Saturday, October 18, 2008
NBC, Lorne Michaels Plotting 'SNL' Video Site
On-demand video Website may feature mix of classic Saturday Night Live sketches and never-before-seen rehearsal footage
By Alex Weprin -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/13/2008
NBC and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels are in talks to develop a new on-demand video Website that would feature an array of comedy clips built around the late-night franchise, according to sources.
While the project is still in the early developmental stage, it is believed the site would include a mix of sketches culled from the vast SNL library, as well as dress rehearsal skits that have never aired. It would also feature additional original comedy similar to The Line, a Web series created earlier this year by SNL writers and performers. The Line can now be seen on YouTube and Sony's Crackle.com.
Insiders say the new SNL online stop would be similar to Comedy Central's site for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
SNL head writer Seth Meyers confirmed that a new site was in the works on ESPN columnist Bill Simmons’ podcast The BS Report, late last week.
Meyers says plans for the site gained momentum after seeing the popularity of SNL clips on Hulu, the News Corp.-NBC Universal owned video site. Because of their length, they lend themselves well to use in clip format, and have consistently been among the most viewed videos on the site.
Among the ideas being discussed, according to Meyers, would be cast member pages, featuring their “top 10” sketches of all time, as well as to ask that week’s guest host what their favorite moments were.
While the project would seem to carry big potential, multiple questions are still being dealt with internally, according to sources.
The first involves whether it would premiere too late to capitalize on the pre-election buzz that has brought Saturday Night Live a dramatic ratings increase. The late-night staple has skyrocketed back into the pop culture Zeitgeist thanks to two memorable shifts in the election.
The first came with a skit describing the media as pandering to Barack Obama. The sketch became a part of the public discourse in the race between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
The second came with Republican nominee John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin—a dead ringer for former SNL head writer Tina Fey—as his running mate. Fey's return to portray Palin has brought a huge ratings spike.
But the election would be long gone by the time the online project launched and SNL has struggled to make it back into the pop culture ether in recent years.
Another concern—perhaps most top of mind for those involved—is the ability to monetize the idea.
Some with knowledge of the project have referred to it as similar to Funny or Die, the video Website co-founded by Will Ferrell. But one NBC insider notes of that site's financial performance, “Funny or Die itself isn't doing that great.”
Also among the challenges for the SNL site is the classic bits that include music, which can be expensive to clear. One insider points to a sketch featuring the Blue Oyster Cult song, “(Don't Fear) The Reaper,” in which Christopher Walken incessantly asks Ferrell for “more cowbell”—a catchphrase that has become popular in pop culture.
“That [sketch] would be impossible to clear because of the expense,” an NBC source says.
However, the network believes it has plenty of clips to launch the site.
One strategy some at NBC suggested was to launch as part of the already established NBC.com. But sources said Michaels did not favor that plan, preferring the new site to be a standalone.
A request via an NBC representative to interview Michaels last week was not fulfilled.
With Ben Grossman
Posted: 17 Oct 2008 08:35 AM CDTI'm going to start off by being very honest, I'm currently broke. I was expecting to get a scholarship that I didn't get, went on a trip that I probably shouldn't have gone on, and bought a certain someone special a present I couldn't afford. That's $4k in the hole, and no regrets, but a bit of a mess to clean up after.
I'm proactively trying to get myself out of the hole before I start dental school next year. Once I start, I'll be about $70K-$90K in the hole per year, so it won't really matter, but it matters now. My goal is to get my credit card paid off, save up a small emergency fund, and establish a few passive streams of income before school starts and I'm a slave with no spare time.
I'll get into a couple of ways I'm earning money right now, but the general point is that self-improvement doesn't have to stop just because you're broke as a joke. Some ways to improve yourself are free, some are cheap, and some actually earn you money!
- Talk is cheap. Actually talk can be worth anywhere from a few cents a minute on skype to free if you're face to face. Being broke is a perfect opportunity to work on your relationships. You don't have to take your friend, or romantic interest on a super expensive date, you can do something simple like get to know what they're really about and what's going on with them. People like nothing more than to talk about themselves, and they're willing to pay professionals a lot of money to just listen to them, so you could be delivering a lot of value to your friends for free!
- Exercise burns. Exercise burns your calories, but it doesn't have to burn your wallet. You can invest in a $30 pair of cross-training sneakers, which can last you awhile if you don't run through swamps and they're practical for several sports. I maintain a really good deal at Bally's for $15 a month for life (after paying $60/month for 3 years awhile ago), so I don't see myself canceling that. However, you can create a 30-minute morning routine without any weight, using just kalesthetics, and maintain a healthy lifestyle for nothing.
- Bottle it. Invest a couple of bucks towards a large waterbottle, or reuse a plastic one you bought earlier, and fill it up with filter/tap water. Drink nothing but the water, avoiding alcohol and coffees which dehydrate you, make you fat, and add up in cash-money if you're a consistent consumer. It's a great way to keep your organs optimally hydrated while saving a lot of money.
- Explore. Find areas around your house, such as local parks and landmarks that you can go to for free. You're out there getting your daily walk, taking in the fresh air, and paying nothing to enjoy mother nature. This is a great way to spend time alone, with a friend, or to get to know a special someone. You'll be surprised how much 30 minutes of walking can improve your overall health, focus, and feelings of well-being. I actually journaled how I felt for 30 straight days of 30 minute walks and it was enlightening to see the full progress after the 30 days.
- Reading is free. That's a big statement to make considering I have shelves and shelves worth of self-improvement books in my room that have a combined cost of hundreds of dollars. However, there's always the library that has a large selection of great books and audio tapes that I like to frequent. Return books on time and it doesn't cost you a penny.
- Work on skills and talents. Some skills and talents are quite expensive to indulge in. Painting requires expensive utensils, racing requires fuel, singing may require instruments or recording equipment. Other skills can be worked on while saving or earning you money. Want to practice social skills? Work at a nightclub on weekends. Want to improve your cooking skills? Volunteer to cook at an elderly people's home in your spare time. Use your imagination and find a creative outlet that works for you.
- Cook your own. The best way to get healthy food into your system is to cook that food, instead of eating out at a restaurant. Find a cheap place, such as a farmers market, to purchase fruits and vegetables. Make these the cornerstones of your meals, taking up at least 90% of your caloric intake. You'll save money, you'll fill yourself with nutritious food, and you'll be able to impress friends or a date with a frugal meal that you created with your own hands instead of spending money on restaurants.
- Character development. Use this opportunity to do some journaling and introspection. Decide what kind of person you want to be, with what kind of virtues and ethics. Decide how you want to be seen by people, and how you would like to treat others. Create a list of rules that you will not budge from which will slowly but surely take you towards your goals.
- Volunteer. This can be a very fulfilling way to pass time while meeting some kindhearted and down to earth people. You're actively spending time improving the quality of someone's life while absorbing joy from the experience. Wow, what a great deal. They should start charging to volunteer. In my case I'm volunteering/interning twice a week at one of the dental schools I applied to. There's no doubt that I'm helping them out there but I'm also learning a lot and most importantly networking with great contacts.
- Writing Pays. Invest a little bit of money into a personal website. You don't have to pay more than $3-5 per month, and you can find a free theme to use. Either create a blog about something you're passionate about, or use it as a portfolio of your writing. Survey all the websites that write about topics you would be interested in, and start submitting your writing. Unleashing you're creativity through the process of writing is an excellent way to improve your train of thought.
|Written on 10/17/2008 by Alex Shalman. Alex is an avid reader and is constantly learning how to improve his life. You can catch him at Practical Personal Development .||Photo Credit: stuartpilbrow|
We are approaching the "Holiday trip to Grandma" season and here are some tips to follow:
Posted: 08 Oct 2008 09:50 PM CDT
|Written on 10/08/2008 by Maria Murphy. After being a psychotherapist for 30 years, Maria developed Simply Put Together, a system that simplifies the organizational side of life while also inserting the element of simplicity that most seek. You can read more of Maria at Simply Put Together.||Photo Credit: Women, Fire & Dangerous Things|
Driving these days can feel like you are in a war zone. People are so aggressive; it’s like a giant pressure cooker. Sometimes you get to work in the morning and you feel like you have run a marathon already, especially if you have to hike a distance.
Here are some simple changes I made in my own life for stress-free driving. Try any one of these and you will be on your way to a simply stress-free ride.
- Skip the NASCAR ride
If you feel the adrenaline rush of putting your pedal to the metal, racing that red light, or riding someone’s bumper, you definitely need to remind yourself to save that behavior for the race track! Chances are, if your adrenaline is pumping you should be on the speedway, not the highway! As an aside, that adrenaline rush can seem harmless, but over time, the impact of the constant “stress response” will add up on your body.
- You are not in a time machine
How many of us have gotten behind the wheel, determined we can make up for being behind schedule? In truth, we should be getting in the car with time to spare because we cannot predict traffic, weather and the like. Stop seeing your car as the time machine that will make up time lost from being behind schedule. Give yourself a bit of extra time instead of trying to squeeze a trip into unrealistic parameters. You will feel better, more relaxed.
- No more bumper cars!
Leave plenty of room between you and the driver in front of you. This is one of the oldest rules in the book and one of the most important. One of the biggest causes of accidents is tailgating. Teach yourself to practice what we all learned in driver’s ed. It could save your life, but guaranteed it will lead to a less stressful ride. Every time you hit those brakes and have a close call, you are doing a number on your car and your stress response system. Why not save your brakes and your body for the real emergency?
- You are not at home
Nix the cell. Metropolitan areas have begun banning cell phone use while driving. In cities like New York and Chicago, you will get yourself a ticket for chatting while you drive. The research is in. Driver’s reaction times while on cell phones are similar to reaction times of people with high blood alcohol levels. Forget putting on makeup, jotting down notes, or eating. Concentrate on what you are doing instead. Consider the freedom you will feel when the only thing on your mind is driving.
- Forgive the “stupid factor.”
You know what I mean. The person in front of you, who doesn’t signal, cuts you off or does all manner of stupid things. Forgive it. Most of us have our own fair share of stupid moves behind the wheel. Let it go and the stress will leave with it. Don’t let someone else’s dumb move ruin your day! I have seen people talk about other’s silly car moves all day long! Don’t bother! You have better things for your mind to focus on!
- Create a peaceful zone in your car
Listen to music or books that relax, not rile you. You can have a scent in the car that is calming. Keep your car clean and organized. This is easy. Clean out your car once a week and bring calming scents or music with you. You will set a more relaxed tone and when you need something, like a napkin for that spilled coffee, it will be at your fingertips.
Friday, October 17, 2008
First, Bad things to do to irritate the crap out of your co-workers. Then to balance things out, How to be a Good boss.
Posted: 09 Oct 2008 10:51 AM CDT
|Written on 10/09/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.||Photo Credit: bru76|
If you’re an employee, chances are that you have colleagues. If you want to progress at work, you’ll find that being popular in the office helps - hate to say it, but it's true. Whether or not you enjoy playing the office politics game, you might need to at least be likable in order to win that big project, promotion or pay rise.
Can you do it? Can you show a little dedication, hard work, commitment and the painful to read “can do” attitude. I will tell you, it's not easy. The simpleton's approach would be to simply get colleagues hate you so much they’ll do anything to get rid of you.
So, if you are looking to get ahead - avoid these like the plaque. If you are looking for an early termination and perhaps some severance pay, here's your to-do list.
There’s no surer way to get someone to hate you than to stab them in the back. One of your colleagues confesses that they’ve been sending a few personal emails on company time? Tell the boss. A workmate begs for you to help on a project that they’ve screwed up? Look sincere when you say you don’t have time – then go straight to their manager.
- Be a “Jobsworth”
While you’re busy backstabbing, make it clear that you’re never willing to do more than your job is worth. If someone asks you to do anything slightly outside your remit, wave your job description in their face. Better yet, memorize it so that you can quote it word-for-word whenever necessary.
Part of being a jobsworth means sticking to your exact contracted hours. Start shutting down your PC at 4.55 so you can make a clean getaway at 5. Don’t ever put in ten minutes just to finish off that last task. Some idiot is staying late to finish a vital presentation? Well, if he wants those finished slides from you, he should’ve asked earlier.
- Clown Around
While your colleague is panicking over his presentation, lighten up the mood in your office by joking around. Hide his favorite mug, unplug his keyboard when he’s out of the room, log onto his Facebook account to set a silly status message. If you’re really good, you’ll be able to make him loath you whilst maintaining your goofy grin.
- Delegate Badly
Of course, all that messing around doesn’t leave much time for actual work – so you’ll need to do some delegating. Handing out tasks as badly as possible is a sure-fire way to win the hatred of your subordinates. How about giving them a mammoth project at 4.45 in the afternoon? Or dumping a load of papers on their desk without any instructions?
- Expect Special Privileges
Never forget that to be truly hated, you need to set yourself a peg above everyone else. Show that you expect to be treated as someone special. Chew out colleagues who check personal email during the workday – but make sure you spend as much time as possible on Facebook and Digg. Insist that you’re too busy to ever make anyone else a coffee – but sulk if they don’t include you in every round.
- Slack off
Not doing your job is a simple way to breed a simmering hatred amongst your colleagues. One of the special privileges you deserve is to have as much “me time” as possible during the working day. Make it your goal to spend an entire eight hour day reading blogs (especially this one). Don’t bother replying to any emails, especially ones with the “URGENT” flag – they’re bound to be boring and blown out of proportion.
- Tease and bully
To reinforce your superiority, make sure you find someone to pick on. Whether it’s the fat guy, the geek, or the girl with a funny accent, make sure you find something sarcastic and oh-so-witty to say to them every day. Bonus points if you hide their stapler, “accidentally” spill coffee on their shirt just before a big meeting, or spread rumors about them. Just imagine you’re back at high school and you’ll get the idea.
- Throw a tantrum
Whenever something goes wrong at work, throw a tantrum. It’s always someone’s fault (and never yours). Shout, scream, point a finger, threaten to get people fired, and make sure everyone can see you’ve completely lost it. Bonus points if your freak out results in broken office furniture. Your workmates will not only hate you, they’ll lose any respect they ever had for you, your family, your dog, etc.
- Whine constantly
If all that shouting has given you a sore throat, complain about it. Better yet, whine about every little thing that goes wrong in your personal or work life. Traffic was bad? Make sure everyone knows what an awful commute you had. You’ve got a lot of work to do? Instead of getting on with it, sit there and complain to everyone how stressed you’re feeling. With a bit of practice, you can turn any minor annoyance into a half-hour rant. I know you can do it!
Posted: 09 Oct 2008 06:57 AM CDT
|Written on 10/09/2008 by Manish Pandey. Manish is a tech-enthusiast and blogs about social media and technology at manishpandey.com.||Photo Credit: wikipedia|
Steve Paul Jobs was born on February 24th, 1955. He is known to be the Chairman, co-founder as well as the CEO of the Apple Inc. He was also the former CEO of well known Pixar Animation Studios. He was also represented among the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Company. Not bad!
He completed his studies in California and later he did his frequent after-school lectures in Palo Alto at the Hewlett Packard Company. In a few months time, he was hired in the same place and from there his career started to accelerate. The great personality exhibited by was told and appreciated far and wide. He was referred to as one of Silicon Valley’s leading egomaniac by Fortune Magazine.
It was in the year 1976 when he founded the company he named Apple Inc. Presently, Jobs is referred to as the single largest shareholder in the Walt Disney Company and also one among its Board of Directors. His presence and appreciation in both the computer as well as entertainment field is remarkable.
With his fame, he is well known for whatever came out from his mouth and was thus noted to be quoted. In casual conversation, Steve Jobs seems to come up with earthmoving quotes. The mastery of this is that most of his quotes can be applied to the the jobs we all have, the careers we all seek, and the lives we all want to lead.
Let's take a look at some of the great quotes of this modern day tech and media leader.
- To Build up Confidence
“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, so every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know?"Steve Jobs is confident in whatever decisions he makes and he talks about what has taken him to great heights. He also insists all of us to be good to the heart as our lives are short and death can arrive at any time.
- On Confidence and Creativity
“That happens more than you think, because this is not just engineering and science. There is art, too. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of these crises, you’re not sure you’re going to make it to the other end. But we’ve always made it, and so we have a certain degree of confidence, although sometimes you wonder."People are terrified at times. However, those that make choices based on real criteria, regardless of the conceptual nature of them, can confidently stand behind them and are able to shake off the uncertainties that arise.
- On the Experience as a User
“Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to the par, it’s our fault, plain and simple."User satisfaction is not just for business owners. Your boss could be considered as a user of your output. By mastering your trade and ensuring a complete and accurate output (albeit a report, a design, an article, etc.), your 'users' will be happy and reward you with continued business.
- On Focus
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”The real meaning of focus is not the simple yes. Instead, it is all about the ideas which are imparted by picking and sorting the best out. Careful detection and estimation of your plans and the ideas and strategies taken to implement them are what Steve Jobs is talking about.
- On Passion
“When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante; they have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, are they going to fall in love with ” ? Because if they in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.This comes down to passion. When you have passion for what you do, good results and dedication are sure follow. Identifying your passion is difficult but once there, work is no longer work. As a worker, find and live your passion. As an employer, get employees to really see the vision and their role in taking the company there.
- On Leadership Qualities
“So when a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things."Cisco Systems had a great motto at one point that read, "We are stronger together than we'll ever be apart." Many times, good ideas are made great by seeking input from others. By surrounding yourself with people that you'd admit are smarter than you, greatness has a chance.
- On Product Tactics
“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.”This is about legitimacy. Getting paid is great but executing on a long term vision based on demand is a true art.
- On Succession Planning
“I mean, some people say, ‘Oh God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And, you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple. My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.”The real work of a CEO is to lay pipe (sort of speak). A good CEO is laying the groundwork for an organization to succeed on its own - today and tomorrow. Much of this has to do not only with the people that surround you, but letting go of the ego.
- On LayOffs
“We’ve had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren’t going to lay off people, that we’d taken a tremendous amount of efforts to get them into Apple in the first place – the last thing we were going to do is lay them off.”When you make a concrete effort to only hire the best employees, releasing them may cost more than keeping them around. Sure. Unproductive employees need to go but mass layoffs versus a strategic realignment that moves expertise, is a clear alternative. Choices like this, short term gain versus long term impairment, are critical ones to make.
- On the job of Recruiting
“Recruiting is hard. It’s just finding the needles in the haystack. You can’t know enough in a one-hour interview. So, in the end, it’s ultimately based on your gut. How do I feel about this person? What are they like when challenged? I ask everybody that: ‘Why are you here?’ The answer isn't very important, it’s the meta-data."The recruiting job is tough indeed and not as easy as you'd think. If you, as a hirer, get to someone's core, you have a chance at understanding them. This is what Steve Jobs would love to say about the entire process of hiring people for work. He also finds it similar to looking out for the needles in the haystack which is simply as impossible as it should be.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Check out the special acrobatics about a minute into the video!
Most people in leadership will get the opportunity to hop into the sack with someone inappropriately. You will have the opportunity to cross a line sexually. You will be faced with a situation that looks like you just can’t pass up. It’s not if, it’s when. So unless you want to be plundered by the Boom Chicka Wah Wah Assassin, we need to be prepared to make good decisions in the area of sexuality and relationships. - Deadly Viper
We end the 3 Man Killers series with the topic of sex, arguably the most common and deadly of the three. It doesn’t take a historian to come up with the names of several promising men that have been cut down in their prime by sex in its various forms: Elliot Spitzer, Governor of New York, John Edwards, presidential candidate, and John Browne, Chief Executive of BP…oh yeah, and wasn’t there something a while back regarding a woman named Lewinsky?
These men were successful leaders with promising futures. Yet, they chose to throw it all away for sex. What were they thinking? And how did they end up choosing to do something that they knew carried such great risk? What is it about sex that causes men to go further than they want to go, stay longer than they want to stay, and pay more than they ever planned on?
In The Truth About Cheating, licensed family counselor M. Gary Neuman studied hundreds of men who had cheated on their wives to find out the motivation behind the act. His results were quite interesting. When asked what led to their unfaithfulness, their answers broke down as follows:
- 48% - primarily emotional dissatisfaction
- 32% - equal emotional and sexual dissatisfaction
- 8% - primarily sexual dissatisfaction
What’s remarkable about these findings is the huge number of men that cheated due to emotional rather than sexual dissatisfaction. Emotional dissatisfaction? Really? You wouldn’t guess that from listening in on conversations among men. Imagine telling your bros at halftime of the football game that your wife isn’t tending to your emotions well enough. That might be the last time you’re invited to the game day festivities. Many men have been taught not to dwell too much on their feelings and not to talk about them with others. They don’t realize that there’s a problem in this area until looking back in retrospect to what went wrong.
This isn’t just a married man’s problem either. The same issues of emotional dissatisfaction reveal themselves in the lives of single men that hop from one relationship to another hoping to find a woman that will erase their self-doubt and help them feel like a man. Most of us would never admit to it though, conveniently disguising this emotional void under terms like, “player,” “ladies man,” or “sewing wild oats” rather than calling it what it really is: insecurity and weakness.
The funny thing about sex is that it’s never just about the sex. There’s always something more to it than just the physical act. Whether it’s loneliness, lack of connection with a spouse, poor confidence, or a need to be in control, sex seems to promise a quick and pleasurable respite from the real issues with which we’re dealing.
Perhaps it’s our failure to recognize the importance of emotional connection that has become our Achilles’ heel when it comes to staying clean in the arena of sexuality. Or our inability to admit that in the age of Botox, fake boobs, and teeth whitening, that it might not be all about the physical.
Men, both single and married, have an innate desire to be useful, resourceful, valuable…and needed.
A quick look at some of the heroes we look up to show us examples of men who are invaluable to those around them. Think of Russell Crowe in “Cinderella Man” going out each night to fight in order to buy his family some milk and keep on their apartment’s heat. The idea of providing for our loved ones strikes a chord with every man. It’s what we feel born to do in one way or another.
So it makes sense that men find themselves attracted to those that make them feel valuable and needed…and likely to wander from a relationship with those who don’t.
Neuman explains that the feeling of being underappreciated is the most common emotional factor among cheating men. Somewhere in the midst of diaper changes and mortgage payments life tends to beat the gratefulness out of marriages. Couples that once wrote poems of each other’s beauty and worthiness now suddenly can’t muster up the strength to say thank you. And it hits men at the core.
This could also explain why so many men find themselves having affairs with their subordinates at work. Neuman found, “…nearly half of the cheating men reported meeting their mistresses at work.” The young secretary that calls you sir and drops everything at your beck and call starts to look pretty attractive when you’re coming from a home environment where an eye roll has become the standard greeting.
“Men look strong, look powerful and capable. But on the inside, they’re insecure like everybody else. They’re searching and looking for somebody to build them up to make them feel valued,” explains Neuman.
Obviously, you can’t make yourself feel valued and needed, that kind of feedback needs to come from the lady in your life. This means that women have a great role to play in protecting the fidelity of a relationship. But it’s not all on her in any way. While you can’t force your wife or girlfriend to treat you with an attitude of gratitude, there are steps you can take to engender more loving feelings between you. Treat your wife with the same appreciation that you wish to feel in return. Do the things she asks of you quickly and without the smallest complaint. Go above and beyond the call of duty in getting things done around the house and in making romantic gestures. And explicitly tell your wife about how you’re feeling and what you emotionally need from her. Guys don’t want to talk about their emotional needs, but it’s far better to force yourself to do it now, then it is to pathetically point the finger of blame at her after you’ve been unfaithful.
While all of us are better off with someone who builds us up, there are definitely other things we can do to keep our integrity intact and our sex a positive part of our lives rather than a killer.
1) Accountability - Every man needs other men in his life that will ask him the tough questions regarding his sex life. Accountability isn’t just for people in Alcoholics Anonymous; all of us need it. It is much easier to begin walking down the road to infidelity and scandal when left alone to justify and rationalize each chip in integrity without the spotlight of scrutiny.
Accountability doesn’t have to be a formal meeting, it only requires a friend that is willing to hold you to your own standards and not turn a blind eye when they see you going in the wrong direction. Mainly it requires someone who is willing to ask you questions about your sex life, marriage, work, etc. Just knowing that someone cares enough to ask will often deter many of us from making poor decisions.
2) Have great sex with your spouse - The idea that the best defense is a good offense not only applies to the playing field, but your sex life as well. The truth is, a man that is having wonderful sex with his spouse is far less likely to seek it elsewhere. But as any man knows, a healthy sexual relationship doesn’t always happen on its own, it must be intentionally sought after.
What does this mean? It means you may have to actually talk to your partner about what she enjoys and what she feels is lacking. It’s a startling concept to some, but a necessary part of keeping your sex life strong and healthy. The benefits of a great sex life at home seem to manifest themselves in a wide variety of areas from work to physical and emotional health. And most importantly it keeps the focus on your partner rather than the new intern at work.
3) Don’t even walk down her street - I once read a proverb that told the tale of a young man who found himself walking down the street of the town’s seductress. On cue she came out of her house to meet him as he passed by; she was dressed in revealing clothing and explained that her husband was away on business. “Come in, let’s enjoy ourselves ’til morning,” she offered. With her smooth words and seductive tone she got him to come inside. The proverb ended with the following words:
All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.
As my friend and I were discussing this I commented that he was so foolish to go inside the house when he knew full well what was going to happen. “You’re wrong,” challenged my friend, “he was foolish the second that he stepped down her street.”
Don’t take a single step down the road to being unfaithful. Don’t go to a “friendly” lunch with your secretary; don’t stay late at work chatting with your female co-worker; don’t exchange personal emails and text messages with your wife’s friend.
But it takes more to keep yourself on the right track than simply avoiding the obvious physical, tangible enticements. We must also keep our thoughts faithful and focused, a task difficult to do in this sex-saturated society. Everywhere a man turns there is another advertisement, another movie or commercial with a scantily-clad beauty daring us to pursue her. Pornography, specifically, has become more and more rampant as men are able to view it on the computer and in the privacy of their own home. Don’t even take a step down the road to fantasizing about someone other than your wife.
4) Learn how to fly a plane - It’s no secret that many men find themselves having affairs as an injection of excitement in what has slowly become a boring life. For some it’s not even about the sex as much as it is a break in the monotony. They want to feel alive again. For those in this position, the failure isn’t so much a relational one as it is a lack of living life well.
If sex is the only thing that excites you as a man then you need to find some new hobbies. Learn a new activity like flying a plane, getting your scuba certification, or rock climbing. We are often most fulfilled when were are in the midst of learning something new and this fulfillment is a great way to fill the void that might otherwise be satisfied with a new woman.
Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
20 Ways They Could Make The Debates Actually Worth Watching
No matter who you're voting for, all of us can unite behind the fact that the first two Presidential debates have been boring as hell. The campaigns are so scared of actual drama that they turn the debates into tightly-controlled snooze-fests.
So what can they do to make them worth watching again? We asked you to Photoshop for us a debate format that would actually be worthy of our time and attention. The winner is below, but first, the runners-up:
And the winner is...
Congrats, Dr.Macaroni. You win money.
Seth Godin wrote this:
People really want to believe effort is a myth, at least if we consider what we consume in the media:
- politicians and beauty queens who get by on a smile and a wink
- lottery winners who turn a lifetime of lousy jobs into one big payday
- sports stars who are born with skills we could never hope to acquire
- hollywood celebrities with the talent of being in the right place at the right time
- failed CEOs with $40 million buyouts
It really seems (at least if you read popular media) that who you know and whether you get 'picked' are the two keys to success. Luck.
The thing about luck is this: we're already lucky. We're insanely lucky that we weren't born during the black plague or in a country with no freedom. We're lucky that we've got access to highly-leveraged tools and terrific opportunities. If we set that luck aside, though, something interesting shows up.
Delete the outliers--the people who are hit by a bus or win the lottery, the people who luck out in a big way, and we're left with everyone else. And for everyone else, effort is directly related to success. Not all the time, but as much as you would expect. Smarter, harder working, better informed and better liked people do better than other people, most of the time.
Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it's more fun not to. Paying forward when there's no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing. You've heard these things a hundred times before, of course, but I guess it's easier to bet on luck.
If people aren't betting on luck, then why do we make so many dumb choices? Why aren't useful books selling at fifty times the rate they sell now? Why does anyone, ever, watch reality TV shows? Why do people do such dumb stuff with their money?
I think we've been tricked by the veneer of lucky people on the top of the heap. We see the folks who manage to skate by, or who get so much more than we think they deserve, and it's easy to forget that:
a. these guys are the exceptions
b. there's nothing you can do about it anyway.
And that's the key to the paradox of effort: While luck may be more appealing than effort, you don't get to choose luck. Effort, on the other hand, is totally available, all the time.
This is a hard sell. Diet books that say, "eat less, exercise more," may work, but they don't sell many copies.
With that forewarning, here's a bootstrapper's/marketer's/
1. Delete 120 minutes a day of 'spare time' from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.
2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:
- Exercise for thirty minutes.
- Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
- Send three thank you notes.
- Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
- Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
- Give a speech once a month about something you don't currently know a lot about.
3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.
4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.
If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don't, you'd have a wider network and you'd be more focused.
It's entirely possible that this won't be sufficient, and you will continue to need better luck. But it's a lot more likely you'll get lucky, I bet.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Posted: 12 Oct 2008 11:32 PM CDT
Men today aren’t joiners. They’re disillusioned and cynical about society’s organizations. Politics? Riddled with corruption. Corporations? Run by greedy bastards. Church? Brimming with hypocrites. Fraternal lodges? Just a bunch of old fogies. Men in contemporary society prefer to remain aloof and apathetic, criticizing these organizations from the outside. For many men, manliness has been equated with rugged individuality; the man who does his own thing and associates as little as possible with other people. So is belonging to an organization even desirable? Is it possible to be a part of a group without killing your manliness? In this post, we take a look at William H. Whyte’s classic, The Organization Man and what it can teach us about balancing your manly individuality with membership in an organization.
The Organization Man Circa 1956
In 1956, The Organization Man was published and it quickly became a bestseller. William H. Whyte offered a searing evaluation of the values and ethos of 1950’s society. Marked by their relative apathy to politics, philosophy, and rebellion, the so-called “Silent Generation,” was coming of age and heading out into the workforce. The goal of many a middle-class man during this time was to land a job at a plumb corporation, give his full loyalty to the organization, move up the ladder, and enjoy a secure retirement.
Whyte was alarmed at the enthusiastic willingness of these new hires to subvert their desires and their individuality to the corporation. He was most discouraged at the amount of pressure, in the form of new sociological mantras, that was leading them to do so.
Social scientists during this period proposed that man was most happy when he belonged, and that “belongingness” was one of the most important characteristics of a potential employee. This “Social Ethic” lauded the cooperative group over the individual. The virtue of the 1950’s was one’s ability to get along with others. The role of manager, the facilitator of cooperation, was greatly elevated and prized, while the role of leader was demoted. For if a group had a leader, then all members’ viewpoints were not equally valued. Whyte believed these ideas were fatal to individual identity and innovation. He argued that the elevation of “belongingness” over genius and leadership would impede both individual growth and satisfaction and the progress of society and business.
Of course the Silent Generation’s devotion to becoming an “organization man” did not last, followed as they were by the Baby Boomers, who grew up in the time of Watergate, Vietnam, and the turmoil of the civil rights movement. Disillusioned with the organizations they had been reared to respect, young people actively and openly questioned all the old pillars of society: government, religion, business, and education. The standard of belongingness was turned on its head; a person’s worth was now based on how individualistic and independent they were from the traditional standards of conformity. It was all about doing your own thing. The value of the individual reigned supreme over that of the organization.
Organization Man defined a generation; the idea of the “Organization Man,” like that of his contemporary, “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” took on a life that transcended the book itself. It left us the inedible image of the soulless corporate drone, the man in the gray flannel suit, willing to subvert his individuality to pay a mortgage. But this picture and the haze of time have obscured what Whyte’s real message was. Whyte was not entirely opposed to organizations or even conformity per se. He argued for “individualism within organization life.” “The fault is not in organization,” he said, but “in our worship of it.” At the heart of his message was the warning that when it came to the balance between individuality and “belongingness,” the pendulum had swung far too much in the direction of the latter.
Several generations later, it now seems the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Of course times have changed. Men today understand that giving their loyalty to a corporation won’t be rewarded; they’ll probably be downsized during a merger and or when their job is outsourced. But men are loathe to join any kind of organization at all. They live increasingly private, isolated lives. They won’t join as much as a bowling league. The ideal is to be as unfettered and free as possible, without having commitments to anyone or anything. Yet they are missing out on the benefits that belonging to an organization offer a man.
Why belong to an organization?
Organizations get things done. You may feel satisfied with yourself sitting at home, reading blogs, and posting rants about the state of the world on Facebook, but you’re not really changing anything. While we love the idea of completely grassroots movements, the truth is that it’s organizations that get things done. If you look at the civil rights protests of the 1960’s, it may appear to be the ultimate grassroots movement, with one rugged individual, MLK, and thousands of other individuals getting together. But King and his followers largely worked through real organizations. Groups like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference planned and orchestrated the events that tore down the walls of racial prejudice and segregation. Even our most potent symbol of rugged individualism-the American cowboy-is misplaced; many cowboys joined labor organizations to protect their rights as workers on the cattle drives.
Individual effort is not without merit; indeed, one man can change history. But an organization can multiple the impact of that effort many times over. In every time and in every place, it is has been organizations of men, from the loosely confederated to the firmly contracted, who have gotten the job done.
Organizations focus your energies. A lot of men today say that they’re not religious, but they are “spiritual.” But if you ask them what they doing to foster their spirituality, the answer is often “nothing.” The same thing goes for things like being “social aware,” or “into politics.” Yet the energies needed to change yourself and the world need to be channeled by some kind of vehicle. Think about electricity; without a wire to carry the energy, you can’t use it. If you have impulses to change society or yourself, joining an organization can help focus those energies. Some kind of structure will help turn your thoughts and desires into action. The electricity of your good intentions needs a conduit, an outlet to use the power. Joining a church or mosque will focus the energies of your faith; becoming a Big Brother will focus your charitable impulses; joining a political organization will give you something tangible to do with your idealism.
Organizations motivate you. How many times do you sit at home thinking about all the good intentions and goals you have for your life and then fail to act on them? Isolating yourself is a surefire way to drift through life. You never have any responsibilities, of course, but then you never grow either. Organizations provide some accountability to your goals and a source of motivation to get better. You may think you’re an awesome runner, jogging around your neighborhood every night. But why don’t you joining a running club and have some guy around to push you to go faster and needle you when you don’t show up? Similarly, joining a service organization requires that you show up to projects that you sign up for. If you have trouble motivating yourself to reach your goals, join an organization which will help your progress.
Organizations force you to rub shoulders people unlike yourself. In our increasingly isolated lives, our social circles have gotten smaller and smaller. We work with people like us with the same level of education and we hang out with friends from similar socio-economic backgrounds. We rarely rub shoulders with people from different spheres of life. This is fatal to democratic society. Groups of like minded people tend to move to more extreme versions of their initial position. Organizations provide you with the opportunity of getting to know a wider spectrum of people. Join a fraternal organization and befriend some old guys. Join a diverse church and get to know people from a different side of town.
Organizations need good men. Many men stay away from joining organizations because they are disillusioned with them. They stand on the outside and criticize perceived corruption or hypocrisy. Yet this turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. When good men drop out of these organizations or refuse to join them, the criticism only becomes truer. If every virtuous man drops out of politics because he believes that it’s corrupt, politics will only become more debase. If organizations have any chance of changing, good men have to stay and work for change from within. Change will be slow, but when men stay on, join in, and work for change, it will happen.
Balancing Conformity and Individuality
There are only a few times in organization life when he can wrench his destiny into his own hands-and if he dos not fight then, he will make a surrender that will later mock him. But when is that time? Will he know the time when he sees it? By what standards is he to judge? He does feel an obligation to the group, he does sense moral constraints on his free will. If he goes against the group, is he being courageous-or just stubborn? Helpful-or selfish? Is he, as he so often wonders, right after all? It is in the resolution of a multitude of such dilemmas, I submit, that the real issue of individualism lies today. ~ William Whyte, The Organization Man
Of course, organizations should not be looked upon as an unmitigated good. A man should join an organization which benefits him, but still allows him to hold onto his individuality. A man must acknowledge that it is sometimes not an easy line to walk. Whyte believed that the 1950’s Social Ethic was dead wrong in its denial of the conflict between the individual and society. This tension will always exist. Whyte believed that every individual should face these conflicts and wisely negotiate them. Here are some guidelines for balancing the tension between allegiance to self and loyalty to an organization
Never blindly join an organization. The Hare Krishnas may be friendly and offer you free food, but don’t join up until you’ve done your homework. Don’t join things on an emotional whim. Take your time, and choose an organization that lines up with values and will help you become a better man.
Be indispensable. The more indispensable you are to an organization, especially a business or corporation, the more freedom you will have to be yourself and dissent when appropriate. If you are a cog in the wheel, and there are 100 more cogs who could do the same job, then you are under more pressure to do exactly what you boss says. If you’re hard to replace, or you know you could be hired somewhere else very easily, you’ll be freer to retain your individuality.
Prize your individuality. Whyte’s beef with the 1950’s Social Ethic was its belief that “belongingness was the ultimate need of the individual.” Don’t get so caught up with your group that you come to believe that it is always true that what is good for the group is good for the individual. Whyte advises to give “your energy to organizations, but not too much allegiance.”
Be aware of your conformity.
To be aware of one’s conformity is to be aware that there is some antithesis between oneself and the demands of the system (being aware of one’s conformity doesn’t make you a conformist). This does not itself stimulate independence, but it is a necessary condition of it. ~ The Organization Man
Strive for a healthy sense of self-awareness; regularly evaluate why you’re doing what you’re doing and how okay you are with it.
Don’t give up individuality now in hopes of regaining it later. Whyte spoke of men on the bottom of the corporate ladder who chafed at the amount of kowtowing they had to do. Yet they labored under the impression that if they put in the time and worked their way up to the corner office, they’d have more freedom to be themselves and use their own ideas. The truth then, as it is today, it that those higher up, while sometimes given a bit more leeway, are still under constraints to conform to their role. Think about it: if you have a job in which you constantly conform and act like someone else, then when you finally get promoted, you’ll be put in a position suited for your alter ego, not the real you.
If an organization fundamentally violates your values, if it forces you to make choices that compromise your conscience, then it is time to leave. True loyalty is a manly virtue in short supply. Don’t bail from an organization because of a rough patch, or new policies with which you disagree, or your offense at a fellow member or some behind the scenes politicking. These kinds of things happen in every organization. Stay on and be a force for change. On the other hand, don’t turn a blind eye to grievous misdoings. If an organization fundamentally violates your values or conscience, then it is times to make an exit.
Remember that the group is not the ultimate source of creativity. Whyte felt that the belief that groups were the best source of innovation was a crock. Groups are inherently non-creative, he argued, because members must strive to compromise, agree, and come to a consensus. The ideas which result tend to reflect the lowest common denominator between the group’s members. Don’t rely on an organization for your ideas. Formulate your own thoughts and then bring them to the group for debate and refinement.
Remember that outward conformity can sometimes be a secret weapon. The greatest catalyst for change may be the man who outwardly conforms while “secretly” working for change. Whyte wrote:
And how important really, are these uniformities to the central issue of individualism? We must not let the outward forms deceive us. If individualism involves following one’s destiny as one’s own conscience directs, it must for most of us be a realizable destiny, and a sensible awareness of the rules of the game can be a condition of individualism as well as a constant constraint upon it. The man who drives a Buick Special and lives in a ranch-type house just like hundreds of other ranch-style houses can assert himself as effectively and courageously against his particularly society as the bohemian against his particular society. He usually does not, it is true, but if he does, the surface uniformities can serve quite well as protective coloration. The organization people who are best able to control their environment rather than be controlled by it, as well aware that they are not too easily distinguishable from the others in his outward obeisances paid to the good opinions of others. And that is one of the reasons they do control. They disarm society.
When an organization does not meet our expectations and we become disillusioned with it, the temptation is simply to leave it behind. But we probably joined that organization in the first place because we believed in its foundational principles. Those principles may now be obscured by policies or leaders with which we do not agree. But by leaving, you leave behind any possibility of redeeming that organization. If all the men with the vision of what that organization could become depart, then it will never reach its potential. Sometimes it’s better to stay and outwardly conform, while actively working for change. Others in the organization will trust you, as you seem to be with the program, and yet really you will be subverting the status quo behind the scenes.
For example, I had a friend who worked for a small non-profit organization that monitored human rights abuses in foreign sweatshops. He did valuable work there, but his work had a small impact. He was offered a job to work for Nike, helping to improve their sweatshops. While my friend was loathe to join a corporation with a such a record of worker abuses, in many ways by “conforming” to be a Nike employee, he would actually gain more influence in changing the industry as whole.
How do you know if you’ve conformed too much to the organization? How do you know if you’ve cooperated too much or surrendered too much of yourself? Whyte defined the following as the “terms of the struggle:”
To control’s one destiny and not be controlled by it; to know which way the path with fork and to make the running oneself; to have some index of achievement that one can dispute-concrete and tangible for all to see, not dependent on the attitudes of others. It is an independence he will never have in full measure, but he must forever seek it.
What do you think? How do balance being part of a group and maintaining your individuality? Drop a line in the comment box and let us know.The Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook
Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.
Check Out These Related Posts:
Posted: 07 Oct 2008 08:06 PM CDT
|Written on 10/07/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.||Photo Credit: mattfred|
Maybe you read the article on how to stop your impulse spending with a certain smug glee. Perhaps you don’t fall prey to those high-street offers – you’re never tempted by the candy bars by the checkout because buy your groceries, and everything else, online.
But you could be spending far more than you realize on things you don’t need or really want very much. It’s even easier to spend money online than in a shop: no handing over your cash or plastic, your favorite websites probably have all your card details ready saved and you can spend, spend, spend without a second thought.
From Impulse to Purchase in Sixty Seconds
Usually, impulse online buys go something like this. You read a review of a DVD or book that you like the sound of, you click onto Amazon or Play.com, you search, select, checkout, pay… you can go from the initial “That sounds cool!” impulse to handing over money in under 60 seconds (if you type fast).
This is where online shopping opens up a whole new impulse-driven world for shopaholics. Before the internet, you’d at least have to be near an open store too, or you’d have to go to the hassle of making a phone call and ordering it. But online, you can buy anything at any time of day – whenever you get the urge to shop.
It’s Not Pretend Money
Since you can spend money just with a few clicks of your mouse, shopping online feels just like web surfing. The money is all virtual, flying around the internet without you having to dig your hand into your pocket for the cash – or even for your card.
Remind yourself, every time you buy something online, that you’re not spending pretend money; it’s coming out of your bank account. And when you look at your statement at the end of the month, it can be surprising how a few online shopping sessions add up.
Break the Click Click Checkout Habit
Next time you’re about to order a new book, DVD, shirt, etc – stop! At least check whether it’s cheaper anywhere else. I’ve never found a price comparison site that seems to search everywhere so perhaps the easiest way is just to check your favorite few stores – compare Amazon’s price for a CD with Play.com’s, for instance, or Amazon and Barnes and Noble for books. Ebay is also worth a look, especially if it’s something you don’t mind buying used.
Even when you’ve found the best deal around – don’t buy. Write down the item you want, and wait at least 24 hours before you consider purchasing it. This is a great discipline to get into, as once a day has gone past, you might find that “hilarious” slogan T-Shirt doesn’t sound quite so funny any more.
Don’t Shop When Drunk
I suspect that rather a lot of late night crazy ebay purchases are made by people who’ve had a drink or three. If you’ve been drinking, stay away from any sort of online shopping site – your self-control and will-power are likely to be hugely diminished.
(Obviously, shopping in high-street stores whilst drunk is a bad idea too … but they aren’t usually open at midnight on a Friday, so your opportunity to do so is rather limited. Maybe all those big corporations wanting to encourage our impulse-buying urges should be giving out free beer…)
Ban Yourself From Sites
This is a bit of a drastic solution but if you find yourself constantly buying things when you’ve just gone online to “browse” – ban those problem sites. I did this with ebay one January and it definitely curbed my clothes habit! If you really lack willpower, you could use security software to block certain sites entirely.
A variation on this is to only allow yourself to shop online at certain times: perhaps one particular day of the week. The advantage of this is that you can think about your purchases in advance, and you’ll also waste less time if you buy everything in one go.
Do you find yourself spending too much online? Do you tend to click mindlessly through sites until you’ve gone past the “checkout” and “pay now” buttons, only to regret it at the end of the month? Share your experiences and tips in the comments…
Supplementary photos by: garethjmsaunders, Jug Jones