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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Art of Little Decisions

I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind . . .
All I want is to have my peace of mind.

                                                         --Peace of Mind, Boston

         The song by the group Boston is devoted to cool-it advice for folks clawing their way up the corporate ladder. For me, though, the lines about indecision never fail to trigger a personal rerun of emotional horror.     
     It’s about my introduction to the news editor job on a newspaper many decades ago. I got behind every day, and I cared a lot. I nearly died of indecision.
     The daily workload would escalate over three or four hours from an utterly empty beginning and nothing to work with . . . to an onslaught of stuff from the wire, the local area and the region. Demands would pile up, alarmingly, every day.
     Managing the rush called for detailed, rapid and overlapping decisions about editing, content, placement, priorities, and who knows what else. I wanted to make good decisions, but I didn’t know how. I would keep setting items aside, hoping for some moment at which all would become clear.
     It never did, of course.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

How to Get Taken Seriously

     Warren G. Harding looked like a leader. He was handsome and dignified, never hard to get along with. He moved with little effort through the ranks of Ohio politics, became a compromise candidate for president.
     He was elected in a landslide on his promise to return the country to normalcy after the hardships of World War I. He died in office after three mediocre years and often is classed among the worst presidents in history.
     Numerous scandals erupted because of Harding’s inability to evaluate his appointees.
     Stephen Hawking is an entirely different story. He looks like a very sick man, which he is – severely limited physically by ALS, able to communicate only by computerized means.
     And Stephen Hawking is deep into the most fundamental questions of our physical world. He is a cosmologist, and yet has the celebrity of a rock star. He works brilliantly in studying and writing about the universe – gravity, black holes, why the theory of General Relativity must be unified with Quantum Theory.
     And people hang on his every word.