3 ways we mislead ourselves

It’s all about Balance.

You may have heard me say that before.

Indeed, I identified it as the biggest legacy my father left me:

“He was serious about life, but life doesn’t always have to be serious.”

Here are three ways we get out of balance by misleading ourselves and adding burdens we don’t need:

1. Missed Opportunities

Almost two weeks ago I received news that large areas of where I live would be evacuated due to Hurricane Irma. Most folk decided to stay put, barricade themselves in, and just deal with the anxiety surrounding food stocks, power issues, damage to things, and disconnect. On the other hand, my family (and thousands of others) took the opportunity to jump ahead of millions of evacuees, and go places we’ve never been before and have a ball. If something happened to our home there was nothing we could do until power had been restored, grocery stores restocked and gasoline supplies replenished. So we decided not to worry about our things until we got back after the big rush. Instead, we concerned ourselves with the people we know who stayed behind in harm’s way, and took advantage of the opportunities for new experiences.

We met some really amazing people in the process, too.

2. Perspective

We often do the right things for the wrong reasons, and miss out on a great lifestyle. Last week I received an email from a reader who was disgruntled that I suggested “cheap” is the wrong priority to drive what we do in life. They proceeded to tell me about making their own bread because it is cheaper than buying it. We discussed listing the ingredients of both the home-made bread and the manufactured bread to see that our health actually gains the most, and that the overall cost of making bread at home is not cheaper when taking into account an hourly rate (there are ways to assign a monetary value to home-makers, too), cost of power, ingredients, etc. To me, making bread at home is definitely much more a decision about providing good quality fuel and sustenance for a family, than it is about the wallet. (It certainly ain’t faster!).

It is no trophy to think yourself as cheap, or good at saving a buck, because you make your own meals from scratch (that doesn’t include warming up frozen dinners!). Actually, you should feel proud that you care so much about the quality of food you and your family live on. The fact that you hand over less money in the process is simply a beneficial consequence. It’s a good balance.


Education was formalized to train managers. Really – you can still read about it. Public education was initially lobbied by companies that wanted their future employees to read, write and do math in such a way that their companies could benefit from good leadership but not at their expense. We seem to have returned to that approach, to the detriment of the human race. As Glen says in Mr. Holland’s Opus, “Soon they’ll have nothing to read or write about.”

There is a movement to alter publishers’ and technology companies’ desires to earn more by limiting curricula to the materials they can sell quickly and easily (STEM), and adding the Arts back into the Western World, i.e. STEAM (It’s already happening all over the globe, just not in the USA or the UK). It is quite remarkable that many Western, so-called “educated” decision-makers and parents still believe the Arts are just entertainment and something fun to do. Music, in particular, offers so much more to a good quality life and, as I’ve said many times before, is so far the ONLY identified activity humans participate in that uses BOTH sides of the brain in EQUAL measure!

Participating in the Arts as much as Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and even Sports and all the other more materialistic and competitive stuff, helps us maintain a good balance in life.

Lead a balanced life

As you are reading this you are probably already a fan of live classical music.

But perhaps you could dive a little deeper.

Take my short course “How to Make the Most of Classical Music Concerts” and you’ll experience a way to maintain a life full of balanced “good, fast or cheap” decision-making.


Be careful what you worship

My wife is in the event industry.

Weddings, mostly.

A fellow small business owner recently shared a story that made us both cringe, not just because of the what happened, but more the fact that there is a growing trend in the Tampa Bay area of Florida to worship either cheap or, and this would be much worse, entitlement.

A bride-elect visited our friend’s little shop and spent a couple of hours talking about cake options – flavors, shapes, frosting, decorations,  size, etc.

(Right there: think of your own professional/ working hourly rate, and give two of them away.)

Turns out it’s another last-minute thing. The wedding is in two weeks.

Just when our friend thinks the deal is done and everything will be just how the bride-to-be wants it, she leaves to think about it.

Frustrating, perhaps, but no problem.

Two hours later, right before closing time, she returns.

The bride-elect had visited the local supermarket where they also offer specialty cakes. She found something that would satisfy her desires and at a considerably lower price.

Fair enough.

But then here’s the rub:

She returned to our friend’s cake shop and said she had found something similar at the supermarket but at a much better price. Although the bride-elect said our friend makes better cakes she asked if she could get the cake they agreed upon at the supermarket’s price.

Yes, it’s true.

That’s what she said.

Needless to say that our friend refused the job. If someone has that kind of gall up front, what will they be like to work with?! Apparently it is not unusual for penny-pinching customers to receive their cake and eat it, but then complain about it and demand some sort of refund.

For some reason, this particular bride felt entitled to something of high quality, produced quickly AND at a mass-production chain store price.

That’s all three: fast, cheap and good.

Can’t happen.

But it seems to be what a lot of people around here expect these days. Nay, believe they are entitled to.

And for the last few months (perhaps years), cheap seems to be the ruling option of them all. It’s why the USA makes big box stores and foreign manufacturers rich, and local business owners scramble for every penny. Here’s hoping you do not make your decisions in life based on price alone. Especially if you’ve left things to the last minute!

Well, in case you missed yesterday’s email, here is something of quality you can get for free:

The full archive of my Classical Rate N Slate episodes.


Check out the first one, Albinoni – it’s probably my favorite.

Each episode is only 2 minutes long – so try some of the others, too.

Like the one about Litolff.


And remember to watch what you worship:

If you worship cheap and fast more than quality, that might suggest a sense of entitlement.


A cultural shift about to happen

I have caught word that a child is using his imagination and I’ve come to put a stop to it.Principal Skinner
The Simpsons

Remarkable how accurately The Simpsons writers reflected our farcical realities.

But that child is now a grown consumer.

…and about to rediscover Classical Music.

Are you ready for that?


Man with imagination in a suit