I like quotes. Here are some from the late General Norman Schwarzkopf that are my favorites from a list The Daily Beast put together:
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
“Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.”
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I’ve never been in the military, and I don’t know that world at all. I have family members who are veterans and in active service, but it’s not a part of my personal experience. I just know I can support my family members and friends who are serving without necessarily supporting the policy that put them there. I have an appreciation that things are not so black and white as some politicians seems to paint them, and I like it when people on the inside indicate through their words that they, too, recognize that there is a lot of gray.
Obama: Nice little acceptance speech, but now that you don’t have to worry about re-election, it would be great if you got a spine and enacted some real change instead of all this centrist, weak bullsh*t from the last 3.5 years.
Go for the jugular, seriously. You’d better believe the Republicans would have. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Item #1 to revisit: regulate the hell out of that still rampantly malignant financial sector already. Tomorrow would be good.
I’m in deep doo doo.
My career/management coach floated the idea that I might be an adrenaline junkie. I was looking for ways to manage my time better, be more proactive, blah blah blah, and she asked, “Have you ever not been a procrastinator? Or did you always wait until the last minute to do things? Term papers the night before, preparing for presentations 5 minutes before you’re scheduled to go on, etc?”
Holy shit. She’s right.
Not only is she right, but my procrastination has actually been rewarded in many instances, only fueling it further. I can think of three examples in different stages of my life:
1. The dreaded English class Shakespeare paper.
Remember these? We had weeks and weeks to do them. And every time I thought about it, I couldn’t get my mind around a single thing I wanted to say. What’s my thesis? Hell if I know.
I remember having to write a paper on Macbeth. It was the night before it was due. I hadn’t written a word. I was in the kitchen pacing, stressing, and in a generally pissy mood when my poor dad happens to walk in. He gets an earful from a stressed out 15-year-old. Not the best way to wrap up his day, I’m sure. But as I ranted about the stupid assignment about a stupid play, a thesis around the role animals play in the story began to emerge. I started to get excited. I flipped through every page of that darn play, characterized the animals, and wrote a stellar paper that – get this – the English teacher later lauded to the rest of the class as a perfect example of careful planning, obvious multiple drafts, and true time and thought commitment.
I had a modicum of grace, enough to feel a little more sheepish than arrogant, but not by much.
2. The dreaded college term paper.
I took reading and writing classes in college to beef up my GPA because I could only pull C’s in my science major classes. (You would think that this might prompt someone to revisit their major, but not me! That’s a different blog entry…)
I took an upper division Comparative Literature course when I was a freshman, taught by someone who spent his life studying James Joyce. (Oh, I’m not out of my league at all…) The course wasn’t specific to Joyce, and in fact we only read Portrait with the rest of the content from other authors, but at the end of the semester, we had a monster paper to submit that could be based on anything in the course.
The only thing I could think of to write about what Portrait. I waited and waited for another idea to pop into my head - please please please let me come up with another idea on ANY of the other books! I didn’t want to be that freshman who wrote a monster paper on the one book in the class the instructor spent his entire career studying. But my prayers were not answered. The night before, without anything else left in me, I wrote the damn paper on Portrait.
And got a big fat A in the class.
3. The dreaded client deliverable.
Earlier this week, I was stressed out about the lack of traction in a client project. We’re working with hospitals and generally getting nowhere. I had a conference call with the client scheduled, looming on the horizon. What would I tell this client? How can we move things forward? I don’t know. I don’t know!
I lost sleep over it. The issue was just twirling around in my head, circling like vultures ready to eat me and spit out my bones once I have a colossal fail on this conference call.
But what’s this?! A brainstorm in the middle of the night? Could that actually work? Why, yes it can! And not only would it work, it’s an excellent way to get things going!
So I tell the client at the conference call, and he’s excited and says we should push forward. And I can’t tell if the glow I’m feeling is from successfully delivering for a client, or from the sheen of sweat covering my drawn face and dark circles under my eyes.
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In procrastination, my mind goes into overdrive. This overdrive tends to result in a hyper-thought, like my brain understands my desperate attempt to save my own ass. It’s the desperation that I think causes me to think more innovatively, as well as to execute in an efficient and effective way. The calm of careful planning and the luxury of time – well, it just doesn’t produce the bigger ideas and efficiency that urgency and pressure produce.
So, I think I’m doomed. I would love to be the person who plans ahead, gets a good night’s rest, avoids panic mode. But then maybe I ought to be in a different line of work, one with some predictability. But it would certainly be less interesting.
I’ve been listening to The Black Keys on continuous loop for weeks now. I’m actually concerned that it will get to the point where I will be sick of the music, and I don’t want that to happen. So, to avoid that disastrous outcome, I started looking for other bands that had a similar sound that I could get into.
I came across Radio Moscow. They are on the more classic rock side side of things, less novel than The Black Keys and The White Stripes from what I can tell initially, but their sound is a bit richer since there are three to the band, drums, bass, and guitar, rather than just two, drums and guitar. I guess Dan from TBK helped them get their start.
So I downloaded two of their albums, but not the most recent one from 2011, since I like their older stuff better. I’ve been listening to it, and really like the music! I thought about how nice it would be to see them live. I thought, “I wonder if they’re doing any shows.” So, I Googled it. Sure enough, they’re on tour right now, and the last show is next month at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. Score! God, I love the interwebs.
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The music does take me back to my childhood a bit. My dad’s taste in music greatly influenced mine. He enjoys rock and roll so much. It makes him smile, and it used to prompt him to tell stories about his young adulthood or the songs or artists. Music was fun. All the Jimi Hendrix and Lynyrd Skynyrd I listened to rubbed off, I guess. I’m still drawn to guitar-heavy music.
But I was also heavily influenced by what my friends at school were listening to. (OK, now I’m just wandering aimlessly down memory lane…) The hip hop and pop music of the 1980s and 1990s, especially the stuff you could really dance to, is still close to my heart! I still get excited hearing A Tribe Called Quest and Digital Underground! Brings back good memories!