5 Things We Can Learn From Podcasts

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or locations. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something we listen to, but can’t talk back to…

5 Things We Can Learn From Podcasts

1. You Can Pick Anything You Like

Do you like sports? How about politics? How about books or booze or board games? No matter what you like, there’s likely a podcast for that. Nothing is off limits. Anything you can think of has the potential to be a successful podcast.

2. If It Doesn’t Exist, Create It

If you read that last paragraph and thought, “you are so wrong Adam. I am Exit sign enthusiast. There are no podcasts dedicated exclusively to Exit signs.” Then start one. Chances are you aren’t the only Exit sign fan. Maybe there are others out there who would listen to your show. Or maybe not. You’ll know until you try?

3. Anyone Can Do It, But You Have To Stick With It

You do not need the backing of a radio station to start a podcast. You just need a microphone, something to talk about and lots of patience. Anyone can do it, but that also means that anyone can do it. There’s a lot of competition. If you are not willing to stick with it, you might want to think twice.

4. You Don’t Have To Do At Their Speed

I listen to nearly all of my podcasts at 1.5x speed. It allows me to listen to more podcasts more frequently. I can finish a 30 minute podcast in like 20somthing minutes (this isn’t a math blog). I can also listen to podcasts at 0.5x the speed (although I would never do that) Just because someone created a 30 minute podcast, doesn’t mean that is what I have to spend on it. Just because others are doing something at one pace, doesn’t mean you have to follow that speed.

5. Sizes May Vary

Some podcasts are long. Some are short. Some promote products. Some are just a labor of love. Some make money. Some don’t. There are many reasons to do something. Why are you doing what you do?

5 Things We Can Learn From A TV Remote

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or locations. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about an object we always want to have at our fingertips…an object that conveys power and control…an object that is the source of many fights…the television remote control.

5 Things We Can Learn From A TV Remote

1. We Have To Press The Right Buttons

TV remote controls are pretty awesome. With the simple click of a button we can pause a show, watch two shows at once, or change channels. So much power with so little work. But there is a catch. We can’t just point the remote at the screen and press any button. We have to press the right buttons. One wrong button and we could be watching MSNBC when we meant to watch Fox News. It may not seem like much, but the right buttons make a big difference.

It is said that a good coach or great boss knows how to press the right buttons for their team. They know when to yell vs. when to console. They know when to pull back and when to push ahead. This knowledge can make or break the success of a team. The same is important on our individual projects. Knowing what buttons to press, and when, can be the difference between going in reverse or moving forward.

2. We Need Power

Don’t you just hate when the batteries in the TV remote go dead? It always happens at the worst time and there are no other batteries in sight. Without power, our remote is useless and we are left with a button-filled paperweight.

When we do not have power, we are useless. I’m not talking about power as in muscles or command of a room. I’m talking about sleep. Recharging our batteries. I once I sat in a meeting where one woman slept the entire time. Not only was she useless during the meeting, but I’m guessing she was useless for the rest of the week because she missed what was covered in the meeting. She was basically a button-less paperweight.

3. We Have Power When We Have Control

The person who controls the remote controls the TV. They decide what is watched and watch is skipped over. Many fights have been fought over who decides what to watch. Ultimately, the holder of the remote decides.

Now that I have shared the earth shattering news that we need to get some sleep, let’s talk about the other type of power we need. We need control. When we are in control, we are way more efficient. We control our diet and we lose weight. We control a room and people listen. We control our bowels and we do not need diapers. Control is very important.

4. It Helps To Know Where We Are Turning

For my TV, I know that channel 206 is ESPN. When I want to watch ESPN, I know exactly what to do…press 206. If I didn’t know what channel ESPN was, I would have a very difficult time getting there. I may eventually find it, but it would take many more steps.

In life, it helps to know where we are turning. It also helps to know what we are looking for. Just like looking for sports on ESPN, looking for a career change or a new diet is a heck of a lot more difficult if we do not know where to turn.

5. We Can Do It From Here

The reason the phrase “turn the channel” exists is because we used to have to get up and physically turn a knob to change channel. Imagine having to get out of your comfy recliner, stumble over to the TV and use our hands. Sounds awful, right? Thankfully those times are long gone. Now we can change the channel from the other room if needed. God Bless America.

Thanks to fancy inventions and amazing technology we can do a lot from where we are. We can work with people from all over the world from our comfy recliner. We can go to school in our pajamas (I guess we could always do that, just now we don’t get funny looks). The world is more connected than ever and gone is the excuse “I would change, but I don’t want to move.”

5 Things We Can Learn From Spellcheck

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that is very important to this blog…

5 Things We Can Learn From Spellcheck

1. We Need To Turn It On

Spellcheck is pretty amazing…as long as we turn it on. There was a time when, without realizing it, I had turned off spellcheck in Microsoft Outlook. I only noticed it when I reread an email and found numerous spelling errors. I started to scold spellcheck and wonder why it wasn’t doing the one job it was created to do, only to realize that I was the one who messed up. I somehow turned spellcheck off. I fixed my mistake and from there on out, the many errors in my emails lit up like a Christmas tree.

We are surrounded by many great resources, we just need to make sure there is nothing preventing them from doing their job.

2. It Helps To Have An Extra Set Of Eyes

My blog, much like my life, is filled with errors. I rely on spellcheck to help me fix the errors in my blog. I rely on friends and family to help me fix those errors in my life. We can all use help from something, or someone, looking over our shoulder to make sure that we are on the right track.

Just make sure it is someone you trust.

3. No One Is Perfect

My grandpa’s last name is Moncher. Spell check always wants me to change that to Moocher. Spellcheck either really thinks my grandpa likes to sponge off others, or it is just a reminder that no one is perfect.

If we do not expect spellcheck to be perfect, why should we expect our friends and family to be perfect?

4. Use Technology To Your Advantage

I am a lazy speller. Most of the time, I probably do know how to spell a word correctly, but I also know that if I just get close, spellcheck will help me get the rest of the way. This allows me to save time. Because I know spell check will help me clean up the finished product, there is no need to have my train on thought interrupted by trying to figure out if interrupted has two r’s or not. We are surrounded by wonderful technology. As we are looking to improve our spelling, our sleep or any other aspect of our lives, we can use this technology to our advantage.

As an old commercial once said, “There’s an app for that.”

5. But We Need To Do Most Of The Work

Spellcheck helps me get the rest of the way, but I still need to do most of the leg work. Per my example from above of spelling “interrupted”, if I just write “inte” spellcheck wants me to change it to “inch.” If I just write “interr” spellcheck wants me to fix it to “intern.”

No matter how much great technology we have at our fingertips, is up to us to do most of the work.

5 Things We Can Learn From Gum

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about gum…

5 Things We Can Learn From Gum

1. Nothing Lasts Forever

Remember Fruit Stripe gum? For those of you who don’t, it was a striped stick of gum that had a deliciously strong fruit flavor. For about 37 seconds. In less than a minute, you were left with a beige flavorless jaw workout.

I’ve never quite understood how some gum lasts a long time, while others lose flavor quickly. I don’t even know why gum loses flavor in the first place. All I know is that Fruit Stripe is great, but I want my products lasting more than 37 seconds.

2. Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

Once it is swallowed, gum is subjected to the same treatment as any other food. After it is recognized as useless by our digestive system, gum travels the same path as all other waste products.

True story.

But that is not what we hear about gum, is it? We hear that it stays in our stomachs for seven years. So why is gum always associated with this urban legend? Not sure. Once a rumor gets started, it is difficult to make it go away.

3. More Isn’t Always Better

One dollar is good. One hundred dollars is much better. Doesn’t work that way for gum. Chewing one piece is good. Chewing one hundred pieces will make you look like a chubby baby. We like to think that the more the merrier. But as in the case of gum, or messages in a group text, more isn’t always better.

4. Be Careful Where You Step

There are a few things in life you want to avoid stepping on. Cracks (or you’ll break your mother’s back), giant holes (or you’ll break your own back), and legos (you’ll want to smack your child’s back) just to name a few. Somewhere near the top of that list you’ll also find gum.

Anyone who has stepped in gum has two questions: what moron would just spit gum out on the sidewalk and why does gum stick to my shoe, but not my teeth? Since I can’t answer either, I will just advise you to watch where you step.

5. You May Never Expect What Can Help

I want to talk to the person who discovered that peanut butter helps remove gum from your hair. How many things did she try from pantry to remove the gum before she was successful with Skippy? Was she happy to have the gum out, or unhappy to have peanut butter hair? What did she use to remove the peanut butter…sprinkles?

I may never have the answers to my questions, much like you may never expect to receive help from where you do. Some things we just can’t see coming.

5 Things We Can Learn From Silverware

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about silverware…

5 Things We Can Learn From Silverware

1. Some Are Meant For This & Some Are Meant For That

Have you every tried to eat cereal with a knife? I never have, but I imagine it results in Joker-like scars and soggy Fruit Loops. Knives are great, but they are not meant to be used to eat cereal. That job is more suited for a spoon. Certain types of silverware are meant for certain types of jobs. Same can be said for people.

As much as I enjoy rhyming, I will never be Busta Rhymes. And as much as I enjoy pretzels, I will never be Auntie Anne. We are not meant to do everything, and that is okay. Maybe I am meant to be the first person to use Busta Rhymes and Auntie Anne in back to back sentences, who knows?

2. Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Forks and knives are like the John Stockton and Karl Malone of cutting steak — the cutlery version of the pick and roll. Individually, they are still pretty good, but together they are legendary.

As we just learned, some things are meant for this, and some are meant for that. And some time, they are meant to work together.

3. There Can Be Strength In Numbers

Until a year ago, my house only had 4 forks. My brother and I were forced to do dishes more often than an IHOP. I don’t think we realized that forks are not just something that comes with the house, (still learning that lesson about a hose) they can actually be purchased with money earned at our adult jobs.

Luckily for us, our cousins (younger cousins, mind you) heard about our fork problem and purchased us a brand new set of 10 forks. Well, let me tell you…having 14 forks made us feel like Charlie (of Willy Wonka fame) with his golden ticket. We were ready to take on the world.

Education. Funding. Help. What could you use more of? Most things you need don’t just come with the job. You have to go out there and get them yourself. And if that doesn’t work, casually drop hints around my cousins and maybe they will get it for you.

4. Don’t Get Rusty

While we didn’t have many forks, we did have plenty of knives. Only there was one problem. The knives cut as well as an adult trying to use those blunt, tiny scissors found in a kindergarten classroom.

Much like a businessman who does things because “that is how we have always done it” our knives were old, rusty and in need of a social media lesson. We had the correct tools, but weren’t getting the results. Not until we got new knives did we see how much easier life is when we stay sharp.

5. When You Can’t Find What You Are Looking For, Create It

I like to believe that someone in the early 1900s was eating spaghetti and ice cream at the same time. The ice cream kept falling through the fork, and the spaghetti wouldn’t stop slipping off the spoon. They grew frustrated at having to keep switching back and forth between utensils.

Anyone could look at that situation and say, “Who eats spaghetti and ice cream together? Sounds like the habits of a psychopath.” But in this make believe story, this person was not a psychopath, but an inventor. Out of this conundrum the spork was born. If you have never used a spork, just picture something that looks like a silver fire emoji. Not quite a spoon, not quite a fork, it is curved around the edges and pointy in the middle. Great for eating spaghetti and ice cream together…I assume. I doubt my story is 100% accurate, but the point remains the same. Someone had a problem, found that the solution did not exist yet, so they created it themselves.

 

This Year In 5 Things We Can Learn

The latest 2016 recap might be my favorite segment that I write. It is the one where I look at things we encounter on a daily basis and see what important lesson we can from them.

Here’s a year’s worth of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects”

5 Things We Can Learn From Calendars

5 Things We Can Learn From Superheroes

5 Things We Can Learn From The Great Wall Of China

5 Things We Can Learn From Disney Dads

5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

5 Things We Can Learn From The NY Times Crossword Puzzle

5 Things We Can Learn From The Arizona Cardinals

5 Things We Can Learn From Our Couch

5 Things We Can Learn From Books

 

 

5 Things We Can Learn From Books

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about books…

5 Things We Can Learn From Books

1. The Cover Is Actually Kinda Important

The old saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I agree that this is good advice, but I think we should reword it to “don’t only judge a book by its cover.” The cover doesn’t tell the whole story, but it does say a lot. Publishers spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to create a cover that catches the eye of the reader. Yes, the cover can only do so much. Not even a perfect cover can save a terrible book, but I think it is okay to be influenced a little by the first thing you see. Just don’t let that be the only thing that influences you.

2. References Carry Weight

I haven’t done the math, but I would bet that more than 50% of the books that I read I learn about because they were recommended by other authors I follow. Either I hear about them on Twitter, or I read the endorsements on the back of the book. Knowing that someone I trust and respect feels strongly about a book makes a big difference. No wonder employers ask for references in a job interview.

3. Greatness Comes In All Shapes & Sizes

At the time I am writing this, the top 10 best selling books on Amazon include both Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and First 100 Words by Roger Priddy. The former is a 6″ x 9″, 336 page book described as “An enthralling, gripping account of the bloody battles, huge decisions, and historic personalities.” The latter is 4″ x 6″, 26 pages and said to have a cover that is “softly padded for little hands to hold.” They are about as different as Dr. Seuss is from Dr. Frankenstein. Yet, they both sell a ton of copies. You can be different and still be great.

4. Sharing Is Caring

Non-fiction books share knowledge. Fantasy books share imagination. Children’s books share fun. And book readers share experiences. If you’ve ever read a great book, chances are you have told someone about it. Whether in books or other aspects of life, friendships have been strengthened and bonds have been tightened thanks to sharing.

5. Your Work Finishes Quickly But It Can Last Forever

Books are funny things. They can take many years to write, but just a few hours to read. However, the great ones stay with us long after we put down turn the last page.

5 Things We Can Learn From Our Couch

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that we spend a lot of time on, but might not spend much time thinking about…

5 Things We Can Learn From Our Couch

1. We Don’t Have To Just Sit On It

Sure, most of the time we spend with our couch, we are just sitting on it — watching TV, watching Netflix, watching movies, basically any time we watch anything from home. But a quick glace at Wikipedia reminds us that couches are also used for other things like “sleeping, eating, jumping…and other improvised activities” (not sure what they mean by “improvised activities” — is couch acting a thing I am not aware of?). The point is, couches can be used for many things. It may be known for one thing, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have many other benfits to offer. Same can likely be said for your business.

2. Some Benefits Are Hidden

After reading #1, you may be thinking, “I own a food truck, what in the world do I have to offer besides delicious empanadas? What are my improvised activities?” Valid questions. Some extras we have aren’t always easy to see. Kinda like the pull-out bed. You may call it, a hide-a-bed, bed-couch or sleeper-sofa, but whatever name you give it, you should also call it awesome. It is a secret bed that is stored with the loose change and crumbs underneath the cushions. Your added benefits may not be visible at first glance, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

3. We Can Make It Fit

In addition to sleeper-sofas, couches come in many other shapes and sizes — love seats, L-shapes, and sectionals, just to name a few. No matter what your room looks like, you can find a couch to fit it. It is a good feeling to know that we have flexibility. I hate to be repetitive, but the same can be said for your business.

4. But We Shouldn’t Force It

Just because you can find a couch to fit your room, doesn’t mean you can force it through the door. I once helped a friend move and the worst part was moving the couch. It was big and awkward, and after more time spent spinning and twisting than a 1950’s dance, I thought we may have to saw the legs off to get it inside. We eventually got it inside, but it was a pain because we had to force it. Just because your business can be flexible, doesn’t mean you should force it. If you have a new family, don’t create a job that requires you to work 80 hours a week, 2000 miles away. Find a better fit.

5. Testing Helps

I have a friend who traveled to a bunch of furniture stores and tested out dozens of couches before she found the one she wanted. It took time, but she was happy with her decision. The couch fit the shape of her living room, fit her color scheme and most importantly, fit through the door. Want to know how to find a good fit. Test it.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Arizona Cardinals

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that I will be paying very close attention to for the next 17 weeks (and hopefully a few more after that)…

5 Things We Can Learn From The Arizona Cardinals

1. Failure Is Not Fatal

For most of my life, you would only need to look in one place to find the Cardinals — the bottom of the NFL standings. In their 28 years of playing in Arizona, they have finished with a winning record just six times. However, three of those times have come in the last three years. All of a sudden, they have gone from laughing stock to respected franchise.

A famous John Wooden quote says, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” The Cardinals failed many times since coming to Phoenix in 1988. Many times it appeared as if they would never win. But luckily for Arizona sports fans, their failure was not fatal. They have figured out how to change and are beginning to reap the rewards.
2. Individuals Can Change

If there is one Cardinal player who is a walking billboard for the above Wooden quote it is Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu has failed school, drug tests, and recently his knees have failed him. He carries failure like experienced travelers carry neck pillows.

Despite all that, the scrappy safety is seen as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Like the Cardinals organization, he has not let that failure become fatal. He has cleaned up his life, his image and (Cardinals’ fans hope) his knee problems.

3. You Need The Right People In The Right Places

My football knowledge is limited but I know this much…when the Cardinals were bad, their owner was bad. And when their owner was bad, their coaches were bad. And when their coaches were bad, their players were bad. Sure they have good players and coaches here and there, but never enough and never in the right positions.

Now they are good because they have a future hall of famer in Larry Fitzgerald, a top 10 head coach in Bruce Arians, and a star quarterback in Caron Palmer. They have all the ingredients needed for success. Something they haven’t always been able to say

4. Continuity Is Critical

The Cardinals return every player who scored an offensive touchdown last season — something that is unheard of in the era where players change teams more than most people change toothbrushes. This familiarity may not seem like much, but in a league that is so balanced, even the tiniest sliver can make a huge impact.

5. With Great Power Comes Great Expectations

Sorry Spiderman’s uncle, responsibility is not the only thing that comes with having great power. Expectations are also known to follow the powerful. When the Cardinals were bad, they had no expectations (except maybe to lose 12 games). Now, they are being picked to win the Super Bowl. It is clear they have the power, now we’ll find out if they can live up to those expectations.

5 Things We Can Learn From The NY Times Crossword Puzzle

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

Today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” is a little different. It is inspired by a terrific book by Angela Duckworth called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perservance.

In one section of her book, Duckworth talks about a New York Times article titled “How To Solve The New York Times Crossword Puzzle.” The article is written by Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times. If anyone knows how to solve a puzzle, he’s your man. Duckworth takes elements from this article and applies them to our everyday lives. Similar to what I try to do with this 5 things post.

In order to respect Duckworth’s book, I am not going to copy her work. I am simply going quickly highlight a few points she made and sprinkle in a few of my own. Hopefully this will get you to check out Grit: The Power of Passion and Perservance.

5 Things We Can Learn From The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

1. Start With What You Know

Shortz says, “step 1 in solving any crossword is to begin with the answers you’re surest of and build from there.” Duckworth perfectly illustrates how this same approach can help us find our purpose in life.

2. It is Okay to Guess

Finishing a crossword puzzle is not easy. You won’t have all the answers. You may need to guess. Duckworth shows how there will always been a good amount of trial and error as we look for what we are passionate about.

3. Bring an Eraser

Shortz says we can’t be afraid to erase an answer that isn’t working out. We often hear “to try, try again”, but many times in life, we are wise to cut our losses when we are doing something that isn’t meaningful.

4. Look For Clues

The New York Times crossword puzzle is filled with little hints. There are plenty of hints in our lives as well. We just need to start noticing them.

5. Step Away

According to shorts, “If you get stuck on a puzzle, a time-honored technique is to put it aside and return later. Perhaps the brain works subconsciously on problems in the interim. Whatever the case, a fresh look at a tough puzzle almost always brings new answers.” Substitute life for puzzle and the advice still works.