One Thing & Another

Delray Beach, FL

Notes From My Journal: Will the US Dollar Follow the Turkish Lira Down the Currency Drain?

It’s odd to read American economists on what’s going on in Turkey. They are almost unanimously agreed that President Erdogan has screwed up the economy by trying to boost economic growth through borrowing and cheap credit.

When you borrow billions of dollars for development purposes and then refuse to raise central bank interest rates as prices rise, you put your country’s currency and, therefore, its economy at risk.

Growth continues along fine until, at some point, the national debt begins to worry borrowers. When that happens, they start selling, rather than investing in, your currency and currency-based assets – and it spirals into massive inflation and a collapsing economy.

Makes sense. What puzzles me is why these same economists don’t see that this is largely what we’ve been doing in the USA.

Look at a graph of US national debt over the last 50 years and you’ll see a gradually inclining line that begins to climb steeply in the 80s and 90s and then shoots nearly vertically upwards in the last 20 years.

As for interest rates, under the euphemism of “Quantum Easing,” they have been artificially low since 2008.

Of course, there are differences between the US and Turkey. We are much larger. But so is our debt. President Trump doesn’t control the Federal Reserve. But he’d like to. And if he did, he’d bring rates lower.

Still, I’m not worried that the dollar is going to follow the lira or that we’ll be experiencing hyperinflation any time soon. I just think it’s interesting that the same economists that denigrate Erdogan’s policies don’t also condemn ours.


Today’s Word: quail (verb)

To quail (KWALE) is to shrink and cower in fear. Flinchrecoil, and wince are synonyms of quail, but each word is used in a slightly different way.

Flinching is an instinctive reaction to something surprising, dangerous, or painful. Recoiling implies horror or disgust. Wincing usually suggests discomfort or distress.


Fun Fact

 A jiffy is an actual measure of time: 1/100 of a second.


From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket

A Simple, 4-Step Public Speaking Technique 

That Could Make the World a Happier Place

I didn’t know who Lewis Howes was when I heard James Altucher’s interview with him. Turns out he’s a well-known dude. He’s all over social media. He’s always giving or doing interviews. He’s got his own podcast. He makes speeches, etc.

“With all that public exposure, don’t you sometimes feel anxious or overwhelmed?” Altucher asked.

He does, he said.

“And what do you do about it?” Altucher wanted to know.

When Howes starts to feel nervous when making a speech or doing a podcast or appearing in public, he told Altucher, the first thing he does is notice that he’s feeling nervous. Then he recognizes that if he thinks about his nervousness, it will only make him feel worse.

“So I do something to take the pressure off,” he said.

“What’s that?”

I say to myself repeatedly: “I’m here to give. I’m here to give. I’m here to give.“

“And then?”

“And then I refocus my thinking on the real mission. I direct the spotlight away from me… and back toward the guest or toward the audience… on someone else.”

Howes was talking about relieving the pressure that many people feel when they’re doing some sort of public speaking. But it occurred to me that if you widen the context of his mantra, it could be a useful technique for much more.

Let’s start with this idea of “noticing” your negative emotions.

Most of the time when we have negative emotions, we don’t notice them. We feel them. And they feel bad.

We might also “think” about them. But this is usually in the form of a habitual pattern of self-flagellation. (“I hate this! Why does it always happen to me?”)

Of course, this kind of “thinking” takes us from bad to worse – emotionally and physically.

So when Howes says he “notices” how he feels, I take it to mean that he’s noticing his feelings the way you notice them in guided meditation. “Notice what you are feeling,” your guide will say. “Imagine yourself sitting on a bench looking out at a street. See your feelings as cars passing by.”

The point here is to see your feelings as something other than you. Each feeling is another that is passing through/by you.

Psychologically, this is a big thing. It helps you realize that you are not necessarily owned by your emotions. That you can refocus your consciousness in positive ways.

So you notice the negative feeling. And instead of fretting about it, you think, “I’m feeling overwhelmed. I feel this way from time to time. I can do something to change it.”

Howes’s next step is to direct his thinking away from himself by repeating the mantra: “I’m here to give.”

This helps him refocus on the reason he’s doing what he’s doing: He’s there to help someone learn something or enjoy something. It’s about them. Not him.

And this reduces his anxiety and allows him to put on a good show.

I get this. I do if myself whenever I feel anxious before making a presentation.

But in listening to Howes, it occurred to me that there’s no reason to limit this technique to anxiety over public performances. Why not expand it to almost any situation?

In other words, why not think of it – that you are here to give – as your mission in life?

And the next time you are in a business meeting… at a social gathering… in an argument with your spouse…  use the “I’m here to give” mantra to recognize that it’s not about you. It’s about some shared objective. And your job is to help achieve that objective.

Yes, I know. It’s impossibly farfetched to imagine that you could do this every single time you felt the least bit of anxiety. But when I imagine myself doing it, it’s easy to see how it would help lessen my anxiety… and bring more happiness into the world. No?


Watch This…

One of the last holdouts for male-only professions are those that favor physical attributes such as firefighting and soldiering. The argument is that men, as a group, are stronger and faster than women – which is true. But physical challenges in the real world often involve teamwork, and, as you can see from this video, that complicates things…