The best blogs or vlogs or art of any kind are an act of generosity. They offer a point of view, insight, encouragement, something interesting or even something beautiful. The worst try to sell you something: "And that's how the Dalai Lama approaches conflict. And speaking of conflict, how often have you seen people conflicted [...]
You only get four, six if you are lucky. If part of what you sell is creative or problem-solving in nature, you may have noticed that the flow state required is not something you can keep up all day. The reality is that human beings can only sustain this level of deep work for about [...]
I have discussed this before, but I still marvel at the phenomenon. I blog daily. I love it. It makes my heart sing. Work gushes in. I mean gushes in. Like a fire hose. There is no cause and effect I can identify, but I end up tempted to give up blogging. The pressure to [...]
To date I have published almost 300 blog posts. Recently, I started publishing a blog every day, seven days a week. And I love it. Writing is deeply fulfilling and I hope I can offer some encouragement, wisdom and insight. And maybe bring a smile. Maybe. It bothers me that my writing is often not [...]
In his book, Willpower Doesn't Work, Benjamin Hardy argues that creating environment, not the will to succeed, is the way to create new and positive habits. Let's say that you want to write every day, which is, not coincidentally, a goal of mine. In the past I tried to force myself to write. I left [...]
As an English major in college I did a lot of writing, but I found it difficult to sit in a room, alone, and write. The blank page was just too much. I found that the ideas flowed better when I found a comfortable seat in a busy public place. I needed the stimulation. If [...]
Wow, a lot of people grouse about New Jersey. Constantly. It's too congested. The taxes are too high. Everything is so expensive. All of these statements are true. But there is one distinct advantage to living in New Jersey: we are dead center in the Northeast megalopolis. That giant, connected city that runs from Boston to [...]
Miss Karen and I visited the Morgan Museum to see Drawn to Greatness, Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection. The exhibit had sketches from some great masters, but the work that intrigued me most was this one: It is called Fantastic Castle at Twilight. The artist, I was surprised to find, is Victor Hugo, author [...]
Answer Yes or No to the following: Is the work you do every day repetitive? Do you know the answer before you start? Can someone be trained to do what you do in a month or less? Is what you do something that any healthy adult can do? Does your work involve forms of any [...]
When I regularly post blogs, the traffic on my website goes up. Dramatically. Calls for proposals also go up. Dramatically. The complexity and challenge of the work also goes up. Dramatically. Did the calls come from the same people that came to my website? I don't think so. A desire to encourage, inform or entertain [...]
Real estate appraisers use the term "plus or minus" and symbols like +/- a lot. It's not that we don't have confidence in what we are doing. It's because we are reporting on and analyzing a market. A market in which every item is unique. It's artscience.
Give away money. Want to grow? Take a risk. Want to get better? Make a mistake. Want to make art? Risk embarrassment. Want gratitude? Visit a children's hospital.
An homage, a celebration, a shout out, a gesture of respect, admiration and appreciation is now potentially cultural appropriation? Isn't this how art, music, film, food and culture evolves?
Where is the modern Algonquin Round Table where artists and thinkers from a variety of disciplines come together to discuss big ideas? Where are the coffeehouses of Vienna where the likes of Jung, Freud, Zweig, Klimt, Loos and Adler would get together and toss about some bon mots? Where are the non-fiction Central Perk, Cheers or [...]
My extended (including boyfriends) family is planning a pre-Halloween outing this Saturday in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Last year Miss Kelly and her friends stumbled upon The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, where volunteers create sea serpents, dinosaurs, a train and yes, the Headless Horseman Himself using hundreds of carved pumpkins. Unbeknownst to us, the Blaze [...]
Marketing is simply a way to get attention for your business, charity or organization. A way to stand out from the crowd, to create a story that attracts customers to your door (or website). Some gimmicks are personal in nature: Slash's top hat, Angus Young's schoolboy outfit, Richard Simmons' striped short-shorts, Steven Tyler's scarves. Some [...]
When was the last time you: Updated your curriculum vitae? Updated your website? Checked in with your best customers? Sent a thank you note? Got new photos taken? Asked for a testimonial? Increased your prices? Really challenged yourself? Made some art? Today would be a good time. Pick one.
In his April 2016 TED talk, Adam Grant made a point that I found fascinating. The best known and most re-recorded classical composers are the ones that generated the most content. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart wrote so much music that some of it turned out to be great. In other words, they were the ones [...]
There are some fine blogs out there, well written, thoughtful and authoritative. Too bad nobody reads them. They are just too long. I realize that Twitter's 140 characters may be too few to make a fine point, but holy smoke, 500 words? Every day? Here's a hint: if you write something so long that the reader has [...]
To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt: Small people talk about people. Average people talk about things and events. The best people talk about ideas. What do the people you spend the most time with talk about? Who do you want to be?
How exactly does one market professional services? I mean, we are not creating the iPhone here, some brand new gadget with intriguing design and features. Sometimes professionals feel like they are doing the same, or similar work, day in and day out. We are bound by sets of rules, accepted methods and client expectations. Stifling, right? Not [...]
Apropos of my post on modern marketing, I saw the strangest thing yesterday. A billboard on U.S. Route 1 in Lawrence Township. Advertising an Advertising and Marketing company. A billboard is relatively expensive and it is designed to market to a large audience, so it is most helpful if your customers are well, everybody. Big [...]
Miss Karen and I went on an impromptu pub crawl last evening, exploring parts of the Jersey Shore that we have not visited in some time. The fact that it was early on a Monday night speaks volumes about our thrilling social life. A lot happened in a couple of hours, which I will share with [...]
...that the Universe tries to thwart your efforts. It is not only your personal Lizard Brain that can work against you, the entirety of the Universe seems to want to put you in your place for daring to create something. Want to write every day, smart guy? Ha! Crashed your computer! The Universe knows that [...]
Nike’s mission statement is, "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world." "If you have a body, you are an athlete." I suggest a corollary: "Artists* bring inspiration and innovation to the world." *If you have a heart, you are an artist.
My mom never let us watch television in the morning when we were growing up. At the time it probably had to do more with getting us out the door on time than anything else, but as always, there was wisdom behind my mother's many rules. In the past few months, sucked into politics like [...]
An example of my personal irrational decision making: I recently ordered several handmade and vintage golf ball markers on Etsy. Some have cool skull and crossbone logos and some are made of unique materials with a motto, my initials, etc. I love these silly things. Do I "need" them in any way, shape or form? Heck [...]
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to make a gratitude list. I am grateful for my wife and children. I am grateful for my mother, father and stepmother. I am grateful for my siblings, their spouses and their children. I am grateful for my extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, [...]
There are four stages to learning any skill and ultimately becoming a master: Unconscious Incompetence Sometimes called "beginner's luck", at this stage the person doesn't know how little they know. The stimulus to go on depends on the person's perceived value of the skill. Conscious Incompetence In this stage, the person becomes aware of how [...]
Summer is here and the season wouldn't be complete without loud and strident calls to make New Jersey's beaches "free." First, let's be clear in our definitions. "Free" is not the same as, "managed by a larger, less visible entity." In this instance, the State of New Jersey. Most beaches in New Jersey are managed [...]
Last fall I received an email from my Alma mater, Vanderbilt University, asking if I would be interested in interviewing prospective students from the area. Vandy had never asked me to do anything before, so I agreed. Nothing happened for months. Then, in the middle of January, the emails came fast and furious. In all, [...]
Never before in human history has such creative energy been unleashed. There are billions of people creating every day in tweets, blog posts, photographs, videos, music. There is no questions that a lot of it is drivel. Some of it self-aggrandizing nonsense, mean, base and even cruel. But some of it is terrific. True expression, [...]
Writing is hard. It requires work. And discipline. And a freakin’ idea. But writing it is the best thing I can do with my time. Here’s why: “Thinking is the hardest and most exhausting of all labor; and hence many people shrink from it….Thinking is growth; you cannot think without growing. Every thought engenders another [...]
I have received a lot of great feedback about the Property Prophet blog. Thanks to all of you for your support and kind words. And thanks to those who have disagreed with me. At least I know you are reading! And with adequate therapy, my doctor says that the facial tick will stop. Or be [...]
In the great film Bruce Almighty, Morgan Freeman's God character says to Jim Carrey's Bruce Nolan, "Bruce, you always made me laugh." The film is, of course, meant for us to rethink our relationship with God. But can we make God laugh? Can we amaze Him with our creativity? Does God take delight in what [...]
I am endlessly fascinated by creativity in the real estate world. I had the opportunity to spend some time recently with John Sims, Chairman and CEO of Marketlogics, a firm that provides creative real estate market advisory services for residential home builders. John's personal philosophy is simple, "People want to feel special. We figure out how [...]
Seth Godin has been saying for years that scaling and mass-production are things of the past, for the simple reason that we have gotten so good at it. We can take any methodology or process and make it more and more efficient. What matters today, according to Godin, is art, honest expressions of individuality and [...]
The great Molly Shannon used to do a character on Saturday Night Live, the sassy Sally O'Malley. Sally was usually auditioning for a dance gig of some sort. She would hike up her bright red stretch pants and declare, "I like to kick, stretch, annnnnnnd kick. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII’m 50! Fifty years old." Like Sally O'Malley, I'm [...]
I committed to reading two books every month in 2013, one fiction and one nonfiction. These are June's selections. A friend of mine recently asked if I really do read two books per month. The truth is I that read more than two books, but I have a secret: I don't feel obligated to finish [...]
I committed to reading two books every month in 2013, one nonfiction book and one book of fiction. I cheated a little this month and read two nonfiction books, but both were really useful and made me think. A lot. Steal Like an Artist: Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. Austin is [...]
If someone claims to have a "surefire" marketing/sales system, walk the other way. Here's why: The system is unlikely to be a fit for your business. Or for you personally. The system will force you to do and say things that are unnatural for you. Even if she is not conscious of why, a potential customer will [...]