Monday, May 31, 2010


How can discombobulate be a word?

I have heard this word twice in the past week. Once by a very well educated person whom I respect. It gave me great pause.

I think this accumulation of letters is one of those “made up” words. I know it was not in the big unabridged dictionary in the Centreville (Mississippi) Academy library when I was in high school in the late seventies. I know this for our world class English teachers, Mrs. Germany, Mrs. Smith, or Mrs. Walters would certainly have made us use it in a sentence, just as they did with the likes of ogre, buffoon, and raucous. Discombobulate is just too cool a word for them to just skip over and not insist upon its daily usage. Therefor the word must be “new” or simply invented by someone with too much time on their hands.

For the record, discombobulate means to confuse or disconcert, to upset or frustrate. The actual act of discombobulating is called discombobulation. Not to be confused, of course, with discombobulated, which is what you are after the discombobulation has occurred.

I am acquainted with several persons after which spoken to for a short time, I feel totally confused and disconcerted…sometimes even upset and frustrated. I now know these folks to be discombobulators. And they should be avoided at all costs.

If I were a betting man, which I am not, but if I were, I would bet that you know some discombobulators also.

One of them may have the given name of Tim. Sorry… sometimes it just is simply unexplainable. I am thinking of marketing a new bumper sticker…

Discombobulation Happens!

It has obviously been a slow morning for me in the thought department.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Paradox

Last week I was talking with an attorney friend about a mutual client that had made a multi-million dollar investment in a project. The client is in his late 60’s. The attorney commented that if he had that much money his investment would be in him and his family’s stability and security.

I initially agreed with my friend but have thought much about the comment since the initial conversation. It comes to me that most of us, me included, yearn for security and stability, but we also want improvement. I don’t think we can improve our lot in life AND stay the same. Therefore, in order to grow we must challenge the status quo. Growth means change. For that matter, failure means change also. In order to attempt to grow and improve, we must change…we must risk.

I don’t think we can have it both ways…security/stability and possibility for improvement/growth. If we want greater possibilities we can’t settle for just what we have now.

I guess it is a matter of degree… but sometimes we must let go of the figurative dime to pick up the figurative dollar. Achievers challenge the status quo always. Our client is an achiever…he looks at the same things we all see…but he sees possibilities. He sees growth and improvement.

Status quo is never good enough.

I think I am still learning.

I hope I don’t stop.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Several months ago I had lunch with a group of young professionals and a friend who happens to be the Founding Headmaster of an independent school here in Baton Rouge. I have done work sporadically for this friend for over 20 years. His school was founded in 1965 and my friend has been its only Headmaster. Though I do not know his exact age, I would guess mid-seventies.

The purpose of our meeting was to gather some data regarding how his school is run as the young professionals are board members of another school for which I consult.

What a beautiful mind! His passion and drive are contagious. Through our discussions over the years I have noticed his zeal for his mission in life…the advancement of educating those who choose to attend his school. I sense that he fears nothing in his quest to stay up to date on new systems, ideas, and technology in learning. My friend has evolved and continues to evolve. His eagerness to discuss his experiments with different teaching techniques, hiring policies, financial plans (they may even be called “schemes”!), and other ways to just “make it work” are admirable for their creativeness.

On the other hand, I have recently been involved with several groups of middle-aged business persons who, simply put, are stagnant. They have achieved a modicum of success in the past and seem content to rest on their laurels. Their attitude screams of frustration that times have changed and what worked in the past doesn’t today. They have not evolved and seem to not want to try.

Disappointed is how I feel. Potential wasted.

My take away? Age has little to do with energy. Age has little to do with passion. Age has little to do with attitude. Age has little to do with achievement and success.

BTW…I just turned 50…maybe that is why I noticed this contrast in behavior. Please keep reminding me to be receptive to change…the alternative is irrelevance.