Browsing articles tagged with " No Doubt"
Dec 30, 2013
Ann Thompson

Peter Jones: The power of negative thinking

Preparing for the worst helps astronauts react well if it does happen. It could work in other worlds, says Peter Jones

Negative thinking, or negativity, is really bad. Having negative thoughts means you will fail, scare yourself out of doing something, and stop something good from happening. So you should make it your New Year’s resolution to cut it out. Right? Erm, I disagree. I think negative thought has been, quite wrongly, given a bad name. I think it is, used properly, a very good thing.

All right, now that the deafening chorus of wrong, wrong, wrong from sports coaches, business gurus, and assorted political types has died down, can I make my case?

My position must look like a pretty odd one to take. In sport, for example, coaches go to inordinate lengths to instil positive thought into, and banish all negativity from, young athletic minds. If you think you are going to lose, then you will lose; believe you can win, and you probably will win, is the general mantra. Out of interest, I Googled “sport, positive thought, power of” and came up with 46 million references. The top one was a video about banishing just a negative vocabulary from an athlete’s mind.

Then I substituted “business” for “sport” and produced 59 million hits. It’s the same mantra. Think failure and your business will fail; think success and you are already halfway to succeeding.

I have no doubt there are businesses where the use of negative words is banned, where only optimism is permitted. It must lead to some pretty bizarre conversations. “Boss, today we succeeded in losing a million pounds! Tomorrow, we are going to do even better!!”

The concept of the power of positive thought has become a business in its own right. Successful sportsmen, whose bodies for some unaccountable reason have started to fail to respond correctly to the positive thoughts emanating from their brains, discover they can make a tidy living giving inspiring “motivational” speeches to business executives even though they know nothing about business, still less the trade that the executives are in. You see! That’s the power of positive thought working!

Brilliant. Over Christmas I read Chris Hadfield’s autobiography*. He’s the wacky astronaut who became an internet star tweeting about life aboard the International Space Station and videoing himself playing his version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

Like, I suppose, millions of boys my age, I stayed up all night to watch fuzzy black and white pictures of Neil Armstrong’s first step on to the moon and dreamed of becoming an astronaut. So did Mr Hadfield and unlike millions of other boys, he made it to space. Respect!

Much of the first part of the book is not at all about how positive thought powered his way up the military flight ladder to astronaut status, but how to make an ambition happen. Relentless hard work and a highly supportive wife is his answer. And then you come to a chapter with a rather startling heading: “The power of negative thinking.”

He explains how, when it comes to launch time and astronauts are sitting atop a rocket which is in effect a long controlled explosion, they are not afraid. His feelings on his first launch were not fear, but relief that the mission was finally under way.

He explains: “Trainers in the space programme specialise in devising bad-news scenarios for us to act out, over and over again, in increasingly elaborate simulations. We practice what we’ll do if there’s engine trouble, a computer meltdown, an explosion.

“Being forced to confront the prospect of failure head-on – to study it, dissect it, tease apart all its components and consequences – really works. After a few years of doing that pretty much daily, you’ve forged the strongest possible armour to defend against fear: hard-won competence.

“Our training pushes us to develop a new set of instincts: instead of reacting to danger with a fight-or-flight adrenaline rush, we’re trained to react unemotionally by immediately prioritising threats and methodically seeking to defuse them. We go from wanting to bolt for the exit to wanting to engage what’s going wrong, then fix it.”

He says he is not a nervous or pessimistic person, rather he is perhaps annoyingly upbeat. His optimism comes not from feeling luckier than other people, nor from visualising victory but from a lifetime visualising defeat and figuring out how to prevent it.

He writes: “Like most astronauts, I’m pretty sure that I can deal with what life throws at me because I’ve thought about what to do if things go wrong, as well as right. That’s the power of negative thinking.”

Another book I have been reading tells me that RBS could have done with a lot of negative thinking.** The author records how, under Fred Goodwin, RBS adopted a positive thinking ethos under the advertising slogan “Make it Happen”. He also tells how the bank’s Global Banking Markets division (GBM) – the investment banking arm which went horribly wrong, was told at the 2002 annual staff conference to “think like winners”. There was even, you’ve guessed it, a “motivational speech on teamwork and leadership” from a sportsman, a round-the-world yachtsman.

The book gives the strong impression that neither Goodwin nor Johnny Cameron, the then head of GBM, really knew the nuts and bolts of all those complicated collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) the division was dealing in order to grow bank profits. Had RBS engaged in some of Mr Hadfield’s negative thinking – what could go wrong with these CDOs and how could we fix the problem – it might well have survived the financial crisis.

And then there’s politics, where negative thinking is politically incorrect. Actually, I think it is politically astute, and so do most leading politicians. In the run-up to elections, all parties do their best to test their campaigns and strategies to find out where they might go wrong.

The media test out the politicians all the time, intensively so during elections, because that’s the positive job we do for voters. And this being referendum year, I’ll be doing a lot of that too. Sure, it’s negative, but if it is good enough for astronauts, it’s good enough for me. I’ll raise my Hogmanay dram to the power of negative thinking.

• An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield. MacMillan, £18.99.

• Making it Happen, Fred Goodwin, RBS, and the Men who Blew up the British Economy, by Iain Martin. Simon Schuster, £20.

Sep 27, 2013
Ann Thompson

Zachary, St. Amant off to solid starts

Given the attention that has been lavished on some of their Class 5A district football contemporaries, it would be easy to look right past St. Amant and Zachary.

Two of St. Amant’s District 5-5A rivals, Catholic High and East Ascension, are ranked in the 5A top 10. In 4-5A, Scotlandville is unbeaten and Central is the team with a long string of district titles.

But the Gators (2-1) and Broncos (2-1) have something going for them too — an impressive three-week evolution that started with a Week 1 loss.

“I told our parents and fans that we would be a work in progress,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “There’s no doubt that we expect to be a better team in weeks 4, 5 and 6 than we were at the start of the year.

“And I’ll say this, the other teams, like Catholic, East Ascension and Dutchtown, in our district are all very good. McKinley (2-1) and Woodlawn (2-1) have played well. But I wouldn’t sleep on the Gators. I like where we are, and am excited about what we can be.”

Both teams face different tests Friday. St. Amant hosts traditional 4A power Lutcher (1-2). Zachary entertains Scotlandville (2-0) in a 4-5A opener.

Things looked pretty bleak for Zachary during a 58-21 season-opening road loss to C.E. Byrd in Shreveport. Since then, Byrd also has moved into the 5A top and the Broncos simply kept moving.

“We ran into a buzz saw with Byrd,” Zachary coach Neil Weiner said. “They were hitting on all cylinders. We came out of there knowing we didn’t play our best.

“The second week our defense played extremely well, but the offense sputtered. Last week we put things together and played well in just about every phase of the game.”

Given the makeup of the two teams, improvement was expected. St. Amant returned no starters on offense and just three on defense. A 31-29 loss to 4A Warren Easton exposed both problems and potential. Wins over Higgins (34-0) and H.L. Bourgeois (30-0) followed.

The Gators had a defense with two all-district performers, lineman Reece LeBlanc and linebacker Nathan Martinez, back along with defensive back Donovan Lewis.

“We felt like we had a good base for our defense with those guys,” Oliver said. “We’ve also had other guys who have stepped into roles for us. We knew we needed to give the offense time to mature. We’ve shut out our last two opponents and we held EA scoreless in a jamboree. Now the key is getting more consistent on offense.”

Zachary’s 45-0 victory over 2A East Feliciana last week detailed the Broncos’ growth. Different players have stepped into the spotlight in wins over Northwest and EFHS.

Running back Forrest Town ran for 164 yards on 14 carries and scored three TDs for Zachary last week. Defensive back Phillip Brooks also had a breakout game with an interception for a touchdown. Christopher Carrier has filled multiple roles and is the team’s top receiver along with playing safety and on special teams.

Wary of a rich tradition that belies Lutcher’s 1-2 record, Oliver is approaching Friday’s game with caution. Lutcher’s lone win is via foreit. The LHSAA ruled that McDonogh 35 played an ineligible player its Week 2 win over the Bulldogs.

“They’ve had injuries and they’ve played a tough schedule,” Oliver said of Lutcher. “Our guys know this isn’t a typical 1-2 opponent.”

Weiner needs no motivational speeches. Scotlandville running back Dontrell Hilliard has tallied close to 400 yards against the Broncos the past two years.

“Scotlandville is very good,” Weiner said. “To me, Hilliard is probably the most underrated running back in the state. I think everybody can contend in our district this year and that makes every week a challenge.”

While Week 4 is a test, it’s part of a progression for Zachary and St. Amant.

Aug 29, 2013
Frank Davis

Exercise, be kind and laugh until you cry to feel the boost

– 29 August 2013

When I am in the US working, a small group of us gather at 7am on Saturday mornings. Then we run for about an hour. Now when I say ‘run’, we are no Usain Bolts. We are slow, but we’re still running rings around those still in their beds.

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We then head for breakfast to a country coffee shop, and for an hour or so we share great stories, generating much laughter. It’s a magical time. Everyone full of serotonin and on a runner’s high by 9am.

They say that it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 muscles to frown. While the jury is still out on the exact levels of that statement, there is no doubt about the benefits to your body of a smile or spontaneous laughter. It’s also a very inexpensive way to improve your looks.

Some time ago, a Harvard University professor invited students into a room and got them to wear technological gear to measure responses in their bodies to various stimuli.

When they got students thinking positively, their immune systems were boosted. When they were thinking negatively, their immune systems plummeted.

Then they tried another experiment. They got them to watch a movie on Mother Teresa working with the poor in India. The students were from different faith traditions and some with no faith tradition at all. While they were watching the movie, all of their immune systems were boosted. Seeing love in action was enough to deliver the boost.

The positive effect of kindness on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain has been proven in research studies. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that makes us feel more comfortable, peaceful and, in general, happier.

Studies have discovered that a simple act of kindness directed towards another person improved the functioning of the immune system and stimulated the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person doing the act of kindness.

Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness had similar serotonin-boosting beneficial results. Kindness extended, received, or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and positive feelings of everyone involved. Kindness is a win-win-win scenario for the giver, the receiver and the observer.

Now, back to the Harvard experiment, where it was found that the biggest boost to immune systems came from genuine laughter.

If you want to really increase your levels of this happiness serotonin, then combine your laughter with exercise. In numerous studies, exercises like running, swimming and cycling have been shown to increase both the production and the release of serotonin.

Interestingly though, if you try to do too much exercise, or feel forced into doing it, it may not have the right effect. Choosing to exercise changes its neurochemical effect. This may be a result of our ancient hunting instincts. There’s a huge difference between running because you’re hunting something for your supper and running because something’s hunting you.

The biggest problem with exercise is that when people don’t feel like doing it, they don’t do it. That’s normally because their serotonin levels are low. So, it’s important to go against that feeling and remind yourself of the benefits of that serotonin boost by taking exercise, doing an act of kindness or laughing with good friends until the tears run down your cheeks.

Declan Coyle is a director of Andec Communications. His motivational techniques have been used by several All-Ireland winning teams. declan@andec.ie

Irish Independent

Jun 9, 2013
Frank Davis

Jose Mourinho : What he can bring to Chelsea

One of the finest managers of the modern era, Jose Mourinho, is set to take his managerial talents back to south London club Chelsea, according to The Sun.

After a less than successful tenure at Spanish giants Real Madrid, the ‘Special One’ will aim to rekindle his knack for winning trophies at his beloved Chelsea side.

The club has moved on since his first arrival in 2004 and new challenges face Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, but as a manager what can he bring to Chelsea?

Trophies

The expectation on 50-year-old’s shoulders is like no other. After such a stellar tenure in 2004, there is no doubt Roman Abramovich will have just as high demands for the the ‘Special One’ this time round too.

The fact is though, Chelsea is guaranteed trophies and success, the man was born to win football trophies.

His track record speaks for itself, securing two Champions League trophies and five domestic league titles with four different clubs across Europe.

He has vast experience of life in the Premier League and this will sure aid him in his quest for trophies next season. 

He’s a master of tactical knowledge and has the ability to bring in the finest talent football has to offer will serve him well. After all, if there is one man who could provide Roman Abramovich with domestic football’s most coveted trophy again, it’s Jose Mourinho.

Man management

Ask José Mourinho about the most important thing in coaching, and his reply will be ‘man management. He understands the psychology of his players, how they work and what motivates them. A cornerstone in Mourinho’s ‘methodology is the tailoring of communication to each individual. 

One of his finest examples was telling Frank Lampard he was the world’s best player but needed to win trophies, challenging his ambition while exploiting the fact that, until then Lampard had won nothing.

In terms of motivational techniques Mourinho is up there with the best. He exploits player’s personalities on a much deeper level than any other manager.Balancing this motivational act with 22-23 players two times a week requires not only a masterful communicator, but someone with a profound understanding of individual emotions and personal goals.

Big money signings

It’s as simple as this; footballers want to play under Jose Mourinho. His aura, personality and desire to get the best out of his players are among the greatest in the game. Players will respect him and want to learn from his foundation of knowledge. 

He possesses great man management skills, enhances a player’s motivation and performance. He understands the game and will help develop his players but most importantly, he’ll bring the team success. When you think about it, he’s a very attractive offer.

The man has always been able to attract Europe’s elite talent and this will no doubt continue at Chelsea. This was most evident when he single handily took it upon himself to obtain the services of Tottenham’s star playmaker Luka Modric last summer. With the backing of a millionaire owner the transfer market really is his oyster. 

Expect to see some big names come into Stamford Bridge this summer with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Andre Schurrle amongst the rumours.

Tactical genius

The game of football is like chess for Jose Mourinho. He’s a reactive tactician, one that reads the strategic side of the game beautifully. 

His ability to diversify his tactical approach to meet the team demands is phenomenal. It’s simply a credit to his understanding of the game and the style of football he wants to play. He drills his players to the point where they know their roles inside out enabling adaption at any time during 90 minutes of play. 

Jose Mourinho ensures his teams are versatile, brimming with confidence and making sure the players are never insecure about their own abilities and roles within the team. 

The Portuguese also aspires for his teams to play an attractive style of football, a similar philosophy to that of owner Roman Abramovich. He embraces football’s term “the beautiful game” and with the likes of Hazard Mata and Oscar at his disposal, he has the opportunity to create some magical football at Chelsea.

 

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

May 31, 2013
Frank Davis

Jose Mourinho: What he can bring to Chelsea

One of the finest managers of the modern era, Jose Mourinho, is set to take his managerial talents back to south London club Chelsea, according to The Sun.

After a less than successful tenure at Spanish giants Real Madrid, the ‘Special One’ will aim to rekindle his knack for winning trophies at his beloved Chelsea side.

The club has moved on since his first arrival in 2004 and new challenges face Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, but as a manager what can he bring to Chelsea?

Trophies

The expectation on 50-year-old’s shoulders is like no other. After such a stellar tenure in 2004, there is no doubt Roman Abramovich will have just as high demands for the the ‘Special One’ this time round too.

The fact is though, Chelsea is guaranteed trophies and success, the man was born to win football trophies.

His track record speaks for itself, securing two Champions League trophies and five domestic league titles with four different clubs across Europe.

He has vast experience of life in the Premier League and this will sure aid him in his quest for trophies next season. 

He’s a master of tactical knowledge and has the ability to bring in the finest talent football has to offer will serve him well. After all, if there is one man who could provide Roman Abramovich with domestic football’s most coveted trophy again, it’s Jose Mourinho.

Man management

Ask José Mourinho about the most important thing in coaching, and his reply will be ‘man management. He understands the psychology of his players, how they work and what motivates them. A cornerstone in Mourinho’s ‘methodology is the tailoring of communication to each individual. 

One of his finest examples was telling Frank Lampard he was the world’s best player but needed to win trophies, challenging his ambition while exploiting the fact that, until then Lampard had won nothing.

In terms of motivational techniques Mourinho is up there with the best. He exploits player’s personalities on a much deeper level than any other manager.Balancing this motivational act with 22-23 players two times a week requires not only a masterful communicator, but someone with a profound understanding of individual emotions and personal goals.

Big money signings

It’s as simple as this; footballers want to play under Jose Mourinho. His aura, personality and desire to get the best out of his players are among the greatest in the game. Players will respect him and want to learn from his foundation of knowledge. 

He possesses great man management skills, enhances a player’s motivation and performance. He understands the game and will help develop his players but most importantly, he’ll bring the team success. When you think about it, he’s a very attractive offer.

The man has always been able to attract Europe’s elite talent and this will no doubt continue at Chelsea. This was most evident when he single handily took it upon himself to obtain the services of Tottenham’s star playmaker Luka Modric last summer. With the backing of a millionaire owner the transfer market really is his oyster. 

Expect to see some big names come into Stamford Bridge this summer with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Andre Schurrle amongst the rumours.

Tactical genius

The game of football is like chess for Jose Mourinho. He’s a reactive tactician, one that reads the strategic side of the game beautifully. 

His ability to diversify his tactical approach to meet the team demands is phenomenal. It’s simply a credit to his understanding of the game and the style of football he wants to play. He drills his players to the point where they know their roles inside out enabling adaption at any time during 90 minutes of play. 

Jose Mourinho ensures his teams are versatile, brimming with confidence and making sure the players are never insecure about their own abilities and roles within the team. 

The Portuguese also aspires for his teams to play an attractive style of football, a similar philosophy to that of owner Roman Abramovich. He embraces football’s term “the beautiful game” and with the likes of Hazard Mata and Oscar at his disposal, he has the opportunity to create some magical football at Chelsea.

 

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

May 14, 2013
Frank Davis

Search BRW Search

Actor George C. Scott helped fire up the ALP’s media advisers on Monday with his portrayal of General George Patton.

It’s always amusing to observe what some managers and executives consider motivational. Amusing in a dispiriting kind of way, that is. In the case of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s director of communications, John McTernan, hilarious might be more like it.

How to motivate staff is a challenge that’s been around for as long as there have been organisations. One might hope that we’ve become a lot better, more nuanced and sophisticated, at inspiring employees to perform at their best. But Gillard’s spin-doctor-in-chief reminds us that managers too often fail to understand what makes their employees tick.

As reported in The Australian Financial Review on May 14, McTernan gathered 70 ministerial media advisers on Monday with the aim of geeing up his demoralised troops to better sell today’s budget – almost certainly the government’s last – ahead of the September 14 election. To this end, McTernan screened a motivational scene from Patton, the 1970 movie about US World War II hero General George Patton, who in the film is played by George C. Scott.

In this scene, Patton delivers his famous speech, a huge US flag in the background, before the decisive Normandy landings in 1944. (The election is more Labor’s Waterloo than Normandy, but let us move on.) It’s at this point that Patton tells his troops:

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country; he won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.”

Rousing but not relevant

Rousing though the speech may have been, the problem with this kind of heart-pumping motivation is that it plays on instant emotional gratification but little else. No doubt the roomful of spin doctors was awash with heady optimism at the conclusion of the motivational film and McTernan’s rousing address that followed; it is equally without doubt that the optimism will have washed off by the time the staffers had made their journey from the bunker back to their respective ministerial suites.

Such a stratagem for boosting morale is childish, fatuous and patronising. These were 70 professionals, facing the biggest professional challenge of their lives; is a scene from Patton really the best McTernan could do?

The reason for the flagging morale of Labor media staffers is that their lords and masters have been reeling from one political and policy disaster to the next almost from day one of Gillard’s ramshackle minority government.They are feeling so desperately low because not only is the Gillard government destined to lose the coming election – and the staffers their jobs – but it deserves to do so.

This is the government of the light on the hill, but these staffers know that this government has not been guided by any such light. This has been a government without vision, governing the nation on the basis of craven political expediency, rarely on principle and belief.

What point a motivational extract from a US war film when McTernan’s staff have nothing to believe in and not much more to show for their three years in power?

Whether it’s the Gillard government or any workplace large or small, there can be no lasting positive motivation without a belief in the vision, purpose and integrity of the organisation in whose name each employee fronts up for work each morning.

An insult to all employees

Employers who view motivational techniques as a clever device for extracting every last ounce of effort from demoralised or exhausted staff not only insult their employees but reveal their own hollow and cynical essence. If the Labor government and its staffers lack motivation, it’s because they lack purpose.

Also reported this morning was the decision by Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief executive Ian Narev to award each of the bank’s 38,000 employees a MasterCard gift card valued at $250 for achieving the highest customer service rating among the big four banks.

At first blush, I must confess, I thought the $250 bonus was inconsequential when compared with the short-term incentive of $2.5 million Narev is eligible to receive on top of his $2.5 million fixed annual salary, not to mention the $4.1 million performance-based bonus he is eligible to receive over the next four years.

But quibbling aside on the actual amount, Narev deserves the benefit of the doubt. In his memo to staff, he declares: “The leadership team and I greatly appreciate this unwavering focus on our customers and would like to say thank you.”

It would be reasonable to argue that Narev’s “thank you” is worth considerably more than the $250 bonus, especially as it comes on top of a corporate goal that every employee can share and take pride in: to offer the bank’s customers the best service bar none. As the people at Mastercard would say: priceless.

Apr 12, 2013
Frank Davis

No Blood, No Foul

Posted // April 10,2013 –

By now, everyone has seen the video of the crazy coach from Rutgers zinging basketballs at his players’ heads, administering forearm shivers and shoves to their torsos and delivering precisely calibrated kicks to their buttocks. Besides the physical abuse, there is a variety of verbal abuse, most of which is bleeped out. The hapless players are routinely, and at great length, castigated as [insert your favorite F-word, C-word or D-word here], among other colorful epithets.

Only after the video went viral and outrage became universal was the coach, Mike Rice, fired; then the mealy mouthed athletic director was fired, and, if justice is done, the pass-the-buck president of the university, who recently gave a goofy “Hey, don’t blame me” press conference, will be given the galosh.

Had there been no video of the deranged coach using his defenseless players as target practice, he would still be hopping around the gymnasium like an unhinged raver hammered out of his skull. It no doubt comes as a bit of a surprise that basketball practices are even recorded in the first place; and no doubt at this very moment, athletic department functionaries in universities in every corner of America are working around the clock to deep-six incriminating videos of their very own crazy coaches doing lord knows what to their hapless athletes.

As you know, an investigation into Utah’s own crazy coach is presently under way. In the University of Utah’s case, the crazy coach in question is the swimming coach, who punished his charges by making them swim underwater with bags on their heads and/or pipes attached to their bodies. One swimmer almost drowned, but, hey, if you can’t stand the water, get out of the pool.

The folks in the athletic department are either breathing a big sigh of relief about lack of incriminating video or frantically scouring their files for waterlogged home movies of their swimming coach’s creative use of water torture.

To get some instructive perspective on this whole business of crazy coaches, the Deep End got in touch with Utah’s legendary and late basketball coach, the one and only Rick Majerus. Given his deceased status, I thought it might take a while to track him down, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his cell phone was still working.

Deep End: Coach, condolences on your passing. How are things these days?

Coach Majerus: D.P., good to hear from you. This place is not at all bad. Not as good as up at the Marriott, but still pretty damned good. All the pizza you can eat, all the time, and I haven’t gained a pound.

D.E.: Tell me, Coach, what’s your take on the crazy coach from Rutgers?

C.M.: I’ll just say this: I’m freaking glad we didn’t have video in my days at the U.

D.E.: What do you think would have happened if a disgruntled assistant squealed to the athletic director about your language or your penis puppetry? And had video evidence of your motivational techniques?

C.M.: Well, as you know, I got in some trouble with that deaf-and-dumb kid, but I was able to plead obesity and retire to a fat farm. Here’s the thing, though: As long as you win, you can do what you freaking please. They loved me at the U. And what you so elegantly call my penis puppetry was in actuality penis pedagogy. You want me to carry around a ruler or a measuring
stick to show players how close to guard their opponents? More convenient to use my own
flexible measuring device.

D.E.: How would you assess the esteem granted to the coaching profession as a whole?

C.M.: Never figured out why all these powerful university and community figures fawned all over me. Me and some of the other coaches in the Coaches Corner of the Celestial Kingdom—imagine my surprise when it turned out the Mormons were right about heaven—us coaches like to compare notes. Woody Hayes is still crazy as ever, as is Bo Schem-something-or-other from Michigan, and they are punching each other out night and day, which is to say, for time and eternity. Me, I’m just content to eat pizza and tell jokes and keep the cherubim in stitches.

D.E.: Thanks for your insights, Coach.

C.M.: You’re welcome, and remember what Knute Rockne always says.

D.E.: Win one for the Gipper?

C.M.: No. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Speak no ill of the dead.

D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.

Mar 27, 2013
Betty Stone

Motivation Lies Within Us

Each week we like to bring you motivational stories, inspiration and findings. Anything from the flowers blooming to the new world of Motherhood, motivation lies within us all. At Career Wardrobe we help women push their fears aside, open their eyes to the opportunities around them and inspire them to be the most beautiful and confident woman they are. We strive to make these women successful and independent. Several women at Career Wardrobe have shared their stories to motivate others. A few key points we stress to make a woman successful are; Opportunity, Inspiration and Independence.

Take the opportunity. Learn something new. Travel the road less traveled. Learn from Dwanna’s opportunity; “I have been laid off four times in the past six years and have been in the position where I’ve been called for an interview and haven’t had a single thing to wear and no money to purchase new clothing. Career Wardrobe is a great program that encourages, empowers, and motivates women. When women look good, we feel good, too. And a suit gives us all the more power and confidence.” Dwanna, employed for two years as a title agent.

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Take inspiration from everything you see. From the beauty of mother nature to the crashing waves of the sea. Take time to smell the flowers. Breathe deep and love often. Be inspired by Valerie’s words: “Career Wardrobe truly changed my life. After paying for mistakes I made, I was unemployed with a criminal record when I came to them. The women at Career Wardrobe helped me to believe in myself again. They treated me with respect and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and goals. Walking into an interview with the right outfit and the right attitude is invaluable. There is no doubt in my mind I am working today because of the tools that Career Wardrobe has given me.” Valerie, employed and living independently.

Use your independence. Use your confident and independent voice to show your professional style, your professional work ethic. Use your unique mindset to set you apart from the rest. Look to Erica’s words on independence; “I often say the suit I received from Career Wardrobe was my good-luck charm. It was the first suit I owned, and with it, I landed a job that would forever change my life — the same one I have today. Not only did the staff help me find a complete outfit, they also provided helpful tips on choosing the correct attire for an interview. They helped boost my faith in myself so that I could land the job and grow into the woman I am today.” Erica, employed for five years with Independence Blue Cross.

** Written by Heather Masse for Career Wardrobe
**All Photography Work Copyrighted and Owned by Ashley Herrin Photography



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Jan 22, 2013
Ann Thompson

Why Is Ray Lewis Such a Polarizing Figure?

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been in the NFL for 17 years, and after this year’s Super Bowl, he’s prepared to retire, whether his team wins or loses.

The 13-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP may be the best linebacker to have ever played the game, and there’s no doubt that he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

But the farther one gets away from Baltimore, the more the sentiment towards Lewis changes. He’s not a beloved player, a source of seemingly endless inspiration—no, he’s nothing more than a criminal, a spotlight-hogger, a beyond-his-prime has-been not deserving of all the attention he’s received.

There are many words to describe Lewis, and there’s no doubt that “polarizing” is one of them. But why? What has made Lewis so loved by some and reviled by others?

First, there’s the simple fact that there’s a degree of human nature that dislikes seeing someone succeed at the highest level. Nobody hates Matt Schaub (well, maybe someone does) but it’s easier to find people who hate Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, and deep down, the root of hatred is jealousy. It’s not a complicated logical leap for someone to go from “I wish I could be him,” to “because I can’t be him, I don’t like him.”

With Lewis, however, the animosity goes beyond the simple fact that he’s racked up 2,050 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 31 interceptions over his 17-year career. 

Lewis had already begun making a name for himself almost immediately upon becoming a member of the Ravens in 1996, reaching the Pro Bowl by his second year in the league after being the top tackler in 1997. Still, he didn’t become a household name for his on-field successes.

No, it took a high-profile criminal case to cement his image in many people’s minds as—believe it or not—a murderer.

In January of 2000, following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta, a fight between Lewis’ entourage and another group resulted in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two of his friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting were eventually indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges.

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No one else has been charged with the murders of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar.

Eric P. Mull-USA Today Sports

Murder charges against Lewis were eventually dropped, as part of a plea deal that included Lewis testifying against Oakley and Sweeting. Instead, Lewis plead guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice, admitting that he gave a false statement to police after the murders. He was given a year of probation along with a $250,000 fine from the NFL. Oakley and Sweeting were found not guilty later in 2000, and Lewis reached a civil settlement with the families of the deceased in 2004.

Based on the particulars of the case—with Lewis turning state’s witness against the other two to avoid murder charges of his own, and the fact that allegedly blood-covered white suit that Lewis wore on the night in question was never recovered—many were led to believe that Lewis was indeed a murderer, despite the men he was with that night being acquitted of the crime. 

In many ways, we live in a “guilty-until-proven-innocent” society, despite the legal system’s attempt at the opposite. However, because of the plea deal and the missing suit, many pointed to Lewis’ apparent guilt regardless of how the particulars of the case played out. The tag of “murderer” has thus stuck with Lewis 13 years after the fact, and it’s something those who simply don’t like Lewis point to, to this day, as a reason why he’s not worthy of all the adulation he’s received since.

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Ray Lewis went from accused murder to “God’s Linebacker” in six years, angering his critics further (Photo: Sports Illustrated/KDVR.com).

Even after Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, the cries of “Ray Lewis is a murderer” didn’t get any more quiet—in fact, they seemed to only increase in volume. Among those who chose that particular trope was Anna Burns Welker, wife of Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who posted on Facebook:

Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!

Though Welker eventually apologized for her comments, the fact remains that they weren’t uncommon on Sunday, just as they weren’t uncommon sentiments to hear in the years since the murders. And the fact remains that, because Lewis was apparently present when they occurred, he’s never going to be able to shake that reputation. It’s just a fact of life, for Lewis and for those who support him.

After the incident, Lewis tried to atone for his actions and for who he used to be, turning to his Christian faith to guide him. That, too, has further served to divide opinions on him.

Though continuing to play at a high level, Lewis started to be defined by his fiery on-field and off-field speeches, meant to motivate his teammates (or to whomever he was asked to speak). But this, too, elicited mixed reactions.

Some saw him for what he was—a godly man with a gift for speech who happened to be able to fire up anyone, anywhere. They saw Lewis as someone who wanted to use his story of personal redemption to inspire others.

Others saw Lewis’ motivational speeches as calculated public relations maneuvers, designed to make everyone forget about his alleged involvement in a double murder. And even those who were in the former camp have started to tire of Lewis’ God-first, fire-and-brimstone routines, especially in recent years when his on-field skills have taken a back seat to his pontificating.

Lewis has been demonized for a crime with which he ultimately was never charged. But he’s also been lambasted for any attempts to distance himself from the man he was at that time. Therefore, there will likely never be a time in which Lewis is universally appreciated for his on-field play or universally forgiven for whatever it is he may or may not have actually done.

Ultimately, Lewis is a complex person, just as we all are. However, it would be far more comfortable if Lewis were just a one-dimensional football player who operated only within the parameters of the 100 yards of turf he’s responsible for defending in 60 minute intervals for up to 20 weeks a year. 

Instead, he’s someone who admittedly made massive errors in judgement, who has spent the past 13 years trying to repair his off-field image, become a better person and prove that he can in fact be a role model to practically everyone—all while developing into one of the best defensive players in the history of the sport. 

When you’re in the spotlight, the court of public opinion is unrelenting, and considering his past, it’s understandable why that would be the case for Lewis. And now that the Ravens are headed to the Super Bowl, with Lewis’ retirement coming immediately afterward, he’s again become a major storyline.

The debate about Lewis is thus only becoming louder and more prominent with his retirement party taking place on the biggest stage in the NFL, but it’s always been part of the Lewis narrative and likely always will.

 

Jan 7, 2013
Ann Thompson

HTC clings on, aims to claw back smartphone marketshare

htc q4 results rally speech peter chou ceo forecast sales

Ailing firm HTC wants to regain its position in the global smartphone marketplace by clawing back marketshare, although a look at the balance sheet may make this dream seem unrealistic.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, HTC’s CEO Peter Chou admitted that 2012 had been a difficult year as competitors including Apple and Samsung had proved “too strong,” but remained optimistic by saying that “2013 will be better.”

Whether the worst is over for the firm remains to be seen, but it might not only be shareholders that consider this dubious, but the company’s own staff as well. The Taiwanese firm gave its employees a rallying speech in late december, according to the WSJ – but the “morale boosting” event has not encouraged everyone.

According to the publication, HTC’s management team, including Chou, Chairwoman Cher Wang, Chief Financial Officer Chia-lin Chang and Chief Engineering Officer David Chen gave motivational speeches at the event in order to try and pump up several thousand members of HTC staff at the “morale boosting” event in late December.

Chou reportedly told the congregation that “HTC wants to regain its global top 3 position this year,” and invited his staff to “shout some slogans.” However, an anonymous employee told the publication:

“To be frank, most of us still don’t know how HTC can make a comeback this year as the top managers didn’t tell us any solid plan or direction.”

In other words, rally the troops but keep the details of company recovery a secret. Furthermore, after being impacted by the legal settlement with Apple in November, HTC may not be seen as a competitive force anymore — something that its Q4 results implies, but is still no doubt embarrassing for a firm that used to be well-respected with sought-after products in the smartphone industry.

“While it was good to end the high-cost legal battle with Apple, I think it is humiliating for HTC in a way. Apple doesn’t think HTC is a viable competitor anymore,“ said another employee to the WSJ.

The Taiwanese firm’s profits have slumped in recent years, and the company have recently missed forecasts for its fourth quarter. In 2012, profits continued to slide quarter-on-quarter as HTC reported Q3 profits of $2.39 billion. Year-on-year, the company has seen profits drop 79 percent, and now in Q4, net profit has plunged 91 percent from a year ago as Samsung and Apple continue to wipe the floor with the smartphone marker.

HTC reported unaudited Q4 net profit of T$1 billion ($34.48 million) on Monday, a fall from NT$11.02 billion ($379.5 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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