Things Teachers Taught Me

For a long while, I’ve had this idea of authoring a book (I have many ideas for books…) about inspirational things or solid advice that past teachers or life experiences have taught me.

Throughout my career, I have had some great (and some dreadful) teachers and some equally outstanding life lessons both bitter and sweet. Recently, I was chatting with a friend who asked if I would want to be 20 all over again, and was surprised when I said no, I wouldn’t. Which got me thinking: I really have very few regrets. All of the worst moments of my life, and the most difficult challenges have equipped me to handle just about anything. The confidence I have earned was not born, it was bred… and is a hard-won patina earned through wounds and scars.

Similarly, a few years ago, I had a bit of an epiphany. I have a few friends that are more than a few years younger than me and I often find myself mentoring them on big life decisions. NO!, I would think… DON’T do THAT! Because my age and experience gives me a reasonable gauge of how THAT experience might turn out. My intent had always been to save my friends the hurt and anguish of making a bad decision with an outcome made more clear by age and wisdom. But, I realized, it is exactly the many poor choices followed by hurt or misery that fortified me and made me who I am today. Sparing them hurt would be disabling their ability to build coping mechanisms and confidence. Perhaps that is the teacher in me. Perhaps not. Scandinavian parents have an adage: Telling a baby not to touch a hot stove means nothing. However, when a child touches a hot stove, he will feel the burn. He will learn on his own not to touch the stove again. Certainly no parent of the year award there, but some pretty powerful psychology nonetheless.

So further to my goal of writing a book of good advice, here is my top 15 list of things I’ve learned from great teachers:

1. Always ask nicely and acknowledge that people are busy and don’t owe you an answer. When you get an answer, be grateful and say thank you.

2. It is indeed lonely at the top.

3. You pay a price for being a smart person in a stupid world.

4. Communicate. In a communication vacuum, people will make up their own details… which often will be worse than actuality.

5. Success is more often celebrated with a stab in the back than a pat on the back.

6. There is a big difference between being cordial and being friends.

7. The past is not the future.

8. Leadership is about doing the work for others and letting them get the accolades and credit for it.

9. Read everything you can, but read it carefully. Most people don’t read carefully.

10. People learn differently. People think differently.

11. Uniformity and conformity are so powerful they usually self-extinguish.

12. Organization is the key to simplicity.

13. Wealth is relative and ultimately unimportant.

14. Noble aims are unsupported by broken means.

15. Karma is for real.

Why This German Supermarket Emptied Their Shelves

Regardless of your politics, it’s interesting to think about how many of our products come from different places and different countries. In protest of immigration laws, this supermarket removed all products from shelves that are made in a foreign country or made with ingredients from a foreign country. Amazing how little is left.

Literally, food for thought.

How politics made their way into this grocery store

Source: Why This German Supermarket Emptied Their Shelves

Branding Matters In Local Government, And Atlanta Is Leading The Way

Place branding was the topic of my dissertation. I’ve continued to research and chart it since my dissertation was published, and it’s interesting to see how the entire branding exercise became so incredibly short-sighted and messy, and how that disorder eventually evolved into a better solution that is both responsible and functional.

From Fast Company:

Not all cities have a budget for design, but Atlanta’s department of urban planning is showing why they should.

Source: Branding Matters In Local Government, And Atlanta Is Leading The Way

European Style Gluten Free Baking with FiberHUSK®

I have been eating gluten free for nearly 10 years. It’s hard to believe that much time has gone but, but it has. Over that time, gluten free products have become prolific in the United States and Europe. However, there is a marked difference between American and European gluten free products, especially baked goods. Most American gluten free products seem to be dense and overly sweet. European gluten free products are (on average) nearly identical to their glutenful counterparts.

For some time, I have been curious as to why this is the case. The answer lies with psyllium husk. Not widely used in America (it’s the main ingredient in Metamucil), it is a common ingredient in European baked goods. Psyllium husk absorbs up to 8x its weight in water. This is handy in baking, as a slow bake will cause this water to evaporate, leaving the baked goods spongy and chewy, very similar to guten filled counterparts.

Psyllium husk is widely available, and easy to use. Check out this German site featuring FiberHUSK, a product specifically made for baking. It might be a good thing to try for your gluten free holiday baking!

Für ein saftigeres und luftigeres Gelingen Ihrer glutenfreien Backwaren. Funktioniert als Bindemittel und Mehlzusatz bei Low-Carb Gerichten. – FiberHUSK.de

Source: FiberHUSK® Flohsamenschalenpulver | Glutenfreies und Low-Carb Backen

The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

Every one knows that I’m a huge fan of Aldi. I say… bring it on!

Grocery stores are aggressively expanding, and now there’s a glut of food retail space in the US.

Source: The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

This is why I’ll never shop at OfficeMax again—even if everything is free

This sounds like:

a. Something I’d write.

b. An experience I would have.

This column is my first step toward recovering from a maddening return experience.

Source: This is why I’ll never shop at OfficeMax again—even if everything is free