it’s free.) If you missed this year’s highlights, you can see the best of Brain Pickings 2018 in one place. And if you find any value and joy in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation – over these twelve years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours and tremendous resources on Brain Pickings, and every little bit of support helps keep it going. If you already donate: THANK YOU.
FROM THE ARCHIVE | John Steinbeck on Good and Evil, the Necessary Contradictions of the Human Nature, and Our Grounds for Lucid Hope
There are events in our personal lives and our collective history that seem categorically irredeemable, moments in which the grounds for gratefulness and hope have sunk so far below the sea level of sorrow that we have ceased to believe they exist. But we have within us the consecrating capacity to rise above those moments and behold the bigger picture in all of its complexity, complementarity, and temporal sweep, and to find in what we see not illusory consolation but the truest comfort there is: that of perspective.
John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) embodies this difficult, transcendent willingness in an extraordinary letter to his friend Pascal Covici — who would soon become his literary fairy godfather of sorts — penned on the first day of 1941, as World War II was raging and engulfing humanity in unbearable darkness. Found in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (public library) — which also gave us the beloved writer on the difficult art of the friend breakup, his comical account of a dog-induced “computer crash” decades before computers, and his timeless advice on falling in love — the letter stands as a timeless testament to the consolatory power of rehabilitating nuance, making room for fertile contradiction, and taking a wider perspective.
Steinbeck writes on January 1, 1941:
Speaking of the happy new year, I wonder if any year ever had less chance of being happy. It’s as though the whole race were indulging in a kind of species introversion — as though we looked inward on our neuroses. And the thing we see isn’t very pretty… So we go into this happy new year, knowing that our species has learned nothing, can, as a race, learn nothing — that the experience of ten thousand years has made no impression on the instincts of the million years that preceded.
But Steinbeck, who devoted his life to defending the disenfranchised and celebrating the highest potentiality of the human spirit, refuses to succumb to what Rebecca Solnit has so aptly termed the “despair, defeatism, cynicism[,] amnesia and assumptions” to which we reflexively resort in maladaptive self-defense against overwhelming evil. Instead, fifteen centuries after Plato’s brilliant charioteer metaphor for good and evil, Steinbeck quickly adds a perceptive note on the indelible duality of human nature and the cyclical character of the civilizational continuity we call history:
Not that I have lost any hope. All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die. I don’t know why we should expect it to. It seems fairly obvious that two sides of a mirror are required before one has a mirror, that two forces are necessary in man before he is man. I asked [the influential microbiologist] Paul de Kruif once if he would like to cure all disease and he said yes. Then I suggested that the man he loved and wanted to cure was a product of all his filth and disease and meanness, his hunger and cruelty. Cure those and you would have not man but an entirely new species you wouldn’t recognize and probably wouldn’t like.
Steinbeck’s point is subtle enough to be mistaken for moral relativism, but is in fact quite the opposite — he suggests that our human foibles don’t negate our goodness or our desire for betterment but, rather, provide both the fuel for it and the yardstick by which we measure our moral progress.
He wrests out this inevitable interplay of order and chaos the mortal flaw of the Nazi regime and the grounds for hope toward surviving the atrocity of WWII, which, lest we forget, much of the world feared was unsurvivable in toto:
It is interesting to watch the German efficiency, which, from the logic of the machine is efficient but which (I suspect) from the mechanics of the human species is suicidal. Certainly man thrives best (or has at least) in a state of semi-anarchy. Then he has been strong, inventive, reliant, moving. But cage him with rules, feed him and make him healthy and I think he will die as surely as a caged wolf dies. I should not be surprised to see a cared for, thought for, planned for nation disintegrate, while a ragged, hungry, lustful nation survived. Surely no great all-encompassing plan has ever succeeded.
Mercifully, Steinbeck was right — the Nazis’ grim world domination plan ultimately failed, humanity as a whole survived these unforgivable crimes against it (though we continually fail to sufficiently reflect upon them), and we commenced another revolution around the cycle of construction and destruction, creating great art and writing great literature and making great scientific discoveries, all the while carrying our parallel capacities for good and evil along for the ride, as we are bound to always do.
So when we witness evil punctuate the line of our moral and humanitarian progress, as we periodically do, may we remember, even within the most difficult moments of that periodicity, Steinbeck’s sobering perspective and lucid faith in the human spirit.
Complement this particular fragment of the wholly magnificent Steinbeck: A Life in Letters with Albert Camus on strength of character amid difficulty, Hannah Arendt on how we humanize each other, Joseph Brodsky on the greatest antidote to evil, Toni Morrison on the artist’s task in troubled times, and Rebecca Solnit on our grounds for hope in the dark.
New Paintings by My wife Madhura Parkhe for Exhibition 9nn6th January 2019
“Only Chumps Work More Than 40 Hours a Week” by inc. magazine https://link.medium.com/6wSLqiew8S
Life can get really busy – take some time out to spend with a family member
It can get lonely when you are old, pay your grandparents a visit
Hug your parents
Go green – don’t waste paper
Save water – turn the tap off when brushing your teeth!
I was never a saint in their eyes,
all they saw was bad poetry
Play dates, beyond the gates
You and I were fate, Fated
to the last goodbye, hello,
I can’t say why, but there’s
a glistening in your eye
Sainted marines beyond the trenches
Dark on the handle and green in the eyes,
green on the benches, Slump on the rock,
Docking in the still of time, Mirages passing
It’s you and I,
this is me,
I’m the other on your side
This is you,
like the red on my roses
The blood on my paths,
I’m reaching out towards the sky
just to see you,
The dreams of my past, passing by
Byes, steering fate, no wheels under the gate
Opening like a sliding door risen off heaven,
My bad poetry is me seeing you
Even when you’re not there,
Your you, my love is due
Straining my eyelids
because I’m thinking of you
2018: The year that the top startup entrepreneurs returned to the fray https://yourstory.com/2018/12/2018-top-startup-entrepreneurs-returned/
Fight climate change – go vegetarian for today!
Buy more ethically sourced foods
Help an elderly person cross the road or up the stairs
Start the day right – make breakfast for everyone
Tell a friend about ARK/World Kindness Day
Rumination is relentless thinking focused on one’s negative feelings and problems. Whereas reflection can be productive, and motivate us to improve, ruminating is typically self-defeating. It can even be unhealthy.