Tis the season to be…maced? The latest Walmart pepper spray incident has left a lot of people perplexed. Had the mace-toting gal had a little more slow, she might have gotten out of Walmart without a police escort. This Wednesday Wait a Minute examines how to deal when the Christmas lights are tangled and your nerves are all a’jangled!

New Poll: Holiday Concerns

November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are behind us, but the pending holidays are yet to come. In an effort to take your pulse on what concerns you most (and how I might be able to meet that need), I’ve created the following poll. Please help me help you by taking a moment to answer. The more people participate, the better I can serve you! Thanks!

As we enter yet another holiday this week, remember that everyone has expectations; but that doesn’t mean you have to fulfil them! Enjoy the slow everywhere you go. You’ll get there faster. Trust me. You will!

Please share this wisdom with others. How will you say ‘no’ today?

My husband’s cooking is legendary. So whenever I get the chance to try out a new cookbook, I know he’ll start to pour over it before I can even crack the cover.

Last night he topped himself with a Chicken in Thai Green Curry that nearly made me weep. It was that good. Thanks to Wandee Young and Byron Ayanoglu’s Simply Thai Cooking cookbook, I will be able to repeat my husband’s laudable culinary finesse. Although I have a hard time following directions, this cookbook is so easy even I can do it!

If you’re looking for a different kind of Thanksgiving feast this week, consider delving into Moroccan cooking with Pat Crocker’s 150 Best Tagine Recipes. The cover alone will make your mouth water, not to mention the spice descriptions and helpful photos.

Take your Thanksgiving to the next level with one or two ‘exotic’ nontraditional dishes. Remember: diversity is the spice of life. If spice is what you need, you’ll get it with these two cookbooks!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Some days it’s all you can do to shuffle across the floor. The art of slow movement takes practice. You need to learn to release the expectation that it’s going to go any faster than this.

I don’t know what expresses this sentiment better than this three and one-half minute video.

Information overload seems to be prevalent these days. This week’s Wait a Minute offers encouragement to unplug, unwind and unload. So take a minute. And save an hour. Here’s how!

In our device-driven world, we are not only connected with our families and friends at the touch of a button, we are also sincerely disconnected when we misplace the tools that let us connect in the first place.

Original Photo at MindfulBalance.org

Take my iPhone, that went missing for eleven hours and 26 minutes this weekend. Yes, I counted. Someone had mistaken it for his and had tucked it into his pocket before leaving my friend’s house. At the time I did not know what had happened. I just knew it was one of those “now you see it, now you don’t” scenarios. I tried calling it, but it was late. And on mute. So I was forced to go to bed, fretting that all my contacts had gone adrift in the blink of an eye.

We got down to the bottom of it by the morning and my iPhone was returned. But it got me to thinking about what happens when the tools upon which we so rely suddenly disappear.

For some it feels as if we’ve disappeared too.

Who are you without your smartphone? An avatar? A shadow of your true self?

It’s problematic, and can be life-threatening when taken too far. On the flight back from Berlin to Munich, my seatmate was fiddling with his phone as we were in a holding pattern just outside our landing zone (can you say iPhone addiction?). I strained to see whether it was in flight mode and think it may not have been. The flight was just over an hour. Couldn’t it wait?

I recalled the panic I had felt just the day before when I thought my phone was gone forever. We are so dependent on our machines. And I question whether that’s really a good thing.

Then another gadget took leave without saying goodbye: my pulse watch that measures the caloric burn during my spinning class. I had to borrow one at the gym because I couldn’t find mine. I felt the now-familiar iPhone fret hover over me. Then I stopped myself and said, “It’s just time to let go.”

In the moment I uttered those words, I looked down to see it lying on the table in the washroom where I had upturned most everything else.

Letting go is a great lesson to learn. Life keeps trying to teach me that one. How about you?

According to the July 2011 issue of the Journal of Marketing, creativity is best enhanced through a combination of training and reward. Despite popular belief that creativity is innate, studies have shown that taking just one course to boost your creativity by learning new skills can have a profound impact on your ability to think outside the box.

But course instruction alone is not enough. According to University of Virginia professor James E. Burroughs and his colleagues, those study participants that combined both training and an incentive produced the best results.

When reporting on the study’s findings, Strategy + Business says: “In tandem, rewards and training can enhance, rather than diminish, employees’ intrinsic motivation, which in turn helps them produce more creative ideas.”

I have to agree.

Real-life case study

Yesterday I was commissioned to play a desperate housewife (again – are we seeing a theme here?!) for a TV show. Whenever I get nervous, I guess my American accent is enhanced. Getting put under pressure by the TV crew wouldn’t have helped. They smiled, said “Try it again,” then let me breathe. While I’m not sure I nailed it perfectly (what is perfection anyway but the guaranteed route to a life of hell?), I used what I have learned in meditation practice and concentration. It showed me that training, combined with an incentive (being paid at the end of it and recognized for my language talent), led to stronger results than if the director had crushed me front and center.

Tony Schwartz, author of  Be Excellent at Anything,  pointed out four desctructive myths that most companies follow in a recent Harvard Business Review blog post.

Myth #1: Multitasking is critical in a world of infinite demand.

Anyone who follows this blog knows what I think about that. But in case you just landed here, multitasking is a myth. It’s counterproductive and a waste of time. Period.

Myth #2: A little bit of anxiety helps us perform better.

If the director had screamed at me (which one did in my very first speaking role on TV), we would probably still be sitting there trying to nail the scene. We finished within the hour.

Myth #3: Creativity is genetically inherited, and it’s impossible to teach.

As the above study proves, creativity can be learned. Really!

Myth #4: The best way to get more work done is to work longer hours.

We all know that a well-rested worker is a productive one. If we had sat in that TV studio yet another hour, the result wouldn’t have been any better.

So how can you be creative today? In what ways can you foster that inner artist? We all have one. Sometimes it takes a gentle hand…or in this case voice, to bring out our best.

Is it Wednesday again? Well, you know what it’s time for, then! This week’s Wednesday Wait a Minute examines strategic speed and how going fast isn’t always, well, faster.

According to a recent report by Cisco, one in three college students and young professionals ranked the Internet as important as food, air and water. These under-30 folks don’t have a working memory of Life Before. Like television, it’s just always been there.

But it goes deeper than that. Two-thirds of colleges students admitted they’d ask about a company’s social media policies during a job interview. The sticky question “What will this position pay?” has been replaced with “What are your thoughts on Facebook during work hours?” Fifty-six percent wouldn’t even consider a job offer that banned social media. Wow.

And it appears the next generation is willing to forgo a higher salary for more flexibility. One in three prefer mobility, social media freedom and device flexibility over more pay.

Give me Facebook. Or give me death.

Forty-one percent of those companies surveyed claimed they used attractive social media policies and device flexibility to attract new talent. Four in five college students want the freedom to choose the device they get to use.

Amazing.

As a freelancer, I work with several computers, an iPhone and even a GPS. I’m just as saddled with devices as the next person. And I’ve never considered the restrictions others may have who work in an office setting. It appears the next generation prefers a work-at-home solution. Three in five believe they have the right to work remotely.

Corporate learning and development professionals could benefit from this intelligence as they devise training programs for the next generation. These are exciting times full of possibility.

If given a choice, how would you prefer to work? Remotely? In an office setting? A combination of both?

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