Living in the amplified world

In the start-up world, time flies fast and furious.  That type of constant creates anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion. These days, the incessant flow of information is furiously coming at all of us, all the time.  It is overwhelming and a lot of the information is not even real but pushed at us and it takes place in our thoughts nonetheless.

It all began with our mobile phones.  People more now than ever are yearning for a sense of community and a place where they can connect with others be it sitting around a dinner table, hanging at the park or stepping outside of that media feed to just breath.

There is a reason that wellness is top of mind for everyone.  David Leonhardt, wrote a great piece in the NYTimes, called “You’re Too Busy, You Need a “Schultz Hour”.  Supposedly when George Schultz was our Secretary of States back in the 80’s, he took an hour a week for reflection.  It was the only time he could think strategically about his job.  Not convinced that anyone in that White House right now is thinking strategically.

These days, I am not sure one hour a week is enough.  Figuring out how you can put time on your calendar for that self-reflection makes a difference in your health and more than likely makes you better at what you do.  We all need to take a break these days from the flow of insanity coming at us daily and that doesn’t even include the stress of our own careers.  As our personal lives blur into our careers because we have constant access, now more than ever, it is important to take the time to reflect and breath.  Perhaps we all need a “Schultz Hour”.  I certainly do.

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Definitely. Thinking and doing are almost opposite activities. Apparently our brains are now much bigger than 20 years ago, due to the increased information intake caused by technology.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Bigger? Did not know that.

    2. JLM

      .Hmmm, in fact, human brains have been shrinking for thousands of years.Brain size is related to several very squishy things such as size of the human body (big bodies, big brains), the complexity of life in the context of the “difficulty” of life from a hunter gatherer perspective not an Internet perspective, and human domestication.There is a ratio called the EQ (I think it is the “encephalization quotient” but I may have it all wrong) which essentially compares body size to brain size. The human form is getting smaller and more sleek as compared to the caveman. No skinny jeans for the Cromagnan Man, no?Over the last 10,000 years the human brain has shrunk about the size of a tennis ball.For those so inclined, over the last 10,000 years one might be able to correlate brain size with global warming based on the idea that when the earth was cold, life was more difficult resulting in more large Darwinian bodies. As the earth has gotten warmer, bodies have gotten smaller. If EQ stays the same, then brains get smaller.I am glad I am 6’4″ so I could get a big brain.The other well documented short term impact on brain development is the widespread use of marijuana which scientists suggest is a cause of stunted brain development in adolescents. It is measurable. Not much of a stretch to believe this. The big issue is how much wed does one smoke and at what age. If one smokes a lot of weed at a young age, one’s brain is screwed. It does not diminish brain growth, it stunts it.This is the kind of data stored in my largish brain. This and the ability to tie the Monkey’s Paw. And calculus.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. awaldstein

    Yes tough.I’m embracing the ideas that say that if you are not being productive, shut down as a way to put in less time, more focus, and more dream time for myself without the guilt of wasted concentration.

  3. JLM

    .Two characteristics of great organizations and accomplished folks is training and brainstorming. Not just one time in the last five years, but a constant drumbeat of training and brainstorming.There was a time companies prided themselves on being “learning” organizations. That’s essentially baloney today.I find almost no companies who have internal training programs or who engage in any level of useful brainstorming beyond a stack of yellow stickies and a white board. When they do, it is sporadic and inconsistent.The other day I had breakfast with a young VMI grad who spent a lot of tours in A’stan with Special Forces. He was looking to buy a company.We had a nice chat and I was reminded of how elite units in the military attain that status not by the quality of their weapons, the quality of the human capital, but by the quality of their planning and their training.The “special” in Special Forces is planning, training, battle drill, and experience. It is a young man’s game, so experience begins to disappear quickly.In the military all one does in train. You start out with individual skills, fire team skills, squad skills, platoon skills, company skills and on upward. Training above the company level is primarily the conduct of “exercises” rather than actual training.The reason I mention this is one of the top people in a “company” in the military is the Training Sergeant. I inherited three combat engineer companies when I was in my early to mid 20’s. When I took over the third one, I walked into the Training Sergeant’s office and said, “May I please look at the training schedule.”He didn’t have one and I relieved him on the spot. Within a week, I had a new Training Sergeant, a new training schedule, and we were conducting effective training. That company hadn’t passed an annual test in 5 years and the next year made the highest grade in the Army. It was all the Training Sergeant.When I was running businesses, I modeled the training and brainstorming on those parallel experiences.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  4. JLM

    .…I suspect you may have seen the above article in the NYT.Schultz (WWII Marine) is a very interesting man, classic Renaissance Man.Princeton, USMC (Artillery CPT), MIT PhD — he was a member of Eisenhower’s Council of Ed Adv, Nixon’s Sec Labor, OMB head under Nixon, Sec of Treas under Nixon, and Ronald Reagan’s Sec of State.He also ran Bechtel for a long time and taught as he has an MIT PhD. He was the Dean of U Chicago GSB and a mentee of Milton Friedman and Stigler.He and Reagan had one of the best relationships of any Pres and Sec of State (Jim Baker was the other one).He has had some fairly weird views in and out of office having been against Brexit, for the legalization of drugs, for a carbon tax, for a personal relationship between the US President and the Russian Premier. Of course the personal relationship between Reagan and Gorbachev is now widely credited with bringing about the withdrawal of he USSR from western Europe.I heard him speak when he was 95 and he could be Sec of State tom’w if he wanted to be.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. AMT Editorial Staff

    My book club decided it needed a little siesta of sorts. Rather than starting our next selection, we read the Little Book of Hygge. It offered a break and motivation. Our meeting next week will be quite different as each person is to bring something “hyggelig” as well as something to swap…. I will break out my grandmother’s hand painted china, dim the lights, light candles and proffer wine.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Love it!

  6. Pranay Srinivasan

    Anxiety is triggered by push notifications 🙂

  7. Susan Rubinsky

    I need that hour every day. Sometimes even more than an hour.