Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Is there something out there in the world that you feel is owed to you?

Have you "earned" a right to step in line ahead of someone else and claim the prize?

Air travel is a regular part of my work and I love to sit and watch people approach the departure gate in the time before boarding. Occasionally I get a glimpse of someone trying to find a cheaper way to get bumped to the front of the plane. It's hilarious to watch their composure before, during and after their attempt. You can see their posture, facial expression and even how they utilize their wardrobe as they prepare to get what they want, a better lot than the rest of us.

On a recent flight I saw it happen again and it reminded me of my distaste for this facet of our society. Over the years I have met many people who believe that they or or their family has done work, paid money, influenced, etc, etc such that they can benefit above others. What is hilarious though is to find out that behind the scenes, the actual cost of establishing this poise to strike at entitlement ahead of the masses is actually cheaper than one might assume. I have found its more about story telling (sometimes truthfully) than it is about personal sacrifice. Of course those of us sitting on the sidelines assume that they have done something to deserve this privilege but ironically what they have done to deserve it is deceive the rest of us.

I think to wise advice I have heard (apparently from a rich man), that a rich man doesn't stay rich by wasting his money but a fool and his money are soon parted.

Do we sit idly by and watch others claim greater privileges in our world because they are smooth talkers? Do we allow this to happen in our businesses, workplaces, churches, charities, sports events or government? Is it a fair reward for their acting skills?

And yes, in the past I have smooth talked my way into executive class seating, but to be perfectly honest I stopped years ago and I tried to have a conversation with the person next to me and realized, I wasn't one of them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

do I want to be a part of moon shot thinking?

How much of the 6 hours left in my day after the work-sleep-eat-cycle can/should I spend on entertainment?  Well, if you have a family like me you decide to spend quality time with your wife and kids but what do you do with the rest of it?

I understand that we have a great privledge of free time and don't want to waste it. Many people in the world don't get "free" time and many have so much free time but nothing to do in it.

I remember my Grade 8 social studies teacher lamenting to our class about how leisure time will be huge for our generation. He said that we would either end up working in that industry or enjoying it. I remember very few details other than him going on at length several times about the types of activities he thought about. I do remember thinking his vision of my adult future sounded more like summer camp than what my parents were living.

Fast forward to today and where I live in the world I suppose we do have more leisure time than my grand parents did at my age. I am lucky enough to work a day shift, Monday to Friday at a job that is not dangerous that pays well. What I find ironic about our leisure time, compared to the vision my grade 8 teacher had, is how much a screen of some sort is involved. A smart phone, tablet, monitor or TV is a big part of leisure time in society today. We squeeze in "social" time, game time, reading time, movie time, music time and a variety of other screen based pursuits to entertain ourselves. My grade 8 teacher was right about one thing, we entertain ourselves more hours in the week than ever before and more jobs are tied to it than ever before. I don't think he had devices and screens in mind though.

Some of us do spend some of our leisure time in pursuits he had envisioned like golfing, fishing, biking, skiing, etc, etc. Sadly, I am fairly certain that the statistics speak for themselves, the screen dominates. Entertaining ourselves with the screen is a new norm and one that is broadly accepted. A norm that I am trying to reject, but not finding a great deal of will power to do so. My question to myself is how much time should I spend each week on:
  • Time with my wife 
  • Time with my kids
  • Time entertaining myself on a screen
  • Time entertaining myself with reading
  • Time entertaining myself with the arts
  • Time creating new stuff on a screen 
  • Time creating new stuff with tools and materials
  • Time in activities that are fun but also provide exercise
  • Time creating new opportunities for income
  • Time expressing myself through the arts
  • Time learning new mental skills
  • Time learning new physical skills
  • Time in activities that challenge me mentally and physically
  • Time in activities that involve exploring new spaces
  • Time in activities that are building  or contributing to a goal much bigger than my own but that I am passionate to be a part of. 
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Dude, you think too much! Or yikes man, talk about over analysis. Both statements can at times be true but consider moonshot thinking on a personal scale.

What can I do that contributes to my moonshot? Is it even possible to do so without planing my activities and doing this analysis and deep thought? Can we contribute to our own moon shots by just playing around, having fun, living in the moment and entertaining ourselves?