Friday, July 31, 2015

Passion PArty #547 - Truth In Advertising

How many times have we been told "this merger of Airline A with Airline B will benefit consumers with better service, more competitive pricing, blah blah blah"
or
"This merger of Phone Company A with Cable Company B will benefit consumers with better service, more competitive pricing, blah blah blah"

when we all know that the purpose of these mega-mergers is to benefit shareholders and executives, not the general public.  This is a business after all, right?

It would be so refreshing if they fired the spin doctors and just told the truth.

Every now and then someone will call a spade a spade.  I try to do this every day in my business.  It saves a lot of time and avoids bad feelings later on.  And even in Los Angeles, this city of illusions, every now and then there is Truth In Advertising

Monday, July 27, 2015

Passion Party #546 - The Land of Yoga and Donuts

I live in a land of contradictions

Where people are willing to spend $30 to have their dog get a massage, but are unwilling to give a guy on the corner $3.00 to get a sandwich.

Where people obsess about exercise, but are unwilling to walk a mile to the store when it is so much easier to drive.  Oh, and you have to fight for the parking space closest to the door to enter the Mall.

Where we obsess about eating the healthiest food, but then, driving home from the yoga class you can't help but take a detour over to La Cienega Boulvard to visit Randy's Donuts.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Passion Party #545 - A Dream Realized

In 2010 when my son Evan was starting his senior year of high school, I approached the head of the music department and asked if I could write a piece for solo cello and string orchestra for my son to play at the end of the school year. Evan had already shown himself to be a very accomplished musician, and the school agreed.
In the Spring of 2011 the Adagio for Cello got its world premiere: Evan Kahn, Cello, with the Santa Monica High School Senior Gala Orchestra.  Jason Aiello conductor, Joni Swenson director. You can watch it here on youtube if you like
Evan went on to be a Cello Performance  Major at Carnegie Mellon University, and for the last 4 years he has been ripping it up in Pittsburgh.  In his junior year he asked me if I would like to take the Adagio and turn it into a full-blown Concerto for Cello.  I loved the idea (of course), and started work on the two additional movements.
Evan graduates in about 4 weeks.  He won the Concerto Competition this year, as well as a Chamber Music competition, so he is already scheduled to return to Pittsburgh in the fall as the featured artist in two concerts. Next year he will be continuing his studies at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

But on next Thursday, April 30, Evan will be premiering my Concerto for Cello and Orchestra with a chamber orchestra under the direction of Professor Daniel Nesta Curtis.
Here is more information on the Carnegie Mellon Website
Please join me, if you can, for this dream realized.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Passion Party #544 - Teach Your Children

If you could teach your children one lesson in life, what would it be?

This question was posed to a group of parents yesterday, and here are the answers (in no particular order)

 - Be willing to give.  Be of service.
 - It's all about your contact list, and learning to differentiate between who you meet and who you want to get to know better.
 - Don't give up. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it
 - ASK.  If you don't ask, you don't get.
 - Everything in life is negotiable.
 - Don't be afraid to fail.
 - Have the right tools for the job.
 - Be open-minded.
 - Everything starts with a thought.
 -  Hard work is its own reward.
 - Growth can happen in leaps.
 - Have persistence - "When someone says no, that's when you go to work".
 - Luck does not just happen.  You can make your one luck
 - Play nice in the sandbox.
 - Worrying is a poor investment
 - Learn how to read a balance sheet and P+L statement - it will help you in more ways than you can imagine.
 - Be generous in life - always leave something on the table
 - Balance between career and life is a key to happiness
 - Listen - listen - listen.
 - Life has a bias towards action.  It's better if its "done" than if its "perfect".

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Passion Party #543 - Listening

As a music major in college
I spent four years developing my knowledge of music and sense of hearing.
I learned to differentiate melody lines
and to tell if something was in or out of tune.
I developed "selective hearing" -
the ability to focus in on one sound while totally ignoring others -
(kind of like binoculars for your ears).

But the four years of developing my hearing
did not help me become a better listener.

Listening means giving complete attention for the purpose of understanding.
It is the difference between "I hear you" and "I get you."
It means paying attention to another person's thoughts, feelings and ideas, and not dismissing them because you don't agree or you did not think of it first.
It involves holding thoughts at  distance in order to respect the other person's point of view,
reacting only once you have put yourself in that person's shoes.

We often spend all day talking
and "being interesting"
rather than listening
and "being interested".

Just stop
listen
the hum of the heater
the tick of the clock
the bird outside the window
the ring of the phone
and then listen
to what the other person has to say.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Passion Party #542 - Would You Let Your Music Go Unheard?


Many years ago, violinist Itzhak Perlman gave a performance in New York. During the concert one of the strings on his violin suddenly broke. The crowd gasped at the sound, which could be heard throughout the entire auditorium, and the music abruptly came to a stop. 
 
The crowd waited patiently for Mr. Perlman to replace the string. However, much to everyone’s surprise, Perlman didn’t rush to find a new string. He took a moment to gather himself before he motioned for the conductor to begin playing again where the orchestra had left off! For the remainder of the concert, Perlman played the music that should have been played on four strings on only three.

As Itzhak finished playing, for a moment, time slowed and silence filled the air then the audience rose to its feet to offer a standing ovation for this incredible feat. Perlman smiled and humbly raised his bow. “You know,” he told them, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

In life, when something breaks, does the loss stop us or do we continue making music with what we have?
With creativity and persistence!
 
-George Kahn

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Passion Party #541 - Patience

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there some day." - A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
 
Patience is a lost art.
To stop and wait while life swirls around you
trusting that  something hidden here will be revealed,
this is the gift that patience brings.
 
Patience is like water:
It takes the shape that you give it
and in the end, if set free, it will always go where it wants to go
and nothing can stop it.
In time, it can find a way around most any obstacle.
In time, it can create something as incredible as the Grand Canyon.
 
I think back to the summer of 1972, when my friend Rick and I rented a cabin on the
Wyalusing River, where for four weeks we did nothing much
but watch the river flow by.
Always there, but in every moment
always different.
 
Like putting a bird feeder in your back yard - 
you put it up, and put the food in,
and then you can do nothing but wait.
Patience brings the gift of the birds
Patience is the gift.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Passion Party #540 - Persistence


Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more com- mon than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.- Calvin Coolidge 

It seems like such a simple idea:
Pick one thing, and keep doing it
whether it is exercise, or practice, or study.
It is the obstinate and continuous course of action that in the end creates results.

There should be an easier way
but in the end the task does not get easier,
what gets easier is our ability to perform it.

Pick one thing, and keep doing it.
There are days that I just don't feel like it
I am not motivated, or inspired.
But motivation does not produce results.
It is the action, the persistence,
the morning ritual that you do because,
well, because you do it every day.

Persistence has made it a habit.
And now it is easy to see that
the answer is not out there,
but in here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

PASSION PARTY #539 - Money and Energy


It takes energy to make money.
 
They say that money doesn't grow on trees, but if you plant an orchard and work at the harvest, money can grow on trees.
 
The relationship between time, money and energy:
Money does not equal energy.
If it did, day laborers would be rich.
Knowledge does not equal money
If it did, librarians would be wealthy.
But knowledge, combined with time, energy and action, can create money.
 
I think of money as congealed energy.
Each day I exchange my life force energy, which is formless
for money, which is solid and tangible.
And in our society, money is also an accurate measurement for the amount of value
I am bringing to the marketplace.
 
So the secret of making more money is not
to spend more time
or to  exert more energy
it is to give more value to more people
and build systems and teams to expand my capacity to receive the fruits of my labor.
Then the money takes care of itself.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Passion Party #538 - You Are Not Pefect

You are not perfect.
 
If you were perfect, you would not need to read this.
Do not judge yourself based on what you cannot do.
Feel the enjoyment of your accomplishments
your expression
your talent
you have a gift
and people deserve to hear it, to see it, to live it with you.
 
Being judged by others is bad enough
you do not need to join the panel of experts who want to tell you what to do.
Remember, they are just people too,
with good days and bad days
and their own dirty dishes to come home to.
Bring your humanity to the party
come prepared
and then - let go.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Passion Party #537 - Getting Started

I have my 2015 date book
I have my Passion Planner
I have my business plan workbook
I have my daily to do list
I have my smart phone
I have my Google alarms
I have my Outlook calendar

So why do I feel so disorganized?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Passion Party #536 - Danger and Courage

There is danger everywhere
and there is danger nowhere.
It takes a lot to be courageous
and all it takes is getting out of bed in the morning.
 
Danger and courage are not for someone else,
someone more courageous,
a big risk-taker with medals on her lapels.
Danger and courage is given to all of us
Life is full of danger
and living life to the fullest is a courageous act.
 
The fight-or-flight instinct,
the reptilian mind may want you to hide under a rock
or become invisible because it feels easy and safe.
It feels easy to play small, just punch the clock, just do the least to get by.
 
But if we must face danger
(and we must, every day)
it feels better to play by one's wits,
to play with courage and an open heart -
the courage to lead
the courage to accept my responsibility
the courage to choose my next action.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Passion Party #535 - Busy-ness and Worthiness

"Let's stop the glorification of busy.  We don't need to use our busy-ness as a measure of worthiness."
- Jennifer Pastiloff

We have certain addictions in our society
that are acceptable.
Its bad to be an alcoholic
but its acceptable to be a workaholic.
Being addicted to poverty is bad
but being addicted to money is good
(of course, who's to say how much in enough?)

In a way, we are addicted to "busy".
We worship at the Temple of Busy
and we teach our children Busy
We fill our time with Busy
and many of us get paid based on how busy we are.

"Busy" does not make you a better person, it just makes you a more busy person.
Perhaps the questions to ask are,
"Does my busy-ness add to the solution or add to the problem?"
and
"Does my busy-ness make me a better person?"
It is time to stop measuring worthiness
based on how busy the person is
and start finding time to ask the important questions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Passion Party #534 - Another Year

There is no keeping up with it.
We can do our best to hold on
but the carousel keeps speeding up.
The excitement and fear
that you may be thrown off the horse
as we race around the track.
It is the home stretch now
rushing into the holiday season
holding on for dear life
take a deep breath
remember 20 acres of desert
the vistas and space
There is space for us all
and I have the choice to dismount
and just walk.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Passion Party #533 - The Biggest Regret

Life is short, a moment in time
and so you must grab the moments as they come.
 
A life lived to the fullest
will have few regrets.
There may be a wonder about
where other paths may have led,
but I have no regrets for where I am
or what I should have been.
 
I stopped "shoulding" on myself a long time ago.
 
My biggest regret
is that my Dad died in 1989, 25 years ago,
and I never got to tell him how much I really loved him.
There was a lot of pain and misunderstanding in our relationship.
I was the estranged son,
living 3000 miles away,
fumbling about, trying to find myself.
It was not until many years after he died that I learned the lessons he was trying to teach me.
 
Don't wait.
Tell the people around you that you love them.
Life is short, a moment in time.