Word-Of-the-Week #771: Determination

May 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Determination the ability to continue trying to do something, although it is very difficult. 

If you were faced with numerous failures would you continue trying to accomplish something that was death defying? Is there anyone you would trust with your life?

This week and next features UT article “Blind San Diego sailor completes trans-Pacific crossing to Japan.  Mitsuhiro “Hiro” Iwamoto and his sighted sailing partner Doug Smith have become the first blind sailing team to sail nonstop across the Pacific Ocean,” by Pam Kragen.

“In spite of difficult winds and currents and numerous equipment failures, blind sailor Mitsuhiro “Hiro” Iwamoto of San Diego and his sighted sailing partner, Doug Smith, arrived in Japan on schedule Saturday, becoming the first blind sailing team to ever achieve a nonstop trans-Pacific crossing between the U.S. and Japan. 

The 8,700-mile trip, which started in San Diego on Feb. 24, took 55 days, though in Iwamoto’s mind, it was a journey that really began six years ago. In June 2013, he and a different sailing partner attempted to sail from Japan to California. But just six days into the voyage, a 50-foot blue whale accidentally struck their boat and it sank in minutes. The two men barely survived drowning.

Smith met Iwamoto 2 1/2 years ago and was so inspired by his desire to try again despite the odds that he bought a boat and offered to serve as Iwamoto’s sighted crewman so together they could complete what they called the Voyage of Inspiration. 

Describing the emotions he felt on Saturday when they sailed Smith’s 40-foot sailing yacht, Dream Weaver, into Fukushima’s Onahama harbor, Iwamoto said he’s “the happiest guy in the world.” 

“I am so happy I stood up and said I want to try again. I’m so lucky I met Doug, who heard my passion and helped me make my dream come true,” Iwamoto said in a phone interview from Tokyo on Tuesday. “I want people to learn from my experience that the only limitations we have are in our brains. My message is never give up.” 

While the duo arrived in Japan with a bit of food and emergency fuel to spare, Smith said the trip was difficult. They got off to a slow start in February when a lack of trade winds along the Baja coast forced them to re-route their westward route. Then, when they got close to Japan about eight days ago, they encountered strong currents and heaving waves that held them offshore in rough conditions for days. 

They also had numerous equipment failures. The boom brake — which keeps the heavy sail holder from swinging rapidly with the wind and, potentially, knocking a passenger overboard, broke — so they had to tie the boom in place, which impacted the boat’s response to changing winds. They also had electrical problems with their hydro-generator, their alternator, their regulator and their geo-location system. 

Smith, who was a novice sailor with just a few months of sailing lessons before the trip, said he learned a lot about sailing and electrical repair during the trip. He also learned a lot about himself as he and Iwamoto patiently worked through all of the problems they encountered without ever losing patience with one another. 

“What would we argue about? We were in the same boat both figuratively and literally,” Smith said in a phone interview from Fukushima on Monday. “We were trying to achieve the same thing and we learned a lot more about each other. It was great.” 

Iwamoto is a veteran sailor, but because he’s blind there was always the danger of falling overboard if he missed a step. And if Smith fell overboard, it would’ve been difficult for Iwamoto to find him. 

To ensure against that, Iwamoto memorized every inch of the boat before they left, and both wore life vests 24 hours a day that were tethered to the boat with a system of cables. There was one day when a sail line broke and Iwamoto had to make his way to the tip of the bow in heavy seas to help Smith fix it. Iwamoto said that was the scariest day of the voyage for him. 

“Fortunately, Doug and I worked together very well. We have a friendship and trust on land, but when you’re out in the Pacific in a boat with just one other person, you develop a much deeper trust.”

This week’s focus is on determination. If you failed at something would you try to do it again? Have you ever dreamed of accomplishing a major feat? Do you know anyone who could help you make your dreams come true?

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Word-Of-the-Week #770: Uncertainty

May 9, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Uncertaintythat which is not accurately known or predictable. 

“Uncertainty is a potential, unpredictable, and uncontrollable outcome; risk is a consequence of action taken in spite of uncertainty.” – Wikipedia

How does it make you feel when a potential outcome is not predictable? Does it make you want to retreat or go for it? Would you feel any different if your life depended on it?

This week and next features two incredible people who have accomplished death defying feats. First is Alex Honnold. Any idea who he is? Did you happen to see the documentary Free Solo?

Last summer, he became the first, and only person so far, to climb El Capitan without any ropes or safety gear. The 3,000-foot granite wall is higher than the tallest building in the world and towers majestically over California’s famed Yosemite Valley. Pretty incredible and sometimes hard to watch! 

These are some of my favorite quotes that I think everyone can relate too.

“If your life depended on it, would you keep doing what you’re doing…or would you change your strategy?” 

“You will always feel fear, but over time you will realize the only way to truly manage your fear is to broaden your comfort zone.” 

“I try to expand my comfort zone by practicing the moves over and over again. I work through the fear, until it’s just not scary anymore.” 

“The big challenge is controlling your mind, I guess. Because you’re not, you’re not controlling your fear, you’re sort of just trying to step outside of it.” 

“So I could just, like, not do certain things, but then you have, like, weird simmering resentment because it’s things that you love most in life have now been squashed.” 

And this from my long time speaker bud Steve Straus, “Life is uncertain.  

There are two ways to deal with life’s uncertainty. One is to fear it. The other is to enjoy it. 

Children have no concept of the future (or fear) so they gleefully experience the wonder and delight of uncertainty on a daily basis. 

The key question is, do you see the wonder and delight of uncertainty or the fear and doubt of an unknown and scary future? It really is only a choice you’ve made.

This week’s focus is on uncertainty. How good are you at controlling your mind in the face of fear? When was the last time you gleefully broadened your comfort zone? Have you ever felt resentment because you didn’t do something or were told you couldn’t or shouldn’t do it?

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Word-Of-the-Week #769: Discerning

May 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Discerningkeen insight and good judgment; perceptive. 

Do you tend to take your time when making decisions? Are you detail oriented? Are you careful and cautious? If not, how does it make you feel to be around someone who is discerning?

This week’s WOW comes from my good friend Tonnia. David P. Snyder, the author of “How to Mind Read Your Customers” says, “Discerning people are either highly conscientious or highly steadfast. They are extremely methodical, careful, observant, and scrutinizing. If you feel you are under a microscope in their presence, you are, so be prepared for a microscopic examination. These people need facts, figures, proof, and assurance. 

Highly conscientious people are conservative. They are controlled, especially with their thoughts and emotions. They are cautious and suspicious of strangers. They are obsessive about quality, accuracy, and details. They expect you to care about the same things they care about. Most are extremely critical and actually a lot more humble than you would think. 

Highly steadfast people are extremely hardworking, fair, honest, reliable, trustworthy, community oriented, family oriented, and patriotic. They expect you to treat them with the same respect and honesty that you would give to members of your own family. They are loyal, dependable, good listeners, patient, composed, relaxed, and consistent. 

Both types of discerning people are slow paced, careful, methodical, and observant. The main difference is that steadfast people are more soft-spoken and less judgmental.” 

This week focus on the discerning people you come in contact with. If you are discerning as well, you should connect quite easily with them. If not, how does it make you feel to be around a slower, calmer person? How does it make you feel when people don’t make decisions as quickly as you do? Can you see the benefit of having a team of people around you who are dynamic and discerning?

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Word-Of-the-Week #768: Comprehension

April 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Comprehensionthe ability to grasp and understand what is read. 

How good are you at reading and grasping the meaning of it? Do you think some people have a problem fully comprehending e-mails you’ve sent? How much digital distraction do you experience on a daily basis? 

I am hoping it’s not just me, but before I send any information I make sure I have edited it at least three times. And I never send anything if I am feeling overcome by emotion. Always better to sleep on it before you send it!

I personally think we have a serious problem with comprehension. And I should add attention spans too it as well. What do you think?

“Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows.  

Attention span is the amount of concentrated time a person can spend on a task without becoming distracted. The element of distractability occurs when the individual is uncontrollably drawn to some other activity or sensation. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus and sustain attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals.”  – Wikipedia

Skimming vs. Close ReadingWe live in a culture that rewards skimming: social media posts, content aggregators, blog posts, and more encourage us to skip quickly through content instead of spending the time and energy to read the texts closely and unpack their meaning.” – Rob Schombs

Larry Rosen and Alexandra Samuel of The Harvard Business Review had this to say about Conquering Digital Distraction. “Digital overload may be the defining problem of today’s workplace. All day and night, on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, we’re bombarded with so many messages and alerts that even when we want to focus, it’s nearly impossible. And when we’re tempted to procrastinate, diversions are only a click away. 

This culture of constant connection takes a toll both professionally and personally. We waste time, attention, and energy on relatively unimportant information and interactions, staying busy but producing little of value. As the late Clifford Nass and his colleagues at Stanford University have shown, people who regularly juggle several streams of content do not pay attention, memorize, or manage their tasks as well as those who focus on one thing at a time.” 

This week’s focus is on comprehension. Do you tend to skim and scan instead of spending the time to read it closely? How easy is it for you to focus on one thing at a time? Have you ever tried reading your communications out loud for clarity?

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Word-Of-the-Week #767: Meaningful

April 18, 2019 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #767: Meaningful 

Meaningful – something that is important or has value to you.

When was the last time you did something that was truly meaningful to you? What are your fondest memories? Have you put off doing something because you didn’t want to spend the money?

This is the second half by Liz Weston on “How to know when it’s OK to spend” . To recap she wrote, “Some people are much better savers than spenders. That can become a problem.


Switching from saving to spending can be hard for some people when they reach retirement age. These reluctant spenders won’t be able to change overnight.

“It’s a transition, and transitions often are rougher than anticipated and take longer than anticipated,” says neuropsychologist Moira Somers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, author of “Advice That Sticks. ”

Plus, many retirees who have trouble spending are worried their savings won’t last. Financial planners typically run computer-assisted simulations to show clients the probabilities that their portfolios will last through various markets at given levels of spending. Even then, some people have trouble turning on the tap.

“For some, it is so severe that we refer to them as financial anorexics,” says CFP John Gugle, chief investment officer of Alpha Financial Advisors in Charlotte, North Carolina. “They literally are convinced that they will run out of money despite our efforts to show them that it is virtually impossible.”

Others are able to start spending once they focus on what’s most important to them, planners say.


“One specific thing we suggest people do is to invest in memories, meaning do things like take your kids and grandkids on vacations that will be meaningful for you and they will remember all their lives,” says CFP John M. Scherer , founder of Trinity Financial Planning in Middleton, Wisconsin.

CFP Dana Anspach, founder and CEO of Sensible Money in Scottsdale, Arizona, has successfully encouraged clients to take trips, hire house cleaners, splurge on their dream cars and buy special-occasion jewelry after she could demonstrate the purchases wouldn’t endanger their financial plans. She also discusses the value of helping others while you’re alive to see the results of your generosity.

“In most cases, this feels far more rewarding than having family wait for you to pass and leaving them a pile of money,” Anspach says.

Then I found more on this from Travel & Leisure that says, “You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of practicing gratitude—how it can boost your mood, help you treat others better, improve physical health, and keep stress and fear at bay. Now, here’s a little trick for how to automatically infuse more gratitude into your life: Spend more money on experiences, and less on material objects.

“Think about how you feel when you come home from buying something new,” Thomas Gilovich, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Cornell University and co-author a new study on gratitude, said in a press release. “You might say, ‘this new couch is cool,’ but you’re less likely to say ‘I’m so grateful for that set of shelves.’” 

“But when you come home from a vacation, you are likely to say, ‘I feel so blessed I got to go,’” he continued. “People say positive things about the stuff they bought, but they don’t usually express gratitude for it—or they don’t express it as often as they do for their experiences.”

Gilovich’s new study shows that people not only express more gratitude about events and experiences than they do about objects; it also found that this kind of gratitude results in more generous behavior toward others. 

“People tend to be more inspired to comment on their feelings of gratitude when they reflect on the trips they took, the venues they visited, or the meals they ate than when they reflect on the gadgets, furniture, or clothes they bought,” the authors wrote in the journal Emotion. 

I have to agree with all of this. The two biggest investments we’ve made are for our house and traveling the world. I LOVE both and I am truly grateful everyday that I get to live where I do and have gotten to see all the things I have!

This week is all about meaningful. Have you focused on what is most important to you? How would it make you feel to spend more money on experiences, and less on material objects? Plus get the benefits of gratitude and exhibit more generous behavior toward others?

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