Showing posts with label Overconfident. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Overconfident. Show all posts

April 25, 2019

Confidence Speaks

I found this interesting about communications management. 

On one hand, when discussing issues, you want to listen to everyone's input, and consider all sides. 

On the other hand, it's critical to be competent, confident, and "know what you're talking about."

Amos Oz wrote:
Those who hesitate and doubt are convinced by those who are strong-minded. 

So it's an important balancing act:

- Not to be so self-confident that you aren't listening to others, 
- But also not being so unsure and hesitant that you don't stand behind your values and views. 

Confidence speaks, but overconfidence is deaf. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 28, 2019

Who Is The Most Dangerous?

Recently, I started watching this show called "Billions."

I'm in the middle of Season 2, and it is a brilliant and mesmerizing show that depicts the battle between the CEO of a Wall Street Hedge Fund and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.

Ands it is a true battle of wits, might, and it gets ugly in every way. 

(I won't spoil the show...)

But there is one line from the show that came out in the heat of an exchange between the two at the end of Season One that I wanted to share:
The only thing more dangerous than a person with unlimited resources is a person who has nothing to lose.

When you think about it, there is tremendous wisdom and truth in this, and a poignant lesson to be learned for every person, organization, and even nation of great power.

No matter how much money, people, and assets you may have to fight...

...if the other guy has nothing to lose and is willing to go do the unthinkable then we have a very big problem indeed. 
Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

From those desperate and willing to act as suicide bombers to those that would actually push the button on a nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack, there is no winning even if you are the last one left standing.

The other guy who feels he has already lost is willing to take you with him by any and all means. 

Therefore, we cannot and should not ever think that the battle against evil is won, because even when the opponent appears in all respects to be defeated that may be when they become even more dangerous to us than ever.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 13, 2018

Outgunned Yes


I liked this saying that I heard:

"Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outsmarted."

I think there is a lot of truth to this. 

Might does not make right. 

Right makes right. 

There is a G-d above who watches over us. 

Those with the big guns may just end up shooting themselves in the foot. 

G-d reigns supreme and he gives wisdom and courage to his faithful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2018

They Really Think They Deserve It

Sometimes I come across people with enormous wealth and power. 

Many wield it like they own it and deserve it. 

I wonder sometimes with billions of other people in the world without adequate food, water, plumbing, medicine, or a solid roof over the heads, how the mighty can think they are above it all. 

Do they look around--do they see anyone else but themselves?

They seem drunk with themselves and what they have--and very overconfident.

Worshipping self and all the honor and materialistic success--they forget where it comes from and what they are supposed to be doing with it to help others. 

Yet, G-d and His angels can strike in but a split second. 

Those that are high and mighty can be brought low and those that are in the depths of despair can be uplifted. 

But at the will of G-d Almighty.

At the top, people may erroneously think and come to believe that they are smarter or more deserving--and so what's theirs is theirs for the taking and keeping. 

They think "To hell" with everyone else--they are the little people. 

Perhaps, they even come to enjoy squashing them underfoot.

They really believe and savor the power and even think it's forever. 

Yet the wheel of life turns and often abruptly--illness, accidents, misfortune...it comes seemingly from nowhere when G-d breaths justice. 

How silly of the powerful and wealthy to think they are the untouchable and the forever mighty. 

G-d sees the good and the bad in the people--and ultimately, there is no escape from the King of Kings. 

Wealth and power are earthly and fleeting, but the will of G-d is all that endures. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 14, 2017

Wrapped In Bubble Wrap

So I thought this was an interesting risk management strategy...

One colleague joked with me that:
"Everyone should just wrap themselves in bubble wrap!"

Reminded me of that game where people put on big wearable inflatable bumpers and then smash into each other for fun.

The problem though is that sometimes we put on the bubble wrap, bulletproof vest, or seat belt, but then we get stupidly overconfident. 

We think we are protected, but nothing human in impenetrable. 

So the person with the seat belt and air bag drives too fast and off a cliff and still gets him/herself killed. 

Or the person with the bulletproof vest gets shot with a high caliber armor piercing shell or in the back of the head.

Like on many cars, where the mirror says, "objects in mirror are closer than they appear," we need not over rely on safety, protective, and risk measures and still do stupid things.

One guy told me, he backed up into the wall in the garage, because he thought there was more room and that's not how things looked in the mirror. 

Let's face it, there is no bubble wrap that can fully protect us from life. 

Everyday we face risks out there, and we need to manage them with common sense or else... ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 23, 2017

Uber Overconfidence

As everyone knows, Uber is essentially--for now--a high-tech taxi company.

And high-tech tends to command high price.

But they are IMHO very overconfident of their position. 

And while I generally like taking Ubers, I would go so far to say that in many respects they are potential dead cab meat!

Why?

- Not because their leadership is in disarray and their founder and CEO was just forced to resign.

- Not because they have a disastrous corporate culture.

- Not because of their uber low or not profitable margins.

- Not because of the threat of autonomous driverless vehicles.

- Not because of the (alleged) stolen documents from Google.

- Not because Uber is (potentially) overvalued at nearly $70 billion (more than GM, Ford, or Honda)!

- Not because of its numerous competitors coming up from behind, including Lyft.

But a major reason is because:

They just gave you a not-so-hidden increase in price by tacking on a new tipping mechanism that will result in many people paying as much as a 20% hike to their overall fares.

Uber is now losing a sizable portion of their price point competitive advantage!

With the risks involved here, who could be so overconfident?
Perhaps, it's time to take a cab or hovercraft somewhere else. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

(All represents my own opinions)
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September 28, 2016

Wiping The Smug

How you ever seen someone with that unbelievable smug look on their face? 

They are almost glowing in hubris and elitism.

They have gotten away with something and they know it and think they are above earth and Heaven.

Feeling better, smarter, and mightier than everyone else around them. 

They have built a fortress of minions, money, and power. 

And nothing, they think, can bring them back to Earth. 

Through deals, cunning, intimidation, and even elimination of their rivals, they survive and thrive growing stronger with every kill. 

High and mighty, but G-d sees all. 

Arrogant and corrupt, but G-d forgets none. 

All humankind is connected and one.

As one sits in the dust of the feet of another. 

The wheel of life turns, and the roles reverse. 

The next person has the chance to act different and better.

To mend their soul and humbly influence others for the good. 

No one should be smug, because everyone serves. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 22, 2015

Broken Arm, Broken Metro

So I spoke to a lady on the D.C. Metro yesterday.

Not old, not young--she was sitting in a handicapped seat. 


What happened to her?


She told me how this last year as she was riding the train, it had suddenly and ferociously jerked forward, and then backwards.


The fierceness of jerking motion breaking the top of her arm--the humerus--vertically right down the middle in a horrible break. 


As she was talking her eyes glazed over remembering what happened.


She found herself on the floor of the train lying in excruciating pain.


One kind lady stayed with her as the paramedics were on their way.


She overheard others on the train actually complaining in earshot that they were being delayed "because of her!"


She was taken to the ER, and ended up spending 2 1/2 months in the hospital and rehabilitation center. 


As explained, they couldn't cast this type of break, and she wasn't allowed to sleep laying down--she had to sleep in a chair--again she said how the pain was so bad and unlike anything she ever experienced, incuding childbirth and bypass heart surgery. 


Professionally, she was a lawyer for the government, but ended up not suing Metro, shaking her head that it just wasn't worth it. 


In her wallet, she showed me her Metro disability card that they gave her so she could sit in the special seats now and get a reduced rate riding the train.


Shaking her head, she exclaimed that even though she is mostly healed now, she never stands on a moving train anymore, always making sure she is sitting and nestled next to something.


I could see the emotional pain on her face as she told me her story, and she seemed generally afraid of ever going through anything like that again. 


At the same time that she was talking to me, in eyesight was a younger man hanging out by the center doors on the metro, overfident and not holding on--actually leaning way back on his backback against the doors, almost daydreaming. 


Not everyone heard this lady's story...maybe they should. 


Overall, Metro seems chronically underfunded or mismanaged and in desperate need of major repairs and replacements--train, tracks, escalators, elevators, everything. 


The system is a mess and it needs urgent attention. 


Why does it always take a tragedy to finally get action? 


Coincidentally, I saw today that Metro (WMATA) is advertising in the Wall Street Journal for a new General Manager and Chief Executive Officer--yep, good luck to that person, they will definitely need it and a lot more!  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Christian).

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January 26, 2015

Safeguarding D.C.

I took this photo the other day of a truck loaded from front to back with compressed gas cylinders in downtown, Washington, D.C.

I understand that there are strict safety regulations for this. 

Although with this truck just sitting out on the street, appapently not moving or even attended as far as I could see, I was a little concerned. 

At the same time, coming to work today, there was someone marching down the street yelling "Allah"--again and again--sort of talking to themselves yet screaming something that wasn't intelligible, at least to me. 

Not that there is anything wrong with freedom of expression, but it just seemed a little wild and scary on the darkened streets. 

I couldn't help think about this gas truck with all these gas containers from the other day...and are we keeping things as safe as they need to be. 

We take a lot for granted in terms of our security, but are we perhaps getting a little overconfident so many years after 9/11 now. 

Hopefully, we're all good, but we need to be careful, vigilant, and safe! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 17, 2014

You're Not All That

So they say that all sin is rooted in arrogance. 

We get too big for our britches and think we can do whatever we want including stepping on others and defying our maker. 

An interesting article in Harvard Business Review reminds us to beware of narcissism and hubris. 

Narcissism is a character disorder where because of feelings of inadequancy from childhood, people have to self-promote themselves every which way toSunday--they are "insufferably self-centered."

Hubris is a reactive disorder where due to past success and accolades from others, we become overconfidant, until the luck changes "toppling from their pedestals" and shrinking their ego back down to size."

I like the reminders from HBR cautioning about these:

- "Have more than thou showest; speak less than thou knowest." - Shakespear

- "Humble pie should be the only dessert served."

It's one thing to have decent self-esteem anchored in your knowing right from wrong and acting accordingly, and it's another to think and act like you have all the answers--none of us do. 

If your showing it off, it's likely a turn off. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jampa)
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July 8, 2012

To Die or Not

Yesterday, I read in the Wall Street Journal (7-8 July 2012) about end of life decisions. 

With healthcare costs spiraling out of control, driven especially by the care given to those in their final year of life, as a society we are confronted with horrible decisions.

When do you do "everything possible" for the patient's survival and when do you make the call to "pull the plug." 

The article was about one man specifically--age 41, I think--who needed a heart transplant--which was expensive but successful, but then infection and complications set in over the course of the year and resulted in doctors removing part of his lung, his left leg above the knee, his gallbladder, and with the patient eventually living off of a ventilator. 

The medical staff described the patients wincing in pain and the horrific image of at times with the tube down his throat, his screaming with no sounds coming out. 

Doctors and the hospital's ethical counselors spoke with the parents of the man (as his wife had divorced him prior) about discontinuing care.

Part of the conversation was about the practically futile attempts to keep the man alive, the pain of the patient, but subtly there was also the notion about the high cost of care and the patient having reached Medicare limits.

When the father was told that the nurses were having ethical questions about treating the man, the father wanting to keep his son alive at virtually all costs said, (rather than his son being taken off of the medical care he was receiving) maybe these nurses who had an issue with it shouldn't be working on his ward!

The patient died within the year and at a cost of something like $2.7 million dollars (and the man leaving behind a 9 year old son himself). 

There is no question that we want to provide the best care for our families and loved ones--they mean everything to us. 

But when does the greater cost to society (i.e. the greater good) outweigh the benefits to the individual?

Yes, can we come up with hard and cold actuarial calculations about what a person contributes into the system, how much value they bring the world, what the anticipated cost is to keep them alive, and what are the chances of success--and then we can draw a line of what as a society we are willing or able to spend to save this person. 

That is very matter-of-fact--objective, but practically devoid of feeling, compassion, and hope. 

What if the calculation is wrong and the person could've been saved, lived longer, at lower cost, and/or would've been a great contributor to society--how do we know how to really figure individual life and death decisions.

And what of the cost--the meaning--to the family that relies and loves this person and needs him/her--the cost is priceless to them.

But what about others who don't, can't, or won't receive proper care because others ended up taking more than their "fair" share--aren't they also human beings deserving as well of proper care--and to their families are they not also invaluable?

From an ethical standpoint, this is one of those horrible dilemas that plague our consciousness and to which answers do not come easy. 

An almost insane question-- but can we be, in a sense, too giving to an individual, too generous societally, and with some things trying too hard to be ethical? 

Like we are seeing now with the financial decline of the European Union and the frightening fiscal challenges ahead for America--how do maintain the traditional "safety net" (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and more) without bankrupting the system and underlying society itself? 

In essence, what happens when in our effort to be humane to people and give them a basic standard of living and care, keep our country safe, drive research and innovation, and secure human rights and democracy around the world--we overextend ourselves.  

Like many a great society before us that flourished and then declined and even disappeared--do we get overconfident, overly ambitious, and ultimately become self-defeating?

No one--a family member, a compassionate and caring human being, and especially an elected politician wants to say "no" when these decisions hang over us.

But the reality is we will soon be faced not only with the life and death decisions of today, but also generations of built-up overspending and borrowing to finance generous, and yes even corrupt, spending habits.

This will affect present and future generations requiring harder and longer work lives to get a lower standard of living and care, and could even result in our noble society's decline.  

The result is we not only face individual life and death decisions every day, but we also are facing a potential existential threat to our way of life.  

Expect gut-wrenching decisions over the next decade(s) and prepare for life to change in painful ways for all of us--on and off the deathbed.

While no one wants to face these questions and make the hard decisions, this is exactly what will need to happen--sooner or later. 

Fiscally-speaking, there is no longer one way to freedom, but through a collective fight to secure our nation's future. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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