What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

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You have 24 hours left…

…which life did you choose?

Where has your time gone? Another hour. Another day. Another week. Another month. Another year. Another decade! That literary classic gathers dust on your shelf – for how long? That great idea stagnates in your head – how else will people recognize your talents? Your children mature more every day – what was it you wanted to teach them? Your financial papers pile up – they’re not the priority right now! You trash another set of expired travel brochures – “One of these days…”

– or –

You live the fulfilling life of comfort and satisfaction you thought only possible in your wildest dreams. Your successful and healthy family brings smiles of pride whenever you think of them. You’re living where you want to. You’re spending your time with close friends and family. You’ve accomplished much. You’ve endowed your community. Your colleagues respect you. Your children praise you. You proudly own no more and no less than you want and need. Life is good.

Imagine Your Dreams – Now Make Them Come True!

Remember those dreams you had when you were a kid? As children we played many imaginative games. We became explorers, astronauts, and deep-sea divers. We emulated our favorite sports champions, movie stars, and storybook idols. We pretended we were space heroes and aliens. No adventure – real or fantastic – seemed impossible.

Do you still dream? Do you want to make your dreams come true? What kinds of dreams do you have?

Do you crave the best for your family? Do you aspire to become a community leader and role model? Do you dream of pursuing delightful activities? Do you have a secret wish to accomplish your deepest desires? Do you yearn to live the fantasies you thought you could only dream of?

What if I told you, “You could get what you want when you want it?” Would you like to discover how? (Then keep reading!) Would you think it would cost too much? (You’re probably already paying for it!) Would you think you’re too busy to take advantage of it? (It takes no more time than going to the movie theatre or a sporting event once a year!) Would you think it would take a lot of work? (It requires no more effort than it takes to complete a popular magazine’s personality test!) Would you think you don’t have the discipline to carry it out? (You don’t need the discipline! There’s a template for that!)

How Often Do You Hear Yourself Saying: “No, not yet, but I’ll get around to it.”

Honestly, when did you last really think about your Lifetime Dream? If you’re like most people, you always thought your Lifetime Dream was “pie-in-the-sky.” It was fun to contemplate while you lounged on your armchair, but that was the extent of it. Besides, you have too little time to do the things you have to do, let alone the things you want to do. You have other priorities. You have too many unexpected interruptions disrupting your day. You’re too busy answering other peoples’ orders. More to the point, you never took accomplishing your Lifetime Dream too seriously. You never developed a game plan to succeed.

Sure, you want to achieve your Lifetime Dream, but what about the risk? Behavioral scientists have discovered people’s aversion to loss usually trumps the potential for reward. The joy of accomplishment motivates you towards achieving your Lifetime Dream. On the other hand, a powerful series of demotivators keep you sitting in your armchair. Which of these demotivates you the most? Is it loss of security? Is it self-doubt? Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of change? Is it the never-ending burden of other duties?

How You and Your Family Can Live a Happy, Fulfilling and Rewarding Life

Oddly enough, before you address the demotivators, you must first firmly establish the vision of your Lifetime Dream. A simple 5-step Lifetime Dream Process begins the most exciting and most satisfying journey of your life. The Lifetime Dream Process, outlined briefly in “What’s Your Dream? (Here’s How To Capture It),” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, January 20, 2022, applies techniques first used successfully by Socrates and improved by Aristotle. The Lifetime Dream Process contains the critical elements exploited by the most successful copywriters – those experts who, with consistency and accuracy, can best target the needs and wants of all different kinds of people.

Initially developed by a Yale undergraduate to productively manage a broad array of academic and extracurricular activities and formally documented following the 1987 stock market crash, the Lifetime Dream Process has been effectively used and refined through years of actual practice. The Lifetime Dream Process is easy-to-understand. In plain language and with fun parlor games, it quickly locates your most pressing needs, your deepest desires and your ultimate dreams. In less time than it takes to go to the movie theater or a sporting event, you’ll not only have identified your Lifetime Dream, but you will have designed a clear plan to attain it. Once the plan is created, you don’t need to maintain it – it maintains itself! You only need to periodically update it.

The Lifetime Dream Process represents a life plan. It’s comprehensive. It supersedes other popular “plans.” For example, unlike a typical financial plan, it helps you avoid an all-too-common mistake. Too many people leap before they look – they pick an investment objective before they completely outline their Lifetime Dream. Unfortunately, the investment industry inadvertently encourages this error as too many firms merely manage money. As a thorough procedure, the Lifetime Dream Process prevents you from chasing the stock market and focuses your attention on chasing your dreams.

That is why it would be very much to your advantage to accept this opportunity at once. Take a moment to learn about how the Lifetime Dream Process can work for you. Just a few hours start you on the journey to achieving your Lifetime Dream!

Not many people get the chance to achieve their Lifetime Dream. Fewer still actually accomplish the feat. One thing we know for sure, anyone who fails to design a roadmap to their Lifetime Dream never has the chance to realize the triumph. Before time passes you by, act now and give yourself that chance – the chance of a lifetime!

To People Who Have A Dream – But Can’t Get Started

By now, you realize from the statements made the Lifetime Dream Process will improve your lifestyle, your relationships, your prestige, and your wealth. You know these techniques have been successfully used for centuries. You know the quality of the Lifetime Dream Process is what you would naturally expect from any well-respected life coaching method.

But picture in your own mind why it is so desirable for you to enjoy immediately the advantages the Lifetime Dream Process offers to you. Surely the comfort of knowing you will now march to a greater purpose and not merely spin your wheels will instantly improve your poise and self-confidence. Imagine how this suddenly advances your lifestyle in much more than a material sense. Indeed, no doubt social and business contacts will quickly detect a greater gravitas in your bearing.

And, of course, the clear sense of purpose redefines and redirects the relationships between you and those closest to you. This is likewise very much worthwhile to you. You can certainly think of many more interesting ways your focused direction will have a positive impact on your loved ones. Visualize the monetary and spiritual wealth you gain from the Lifetime Dream Process. That is why it would be very much to your benefit to embrace this prospect immediately. Another reason why urgent action on your part can prove valuable stems from the fact we only possess a finite number of hours in our lives. Getting started on the Lifetime Dream Process may merely take a few hours of your time, but investing those hours today gives you that many more to use to realize the dreams of your life.

Devoting only a small amount of time right now starts you on the most fabulous voyage of your life, the journey to achieving your Lifetime Dream!

…to be continued…

Capacity Constraints: How Knowing Your Limitations Can Save Your Life (And Your Business)

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There’s a scene towards the end of the classic movie The Outlaw Josey Wales when a bounty hunter saunters in looking for Clint Eastwood’s titular character. When Wales asks him if he’s a bounty hunter, the man says, “A man’s got to do something for a living these days.” To which Wales responds, “Dying ain’t much of a livin’, boy.”

The bounty hunter considers this “advice” and saunters off only to return moments later to, well, let’s just say he wasn’t very good at making a living.

This would have been the perfect moment for Clint to growl “A man’s got to know his Continue Reading “Capacity Constraints: How Knowing Your Limitations Can Save Your Life (And Your Business)”

It’s Your Party And You Would Cry Too If It Happened To You. Don’t Let It Happen!

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Do you think you own your house? Better think again.

You almost lost it in this year’s New York State budget. You see, the state budget process is a very tricky – as in devious – tool. Unscrupulous politics have learned how to use it to enact legislation without even enacting it.

It’s an easy way to introduce controversial policies without the tediousness of actually having to vote on a specific law. Of course, those same conniving officials will quickly say, “Well, the budget IS voted on,” but that’s not the same thing as voting for a bill that only addresses the matter they’re trying to slip through via the budget process.

And about that process. You already know it only takes three people to craft the budget. It’s not an open forum. It’s a behind-closed-doors smoke-filled-meeting sort of thing. Just because we’ve changed governors doesn’t really change the process. Indeed, given the Continue Reading “It’s Your Party And You Would Cry Too If It Happened To You. Don’t Let It Happen!”

Adventures In White Knuckle Driving

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This past weekend reminded me there’s a good reason why I stopped scheduling travel meetings during the winter.

It didn’t always used to be this way.

In the time before Covid, unusual was the week when I did not put on several hundred miles of business meetings. I find riding for an hour (or more) relaxing. I’ve got a huge library of college-level lectures on a variety of subjects. (As the price for an intensive virtually triple major in the hard sciences, my college major left little room for electives.)

The destination also (usually) excited me, too. Either a conference to learn more and meet Continue Reading “Adventures In White Knuckle Driving”

New York State Has A Serious Gerrymandering Problem – Here’s What To Do About It, But First…

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Original 1812 drawing of the Gerrymander by Elkanah Tisdale.

Marshall Pinckney Wilder was a popular humorist who travelled the world. A favorite of the British royal family, he wrote books, appeared in movies, and always signed his correspondence “Merrily yours.” He was born in Geneva in 1859 and grew up in Rochester, where he developed his talent as a storyteller (and also dabbled in clairvoyance, which was popular in Western New York during that era).

He was named after his great-uncle, a famed phytologist in Boston.

Well, not quite.

When the Bostonian botanist came into this world in 1798, his father gave him the name “Marshall Pinckney Gerry Wilder,” in honor of John Marshall, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Elbridge Gerry, the envoys to France appointed by President John Adams in 1797.

By the time he became a teenager, the name was shorted to “Marshall Pinckney Wilder.”

What happened to “Gerry”? Therein lies a tale of political intrigue and comeuppance that continues to this day.

More than a mere envoy, Elbridge Gerry stood out as a true Founding Father who eventually became the fifth Vice President of the United States. He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He would have signed the United States Constitution, but he was one of three delegates who refused to do so on account it lacked a Bill of Rights.

So, what did he do? He became a congressman and, as such, spearheaded the effort to adopt the Bill of Rights (as the first ten amendments to the Constitution). Like George Washington, he opposed the idea of political parties.

Until France, that is.

You see, the three envoys were dispatched to iron out the Franco-American diplomatic breakdown that would come to be known as “the XYZ Affair.” Long story short, Gerry and his fellow Americans refused to bribe the French foreign minister Talleyrand. This was considered common practice in Europe, but, well, America was not Europe (especially at that time).

While Pinckney’s dad (and others) admired the envoys’ stand, the Federalists (who held the House, the Senate, and the Presidency) did not. They blamed the envoys for the failure to negotiate.

Up until then, Gerry had been staunchly non-partisan. After the Federalists vilification of him, he joined the Democratic-Republican party (the predecessor of our current Democrat party). He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Massachusetts under that banner before finally being elected to the position in 1810.  He was reelected the following year after promoting a moderate if not bi-partisan course.

It was, however, in that second term where Gerry earned his infamous stripes. With the Democratic-Republican party in full control, Gerry showed his true partisan colors. He removed Federalist appointees from their State positions. But the worst was yet to come.

Although Massachusetts was evenly divided, the Democratic-Republicans used their power to apportion electoral district boundaries to make it more difficult for Federalists to regain the majority. The new districts they created were so contorted, Elkanah Tisdale, a well-known engraver, most likely was the person responsible for making a political cartoon lampooning the strange-shaped district. This first appeared in the March 26, 1812 Edition of the Boston Gazette.

We’ll let John Ward Dean tell the rest of the story (as he related it in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 46, published in 1892):

“Washington Allston, calling there with James Ogilvie, a lecturer on oratory, and noticing the figure, remarked to [Benjamin] Russell, the editor, ‘What an odd-looking creature is this! it looks like a Salamander.’ On which Ogilvie, quick as light, replies, ‘Why, let it be named Gerrymander, for the governor.’”

The Democratic-Republican plan, signed into law by Gerry, worked, but not for Gerry. He lost the next election. Though the Federalists had the most votes statewide, the Democratic-Republicans ended up with a three to one edge in the State Senate.

The vilified public pronounced their judgment by forcing Gerry out. He was assailed in the popular press. The May 23, 1812 Colombian Centinel (yes, they spelled it that way), quoting a Judge Story, wrote, “It would be well, however, if we could so ascertain beyond a doubt the real Father of this unnatural monster, that we might hold him up to everlasting scorn and contempt.”

Marshall Pinckney Gerry Wilder’s father took the measure one step further. According to Dean, who was quoting Wilder himself on this, “after the gerrymandering doings he lost his admiration and had the ‘Gerry’ struck out of his son’s name.”

By now, you’ve all read of our current state of Gerrymandering right here in New York State. It’s more than the usual tilting, it’s as egregious as Gerry’s was in 1812. We all know the motivations, but here’s how it hurts Monroe County especially.

Traditionally, Monroe County has had two Congressional districts. In recent years, this has meant we’ve been represented by both parties. That’s good because you never know which party will retain control of the House. By have two seats, one from each party, we’re guaranteed to have access to the majority.

If you listen to the experts, the Republicans are expected to gain control of the House following the mid-term elections. (This is a reasonable guess, given the number of Democrats who have decided not to seek reelection, the population shifting to “Red” states, and the usual party loss based on the White House incumbent.) As of now, Monroe County has only one seat (by comparison, Erie County has three) and it’s designed to be won by a Democrat.

Not good for Monroe County should the Republicans retake the house.

What’s the solution? There’s not a clear one. Basically, the majority rules, and the Democrats have a clear majority in the New York State legislature. They made a mockery of the independent bipartisan committee that was supposed to be responsible for redistricting, so you can see that’s not a viable option.

The fairest way to prevent gerrymandering is geometry-based rules. For example, every district must touch at least three other districts (two if the district is on a border) and at least two of those districts must not touch each other. In other words, each district must be a parallelogram (e.g., a square or a rectangular).

We don’t need a special commission, but we do need to prevent the redistricting abuse we’re seeing in our state.

Perhaps you should clip this column out and send it to an appropriate judge since there are now at least two cases challenging the New York State Gerrymander.

The Truth Behind The Mystery Of Weather Forecasting

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Ah, winter. Remember that? Well, if for some reason you had forgotten, last week certainly provided a useful reminder.

Of course, if you live in New England, you got your reminder a few days earlier with a classic Nor’easter.

Yes, that’s the way the National Weather Service (“NWS”) spells this famous type of storm. These weather events feature notorious low pressure systems that travel up the eastern seaboard. They’re so named because the winds along the coast come from the northeast.

Nor’easters are not limited to the winter. The NWS tells us these storms generally occur in Continue Reading “The Truth Behind The Mystery Of Weather Forecasting”

How To Be A Successful Writer (In Five Easy Steps)

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To begin with, most people ask the wrong question.

This doesn’t happen too often locally, but because I also write for national publications, I often get this question: “What do I need to do to become a good writer?”

This question comes in many flavors. For example: “How can I become a better writer?” “What should I do to improve my writing?” “How did you learn to write so well?” That sort of thing.

These are all the wrong questions. Their common mistake: they all assume good writing is the key.

Here’s what most people (and most writers) don’t realize. There’s a difference between Continue Reading “How To Be A Successful Writer (In Five Easy Steps)”

This Is More Important Than Being ‘Tolerant’

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Saladin and Guy de Lusignan after battle of Hattin in 1187No matter where you are, there it is. It’s called by a lot of different names, but it all means the same thing.

The trouble is, it doesn’t. And that can hurt people.

You may have heard this story before.

Decades ago, before I had the joy of children, I was assigned as the Town Board liaison to the school district. It was during the initial hype of political correctness. At the time, and not so different from today, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the maxim “Be Tolerant” plastered somewhere.

During one meeting, (a strategic planning discussion), we were asked to brainstorm on Continue Reading “This Is More Important Than Being ‘Tolerant’”

What’s Your Dream? (Here’s How To Capture It)

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The vision of the three mountains

The original vision that was my “sure winner” in the Florence Brasser art contest. It didn’t win. Then. But The Vision ultimately prevailed.

You have a dream. It may be new. It may have been lingering in the back of your mind for years. Either way, you have a dream.

And it’s compelling.

If you’re like most people, you’re wondering “How can I achieve this dream?” If you’re ambitious (and who isn’t?), you’re wondering, “How can I accomplish my LIFETIME Dream?”

Many years ago, I wrote a column about an ironic first-place award I received in an art contest (see, “Sometimes Second Best Turns Out To Be the Very Best,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, March 20, 2016).

I say “ironic” because the winning drawing was a throwaway picture not meant for the Continue Reading “What’s Your Dream? (Here’s How To Capture It)”

Josh Allen Had His In Tampa, Where Did You Have Yours?

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Something happened in the second half of the game in Tampa Bay on Sunday, December 12, 2021. After being outscored 24 to 3 in the first half, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills battled back by besting the Buccaneers by the identical score of 24 to 3.

Although Tom Brady would bring the Bucs victory in overtime, the second half turnaround marked more than a turning point in a single game, it signaled the start of a mid-season adjustment that sparked the Bills on a winning streak that ended with them standing atop the AFC East for the second year in a row.

So, what exactly happened in that second half? And why is it important for you to know?

It’s called the “Thermopylae Moment.”

OK, nobody calls it that. I just made that up.

But it works.

To fully appreciate the term, you’ll need to go back in history a little bit. And by “a little bit” Continue Reading “Josh Allen Had His In Tampa, Where Did You Have Yours?”