Judging the Value of a Low Anxiety Leader

Anxiety Girl
Anxiety Girl – Able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound. lol

We all get “anxiety,” right? Interview comes up, a promising second date, or maybe it’s the dentist’s office. Just like any other emotion it has a real purpose – anxiety’s being partially “You need to put your attention here now.” Just like how fear is motivating or laughing supresses the release of stress hormones.

And just like almost anything, too much of one emotion can get the best of you. Heartbreak? Exhaustion? Sorrow? Gluttony? Pride? Wrath?…

Seemingly unrelated, modern media has become a barbell mentality – Do you lean way left or do you lean way right. When was the last time CNN made a legitimate point on a potential benefit of a right-leaning theory? Fox News – to the left. The answer is always somewhere in the middle but we don’t want to admit that because it hurts our ego and we think it hurts our credibility.

No, it enhances it. A goal of TimeToSchein is to use contrarian thinking to limit our subconscious biases and help shift thought back toward a bell curve mentality.

Because fear drives the barbell and fear drives your attention.

And Fear:Anxiety::Peanut Butter:Jelly.

The cultural significance of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World (live)” was amplified by the time of its release: 1967 – President’s assassination still fresh in America’s mind, Vietnam War internal strife, only a few years removed from the Cuban Missle Crisis.

It didn’t matter whether you were a hippie or a cop. There was a national overload of anxiety. Both sides would have agreed, “Yeah we can use a bit of a cease fire.”

What a wonderful world.

There are countless reasons why you can dislike Obama or still hate the ideologies either George Bush brought to the White House.

But I’m anti-anxiety. America’s levels are too high at least partially due to the immediate access we have to global information paired with the connection negativity and fear has to clicks and attention.

When I started this article, I intended to connect this to how Aaron Judge’s calm and stability is disproportionately more beneficial to the New York Yankees than it would to the average-market team. Even if he goes 0-9, 6K and the Yankees get swept, there’s a signal to the fact quiet leaders succeed at a higher rate in high-anxiety New York City. Derek Jeter, Joe Torre, and yes, Eli Manning. That was to be paralleled with how America would disproportionately benefit from, right now, a low-anxiety leader.

Personally, I struggle with the fresh baked fear and anxiety modern news and my President’s unpredictability tend to throw at me on a daily basis. The only thing that helps me is to talk it out.

Because what we have is a high-anxiety leader. And you can’t predict the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

So this article isn’t about how Aaron Judge will be fine. And how his misleading strikeouts in this ALCS have come on pitches gravely low considering his 6’7″ frame. Or how our President is X-adjective.

This article is instead my personal attempt to limit the anxiety my president tends to throw at me on a daily basis. And maybe conscious attempts to see a wonderful world can help. We still have hamburgers and ice cream, we don’t have to worry about polio, we have a GPS on our computer-phones, and we know the eclipse is not God’s attempt at punishment. As much as I’d love to connect our president to the hurricanes and wildfires, there’s science now.

So in 2017, the year of anxiety, what is the value of negating or limiting the overloaded emotions with which a person, team, or country are dealing?

To me, that’s for the leader to decide.

 

Yankees Fans Are Comfortable With Being Confident. Learn from Us.

aid61482-v4-728px-Be-a-New-York-Yankees-Fan-Step-1-Version-4#RKOI is a popular hashtag on instagram. It stands for “rich kids of instagram.” Cars, homes, jewels, bags, etc. Through no fault of their own, these children were born on third base, unbeknownst a genuine struggle some strive their lives to achieve. The Super Sweet 16s, disproportionate equilibrium of normalcy, and your feeling that if you’re going to wear the cost of my college tuition on your pinky, it is humanly impossible to comprehend the distance of our versions of “hard work.”

And that is jealousy.

And I was that kid.

The sports version.

Yes in 1996 I was six years old and finally able to comprehend sports. A third-generation New Yorker the Yankees were my favorite team because they were my father’s and grandfather’s as well.

When you’re six the adults let you win, you get A+’s, and you always get a trophy.

And the Yankees win the World Series. And again, and again, and again.

So in 2000 when the Mets played the Yankees in the world series. I was the #RKOI. I knew the Mercedes would be mine once I turned 16 and I knew Daddy could get me out of any major trouble should the situation arise.

And I knew the Yankees would win.

To my fifth grade Mets fan contemporaries I’d say “Of course you’re not going to beat the Yankees, but that’s not fair why should you expect to?” It was undertones of confusion, not narcissism, sympathy, not superiority.”

Go to @RKOIofficial, their account says “we’re young, we’re beautiful, and dirty rich.” As a blue collar worker or someone else in the 99% it’s hard to see the (interior) “beautiful” of those fortunate enough to don the #.

But if you’re in the club, you can. This is why Selena Gomez and Biebs give it a shot and why in general the rich and fortunate marry each other. It’s a rich+confidence factor. And if you want to know what that feels like, get comfortable with it.

Because there are some really nice rich people, some really smart assholes, and some very human <insert race> people. And you should learn how to be friends with all three and its accompanying etc. You’ll learn a lot.

Their team is down 2-0 in a best of five series and it’s probably their manager’s fault. In the previous inning they finally got a leadoff runner on but was promptly erased by an Aaron Hicks double play. Now their one shot at keeping this game scoreless is Masahi-oooook that’s now a triple with 1 out.

What does your fanbase do?

Through a lifetime of disappointment and venom towards the successful, Mets fans, Utley just knocked a triple off the wall. Don’t the groans start immediately? Phillies fans, it’s the first inning and Chipper Jones just put the Braves up 3-0. Here…we gooooo….again….

I was at the Wild Card game when the Yanks went down 3-0. It got louder.

Don’t mistake arrogance for confidence.

Last night after Kipnis’ one-out triple, on a ball that could have been caught, the fans got louder. The collectively smart Yankees fan base knows success requires support. Because they’re comfortable with it.

The Yankees didn’t win last night because Tanaka ended up getting out of that inning. Tanaka didn’t get out of that inning because the crowd was positive. But maybe in the duration of time after Dozier’s triple and Tanaka’s next pitch, a mental ability to stay positive and focused was facilitated by a smart, confident, and professional fan base. The Yankees won 1-0 yesterday and are going into a series down 2-1 with more confidence than I’ve seen from a team in a similar situation.

Still, baseball’s inherent volatility based strongly in the randomness of the day-to-day starting pitcher, the Yankees have less than a 50% chance to advance. But over the course of a season, decade, and franchise, is a fan base going to have a tangible, yet unknown effect on their team. You’re damn right.

Embrace confidence. Mets fans, we root for you. Yes, we’re the #RKOI, and you’ll want your kids to be one, too.

Love him or hate him, Carlos Gomez is just what Milwaukee needs

Tell me the last time you watched part of a Milwaukee Brewers game. You can’t, unless it was this:

or this

There are the Yankees and Dodgers and Red Sox and Cardinals, then your Rangers/Braves/Tigers/Pirates, and then the Brewers, Royals, Rays, and Padres – teams you think of last when doing this trivia question.

But Carlos Gomez has altered this. Whether you like him or not, Gomez’s short fuse and propensity to get under opponents’ skin has shed his vulnerability to indifference, a trait too easy to tag to anyone who plays in Wisconsin, no offense.

Bernie Mac didn’t play for the Red Sox or Phillies in Mr. 3000. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers; it was slightly more expensive than making up an MLB team #LikeMike.

Maybe you love Carlos Gomez. Maybe you don’t. But if you’re familiar with his work over the last ten months, it’s hard to not have an opinion on him. Indifference is a television program’s worst nightmare.

When was the last time you had a reason to watch the Milwaukee Brewers. Any Robin Yount fans reading this?

In TV, it’s all about the ratings, and Gomez has finally given the Brewers a semblance of attraction to the average fan. Brewers ratings will be a a tad higher this year than any since their playoff push in 2008. I’ll guarantee it.

Maybe the Mets should have held on to this guy…

North Korea, Dennis Rodman May Be the Most Important Person in America

I started following basketball just as the Chicago Bulls were starting phase two of their eight-year dynasty. That team was fun to watch. If Michael Jordan wasn’t enough for you (career highlights), every game could be one when enforcer Dennis Rodman lost his mind. Like on January 15, 1997, when he kicked cameraman Eugene Amos in the groin after tripping over him.

Rodman was undersized at his position, yet is one of the greatest rebounders of all time due to perpetual aggression and determination. He has to be one of the five most intimidating basketball players of all time; definitely one of the five most unique.

Dennis Rodman dyed his hair a different color(s) before every game. I like Bert adjacent to the top left corner
Dennis Rodman dyed his hair a different color(s) before every game

In 2013 Rodman made his first, second, and third trips to North Korea. Dubbed the Hermit Kingdom, it is a country of total dictatorship, where failure to worship the “Supreme Leader” results in the death or imprisonment of not just you but your extended family.

The dictator’s face is everywhere. The documentary Inside Undercover In North Korea (here) takes you through the ten-day journey of a doctor traveling through North Korea to treat blind patients. At one point the crew was granted camera access inside a typical North Korean home. Family pictures were non-existent, but in seemingly every room there was a picture of Kim Jong-un. You watch them bow down, but their passion while doing so conveys how  commonplace and ritualistic it is throughout the country.

I imagine telling a North Korean they’re brainwashed would be the same reaction of a North Korean trying to genuinely convince me the Earth is flat. In their heads, they are infinitely lucky to be a part of the greatest country in the universe. “Juche” is a well-known slogan of unification in North Korea. To the outside world, that translates to “Up yours.”

Kim Jong-un’s hatred toward America is well known. He has recently threatened America with nuclear weapons and still blames America for the separation of Korea over a half-century ago. Anti-American nursery rhymes are taught to kids the way we may teach Ring Around the Rosy to ours (technically, we are still in the Korean War. North Korea never signed papers to formally end it, so legally we are in a half-century cease fire).

But Kim Jong-un is an admitted fan of the 1990s Bulls franchise, enough to break the ice with a high-profile American for the first time. He could have picked anyone else. Something drew him to Dennis Rodman. Remember when he wore a dress to promote his autobiography?

But it may be a perfect wedding. Both seem to live in their respective internal realities, and maybe this is the first time both Rodman and Kim Jong-un have found someone else that “gets it.” Rodman seems to have little genuine desire to talk politics, and maybe that’s a breath of fresh air for the Supreme Leader of Earth’s most mysterious country.

Maybe Rodman is so unique he is the only person in the world Kim Jong-un has ever connected with. Rodman doesn’t give in to national pressure to question the dictator’s politics (CNN outburst here), and if Rodman wants to take it slow and develop a true friendship then why not? “Finally, someone isn’t trying to criticize me or my country,” and Rodman is so different I truly believe he’s being genuine. Where maybe no one has understood Kim Jong-un his whole life, maybe this is an opportunity for the dictator to make his first “true friend.”

What if this works? What if Kim Jong is so flattered by Rodman he finagles a United States interaction with North Korea. What if Rodman’s friendship leads to communication. What if Rodman’s friendship  keeps Kim Jong from pulling the trigger on a nuclear weapon on the United States.

Kim Jong-un hand selected Rodman. Either way you look at it, the bottom line is a friendship is forming. Rodman’s “Up yours” attitude toward his sea of American critics will fuel his fire to befriend the dictator. All stars may have aligned.

I can see it now. “Class, please turn to page 167. Here we will see how 200 years ago Dennis Rodman initiated peace between America and North Korea.”

Book Review: Colin Cowherd, You Herd Me

DVR may be the best addition to the television viewing experience since the remote. You don’t have to be in front of the TV at precisely 9:00 to catch the new episode of Homeland. Missed that play? Rewind live TV. Usually I start watching an hour-long program at 20 past the hour so I can skip commercials.

That’s a big reason why I like the ESPN Radio app. You to scrub up to an hour behind the live schedule. I don’t have to tune in at exactly 10:00am to hear Colin Cowherd’s opening rant.

There’s something about the way this guy argues. With an arrogant yet appropriate confidence, he spends the first 10-12 minutes of his show going off on something. Usually sports, but not always.

And for me, it seems every rant evokes a protruding bottom lip, a head nod, and a, “hmm…yeah.”

This rant from April 2012 summarizes what Cowherd is about – he talks about what the listeners want, “and (the listeners) love porn, fast food, and reality television.”

Cowherd book

Cowherd’s new book You Herd Me, I’ll Say it if Nobody Else Will is a collection of rants that mimic his opening ones on radio.

I believe Cowherd’s high popularity stems from his lack of bias toward anything. It’s the reason I make an effort to tune in to his show. He doesn’t persuade you. He lays out both sides of an argument, tells you how he feels, then lets you decide for yourself.

Through Cowherd’s direct, informal voice, I sensed passion in every chapter. Even if you disagree with his stance, he makes it easy to dissect.

And similar to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Cowherd tells you know when he’s wrong. The final chapter of his book lists some of his major mistakes and miscalculations. In my opinion it boosts his credibility.

The chapters range from 4-10 pages so it’s a great jigsaw puzzle read: some now, some later. I was entertained, but also learned a lot about the sports world from a professional with the access to back up his unique standpoints, ones that include:

– Tiger Woods isn’t really a sex addict, he just has great PR
– Peyton Manning is too talented for the NFL
– Andrew Luck should have been the clear-cut favorite to win Rookie of the Year

For fun he’ll throw in his take on why Tampa is the worst place in the country to live or why parents with babies have no right to board planes first.

Other chapters that caught my ear include:

– Major League Baseball and the Republican Party face eerily similar problems
– Without a strong father, you cannot be a successful quarterback or point guard
– Nike is responsible for Michael Jordan’s impenetrable image

Cowherd’s strong demeanor may be confused with a sense of invincibility and a superego. It has gotten him in trouble before, like in 2005 when WWE wrestler Eddie Guerrero died suddenly of hardened and constricted arteries, Cowherd said “he passed away doing steroids.”

Once I got past Cowherd’s matter-of-fact tone, I came to find the humor in it.  

Overall, I highly recommend this book to any sports fan. Cowherd’s knowledge touches all sports (not hockey), but also ranges into his passion for politics. The MLB/GOP comparison from earlier is a good example. The chapters are put together in no particular order, so if you strongly disagree with a topic it’s easy to skip to the next one. If you’re familiar with Cowherd’s style, you’ll get a few laughs.

I’m finishing my Christmas shopping Saturday. Any other procrastinators out there? This might be a good bail out with Christmas around the corner.

A Blizzard in Super Bowl XLVIII Would Be a Big Win for Football

What were you doing when you were seven years old? Video games? Cartoons? Playing outside with your neighborhood contemporaries?

I loved video games, probably a little too much. But every year, New Jersey treated us to its seemingly annual blizzard. Homework got pushed back a day or two, and everyone knew how they would substitute their school day.

Football.

Football was a run-of-the-mill option on regular days. Throw it in the rotation with basketball, tennis racket baseball, skateboarding, man hunt.

But when it snowed, everyone reported to the Common Ground.

It’s like playing football on a Tempurpedic Mattress. Every catch was a diving attempt, the trusty double-reverse hail mary was out of the arsenal because no one could hold onto the ball, and you actually considered punting.

Snow adds that extra dimension – to any sport. It has given us some of the best games of all time:

Snowplow game, Dolphins/Patriots, December 12, 1982 (wiki)

Conditions were so poor for this game, work release inmates were asked to plow the 10, 20, etc. yard markers for officials. Inmate and Patriots fan Mark Henderson decides to clear the spot from where the Patriots kicked the eventual game-winning field goal. The fourth-quarter score accounted for the only points of the sloppy contest.

2008 Winter Classic, Penguins/Sabres, January 1st, 2008 (wiki)

During blizzard-like conditions, the puck wouldn’t slide and players looked like they were first learning how to skate. The Penguins won in a shootout.

Yankees 1996 Home Opener, Royals/Yankees, April 9, 1996 (box score)
A mundane 7-3 Yankees win became a Yankees Classic when snow fell for much of the mid-April day. The Royals committed four errors in Derek Jeter’s first Home Opener.

Snow adds an extra dimension. The playing field becomes level. That’s why I enjoy watching the pro-bowl. I don’t care it’s not “real football.” It’s entertaining. It’s different.

The main premise of this post is the excitement of the potentially unexpected and never seen is desirable enough to push aside the potential damage of the weather’s byproduct implications.

The opposition argument is certainly sound – how can you let an unpredictable force play a crucial role in perhaps sports’ biggest annual game? If you’re a fan of an elite team, I understand. But for the other 93% of fans who won’t be represented, I think a blizzard would be fun to see.

As a 2013 Giants fan, I won’t have to worry about that 7%.

EDM, We are living through the most significant era in music history.

Dating back as far as human history takes us, music has consisted of strings, percussion, and wind. 

With the advent of electricity, we recorded music, but really didn’t nail the electricity/music combination until the electric guitar hit mainstream around the 1970s.

All of a sudden, we heard a different sound.

Are you a Led Zeppelin fan? Maybe Metallica? Personally I’m not, but how cool must that have been to hear Slash rip a solo on stage for the first time. What did “rock and roll” sound like to an 80 year old who grew up on vaudeville? Electric guitar was a brand new sound to human ears – an rare accomplishment in the history of music.

On a grander scale, that’s what’s happening right now.

My ear dances toward Electronic Dance Music – music created using only your MacBook Pro. For the first time in the history of music, we are creating sounds without the use of wind, strings, or a drum equivalent.

For the first time in recordable history, “instrument-less” music doesn’t just exist, but is arguably the most popular music in arguably the world’s most important country. For the first time ever, a computer is the instrument, introducing us to sounds literally unimaginable to someone 50 years ago.

Take a ride in my time machine back 60 years. Play them any song off Skrillex’s album Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.

Since the beginning, we have invented new instruments, but they have always been a variation of strings, percussion, or wind. Can you name an instrument as unique as the computer?

Is this the 40-year window where music changed forever?

Where will music be in 50 years? Electricity is not going away, nor is the idea we can make music from it. In 50 years we may have original sounds, but electricity will (probably) be the basis of its creation.

Squidward FutureTake a ride in my time machine to the year 3013. I’m assuming music will always exist, and let’s more safely assume they still have Ryan Seacrest’s Top 40. Do you think electricity will play at least a small role in their popular music? Until maybe 100 years ago, electricity played zero role in any music ever composed. While I can’t predict the future, I can’t imagine how electricity or a futuristic equivalent could play zero role in day-to-day life.

I think for the next hundreds, maybe thousands of years, people will reflect on our lifetime as the period of greatest significance in recordable history – when the computer joined the Strings, Percussion, and Wind fraternity.

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