Think Outside the Banana

Why are we thinking outside the box? You hear it all the time. “You gotta think outside the box.” They tell us to be creative, we have to stop thinking inside the box, and think outside the box. This is a lot of thinking about boxes. Why are we thinking about boxes? We are limiting our creativity focusing on the stupid box.

If you want to be creative, think outside the banana. Think outside your comfort zone. Think outside your usual world. Think outside the universe for that matter, that’s what Stephen Hawking did. Get outside our world, think outside everything.

Creativity is a precious commodity. For most people, our work is prescribed. You do what someone told you to do. If your sheepherder, everything you need to know about herding sheep you learned from your grandfather. The ideas haven’t changed in millennia. All you have to do is what has been done before. For a lot of us, our jobs are all prescribed. Just do what’s in the book. Just do it the way other folks do it. If you’re a bookkeeper, or shopkeeper, or a waitress, or even lawyers and doctors, most of what you do is exactly the same as it has always been. Just follow the rules. Do what’s in the book.

But when you’re trying to do something really new, you can’t follow the rules. The rules take you to the same old place. You have to break the rules, or at least bend them if you’re going to do something new. New ideas disrupt old ideas. And people with new ideas upset everyone who is following the rules.

I had moments when I invented things. In the early 1980’s I ran a little computer business in Boston. We figured out that people who already owned a computer couldn’t buy a new one until they got rid of the old one. So we set up a business to help people sell their computers. We ran it like we were real estate brokers. We took listings. We made a database of all the owner’s names and what they had to sell. It was painfully local. We only served people in our town who knew us. But the best buyer might be far away. I was frustrated and on day I cried out, “I wish I could paint all of our data on the moon so everyone on earth could see it.” That is crazy! But crazy ideas can be tamed down and made workable. While painting data on the moon is crazy, that idea made us to think about how we could make our data accessible to more people. There was a company in our town setting up an electronic bulletin board. They needed content, and we had content. They made room on their system for people to see and search through our data about computers for sale. The first day our data was available, we got a call from a buyer in Chile. Suddenly, our tiny local business had gone global. That was 1983. And we had created the world’s first e-commerce business. We were not just thinking outside the box; we were thinking outside everything.

Every new idea enters the universe totally devoted to the old idea. There is a whole ecosystem organized around the old idea. If the new idea doesn’t fit with existing things that aren’t changing, then the new idea withers and dies. New ideas have to find fertile ground, they need other systems around them that are ready to adapt and change to the new idea.

New ideas need followers too. Leadership is not about the crazy person with a new idea, leadership is all about the second person who gets on board. One person with a new idea is a lunatic. Two people who share the new idea are the beginning of the movement. And once a dozen people are on board, there’s practically nothing that can stop them. But if the second person who hears the new idea says, “that’s stupid,” the new idea will die.

This is particularly important right here and right now. We are poised on the brink of a new era. A lot of the old era has been swept away. We lamented its loss, and now it’s gone. As we reinvent who we are and how we operate, we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves with a lot of new ideas. If we just do it the same old way, we will have missed the opportunity.

Stop thinking outside the box. 
Think outside the banana!

Think outside the elephant!

Think outside the galaxy!

Stop thinking outside boxes and think outside THINKING!

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Thought Experiment

Thought experiment: What is thinking like with no language? Imagine having a language of 1000 words or 100 words or 10 words. Our ancestors must have had an era with virtually no language.

What was thought like then?
It may have been much more like our current dreams. What we call thinking may have been dreamier – visual images… auditory sounds… images linked together by visual analogies, metaphors and puns. Dead people would be prominent. Memory would be like being there. The voices and admonitions of ancestors would have dominated. We would have heard our ancestors. We would have faces we don’t recognize delivering ideas as visions. We would eahc have our own pantheon of “gods…” disembodied voices and faces that seem to know what to do and how to behave.

As we acquired language we displaced this kind of thinking.

Polytheism may be the natural result of everyone having their own set of voices and faces of gods. We had our own pantheon of angels and demons.

We set a record!

We set a record!

The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have the largest electrical blackouts in US history. Second-largest blackout in the world. At least it is not JUST us, the bulk of the record setting outage is on Puerto Rico.

The research firm, the Rhodium Group, conducted a study of the magnitude of the electrical blackout in Puerto Rico US Virgin Islands and how it compares to other blackouts around the world. They studied all the blackouts around the world that are not part of some war experience. They used government statistics, academic literature, primary news reports compile worldwide data electrical blackouts and we win!
We had 3.4 billion customer hours without electricity. That’s a record for the United States. It’s almost comical that the second-largest blackout in US history was caused by Hurricane Georges! We got that blackout too! Among the top ten blackouts are Hurricanes Irma, and Hugo. In fact, we got blacked out five of the top 10 blackouts in America. We are like blackout KINGS!

The really good news is that on a world scale, we came in second. The only larger blackout history than our Maria was when Typhon Haiyan hit the Philippines and produced 6.1 billion hours of lost power.
The researchers also say that power is back for some 96% Puerto Rico while 53,000 customers are still in the dark.
News of our record electrical blackouts provoked a response in Washington. US Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called the power failures “out of control.” And called on the Trump administration to take on responsibility for the outages. Other government officials are concerned because many people who left the islands after the storms are living in the states in evacuee hotels. FEMA won’t pay that bill forever.
I am sure everyone joins me in wishing our Water and Power Authority all possible support. We bear no ill will! We wish nothing but success to our Water and Power Authority. We REALLY appreciate all the effort that has been made by the staff. The people of WAPA are stars. Gems!
Yet, there is nothing we would all like quite as much as reliable electricity. We keep hearing that various things being done by WAPA will turn the corner on reliability. At one point the propane was going to solve the reliability problem. At another point rented generators would make a difference. The storms of course wreaked havoc with the distribution system. And we are all looking forward to those new small Wartsilla generators to provide more reliability.
It really would be smart to bury our utility lines. Imagine having a hurricane raging all around us and all the electricity still on! Imagine having electricity the day after the storm! Imagine having electricity without having periodic blackouts.
Whatever you have, a generator, backup batteries, battery flashlight, candles, that’s the “WAPA Tax” you pay for not having a reliable electricity.

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What would Margaret Mead say?

What Would Margaret Mead say about…

(Note: during the last 4 years of Margaret Mead’s life, I was her student, dissertation advisee and mentee. We worked on a wide variety of topics and I absorbed some of her unique “way of seeing.” Now, when I am trying to solve a problem, I channel her voice and ask for her insight.  Recently she has been talking about a variety of current topics.)  

Randall: I’ve asked Dr. Mead to offer remarks on some of the issues of the day. As we approach the centennial of your landmark books, “Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies” and “Male and Female” what are your thoughts on Same Sex Marriage.

Mead: “Well it’s about time! We should allow people to love whomever they want to love.  And ritualize their love with a proper Rite-of-Passage.  Studies of human culture show us that the Arc of Human Possibilities is expansive and rich with possibilities. We are just expanding our slice of that Arc.

Of course we couldn’t make any progress on this until we got the wording right.  Same Sex Marriage brings to mind two men in bed and that was disturbing to a lot of people.   As soon as we started to talk about Marriage Equality the whole thing changed.  The right words matter.  Marriage Equality is all about fairness and equality. Rhetoric matters.

Randall: What about the people who say that in the Bible, marriage is between one man and one woman.

Mead: Fiddlesticks! Those are the same people who told us the sun goes around the earth.  That took 1,500 years to get right.  And that all disease is caused by bad spirits.  It took 1,800 years before we got that right. They thought heaven was just above the clouds, near the stars. It took until we flew in airplanes before we got that right.
What we know about human beings is that there is a great deal of diversity.  Human culture has a tremendous number of variations in the role and behavior of humans and many of these do not accord with our simple idea that we are just one of two possible bodies. That is just flat wrong.  Nature has lots of ways of making us.   We see this in the animal kingdom as well.   It is a wonder that we attribute so much wisdom to people who knew so little about science.

Randall: Are you disputing the veracity of the Bible.

Mead: Well, it’s a book. And it was written by men with a male centered view of the universe seen through the eyes of people living in a desert ecosystem. It works for their culture in its time and place. They had their wisdom that came down through the ages they codified according to the best wisdom of their age. But it is madness to insist that any book has all the truth that ever existed.  Any group of people who try to inflict their holy book on everyone else are just ethnocentric.  God didn’t lie to the Chinese or the Muslims.  We’d all be a lot smarter if we stopped trying to make everyone into ourselves.

Listen, the whole history of science is about getting our ego out of the middle of everything. We are not the center of the universe. Not even the center of our galaxy. And we certainly are not the center of human culture. We may not even be the center of what we call time. We have to stop making ourselves the center of everything we do.

Randall: How about Transgender Toilets.

Mead: There is so much variation in who we are. We are not little Adams and Eves. This is not a simple division of the world into two groups, no matter how convenient that seems to be.  People come on a tremendous spectrum of variation.  Not just in terms of personality and temperament, but biologically as well.  We have people who are extreme examples of maleness, like Bruce Jenner who won the Olympic decathlon, who in his deepest personality identify as a woman like Caitlyn Jenner with her line of cosmetics.

We have tried to force everyone into these two little pigeon holes and a lot of people don’t fit.  This is ritualized in the form of two bathrooms, two locker rooms and everyone should fit in one or the other.  It does not have to be this way. Many city restaurants have only one restroom and everyone uses the same one.  Many airports have a variety of bathrooms, Men, Women and “Family.” We made accommodations for people in wheelchairs and people who need grab rails. It doesn’t seem so difficult for us to accommodate people who are not aligned with their identity at birth. We Americans turn everything into “twos” and pit one against the other as if everything was football game…. A male analogy if ever there was one. And while we are fixing bathrooms, women need more stalls, men not as many. We have to get architects to stop making everything symmetrical. We are not symmetrical.

Randall: So are there kinds of identity yet to be revealed?

Mead: Well, the Marriage Equality topic opened a lot of doors and a lot of people came out of the closet.  Once that door was open, many more people realized they did not have to hide who they are and pretend to be someone they are not.  So a lot of old closets are being removed and we can expect more of the variations to be made public.  Human culture is rich with options.  In Sex and Temperament, I wrote about how three different cultures expressed their concept of the genders and their roles.  It was evident that our western models are not universal and this set into motion a realization that we are not stuck with these simplistic notions of how to be human.

We Americans lag behind the world in sexual freedom. We are prudes, carrying the Puritans sexual baggage around like it is grandmother’s heirloom. We can’t even have women breastfeed in the mall without the security people freaking out. We are all humans, we all have bodies and all of us got here in exactly the same way.  Same sex act made us all.  Yet we can’t talk about it or Americans turn the conversation lurid and prurient. We talk as if our bodies are sacred temples, almost angels, when we really are just smart hairless animals. And we are afraid of anything that exposes our animal nature. We need to embrace the changes that other societies have accepted centuries before.

Randall: Derek Freeman tried to discredit you about your book Coming of Age in Samoa. How do you respond?

Mead: The little coward! If he had any guts, he’d have challenged me when I was alive to respond. No, he waited until I was dead and then threw all of this nonsense around. Interviewing women 60 years later about what they remembered. They had all converted to Christianity and learned to feel guilty about their adolescence… What makes him think that an old lady is going to tell an old foreign man the truth about her sex life? Poppycock! Besides, what was he doing at age 26 that was worth anything? He was a vain man who tried to make himself famous by riding on my life story.  He picked on just one book. I did a lifetime of research; wrote dozens of books, studied many cultures that provided ideas that helped change our world and make it more tolerant.  Besides, his work was totally discredited. Read “The Trashing of Margaret Mead” by Paul Shankman who provided the full story of Freeman’s quest for fame at my expense.

Randall: Can I change the subject.

Randall: Trump.

Mead: A nightmare! The least-well-prepared man ever as President. He is nothing but a bloviating egomaniac who thinks he already knows everything.  Very dangerous. We need people who are smart enough to know what they don’t know and bring in the very best expert advisers. Trump is nothing but ego and money. Remember, women make men, men don’t make anything, that’s why men build bridges and skyscrapers. That Trump has been trying to prove how big he is…. Makes you wonder how small he really is. He has a reaction-formation to an inferiority complex. Most of his behavior is a direct result of sleep deprivation. He shows all the symptoms.

Randall: Armed guards in front of schools?

Mead: Insanity.  We have smart phones and stupid guns.  You get a license to drive a car but no license to buy a lethal weapon. We have more gun deaths than any other culture in the world. 18,000 dead this year from gun violence. 30 new gun deaths every day; highest suicide rate with guns in the world. 283 million guns in America. This is madness.  Our single minded focus on this cowboy culture where the lone individual is free to do whatever he wants has overwhelmed everything else. Open carry laws, guns in fast food stores, bringing guns to church… this will sink us. You can expect to see an event where some crazed person opens fire and some vigilante shoots the first and another shoots the second. No one will know who is whom and a lot of people will get shot.

The second amendment says “a well-regulated militia, being necessary…” We need a new law that requires every gun owner to join a well-regulated militia and then regulate the militia. We need a tax on ammunition like gasoline tax. There is nothing in the second amendment that says everyone has the right to own a bazooka. This is America’s fear of King George’s army gone amuck.

Randall: What about Social Media?

Mead: We have compressed human relationships into a finger swipe.  You can unfriend someone without seeing their face.  We find hook-up partners by swiping left and right.  This has made all of our relationships shallower but also making real face-to-face relationships much richer.  We are training our children not to recognize the emotions on people’s faces. They interact with people’s avatars; cartoon images that show no emotion.  We are training our children not to understand empathy or how to respond to other’s pain. There is no emotional intelligence in smart phones. As if a few emoticons can replace the complexity of the human face.  We fool ourselves to believe this gadget in our pocket can do everything. I see students who can’t take notes. They shoot pictures of PowerPoint slides as if the phone is their memory.  They remember nothing. We need to put our phones down and talk to each other.

Randall: Facebook… Twitter… YouTube…

Mead: Social media reduces everything to social media. Twitter makes everything into tweets.  Everyone writes like Variety Magazine headlines. No depth. Substituting sound bites for thought. The social media fool us into thinking we are having real conversations when we are really just performing for each other.  Old people post to Facebook to see how many thumbs-up they get as if “like” had resounding meaning. Getting a response only satisfies for a few seconds and we do it again, to get our follower-friends to click again.  Social media makes us into performers hoping for fifteen nanoseconds of fame. As if everyone’s lunch is worthy of comment.

Young people abandoned Facebook ages ago. Now that they are selling YOU to the highest bidder, they are finished.  It will be hollow. Instead young people Snapchat messages that leave no trail. No history. Future historians will regard this era as a time when nothing was left behind. When my parents courted, they sent each other letters-in-envelopes.  I can still open those letters and read their very private words. Their private world essentially is public.  But nothing in Snapchat lingers.  There is no history.  Like a public presentation that becomes infinitely private.

And the front facing phone has made us all think that what we are doing matters and must be shared.  More and more images with less and less meaning. For generations the photographer was invisible. Out of the picture. Now, the photographer is the subject and everything else is out of the picture.  “Selfies” turn us all into little performing egos; dancing for the camera hoping for a few “likes.”

On the other hand, social media has opened the opportunity for rich groups of supportive friends bonding together across national lines and time zones. We are more connected than ever before and more able to link up with like-minded people.  What we lost by moving our nuclear families to job sites and severing links with home and extended family now comes back to us in social media. We are creating communities of like-minded companions who may be anywhere, not just in a neighborhood.

Smart phones have brought everyone into one information community. The Kalahari Bushmen have smart phones and are linked to the world economy. Only a generation ago they were foraging for food. We have the best chance in history of thinking as a global family…. the best chance of communicating across all the old lines. Smart phones do not see national boundaries. Data bits don’t see bayonets. The whole idea of nation states is crumbling… Wars aren’t even national fights anymore, but cells of terrorists who could live almost anywhere. And our armies are now stealthy special operations commandos…

Randall: Privacy?

So much of what was private is now public and what was public is private. If you sit on a subway reading a book, everyone knows what you’re reading. Someone might say “I see you are reading that new novel. I liked it too.” There might be a conversation.  But if you are reading on your Kindle or iPad, no one knows what you are reading.  The opportunity of a chance encounter is lost. We’ve turned something public into private.

Meanwhile, what I buy at an online store is now public, the data is shared everywhere.  I am bombarded with offers based on my private purchase.  All kinds of people can monitor my activities.  What was private is now public. Every time you act, people are looking over your computer shoulder seeing what you are doing and piling on.  Nothing is private anymore.

Randall: Are we better informed or less?

We have so much access to what we know we like, but miss what we might have stumbled upon. We read what we want to read and miss everything else. The phone screen has such narrow bandwidth. An old fashioned newspaper presents 16 columns of text over two pages – lots of bandwidth – there is room to stumble upon things your eye happens to see. On our smart phone, we see what we want and none of what we never considered.  People listen to their stream of audio from Pandora or Spotify and hear the music they know they like. Old time radio played things you never heard before.  Things you might like. We all get less random input and more of what we already know. So ultimately we are less well informed.

This is true with political punditry. We get a steady diet of what we like and seldom listen to a challenging thought. No wonder we are more polarized.  Everyone is listening to their favorite chorus. No one is listening to the other voices.

We are on the verge of a whole new world culture. Our technology allows us to sit around a social tribal bonfire and discuss the issues of the day.

We have to embrace social media and use it to reach out to other people from around the world. We are like a vast network of virtual pen pals. The opportunity is here to learn about other people and cultures. We need to utilize every outlet available to us. We have the potential to be a unified human species.  Now, if we can hold on to our personal cultures while joining together in a world culture – we may thrive.  We all need to listen to each other more and yell at each other less.

Randall: Thank you Dr. Mead.

——————————————————————————————————–

Alex Randall

Department of Communication

University of the Virgin Islands

St Thomas VI 00802

Alexrandall5@gmail.com

Me and God

I have an uneasy history with organized religion, but I never had any trouble keeping up a fine relationship with the Divine. I feel like I know God and we work on the same team; but church… I find the institution disturbing. It seems far less interested in the Divine than it is in getting the people to come to the store pay their dues and conform to a narrow agenda.

Christianity had 33,820 denominations with 3,445,000 congregations or churches composed of 1,888 million affiliated Christians. Yet it all seems like so many hamburger stands – each one has the same ingredients – meat, bun, cheese – and each one tries to convince you that theirs is the best of all.

It is impossible for me to imagine that Christians are the sole bearers of truth or that God would lie to all the Chinese, Muslims, Shinto-ists, etc.  My mother’s father was a Roman Catholic, even an altar boy, but he became a Presbyterian because a kindly minister taught him English and business math and he was grateful – and realized the difference. That kind of retail caring for people I can understand. When preachers demonize the other church across the street, saying they are wrong and heathens, I get up and go.

I was raised in the Presbyterian Church down the street from our home. It seems the choice was more about location, than about any philosophical or ecclesiastical issues. The church was close and had Boy Scouts and a confirmation class – so that is where we went. I hated the services – it always seemed that people were reading from the menu. They would recite the Apostle’s Creed with as much enthusiasm as reading a can of dog food.

In the Penn Charter School, I was exposed to the Quakers and immediately felt an affinity for their philosophy. The essence of God is within you and it expresses itself in different ways for different people and in different settings. I drew two important lessons from the Quakers: Since the essence of God is within each of us, then warfare is wrong because you would be killing the essence of God in others. Since all of us have God within, then discrimination on the basis of gender or race is an insult to the Divine. Hence we shall all be treated as equals.

Studying anthropology and traveling the world opened my eyes to see that each religion in each place was tailor-fit to their eco-system and local needs. I cherish Shinto because it seems to address the environment and the divinity. I came to appreciate Islam and its image of heaven with flowing rivers – so appropriate in a desert environment. In fact, I came to see that God is invented in each culture as a unique expression of that culture’s time and place. The admonitions of the elders are reduced to aphorisms that can easily be taught to the children.

Santa Claus is an interesting case. If Santa didn’t exist, parents would invent him. He is such a useful fellow for enforcing good behavior and such a good training tool to prepare people for a lifetime of belief in God. Santa Claus is God with training wheels. They share many features… both are invisible, both work miracles in no time, both have a posse of elves or angels to do the hand’s-on work; God keeps track of every sin, while Santa keeps track of who’s naughty or nice. If you are good, you get rewards and if you are bad you get punished. The only really big difference is that children stop believing in Santa when they discover it is a ruse constructed by adults. But with God, no one admits the ruse. It is the same ruse but we are unwilling to admit it.

All human progress is characterized by the slow but steady loss of the human ego in the explanation of how things are. Copernicus got our ego out of the center of the universe. Air travel got God out of the clouds. Our egocentric view of the world makes the sun and the moon equals until the astronomers figure out that we got that all wrong. Our ego is still in the way of seeing that we are the descendents of a long line of mutations that were subject to natural selection and resulted in us… with all our flaws and wonders. Most of this progress is about reducing the role of God in everything. When we were ignorant, we explained everything with God. As we learned, the role of God was shifted to the remaining mysteries.

Now I find God in the sunset.

I find God in my actions in the world.

I don’t believe in a God who made all things – just the way they are.

I don’t believe in a personal God who watches over each little thing.

I can’t imagine a God who would create 800 million separate species of beetles or the human appendix or the pain of childbirth. I can wrap my mind around those arising via evolution rather than divine creation.

My God is the creator of the underlying scheme of the universe: gravity, magnetism, natural selection, teleology, laws of form, laws of scale, laws of math, and laws of nature….

A God who can invent Natural Selection is indeed a wonder to behold.

So we made our own successes and our own messes.

We are ultimately responsible for the way we manage the universe.

We are not masters of the universe.

My God cares more about what you are doing on Monday morning than what you are doing on Sunday morning. So I  work for the Divine at work, not at church.

The best book I ever read on religion is the “Book of Q” which is a rendition of the words spoken by Jesus, stripped of all the stories about his comings and goings. There is no dogma about miracles or who was his father. All the legends and additions are removed and all you read are the words that the man said (or probably said…). It is a most engaging book, rich with divine inspiration and devoid of the theological issues of a man who is a God. Isn’t it ironic that we rejected the Greek “myths” yet the same stories are all woven through the Christ story? We giggle at Zeus coming to earth to father children, but treat Christ’s divine birth as a serious topic. The “Book of Q” is wonderful reading. Like a conversation with a sage.

I wrote this “Sage and Seeker” in College:

Seeker: Do you believe in God?

Sage: No. I don’t believe. I KNOW God and I have no use for belief.

Seeker: Is God present in the world?

Sage: God is in me. God is in you. God is in everything and everyone in the universe. Present all the time without beginning or end.

Seeker: Did God make the Universe?

Sage: God is not a maker or a creator or a thing nor male nor female, but God is in the order of the world. God is in the way of the world. Like the laws of the universe. God is in gravity and attraction and natural selection.

Seeker: Do you believe in Jesus?

Sage: Kristos, Krishna, Christ … all one. But God has no name and no need for one.

Seeker: What about other religions?

Sage: Moses, Mohammed, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha … all seekers of God, each with a truncated view of the whole. God spoke to each in his own way as appropriate for their people.

Seeker: But what about the Son of God?

Sage: Of my God we are all sons and daughters. Of my God there are no favorites

Seeker: But what about his book?

Sage: None of the books are “HIS” books, my God inspired lots of books, each in the language of the people. Each book is about their lives and their needs. Each book is an incomplete view of the whole.

Seeker: Aren’t some people his chosen people?

 

Sage: That is very egotistical; to want to be special before your God. My God has no chosen people, no special rights to distribute the right word, and no right to make others “wrong”. My God has no earthly enemies, no people upon whom war is made in God’s name, no heathens to be tormented in God’s name. No one dies for my God.

Seeker: Where do we go when we die?

Sage: We go where there is no certainty except that it is as elegant a part of life as life itself.

Seeker: Do you talk to God?

Sage: Yes, all the time. While washing dishes or watching the sunset or listening to a bird or sitting on the toilet. It is all divine time to talk to God.

Seeker: Does God talk to me?

Sage: Yes. In everything you do.

Seeker: What about in dreams?

Sage: Yes and in a dream, God makes stories about me and life and the whole.

Seeker: Can I have your God?

Sage: You already do.

 

Laws of Life

Laws of Life

Wizard’s Principle: On every mountain there is a single pebble which, if you move it will unleash an avalanche. Find that pebble.

The Law of the Missing Piece:  He who shows up with a critical absent resource will unleash a huge response.  One tiny piece changes the whole system.

Motherball’s Law of Options Shock: Whenever you choose something, you are NOT choosing everything else.

Motherball’s Corollary: When you date one girl, you are rejecting all the other girls on earth.  Whatever you are doing, you are NOT doing everything else.

Spencer’s Dictum: If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there, but the world steps out of the way to let a man pass who knows where he is going.

Law of the Gnaw: The greatest work is not accomplished by super humans making bold moves; rather it is accomplished by ordinary people tenaciously gnawing away at the task, a little bit every day. Tenacity trumps all other suits.

Alex’s Story Maxim: Never spoil a good story with the truth.

Law of the Adventure: A bad adventure is better than no adventure at all. Always choose the adventure that will give you the best stories later on.

Randall’s Laws of Entrepreneurship

  • Never sell something that won’t sell itself.
  • Selling a bad idea makes more money than sitting on a great idea.
  • Nothing is worth anything if no one knows about it.
  • Only hire additional workers when you are pulling your hair out and losing sleep.
  • Hire experts for the things you don’t know.
  • If it is such a good idea that everyone is doing it, then it is time to get out.
  • Never tell the IRS anything they don’t already know. It will only cause new problems.
  • A foot in the mouth is better than the curse of silence, so speak about your idea.
  • If the first 15 people who hear about a new idea all say “WOW”, then get a patent or copyright.
  • When you are looking at your stock portfolio value and saying “Wow!” It is time to sell everything.
  • In that old saw about BIG money; “Had it, lost it, had it, lost it…” It is way better to end that with “still have it” than all of the other options.

Law of Costly Loss: The most expensive thing for any organization is the person walking out the door on their last day of work. They know all about the business, the people and how it all works.  The replacement person has to learn it all.

Law of lost objects: If you can’t find a tool, it is just like not owning it.  

Randall’s Glass Maxim: Never lament that your glass is half empty or half full. Thank God you have a glass and it will be filled to overflowing.

Lilly Tomlin’s Adage: No matter how cynical you get, it is never enough to keep up.

There are two kinds of people in the world

  1. those who plan ahead and those who wonder what is happening to them.
  2. those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.

Rules for Children:

  • No hitting and no hitting back. It doesn’t matter who started it, everyone gets punished.
  • You may not have what you are crying to get, but if you stop and talk we might consider getting it.

 

Paradise Principle: If your brain is working on the Internet, your body can be in paradise

Randall’s Travel Maxim: Film is cheaper than plane tickets. Corollary: Never scrimp on taking pictures at the Grand Canyon.

Good News Guy’s Maxim: “Speak in Sound Bites”

Writers Perplex: When you are writing a book or a dissertation, everyday feels like Tuesday; there is no relief in sight.

Randall’s Line Law: Wherever there is a line, there is an opportunity… To realize the opportunity; get out of line. Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

Stars Strategy: Take lessons from the stars. You’ll learn more from the star of their field than from a mundane teacher in your own field.

Alex’s Maxim on Novelty: Every new idea enters a universe that is totally devoted to the old idea.

When presenting new ideas – never describe a new idea using all new vocabulary.

Laws of media:

  1. Good press begets more press.
  2. If your idea is new and spreads like a virus, you do not need to advertise or call random people hoping to make a sale.
  3. Make yourself newsworthy.
  4. Make news.

 

Miracle Maxim: Never underestimate the universe’s capacity to deliver miracles. But they don’t drop out of the sky. Even miracles need a stage, a venue and you must prepare the stage before a miracle can happen.

New Baby Law: Sleep when baby sleeps.

Randall’s Presidential Principle: If you are going to be in the same room with the President, have a letter in your pocket detailing some idea you think should be put into effect. You just might change the world.

 

Margaret Mead’s Laws:

You can’t step into the same river – ONCE! (Her idea, you figure it out)

If you see something odd or unusual, look around to see if the people around you think it is odd. If not, then what you are seeing is normal there. If others are acting like it is odd, then it is odd to them too.

Look for patterns in all things. Look for all the things that don’t fit the patterns and then look for patterns among all the odd fellows.

Mead’s dissertation Adage , “Write on the smallest possible topic, with the least controversy and the fewest elements to examine. You are writing you LAST dissertation, not your first book, so keep it short and simple and get it over with.”

Gregory Bateson said, “All species have organized life this way, the female principle is single and well preserved, while the male principle is multiple and squandered.”

Lesson from Copernicus: All human progress is characterized by the slow but steady loss of the human ego in the explanation of how things are.