I do enjoy Christmas. It’s a fun holiday where there is great food, my family comes into town, and there is great mystery surrounding gift giving. I completely understnand that Christmas has become more about material items than the actual reason we are supposed to celebrate (the birth of Jesus Christ),but one part of the materialistic part of Christmas I do enjoy is what I call the WOW Factor. When I give a gift on Christmas morning, I not only want the recepient to enjoy the gift, but i want their face to show something different from their normal expression – nothing fake but pure and authentic suprise.
Lots of people give me Christmas lists to go off of which is nice and easy for those who don’t want to put in a lot of effort into their gift giving. It’s not that they don’t care, but people are busy or want to make sure that their loved ones get what they want so they just stick to the list. For me it is another area in my life that I like to take a risk, and just like with any risk it can pay off big or you may lose big. However, unlike when you lose money, gift biving is actually fairly safe as long as you got a gift receipt. So for me, it is worth trying to get the WOW out of people than it is playing it safe.
This year I did well with two gifts that both got pretty big WOWs in my opinion. The first was a gift to my brother. He unwrapped the gift and found an M&Ms box inside. At first he didn’t want to open it and actually commented that he wasn’t going to open it because he though I had put custom phrases on the M&Ms that were making fun of him. Once he took the top off of the box, his face lit up as he saw his face on some of the M&Ms and the name Big Willy on the others. This was nothing something he asked for, but he liked it and the custom M&Ms were not something that he was expecting. The other gift that my brother, sister in Law and I did for our Dad that was definately NOT on his list was an iPad. It was the last gift we gave on Christmas morning, but it by far got the biggest WOW factor of the day. We all knew he would enjoy the iPad and was definately not expecting anything like it for Christmas. He coudln’t really believe; at first he thought we had wrapped another gift inside of the iPad box.
Overall, I had a great Christmas and got a few great WOWs out of it. Someday, I hope to get a WOW as big as my brother did last year. It was, by far the biggest WOW i’ve ever seen and got that reaction by multiple people at the same time. I am currently plotting on how to achieve this and it will be legendary!
Do you try to WOW with your Christmas gifts? What is the biggest WOW you’ve gotten or given?
Merry Christmas everybody! I find it more politically correct (PC) to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. I celebrate Christmas, so I wish anyone I encounter a Merry Christmas. Even it someone is Jewish, Christmas is still a day during the year so I should be able to wish someone a merry time on that day no matter what. People try to be PC by throwing out the term Happy Holidays. I don’t think it’s a matter of being PC or anything, it is just the way it is. So Merry Christmas everybody!
Politics is not a business, although many of our senators and representatives treat it that way. It is not a business so what I am about to say does not comletely apply to starting or growing a business.
The center is where things actually get done in politics – and that is right where President Obama is right now. The Republicans hate him and his own party doesn’t even agree with him anymore. Because we have a two party system and you can’t be off in some third party world with insane ideas not pertinent to either party, the fact that both parties disagree with Obama means he is dead center of the aisle right now. And my vote is that it is good for him to be there. Whether you agree with what is being done in Washington or now, you cannot deny that Obama is being effective at getting the two sides to “compromise” (yes Republicans, I said the dirty word).
I’m definitely not saying that all of the legislation that has come through I agree with or that I think it is all great for the country, but Obama has been a driving force to at least get the ball rolling on a lot of overdue issues that desperately needed to be attended to. So many politicians are so affraid to do anything that might hurt their image or taint their appearance to the public for their next election. I give Obama full credit for taking the big issues head on and not worrying about re-election. He is worrying about stimulating the economy, giving tax cuts and providing necessary health care even though these issues are largely unpopular.
Washington has become more and more polorized over the years because the loudest and craziest politicians get the elected to government. No one remembers the name of the quiet middle of the road politician because the majority of our country who is quiet and middle of the road that would vote for him/her doesn’t care enough to go out and vote. Only those most polorized members of the party go out and vote, so they vote for hte most polorized candidate on their extreme views. I am not going to turn this post into a “Go Out and Vote” post, but seriously – If you are sane and care even a little, GO OUT AND VOTE.
So because we have such an extremem split between the two parties in Congress, I am glad that we have a President that is sitting in the middle of them both trying to get the politicians sitting on either side of the him to make concessions and agree for the betterment of our country, not themselves. I think Obama truely cares about the country, where it is going and how to get there. I do NOT feel that Congress cares as much as he does. I am very interested to see how the end of the year plays out with a lot of big votes coming up. I wonder if they will get them in and what type of concessions Obama will encourage each side to make to help get legislation in place to help Americans as a whole.
What do you think about Obama’s stance and trying to work and compromise with Congress? Do you feel a President should say with his/her party and push the party’s agenda or do you think it is better to get input from both Democrats and Republicans on issues and legislation? How do you think this should work? And do you think our Congress is becoming more polarized with each election?
One thing I have learned very quickly at my new job is that you cannot count on anybody to call you back. It’s amazing how the common courtesy of returning a phone call has become so scarce that people don’t even think they are doing something wrong by not calling someone back. And the crazy part is that this isn’t only happening in business, it is creeping into our personal lives as well. Think about it – when was the last time someone called you and you just texted them back with no specific reason for not calling? I would be willing to bet recently. I remember, before the explosion of cell phones, when I used to take down phone messages on the home land line if someone called for a family member who wasn’t home. I used to get in so much trouble if I didn’t write it down because my parents needed to call them back, and always did. That is just what you did. If someone called you, you called them back.
Does it really take that much effort to call someone back? In my current line of work, this problem is even worse because people don’t want to face the reality of having to tell someone no(which is what I often have to hear in sales), or declining something. Amazingly enough though, my brother made a call last week to PURCHASE something off of a guy. Left three messages over about 6 days. We have yet to hear from the guy! I mean we were going to put money in this guys pocket – why wouldn’t he call us back? The only thing I can think of is that he sold what we wanted and he didn’t want to tell us he had done that. Has our society become so impersonal that we cannot even own up to things in person anymore? Has technology emotionally deprived people so that they cannot face-up to the emotional “burden” of such an interaction? I find it sad and severely detrimental to business and to our personal lives.
I contact anywhere between 15-30 people a week working for Blue Apple and I maybe receive 1 phone call back on a good week. ONE! That isn’t even 5%! Do people think that by not calling back, they are saying no, or telling me they don’t want to hear from me? If so, then just pick up the phone and tell me that so I don’t waste my time calling you 2 more times and leaving more messages. That is disrespectful and rude to me. I know you have more important things to do with your time, but you know what? I have more important things to do with my time than chase down someone who doesn’t want anything anyway. I could be using that time to be with my family, or out with my friends, or even doing all of the OTHER work I actually have to do.
I think that this distancing has been caused a great deal by the social technological progression. People are almost afraid of the phone now. It’s much easier to hide behind their written words. Why would I call my friend to see what he is doing when I can just look on Twitter and see what he has been up to every 10 minutes for the past 2 hours! No human interaction necessary there. Why would I meet up with my friend who just got back from Greece to look at her pictures when she has uploaded them all to Facebook? No human interaction necessary there. These new “social” interactions are not social at all. They are hiding spots that people use as a front for not having to deal with real life. I actually have started hating the term “social network” as it is not social at all. It simply has the idea of social aspects.
So do me a favor – make the awkward phone calls that you don’t want to make, but know you should. Otherwise, you are just being rude. Trust me it will help you in the long run and I will tell you how in an upcoming post.
What do you think? Why are people so much less likely to pick up the phone these days and call someone? Why do people not call people back?
I was talking with my father this weekend shooting the breeze, and I asked him looking back what he wished he knew when he was 25 years old. He did have to think for a minute, but he came up with a few things that was actually pretty sage advice. Here were some of his words of wisdom:
1. Talk to People Who Know You – Whether it’s your parents, siblings, friends, or a professor who know you well, it is a great idea to discuss your personality, strengths as well as weaknesses and jobs/careers that fit you and what you want to do in life. It is important to determine what you will enjoy doing for the rest of your life, especially if you are getting extra schooling for it such as med school, law school, or a masters. Not that you can’t go back or change what you are doing, but when you have that advanced degree you tend to feel stuck in that line of work. Be as candid as possible and ask the people you talk to for the same. It is important that you are honest with yourself and that you can take critisism well for this to be effective.
-My father and I discussed my ability to think analytically in combination with my social and interpersonal skills. I went to college and studied chemistry while taking as many math courses as I could and being an supplemental instructor for math which all satisfied my analytical hunger. For my social desires, I was in a fraternity and very active on campus in different activites and in general with my friends. Talking aboutt his led my father and me to talking about jobs in scientific companies that need good social people that can also understand science and discuss high level concepts in layman’s terms. Not something i’m interested in at this point, but good to know those jobs are in high demand. Then we talked about my current position in business and sales and how that fits into my personality and future. It was a rather insightful conversation and I encourage everybody, especially ages 21-29 to have this type of conversation with someone close to them.
2. Take More Risk – The second piece of advice my father had to cast on me was to take more risk. Never in life will you be as free as you are in your early twenties. My father is a very pensive man and thinks a lot about the past and also about the future. The one thing he wishes he had done more of is take risk. He apparently in general taken the safe path in life. Whether it is with money, career selection, or women, I would tend to agree with him and I am fully aware that I am not nearly the risk taker I shoudl be. I need to expand my horizons on that front and have started a little on the monetary end by doing some investing for myself. I have always played it safe with my money as I was taught to save and keep my money. But now I am learning the benefit of risk.
Life is just too finite – it sucks.
What are some pieces of advice you have for someone at age 25? What do you wish you had known, thought about, done? Or if you are around age 25, what advice have you gotten that has changed the way you think and approach life? Or maybe just advice that made you think?