Category Archives: Series

Lessons From Defensive Driving 5

10 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Here at last is the final part of our series, Lessons from Defensive Driving. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Rule #50: Connect Your Mind To Your Eyes
Have you ever had one of those days when you suddenly jerk awake in your office chair and realize you had no idea how you got there? Try as you might, the commute is a blank. Scary, isn’t it? Where WERE you during the drive?

Autopilot has its good and bad points — the deciding factor of whether it is good or bad is awareness.

See what you’re looking at. Think, don’t just watch.

For example, when you find that you’re low on gas, gas stations pop up in the forefront of your consciousness. You won’t be able to help it. You’ll be on the alert for gas stations at every corner — and then you might forget you need to get some milk.

See what you want, but don’t lose sight of what’s happening. That’s how accidents can happen.

“One of the most important aspects of defensive driving is recognizing impending hazards BEFORE they become a problem for you. Early recognition allows the time you need to avoid trouble.”

The root of the work recognition comes from cognate – to know. Knowledge, in it’s most basic sense, IS awareness.
Continue reading Lessons From Defensive Driving 5

Lessons From Defensive Driving 4

08 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Thought the series was finished last week, didn’t you? Well, we do have one more part to go after this, and then it’ll be done. In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to continue reading uncle Bob’s 70 Rules for Defensive Driving as well. You never know, the life you save can be your own.

Rule #31: Avoid Head-On Collisions
I’ve underlined the key words from certain sentences in this rule:

  • Anticipate those places and situations where a head-on collision is possible.”
  • Pay attention and look far down the road. If you aren’t distracted, you’re likely to see the vehicle coming long before he’s a problem.”

Anticipate, pay attention, look far ahead. Filter out the distractions. It’s about taking control by merging your planning skills with the power of your imagination, supporting that by experience, and fueling everything with a dash of fear to keep you alert.

Think ahead. Prepare. By practicing your decision-making skills in non-stressful situations, you can refine them and enforce good habits that will support you in harsher times, or even save you under pressure. This is where imagination and fear can help you the most — instead of fearing the worst, go ahead and imagine the worst-case scenarios — and prepare for them as well.

Rule #38: Don’t Prevent Others from Passing
There’s enough business out there on the internet to help support your small enterprise, especially if you’ve already found your niche. You don’t have to resort to mud-slinging, underhanded or unethical practices just to get yours.

On the internet, you ARE your reputation, and gossip –once out– lives forever. Act with integrity, focus your energy on quality products or services, and them promote the heck out of them. Besides, your competitors today may be your partners tomorrow. You never know, you know?
Continue reading Lessons From Defensive Driving 4

Lessons From Defensive Driving 3

05 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Here I am again with another batch of Uncle Bob’s safer-driving tips, as applied to your own business. Enjoy!

Rule #25: Maintain Your Tires
Really, you have to click the link first to understand the framework for this. It’s also very good advice.

When you’re in business for yourself, you work to save money, as well as make it. Don’t believe me? Think about it.

Whether you’re just starting out, or maybe taking over, you need to keep your overhead down to keep some money in the cash box. Sometimes, you have to operate on a shoe-string for quite a long while, treading water, before you get to see any profit.

(Note: For excellent advice on getting by with little money for your business, go download Seth Godin’s manifesto, The Bootstrapper’s Bible, at ChangeThis.)
Continue reading Lessons From Defensive Driving 3

Lessons From Defensive Driving 2

03 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Here are more lessons I got from Uncle Bob’s safer-driving tips.

Rule #17: Know Your Blind Spots
More commonly touted as, “Know what you don’t know,” knowing that you have blind spots — don’t worry, everyone has them– is only the first step.

Blind spots happen when you’re too close to the situation to see things clearly. They also pop up in situations you don’t want to deal with. The results? You get — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — blind-sided.

So, how to deal?

Awareness is important, and a willingness to listen to viewpoints other than your own. You can start dealing with your blind spots by asking someone you trust and whose opinion you respect (and hopefully is also diplomatic) to point them out to you. Ideally, this should be done in a calm, neutral setting. As in rule number 14, nobody likes being ambushed, even if in this case you ask for it.
Continue reading Lessons From Defensive Driving 2

Lessons From Defensive Driving

01 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

After I stumbled on Bob Saller’s “70 Rules of Defensive Driving” on Roadtrip America, I was hit by a totally random thunderbolt of inspiration, and immediately thought of how to apply some of them in running a business.

Note: Here’s just my free and on-the-fly interpretation, I picked the rules that rung a bell. Visit the site yourself to see all 70 of Uncle Bob’s life-saving rules for the road, and to get the real background, click on the links below to see the actual rule I’m referring to.


Rule #10: Drive Precisely
Precise is neat, exact, meticulous. Being precise means executing an action according to something, fitting something — a plan, a destination, a specific goal. Precise is the opposite of sloppy.

If you’ve suffered the embarrassment of having a half-baked job come back to haunt you, you’d know how things like expediency may sneak you through, but taking short-cuts avoids the lessons, the mastery you could have earned, e.g. learning to do it right the first few times vs. doing fast to get it done in one go.

Rule #11: Chill Out
Relax, de-stress, literally take a load off and put your feet up (Sitting all day is bad for your health) or pound the pavement (Exercise helps. A lot). Stop clenching, it’s bad for your teeth. And your blood pressure.

Take a deep breath, then a few more. It’s attitude. It’s the journey, not the destination. It’s you, choosing to be in control, not you allowing your emotions to rule the roost.
Continue reading Lessons From Defensive Driving

Minding The Gap

20 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

The previous article, Bridging the Gap (Parts 1, 2) was all about making a real and sustainable connection between your dreams and your reality. This article is all about dealing with the stress of doing so.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, but mental stress can be much harder on the body than physical stress, especially if it’s sustained.

It’s true, and for a large part of the time we do it to ourselves, unconsciously.

There’s already a lot of evidence out there proving the mind-body link is real and very important, it’s just that in our hurry to Get Somewhere, to Make Things Happen and Get Things Done, we tend to forget that link.

What happens then is we split our selves in two, Mind and Body, paying much more attention to the Mind (and what happens inside it) and treating the Body as just another object to take care of and control.

Don’t just take my word for it, look at the statistics and news.

Check around at your workplace and your own health and see for yourself how stress manifests itself, physically as well as mentally. Insomnia, weakened immune systems, back pain, the list goes on and on. Continue reading Minding The Gap

Bridging The Gap 2

18 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

In part 1 we identified the Gap. Today we’re taking a deeper look behind the assumptions that people use to fill the gap, and then we’ll recommend a few things you can do to deal with these assumptions.

At the very heart of it, the most common root that leaves you despairing in the gap is: Your standards are set to unrealistic levels.

Your reluctance to adjust these levels just draws out the discomfort. The real-life results can leave you still dissatisfied.


Now, dissatisfaction is actually good. Dissatisfaction can spur us on to greater effort to change things. Dissatisfaction helps change the status quo, starts revolutions, makes improvements, pushes progress.

The dark side happens when you marinate in it, seething because the world will not fit itself to your ideals of how things should be.

Quick hint 1: The world came first, and it’ll still be here long after you’re gone. Stop beating your head against the wall. Continue reading Bridging The Gap 2

Bridging The Gap

15 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

What with all the advances in modern technology, cultural and social shifts, and the many freedoms that we have the luxury of taking for granted, with everything that we can do with these resources — why do so many people feel they’re not living the life they’re supposed to be living by now?

The answer lies in the gap between all your plans and your reality.

  • “This wasn’t part of the plan, dammit.”
  • “I coulda been a contender!” — Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, On the Waterfront, 1954
  • “This isn’t what I wanted. I had so many plans, I never expected things to turn out the way they have….”

There is an inevitable gap between the Real and the Ideal, precisely because of what they are. Ideals live in a purely theoretical state. See the definitions we yanked from Wiktionary under ‘Ideal’ (More on this later.):

  • Optimal; being the best possibility.
  • Perfect, flawless, having no defects.
  • Existing only in the mind; conceptual, imaginary.

Real is sweaty, tiring and smelly. It is not a 3-D iMax full Sensurround experience you can walk away from.

It’s being here, all the time. And the realm of the Ideal is where we run to escape from the Real.

“When I loss weight, get promoted, get married, get divorced, graduate, see my name up in lights…then I’ll be happy.”

And when you do get those things, you experience a few moments of happiness…followed by a teeny voice that only pipes up when you take a moment alone in your head.

“That didn’t feel as good as I thought it would…or last as long.” Continue reading Bridging The Gap

Work While You Work 2

13 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

While the goal tracker mentioned in part one teaches you to focus on the activities that are directly linked to your most important, vital outcomes (the actions that will bring you the most bang for your buck) the method mentioned in this second part is a concentration aid.

The Pomodoro technique teaches you to manage your mental environment, a difficult thing to do in these split-focus, multi-tasking modern days.

To move in this time we are taught to dart our attention all over the place, looking at the shiny, the relentless, the most strident, the terribly, terribly IN-terr-esting.

The long-term effect? We keep needing more and more stimulation to push through our desensitized filters, and this drains us even as we develop a craving to the speed at which the stimuli comes at us, leading to a vicious circle.

To practice the Pomodoro technique then, would be quite uncomfortable until you get used to what it demands of you. It may take a while to realize the value of this mental training, but the results will pay out, as soon as you truly get it, and over a life-time. Continue reading Work While You Work 2

Work While You Work 1

11 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

How much work do you accomplish while you work?

For anyone who has ever worked in a company where the majority of the labor is done in an area full of cubicles, the answer can swing either way.

You can be so busy you never gopher up from your little nest, or you can use everybody else’s business to hide your uninterrupted winning streak — 212 (and counting) — in Spider Solitaire.

Work is usually plopped down into two piles: busywork, which deals with the Urgent and Petty, and grunt-work, which deals with the backlog of Important and Mind-draining.

At this point, may we suggest a different point of view to help you with your productivity? Thank you. Continue reading Work While You Work 1