News Sense

December 2016

In This Issue


"If you have a society where people can't agree on basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?"

Martin Baron, Executive Director, The Washington Post, commenting on the Onslaught of Fake News:  Nov. 7, 2016

Most Insightful  quote from a Former Professional Athlete

"I had no discipline. 
I had all the talent in the world. You know, great body, great genes. But I had no work ethic and no discipline. 

The better you get, the more you have to work. The better I got, the lazier I got."

Rashaan Salaam
Heisman Trophy winner 1994, RB.

First round draft pick for Chicago Bears. NFC Rookie of the Year. His career was marred by injuries, fumbles, marijuana use and by his own account, immaturity and unpreparedness.

Salaam died on Dec 7,  2016 at 42. At this time, his death is being investigated as a suicide. 


It's good to be the CEO! The median pay package for the leader of a large company just passed the $10 million mark . A chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker's salary, up sharply from 181 times in 2009.



"Treating friends like investments or commodities is anathema to the whole idea of friendship," said Ronald Sharp, a professor of English at Vassar College, who teaches a course on the literature of friendship. "It's not about what someone can do for you, it's who and what the two of you become in each other's presence."

...Bits from Barbara

Welcome to our latest newsletter ... OUR HOLIDAY EDITION. 

Time to look ahead with anticipation, optimism and self-awareness. 
After a tumultuous year...and a new one soon upon us, our original article joins an on-going and timely debate:  How do you find work you love and live a great life? Do you find it through Passion or Persistence? 

Also included are some of our favorite things: sightings, sayings, quotes and our  
all in an  effort  to inform and entertain you. 
Barbara shot

Happy and Healthy 2017! 

Best Sighting

Some New Yorkers are born.  Some are made.


By at La Guardia Airport, 2016.


Who doesn't want to lead a GREAT life? There are enough self-help books and videos on the subject to fill a football stadium--so, apparently, most of us. 

Cal Newport is an author and lecturer, and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.  One of his books is entitled " SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU."  In it, he argues that the long-held belief of " following your passion" is not
the key to success. He says building skills are far more important and will ultimately lead to greater satisfaction. 
I'm inclined to agree.
Much of the "follow your passion" mantra began with Steve Job's famous talk in 2005 - when he intoned that to become successful, all you needed to do was "follow your passion." 

He said this when Apple's hottest item was the I-Pod Nano and the I-Phone was still two years away. Job's path to greatness was hardly a smooth one. After co-founding Apple, he was fired from the then-beleaguered company, and was subsequently brought back to lead it, when it was still struggling. Newport argues that Jobs found success and greatness, not through his passion, but through non-stop persistence. His passion grew out of his success--not the other way around.
While there are undoubtedly many successful people who follow their passion from an early age--the vast majority of us stumble into our chosen fields by luck or accident.  Often, passion comes after  you put in the years of hard work and diligence. You discover that perfecting a skill  is satisfying, valuable and transferable. And--it gets noticed. 

There's one thing, though, that all successful people share: they're very skilled at communicating their message.
As a former TV anchor and reporter, and now a Communication Trainer, I am often asked what's the key to successful communication.  Do you have to love public speaking in order to be good at it? Are you born  with an innate ability to speak well?  The answers are NO and NOT OFTEN.  Many people are scared to death when they have to speak in pubic. In fact, most great
communicators are not born--they're made.
What makes them great is their desire and persistence to become great.
In a world of overwhelming choice, distraction and competition--the one skill  that can set you apart is persuasive communication .

This is not about wildly exaggerating what your company or you can do; it's about telling your story in a compelling and winning way.
How do you do that?  You prepare and practice. For example, before interviews, you gather information--both online and off--about the company or person you'll be meeting, so you can speak convincingly and probe smartly. Before giving a speech, or presentation, you carefully craft what you're going to say, edit it thoroughly, and practice like crazy. And the best speech--is the one you write yourself--with or without help.
Much of my work with clients involves role-playing and mock interviews. You can do that, too. Just ask yourself the same questions that interviewers, investors or reporters would ask you. As a result, you will learn to stay composed when confronted with difficult questions. It will steel you for what's ahead. It's also a good idea to practice your answers out loud. There's plenty of scientific consensus that confirms when you speak out loud you're more likely to remember and believe what you say.
But is it passion or persistence that makes for greatness? Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is just showing up. That always makes me smile. For me, the phrase has always meant, " Hang in there! " " Stay in the game!"  If you don't show up, if you don't persevere, for sure you will never win.
Of course, just hanging in isn't enough. You also have to be deeply committed to self-belief . Roger Federer is my favorite athlete. Not only is he arguably the greatest tennis player ever, having won 17 Grand Slams, but no player has ever played with as much athletic grace and conducted himself with as much flair and dignity than Federer. He's now 35--ancient in tennis land. For the first time in his career, he's suffered through two major injuries and hasn't played most of 2016. He has not won a Slam since 2012, though he has made several finals.

That kind of drought can - and has - driven off a lot less relentlessly optimistic and well-balanced champions.  But Federer is vowing to return in 2017. His persistence  and self-belief  are legendary. He also has this preternatural ability not to dwell on losses.
To me, that's winning.  To get ahead, to be truly great, you can't mull over disappointment.  You just have to forge ahead.  Focus on doing well. Persevere. Of course you have to Dig Deep to know if a change in direction is needed, and if so, you have to make that change. (Federer was one of the last players to switch to a larger racket, and it wasn't easy.)  But the real key is to get better and better at what you are doing, until people notice.
Which brings me to another great talent: Steve Martin. He was once asked what advice he would give to aspiring young performers. His answer was " BE SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU," which was the inspiration behind the title of Cal Newport's second book. No matter what you do in life, be so good, you are noticed.  It doesn't matter what you do--it applies to anything. 

People always need the skills of skillful people. Just be the very best you can be at what you are doing at the moment, even if it's not where you think you should be. Sure enough, you will become happy doing it. If not, you will take those superb skills elsewhere, and do something else.  That's success on a grand scale!

President-elect Donald Trump goes on a fact-finding visit to Israel. Everything is going very well, until, while on tour of the old city of Jerusalem, he suffers a heart attack and dies.

Shaken, yet calm, the undertaker tells the American diplomats accompanying him, "You can have him shipped home for $50,000, or you can bury him here, in the Holy Land, for just $100."

The American diplomats huddle in a corner to discuss the situation for a few minutes. They return with their answer to the undertaker: they want Donald Trump shipped home. 

The undertaker, extremely puzzled, asks, " Why would you spend $50,000 to ship him home, when it would be so wonderful and soulful to be buried here, in the Holy land, and you would spend only $100?"

The American diplomats reply, " That's true. But long ago, a man died here, was buried, and three days later he rose from the dead. We just can't take that chance. "