Five Habits of Success

Today’s message is short and sweet: “Success is the Reward of Good Habits.”  Here are five such habits that will transform your life…

  • Right Values with Positive Attitudes Leads to Positive Right Actions.
  • Strategic Thinking Reveals Opportunities, Priorities, Plans and Accountability.
  • Development and use of Gifts and Skills Leverages One’s Potential.
  • Personal Investments of Time, Money and Energy Feeds Professional Growth.
  • Intentional, Unselfish Devotion Toward Others Builds Winning Relationships.

“The fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good habits.”
– Tom Ziglar

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 5)

Curious George was always getting into trouble.  I guess the little monkey didn’t know or didn’t care that “curiosity killed the cat.”  Comedian Steven Wright cares.  He once said, “Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”  These perspectives suggest that curiosity is risky business.  And maybe it’s true.  But, without a healthy measure of curiosity, where would creativity come from?  Curiosity is the seed of creativity.  Maybe a candle metaphor is more appropriate.

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” — William Arthur Ward

Where would we be, individually and collectively, without creativity? Creativity is not a special emotion reserved for the fine arts and the field of entertainment.  It is woven into life itself, at least any life worth living.  Without  creativity, human life would be a robotic sort of pre-programmed existence — mediocre, monotonous and perhaps impossible.

“People die when curiosity goes.” — Graham Swift

In thinking of the challenges we face each day at work, creativity is without a doubt, a career requirement.  Every new problem calls out for creative solutions.  Without it, people would not be able to think outside the box and struggle seeing the options inside the box.  What value do employees have who can’t bring creativity to bear on problems?

The language of our times suggests that we’ve become lazy with our curiosity.  “Been there, done that” and “whatever” have replaced the exuberance of “Wow!” and “Cool!”  I’m suspicious that fear of curiosity may be causing creativity to go into hibernation.  Are you afraid to ask “Why?” or “What if?” questions.  Whether its laziness or fear, when curiosity is absent, creativity and the ability to solve problems are right behind.  Without realizing it, you have sabotaged your future.

Stimulating creativity is not difficult.  Just break a few patterns.  Try taking a different way to work or changing radio stations.  Eat dinner at a different time or order something different from the menu.  Talk to someone on an elevator.  Read a book.  Get up 30 minutes earlier.  Learn a new word and use it in conversation.  Attend a workshop.  Call a friend you haven’t seen recently.  Do something that’s hard.  Add something to this list that your friends would think is strange.  (Then, do it!)

When people are intentional about breaking patterns, curiosity returns and creativity grows again.  When curiosity and creativity replace lazy habits and fear, people are able to see new opportunities and new solutions.

“One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute.”
— William Lyon Phelps

Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a secret, just a forgotten truth.  All that’s needed is a reminder in a blog and a role model like Curious George to whip those creativity muscles back into shape.

— CC

Your Netiquette is Showing

The ABC’s of Professionalism

The Internet is the ultimate tool for inexpensive, rapid and optionally anonymous communication.  With unlimited venues for expressing opinions and conducting transactions, the Internet perfectly represents the ideals of democracy and the free market.

“Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” -– Winston Churchill

The best thing about the Internet is that it makes everyone a publisher. The worst thing about the Internet is that it makes everyone a publisher.” — Unknown

The nature of the Internet puts one’s character to the test.  Without the constraints of accountability (that comes from visibility) and self-control, there is little else standing in the way of verbal anarchy.  If you are a blogger, you’ve certainly seen the sordid underbelly of the Internet.

When human nature and technology team up, the potential for “mischief” is astonishing.

“Bad news travels fast.” — American Proverb

“Bad news is more readily believed than good news.” — Saying

“To err is human. To really foul things up requires a computer.” — Unknown

“Statistics, extrapolations and counting by Radicati Group from August 2008 estimate the number of emails sent per day (in 2008) to be around 210 billion. — <;

Stir all of this together and it is imaginable that anyone could be one click away from causing international havoc.  Okay, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic.  But, it’s certainly possible to create a lot of trouble with a few words and a couple of clicks.  Just ask the folks at

Solutions to this problem must include a code of acceptable behavior.  Today, that code is called Internet etiquette or “Netiquette.” Although the rules continue to change, they are still a useful baseline for measuring Internet professionalism.  I’d like to introduce five principles that lay a foundation for Internet etiquette.

Principle #1 – Netiquette is for Everyone

Network etiquette, like professionalism, does not come equipped with an on/off switch.  When people strive toward professionalism, their actions (including online behavior) must always be consistent with their principles.

“Don’t reserve your best behavior for special occasions. You can’t have two sets of manners, two social codes – one for those you admire and want to impress, another for those whom you consider unimportant. You must be the same to all people.” — Lillian Eichler Watson

As a professional, people will be watching you and following your lead.  You have the power to influence the culture of the Internet with each email you send and each blog comment you post.

Principle #2 – Accuracy Matters

When comparing a traditional letter with email, it’s reasonable to expect some stylistic differences.  However, grammar and spelling are not matters of style.  Unfortunately, the trend in digital communications seems to be toward compromising quality by bludgeoning our language.  However, let’s not blame the technology.  There is nothing inherent in email that grants permission to ignore good grammar and accurate spelling.  What has actually happened is that the proliferation of email users has simply revealed how woefully unprepared many people are to write in a professional manner.  Before email, some people avoided the issue by not writing — others delegated the responsibility to a secretary.  Today, most people compose and send their own email and they’re sending lots of it.

“We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.” — Robert Wilensky, speech at a 1996 conference

The quality of your writing reflects your professional image.  If you don’t want to look like a monkey, use good grammar and spelling.

Principle #3 – Plagiarism is Always Wrong

Replicating things found on the Internet is so easy that the temptation to steal can be overwhelming.  Plagiarism has always been wrong and digital technology does not change that moral principle. A professional respects the intellectual property of another and acts accordingly.

“I think almost every newspaper in the United States has lost circulation due to the Internet. I also think the Internet will lead to a lot of plagiarism in journalism.” — Will McDonough

Take a few minutes to review the U.S. Copyright Law with special focus on the “Fair Use” provision.  Then, check out the other two resources given below:

Principle #4 – Privacy and Security Are Important

As expected, Congress, Federal regulators and the courts are all over this issue.  John Perry Barlow wrote “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” presumably in response to overzealous and heavy handed governments.

“Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonwealth, our governance will emerge.” — John Perry Barlow, Excerpt from: “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”

While we wait for the legal issues get sorted out, netiquette offers some simple individual actions that can help protect your own privacy and the privacy of others.  Here’s an example.  When sending email to a large list or a list of people who have no relationship with one another use “Bcc.”  Instead of using the “To” and “Cc” spaces where the addresses are visible to all recipients, place the email addresses in the “Bcc” space, as shown in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1. Email Address Privacy Using Bcc

Principle #5 – Practice the Golden Rule

Behavior in the virtual world should reflect the same common courtesies a professional uses in real life.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” — Bible, Matthew 7:12

Specifically, this means to be polite, truthful, kind, even-tempered, thoughtful, accurate and forgiving.  Not much else needs to be said.


There is considerable chaos on the Internet.  Professionals need to step up and be part of the solution.  To learn the specifics of netiquette, visit the following sites once a week until the rules become automatic.

God bless,

— CC

[ M=Mistakes | Index | O=Optimism ]

© Copyright November 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: