Saturday Musings - I've Crossed A Line

Saturday Musings - I've Crossed A Line

Yesterday, I crossed the line of no return. I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I could somehow undo what happened but then, with a smile on my face I really don't want to. You see, yesterday was the day when our youngest daughter turned eighteen and in Australia, became an adult.

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I remember like it was only yesterday when I held her in my arms for the very first time. The wonder in her eyes as she looked around the hospital delivery room and then she finally fixed on my own.

We both soaked in each others features, I her father and she my daughter. So yesterday I looked at not a little baby but a beautiful grown women, full of life and excitement for the years ahead. An almost mystical spark of love sprang between us.

When I look at her today, she seems to continue to look innocently around at the world in wonder....and then our eyes meet. Like eighteen years earlier, the bond of love between us is as strong as ever. I'm her father and she's my daughter.

But I’ve crossed a line. I no longer have children who are children but children who are now adults. Somehow, though all of our life’s ups and downs my wife and I have watched as three babies transformed into adulthood…..and now our last is no longer a child.

I'm so proud of each of my children, for the adventures they're going on, devouring life with a ferocious appetite. If life is a theme park, each of them are definitely riding the rollercoaster rather than playing it safe on the merry-go-round. You only get one shot at life, so you may as well enjoy it.

So when I looked at Elise yesterday, I found I had conflicting emotions. Happy for her but sad that those childhood years are now behind us. So rather dwell overly long in the past I begin to think of the future and the possibilities it will bring. Grandchildren! It was then that a smile spread across my face…..the cycle of life continues…..so maybe there was no line after all.

Have a great weekend!

PS. I should mention, that my wife Roselyn and our two daughters will be at NamesCon in January…..we look forward to see you all then!

Greenberg and Lieberman

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Saturday Musings - What Does it Mean to do Good?

Saturday Musings - What Does it Mean to do Good?

So many of us in the western world believe that if we do “good” then things will be all right now and hopefully in the afterlife. I’ve been contemplating this concept of doing good and to be quite honest with you I’m a little confused.

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The problem I’m having is that “good” is a subjective term and something that is good for one person may not be for another. Each one of us views the world from our own perspective and cultural background and this taints our perception of what is good.

An extreme example of this is ISIS. They believe they are doing good by blowing up archaeological sites, beheading infidels and bringing their own unique brand of Sharia law to the masses. It’s clear that many people agree with their position and are even willing to put their lives on the line….but does this make ISIS good?

Maybe if you reach a critical mass of individuals that believe as you do, then could you regard what you’re doing as good? If that was the case, then Stalin, Hitler and Mao Zedong would be regarded as saints as they had millions of people following them while they slaughtered millions themselves. I’ve concluded that doing “good” isn’t at all about populist opinion but something else entirely.

Over the last few months I’ve been watching the presidential election unfold in a most astounding manner. Each candidate firmly believes they are the one that will do the most “good” for their country…..this is despite the fact they seem to be trying to prove the other candidate is evil. So maybe a person can be defined as being good by doing less evil? Now we have the conundrum of defining what is evil…..so essentially the flip side of the coin for “what is good”.

Then we have terms such as; “you’re a goody two-shoes” and you’re just “holier than thou” as vain attempts by one individual to try and redefine a person’s personal view of what is good through ridicule. There is essentially a clash of values that has denigrated the conversation to low levels of disrespect….just like in the presidential debates.

There is a liberal way of thinking that has encroached into society that says, “I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t impact me.”

It’s an isolationist view of society that builds gated communities, high walls around houses and neighbours who are strangers. At its heart, people who subscribe to this world view have relinquished their right to define what is good and bad until it directly impacts them. Society can be in complete anarchy as long as their walls are high enough and if they are encroached these people will typically define good at the end of a gun.

The problem I see with people defining their own view of “goodness” is that it will vary from one individual to another. Some people will believe its fine to prop up the stats of a domain name with purchased traffic prior to selling it while others believe it’s fraud. Who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation? This forced me to look to the law for some sort of definition of proper behaviour and hopefully “goodness”.

Sadly, the law spends a lot of time defining bad behaviour but not good….in fact, it is largely silent on what’s good. If a person robs a bank, then that is regarded as bad but if you help an elderly person across the road you don’t get some sort of reward from the government.

There is some hope in the law. The mere fact that the law is defining what is bad would suggest that it has some basis in what is good….even if it is silent. Where did the law get its views of right and wrong? This is where I’m forced to acknowledge the fact that the western law (and many laws around the world) largely have their roots in a faith or faiths. In the case of the west, it’s the Judaeo Christian world view.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, one of the fundamental structures of our society has its roots in faith……the reason for this is because it was through faith that our forefathers defined “good”. This means that each day we are all acknowledging there is an external authority that defines good and has defined goodness for each an everyone of us…..WOW, now my heads spinning!

I’m also faced with the fact that most of us seem to be able ascertain what is good through our conscience. Forgetting the outliers in the statistical distribution (eg. ISIS etc.) we seem to know what is good when we see it. But how did this happen and where did our conscience come from? Did it, like our laws, come from a divine authority? I will leave that for you to dig into in your own times of contemplation.

What the basis in the law and our conscience have in common is a bedrock of perceived “goodness” that is not defined by individuals who have differing world views. Goodness is locked down by a spiritual perspective on a common definition of good. This is a great comfort as it means when I’m doing some business with a person there is a clear way we should conduct ourselves. In fact, in business there is a term, “bad faith”. This is when a person is not behaving in a “good” manner to increase their own personal advantage.

I know for certain that I will be thinking a lot more on the topic of “What does it mean to do good?” I hope you also feel challenged in reading this article on your own personal views.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

 

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Saturday Musings – Unlocking One of Life's Mysteries

Saturday Musings – Unlocking One of Life's Mysteries

I was talking with one of my daughters the other day and she was sharing about some plans she was forming for her future. As a father, there is no greater privilege when your children feel they can openly share with you about their own life.

In the course of the conversation I shared about what I thought was one of life’s greatest mysteries and that is learning about yourself. It sounds quite introspective but I’ve found that learning about myself, my strengths, weakness and capacities is extremely satisfying.

Along life's journey, I can learn how to augment my strengths, guard against my weaknesses and be very aware that I have a limits.

For example, when I was a child I had a really bad temper. If my brother or sisters said anything I didn’t like then I let them know about it in no uncertain terms…..in short, I would lose control.

Over the years I’ve learned about my tempter weakness, worked on it and I’m somewhat proud to say that it now takes an exceptional situation for me to lose my cool. To come to grips with my problem I first had to recognise I had one and then work away at it (maybe the subject of another blog).

A number of people have asked me why I invited a partner to work with me in ParkLogic. When ParkLogic first started I didn’t need any money and what I recognised was that I had a set of skills in one area but needed help in others.

I made the decision to essentially gave away half the company to help me learn about my own weaknesses and improve myself. A great bonus is the fact that David Gibbs (my business partner of 10 yeas) is a fantastic guy to work with and I’ve now learned an incredible amount from him.

There's one thing I've learned over the years, money will come and go but your character will stay with you for ever. So the fact that I could sway some money to help me improve myself was an awesome investment!

All of us have strengths, weaknesses and limits to what we can do. Being aware of these things is the first steps in the adventure of life. Improving all three of them is the second, third, fourth and onwards steps.

What will happen is life will inevitably bring people or circumstances across your path that will challenge you in infinite numbers of ways. How we approach these challenges will really show how far we’ve learned about ourselves and how much we’ve developed our character.

So as I was chatting with my daughter I said to her, “Remember there is no such thing as a mistake, only opportunities to learn about yourself.”

This immediately removed much of the pressure to make the “right” decision from her shoulders as she fully embraced the adventure of learning about herself. She opened her eyes up to how circumstances and other people were teaching things about herself.

For me, I was rewarded with my daughter’s smiling face as she began her first steps towards understanding one of life’s greatest mysteries.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

There’s a solid body of evidence that my cat, Pepper, completely rules the Gilmour household. Each morning Pepper is waiting outside our bedroom door with an impatient look on her face, demanding that we satisfy her need for food.

Cat owners all understand that their feline masters can be most petulant when it comes to the types of food they demand. In my case, Pepper has gone off the gourmet variety turkey dinner and is insisting on salmon.

If I behaved this way with my wife then it would be bread and water for me. As for Pepper, she now has us buying the salmon…..well at least until she gets tired of that morsel.

At the end of a long day it’s always nice to put your feet up and watch a little bit of television. I have to make sure that I don’t sit in Pepper’s spot on the couch or like Sheldon from the TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, she’ll pace back and forth until I move.

Once I’m resettled, she climbs up beside me and demands that I give her a scratch behind the ears. The demand comes in the form of a head-butt until I satisfy her itch. I could be in the middle of a great show but as her underling I must first comply with her wishes.

It’s at this point my other masters, I’m mean children, come into the room and calmly place a vacuum cleaner into my wallet to suck out everything but the lint. At least they give me a smile and thank me for the privilege of leaving me destitute, so I suppose all is good.

Just when I’m really enscounced for an evening’s entertainment at the end of a long week my youngest daughter (ie. Overlord) requests my attendance at the car to drive her to youth group. Sighing inwardly, I take off my moccasins, put my runners back on and head out into the cold night air.

Upon returning home my eldest daughter/master gives me a tongue lashing because I didn’t reply to her text message within the required two seconds. I don’t know what it is about the younger generation but they seem to assume that you’re dead if you don’t instantly respond by typing on a device meant for speaking…..I think I’m feeling my age.

So after settling back in my assigned spot beside my feline queen on the couch, I once again return my attention to the television, completely oblivious to the fact that my wife has been having a conversation with me for the last thirty seconds. I finally get the hint when I hear my name follow by “are you listening to me?”

For most guys this is a really difficult question to answer. If I say no, then I’m in big trouble for ignoring my wife even though I didn’t even know was there (which is really bad). If I say yes, then I have no idea what I’m about to agree to.

So what do males normally say, “Honey, can you please clarify what you mean again?” This provides us with a breather too catch-up on the clearly important decision that you’re about to make. After all, happy wife, happy life :-)

It’s at this point that I become distracted by the fact that I forgot to pause my television show and Pepper resuming her head-butt treatment. I then receive a text from my youngest daughter asking to be picked up because everything is finishing early and my eldest daughter picks up the remote, changes the station and sits down to watch something about “Bachelors”.

After answering my wife while I give Pepper a scratch I depart to pick up my youngest daughter. Upon returning, I excused myself, disappear into my study and buy a domain. Oh it’s good being free again!

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings – How To Be Successful in Life...

Saturday Musings – How To Be Successful in Life...

I must admit that I was really nervous writing this title today because it suggests that I have the answer to the underlying question of “How can I be successful in life?”. Well, I hate to disappoint you but I don’t have all of the answers…..but I do have some.

To me, success has less to do with bank accounts and more to do with relationships. The most important relationship in my life is with my wife. Roselyn and I have been married for nearly 30 years (big anniversary next year!) and like any marriage it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

We’ve had difficulties to overcome but over the years we’ve discovered an amazing secret. It’s really simple, “Don’t be selfish”. What we found was the more we tried to meet each other’s needs the more our own needs got met. It’s actually pretty cool.

I’ve seen a lot of marriages fall apart and normally the parties say at some point that their spouse didn’t meet their needs. My advice, stop focusing on you and focus on the other person. The risk here is what happens if they don’t meet your needs still…..trust me, they will. This isn’t a solution for all relationships but it goes a long way to helping out.

So likewise, I try and bring this mindset into business relationships. How can I help out this client even if it means I don’t get the business? For example, just today I recommended to a domain owner that they should keep on doing what they are and not move their domains to ParkLogic. They were in a unique situation and trying to twist their arm would have been a disservice.

What focusing on your relationships forces you to do is take a long-term view. I may not do a deal with someone today but there’s always tomorrow. It means you’re focused on building trust rather than just your bank account.

What ends up happening is you do business with good quality people where you have developed strong relationships. Like a marriage, those relationships will be tested at times and if they are strong then they will last for years and years. It also means that you’ll have a lot of fun in business with great people along the journey.

Anyone can do transactions, buy or sell something to someone you will never see again. Business is different. It’s all about repeat transaction where people trust each other and look out for each other.

I have the privilege of counting many of the people that I do business with as friends. They may run parking companies, hold large portfolios or monetise traffic in unique ways but what’s special about our friendships is there is a commitment to the relationship that is beyond just business.

Next time you talk to one of your partners, business colleagues, clients, children or wife ask yourself, “What can I do for them?” You may be amazed by their response.

Have a great weekend!

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