Friday, March 27, 2020

Woe Is Me vs Hey...It's Me!

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, March 27, 2020

I retired from the real estate business in 2012 after more than 33 years.  During that time, I was an agent, a broker/agent, a manager, a designated broker (multiple times), a broker/owner, a team leader and a trainer.  Of all those titles, trainer was the one I worked at the hardest and the one I was most proud of and like to be remember for.  I would often say to my agents, whenever you are caught in the middle of a problem and assume you can’t reach me for advice or guidance, imagine wearing a wrist band that read WWGDN.

WWGDN simply means, What Would Gymbeaux Do Now?  If you ask the right questions you often get the correct answers.  During my 33 years I ALWAYS, without exception, trained my crews to:

  • Be honest in all things
  • Follow the law in all things
  • Be ethical in all things
  • Treat people like you would want to be treated
  • When in doubt do something and do it as quickly as you can.  No  action is rarely the correct course of action.  The key word is action – always move forward and when you do, it requires action!

In 2020  you are faced with one of the more serious problems you will ever face in the real estate business.  You are not just faced with a down market, you are faced with a market that has almost been entirely closed off to listing and buying.  Even though I am retired, I can relate.  I got into the market in 1980 when interest rates were 20% or higher.  Still people bought and sold homes and land.

WWGDN?  That is a great question and I have given it a lot of thought.  Here is a list of those thoughts that I would strongly encourage my crew, if I had one, to be taking RIGHT NOW, NOT LATER!

Breath!  Stop whatever you are doing, take several deep breaths and calm yourself down.  It is very difficult to think clearly when your mind and body are in a state of stress.

Set aside time.  Time is the one thing you should have plenty of.  Work on your database of past customers and people you know.  You should also have a database of people you don’t know as well.  But start with the people you know.  Call every one of them, tell them you are calling to “checkup on them” to see how they are doing and if there is anything that you may be able to do for them.  If they answer you know you have the right person.  During your call slide in the question, “do you still live on (street name)?”  Now you know you still have the right phone number and they still live where you have them living in your database.  If you don’t have it in your database, at some point you want to also casually ask them “how long have you been living there?”  Why is this important to know?  Every study ever done by NAR while I was active indicated the average length of time people live in their homes before they sell.  When you know this, you also know that you should make a point of singling out those homeowners that meet that criteria and contact them more frequently.  Remember, the person on the other end of the line is probably also in a state of quarantine and has time on their hands and may be more willing to talk to you in general.  DON’T TRY TO LIST THEIR HOME OR SELL THEM A HOME OVER THE PHONE.  This is NOT why you are calling.  For you, you are using the call to update and verify your database.  For them you are performing a security check.  You are also asking them if there is anything you can do for them.  If they ask and you can’t do it, tell them so and why.  Otherwise, do it!  The point is, use this time to update and verify your database of people you know or past customers.  Point of emphasis:  My wife and I have lived in our home since 1985 and we are both retired.  In that time no real estate agent has ever called us and I can count the number of items received in the mail on one hand from REALTORS.  What does that tell you?  Timing.  Do not call during Breakfast, Lunch or Supper and never call after 8:00 pm unless it is because of a real emergency.  Do you like receiving calls at these times of the day?  Neither do the people in your database.

Be Prepared:  It is a time of emergency and people are in need.  Be aware of where people can still shop and the hours that those stores are open.  Be aware of restaurants in the area that are either open or who deliver or who do curbside pickup.  You should already have a list of local businesses that provide repair services like AC, plumbers, electricians, “handyman” type work, etc. Have ready a list of non-evasive questions that you can use to keep the conversation going – don’t wing it.  Know what you are going to say but keep it from sounding like a script even though it will be a script of sorts.

What do you do if no one answers the phone?  You make a point of calling again at a later time.  If you still get no answer, have a post card ready to mail simply stating you have been trying to reach them to see if they are doing okay given the current circumstances.  Include the last four digits of the number you have been trying to call them on and ask if it is still a valid number.  Here is the kicker!  My wife and I do not answer our phones when there are no caller IDs listed.  That is a result of the hundreds of calls we have received over the years from unknown parties.  We feel that if it is important, they will leave a message.  This is the second point, have a pre-determined message that you will leave IF the party has their voice mail turned on.  Tell them who you are and that you are calling to simply checkup on them to see if they are doing okay and then state you will try again but it would be helpful if they would add you as a contact in their phone directory so they will know for certain that it is you calling when you next call.  Just that one step if they do it is worth its weight in gold.  People will answer the phone when they know who is calling.  Make certain your phone is set up with caller ID to signify to the homeowner who is calling.

Follow Up!  Follow up is crucial – PERIOD!  If a homeowner asks you to do something and you agree to do it or asks for information and you agree to provide it – JUST DO IT AND DO IT WHILE THE IRON IS HOT!  DO NOT PUT IT OFF!  Follow up is crucial!

Time and Boredom:  It is easy to get careless when you perform one task over and over again non-stop.  Set aside time to work on your database and make calls.  Take breaks and stop when you have reached your allotted time to do what you want to accomplish.

Advertising.  It has been my experience with agents that they have always slowed down what they do starting with Thanksgiving and that slowdown lasted through New Year’s Day and in my area of New Orleans, some extended that slowdown through the Mardi Gras season.  Then they were behind the eight ball when they wondered why their business and income also slowed and they tried to restart their business.  The agents that were the most successful worked at their business even harder during the holiday seasons so that their flow of business never slowed down.  The same is true with the current self-quarantine period due to the virus.  Most agents, certainly not you, will typically feel that there is no need to continue advertising if there is no business.  But it will not always be like this and business will return, probably with a flourish.  You want your name recognition and your branding to be ever present on people’s minds and that will NOT happen if you stop doing the things you KNOW you should continue to do.  You can’t continue to get water out of a well if you stop pumping!  If you are one of the very few that continue to market themselves during times like this, you will stand out like a sore thumb when the time comes for people to buy and sell real estate.  You want to be that person who is in the position to help them.
Purge your files:  As you go through your database, purge your files of people you can no longer verify or who you can no longer find.

Unknown Database.  Everyone should have people in their database that they have never met but who you have contacted in the past.  Use this time AFTER you verify your KNOWN database of people, to contact as many in your UNKNOWN database as you can.  Once you make voice or even face to face with someone in your UNKNOWN database, move them to your KNOWN database.  Use this time to move as many as you can.  That will eventually be icing on the cake.

MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK.  Whether you are a Keller Williams Realty agent or not, it does not matter.  USE THIS TIME TO NOT JUST READ THE MILLIONAIRE REAL ESTATE AGENT, use this time to STUDY it!  It so clearly is a plan for real estate agents and business in general for them to not just make money but more importantly create a profitable business.  Aside from working on your database, this is the most important task you could possibly perform at this time while you have more time on your hands than you would like.  I personally have read this book multiple times and have it on CD as well.

WORK FROM A DAILY TO DO LIST:  Knowing what needs to be done is only the beginning.  Make a list of what needs to be done, prioritize that list and then work each day to do what you KNOW must be done to ensure your business will continue to flow to you.

LIFE’S MISSION STATEMENT:  Everyone should have a really Big Ass Goal for their life.  That IS your Life’s Mission Statement.  Once you know what that mission is, you can at any point in your day, week, month, year, life ask this one question.  “Is what I am about to say or do consistent with achieving my Big Ass Goal (or Life’s Mission Statement)?”  If YES, say or do it.  If NO, DON’T!  By doing this you will find that you begin to question a lot of things you may have done in the past and realize that those things really didn’t need to be done at all or served no useful purpose by doing them.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Forget the Cures; Find the Cause

A book review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 22, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

I can see where someone may read this book and give it a negative review.  Why?  The book contains so much information that it can be overwhelming.  My advice would be to give each thought its own due diligence and you will most likely discover what Dr. Gangi has written to be true.  The overwhelming part kicks in when you consider ALL that Dr. Gangi has written about all at one time.  There is no doubt in my mind that it IS overwhelming.  I am confident that it was not Dr. Gangi’s intent to overwhelm anyone but instead just to get them to think.  Thinking is always good!  This book WILL make you think.

A doctor once told me when faced with no many life-changing ideas at one time, to pick and choose those ideas that (1) you know you can implement, (2) you know will be beneficial to you especially over time, and (3) that you know you will stick with them.  He then said that if you can commit to just 10%, at least initially, you will be light years ahead of most people who continue to do what they have always done (and expect different results – insanity – Einstein).

Some will read the book and choose not to make any changes and that will be their right to do so.  Others will attempt to do everything and I would be afraid that in short order they would stop do any of the recommendations.  The solution is as the Doctor advised me, start small but start with what is important to your health first!

Dr. Gangi’s book can change your health, there is no question about that.  The book is an excellent and in depth read about your body and what makes it work but it is written in plan English making it easy to understand for a non-medical person. 

Who should read the book?  Everyone seriously interested in improving their health
Would I read it again? Definitely parts of it; impossible to remember it all
Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY; already have! 

Friday, March 20, 2020


A book review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 16, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

The author points out in the beginning of the book that this book is fiction but is it?  As you read, you quickly understand exactly who the author is writing about and you know that the events discussed actually happened or at the very least, some of them happened.  Is it really fiction?  I honestly don’t know and I think that was the intent of the author.  Most of the book is certainly plausible.

This may be one person’s “theory” as to how the infamous “Q” and “Qanon” originated and who the person behind the “Q” actually is.  My recommendation would be to read the book and you decide for yourself.

I may have been more fortunate than most as I have also read the book, Dr. Mary’s Monkey, a must read for everyone.  If you read the book with an open mind and understand that the book is a book of truth and history, you will most assuredly begin to have serious doubts as to how John F. Kennedy was actually murdered.  You may not know by whom but you will definitely have questions as to Lee Harvey Oswald’s actual participation or not.  If you then follow that book with Me & Lee, it will further create a doubt in your mind as to the events of that fateful day in our history.  Then if you read this book, well, you will have questions and you will have doubts!

There is another aspect of the President Kennedy murder that most people are simply unaware of.  There has been a government group titled The Majestic Twelve.  If you read anything about this group and what they have done, it will cast even further doubt as to Oswald’s participation and the more likely scenario that agencies within the Federal Government were responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy to prevent him from dismantling those sections of our government now referred to as the “Deep State.”.

This book really begins with the assassination of President Kennedy and the attacks on the Kennedy family. If you understand that, the book may make more sense to you and you may believe that the treat discussed may in fact be real.

With that said, does this book write history as it is unfolding before our very eyes or is it as the author suggests, fiction?  For the record, I read it in one sitting for two reasons, first it is a short book but secondly it is a fascinating book that holds your attention to the end, true or not.

Who should read the book?  Anyone interested in history and current events and politics and the JFK assassination..
Would I read it again? Probably not.  Very easy to follow and understand.
Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY! 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Profiles in Corruption

Abuse of power of America’s Progressive Elites
A book review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 19, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

I started this review before I have even finished reading the entire book; but I did finish reading the book.  I felt compelled to do so.  Why?  Glad you asked.

Schweizer focuses on “progressives” only in the book.  More specifically Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Eric Garcetti; I thought my head was going to explode.  I was deeply sadden because of the corrupt state of affairs in Washington and throughout the country AND I was extremely angry at what I was reading.  When I say angry, I mean no disrespect to the author or his writing, only the content of each profile of the featured politicians.  How can America permit this to continue?  The Washington corruption has been ongoing for over one hundred years but is more prevalent now than ever before in history.  Families are becoming EXTREMELY wealthy because of the elected political positions and the financial effect on member(s) of the politician’s family.  It should never be that way.  We taxpayers are paying for their wealth accumulation.  And while this wealth accumulation is happening the same politicians are creating legislation that favors the organizations that benefit the family members and their organizations versus what is best for the population in general.  In fact, in a lot of cases, the legislation opposes what would be considered to be in the best interest of the general population.

What really struck my nerve was that the public image portrayed by these politicians is in direct conflict with their private personas.  What we see is not really what we are getting.  The lesson learned by reading this book is that every voter should do their due diligence in vetting the candidates they support and/or vote for.

I was so angry that I could not sleep just thinking of the ongoing corruption.  This book was the cause of my sleepless night.  It was so bad that when I did go to sleep, I dreamed of this outrage to the point where my tossing and turning woke up my wife and my dog out of concern.

Three things SCREAMED at me off every page of the book.

  1. Where are the national reporters who should be reporting on this corruption?
  2. TERM LIMITS!  We need them more than ever!  The book did not mention term limits but that is what screamed at me on every page.  It would be more difficult for these politicians to put in place the tax evasion family programs they have with a shorter period of time in office but it could still and probably would be done.  Term limits would just make it more difficult.
  3. NONE OF THESE PEOPLE SHOULD EVER SEE THE INSIDE OF THE WHITE HOUSE, U. S. Senate, U. S. House or any local government office!
 I know most people will NOT read this book and that will not only be their loss but also America’s loss because if you don’t know about what these people have been doing, they will continue doing it.  Even worse we will continue to elect them to even longer periods in office.  Pick any of the people featured in this book. If you would have voted for them BEFORE you read this book, I seriously doubt you would vote for them AFTER your read this book.  Some people will say the book is filled with lies.  To those people I suggest that if that were true, the author would already have been in court having been sued by any of the figures featured in the book.  For argument’s sake, let’s say that 80% is NOT true meaning that only 20% IS true.  The 20% should still be enough vile garbage to dissuade a serious open-minded reader from ever voting for these creeps.

Who should read the book?  EVERY AMERICAN!  Every person who wants to be an American!
Would I read it again? Definitely parts of it as some of these atrocities hopefully come to light.
Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!  Whether the recipient reads it or not, giving it as a gift sends a strong message of where you stand!  Where do you stand?
WHEN SHOULD YOU READ IT?  NOW, before the next Presidential Election.

Monday, March 16, 2020


A book review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 16, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

The author points out in the beginning of the book that this book is fiction but is it?  As you read it you quickly understand exactly who the author is writing about and you know that the events discussed actually happened or at the very least, some of them.  Is it really fiction?  I honestly don’t know and I think that was the intent of the author.

This may one person’s “theory” as to how the infamous “Q” and “Qanon” originated and who the person behind the “Q” actually is.  Read the book and you decide for yourself.

I may have been more fortunate than most as I have also read the book, Dr. Mary’s Monkey, a must read for everyone.  If you read the book with an open mind and understand that the book is a book of truth and history, you will most assuredly begin to have serious doubts as to how John F. Kennedy was actually murdered.  You may not know by who but you will definitely have questions as to Lee Harvey Oswald’s actual participation or not.  If you then follow that book with Me & Lee, it will further create a doubt in your mind as to the events of that fateful day in our history.

There is another aspect of the President Kennedy murder that most people are simply unaware of.  There has been a government group titled The Majestic Twelve.  If you read anything about this group and what they have done, it will cast even further doubt as to Oswald’s participation and the more likely scenario that agencies within the Federal Government were responsible for the assassination of President Kenned to prevent him from dismantling those sections of our government now referred to as the “Deep State.”.

You first have to understand that this book really begins with the assassination of President Kennedy and the attacks on the Kennedy family. 

With that said, does this book write history as it is unfolding before our very eyes or is it as the author suggests, fiction?  For the record, I read it in one sitting for two reasons, first it is a short book but secondly it is a fascinating book that holds your attention to the end, true or not.

Who should read the book?  Anyone interested in history and current events and politics.
Would I read it again? Probably not.  Very easy to follow and understand.
Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY! 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Only Ideas That Will Win The Future
A book review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 5, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site


The problem is that most people right of the center point on the political spectrum line WILL love this book, a few might not.  The people right of center who do not like this book would best be classified as the Deep State people we hear about.  They prefer the old political status quo but that all changed in 2016.  Most people left of the center point will not even consider reading the book and that will no doubt be their loss.  They too have been satisfied with the status quo prior to 2016.

The book is a history book on politics prior to 2016.  It is a review of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  It is a book about America in the past and what it could be in the future. It is very well written and easy to follow and understand.

It IS a book about President Donald Trump.  One might even suggest it is a book about what makes Donald Trump “tick.”  What he believes in.  How he approaches problems.  How he ignores non-constructive criticism as compared to constructive criticism; they are not the same.

It IS a book about the Political Left as much as it is about the Political Right.  It is also about the “public appearance” of the Political Left as compared their contrary actions; not the same thing.  It IS also about the “public appearance” of the Political Right prior to 2016 as compared to their actions as well; not the same thing.  It is about perception as practiced by both political parties prior to 2016 and then after the 2016 election.
As a disclaimer – based upon the content, I could have written this book if I were as talented as Charlie Kirk which I’m not.  It espouses my personal beliefs about America and where we should be going as compared to where a lot of people with completely opposite views apparently believe.  I can think of no other country on Earth where I would prefer to live and I don’t want to see our principles and values flushed down the drain.  In that regard the book confirms that President Trump, Charlie Kirk and I are all on the same page.  Read it and see where you stand on the future of America.


Who should read the book?  EVERY AMERICAN!  Every person who wants to be an American!
Would I read it again? Probably not.  Why not?  I understood it the first time through and it is in line with my thinking and beliefs.  A subsequent read would serve little purpose.
Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!  Whether the recipient reads it or not, giving it as a gift sends a strong message of where you stand!  Where do you stand?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Did You Ring The Cash Register Today?


Written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 5, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

The photo?  That is my uncle on my Dad’s side of the family, George Whitman Brown 1905-1972.  He was a bachelor his entire life not that it has anything to do with anything.  A Pharmacist who eventually opened his own Brown’s Drug Store in the days before the big chains.  He then opened another, and another until he ultimately owned five drug stores throughout the Youngstown, Ohio area.  His home store and office were across town from where we lived but he had one store established about a half mile from our home.  It was there I had my first taste of employment when at the age of 12 I started working there as a stock boy. 

My duties were as the title would suggest.  I stocked and restocked the shelves.  I also learned to work the soda counter where I made the World’s Best Milk Shakes, Sundays and Sodas all from real ice cream.  I also rang up sales.  One of my duties was to remove all the outdated magazines from the shelves and take them to the basement to wait to be picked up by the magazine sales person.  That was my first introduction to Playboy magazine which was quite an education for a youngster at the age of 12 in 1957.  I also learned how to make capsules for the Pharmacist, count out pills, make labels for the prescription bottles.  Another of my duties was to wrap boxes in plain brown paper.  What I wrapped were Kotex boxes and then using a magic marker I would write KR or KS for Kotex Regular or Kotex Super.  Why were the boxes wrapped?  To avoid any embarrassment by both men and women who would buy them so no one knew what they were taking out of the store as if no one knew; everyone knew.

On one Christmas Eve my uncle came to our home where alcohol was served and he had a drink or two.  He said he was going to lie down for a while.  He would then call me to “bring him another one.”  To this day I believe it was an act for my sake.  From that day, however, I started to refer to him as Uncle Booze.  The name stuck beyond belief.  Everyone called him Uncle Booze.  In some of his circles that may not have been very good for him.  He served on the Youngstown City Board of Education.  He did a lot of civic activities and while I am not positive, I believe at one point he served as Lieutenant Governor for the State of Ohio but I could be wrong on that one.

“Did you ring the cash register today?”  This is a question he would ask me every time he saw me or spoke to me on the phone.  “Did you ring the cash register today?”  For years I had assumed he was asking me if I made a sale that would ultimately lead to making a profit for the store.  It wasn’t until decades later that I realized he was teaching me a lesson that I could now only wish he had explained in much greater detail.  Yes, he was asking me if I rang the cash register because someone bought something.  But he was also asking me:

  • Did I learn anything of value today?
  • Did I read anything of value today (aside from Playboy)?
  • Did I meet new people today?
  • Did I make a difference in someone’s life today?
  • Did I add to my life experiences today?
  • Did I help someone in need today?
  • Did I resolve a problem today?
  • Did I make a sale today?
  • Did I make a profit today?
  • Did I ring the cash register today?

How many people can honestly say they rang the cash register today?  Can you?  What about yesterday?  What about tomorrow?  Did you and will you be able to say you rang the cash register of life?  I wish Uncle Booze would have actually explained to me much earlier in life exactly what he meant.  I suppose he thought that it would mean more if I discovered what he meant by ringing the cash register on my own.  Every time he would ask, I would respond, “Of course I rang the cash register today!”  I had no idea what he was really driving at – he was trying to be my teacher and my mentor and I was extremely slow on the pickup of what he was trying to do.

What made me think of this at this time in my life?  Glad you asked.  I am reading Charlie Kirk’s new book, The MEGA Doctrine.  About Chapter 4 I realized that President Donald Trump lives by the question “did I ring the cash register today?”  I have experienced Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower.  As a 6-year old, he was definitely my hero.  Yet in all honesty, looking back at the ELEVEN Presidents I have come to know, I can’t say that any of them can measure up to President Trump’s desire to learn something new; to read something of value; to meet people other Presidents chose not to deal with like the leaders of North Korea, China and even Iran; to make a difference in someone’s life; to help someone in need; to resolve a nasty and lingering problem; TODAY!  Or in the words of Uncle Booze who also happened to be a businessman, did he “ring the cash register today?”  In my opinion and in spite of what the national news media reports and the opposition says, yes, yes he has rung the cash register every day he has been President.

There is a simple test that most people left of center and even some right of center are ignoring.  Are you better off today than you were just three years ago?  If people were honest it would be a resounding YES!  But that is not what you hear on the news or in the halls of Congress or now on the campaign trail.  Politics has become a truly ugly word, at least to me.  You?  People in the opposition party can do no right no matter how good the things they may have done are.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  If someone does good, they should be praised.  If they do poorly, they should be criticized or even punished.

The following is taken from Charlie Kirk’s book, The MEGA Doctrine.  They are examples of President Trump “ringing the cash register” and getting very little credit for the results from the national news media or the opposition party.  Read them.  You decide if he has rung the cash register for America; for you:

  • The Dow rises 7,000 points after being nearly flat around 18,000 the two prior years. Cha-Ching!
  • Consumer confidence surges to an eighteen-year high. Cha-Ching!
  • Black unemployment hits 5.9%, the lowest level ever recorded. Cha-Ching!
  • Hispanic and Asian-American unemployment also hit record lows of 4.5% and 2%, respectively. Cha-Ching!
  • Female unemployment is at the lowest rate since 1953 (3.6%). Cha-Ching!
  • Unemployment among the young is at its lowest in five decades (9.2%), among veterans the lowest in two (3%). Economic growth for the year nears 3% in 2018, for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. Cha-Ching!
  • There is a freeze on new regulations, to the relief of American businesses. For every new regulation, about twenty-two are repealed. Cha-Ching!
  • Jobless claims are at their lowest level in five decades. Cha-Ching!
  • Job openings outnumber people looking for jobs for the first time on record. Cha-Ching!
  • The positive job-growth streak is the longest on record. Cha-Ching!
  • Job satisfaction is at its highest level in a decade and a half, and 85% of blue-collar workers think the country is “headed in the right direction.” Cha-Ching!
  • Some $5.5 trillion in tax cuts are instituted, with most families seeing savings as a result. The corporate tax rate is lowered as well, since it had been the highest in the developed world and was discouraging investment. Cha-Ching!
  • The president cleared bureaucratic obstacles to constructing the Keystone XL pipeline and withdrew from the onerous Paris Climate Agreement. Cha-Ching!
  • The president helped make the United States the world’s biggest crude oil exporter for the first time. Cha-Ching!
  • ISIS’s Iraq arm is effectively finished off. Cha-Ching!
  • The United States stops funding Syrian militias with terror ties, quieting that country’s civil war. Cha-Ching!
  • Military conflicts in other parts of the world are largely avoided. Cha-Ching!
  • NATO partner nations are successfully pressured into paying their fair share for the alliance, reducing the US burden. Cha-Ching!
  • Sentencing reductions for nonviolent drug offenders are achieved, a big, libertarian step forward for criminal justice reform. Cha-Ching!
  • Medical regulations are loosened to allow terminally ill patients to try experimental procedures if they so choose, approvals for affordable generic drugs are accelerated, and employers are permitted to create more flexible and varied health plans. Cha-Ching!
  • Veterans’ medical conditions are processed faster than ever before. Cha-Ching!
  • The president entered the Oval Office already a supporter of gay marriage, the first US president of whom that is true. Cha-Ching!
  • Two solidly conservative new Supreme Court justices are confirmed. Cha-Ching!
  • Over five million new jobs are created, a half million in manufacturing and over a hundred thousand in oil and natural gas transportation. 95% of manufacturers say they are optimistic the country is headed in the right direction. Cha-Ching!
Note:  I added the Cha-Ching for emphasis!
Kirk asks the question, what if Hillary Clinton had won instead of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had done all of these things listed or even half of these things; how would she be perceived by the national news media and the opposition party.  As Kirk suggests, she would be idolized; schools, parks and bridges named after her and statues erected.  She would have “rung the cash register.”  But since it was Trump and hot Clinton who did all these great things, he is vilified by the national news media and opposition.  It is truly a sad state of affairs in America when your only concern is preserving your own power by retaining your own office and other political offices such as the White House for your particular political party.

For the record, I am very proud to be an American.  I am proud of America.  I am proud of President Trump even thought I initially reluctantly voted for him.  I was obviously wrong in my initial opinion and I am not afraid to say it.  Of the ELEVEN Presidencies I have personally lived through President Trump is far and away the best at providing for the well being of America and should be so recognized. 

No President has ever rung the cash register as often and as successful as President Trump.  I salute you sir!  Cha-Ching!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Footlose in the Cloud

Written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, February 21, 2020

Whenever I feel overwhelmed I oftentimes read Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude.  I don’t know how many times I have read both the original version and now the revised edition.  I also have it on CD and have repeatedly listened to it.  Why do I continually read it?

I realized decades ago that I am far from a perfect human being but I also recognized that life is much easier when you maintain a positive attitude.  Gitomer states that probably less than 1% of all mankind ever takes a course or reads a book on “attitude.”  I was (past tense) guilty!  Now I can’t stop reading them, especially YES!Attitude.  I have also read most if not all of Orsion Swett Marden’s books written between 1890 and 1920 and there are a lot of them.  They all deal with attitude and the importance of not only reading about attitude but also making it a life-long study. A lot of Marden’s books can be found on Amazon as a Kindle read for just 99 cents each.  It will be the best dollar you have ever spent!

With that said, I sat down this evening to read YES!Attitude, again.  Life in 2020 has rarely been as good and has rarely been as bad with all the politics involved in just about everything and everyone’s lives.  Like so often happens, I read the following section from the YES!Attitude book and I had to stop reading as the floodgates of history were opened in my mind and the memories were not pleasant.  Read it yourself:

“Negative people are worse than negative occurrences. 
The argument is over in ten minutes –
the person may hang around for years.”
Jeffrey Gitomer, The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude.

That one thought caused me to think back to the mid-1970s when I was stationed at the Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma, California.  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I was selected to become a Yeoman Instructor at the Class-A Yeoman School on Governors Island, New York.  It was truly an honor to be selected to teach students how to become what I was – a Yeoman in the United States Coast Guard.  One of the first things we were tasked with doing was to move the school to Petaluma, CA.  The transition went as smoothly as possible and we were open for business.  For most of my 3 years at the school we had four YN1s that taught class and we were supervised by a Chief Petty Officer (YNC).  The assignment should have been one of the best possible duties in the Coast Guard for a Yeoman, to be a Yeoman School Instructor.

It became a mental nightmare for me and I am sure the other three YN1s as well.  The School Chief had issues.  Since we are talking about a military organization it was not considered appropriate or even possible to report on your supervisor(s) and you basically did as you were told or ordered to do.  In the case of the Chief, there were a lot of very unfavorable rumors about him and his activities. He was also absent a great deal of the time and no one knew where he was.  In addition, he had a drinking problem and everyone at the school knew it.  We went about teaching our classes almost as if he was not even present at the school.  We had a list of excuses to explain away his absences if the Command Training Officer ever inquired.

I don’t remember what the actual “occurrence” was that triggered what happened next and that fact alone is important because things are rarely as severe or important as they appear to be in the moment.  Nonetheless, I felt that for my own happiness I had to make a change.  Being in the military, quitting was not an option, I was under contract.  I researched my options and discovered an obscure sentence in the Personnel Manual that suggested an instructor may be transferred if the instructor or School Chief felt the instructor was no longer qualified to teach.  I sent a memo to the Training Officer stating that I felt I was no longer qualified to teach and that I was simply burned out and it was not good for my students.  The Chief heard about the memo; I know not how.  He tried to get ahead of the story with the Training Officer by writing him a letter telling him what a horrible instructor I had become. 

Before you form any opinions of what I have written thus far, here is the rest of the story.  The same Chief had given me the best points on my annual evaluations.  He had given me the highest recommendation to take the YNC service-wide examination.  He had also given me the highest possible points to take the Chief Warrant Officer’s examination.  Fast forward just one year and I was promoted to both Chief Petty Officer (YNC) AND then to Chief Warrant Officer (W-2). 

The Training Officer now had two documents in his possession. One from me and one from the Chief that I was unaware of.  The Training Officer asked to meet with me where he showed me the Chief’s letter.  I had no intention of airing the School’s “dirty laundry” with the Training Officer but the Chief thought that was my intention and as stated, he wanted to get ahead of the story.  When I read his letter, I was angry beyond words and I truly mean that.  I was unaware that a person could get that angry.  The Training Officer, concerned as to how mad I had become, directed me to go to Sick Bay where I was seen by the Base Doctor.  My Blood Pressure was off the chart.  He made me lie down in a darkened room for about 90 minutes to calm down. 

It is strange that I don’t remember much of what happened next but I do remember that I was not transferred and I continued to teach at the school but the school had a new Chief in charge and life went on.  I was later transferred upon completion of my normal three-year assignment and eventually was promoted to YNC and then to CWO2 in rapid succession at my next duty station.

The point I want to make is that for more than two years I was giving the Chief “rent free space in my brain” or to use 2020 language in my “cloud.”  There was no doubt that it was a very negative working environment in regards to the Instructors and the Chief.  At the same time, it was a very rewarding assignment to be able to teach your profession to students. It was truly the best of times and the worst of times made so because of one individual.  What I wouldn’t have given to have access to the Gitomer’s YES@Attitude book at that time in my life.

It WAS a military situation and it was not as simple as just changing jobs or locations.  You were under orders and worked as directed.  For the most part we just buckled up for the ride and went about our business. 

Most people are not in the military and as such have far more control over what they must tolerate and what they can change.  I thought my story may help people understand the ramifications of allowing people to rent free space in their brain or as the title suggests for 2020, in their “cloud.”  Negative people can literally kill you with their negativity if you permit them to occupy that space in your head as I was obviously doing for quite a while.

Here's a valuable exercise for you that I learned from Joe Tye much later in life.  He said that to solve a problem you must name it to make it real and to give it weight. Tye then suggested that I obtain a rock (I went to Home Depot and bought an 8x8x1 patio brick).  He then said to write what the weighty problem was on the brick with a black magic marker.  My instructions were then to put the brick into my brief case and carry it around for at least a week to serve as both a constant reminder of the problem and how much importance I had given to it.  It gives you a physical reminder that most problems are actually in your head and very few have a life beyond your head.  Then came the most important part of all.  He said to take the brick and throw it over a bridge in a lake or river.  That physical action signals the brain that the problem is now gone – you are relieved of carrying it around with you on your back.  IT WORKS!

If I had this exercise in Petaluma I would have put the Chief’s name on the brick and would have carried it everywhere I went to serve as that reminder that I have a job to do in spite of what I perceived to be an insurmountable problem.  It really didn’t matter what I thought of the Chief as a leader or as a man.  It mattered what I did about it and whether it affected my job performance.  It would only affect my job performance if I let it; I didn’t.  I did let it affect my attitude and that is what this Nugget is all about.

In a sentence, how do you stay positive in such a negative world?  As Gitomer points out throughout the book – you must think about a positive attitude and you must study YOUR positive attitude.  PERIOD!  He also said that people allow people to rain on their parade because they have no parade themselves!

If you want to have and maintain a positive attitude, my advice would be to first read Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude; you won’t regret it.  Then ead it more than once.  And especially read it when you are feeling low and/or unloved. 

What is a positive attitude? “The simple definition”, according to Jeffrey Gitomer, “is the way you DEDICATE yourself to the way you think. Interestingly, it’s also the definition of a negative attitude!”

Imagine that!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Did You Hear About It?

Written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, February 6, 2020

There was a day, past tense, where I had a morning routine.  When I first woke up and got past the hygiene duties, I would then check my emails (took only a few minutes) and then I would read something positive to start my day on a positive note.  Then along came Social Media.  I added checking Social Media, primarily Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter right after I checked my emails.  I don’t know how much time I spent doing these four things but I can assure you it was far more than either deserved.  What I have since discovered is that between Facebook and Twitter there is far more negative posts than positive posts and yes some of those negative posts have been from yours truly.  Linkedin was more of a business orientated site and therefore the entries were neutral to positive in nature.

One of my favorite authors/trainers is Jeffrey Gitomer and Gitomer suggests that we all resign our position of Chief Executive Officer of World Matters and concentrate/focus on the things that do matter most to us.  Something we can actually do something about.  What a novel idea.  I recently finished reading QBQ! The Question Behind the Question written by John G. Miller (for the third or fourth time) and again I was reminded about how important it is that we ask questions of ourselves to insure we are on the right track to success, achieving our goals and hopefully happiness. 

What does all that mean?  Thought you would never ask.  To me it means I have been spending way too much time on things that are best labeled as non-important or even better as non-important-there-is-nothing-I-can-do-about-them-so-forget-about-even-looking-or-listening-to-them status. 

As a test I suggest watching the local news for 30 minutes.  It typically consists of news, weather and sports.  You can eliminate one of them by putting your head out the window or just looking up today’s weather on the Internet.  News?  It is usually very negative.  If it bleeds, it leads!  Do you really need to listen to negative bleeding news stories?  As for sports, you can program your phone to send you a message with the latest scores for your favorite teams.  You have just eliminated a need to watch even the local news.  On a typical New Orleans area evening news, you will see the 45th update on the collapse clean up of the Hard Rock Hotel, a couple of more people shot or murdered, numerous car break-ins and an occasional story you may not have heard.  Two segments on the weather and then news about the local sports teams and virtually nothing on national sporting news.  It is the same things, night after night.  What can you do about any of it?  Nothing!

National news is a different kind of animal.  You can deny it or not; if you actually listen to the words the National News Media uses in its reports, you can quickly pick out the words and phrases used to lead you in a certain direction in regards to your thinking and even your beliefs.  Making matters worse, most of the major news sources are owned by a very small number of people.  If the direction of the news comes from its owners it would then be understandable as to how it could have a bias in one direction or another.  It can also cost a great deal of money to put on a national news show and that means advertisers.  If YOU were advertising on any television show, not just news shows, you as well would have certain beliefs you would prefer to support or not support.  Therefore, the news content has a strong input by ownership and advertisers before it is even broadcast.  A great many news stories contain false information that appears to be true just like a lot of Social Media has posts that appear to be real news but again are false.

Let’s say you are not aware of some news story that may or may not be important to you.  Don’t you think that a member of your family or a friend or a social media post will ask you, did you hear about it?  Did you see it on TV?  Did you read about it?  Just look around and watch the number of smart phones being flashed in people’s faces to make sure they have seen, heard or read about something important.

The next time you watch a national news program, instead of just mindlessly sitting and watching, actually listen to the words used and you decide if the words were specifically used to draw a conclusion from you or lead you in a direction you may not have gone on your own.  Something as mundane as voice fluctuation can cause you to think in a certain way or change the meaning of a simple sentence.  Want proof.  Read the following sentence over and over again but put voice emphasis on the word emboldened and see how it changes the meaning of the sentence.

I did not say I beat my wife.  I didn’t say it but someone else may have.
I DID not say I beat my wife.  It was something I actually DID but then qualified it.
I did NOT say I beat my wife. I simply said no such thing
I did not SAY I beat my wife.  I did not say it but I may have implied it
I did not say I beat my wife.  I did not say it was me who beat my wife, could have been Joe
I did not say I BEAT my wife.  It was not a beating, maybe a little roughing up
I did not say I beat MY wife.  It was not my wife who I beat, I beat the neighbor’s wife
I did not say I beat my WIFE. It was not my wife, it was actually my dog I beat.

I have found that political discussions are far and away the worse.  A reporter will ask a question of a politician and the politician will provide an answer.  Often the answers do not fit the question.  The problem occurs when the reporter rarely challenges the politician to explain their position further or asks follow up questions to get to the truth.  As such if you tend to believe what you hear, you may in fact be hearing a false narrative that goes unchallenged by the reporters.  You are then left with a very one-sided and often times false news story.

So, you watch the news, first thing in the morning, maybe during lunch and then again at supper.  But the worse news cast is the late-night news.  Think about it because that is what your brain will be doing when you think it is trying to sleep.  You get one more bite at the late-night NEGATIVE news just before closing your eyes thinking you are going to get a good night’s sleep.  WRONG!  It just doesn’t work like that.  Unless you practice, you cannot turn your brain off and on with the snap of your fingers.  You have just fed your brain negative information.  How will your brain process that information?

Challenge #1:  Go for just one day without turning on any news program – NONE!  At the end of the day, assess how you feel.  Do you feel like you are experiencing anxiety or withdrawals?  Do you think you missed out on something important?  What will you do tomorrow morning whether you watched today’s news or not?  Most people think they “need to know” the news because it is important?  Is it?  It may be important to someone but is it important enough to you for you to take some sort of action?  I seriously doubt it. Will you change some activity that you normally engage in because of something you heard on the news?  Again, I seriously doubt it.  If you smoke, have you not heard “news stories” on the hazards of smoking?  But you smoke anyway.  If you hear how bad sugar can be for your health do you reduce your sugar intake accordingly?  Do you reduce the sugar intake for your children?  Again, you may at first but will you continue on that path because it is the right thing to do or will you revert to what you did before you heard the newscast?

Challenge #2:  Learn to read.  I don’t mean teach yourself how to read words or a group of words, I mean really teach yourself the value of reading.  Here is an original quote from yours truly.  You can read for a CHANGE or your can READ for a change.  If you think about that you will get the humor in that one sentence.  Most people in spite of what they will tell you, just don’t read books anymore and haven’t since they left high school – studies have proven this.  5% or fewer Americans read just one book a year.  That means 95% do not read any books in a year.  Which group do you fall into?  When I say “learn to read” I am suggesting you do something to insure you are in the 5% not the 95%.  Set a goal to read.  I suggest you read at least one book a month; twelve books a year.  If you spent just 30 minutes NOT watching one newscast and spent the time reading, you will have read for 3.5 hours a week.  Most books can be read in 7 to 8 hours.  If that is true, reading just 30 minutes a day would equate to reading 2 books a month or 24 books a year.  If you are selective in your reading, you could improve upon your career, whatever that is or you can begin setting yourself up for a different career provided you read books related to the career you desire.  As an example, if you were in sales as I once was, can you see where you could and would improve your ability to sell and understand people by reading 24 books a year all relating to sales and self-improvement?

Challenge #3:  Imagine you are years into your retirement.  You are mentally reviewing your life thus far.  Would you be wishing that if only you had watched more television?  Or, would wish if only you read more books regarding your profession?  I have read over 1200 books and I didn’t start reading until I was age 44.  When it comes to my education, I feel that I have wasted a good portion of that time until I turned 44.  At the risk of sounding very immodest, I consider myself to be a very good manager and trainer.  Was I the best?  Not even close to the best but I was constantly getting better every day that I read. Compare that to being stagnant on the days I didn’t.  You are either advancing to your life’s BIG goal or you are actually falling behind.  In which direction are you going? Are you sure?

Challenge #4:  WRITE!  Does your family know what you do and what you have done that you would want them to know?  Will your grand children and great grand children and their children ever know what you did or have done?  It’s your legacy.  Don’t you want future members of your family to know your successes and ambitions?  Leave a written legacy; you won’t regret it!

I write these Nuggets for the Noggin because of my life’s mission statement/goal:  To help people do what they do, to do it better!  I then use Joe Tye’s Direction-Deflection-Question (DDQ) by asking, “Is what I’m about to say, do or write, consistent with my desire to help people do what they do to do it better?”  If yes, I say, do or write it.  If no, I don’t!  This Nugget was written to help people do what they do to do it better.  If it helps just one person, I have won the day but not the war.

Here's my email:  If you read one book more than you otherwise would have because of this Nugget, please email me the title and maybe even a short book review for my benefit.  I use my blog, to post book reviews on the books I have read as well as Nuggets such as this one.  I will certainly credit any review you write for having written it providing you give me permission to post it on my Blog.

ps   If you were to watch 60 minutes less news and use the time to read, that is about one book a week or 52 books a year.  You would definitely be an expert in your field, light years ahead of your competition.