You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2008.

I will be taking the rest of the year off from blogging with (hopefully) an occasional post here and there.  Sincerest apology to my loyal readers.  Please check back at the beginning of the year for new contents!

Thanks for reading, and please keep the emails/comments coming!

Every Friday is Wisdom Friday.  It’s just a way for me to share with my readers the little gems of life that I’ve learned either during the week or living life in general.

Often when we hear or read about successful people and stories, we don’t hear about the failure that accompany the said successes.  Yet there’s never been any success stories in the history of mankind without the failure that came before them.  Failure come in different sizes, but every successful man and woman encounters them.  How successful one eventually becomes depends on, in large part, how freely the person embraces those failures.

In my opinion, embracing failure is the recipe for future successes because it:

  1. Offers opportunities to learn from your mistakes. Learning from one’s mistake is the quickest path to personal growth.  Babies and toddlers learn so much and so quickly because they are always learning from their mistakes and failure.
  2. Creates opportunities to think outside of the box. Embracing one’s failure means internalizing what did not work and trying to come up with what may work in the future.  This breaks the “insanity” loop (according to Albert Einstein, insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results)

What do you think?  If you have more to add as to why embracing failure eventually lead to successes, please share them in the comments!

Seth Godin wrote a good piece about the kind of marketers he likes to hire.  Personally, I think all the attitudes he listed are good qualities to have in life in general.  For example, he said:

  • “You are relentless positive.” I think having a positive attitude towards life is probably the single most important quality to have in leading a happy and fulfilling life!
  • “You like to tell stories and you’re good at it.” Stories bring people together to form relationships. Science has shown repeatedly that having meaningful relationships is one of the best way to fight diseases.
  • “You’re good at listening to stories.” We can all learn to be better listeners.  This world would be a much better place if we only listen more not only with our ears and minds but also with our hearts.
  • “[You are] largely self-motivated.” Successes never knock on the doors of the lazy ones.
  • “You’re intellectually restless.” I am a firm believer that “why” and “how” are two of the most important concepts ever invented by human kind.  By questioning our surrounding, we not only learn to appreciate what is around us, it also sets us on the path to improve what can be made better.

What do you think?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

I went to donate blood yesterday.  I’ve been donating blood since I was a teenager, so I’ve dealt with many blood donation organizations.  Some, of course, are better than others.  By better, I mean more professional in the way they treat the donors from the beginning to end.

For example, I have been to blood centers where they make you wait forever and a day even if you have appointments, and I have been to places where they know me by name!  I’ve also been to places where the phlebotomists seem unsure of just how poke you (or worse, they make such messes that you end up with bruising for days if not weeks), and I’ve also interacted with those who are not only completely at ease with their job, they engage you in conversations so as to make you feel more comfortable during the ordeal.

In my opinion, blood donation should be treated like any other businesses — customer service is key.  If I were to run a blood donation center, I would put all my staff through customer service training.  In particular, I would make sure:

  1. The check-in personnel politely greet the potential donors. I have been to donor centers where the check-in personnel appeared as if they rather be anywhere but there!  Not only is that bad for business, it’s unprofessional!
  2. They speak proper English. “I ain’t got no time for this” is fine for conversation between friends, but it is subpar at best and downright unprofessional for conversations between the personnel and donors.
  3. They don’t chew gum. Not only is this unprofessional, this crosses the line of being unsanitary!
  4. They don’t discuss donors situation with each other. Ever since I returned from my vacation this past summer, they’ve had to double check my eligibility to donate due to the location I visited while I was on vacation.  However, there’s never a need to broadcast that to everybody in the vicinity while discussing my eligibility!
  5. The phlebotomists are well-trained. Being poked by an 18-gauge needle isn’t fun, but it can be made more palatable if the person doing the poking is experienced.  I actually have very good veins, so I can say this: if you have to poke me more than once, you don’t know what you are doing!  Unfortunately, I’ve been to places where they poked me more than three times, inserted the needle into my vein upside down, and lacerated my vein by puncturing it through and through.  That last one resulted in several bruises around the point of entrance bigger than any of my bike and rollerblade accidents in the past.

By the way, most of what I listed happened either yesterday while I attempted to donate blood or the last time I donated blood with them.  If I were a supervisor at Blood Centers of the Pacific, I would really re-evaluate my mobile units to make sure the level of service they deliver is up to par.  Needless to say, I won’t be returning to BCP again!

Have you ever received an apology from somebody that sounded fake?  I know I have!  Depending on the severity of the screw-up, sometimes a simple “I am sorry” just isn’t enough.  Worse, an insincere (sounding) apology can sometimes make matter even worse!

In my opinion, there are a few steps to making an effective apology:

  1. Acknowledge your mistake.  This doesn’t need to be a long-winded explanation.  Something as simple as, “I am sorry I forgot to lock the door” will be sufficient.
  2. Next, inquire about the impact the blunder had on the person to whom you are apologizing: “How much damage was caused by the burglary?”
  3. Then explain yourself in context.  It is important to sound sincere and not defensive in anyway when explaining yourself.  “I knew I was rushing.  I could have paid more attention but didn’t.  Next time I will be sure to be more diligent.”
  4. Finally, ask the person how to make amends: “I want to help make this right.  What I can do to fix this?”

What do you think?  Have you ever heard an ineffective or a really effective apology that you want to share?  Please leave them in the comments.

November 2008