My Mind Is Completely Open …

Trash can“If you keep your mind sufficiently open, some people will throw a lot of rubbish in it.”


William A. Orton


Okay … I have always heard that we ought to keep an open mind and I believe this to be a good thing.

However, the honorable Mr. Orton is NOT telling us to close our minds.  He is just warning us of what will come when we open our minds to the world and all that is in it.

You will need to sort through quite a bit of rubbish during a lifetime of being open to new ideas and thoughts.  Best to learn how to do so efficiently.

This reinforces the need for every person to develop critical thinking skills.  After all, you need some tools to identify what is worthwhile and what is not.

Thinking critically about a great number of things, much of which appears to be crap in the Heartland ….






Free Ain’t Free … Unless It’s Free …

The Charlatan - Pietro Longhi 1757

Mini-Rant Warning …


TO:  Advertisers, marketers, salespeople, and anyone else who tries to convince people that something is available without cost.


I just saw an advertisement for a large chain store, which will remain anonymous.  Not because I do not have the urge to shout their name from the rooftop, but because what they do is not unique to them and I do not wish to provide them with extra advertising.

Buy Two, Get One Free!

Now I am a fan of “Free” … as my sagging bookcases and bulging computer files will attest, to say nothing of my constant battle of the waistline.  Free is the Holy Grail, after which I quest without tiring.

However, “Free” has to really mean “Free”, as in no cost, no catch, no hidden fees.

When you have to buy 2 of something to get another one “Free”, you are not getting Free.  You may be getting reduced price per unit, you may be getting cheaper, you may even be getting a great bargain, but you are not getting Free. 

If you don’t believe me, walk into a store that advertises “Buy 2, Get One Free” and try to claim just the third “free” item.  Go ahead … I’ll wait patiently to hear about your experience.

If they had only said “Buy 3, Cut Your Price!”.

Just curious (OK, curious and a bit cranky) this bright June Monday morning …

How do you react to this type of advertising? 

How do we promise one thing, but really deliver another?

What works most effectively to get you to buy?

Feeling a tad irritated as I await responses in the Heartland ….



Image:  The Charlatan by Pietro Longhi (1757)  via Wikipedia

“Here’s Why You’re About to Lose YouTube Subscribers” via Mashable

ScaredHere’s Why You’re About to Lose YouTube Subscribers

Good example of making good news sound like bad news ….

YouTube is doing what many other social media sites should be doing diligently … cleaning house.  

Of course, this headline will definitely attract more attention, so …

If you have subscribers on your YouTube account, be glad someone is trying to make the numbers real … then think about why everyone else is not doing this more often.

Bracing for the impact of losing one of my two subscribers in the Heartland ….



Spring Has Sprung …

20140425_132222Spring means more to modern man than it did to his forefathers.  It brings the hopeful and ever-recurring reminder that there are more pleasant things to look at than television.”

Bill Vaughn in the Kansas City Star

Yes, indeed … spring is working its magic …

20130807_161736I was raised on a farm, from which I “escaped” at the earliest possible moment, never to return as a full-time resident, but only as a visitor, who has grown increasingly respectful of the value of being right out there every day with nature, weather, and life.

Even as a confirmed “city boy”, I still enjoy being outside more than inside.  I like the feel of rain and wind against my face, and even when nature turns violent, part of me is just as excited as when I was much smaller.

Spring is particularly evocative … probably because many of us spend our winters trying to avoid the outside as much as possible.   When spring finally arrives, as it is doing now in the Heartland, we venture outside more often and more happily.  Our step lightens and we look for simple things to appreciate.  Forget the fancy restaurant or slaving in the kitchen … just throw some meat and vegetables on the grill and stretch out to enjoy the sunset as the meal cooks.

I like spring … it reminds me that things change … 

20140428_132631Of course, after spring comes summer with those often oppressive days of heat, humidity, and sizzle.  Then comes autumn, which always delivers around two weeks of absolutely glorious turning leaves and cool, comfortable weather, before giving way to winter, with its crisp and brittle air, the chill in the ground, and the snow on the fly.

Then will come spring … again.

I find this comforting … because I apply this same thinking to the cycles that tend to occur in organizations and with our work.  We grow, we maintain, we retreat, and we regain momentum.  The slow times and bad times are not the end, nor are the good times.

Keep living and working … it beats the alternative and makes being on the planet ever so much more pleasant in the whole …

Loving the season that I am experiencing in the Heartland ….



Three Thoughts About Dealing With Weeds …

Weeds“Whoever came up with the phrase “A job well done never needs doing again” obviously never weeded a garden.”


Well, some things just have to be done again and again, don’t they?You can weed the garden all you want, but the weeds return again and again. 

Work is like that much of the time.


No matter how well trained your team becomes, eventually someone moves on or quits, another person joins the group, and you have a new challenge because you have new dynamics.  You have to start over and reteach, hoping that they will learn or relearn what you need them to know.

You have to recognize when things have changed and you need to adjust to a new reality.


Sometimes you find yourself “pulling the same weeds” on a regular basis.  The weeds are occurring because you are not dealing with the root cause.  Maybe it’s time to pour concrete over the grassSmile … or at least, look for the causes, instead of spending your energy on the symptoms or results.

You need to recognize when you are pulling weeds instead of dealing with the root cause … and change that.


Sometimes we find ourselves out kneeling in the dirt, pulling suspicious looking plants out by their roots, just because.   The team is the same and you are being diligent about dealing with root causes.   Sometimes the weeds are simply not within your control.

Sometimes you just have to pull the weeds and get back to productive work, knowing that the weeds may come again.

After all , most weeds are disturbingly hardy and sort of difficult to kill completely.

Looking at some growths and trying to decide if they are weeds or just ugly flowers in the Heartland ….