Saturday, March 2, 2013

Welcome March and what I am Reading

Greetings All:

Although winter is still firmly in control here in Iowa, it is March.  February, the shortest month, hung around for all of its 28 days.  Although it has been a pretty mild winter, all things considered, there is snow on the ground and I am glad the heater works.  It looks like spring is taking the scenic route.

March is a good time to take a pause and see how the new year is going.  It is also a time to see how those (ahem) new year resolutions are doing.  I found a stat on resolutions and it sums up just how damningly hard it is to keep resolutions;

Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%.

Although it is harder to get struck by lightning, it's still an awfully low percentage.  When I think about myself, I think about one thing I wanted to do more of this year, blog posts.  I think that this is my second or maybe third this year.  I wonder why I have done so little writing despite the fact it is something I enjoy doing. 

I suppose part of that is because of work, schedules, kid events, (blah, blah, blah) I've got plenty of excuses, some better than others.  However, there is only one reason that matters:  I chose not to.

Even as I write this now, I find myself struggling to finish this and am thinking of other competing things for my time.  I wonder if the reason I have not written more is the desire to have the "good post" and the fear of putting something out that is not very good.  There is the old saying that perfection is the sworn enemy of excellence.  There is some truth to that.  There is also truth in the fact that procrastination is something that is wickedly addicting and so hard to overcome.  There are more than a couple draft entries that I had the best of intentions to finish and never did.

So I am going to worry less about putting out blog posts that I have spent hours on and just share what is on my mind.  So here goes:

This year, I have committed to reading/listening to more books.  I have read and heard some great stuff and I wanted to share a couple of things.

Bob Pozen has a new book out entitled, Extreme Productivity.

This guy has an impressive resume of academic, public and private works.  (Here's his bio-  He has also been married to the same woman for 30 plus years (or there abouts) and has two grown, successful kids.  In short, this is a guy who has his act together.  If you are interested in learning more about productivity, check him out.

The other book I am reading now is GEN (ret) Stan McCrystal's new memoir, My Share of the Task.  You may recall that he resigned as ISAF Commander in Afghanistan after the negatively critical article appeared in Rolling Stone magazine,, ending an amazingly impressive career.  I had originally got the McCrystal book from the library and failed to read it in the allotted time (and incurring a debt of $.20 in fines, paid in full, I might add).  However, I read enough of it to decide to buy it and here's why:

There is no doubt GEN McCrystal is a great Soldier and leader.  One could understand if he were to use his memoir to say, "I resigned for the good of the mission but I did nothing wrong and got railroaded."  He doesn't.  If anything, he takes responsibility for the article and quietly retired. 

Yes his book recounts military service and missions.  Yet as I pour through it, I find it more of a user's guide on leadership.  Here's one line:  "[t]he best leaders are genuine. I found soldier would tolerate my being less of a leader than I hoped to be, but they would not forgive me being less than I claimed to be.  Simple honesty matters."  (p. 392).  Wow.

Here is a link to a video presentation by GEN McCrystal.  I have seen this several times and am beyond impressed every time I see it:

I think I will wrap it up with that and wish all of you the best rest of the weekend.  Although it is still snow and cold, spring will get here.  If you think about it, March is a wonderful month that way.  In one page of the calendar you can experience snow and spring, not to mention Easter & Passover (this year) and of course, St. Paddy's Day!  I will make it a point to write about that wonderful day sooner than later.


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