Losing and Winning …


Game OverWell, as “they” say about sports, competition, and everything else in life, “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out … “

The trick is to know how to react to  each type of results.


In winning …

Remember that life is full of wins, losses, and draws.  Today is not the only day you will live.  Develop the ability to handle winning without the need to destroy another.  After all, today’s opposition may be tomorrow’s champions of your cause.

The fatal mistake is to confuse the temporary state of winning with the permanent state of being human.  A winner is a winner and that is to be celebrated … but it is not a state of being, just a temporary status. 

    Above all, be gracious, generous, and humble.

In losing …

Losing hurts, sometimes deeply and painfully.

Negative feelings are understandable, especially those related to disappointment and regret.  However, the tenure of those emotions should be short.  After all, the rest of your life is waiting without predestined outcomes.  

Why tie yourself down with negatives when you could be moving forward toward the positive?

    Above all, be gracious, generous, and humble.

When the rain falls and the “game is called” …

Sometimes we don’t win or lose … we just move on and await another day.  Do not act as though you could have prevailed … until a contest is settled, nobody knows the outcome.

When you do not have to compete, look to yourself and try to decide:  Are you disappointed or relieved?  Both sensations are valid and both contain a message about what you did not have to attempt to do.  Ponder that message.

    Above all, be gracious, generous, and humble.


I may have rankled some positive thinkers and motivational speakers with the notion that we are not always winners, but the reality is that we are not.  Trying to operate in a perpetual state that relies on winning will not suffice.   Life does not work that way.  We don’t always win, winning is not everything, and even winners sometimes quit.

However, we can be consistent in our approach.  That, above all, is doable.

Trying to remember how to win and lose in the Heartland ….


NOTE:  Fast Company posted a nifty little blurb today about quitting, which seems to sort of fit with this … maybe.   You decide … read more at “Be A Quitter“.


A Free Four-Step Diagnostic Tool …

Visual Four Step Diagnostic Chart


Step 1:  Activate a timer with an audible alarm set for 30 minutes.

Step 2:  Work as usual in your normal work environment until that timer goes off.

Step 3:  Stop working when you hear the alarm … add bonus “points” for every minute you do not hear the alarm because you are busy working.

Step 4:  Count the number of open browser tabs when you finally do stop.

Chrome Screen Shot


One Open Tab:   Congratulations!   Focus is yours … or you have absolutely no imagination or interest in the world.

Two to Five Tabs:   You are busy, but appear to be controlling any symptoms.

Six to Ten Tabs:   Danger Zone – you are flirting with overstimulation and underachievement

Over Ten Tabs:  Who are you kidding?   This is too big to cover up.  You are definitely diagnosed …

DIAGNOSIS:  ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ALTERNATE METHOD FOR EXECUTIVES (because executives always want a different system):

Now if you prefer a more business-oriented analysis tool, just count the number of active projects you have going on at this exact moment … go ahead, I’ll wait patiently.  The basic scoring is pretty much the same and the numbers should not change, no matter how much you protest that “It’s different at my job”.   Over-extended is over-extended … the rest is just details.

By the way, “Yes” … that second image is an actual screenshot from my very own computer this bright summer morning. 

Bonus point if you can identify an additional diagnostic measure from that screen shot.   Hint:  the open tab is Feedly :).   

I will have more to share on what to do about all this later.

Feeling rather stunned at the real reason my computer is often slow in the Heartland ….


Caveat:  Totally non-scientific and backed up by nothing more than my own instincts that too many tabs is a bad thing.  No responsibility in any way if someone else uses this methodology and gets all cranky or something.

Two Things About Whistling In The Wind …

Whistling - Hand Flute“Opportunity has to knock, but it is enough for temptation to stand outside and whistle.”

Unknown, but found in many places online


Human nature allows us to more easily respond to those things which appear as inviting distractions than that which often appears “disguised as hard work”, as both Thomas A. Edision and Ann Landers have famously observed.

Don’t misunderstand me this bright Monday morning … I see value in regular “distractions” throughout our lives, whether a carefully-nurtured passion for something which none of your friends or family really “gets” or an occasional game or sport just to reduce stress and refresh us in body and spirit.  Personally I like to listen to music or read something that is humorous … that’s all, just humorous … no deep messages or inspiration, no secret to success or ultimate skill builder … just funny and enjoyable.

The issue here is obvious … you have to develop the ability to do two things in regard to knocking and whistling.  Both are critical and your careful creation of skill in doing these two things will make a significant amount of difference in your life.

1)  Develop your ability to tell the difference between a knock and a whistle:

Knocking represents something that will benefit you in the long run.  “You” may mean you personally, a group, a society, or the world.

Knocking is usually about helping yourself and others.  I am tempted to say it ought always be about this, but I am a realist about some things.

Knocking does not overpromise success or enjoyment.  Knocking tells you upfront that work, pain, and struggle are required.


Whistling glazes over the details.   Do not look behind the curtain or under the table.

Whistling promises happiness and ease.  Questions are brushed aside and optimism reigns unchallenged.

Whistling relies on your emotional need to feel good or hopeful.  It does not seek or encourage even reasonable doubts.

2)  Know when you need to respond to the knock and when you need to give in to the whistle:

Choose opportunity when you feel a gap in your life in some area.  The opportunity may or may not fit the gap, but it will fill you up just the same.

Choose opportunity when you cannot sleep at night because an idea consumes your energy.  Look for solutions, especially in unlikely places.

Choose opportunity when the number of people who will benefit from your doing so is more than one.

Choose whistling when you feel that your soul is drained and you need to recharge.  We all experience this, some more often and more deeply than others.

Choose whistling if you can honestly say (just to yourself) that you need a short break.  Sometimes a quick detour can reap huge rewards in renewed effort.

Choose whistling if you know beyond any doubt that whatever you are doing has no claim on you.  Better to enjoy life’s moments than trudge onward doing what you have absolutely no interest in doing.

Life can be very complicated sometimes.  Those who tell you different are ignoring some important realities about options, choices, and daily living. Sometimes we need the knock and sometimes we need the whistle. 

When you respond today, are you hearing the knock or the whistle?

Keeping my options open by listening for both sounds in the Heartland ….




IMAGE:  Photo showing the final position when whistling through the hands.  Taken on 8 April 2010 by Jomegat

Seeing Again …

Eye“One sees things for the first time only once.”

Some anonymous person


You know what they say about couples in a long-time stable relationship, right?

“I still get a thrill when I see her, just like the first time we met.”   Yeah, right …

Time and familiarity has a way of playing with our perceptions and our emotions.  You might feel an overwhelming and positive emotion when you see someone you care deeply about, but it’s not the same experience as when you first met.  You have added years of shared experiences and growth to your perceptions.


Same thing applies in business … maybe more so.

We get used to people, procedures, and activities.  If we see something as a creative and innovative process, we might be tempted to continue to view that process as creative, even as it is eclipsed by more current or evolved thinking.   We see our protégé or favorite co-worker and sometimes still see the young and energetic sparkplug, rather than the quiet and tired colleague of today.


So what to do about the possibility that you are not seeing reality, but rather nostalgic perception clouded by memory?


Try this … do not rely on your own perceptions.

Seek the counsel of others and listen to their views on what is before you.  This will be especially useful if the person whose counsel you seek is not familiar with what they are looking at.  You are not after technical analysis … you just want fresh eyes looking at what is there to be seen.

This requires some trust and some bravery, but the results might be truly “eye-opening” …


Trying to see what is there to see, rather than what I want to see, in the Heartland ….


Am I Missing Something? …

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished;  that will be the beginning.”

Louis L’Amour


imageYes, I get my inspiration where I find it, even from popular fiction authors.

L’Amour was talking about the act and art of writing, but I think we can draw some wider learning from his words.  We first have to let go of the idea that we always know when we are finished.

We have all experienced the satisfaction of completing a project and being able to sit back and regard our work with a nice big smucky grin … and then noticing something. 

Maybe you have experienced one or more of these little epiphanies, while gazing proudly at your work.  I know I have encountered every blessed one at one time or another:

… something was left out?

… something does not work quite right?

… what you have done inspires you toward another project?

… we realize that we have created the wrong solution for the problem at hand?

… we realize that the problem we solved has morphed into something completely different?

You can almost imagine a lanky, sun-burnished old ranch hand leaning against a fence post and saying with a deep drawl, “Well, looks like you ain’t quite done yet, sonny

So what have YOU finished … that really isn’t?

Considering all my “finished” projects which need a little more tweaking or a whole new face in the Heartland ….