Environment or personal choice: Pick one?

For all the time that humans have been afoot, we have been adjusting to “the environment,” very often on the fly, very often in the face of peril. So it’s risible that a study just released by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery asked respondents to opine on the cause of obesity: personal choice or environment and genetics.


Anger, without a better plan

Nobody needs my view of the election, but I won’t be the first publisher to misuse his platform for personal expression.

I saw a neighbor walking to school today with her children, sobbing as if she’d lost a loved one. But she was sobbing for her view of her country. It gave me had a brief window of empathy for those who awoke to what seemed like a horrible result eight years ago.


Slide ruler Mike Robertson: “Keep the audience entranced."

Welcome to another special interest episode of 10 Words or Less, in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask them to respond with brief answers of their own. Today’s contestant is a professional speaker and the author of at least four books. He’s deeply invested in creativity and one of his outlets and speaking topics is how to make presentation slides that don’t suck. My usual admonishment to those playing at home: 10 words is a goal, not a limit, so please, no counting! It’s not easy to do.

Note: This is an edited transcript of a video interview published Sept. 23. Mike approved all edits.

Mike Robertson, professional speaker and amazing creator of PowerPoint and Keynote slide decksName Mike Robertson
Born when, where? “Feb. 23, 1954, in a tiny town in the brush country of Texas called Cotulla. I don’t think I have been back since."
Where do you live now? “I live in Austin, Texas. The capital city. The weirdest city in Texas."
What you do for work? “I’m a full-time speaker and designer of slides for myself and other people."
What did you create the first time you remember being creative? “I was probably sitting on the swing set in my backyard making up a song."
Something important about being creative “You have to exercise it. It’s not a good idea to be creative and then stop for a while because that muscle will begin to lose its strength. … Last year I decided I would do something different creatively each month. The first month of the year I wrote a song completely with all the tracks and recorded it. The second month I decided I would like to paint a large size painting, which I had never done. The third month I published a new book. That’s when my resolution came to a stop."
A misunderstood part of creativity “People tend to think they need a different gift to achieve something really cool and so we become envious of other people’s gifts. We say, well if I could sing like that guy, or, if I had her acting ability, I could do something really great with my life. But we each have tools already. The trick is just finding a new way to use those tools."


Phil Werdell: "Everybody pretty much accepts that food addiction exists now"

Today’s guest is a hard-working visionary in the field of food-addiction recognition and treatment. He is the co-founder of Acorn Food Dependency Recovery Services, the driving force behind the food addiction institute, and a key figure behind the only med school-sponsored conference on food addiction anywhere, which will be in its third year this fall. This is an edited version of a video interview that you can watch here.

Phil Werdell, visionary and leader in the field of food addictionName Phil Werdell
Born, when and where? Oak Park. Illinois on April 2, 1941
Were there any unusual circumstances regarding your birth? ”There was a rumor, never completely confirmed, that I actually was born on April Fool’s Day, but it was very late and my mother got them to say it was April 2nd.”
April Fool!! Where do you live now? ”I live in Sarasota, Florida.”
Family circumstance ”Well, I am in my second marriage. In my first marriage I had two step-children, Sheila and Maureen, who are in their 50s. My adult children are absolutely delightful on the West Coast and I am newly married to Mary Foushi. We began as recovery buddies and then founded Acorn together and then found out, by golly, we were in a relationship and we have been for about 20 years, but only married for two.”
What did you want to be when you grow up? ”Until I went to college, I wanted to be Robert McNamara. He was a brainy president of a motor company and then a brainy defense secretary. That he later was a major influence in taking us into the Vietnam War, that embarrasses me.”


You already have what you need

This is another in a series of posts derived from my book, “Sustainable You,” a workbook that explores the implications of the question, “What good is sustaining the planet if we’re not sustaining ourselves?”

Coaching as a service is in its infancy, compared to where I think it will one day be.

One reason is, many people aren’t quite sure yet what its value is. How is it different from counseling, or going to a doctor?


One way to save the planet, and 70 tips

There was a time when I loved articles like this, supplied by greenmatch.co.uk. It's titled 70 Ways To Save the Planet. But less so now, not because I thing the planet needs less saving, but because I think that what we really need to do is save ourselves.

As I lay out in my second book, "Sustainable You," focusing on a symptom won't necessarily resolve the cause.


You want to win, but you want to get it right

I like Al Lewis, the bomb-throwing wellness-industry analyst, but it’s hard to know which obscures the other, his brilliance or the chip on his shoulder. I’ve interviewed him, and we’ve corresponded from time to time. He’s engaging, informed, and a dogged polemicist whom I would not want on my trail.


"10 Words or Less" with Chris Clarke-Epstein

Clarke-Epstein is not only a member of the National Speaker Association, but she's a past president and has achieved the highest earnable distinction in the organization, Certified Speaking Professional.

She's coming from Wisconsin, for expenses only, to help New England Chapter members — and anyone else who wants to attend; you're invited! — work out how to best to deliver the unique messages we each have to share.


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