During the National Anthem

Last night right before my niece played in the biggest game of her high school basketball career (2 undefeated teams playing for the opportunity to advance to Sectionals), the announcer asked those who could to stand. Our family was sitting together. 19 of us cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and children ready to cheer her on.

nationalanthemAs the National Anthem began, my mind started to think about individuals throughout the world who are currently serving each of us for the freedoms the flag represents.

As we were singing, I began thinking about all the active duty military members I was going to be meeting over the next 2 weeks – in locations most Americans would not want to live.

Imagine living for a year on a small military installation where you do not leave the location. What would you miss? Unlimited TV? Fast Food? Surfing on the web whenever you want? Going out for a nice dinner?

For most people, the answer is, “My loved ones” and that is true for our military around the world. When I go on these trips, sometimes I can get a little down about being away from my family for 14 days – when in fact the people I am going to serve can be away from their families for 365 days. 26 times longer.

When I have reflections on being gone for 14 days, I now remind myself how quick of a trip that is compared to those I am going to serve. Being overseas working with our military continually reminds me how special the individuals are who serve on our country’s behalf. Moms and Dads. Sons and Daughters. Partners. Best Friends.

The next time each of us hears the National Anthem, may we each think of and be grateful for those who are serving our country away from their loved ones at that very moment we are celebrating an event with ours.

Do you Think Like A Freak?

Think-Like-A-Freak-Steven-Levitt-Stephen-DubnerIn the world of Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s book Think Like A Freak, they pose some great examples of why you might want to think like a freak.

This book came to me from the inspiration of listening to their podcast titled Freakonomics (listen to by clicking here). When I’m driving to a campus, military installation, organization, or an event to conduct a training or present a session, listening to Freakonomics (and a few other great podcasts) makes the drive seem much shorter and regularly gets me thinking in new ways.

The book Think Like A Freak is written to get us thinking – for you to question what you have been taught to think AND how you’ve been taught to think. Think Like a Freak is filled with lots of great concepts and discussions.  My favorite takeaways from listening to this audio book were:

  • Admit you don’t know. Doing so leads to much more room for learning and success.
  • Quit. Yes, be willing to quit. As I looked back through my life, I can see times where my choice to quit was the right choice. Sadly, too often we taught “Quitters never win and Winners never quit” which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Knowing what and/or when to quit can make a huge difference in one’s life.
  • Plan for Failure. Instead of only asking what it will take for a project to fail, ask yourself and those you work with, “If this project would be determined to be a complete failure 6 months after we completed it, what would have had to have happened?”  Then reverse engineer to insure those possibilities are eliminated. Now, you have a much more sound approach to your project.
  • Think like a child. Question. Ask, “Why?” and do it frequently. Consider that maybe you are asking the wrong question – the question everyone else asks and not the question everyone is forgetting to ask. One of my favorite sections is how they show this concept through a world champion hot dog eater.

If you choose to listen to the Audio Book instead of reading the book, the authors, Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, are the actual narrators and they do a great job. They are engaging throughout.

If you’ve read or listened to Think Like A Freak, please share your thoughts in the COMMENTS section below.