The Monk’s Wisdom – Ritual 1: The Ritual of Compelling Future Focus

The first ritual from the Monk who sold his Ferrari is called the Ritual of Compelling Future Focus or, in the words of the Monk, how to link Paycheck to Purpose.

The wisdom of this ritual leans on the fact that purpose is the most powerful motivator in the world. The primary task of the leader is to get his/her people excited about a compelling cause that contributes to the lives of others. Great leadership precedes great followership (we show our employees that we have their best interest in mind). Visionary leaders focus on liberating human talent and manifesting the potential of people (multipliers) and lead with integrity, character and courage.

What are the actions that help us fulfil this ritual?

  • Ritualize wisdom so that our positive intentions translate into tangible results (Stephen Covey would say that we need to exercise integrity in the moment of choice);
  • Communicate our compelling cause so it engages hearts; and
  • Align our “video” with our “audio” (observe and listen and go back to vision and communication if necessary)

The ultimate task of the visionary leader is to dignify and honour the lives of the people he/she leads by allowing them to manifest their highest potential through the work they do.

The following video from Robin Sharma provides some thoughts about this topic: https://youtu.be/fvuiWkhyi_s

 

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Leadership Wisdom from the Monk who sold his Ferrari – Intro

Robin Sharma is a leadership consultant and prolific author who has written many books on the topic of leadership and personal renewal. His most famous book is “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and was published in 1997. This book became a best-seller with more than three million copies sold (as of 2013). It has been translated into more than 70 languages and published in over 50 nations. The book develops around two characters, Julian Mantle and John, in the form of conversation. Julian narrates his spiritual experiences during a Himalayan journey which he undertook after selling his holiday home and red Ferrari. A successful trial lawyer, Julian collapsed from a heart attack while arguing a case in court, and his lengthy recovery led him to seek a spiritual path in the Himalayan mountains after receiving wise and practical lessons which brought drastic changes in his life.

I just finished reading one of the book’s sequels: Leadership Wisdom from the Monk who sold his Ferrari. I found it interesting and I will start summarize what Robin calls the 8 Rituals of Leadership so that you can have an idea of the thoughts expressed in this other book.

This book, which is similar in style to the first one, also tells the story of Robert, a successful CEO of a rampant software company called GlobalView, who has a very “Diminisher” attitude. Because of his leadership style, the company is experiencing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. At the height of this crisis, Robert is contacted by this strange individual dressed like Buddhist monk who is nobody else but his old friend Julian Mantle, the lawyer who had a Ferrari and then all of a sudden disappeared after his heart attack.

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An Annual Dilemma

I found the following article a simple and yet effective way to approach our annual dilemma in setting a plan for the upcoming year. Enjoy it!

Resolve to Stay on Track in the New Year
Posted by Forrest Dylan Bryant on 26 Dec 2015

A new year is upon us, which means it’s time to break out the champagne and survey the months ahead. It’s only natural to think in terms of fresh starts and new opportunities when the calendar changes, whether that means improving our health, acquiring a new skill, or picking up a neglected hobby. But as many of us know, resolving to change is one thing. Making those changes stick is another.
Research suggests that one-third of all new year’s resolutions are abandoned within the first month, and fewer than half survive to the six-month mark. It’s better to try and fail than never to try at all, but most of us want to do better than that.
How can we keep our resolutions going all year long? According to experts in psychology and productivity, the answer has three parts:

* First, we need to be smarter about how we make resolutions, and choose the right goals for the right reasons.
* Second, we need to implement new behaviors in the ways most likely to turn them into ingrained habits.
* Finally, we need the willpower, planning, and support to stay motivated and on track, especially in the critical first month.

Step 1: Get SMART
Let’s start with the resolutions themselves.
It’s not enough to have a good idea. You have to distil that idea into a goal that’s actionable and attainable. Borrowing a concept from modern business, sociologist Christine Whelan has described a well-crafted resolution as “SMART” — it’s specific, measurable, and achievable, there’s a reward for sticking with it, and our progress is tracked throughout the year.
Just as importantly, you have to want it. As Linda Geddes recently summarized in an article for The Guardian, “The first question to ask yourself is: if there were no pressure from anyone else, what would you, personally, like to change?” Whether we’re trying to lose weight or write a novel, we’re more likely to stick with difficult projects when the motivation comes from within.
Step 2: Get in the habit
Another reason resolutions fall apart is that we try to take on too much at once. When you commit to changing a behavior, you’re essentially trying to rewire your own brain, and that takes a lot of work. Every time you need to stop and think, to exercise self-control, or remember to do X instead of Y, you’re burning mental energy. Going after too many difficult goals at the same time can leave you burned out, with none of your goals fulfilled.
To maximize your chances of success, choose just one resolution. If you have a list of ideas, consider starting with the easiest one. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon if you’ve never run a mile, or deadlift a huge weight without lifting smaller weights first. The same applies to willpower and self-control. Start small and work your way up.
Like a snowball rolling downhill, big changes can accumulate from tiny ones. Doing one hundred pushups is hard, doing five is easier. And nearly all of us can manage one. “Eating healthy” is big and vague, but adding a sprig of broccoli to your plate is tiny and simple. As Leo Babauta puts it, “make it so easy you can’t say no.”
Put another way, the idea is to focus on the habit, not the goal. If we’re in this for the long term, the important thing is simply to acquire the habit, not to make big gains fast. Losing 20 pounds doesn’t mean much if you’re only focused on the number and not internalizing healthy habits; it’s too easy to slip and gain it all back.
Try fitting your new habit into the daily routines you already have. Routines run on autopilot and resist big changes, but they’re easy to hack from within once you understand how they work.
Generally speaking, habitual behavior begins with a trigger or cue, and results in some sort of psychological reward:

* At 3:00, I take a coffee break in the office. The coffee tastes good and makes me feel alert.

In this example, 3:00 is the cue, the coffee break is the behavior, and feeling alert is the reward. If you can insert a new behavior or task into this cycle, leaving the cue and the reward intact, your brain should adapt more easily, especially if you’ve kept the task small:

* At 3:00, I walk to the fancy coffee bar on Broadway. The coffee tastes good and makes me more alert, I get a little exercise, and the fresh air clears my head.

You don’t need any particular motivation to make the change, because you’re already doing pretty much the same thing. And that makes it easy to gradually ramp up to your objective.

* At 3:00, I go for a brisk power-walk. It gives me some exercise, clears my head, reduces stress, and makes me more alert.

The cue has not changed. The rewards are similar, but greater. But the behavior has completely changed.
Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a long time to get where you want to go, through a succession of tiny steps. But as long as each step is headed in the right direction, you’ll get there in the end.

Step 3: Stay motivated with Evernote
Okay. You’ve made a resolution. It’s specific, measurable, and achievable. You’ve fit it into your routine and made sure there will be a reward for sticking with it. Now you need to stay motivated to keep the cycle going. Consider creating a Personal Development notebook in Evernote where you can keep it all together.
Here’s some of what goes in your resolution notebook:

* a calendar
* an inspiration archive
* checklists and reminders

Calendar
Calendars are simple yet powerful motivational tools. When you successfully achieve your daily goal, mark your calendar. That’s it. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously used this method when building his career, making sure he wrote new material every day. Seeing a string of marked days on a calendar is a great way to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment. It also provides gentle pressure: you’ll go out of your way to make sure you “don’t break the chain.”
We have some great 2016 calendars you can save right into Evernote. Just click the links below and look for the “Save to Evernote” button. Once you’ve saved them, add your milestones or targets and start tracking your progress:

Checklists and reminders
Need a little push? Build checklists and reminders into your Evernote workflow so you never forget to keep working on your new habits. Good checklists might include your gym routines, that list of great books you plan to read or movies you’ve always wanted to watch, or themes to tackle in a 365-day photo project.

Inspiration archive
Found an article or image online that inspires you? Use Web Clipper to capture it in Evernote. Build a collection of examples you can turn to when you feel your motivation drooping. If you use IFTTT to connect Evernote with other apps, there are recipes available for capturing favorite tweets or other social media updates in notes, recording your locations and check-ins, and much more.

More ideas
For more ways to keep track of resolutions with Evernote, check out our 2015 list. We’d also love to hear your own stories in the comments. Happy new year, and good luck with your goals!

 

 

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Be Patient in All Things!

As we enter a new year, most of us make resolutions and try to set a course that will take us to the end of it unscathed and, possibly, better. I for one, need to do this because I believe that every day is a day earned and an opportunity to be had. At the same time, when I look back to the last few years, I also see that while opportunities are multiplying so are the challenges and the difficulties we have to face. In fact, it is fair for me to say that all of us will face more remarkable opportunities and challenges in this new year than we have had before.

Understanding the true nature of the principle of “opposition in all things” being an integral part of our life is vital to our true happiness and the success of achieving the goals we will set for 2015. If we wish to be a light for ourselves and others, we cannot allow that such a light be hidden. Let me illustrate with a story.

A long time ago noted preacher Dwight L. Moody told his congregation the story of a captain who was attempting to bring his boat to the Cleveland harbor one very dark and stormy night. The waves rolled like mountains, Moody said, and not a star was to be seen in the clouded sky. He pictured the boat rocking on the violent waves as the captain peered through the darkness for the sight of a signal light by means of which to guide his vessel to safety. When he finally spotted a single light from the light-house, he turned to the pilot and asked:

“Are you sure this is Cleveland harbor?”

“Quite sure, sir,” the pilot replied.

“Then where are the lower lights?” the captain continued.

“Gone out, sir,” the other man answered.

“Can you make the harbor?” the captain asked anxiously.

“We must, or perish, sir,” the pilot replied.

But despite his strong heart and brave hand, in the darkness he missed the channel. With a resounding crash the boat piled up on the rocks and then settled slowly to a watery grave.  Moody concluded with this admonition to the congregation: “Brethren, the Master will take care of the great light-house; let us keep the lower lights burning.”

Somewhat, I truly believe that because of all the challenges we face, we have a rendezvous with destiny, which will involve some soul stretching and some pain. Renowned educator Neal A. Maxwell once stated: “We so blithely say … that life is a school, a testing ground. It is true, even though it is trite. What we don’t accept are the implications of that true teaching—at least as fully as we should. One of the implications is that the tests that we face are real. They are not going to be things we can do with one hand tied behind our backs. They are real enough that if we meet them we shall know that we have felt them, because we will feel them deeply and keenly and pervasively.” Let’s face it: being true to our values and beliefs is not easy. Having said that, although Life may not seem fair, it is worth living. It is both a gift and an opportunity.  Maxwell also said: “We may at times assume that [life] requires merely that we endure and survive when, in fact … it is required of us, not only that we endure, but also that we endure well, that we exhibit “grace under pressure.” This is necessary, not only so that our own passage through the trial can be a growth experience, but also because (more than we know) there are always people watching to see if we can cope, who therefore may resolve to venture forth and to cope themselves. Every time we navigate safely on the straight and narrow way, there are other ships that are lost which can find their way because of our steady light.”

It boils down to patience and persistence as I learned very early in my life to never give up.

Former Lufthansa Vice President of Operations, Dieter Uchtdorf told the following story in a talk entitled “Continue in Patience”:   “In the 1960s, a professor at Stanford University began a modest experiment testing the willpower of four-year-old children. He placed before them a large marshmallow and then told them they could eat it right away or, if they waited for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows. He then left the children alone and watched what happened behind a two-way mirror. Some of the children ate the marshmallow immediately; some could wait only a few minutes before giving in to temptation. Only 30 percent were able to wait. It was a mildly interesting experiment, and the professor moved on to other areas of research, for, in his own words, “there are only so many things you can do with kids trying not to eat marshmallows.” But as time went on, he kept track of the children and began to notice an interesting correlation: the children who could not wait struggled later in life and had more behavioral problems, while those who waited tended to be more positive and better motivated, have higher grades and incomes, and have healthier relationships. What started as a simple experiment with children and marshmallows became a landmark study suggesting that the ability to wait—to be patient—was a key character trait that might predict later success in life.”

Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. Unfortunately, in this day and age we want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter. Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot reach our deepest dreams. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.

Jeffery R. Holland, former President of Brigham Young University, once shared the following personal experience.  When he was young, he and his little family set out to cross the United States, every earthly possession they owned packed into the smallest trailer available. No money, an old car, they drove exactly 34 miles up the highway at which point their beleaguered car erupted. The young father surveyed the steam, matched it with his own, then left his trusting wife and two innocent children, the youngest just three months old, to wait in the car while he walked the three miles or so to the southern Utah metropolis of Kanarraville, population then, 65. Some water was secured at the edge of town, and a very kind citizen offered a drive back to the stranded family. The car was attended to and slowly—very slowly—driven back to St. George for inspection.

After more than two hours of checking and rechecking, no immediate problem could be detected, so once again the journey was begun. In exactly the same amount of elapsed time at exactly the same location on that highway with exactly the same pyrotechnics from under the hood, the car exploded again. It could not have been 15 feet from the earlier collapse, probably not 5 feet from it! In Jeffrey Holland words: “Obviously the most precise laws of automotive physics were at work.”

Now feeling more foolish than angry, the chagrined young father once more left his trusting loved ones and started the long walk for help once again. This time the man providing the water said, “Either you or that fellow who looks just like you ought to get a new radiator for that car.” For the second time a kind neighbor offered a lift back to the same automobile and its anxious little occupants. He didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the plight of this young family. “How far have you come?” he said. “Thirty-four miles,” Elder Holland answered. “How much farther do you have to go?” “Twenty-six hundred miles,” he said. “Well, you might make that trip, and your wife and those two little kiddies might make that trip, but none of you are going to make it in that car.” Elder Holland stated later “He proved to be prophetic on all counts.”

Many years later, Dr. Holland drove by that exact spot where the freeway turnoff leads to a frontage road, just three miles or so west of Kanarraville, Utah. In his mind’s eye, for just an instant, he thought perhaps he saw on that side road an old car with a devoted young wife and two little children making the best of a bad situation there. Just ahead of them he imagined that he saw a young fellow walking toward Kanarraville, with plenty of distance still ahead of him. His shoulders seemed to be slumping a little, the weight of a young father’s fear evident in his pace. In the scriptural phrase his hands did seem to “hang down.” In that imaginary instant, Dr. Holland couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

No matter how old you are, whether in the prime of life or longer in years, there is always hope. Have a wonderful 2015!

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Lake Country Moving Forward

Many people in the community have provided positive feedback to the work we are doing. From the projects focused on the roads and other infrastructure to the current organizational restructuring, from the approval of a comprehensive community plan to the way “customers” are treated at Lake Country’s Municipal Hall, to cite a few examples, members of the community are grateful for what is happening.  They also acknowledge that we still need further improvements – recognizing that making continual efforts to improve is part of every organization’s life.  Perfection is not found in this world.

As I am asked for more details of what’s happening in the District coupled with a desire to keeping the community in the loop, let me share with you some of the progress we are making and how it is benefiting the community.

Lake Country is one of the first municipalities in BC that has recognized and taken action on the need for a proper infrastructure planning – we are ahead of many others in BC and also in Canada.  At the beginning of 2010, a tragic accident brought to the attention of the full community the need for a coordinated, priority driven approach to infrastructure projects.  I remember reading an editorial in one of the local newspapers after the accident in 2010 saying that Bottom Wood Lake road would never be rebuilt – because of funding.  Well, we are rebuilding it, aren’t we? And not only that.  The District has courageously taken the infrastructure challenge to another level and completed some remarkable projects. Lodge Road, Davidson Road, Camp Road are just some examples of what has been accomplished with the needs and safety of all users in mind.  The money has come as a combination of different factors: grants from different governments and agencies, savings from organizational restructuring at the Municipal Hall, reserves accumulated from previous years (and administrations) and some new growth. 

The same has happened with our water and sewer systems. Critical improvements have been made in the last four years. The Kalamalka Lake Water Treatment Plan and Interconnect project and the doubling of our Sewage Treatment Plan are just two examples.  Our Water Master Plan is on target and with the installation of water meters in the next couple of years, we will be able to truly improve consumption and water waste – which is an issue in the Okanagan more than in other regions in our province.  Also, we are recognized as having some of the best playing fields turf and arena ice in the region which are maintained by a superb staff that has proven competent and professional over and over again. What a difference that makes in a “small in population” but “large in land” community.

In order to accomplish many of these projects, the District needs to have an organization that is built around the priorities of Council.  The restructuring of the last two years has molded the District organization to one that can deal with the new realities we are facing.  Some positions were eliminated and some new ones created to reflect Council’s objectives. In the end, there is a net decrease in staff numbers of 9 positions with substantial long term savings to the taxpayers. This allows us to continue to improve on the capital plans we have and is positioning Lake Country to be a more proactive player when it comes to its services to the community.

The changes have also impacted the way we do business. The consistent positive feedback we have received from residents and taxpayers shows that changing systems and processes is needed and should occur on a regular basis.  This is no different than adapting plans to a changed environment and changing needs.  For instance, our Official Community Plan was approved in 2010.  A good practice is to review such a critical document every five to six years because circumstances change and what was good in 2010 may not be in 2016.

Finally, two more points I’d like to share.

First of all, we have streamlined operations and processes – especially in the area of planning and land use development.  Timing for processing land use applications has been cut to about half of the time we used to spend on processing them.

And last but not least, we have worked and are continuing to work hard to focus on Council’s priorities. For instance, Council’s top priority is to develop Main Street through a proactive Economic Development plan. So Council created an Economic Planning & Development Commission and authorized the hiring of an Economic Development Manager (EDM) for the District to directly deal with Lake Country’s needs. This has begun bearing fruits as one development application was completed successfully a couple of years ago and a much larger one is underway with rezoning bylaw at third reading. This has been possible because our EDM is constantly promoting Lake Country and contacting potential investors.

I am thankful for all the support we have received to date from members of the community and we hope you will continue to show support as we move forward to enhance the life of all Lake Country residents.

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Why Local Governments Count

In November, people in BC will be called to vote in a province-wide municipal election.  Elections used to be held every three years, until now, but with this year’s election, a new chapter of local government history opens in BC as terms will be held for four years. In addition, all financial matters for candidates will be looked after by Elections BC.  This is probably a good thing as Election BC has the structure and the resources to handle the many regulations that have been introduced in the area of municipal elections in the last few years.

In my many years in local government, I have come to notice a few things and I hope to help both voters and future candidates with some feedback and comments from someone that has seen much and dealt with much in this field. 

There are three main issues that I see mounting when dealing with politics at all levels: electorate apathy, ethical behaviour of both elected and appointed officials, and reasons to run for municipal office.

Democracy, we know, has its strengths in its weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is the freedom to exercise the right to vote. In many parts of the world, people consider this right very highly and political participation and debate is an almost daily occurrence. Outside of North America, voter turnout at local government elections is higher than 50%. Here in BC, with some rare exceptions, turn out is usually low-averaging in the mid to high 20%.  It is not my place to speculate on the reasons why this happens. It is a shame to say that the majority of people do not take a keener interest in the fate of the government that will affect them most closely. 

I heard once someone complaining about a damaged road and how much taxes he was paying as opposed to service received. His final comment was: “this is why I don’t vote.” I replied that change occurs only when rights are exercised and sometimes we deserve what we get when we relinquish that right.  So my first advice to all is: go out and vote and exercise your democratic right. 

The Rob Ford saga, which I believe and hope to be just an exception to political life in Canada, shows how much need there is for ethical leadership. Ethical leadership means having a true all-encompassing vision for the community. It is not confined to the lobby of one group versus another one, or a neighbourhood against another one, or an individual pet peeve. It is about what is best for the community at large and walking with integrity to accomplish that vision. This needs to be demonstrated and communicated upfront, prior to being elected. People need to know before they go to the polls what each candidate stands for on behalf of the whole community.  Research the candidates and platforms and make sure they have a true vision for the community. Beware of the one-agenda-item platform. Those one-issue agendas are short-lived and narrow and do not help the community in its effort to secure the best quality of life they can afford.  As a voter I always try to find out if candidates have done their homework, or have an informed position, if they have proven leadership experience and have ever sat on a board.

Finally, beware of the following reasons that candidates provide for their motives to run:

  • “People are ready for change”:  George Cuff, former Mayor and estimated advisor to numberless Mayors and Councils in Canada, warns that change occurs no matter what.  Most of the time the need for change is a perception because most of the new candidates do not know what they will have to deal with: they need to understand budgets, taxation, financial statements, law and local government legislation, road construction, water and sewer, land use development (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.), governance and how meetings must be conducted, intermunicipal relations, social and economic development, bylaws and procedures, and much more. Often, when voters go behind the screen, they get a bit scared of change and they go for the known rather than the unknown.  As I mentioned before, people need to know what qualifies a candidate for the job and that he or she “gets it”. Simply representing “change” is woefully inadequate.
  • “I’m going to clean house”:  in the words of Danielle Klooster, a Penhold, Alberta town councillor and businesswoman: “If you envision yourself walking into the municipal office taking over operations, firing a bunch of people, and generally sticking your nose into administration’s business, you’re in for a rude awakening. If you want to manage your town or city, apply for the job. The CAO’s job is management; your role as a councillor is governance. You don’t get to direct the staff. You are not the bylaw officer, the public works foreman or the HR director. In fact, you have only one employee — the CAO. And guess what? In many communities, the CAO has an employment contract. You can’t just ditch this guy so you can take over running the place. Get a new guy and you still don’t have the right to manage the municipality. Besides, removal would take a two thirds majority vote of council and would cost the ratepayers a whole bunch of money. You don’t have to like the town manager or any of the staff, but as a councillor you are legally bound to do things properly (spoiler alert: you’re going to take an oath to that affect if you get elected).”
  • “I’m going to fix [insert pet peeve] situation”:  this is a very misguided statement that reveals once more a fundamental lack of understanding of how councils function.  Individual councillors, according to the law, do not have any powers. The BC Community Charter defines local government as the “council” (as a whole) of the municipality.  It goes even further in saying that authority to deal with issues is the prerogative of the whole Council only. If the majority in Council decided that the situation needs no fixing, it won’t be. In other words, the truth of the matter is that a councillor has no power outside of council chambers. Even around the council table, his or her power extends only to the amount of influence he or she can leverage during debate and to his or her (one) vote.  A councillor won’t have the ability to unilaterally wave a magic wand and fix all of the potholes (although people will think he or she can). If he or she makes promises they can’t keep, they perpetuate the stereotype of politician.
  • “We have to get rid of the current corrupt/secretive/self-serving/incompetent bunch!”:  Councillor Klooster has some excellent points on this: “Ah, the ever popular “anti” campaign … this tactic, sadly, is often successful. It resonates with coffee clatches and angry people.  The problem is that while it may get you elected, it’s a poor foundation for being an effective mayor or member of council.  The day after you “get rid” of the last bunch, you have to actually do something. You will have a whole bunch of really important decisions in front of you; stuff that is already in process, that the previous council that you thought was so useless was working hard to deliberate over and consider and that perhaps you should have put some time into understanding.  An individual with a personal grievance who runs for office is not just in danger of being an ineffective councillor — these folks can be downright destructive.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: anybody can tear down; tell me what you are going to build.”

There are more bad reasons to run for Council and I will explore those another time. But there is a responsibility on the voter as well and that is to make informed decisions at the polls, even gain a basic understanding of the role, the decisions and the process of a local government.

Finally, why should one actually run for Council? To serve the community, to provide good leadership, to plan and build for the future. One should run because he or she has a contribution to make knowing that this will require the sacrifice of popularity and family time, and that sometimes decisions will be made that will benefit the community but not the individual councillor. One should run to have a better future for our grandchildren, and our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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