Etiquette for Impact.


When to be Flexible, When to be Rigid – Part I

Posted by on 9:32 am in Blog | 0 comments

When to be Flexible, When to be Rigid – Part I

Be rigid in the standard you hold yourself to, but be flexible in how you work with others. These words came to me as I read about being courageous enough to try something new, when what we had always done ceased to get results any longer. It also got me to wondering, why are we so flexible on some things but then inflexible and rigid on others? The short list I came up with is far from exhaustive yet, I think, large enough to begin some internal dialogue with yourself in terms of how you may perceive certain situations. In this first part we look at three situations when you should probably be more flexible than not…


When to be Flexible


In your perceptions of others:

I ask everyone, do you think people are capable of change? Ok, how about ALL people? For me the answer is an easy one. Yes! And remember I didn’t ask do I think all people WILL change. One of the biggest challenges of people and leaders everywhere is truly understanding the notion that people can and many times do change, and change for the better at that. One of the primary functions of leadership is to coach people along. The purpose of coaching is to get an individual to change something in order to get a different result. But the challenge comes in actually changing our perception of this person after they’ve shown change. Allowing this person enough time and leeway to grow and mature and prove their change is a long-lasting one. This is something I discuss often through my work in etiquette and behavior modification. We must allow people to be different and not always recall what they’ve done, but what they are doing. Who have they become? What are they doing today? Do you allow your perceptions to change?


In your planning:

I had to take a hard look at myself here. I think the ego in us all sometimes precludes us from making the necessary adjustments in our plans to actually allow them a real shot at success. For me, the challenge comes in after I’ve spent all this time planning and researching something I’m sure to work and it doesn’t! Do I keep banging my head against the wall and working this plan, or do I look for the obvious, and sometimes, not so obvious clues as to where I might need to change a slight part of the plan for a much more desirable result. Of course this is after you’ve given the initial plan suitable time to play itself out, but there are no moral victories when you have a goal. Either you hit it or you do not. But are you being flexible enough in your plans to give yourself a fighting chance?


In your perception of yourself:

Now this is also a biggie. Sadly, many of us don’t give ourselves credit when WE change. We tend to look at ourselves in a much more harsh manner instead of patting ourselves on the back over the smallest of victories. Remember, the smallest of victories always lead to the largest. But if we aren’t recognizing our own progress, our own change in behavior, and our own change in thought process, why would we believe in ourselves as being capable of doing or being more. Belief is a funny thing, and just as how we perceive the beliefs of others influence, to a degree, their behavior towards us; how we perceive ourselves influences, to a much larger degree, how our personal results pan out. Do we allow ourselves room to grow?


“Don’t be so quick to judge others for what they believe. Remember, there was a time when you didn’t think what you think, or believe what you believe.”


Come back next week for part II of the post, which will lay out a few situations where you definitely want to be rigid, more times than not!

Sadiq Ali, MBA, is a speaker, trainer, professor, and author of Millionaire Manners: The Men’s (and Boy’s) Guide to Social Grace in the New Age and founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a full service educational consulting and training organization that teaches life and career success through great personal and professional etiquette.

To contact Sadiq for engagements or questions:email, visit or connect on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

5 Quick Ways to Win More Friends in the New Year

Posted by on 8:57 am in Blog | 0 comments

5 Quick Ways to Win More Friends in the New Year

Now before you get all up in arms and say, “Well Sadiq, I’m not looking for more friends!”, hold your horses! To that statement, I say firstly, touchè. But then I say, surely you and everyone you know can be more likable. So instead of saying you want more friends, which are definitely harder to come by, resolve to simply be more likable. Because as the old adage goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Here are a few simple ways to help with that.

1.  SMILE much more than you currently do. I say it all the time, and have even dedicated an entire chapter in my book to it. So this is fittingly the first tip. Smiling is a cheap way to improve your looks, it has scientific and physiological benefits and it will make you feel better almost instantly. A (genuine) smile also conveys warmth, openness and confidence. A smile is also one of the hallmarks of a great attitude. We all have read or at least heard by now the messages in several popular books like The Secret, Laws of Attraction, and others, that we can literally count down to the moment we get exactly what we attract. So how do you control what you get? Well, by simply giving off better energy, having a better attitude and spreading more cheer. The foundation of this a smile, accompanied by a great attitude. An attitude of positive expectation, an attitude of calmness and an attitude that attracts these exact same characteristics from those you encounter. It’s not called a magnetic personality for nothing you know!

DAILY: Practice your smile each morning when you look in the mirror! Bonus, smile while telling yourself what a great day it’s about to be.


2.  Give more compliments. It has been said before that one genuine compliment or kind word can ‘feed’ a person’s ego for months. In my experience, this is absolutely true. But the key word, again, is “genuine.” I always say that people can spot a phony so don’t say it if you don’t mean it. Know that everyone you meet has something specific and special that you may like or admire, so tell them so. And be specific. Gentlemen, don’t just tell your wife or girlfriend, she looks “nice” but rather tell her what, specifically, you like that she has on. For example, her earrings, sweater, shoes (women love when men compliment their shoes) or anything else! It’s the thought that counts. But remember, genuine is the key! And ladies, feel free to do the same thing for the men in your life. At work, the rules apply even more. Positive feedback, or the lack thereof, is one of the biggest factors in creating a great or poor company culture. Who have you complimented today?

DAILY: Start by paying attention to the details of others. Give specific compliments. And don’t stop at clothing! Give compliments at work (especially managers) for a job well done.


3.  Stop doubting others. This is back to attracting what we give out. It also happens to be one of the biggest things that great friends do. Great friends don’t fill their counterparts with doubt about their dreams, hopes or desires, but rather they push them forward, help them brainstorm and come up with plans on bringing everything they want to life. Sometimes our own self-limiting views leak out of own our pores and onto other unsuspecting people. It’s not that we don’t believe in them, it’s that we don’t believe in us. That’s a post for another day, though. But for now, start with being a resource for others, and encouraging others to do what their hearts are calling them to do. Who knows, they may do the same for you.

DAILY: Catch yourself from playing the “devil’s advocate” role and switch to the “angel’s advocate” and see what happens.


4.  Do exactly what you say you will. Every. Single. Time. This small tip also happens to be part of building trust, building an impeccable reputation and the largest characteristic of the ethical. There are so many ways to make excuses for why we haven’t gotten certain things accomplished, but be careful when you give your word. Someone else is now counting on you to come through with what you said you would. You are now part their plan, who could be part of someone else’s plan, so on and so forth. So those who don’t take this responsibility lightly, become the coveted go-to person because their word is golden. Let’s all strive to have this as our reputation.

DAILY: Only commit to what you know for sure you can deliver. This will be tough because you will have to use the secret weapon of the super-productive: saying no.


5.  Don’t hold grudges. I know I had tons of people with me until this one. I know, and I apologize! This is because forgiveness is one of those concepts that works so well in theory, until it’s us who’s been wronged and the person who committed the offense acts like nothing even happened. There are few things more infuriating than this scenario. The irony is that we have ALL been on both sides of this equation to varying degrees. What is telling, though, is how many of us are as quick to forgive transgression against us as we are to calling out others about it. Or to take on yet another view, how many of us take the time to understand the conditions which led to said wrongdoing. This exercise usually leads to much greater understanding between both parties. But I will tell you, sometimes it’s all on us. I recently saw a story about a woman who one day was minding her business and was shot in the face by a young 13 year-old boy attempting to rob her. Her life was miraculously saved by the fact the bullet entered her mouth at just the right angle to exit her cheek. After 23 years and much soul searching and recovering for this woman, and the same amount of time of incarceration for the then young man who committed this awful crime, the two have not only begun regular correspondence and visitation, but she is actually his number one advocate for release. That is forgiveness.

DAILY: Think of who you have offended, and apologize. Consider those who have sought your forgiveness, and give it.


Happy New Year Self!


Sadiq Ali, MBA, is a speaker, trainer, professor, and author of Millionaire Manners: The Men’s (and Boy’s) Guide to Social Grace in the New Age and founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a full service educational consulting and training organization that teaches life and career success through great personal and professional etiquette.

To contact Sadiq for engagements or questions:email, visit or connect on TwitterFacebookor Instagram.


What Would Your Kids Say?

Posted by on 11:22 am in Blog | 1 comment

What Would Your Kids Say?

An interesting thought, and one that most never ponder, until they have to that is, is what would your kids say if they saw you now? Would they let you off the hook and say, “Well, you were young” or will they hold us to a higher standard, one that you will be probably holding them to? Telling them things like, “you won’t be young forever” will then come off as hypocritical if we’re not careful. The problem with not considering this, though, until you have kids, is that it’s usually too late.


Most people think that when the time comes, they will automatically be ready to be parents and be ready to be an example to the pair of bright little eyes staring back up at them. But the truth of the matter is that you’re never really ready, unless you’re practicing holding yourself to a higher level and a higher standard — starting right now. The issue is really that we most usually play the real game just as we practiced. You slack off during practice, you’re almost sure to play poorly. Whereas if you practice harder, the game is almost guaranteed to be that much easier, slower even, with you being able to make decisions deliberately, and in real time, as if everything were in slow motion. This is the beauty of practice.


To begin practice in being a parent isn’t as tough as you might think either. And I don’t mean the fun part of practice either. Ahem. I’m talking about practicing the art of saying no. I mean practicing the art of good character — that is doing the right thing when no one is watching. And I also mean being ever conscious of minding what you say before you say it. Give yourself this litmus test before speaking your next several words, and see where you rank: (A) Is it true? (B) Is it kind? or (C) Is is necessary? If you haven’t answered yes to at least three of those individual questions, then chances are, there is no reason to say it. Another way to think of it is this: Do your words improve upon the silence?? Again, if the answer is no, think again. These couple activities are so critical because they all have to do with ensuring that one of the greatest computers known to man, the brain of the child, is receiving an as pure as possible steady stream of righteous programming. Trust me when I tell you, that kids. Remember. Everything. Even when you think they are completely zoned out, they have just heard it all, and will quote it back to you at the most inopportune of times. So whatever you say to them or AROUND them is absolutely critical. And believe it or not, but sometimes the “around” them part is of more importance that the actually “to” them part of it, because the ‘around them’ part involves them observing us too.


However, I don’t want anyone to think I’m advocating not having fun or doing what young people do. That’s not it at all, but what I am saying is to be mindful of the fact that it’s hard to turn on responsible behavior. I’m also saying it’s possible to have a good time and not go overboard. In one of my favorite movies, and an all-time classic, Back to the Future, the main character Marty McFly accidentally travels back in time to when his parents are high schoolers. How interesting it was for him to see that parents, his mother in particular, participated in every bad thing she was now telling him not to do! But now that he knew the truth, she lost just a little bit of credibility with Marty. So while we don’t have time machines (yet), we have our conscious, and reminders like this one. Because your kids might not be watching you now (or even exist yet), but one day they will.


Sadiq Ali, MBA, is the author of Millionaire Manners, a book all about etiquette for men. He is also a speaker, trainer, professor, father, brother, husband, all around fun guy and many other things we can’t type here. He’s also the founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a training and educational consulting practice. Connect with him on FacebookTwitterInstagram or Sadiq’s LinkedIn.


This is the NUMBER ONE Point of Your Job

Posted by on 4:16 pm in Blog | 0 comments

This is the NUMBER ONE Point of Your Job

One of the cool things about my work through Millionaire Manners Academy and my background in management, is that I get asked all the time for somewhat general advice about navigating the mine field that is the work environment. When people ask me questions they want to know how to come out on top or sometimes jumpstart what may be a stagnant situation. While I, of course, refer everyone to reading my book, Millionaire Manners, which goes deep into many of the things that trouble most of us daily in doing our best to be impactful in our respective careers, I still thought that today I’d offer some additional practical advice around what else you can do to not only get ahead, but stay ahead and keep going.


I always start with the most basic of questions back the individual who engages me. That question is: What is your main job on the job? I get all sorts of responses to this question, 99% of which are absolutely correct, but they all stop short to the main point, in my opinion. Those responses range from providing great customer service, to doing great work, to serving humanity and a whole host of not ill-conceived thoughts. But there’s a deeper, yet much simpler answer to the question, and one that most people have completely either not thought of, or have forgotten about as soon as they received the position they are currently in. The answer to the riddle is this: Your main job on the job, is to make your boss’s job easier. A little counterintuitive right? I know you’re thinking, “No way it’s that easy.” Yes way. It is. I will tell you that after conducting hundreds of interviews myself, and sitting in on hundreds others, what I was listening for, primarily, is the same thing countless other recruiters, hiring managers and supervisors are listening for as well: how will you make my job easier? What will you do to take things off my plate and not add to it? What are you going to do to add value to me?


The truth of the matter is that most supervisors are swamped and that there always is and will always be more work than available resources to complete it. Do you know of anyone whose job actually ends when they leave the office? (I don’t). Therefore, your most important thought and the yellow-brick paved road to the upper echelons of your company lies in your ability to take care of things for your boss before they even realize there was a problem. You want to be the person your supervisor comes to rely on as a go to person. The one person they and others can’t live without. In doing this, you are not only becoming a resource for those around you, and most importantly your boss, but you are also slowly growing into the role of becoming indispensable, or as Seth Godin refers to it, a linchpin. By using your unique gift to make the jobs of all those around you easier, starting with your boss, you have cemented your position as the last person to go if ever that faithful day comes when the individual outputs of the group are pit against one another to make that tough call. Those who just “did their job” and nothing more, never fare as well as those who put a little something extra on it, then followed back up to see if that extra bit was effective in alleviating stress or pressure from the next person. When you use that unique thing, or gift or talent, you are inevitably going to fulfill most of the basic tenets and requirements of your job anyway. But when we seek to simply take the path of least resistance we often don’t get to exercise that thing that would make us special and exceptional and stand out in every situation.


Not sure of how to be this person, this linchpin, for your boss? Here’s what you do: ask them. “What is important to you that I should be focused on daily?” You’d be astonished at how many people don’t know what’s important to their bosses, and therefore have no chance of becoming their go to guy or gal. It’s like playing a game of basketball or football or round of golf and not knowing what quarter or hole you’re on. If you want to know, ask. Then do exactly what they say. The answers we’re looking for are usually just a question away. Albeit a courageous question or potentially scary question to ask, but one that when you get the answer, everything can be different. How can you be better today?


Why This Millennial Still Leaves Voicemail

Posted by on 9:11 am in Blog | 0 comments

Why This Millennial Still Leaves Voicemail

So the latest research shows that the youngest of my generation have now developed a disdain, among other things, for leaving and receiving voicemail. The argument is that the voicemail is time consuming to retrieve, antiquated in general, and really serves no purpose. I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve heard more than one person say that if someone really wants to reach them, they’d know how, ie text, tweet, Facebook message etc. I’ve also heard other millennials say it simply takes too much time and is inconvenient to listen and/or respond. These could all be good arguments if one small fact didn’t exist: the world isn’t filled with just millennials! The fact is that the same marketing strategy does not work for every product in every situation.


As an “etiquette guy” I find it distasteful for those I just meet to randomly send text messages. If that mode of communication has been established prior to then I’m fine with it. However, I wouldn’t just meet someone for the first time and then have them start texting me. That’s a more intimate, far less formal manner of communicating that leaves much to be desired in many settings. I went to college with a guy who had one of my all time favorite voicemail recordings: “If you don’t leave a message, you never called.”


What about when you’re looking for a job and a potential employer calls and you don’t even know how to check your voicemails! Or one of my biggest pet peeves: a full voicemail box! To me, nothing screams “UNPROFESSIONAL” more than a full voicemail box. What about using voicemail, especially when you leave a well thought out brief and well done message, how it can actually encourage a call back on the other end where maybe there was no intention before. I also don’t know about anyone else, but I still screen many of my calls and I judge the seriousness of the call by one basic criteria: whether the individual leaves a voicemail or not.


We must also keep in mind that voicemail is now becoming more and more special, so we can also all use that to our advantage. Remember the days when people sent telegrams? Well voicemail could become that for us very soon. As I also write about in my book, voicemail is part of the “game before the game” aka one of the very first steps of forming a great first impression of you in the mind of the person on the other end. A smooth message sends one signal, a bumbling, unfocused one sends another, and not leaving or returning voicemail sends yet another.


Therefore I say don’t discard this potential business advantage just yet. Instead, leave a short and sweet, “uh” and “um”-free message (it should only be about 20 seconds) that you record with a purpose. Make sure you use your best phone voice and speak with a smile. Oh, and do yourself a favor and check your voicemails and return them too.


Blue Suit or Pink Hair: Are You a Free Thinker?

Posted by on 1:08 pm in Blog | 0 comments


I hear people all the time getting upset when they hear someone was discriminated against because of some external style or fashion or grooming choice that person made. These external styling idiosyncrasies that we all have are just that: choices. There are other deeper more permanent characteristics, that while some may seek a way out (Sammy Sosa), they are with us for life. And there’s no real need to go into those for we have no control over them.

But now for my thought. Does having purple hair or wearing bright red tights or a pink suit make you an independent thinker? Or posed another way, what does us wanting to look different have to do with actually being different? After careful study and analysis i.e. writing this, I have come to the personal conclusion that one doesn’t have much to do with the other. In fact, some of the lowest self-esteem owners purposely align themselves with “anti” movements of the world, simply because they want to be associated with something perceived as anti-establishment or anti-conformist, but really are conformists themselves. Conversely, some of the people we can silently judge from afar as being homogenous scaredy-cats are actually free to think and study and muse on many things due to the anonymity their perceived conformity has afforded them.

I think this is one of the Lord’s best ironies at work. The current hipster movement is a readily available example of many young people subscribing to a particular style outwardly but not having done the necessary research to determine the underlying beliefs many of the earliest “hipsters” promulgated. If there was a hipster to hipster conversation, some of the hipsters might not make it out alive!

The same can be said for some religious dress or those who feel the need to outwardly express themselves through exaggerated garb and bombastic speech. Some of these folks are struggling most with their faith, beliefs and attitudes. Whereas, again, some people who are a bit more reserved on certain topics or a certain manner of outward demeanor might be more fortified in their thinking than casual observers would give credit. Critical thinking and original thought both have their roots, in my opinion, in the spirit of curiosity, not the spirit of rebellion, especially just for the sake of rebillion. Although many admirable causes and movements had an overt rebellious flavor to them, these same movements were also born of reflection. Curiosity and reflection are two things we, myself included, can probably do more of. We’re so caught up many times in being individuals that we forget to think for ourselves beforehand. We forget to ask ourselves critical and deep and probing questions, like what do I truly believe, and why?

This maybe could’ve all been summed up by the old adage of not judging a book by its cover but I think it’s a slightly deeper issue than that. Most of us know that we shouldn’t prejudge, and most can share stories of this biting them in the behind, when it is all clear. But the question of whether our quest for individuality has taken a toll on us negatively is something different. My suggestion is to clarify your thoughts and practice asking yourself tough questions. But don’t just stop there, answer them too! My next suggestion is of those tough questions, make sure you analyze at least part of your behavior from time to time, i.e. why do I do certain things in a certain way. This answer alone may be enough to change you. And lastly, ask yourself what sort of image are you looking to portray and what type of image you are actually portraying. Then when it’s all said and done, delete it all from your mind.

A blue suit doesn’t mean you’re a spineless, conformist-conservative and orange lipstick doesn’t make you a free thinker.

Photo Credit:

Sadiq Ali, MBA, is a speaker, trainer, professor, and author of Millionaire Manners: The Men’s (and Boy’s) Guide to Social Grace in the New Age and founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a full service educational consulting and training organization that teaches life and career success through great personal and professional etiquette.

To contact Sadiq for engagements or questions:
email, visit or connect on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

I Did Two Things Today That Scared Me Silly — And I Liked It.

Posted by on 11:36 am in Blog | 0 comments

I Did Two Things Today That Scared Me Silly — And I Liked It.

No I’m not going to tell you what my two things were but what I can tell you is that they scared the heebie jeebies out of me. I liked it so much because I knew I needed to do them so badly and procrastinated so much until these two things were ever-present on my to do list and eventually began to scare me. So today I did them. Knocked them right off and it felt so good.

Scary Eyes!

This feeling today illustrated a few things to me that I actually already knew, but we tend to forget what’s not happening to us everyday, so we all need a reminder. The first thing is that procrastination is the devil. You can put something off so long you actually start to justify why it’s not that important or why it can wait, until finally it gets pushed off and around so many times we actually decide (after writing it down originally) that it simply does not need to happen. When this happens, a little piece of us dies. A small piece of our goal will never be fulfilled, and this could be deferring our dreams in a worse way than we realize. Therefore, do not procrastinate. Do it right now, and your dreams will thank you.

The second thing is that fear is very real. But you can use this fear to actually help guide you to be more productive in your traditional to do lists. Today when I awoke I had a pretty challenging list and, as most people do, I went right for the low hanging fruit, the “easy” items I could’ve easily done later, and in the process, pretty much skipped all the weightiest items. Why? Because they scared me, and I felt it. But today I used that fear factor to literally direct me to exactly what items I needed to rank as A priority (both urgency and importance) and I knocked those out in the first hour. When I tell you my personal confidence in me went through the roof and I ended up having one of my most productive days in sometime, I tell you that is exactly what happened. And to think, it’s all because I used my fear as a sort of productivity sniffer or an achievement metal detector or sorts to help me decipher and cut through my own inaction, procrastination and ultimately self-defeating attitude.

Fear is also funny because it tricks us into thinking that we don’t really want to accomplish what that one scary item could potentially lead us to. Ironically it’s the same fear that can lead us to the scary to do list item, yet tell us you don’t really want to get this goal done. It is this same paradoxical thinking that causes us to continue to be walking contradictions who say we all want success, then turn around and do the exact opposite of what we know we should do. Ah, humans, we love to love, and love to hurt ourselves all the same. But we can change it.

Tomorrow, pull out that to do list and read each item. Read them out loud if you’re really in the mood. Feel each one on the inside. Listen to your own heart beat. When it starts beating fast as you come upon that item, pause. Be still. Be silent and listen. If your heartbeat increases yet again, you’ve hit gold. Or potential goal, if you only do that item first. Feel the fear and then do it anyway. Isn’t that what many a wise person has defined courage as, ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway?’ I say so, so let’s do it.

Photo Credit:

Sadiq Ali, MBA, is a speaker, trainer, professor, and author of Millionaire Manners: The Men’s (and Boy’s) Guide to Social Grace in the New Age and founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a full service educational consulting and training organization that teaches life and career success through great personal and professional etiquette.

To contact Sadiq for engagements or questions:
email, visit or connect on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

But What If I Don’t Feel Like Being Nice??

Posted by on 8:51 am in Blog | 0 comments

But What If I Don’t Feel Like Being Nice??

For many people the act of being ‘nice’, or what is many times perceived as nice, doesn’t come as easily. I hear from people who attend our workshops or who have read my book, that “I’m just not that outgoing or personable” (which usually isn’t true) or from people who might be more outspoken and affable that sometimes “I just don’t feel like being nice today.”

Have you felt this way before? I know I have. This is an especially common feeling for those who have a profession or job that keeps them in the spotlight a large portion of the time. It can also be true for those in supervisory or leadership positions. Or you could just be the leader amongst your peer group, the person to whom all others look to for guidance, direction or just the uplifting word when they are feeling down. For this group of people they often ask the question in the title of this piece, “What if I just don’t feel like being nice today??”

I’ll answer the question by giving you the one word opportunity that you now have whenever you get this feeling: authenticity. Whenever you don’t feel like putting on the biggest smile, or saying hello with the most oomph that morning, understand that when you own this realization, you are at your most genuine, authentic state. It’s when we deny our feelings that we become disingenuous. It is when we own those feelings that we become authentic.

I point to three years ago when my father passed away. It was an extremely tough time for me, and for those who know me personally, know that I wasn’t my normal happy, outgoing, talkative self. I became much more reserved, thoughtful and emotive. So to deny these true and genuine feelings, would have been to deny a part of myself, which is never healthy. Instead of the common “fake it ’til you make it” wisdom, I embraced my somber state, at least for a moment, and in turn, had some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve ever had in my life, sometimes with people I had never had that type of interaction with.

Many times being ‘nice’ or its first cousin ‘acting nice’ become shields or walls for us to hide behind and never have any real interactions. If I just tell everyone everything is fine, I never have to face my own feelings, analyze, and actually get closer to being fine. But this is the opportunity we each have daily, especially when we are just not feeling it that day. Attempt a smile, but then when someone asks how you are doing, ask them “Can I be honest?” and when they say “Of course” share something with them from your true self. Now surely there is some risk involved here, and we must beware of the TMI syndrome, but to share your feelings of doubt about a new position, or your kid’s anxiety about their coming recital or anything that is weighing heavy on your mind or heart, and is contributing to your melancholy mood, speak on it and build a new relationship.

This is the road to authenticity.


Why Are We Suddenly Soooo Sarcastic?

Posted by on 11:54 am in Blog | 3 comments

Why Are We Suddenly Soooo Sarcastic?

Every time I go into a fast food joint (which I need to stop altogether anyway) and just observe — everything from the body language of the workers, the cynical dialogue between coworkers to the seeming disdain of the employees every time they take an order — it points to our culture being raised on and sustained through a steady and unnecessary diet of sarcasm. I’m as guilty as the next person of being an avid Seinfeld fan, where so much of the humor is steeped in essentially making fun of the flaws of the next person, to their face, and for some reason expect them to not “get it” has become so prevalent I think it’s actually damaging us. I think so many of the day to day practitioners of this brand of humor actually expect a laugh track to be cued up at their every jabbing quip and sharp retort directed at above mentioned teenage fast food worker, or whoever may have incurred their wrath this particular moment. Where did this come from? What is this hiding? And most importantly, how do we balance ourselves back out and stop thinking it’s so cool to be a jerk.


I honestly think that sarcasm is one of society’s most readily accepted and unchallenged defense mechanisms. It’s also one of the most commonly and readily accepted forms of rudeness. It’s also a convenient way to not have to deal with disappointment, frustration or any other normal hurdle, because to seem en vogue with our reaction and appear as if we are unaffected by the very emotions that make us human, is somehow easier. Isn’t it easier, less risky and more comforting by just behaving in an aloof manner? The short-term answer is yes, but what happens as we continue this little act? The short answer to the short-term effect is that we never really open up because we are fearful that some other bottled up, master of sarcasm will make us feel less than for showing we actually really do care about something. Instead of being harsh with each other as human beings, why not commend one another when we take a risk or do something beyond our own self-imposed or established limits? Then when the parents and adults do it, the children will follow.


Humor is a funny thing, pun unintended, yet so complicated to convey. Sarcasm in the realm of humor is a cop out for those who exclusively use it as their only brand. Sure, many funny stories have elements of sarcasm, but still only elements, not their entire foundation. It’s a lazy and simple thing to do, to be a one trick pony, yet we’ve let our comedians of the day off the hook, and in turn, helped them create a legion of sarcastic zombies that don’t “get” anything else. When you feel your emotions bubbling up and an unproductive sarcastic remark is about to leave your lips, ask yourself what other feeling you’re actually experiencing and attempting to mask by looking for something clever and/or existentialist to say. Look for true expression through the embrace of those very feelings.


But a warning, this reflection requires courage. The same courage not needed to simply follow the trend. We are a creative species when challenged to be, and when we are unchallenged we sometimes rise, and sometimes we fail. The challenge is to be creative with our outlets for expressing defeat and humanness, and to not punish those closest to us with damaging, petty comments that would have them share in whatever temporary pain we are experiencing. It’s not fair to your loved ones and we can be more thoughtful than that. Likewise resist the urge to exclusively support this type of humor. Maybe you can even practice being ironic to the practitioners and give no reaction when someone makes a sarcastic joke, because who knows, they may even care.

Unplug to Reconnect 

Posted by on 8:02 pm in Blog | 1 comment

Unplug to Reconnect 

[WORDS By: Sadiq Ali]

We hear the older generation say all the time, things like “the younger generation doesn’t care” or “these kids today________(insert derisive negative here)” or one of my favorites, “when we were growing up…..”; or many others that point to alternate meanings that equate to a lack of drive, passion, or even intelligence. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is the generation today does not know a world without cloud computing, the internet or iPhones, and they have no interest in nostalgic musings about such a place. I’d actually have to agree. They have more information at their fingertips on an afternoon than, as some noted technology experts have been quoted as saying, all the content created in the history of language prior to about 2005. This means the pool of knowledge that today’s youth can pull from to help form opinions and consequently shape their vantage points is vast, deep and growing by the minute. Someone who has read only 5 books and then is asked to write their own, will undoubtedly create a composite work of those other five books. It is simply the way our brains work. However, if the same person reads 500 books, the laws of mathematics and probabilities dictate the new work will be virtually unrecognizable to the reader as the previous 500 pieces of those other works will have been combined, recombined and then reconnected in new and beautiful ways. This is how I view the youth today. Only again, some experts say they have access to the equivalent of probably 500,000 books and are asked to construct a single volume. The older generation has no clue what the subsequent work is, and in some cases, don’t even know how to open it!

How do we reconcile this disconnect of communication, output, generations? I’d start by saying that the issue is not that there is too much information available, because there isn’t. And if anyone believes that now, today, in 2014, just wait because in about 5 years there will be approximately double or triple that, and then in another 2 years double or triple that. Instead, it is my opinion we simply need to suggest, instruct in younger children, then model moments of silence. I submit the younger generation just simply needs to reflect a bit more. Then things could become more clear to them, and thus more clear to world around them. This would be the time to reconnect to ourselves.

Research has shown that kids high school aged and younger spend an average of 7 hours plugged in, online or playing video games or watching TV — DAILY. That is an astounding and scary number to consider. My suggestion is two fold. One for those just starting out with the idea, and one for true revolutionaries! The first suggestion is too simply institute a no technology rule in your house or for yourself for at least 1-2 hours daily. Simply turn the phone off, close the laptop and turn off the TV. Then grab a book, a pen and paper, your journal or any of your other favorite non-technology related activity and dive in. If you exercise or attend a gym – this time counts too, just leave the music off during your “Unplugged Time” and lose yourself in your own thoughts. Thoughts that can take you to your to do list, your plans and goals for the future, any pending issues or problems to be solved, and more. Just unplug!

The second part of the movement would be to more committedly go for the full 24 hour sabbatical weekly or once every two weeks. I know that this can be hard for busy students, professionals, etc., but the benefits are so serious. So here are a couple alternatives:

A) go for a full 8 hour work or school day, and simply concentrate, without your phone, or computer, but mostly without the smartphone, or

B) go for the full 24 hours on a weekend day for you to spend time with family or reading or writing or knocking out a home project or some organizational thing you’ve been meaning to get to.

Technology is our friend and I love it like the next person, but sometimes you need to unplug to see things more clearly.