2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

 

I’m going to be honest…I wasn’t sure if we were even going to continue these picks. I was so disgusted by all of the controversy surrounding football last weekend that my fandom took a serious hit. I even gave thoughtful consideration to leaving all of my fantasy leagues, though I ultimately decided that course of action would be disrespectful to fellow team owners. I have so many thoughts & opinions about the whole mess, but I don’t know if I’ll ever express them in this space or anywhere else. Why add to the strife?? I spent 2 days being depressed & angry about what our country has become, and quite frankly I’m tired of being miserable. It’s not worth the price. No one cares what I think anyway. I still don’t know what I’ll be doing Sunday afternoon, but for now we’ll forge ahead with our picks as usual.

My Season:        13-11

Z’s Season:        12-11

 

 

 

 

 

USC (-3.5)           at      Washington State

The Trojans were my pre-season #1 team, and I even said “if any big time powerhouse has a legit chance to go undefeated this is the one”. So I’ll admit I was sweating out that overtime thriller versus Texas. Fortunately Southern Cal pulled off a victory, so I still have an opportunity to look like a genius. The Cougars are also 4-0, and it took them three OTs to get past Boise St. a few weeks ago, so like their opponents they’re no stranger to exciting finishes. This is a Friday night contest, which mean I’ll be at work when it kicks off at 10:30pm and if it’s an average-slow night I will be able to catch most of the action on TV so I’m pretty psyched about that. I just think USC is the better team here. It might be competitive & watchable, but we’ll see the cream rise in the 4th quarter. Zach, on the other hand, foresees some key mistakes by USC leading to their demise in a mildly surprising upset.

My Pick:     USC

Z’s Pick:     Washington St.

 

 

 

Baylor                 at      Kansas State (-17)

The 0-4 Bears darn near pulled off a shocker last weekend versus the Oklahoma Sooners, but…well…they didn’t. Close doesn’t count (except in Vegas). Meanwhile, the 2-1 Wildcats could only score seven points last week in a loss to Vanderbilt. I am intrigued by the points. K-St. has the home field and is clearly the better team, plus there might be a train of thought that Baylor…ummmm…shot their wad…against the Sooners. The Vibes are telling me that this’ll be right on the line, but I’m going to take a chance that Baylor only loses by 14 or 15 points. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Baylor

Z’s Pick:     Baylor

 

 

 

Clemson (-7)      at      Virginia Tech

I seriously thought that Clemson would fall outside the Top 10 this season. That still may happen, but thus far they’ve looked every bit the championship team in winning their first four games. Tech ain’t bad either, though outside of the season opener against my WV Mountaineers they haven’t played anyone notable. This game is in Blacksburg but I don’t think it makes that much of a difference. I’m sure it’ll be a fun contest, but the touchdown point spread isn’t going to scare anybody into taking the Hokies. Conversely, Zach thinks the always formidable Hokie defense will give Clemson fits and that their young quarterback will rise to the occasion.

My Pick:     Clemson

Z’s Pick:     Virginia Tech

 

 

 

Tennessee (-1.5)        at      Houston

The Titans currently sit atop the AFC South while the Texans occupy the cellar, but we’re only three games into the season so it’s way too early to really know much. I have been impressed with Houston rookie QB Deshaun Watson and am considering starting him in my dynasty league. I can’t really get a good read on either of these teams so this game could go either way. Tennessee is probably the more complete team right now, but I’m going to put my faith in Watson putting up some big numbers and pulling off the upset. Zach thinks Tennessee is simply better and will prove it.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Tennessee

 

 

 

Philadelphia      at      LA Chargers (-1.5)

The Chargers are 0-3 but have been competitive in all three games (their rookie kicker has failed them twice with the game on the line). Theoretically they shouldn’t be favored even with the home field, but that’s an indicator that no one is that impressed with the 2-1 Eagles. I’m really not sure where to go with this one, but I happen to like Philly’s young QB Carson Wentz, who I believe will grow into one of the league’s better signal callers as the team is built around him. They’re probably not going to be a playoff contender for another year or two, but I think the Eagles win this game. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Philadelphia

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

Winning Friends & Influencing People: Changing People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

If you need to go back and read the intro to this series, or learn about fundamental techniques in handling people, ways to make people like you, or winning people to your way of thinking please click on the links to do so.

 

While preparing this concluding segment of the series I couldn’t help but ponder if winning friends & influencing people is even a goal for the masses anymore. It seems to me that we live in a society where the vast majority of folks are, at the very least, egotistical to the point of being bulls in a china shop in an effort to get ahead and promote their own agenda, or worse, oftentimes proud of purposely irritating others just to prove a point. My mother & maternal grandmother always said “you get more flies with honey than vinegar”, and I think that is a good summary of Dale Carnegie’s ideas. He just happened to expand upon the thought and suggest some specifics to achieve the goal. At any rate, I hope anyone who has read my summary of Carnegie’s techniques will a) read the book in its entirety, and b) apply what you learn in real life situations. On balance I believe you will find it to be a positive in your life.

 

If you don’t want to upset others “begin with praise and honest appreciation”. It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise. A barber lathers a man before he shaves him. Sometimes you can get everything you want without even asking for it. Beginning with praise is like a dentist who begins their work with Novocain.

 

Of course there are times when one must take steps to correct a situation, and when that time comes it is best to “call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly”. Simply altering one little word can make the difference between failure & success in changing people without offending them or causing resentment. The forbidden word is “but”. Change the word “but” to “and”, which will call attention to behavior we want to change indirectly and make the person want to live up to expectations. Calling indirect attention to a person’s mistakes works wonders with sensitive people who might resent direct criticism.

 

One way to soften the blow of criticism is to “talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person”. It isn’t nearly as difficult to listen to comments about your own faults if the other person humbly admits that they aren’t perfect themselves. If a few sentences of humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn things around in a tense situation imagine what humility & praise can do in our daily lives.

 

We should also “ask questions instead of giving direct orders”. Give suggestions not orders, and provide people an opportunity to do things themselves so they can learn from their mistakes. Save a person’s pride and give them a feeling of importance, which will encourage cooperation instead of rebellion. Resentment caused by a brash order may last for a long time. Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable, it stimulates creativity. People are more likely to accept an order if they have a part in the decision making process.

 

In anything resembling a confrontation it is important to “let the other person save face”. We tend to ride roughshod over others’ feelings. We want to get our own way, find fault, issue threats, and criticize without considering the hurt it causes to other people’s pride. Thoughtful consideration & genuine understanding goes a long way. Consider the negative effects of fault finding versus the positive effects of letting others’ save face. Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong we only destroy their ego by causing someone else to lose face. We have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a person in their own eyes. It doesn’t matter as much what you think of a person as what they think of themselves. Don’t ever hurt another person’s dignity.

 

In contrast to criticism we should “praise heartily”.  Again, think of your favorite pet. Why don’t we use the same common sense when trying to change people that we use when trying to change dogs?? Use meat instead of a whip. Use praise instead of condemnation. Praise improvement, which inspires further improvement. Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit, and we cannot grow without it. History is replete with the sheer witchery of praise. When criticism is minimized and praise emphasized the good things people do are reinforced while the bad things will atrophy from lack of attention. Praise becomes much more meaningful when specific accomplishments are singled out in contrast to general flattering remarks. We all crave appreciation, recognition, & praise and will do almost anything to receive it, but when it is specific it feels more sincere. Nobody wants insincere flattery. Compared with what we ought to be we are oftentimes only half awake and making use of only a small amount of our physical & mental resources. We live far within our limits and habitually fail to use all of our powers. If we can inspire people to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess we can help transform those individuals. All of us have the ability to praise people and inspire them with a realization of latent possibilities. Abilities wither under criticism but blossom with encouragement.

 

Another thing that we can do is “give the other person a fine reputation to live up to”. The average person can be led readily if you have their respect and show that you respect their abilities. If you want a person to improve in a certain aspect act as though that particular trait is already one of their strengths. Shakespeare advised to “assume a virtue if you have it not”. Assume & state openly that a person has the virtue that you want them to develop. Give them a reputation to live up to and they will make prodigious efforts rather than disappoint others. Oftentimes people are unaware of the treasures that lie within.

 

Closely related to not criticizing but a little more explicit is “using encouragement  while making a fault seem easy to correct”. Telling a person that they are stupid or untalented or are doing something totally wrong destroys any incentive for improvement. Use copious amounts of encouragement. Make improvement seem possible, even easy. Let someone know that you have faith in them, that they have untapped potential. Doing so will stimulate an effort to excel.

 

Though it may not seem like an easy task to accomplish, “make a person happy about doing the thing you suggest”.  Create the impression that by accepting a mission a person will be doing you a favor. Don’t give people time to feel unhappy. Change their thoughts in a positive direction. Be sincere. Don’t promise anything you cannot deliver. Put aside any benefits for yourself and focus on benefits to the other person. Be specific. Know exactly what it is you want or need from another person. Be empathetic. Always ask yourself what another person wants or needs. Consider the benefits a person may receive from doing what you ask and match them up with that person’s wants. When making a request of another person convey to them how they will benefit.

Beautiful Words

What makes a word beautiful?? Several weeks ago The Manofesto brought you, courtesy of Pinterest, a list of 100 Words Every High Graduate Should Know, and today, also via Pinterest, we are talking about beautiful words. As it turns out, there is an actual…science…that aims to tackle that question. The study of the inherent pleasantness or unpleasantness of the sound of words, phrases, & sentences is called phonaesthetics. Folks actually examine things like the implication of smallness in the close vowels of such words as “teeny weeny” or unpleasant associations of the consonant cluster sl in words like “slime”, “slug”, & “slush”. Euphony, or the quality of being pleasing to the ear, is contrasted with cacophony, or a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds. Beautiful words oftentimes have three or more syllables, an emphasis on the first syllable, and the presence of particular letters that we enjoy saying, such as “l” and “M”. Obviously a word’s meaning can affect the way we feel about it, although that isn’t always the case, and the connotation one connects with a word can have a positive or negative effect. I work with a young lady who hates the word “moist”, and from what I understand her disdain isn’t unusual. Conversely, I associate “moist” with a yummy cake that isn’t dry, therefore it isn’t a negative word for me. As an avid reader and an aspiring writer I have an appreciation for authors whose prose have an effortless lyricism. It takes more than a single word to achieve that kind of beauty, but it helps to begin with words that have such qualities. I’m not sure how this specific list was selected, but I tend to agree with most of the choices. As with the aforementioned list of words everyone should know I have included definitions for each word as well as the occasional pithy remark. Enjoy.

 

 

 

ailurophile           a cat lover

I’m a cynophilist (dog lover) myself, but to each their own.

 

assemblage        a collection or gathering of persons or things

 

 

becoming            attractively suitable

 

beleaguer           to exhaust with attacks; trouble, harass

 

brood                   to think anxiously or gloomily about; to sit quietly and thoughtfully; to dwell gloomily on a subject

Brooding seems kind of depressing. I much prefer to ponder.

 

bucolic                 relating to or typical of rural life

I’m a little torn on this one. It sounds a bit…medical, doesn’t it?? Perhaps it’s too close to “bubonic”. I much prefer the synonyms “idyllic” or “pastoral”.

 

bungalow            a small, cozy cottage

 

 

chatoyant           having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light

I’ve never heard the word. I need more information.

 

comely                pleasurably conforming to notions of good appearance, suitability, or proportion; having a pleasing appearance

 

conflate               to blend together

 

cynosure             a focal point of attraction or attention

I’ve never heard of this word.

 

 

dalliance             frivolous or trifling interaction

 

demesne             legal possession of land as one’s own

 

demure                shy & reserved; modest

 

denouement       the resolution of a mystery; the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work

If you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan just think about the last couple of pages of every story. If you aren’t a Sherlock Holmes fan…what are you doing with your life?!?!??

 

desuetude                    discontinuance from use or exercise

Maybe this word should be desuetuded. I have no idea if I used it correctly, and I honestly don’t care.

 

desultory             marked by lack of purpose; disappointing in progress, performance, or quality

 

diaphanous        characterized by such fineness of texture as to permit seeing through; characterized by extreme delicacy of form; insubstantial, vague

 

dissemble           to hide under a false appearance

 

dulcet                  generally pleasing or agreeable; pleasing to the ear or sweet to the taste

I most often hear this word in relation to a good singer’s voice.

 

 

ebullience           lively or enthusiastic expression of thoughts or feelings

 

effervescent        bubbly, lively, exhilarating

Ebullience is a noun, while effervescent is an adjective. See the difference??

 

efflorescence      the action or process of blossoming; fullness of manifestation; culmination

 

elision                  dropping a sound or syllable in a word

For example, “ne’er” is an elided form of “never” and similarly, “gonna” is an elision of the phrase “going to.” When we sing our national anthem we say “o’er the ramparts we watched” instead of “over”.

 

elixir                     a substance held capable of prolonging life; a sweetened liquid usually containing alcohol that is used in medication either for its medicinal ingredients or as a flavoring

I am reminded of two fantastic episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. In Alcohol & Old Lace two sweet little old ladies have a secret still in their greenhouse and sell what they refer to as elixir, but in reality it is pure moonshine. In Aunt Bea’s Medicine Man Aunt Bea buys some “miracle elixir” from a charlatan and ends up getting her entire ladies’ church group snockered.

 

eloquence                    beauty & persuasion in speech

 

embrocation       a liniment or lotion used for rubbing on the body to relieve pain

 

emollient             making soft or supple

 

ephemeral                    lasting a very short time

I really like this word a lot. It is much lovelier than “temporary” or “fleeting”.

 

epiphany             a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something; an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure

 

erstwhile              at one time or for a time; in the past

 

ethereal               celestial, heavenly, unworldly, spiritual; invisible but detectable; lacking material substance

 

evanescent         vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time

I’m pretty sure this word was in the other list, although I’m too lazy to actually look.

 

evocative             tending to cause an emotional response; bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind

 

 

fetching               pretty, attractive, pleasing

Between “becoming”, “comely”, & “fetching” gentlemen in The Manoverse have learned some new ways to hit on women. You’re welcome.

 

felicity                  the quality or state of being happy; something that causes happiness; a pleasing manner or quality

 

forbearance        a refraining from the enforcement of something that is due; withholding response to provocation

The world would be a better place if more people were good at this.

 

fugacious           lasting a short time

Basically the same thing as evanescent.

 

furtive                  done in a quiet and secretive way to avoid being noticed; expressive of stealth; obtained underhandedly

I think I like the synonym “surreptitious” a little better.

 

 

gambol                to skip or leap about joyfully

I’d lean more toward the synonym “frolic”.

 

glamour               an exciting, often illusory romantic attractiveness

 

gossamer            something light, delicate, or insubstantial

 

 

halcyon               happy, sunny, care-free, calm, peaceful

Usually used while waxing nostalgic about a past time that we perceive as having been better.

 

harbinger             a person or thing that initiates a major change; something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come

 

 

imbrication                    overlapping and forming a regular pattern (as of tiles or scales)

 

imbroglio             an altercation or complicated situation; a confused mass

I think I ate some imbroglio with meatballs once.

 

imbue                  to infuse & instill; to permeate or influence

 

incipient               beginning to come into being or to become apparent

 

ineffable               unutterable, inexpressible; incapable of being expressed in words

 

ingénue               a naïve young woman

From the French “Aren’t you new??” (I’m kidding)

 

inglenook            a cozy nook by the hearth

But what about an inglecranny??

 

insouciance        blithe nonchalance

Not just nonchalance…BLITHE nonchalance lol. FYI…it means lighthearted unconcern.

 

inure                              to accustom to accept something undesirable

 

 

labyrinthine         twisting & turning

Ehhh…I don’t know. I feel like anyone using this word is just trying way too hard to make themselves seem intelligent.

 

lagniappe            something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure; a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase

I think I once bought a venti soy lagniappe at Starbucks.

 

lagoon                 a small gulf or inlet

You’re thinking about Brooke Shields now for the first time in 20 years, aren’t you??

 

languor                listlessness & inactivity

 

lassitude             weariness, listlessness

Well…now you know two fancy ways to say “lazy”. You’re welcome.

 

leisure                 freedom provided by the cessation of activities;

 

lilt                         a spirited & cheerful tune; a springy buoyant movement; a rhythmical swing, flow, or cadence

 

lissome                easily flexed

 

lithe                      characterized by easy flexibility and grace

I think I prefer “nimble” to either of these words.

 

love                      deep affection

 

 

mellifluous                     sweet sounding; having a smooth rich flow

I love this word. It should be used more.

 

moiety                 one of two equal parts

This was in the other list as well. I don’t find it particularly beautiful, I’ve never heard anyone use it, and I just think using “half” is simpler & more straightforward.

 

mondegreen       a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung

For example, “hold me closer Tony Danza”.

 

murmurous         low & indistinct

 

 

nemesis              a formidable rival or opponent

Nemesis was a Greek goddess who enacted retribution against those who succumbed to hubris.

 

 

offing                    the near or foreseeable future

 

onomatopoeia    a word that sounds like its meaning; the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it

I first learned about these when playing Scrabble with a co-worker several years ago (it was a boring job). Examples include “swoosh”, “meow”, & “buzz”.

 

opulent                lush; amply or plentifully provided

 

 

palimpsest                    writing material (such as a parchment or paper) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased; something having diverse layers apparent beneath the surface

 

panacea              a solution for all problems; a remedy for all ills or difficulties

FYI…no such thing exists on Earth.

 

panoply               a full suit of armor; a magnificent or impressive array

 

pastiche              a literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of previous work

I own a few Sherlock Holmes pastiches.

 

penumbra           a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light; a body of rights held to be guaranteed by implication in a civil constitution; something that covers, surrounds, or obscures

 

petrichor              the smell of earth after rain

Who knew there was a name for that smell?!?!??

 

plethora               a large quantity; abundance

Y’all know I love this word, right??

 

propinquity          the state of being close to someone or something; proximity

 

Pyrrhic                 successful with heavy losses; costly to the point of negating or outweighing expected benefits

The phrase “Pyrrhic victory” comes from King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC & the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War.

 

 

quintessential     the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form; the most typical representation or example

 

 

ratatouille            a spicy French stew made of eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers, squash, & sometimes meat

 

ravel                    to separate or undo the texture of; disentangle

Point of clarification: no one really uses the word “ravel” anymore, while “unravel” is common.  Anything that is metaphorically a fabric can unravel…a relationship or an untrue story. A “ravel” is a loose thread that has “raveled out”.

 

redolent               fragrant or aromatic

 

riparian                relating to or living or located on the bank of a river, lake or, stream

 

ripple                    a very small wave

Also Fred Sanford’s favorite liquor.

Yes, I am aware that no one under the age of 45 will get that joke.

 

 

scintilla                 a spark or trace

 

sempiternal         eternal

Why not just use “eternal”??

 

seraglio               the rich, luxurious palace of a sultan

 

serendipity                    finding something nice while looking for something else; the phenomenon of finding valuable things not sought for

 

summery             light & delicate; warm & sunny; of, resembling, or fit for summer

 

sumptuous          extremely costly, rich, luxurious, or magnificent

 

surreptitious        done, made, or acquired by stealth; acting or doing something clandestinely

See, I told you!!

 

susurrous            whispering or hissing

 

 

talisman              a good luck charm

 

tintinnabulation   the ringing or sounding of bells

Think of this word at Christmastime when the Salvation Army is hanging out near your favorite retail outlet.

 

umbrella              a collapsible shade for protection against weather consisting of fabric stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole

I never really thought of “umbrella” as a beautiful word, but I can kind of see it.

 

untoward             difficult to guide, manage, or work with; not favorable

 

 

vestigial               remaining as the last small part of something that existed before

 

 

wafture                the act of waving or a wavelike motion

 

wherewithal        means or supplies for the purpose or need with which to do something

 

woebegone        sorrowful, downcast; exhibiting great woe, sorrow, or misery

Author & humorist Garrison Keillor created the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon back in the 80’s. In his books & long running radio show A Prairie Home Companion it is described as “a town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve”.

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

I know what you’re thinking…”He’s running late again”. But you’re wrong, because we were smart enough not to include Thursday games this week so I’ve got plenty of time to wow y’all with my brilliance. Or maybe it’d be more accurate to say that there weren’t any early games worthy of our attention. Actually both the college & NFL schedule is surprisingly unappealing this week, and I do my best not to bore The Manoverse with games involving the same teams over & over. At any rate, both Zach & I were both slightly above average in our last outing. I was 4-3, while Zach went 4-2. Looking back at my pre-season NCAA poll I think I may have underestimated Clemson’s ability to reload & the skill of Oklahoma’s new head coach, while I had far too much faith in Ohio St. & Florida St. I still stand by my thoughts on USC, Penn St., & Alabama.

My Season:        11-8

Z’s Season:        11-7

 

 

 

 

 

Texas A&M (-2.5)       vs.    Arkansas

Aggies’ head coach Kevin Sumlin seems like he might be on the verge of being fired even though his team comes into this game 2-1. Sometimes being backed into a corner brings out the best in people, and as long as A&M keeps winning Sumlin will stay employed. That’s going to be easier said than done though. The Razorbacks are 1-1 but the victory was against a 1-AA school and the loss was a three TD beatdown by TCU. In other words, Arkansas hasn’t indicated that it has any discernible talent to win an actual game thus far. This is a neutral site contest being played at The Palace in Dallas (the go to place for neutral site games it seems), and The Vibes and telling me that Sumlin will survive to fight another day. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Texas A&M

Z’s Pick:     Texas A&M

 

 

 

TCU                     at      Oklahoma State (-11.5)

Speaking of the Horned Frogs, they enter this game 3-0 and are showing signs of being back to their 2014 & 15 glory after finishing last season at 6-7. The Cowboys were #3 in my pre-season poll and have gotten off to a fast 3-0 start while barely breaking a sweat. I’m confident that Ok. St. will win the game, although I must admit that the points scare me just a bit. This is one of those “no guts no glory” moments, and I’m going to go for the gusto. Zach has no issues with the spread and is predicting a blowout win for the favorites.

My Pick:     Oklahoma St.

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma St.

 

 

UCLA                  at      Stanford (-7.5)

I am so glad a) that I have a job that allows me to watch football while I’m there Saturday nights, & b) that this game is on ESPN so I’ll be able to see it. The 2-1 Bruins have had quite the eventful season thus far, beating Texas A&M on a last second touchdown pass and suffering a shocking loss to Memphis after being unable to score in the last 10 minutes of the game. Stanford is an unimpressive 1-2, though I am guessing they’re better than the record shows. I’m a little surprised about the points, as home field is usually worth about a field goal, not slightly more than a touchdown. Both of these teams were in the lower echelon of my pre-season poll, but in this particular game I have more faith in QB Josh Rosen, who I still believe will be in the Heisman conversation at the end of the year. Zach thinks it’ll be close but likes UCLA to pull ahead in the 4th quarter.

My Pick:     UCLA

Z’s Pick:     UCLA

 

 

Cleveland (-1)    at      Indianapolis

Hey, I can’t just focus on the good NFL teams!! I feel sorry for the Colts because injuries are something that no one can predict or control, and being without QB Andrew Luck leaves Indy dead in the water, as their 0-2 record clearly indicates. The Factory of Sadness known as the Browns are 0-2 as well, but they are actually favored on the road in this game, which makes me wonder exactly what the oddsmakers know. I have no idea what to think to be honest, but as a Steelers fan I cannot bring myself to cheer for Cleveland. Zach, on the other hand, is surprisingly enthusiastic about this game and thinks Cleveland is headed in the right direction.

My Pick:     Indianapolis

Z’s Pick:     Cleveland

 

 

Denver (-3)                   at      Buffalo

I told you the Broncos would beat the Dallas Cowboys!! QB Trevor Siemian & RB CJ Anderson have looked pretty decent in leading their team to a 2-0 record. The defense might not be quite as intimidating as they’ve been in recent years, but they’re still getting the job done. Conversely, the Bills are 1-1 and battling injuries. I’ve never been convinced that Tyrod Taylor is a good NFL quarterback, and I think Denver will have him for lunch. Zach humbly admits that the Broncos have proven him wrong and he now believes they might be a serious Super Bowl contender.

My Pick:     Denver

Z’s Pick:     Denver

Save

Winning Friends & Influencing People: Win People to Your Way of Thinking

If you have not read the previous installments of this series you can easily catch up here, here, & here.

 

There…are you up to speed now?? Cool deal. I’ll spare you a loquacious and cut to the chase. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

First & foremost, we must understand that “the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it”. There is only one way to get the best of an argument: avoid it. You can’t win an argument…if you lose it you lose, and if you win it you lose. Making another person feel inferior & hurting their pride will only cause resentment. Benjamin Franklin…I think we can all agree a rather intelligent dude…said that “if you argue & rankle & contradict you may achieve victory, but it will be an empty victory because you will never receive your opponent’s good will”. Why prove to a person that they are wrong?? Is that going to make them like you?? Why not let them save face?? They didn’t ask for or want your opinion. Why argue?? Always avoid the acute angle. 9 times out of 10 an argument ends with each party more convinced than ever that they are absolutely right. Which wouldyou rather have…an academic, theatrical victory, or a person’s good will?? You can rarely have both. You may be absolutely right in your argument, but trying to change another’s mind is just as futile as if you were wrong. A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument. It is ended by diplomacy, tact, conciliation, & a sympathetic desire to see the other viewpoint. Abraham Lincoln once offered that “No man who is resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take the consequences, including the vitiation of his temper and the loss of self-control. Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.” When two people yell there is no communication…just noise & bad vibrations. Contrary to arguing we should welcome disagreement. Perhaps it is an opportunity to be corrected before a serious mistake is made. Distrust your instinct to be defensive. It may be you at your worst, not your best. Control your temper. You can measure the size of a person by what makes them angry. Listen first. Let the other person finish their thought. Don’t resist, defend, or debate…it raises barriers. Build bridges of understanding. Seek areas of agreement. Apologize for errors, which will reduce defensiveness in the other person. Sincerely promise to consider the other person’s ideas. Thank the other person for their interest. Anyone who takes time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Postpone action in order to give proper time to think about the issue.

 

We should “never say ‘you’re wrong’”. Galileo advised that “you cannot teach a man anything…you can only help him find it within himself”. Nothing good is accomplished when telling a person that they are wrong. You only succeed in stripping them of their dignity. Show respect for the opinions of others. If you can’t be sure of being right atleast 55% of the time why should you tell other people they are wrong?? You can tell someone they are wrong by a look, an intonation, or a gesture just as eloquently as you can with words. If you tell someone they are wrong you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride, & self-respect and they’ll want to strike back instead of changing their mind. We like to continue believing what we have previously accepted as truth. When others cast doubt on our assumptions it causes resentment and we seek excuses to cling to what we believe. Few people are logical. Most of us are biased and blighted with preconceived notions, jealousy, suspicion, fear, envy, & pride. If we are told we are wrong we resent the allegation and harden our hearts. We can be incredibly reckless in the formation of our beliefs yet become filled with illicit passion for them when someone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is difficult in even the best conditions to change peoples’ minds, and a challenge arouses opposition, prompting the other person to want to go to battle. The word humility springs to mind.  “My” is an important word in human affairs. Reckoning properly with it is the beginning of wisdom. Socrates humbly said that “one thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing”, an admission many have a hard time making. Nobody will ever object to you saying “I may be wrong…let’s examine the facts.” Begin that way even if you know for sure that you are right. It will stop an argument and inspire the other party to be just as fair & broad-minded as you are being. When we are wrong we may admit it to ourselves, but if others are trying to ram that fact down our throats we dig in. Only if we are handled gently and with tact might we eventually admit our error to others. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wisely opined that “I judge people by their own principles, not my own”.

 

Though it goes against our very nature one absolutely has to “admit when you are wrong”. If you are wrong admit it quickly & emphatically. Have the courage not to seek alibis. There is a degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit when you’re wrong. It clears the air of guilt & defensiveness and oftentimes helps solve the original problem created by the error. When you condemn yourself the other person will nourish their self-esteem by taking the magnanimous attitude of showing mercy. If we know we face rebuke anyway, isn’t it better beat others to the punch and do it ourselves?? It is easier to listen to self-criticism than the condemnation of others. Eagerness to criticize yourself will take all the fight out of others. Any fool can try to defend their mistakes, but it gives one a feeling of exultation to admit their mistakes. When we are right we should try to win people gently & tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong we must be honest with ourselves. By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.

 

It helps to start out any interaction by learning to “begin in a friendly way”. Woodrow Wilson warned “if you come at me with your fists doubled I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours”. Lincoln suggested “if you would win a man to your cause first convince him that you are his sincere friend”. People don’t want to change their minds. They can’t be forced or driven to agree. However, they may possibly be led to it by those who are ever so gentle & friendly. Friendliness always begets friendliness. Bulldozing, high pressure methods, and attempts to force opinions on others will not work. Gentleness & friendliness are always stronger than fury & force. Kindness, appreciation, and a friendly approach will make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster in the world.

 

An interesting technique is to “get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately”. Keep them from saying no. Don’t begin a conversation by discussing the things about which you differ…emphasize the things about which you agree. When a person has said no pride demands they remain consistent, so getting a number of yes responses right off the bat psychologically points the listener in a positive direction. People get a sense of their own importance by antagonizing others, but it doesn’t pay to argue. It is much more interesting & profitable to look at things from the other person’s point of view. Use the Socratic method – ask questions with which others have to agree. Keep on winning one yes after another. Keep on asking questions until others find themselves embracing a conclusion they might not have at the outset.

 

Remember what we said about being a good listener?? “Let the other person do a great deal of the talking”. Don’t do too much talking. Let the other person talk themselves out. Don’t interrupt. People won’t pay attention to you while they still have ideas they wish to express. Listen patiently and with an open mind. Even our friends would rather talk about their achievements than listen to us boast about ours. If you want enemies, outshine your friends, but if you want friends let your friends outshine you. When our friends excel us they feel important, but when we outdo them they will feel inferior & envious.

 

It may be difficult, but “let the other person feel that an idea is theirs”. You have much more faith in ideas you discover for yourself than in ideas that are handed to you on a silver platter. The best way to convert someone to an idea is to plant it in their mind casually. It is bad judgment to ram your opinions down the throats of others. It is wiser to make suggestions and let others figure out the proper conclusion. No one likes feeling like they are being sold something or being told to do something. We prefer to feel like we are doing things of our own accord. We like being consulted about our wishes & wants. Emerson acknowledged that “in every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts…they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty”. Lao-tse put it another way, saying that “The reason why rivers & seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them, thus they are able to reign over all the streams. So the sage wishing to be above men puts himself below them. Wishing to be before them he puts himself behind them, thus, though his place be above men they do not feel his weight, though his place be before them they do not count it an injury.”

 

Some great advice is to “try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view”. Conversational cooperation is achieved when you show that you consider another person’s feelings & ideas as important as your own. Increase your tendency to think in terms of another’s point of view & see things from their angle as well as your own. People might be totally wrong…but they don’t think so. Any fool can condemn them, but only wise, tolerant, exceptional people will try to understand them. By becoming more interested in the cause we are less likely to dislike the effect. Contrast your interest in your own affairs with your mild concern about anything else and realize that everyone else feels the same way.

 

Closely related is “being sympathetic to the ideas and desires of others”.  An answer such as “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling like you do. If I were you I’d feel the exact same way” will soften even the most hardhearted, cantankerous person. People who come to you feeling irritated deserve very little dishonor for their feelings. Pity them. Sympathize with them. Most everyone you meet is hungering & thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them and they will love you. Try to turn hostility into friendliness. Self-pity for misfortunes real or imagined is a universal practice, but controlling one’s temper and returning kindness in answer to an insult is very satisfying. You’ll have much more fun getting another person to like you than you get from telling them off. There is enormous value in sympathy as a way of neutralizing hard feelings. Sympathy is something human beings universally crave.

 

We should always attempt to “appeal to nobler motives”. Most of us are idealists at heart and prefer motives that sound good. Everyone you meet has a high regard for themselves and enjoys thinking of themselves as unselfish. A person usually has two reasons for doing something…one that sounds good and the real reason. The only sound basis on which to proceed is to assume that a person is being sincere, honest, and truthful. Most people are basically honest and want to live up to their obligations. They will react favorably if you make them feel like you consider them to be honest, upright, and fair.

 

An interesting piece of advice is to “dramatize your ideas”. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, & dramatic. You need to use showmanship.

 

And finally, we are also advised to “throw down a challenge”. Charles Schwab observed that “the way to get things done is to stimulate competition”.  The desire to excel by meeting a challenge is an infallible way of appealing to a person’s spirit. All men have fears, but the brave put them aside and move forward. What greater challenge can be offered than the opportunity to overcome fear?? Being paid by itself does not bring together or hold good people. It is the game!! Money, benefits, and good working conditions are rarely the most motivating factors of a job. The prime motivator is usually the work itself. If it is exciting and interesting workers will look forward to doing it and doing it well. Every successful person loves the game…the chance for self-expression, the opportunity to prove their worth, the desire to excel, win, & feel important.

 

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Points of Ponderation…..Episode 11.17

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

While attending a revival recently the preacher bringing the message said something that I’d never considered but made total sense. He said that people who go around campaigning about “saving the Earth” (as my man Rush Limbaugh calls them…environmentalist whackos) do so because it’s all they have. They don’t have the promise of eternal life in Heaven with God. This planet & this life is it for them. It’s a thought-provoking point to ponder, and makes me feel a bit more sympathetic toward such individuals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple may have jumped the shark with the recently announced iPhone X. Not only has maximum utility likely been reached with the price ($1000 for a phone?? Really?!?!?!??), but the facial recognition stuff is just a bit too…creepy. I’ll be interested to see how it sells.

 

 

 

 

Webster defines patriotism as “love for or devotion to one’s country”. Simple & straightforward…unless you are pro wrestler John Cena. The former “Doctor of Thuganomics” stars in a TV commercial currently airing occasionally that uses an alternate definition of patriotism in a thinly veiled attempt to promote a pro-“alternative” lifestyles agenda. In other words, now some are trying to imply that if you believe in traditional values like marriage being between a man & woman and biology determining gender you are unpatriotic. Sorry folks, but that’s a load of crap, and I’ve lost a lot of respect for Cena for his participation in such a farce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of environmentalist whackos…

I don’t care whether or not you believe in man-made climate change. What you think about such issues is your business, and it’s a free country so trust in whatever scientific, religious, or sociopolitical authority you wish. We can agree to disagree. However, music legend Stevie Wonder recently illustrated exactly what is wrong with liberalism. During a hurricane relief benefit he & his Hollywood leftist friends couldn’t help themselves. They couldn’t stay focused on simply helping people in need, they had to push their agenda. Wonder stated that “anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent”. No, Stevie…anyone who makes such a sweeping generalization is unintelligent. Come on man…be better than that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m willing to bet that we’re all familiar with atleast one person who is the type that can’t stand different foods on their plate co-mingling. Personally it’s not an issue for me. Sometimes I’ll intentionally take a big ol’ spoonful of veggies and mix them in with mashed taters & gravy, and whenever I’m at a Mexican restaurant I stir my refried beans in with rice. That being said, I understand the issue, and I think it extends far beyond the dining table. It seems to me that human beings prefer to compartmentalize most things, and we are uncomfortable with worlds colliding. We watch movies & TV shows to be entertained. Sports fans love ball games, ESPN, & the sports report on the local news. Political junkies can seek out CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, or a plethora of talk radio programs & websites. If you need to steal a little time with The Almighty you can go to church, read the Bible, or find religious programming on radio, television, or The Internet. The problem in 21st century America is that, because of technology (especially social media) all of those different aspects of life seem to be touching one another, like mac & cheese and baked beans at a picnic, and it’s becoming problematic even for easygoing folks like me. I don’t have any answers, but I can clearly identify the problem.

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Winning Friends & Influencing People: Ways to Make People Like You

How to Win Friends & Influence People includes, in its intro, the following list of things that the book’s instruction will do for the reader:

   * Get you out of a mental rut, giving you new thoughts, visions, & ambitions

   * Enable you to make friends quickly & easily

   * Increase your popularity

   * Help you to win people to your way of thinking

   * Increase your influence, prestige, & ability to get things done

   * Enable you to win new clients & customers

   * Increase your earning power

   * Make you a better salesman & executive

   * Help you to handle complaints, avoid arguments, and keep human contact smooth & pleasant

   * Make you a better speaker & a more entertaining conversationalist

   * Make the principles of psychology easy for you to apply in your daily contacts

   * Help you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates

I’m not so much interested in the business angle myself, simply because I am at an age where my professional life is what it is and after nearly three decades in the workforce I am comfortable with how I handle myself & interact with others on the job. However, the potential benefits of learning Carnegie’s principles can easily be applied to personal relationships and general human interaction. If you haven’t checked out Fundamental Techniques in Handling People please do so at your leisure, but for now we move on to the next section.

 

First & foremost we must “become genuinely interested in others”. People are generally interested in themselves morning, noon, & night, but to be genuinely interested in other people is a most important quality. Once again we can look to the animal kingdom for guidance. A dog is the only animal that doesn’t need to work for a living. Hens must lay eggs, cows have to give milk, & birds have to sing. Dogs make their living by giving nothing but love. For us humans, we can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than we could in two years by trying to get others interested in us. If we merely try to impress people and get them interested in us we will never have many true friends. People who are not interested in their fellow human beings have tremendous difficulties in life and oftentimes fail. All of us like people who admire us. We are interested in others when they are interested in us.

 

Secondly, though it seems like simplistic advice, “smile”. William Shakespeare wrote “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. An ancient Chinese proverb warned “a man without a smiling face must not open a shop”. Greet people with animation & enthusiasm. Force yourself to smile. Act as if you are happy and that tends to make you happy. Actions & feelings go together. Actions speak louder than words, and smiling is an action. By regulating the action we can regulate the feeling. The path to cheerfulness is to sit up cheerfully and to act & speak as if cheerfulness was already present. The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes they wear. People who smile tend to manage, teach, & sell more effectively, and they also raise happier children. There is far more information in a smile than a frown. Encouragement is much more effective than punishment. Conversely, an insincere grin doesn’t fool anybody and others resent it. The effect of a smile is powerful even when it is unseen. Your smile comes thru your voice. I used to be a supervisor at a telemarketing firm and I can confirm that this idea is absolutely true. People rarely succeed at anything unless they have fun doing it. You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you. Everyone is seeking happiness. The one surefire way to find it is by controlling thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions, it depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have, who you are, where you are, or what you are doing that determines happiness or unhappiness…it is what you think about. Abraham Lincoln said that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. Thought is supreme. Preserve a good mental attitude of courage, honesty, & good cheer. To think rightly is to create. A smile is a message of good will that costs nothing but creates much. It enriches those who receive it without impoverishing those that give it. It happens in a flash but the memory of it may last forever. It creates happiness in a home, fosters good will in business, and is a witness of friendship. It provides rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, and sunshine to the sad. It cannot be bought, borrowed, or stolen because it isn’t any good to anybody until it is given away.

 

Next, we learn the importance of knowing & using a person’s name. “A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to that person”. People are so proud of their name that they strive to perpetuate it at any cost, so remembering & honoring the names of friends & associates is one of the most obvious & important ways of gaining goodwill.  The average person is more interested in their own name than in all other names on earth combined. Remembering & using names is a way of paying a subtle yet effective compliment. When I graduated from high school I had the person calling names simply say “Sam Mano”, while nearly everyone else had their full name announced. My father had given me the middle name Anthony (and of course the legal first name Samuel), meaning that my initials spell Sam, something that I’ve always considered a rather ingenious idea from dear old Dad. After the commencement ceremony my parents asked me why my full name hadn’t been used and I immediately realized my mistake. I’ve regretted it for nearly three decades. If you forget or misspell a name you have placed yourself at a significant disadvantage. Emerson stated that “good manners are made up of petty sacrifices. Many people don’t remember names because they don’t take the time & energy to concentrate so as to fix names indelibly in their mind. They are too busy and make excuses for not remembering names. Politicians know that “to recall a voter’s name is statesmanship, to forget it is oblivion”. Be aware of the magic contained in a name and understand that it is wholly & completely owned by that one individual. Their name sets that person apart and makes them unique.

 

We then learn that it is vital to “be a good listener & encourage others to talk about themselves”. An interesting conversationalist hardly says anything at all…they listen intently. Good listeners are preferred over good talkers. Unfortunately the ability to listen is a rare trait. Listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone because nothing is more satisfying than having the exclusive attention of the person to whom you are speaking. To be interesting be interested. People are much more interested in themselves & their wants than they are the problems of others. If you want people to shun, despise, & laugh at you behind your back then don’t listen, talk incessantly about yourself, & constantly interrupt others. A person who does that is intoxicated with their own ego and drunk with self-importance. Listening is not mere silence, but a form of activity. Hear with your eyes as well as your ears. Listen with your mind and attentively consider what the other person is saying. Even the most strident critic will usually soften & be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener. Many fail to make a favorable impression because they don’t listen attentively…they are too concerned with what they are going to say next. People don’t always want advice…sometimes they just want a friendly & sympathetic person to listen. People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. They are hopelessly uneducated no matter what kind of degree they might hold.

 

We must “talk in terms of the other person’s interests”. Make yourself agreeable. The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things they treasure most. Talking in terms of the other person’s interests pays off for both parties. Both lives are enriched by the interaction.

 

And finally, learn to “sincerely make the other person feel important “. The lives of many could be changed if only someone would make them feel important. There is one all important law of human conduct: always make others feel important. Almost all the people we meet feel superior in some way, and it is important to let them know that we sincerely recognize their importance. Remember The Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If we obey that law we will almost never get into trouble, and the observance will bring with it countless friends & constant happiness. Frequently those who have the least justification for a sense of achievement boost their own ego with a nauseating show of conceit. If we’re so selfish that we can’t radiate a bit of happiness and show a little honest appreciation without wanting something in return we are doomed to justified failure. To do something for someone without them being able to do anything in return provides a feeling that lives on long after the act. Courtesy oils the gears of the monotonous grind of everyday life and is the hallmark of good breeding.

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

Hey, it only took me ‘til Week 3 to be running woefully late and forced to do a quick & dirty version of these picks lacking my usual charm & wit. We’ve got to stop choosing Thursday games. Anyway, last week was a decidedly mixed bag. On one hand the Patriots lost, the Steelers won, Zach was thrilled that Ohio St. got beat, & my fantasy dynasty team kicked ass. Conversely, we didn’t do so good with these picks. Penn St. won big…but not big enough. Oregon & Clemson both look to be the real deal. And I have no idea what has happened to the Seattle Seahawks. I was an abysmal 3-4, while Zach fared a little better at 4-3. I’m feeling frisky so we’re doing bonus picks again this week. Buckle up kids!!

My Season:        7-5

Z’s Season:        7-5

 

 

 

 

 

Notre Dame (-13.5)     at      Boston College

The Irish are 1-1 after a competitive loss to Georgia last weekend, while the Eagles are also 1-1 coming off of a beatdown by Wake Forest. I have no doubt Notre Dame will win the game, but I think it’ll be closer that two TDS. Conversely, Zach believes Notre Dame will win easily.

My Pick:     Boston College

Z’s Pick:     Notre Dame

 

 

 

Clemson (-3)      at      Louisville

Both teams come into this showdown 2-0. The Cardinals have two solid wins over decent teams, but I still think they’re overrated. Quarterback Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy last year and is undoubtedly a dynamic player, but football is a team game and I don’t think Louisville measures up in other key areas. Clemson won the national championship last season and, despite the loss of QB Deshaun Watson & other important contributors to the NFL, look like they might be even better now. They’re defense is fierce. I’m shocked that the spread is only three points even though the game is being played in Louisville. I’m predicting that Clemson will easily win by double digits. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Clemson

Z’s Pick:     Clemson

 

 

 

Tennessee                  at      Florida (-5.5)

The Volunteers are 2-0, while Florida’s game was cancelled last weekend due to Hurricane Irma. They had previously opened the season with a loss to Michigan. The Gators get the home field bump from the folks in Vegas, but The Vibes are telling me that Tennessee might just go into The Swamp and pull off an upset. Zach was so excited about…something, I don’t know…that he forgot to pick this game.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     n/a

 

 

 

Texas                  at      USC (-15.5)

So many of us…myself included…thought that the Longhorns might be on the way back to respectability. Not only did former coach Charlie Strong allegedly recruit well (and may have been run out of town a bit prematurely), but new coach Tom Herman has brought a renewed level of enthusiasm. Unfortunately this new era got off to a rocky start with a loss to Maryland, and beating up on San Jose St. last week doesn’t prove anything. Conversely, the Trojans were my pre-season #1 team and are 2-0 out of the gate. The points are a little much for my tastes, but I’m going to roll the dice and live on the wild side. Zach foresees a USC blowout.

My Pick:     Southern Cal

Z’s Pick:     Southern Cal

 

 

Houston             at      Cincinnati (-3.5)

The Tom Savage Era is apparently already over, as the Texans will start rookie QB Deshaun Watson this week. It’s a bold move and I like it. The Bengals were shutout by the Baltimore Ravens to begin their season, so both teams in this matchup are looking for a reboot. I really like Watson, and I think Houston’s defense is better than they appeared to be last week. Cincinnati has Andy Dalton behind center, and that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Houston

 

 

 

Chicago             at      Tampa Bay (-6.5)

The Bears looked better than I expected in a season opening loss to Atlanta. Tampa’s season opener was postponed due to Hurricane Irma so this will be our first look at them. The Bucs are probably the better team right now, so I’m just gonna go with the flow. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Tampa Bay

Z’s Pick:     Tampa Bay

 

 

 

Dallas (-2.5)       at      Denver

It looks like RB Zeke Elliott might get to play the entire season afterall, so the Cowboys are in much better shape than I anticipated at this point. They had no problems beating the NY Giants last week. Denver lived on the edge in a season opening victory over the LA Chargers, surviving a last second failed field goal that would have tied the game. Every indicator points to a comfortable Dallas win, but…but…I don’t know…I’m not buying it. The Vibes are telling me that the Broncos have a real chance to win. Zach doesn’t trust Denver’s quarterback situation and is making the smart pick.

My Pick:     Denver

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

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Winning Friends & Influencing People: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

I mentioned in the introduction that How to Win Friends and Influence People is broken down into four sections. One of the things that I have always tried to consider since the inception of The Manofesto is readability. Very few people have the time or patience these days to read a 5000 word blog post no matter how insightful or fascinating it may be. I realize that I can be somewhat verbose on occasion, which goes directly against Shakespeare’s instruction that “brevity is the soul of wit”, so, atleast for this occasion, I am making an effort to break things down into more manageable pieces.

 

Carnegie first advises “don’t criticize, condemn, or complain”. Criticism & rebuke invariably fails. Criticism is futile because it puts others on the defensive, forces them to justify themselves, & wounds their pride. It hurts their sense of importance, kills ambition, & causes resentment. 99% of the time people won’t criticize themselves no matter how wrong they are. An analogy to pets that all of us can understand: animals rewarded for good behavior learn much quicker and retain more information than those punished for bad behavior. Human beings are hungry for approval but dread condemnation. We blame everybody but ourselves…it’s human nature. We are not creatures of logic…we are creatures of emotion with prejudices that are motivated by pride & vanity. Any fool can criticize…and most fools do. Conversely, it takes character & self-control to understand & forgive. Instead of condemnation we should try understanding, which leads to sympathy, tolerance, kindness, & forgiveness. Be anxious to praise but loathe to find fault.

 

The next technique we learn is to “give honest and sincere appreciation”. We all want approval, recognition, & a feeling of importance. We crave the stupendous power of sincere appreciation. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that “every man is my superior in some way…in that I learn of him”. Emerson understood that human beings want the same basic things: health & preservation of life, food, sleep, money (and the things money can buy), the afterlife, sexual gratification, the well-being of our children, & a feeling of importance. The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be great or important, but it is the most difficult need to satisfy. Anyone who fulfills that need for another will hold that person in the palm of their hand. Everything humans do is primarily motivated by two things: sex & the desire to be great. The desire for a feeling of importance distinguishes mankind from animals. How a person gets their feeling of importance defines who they are and determines their character. People can actually go insane seeking to find, in their insanity, the feeling of importance that has been denied to them in reality. Considering that, imagine what you can achieve by giving sane people honest appreciation. Everybody likes compliments. Everybody wants to be appreciated. Studies show that the main reason spouses stray and/or leave is a lack of appreciation. Appreciation is “legal tender that all souls enjoy”. Never underestimate the power of appreciation, confidence, & consideration. We crave it almost as much as we do food. People will do better work & put forth more effort under a spirit of approval than they ever will under a spirit of criticism. The only way to really get anybody to do anything is to make them want to do it. Kind words remain fond memories for years. Conversely, shallow flattery usually fails, doing more harm than good in the long run. Flattery is telling a person precisely what they think of themselves. It comes from the teeth and is cheap, insincere, & selfish, while sincere appreciation comes from the heart & is universally admired. Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you…be afraid of friends who flatter you. We spend 95% of our time thinking about ourselves. If we stop thinking about ourselves & focus on the good points of others we won’t need to resort to flattery…we can show them genuine appreciation, one of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence.

 

And finally, Carnegies advises to “arouse an eager want”, opining that it is necessary to bait the hook to suit the fish. Henry Ford said that “the ability to see other peoples’ point of view as well as one’s own is the key to success”. We are all eternally interested in what we want, so the best way to influence people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it. Every act we have done since the day we were born has been performed because we wanted something. Self-expression is the dominant necessity of human nature. Action springs from fundamental desire. Even many of the most educated people go thru life without ever discovering how their own mind functions. One who can arouse in others an eager want has the whole world with them, while those who cannot walk a lonely road. The world is full of self-seekers. Therefore, an individual who unselfishly tries to serve others is rare and has an enormous advantage over the self-seeker. We are interested in solving our own problems, and if a person can show us how they can help us do that we’ll be buying without them needing to sell us anything. People who can put themselves in the place of others and understand the workings of their minds won’t ever need to worry about their future.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment…coming soon.

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Winning Friends & Influencing People: An Introduction

I first read Dale Carnegie’s Winning Friends & Influencing People three decades ago as a young teenager. I was a nerdy kid with odd tastes in reading material, and the idea of making friends & being influential seemed pretty cool. I can’t honestly say that I have utilized Mr. Carnegie’s concepts in the ensuing years, atleast not intentionally. However, I would like to think that I learned a bit thru osmosis and have been using these techniques on some subconscious level. I recently decided, for no apparent reason, to re-read the book, and since I now have this forum to share my thoughts with the masses I am passing on the ideas within on to The Manoverse. You’re welcome.

 

In case you are curious…no, Dale Carnegie is not related to Andrew Carnegie (for whom Carnegie Hall in NY City & Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh is named). As a matter of fact, Dale Carnagey changed the spelling of his surname to capitalize on the prominence of the highly esteemed steel tycoon & philanthropist. Dale C. was a salesman of modest means who eventually began teaching courses in public speaking. He wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936, and eighty+ years later people are still reading it. Over 30 million copies have been sold, and it is universally regarded as one of the most influential books ever written. Dale Carnegie almost single-handedly created the self-help genre of books, which, depending on one’s perspective, is either a great thing or a sign that the end is near. I tend not to get too caught up in those kinds of books, but an occasional gem pops up, and this is definitely one of the best.

 

I suppose some might consider the ideas espoused by Carnegie a bit manipulative. However, he makes it very clear…more than once…that anyone who uses the skills he teaches must do so genuinely. Trickery & deceit may work temporarily, but at the end of the day such duplicity is better left to fictional villains on TV & in movies. Keep it real…if there is one major philosophy to take away from the book that might be at the top of the list. Of course there are moments (far too frequently for some of us) when what we are really thinking & feeling and what we’d like to actually say or do would certainly not accomplish the stated goals in the book’s title. It is precisely those situations in which the things taught by Carnegie come in handy. His ideas need to become more of a perpetual attitude & approach to social interaction, not a fraudulent hoax to get what we want. I have found it much easier in my life to be authentic & honest rather than keep track of a trail of lies that tend to multiply exponentially, and being a decent, kind, cooperative person is better for your health & well-being. Other people actually liking you is really just a nice bonus.

 

How to Win Friends & Influence People is broken down into four sections: fundamental techniques in handling people, ways to make people like you, winning people to your way of thinking, & changing people without giving offense or arousing resentment. In the interest of reading comprehension, good eye health, & old-fashioned reader satisfaction I think it is best to separate my contribution here into those four parts, and so I shall. Stay tuned.