Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Importance of Sleep


I’ve talked about sleep a few times in the past and posted comments around it on March 30 2011, June 19 2018, May 7 2015, March 4 2014 and December 3 2015 (according to the ‘Search’ function on KR Connect!).


It’s top of mind today as 2020 has shown in many of my leadership sessions, that over 60% of us are suffering from sleep deficit in these troubling times.


To face the many challenges confronting us today, we need to look after ourselves mentally and physically – and nothing is more important than getting a good night’s sleep.


Here’s a 12 step road-map from the Edison Healthcare Clinic that Unfiltered’s Jake Millar shared with me.  It works!  (Pay particular attention to Point 10 – leave those screens in another room!!)


Pleasant Dreams!


Stick to a sleep schedule

We should aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. People generally have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns.  Unfortunately, sleeping late on weekends doesn’t make up for poor sleep during the week. If necessary, set the alarm for bedtime.

Don’t exercise too late in the day

Exercise is excellent and we should try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. But try to time it no later than 2-3 hours before bed.

Avoid caffeine & nicotine

Coffee, black and green teas and chocolate all contain caffeine, which is a stimulant. Even consuming these in the afternoon can affect your sleep. Nicotine is also a stimulant and smokers will often wake up earlier than they would otherwise, due to nicotine withdrawal.

Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed

The presence of alcohol in the body can reduce your REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep. This affects processing of memory and emotions.

Avoid large meals and beverages late at night

A light snack before bed is okay, but a heavy meal can cause digestive issues, which interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids can cause frequent awakening to urinate.

Where possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep

Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure or asthma medications, as well as some over the counter and herbal medicines for coughs, colds or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be worth speaking to your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the drugs you’re taking may be contributing to this.

Don’t nap after 3pm

       Naps are great, but taking them too late in the day can make it hard to fall asleep at night, as they reduce the natural ‘sleep pressure’ that builds each day.

Make sure to leave time to relax before bed.

       It’s important to have time before bed to unwind. Try to schedule your days so that there is time to relax before bed.

Take a hot bath before bed.

       The drop in body temperature after a bath may help you to feel sleepy and the bath can help you to slow down and relax before bed.

Have a dark, cool (in temperature), gadget-free bedroom.

       We sleep better at night if the temperature in the room is kept on the cool side. Gadgets such as mobile phones and computers can be a distraction. A comfortable mattress and pillow can set you up for a good sleep. Those with insomnia will often watch the clock. Turn it away from view, so you don’t have to worry about the time while trying to sleep.

Get the right sunlight exposure

Sun exposure during the day helps us to regulate sleeping patterns.

Try to get outside in the natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes per day.

Don’t stay in bed if you (really) can’t sleep

       If you find yourself still in bed for more than 20 minutes, or you’re starting to get anxious in bed, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. Keep the lights dim. Anxiety while trying to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier (I)


So Colin Powell told me in the Green Room at a WOBI conference in Milan a while back – and here are some ‘Surprise’ predictions from Byron Wien and Joe Zidle from Blackstone’s Private Wealth Group for 2021.  (Thank you Alan Berson for passing these on.)

1.     Despite the hostile rhetoric from both sides during the U.S. presidential campaign, President Biden begins to restore a constructive diplomatic and trade relationship with China. China A shares lead emerging markets higher.

2.     The success of between five and ten vaccines, together with an improvement in therapeutics, allows the U.S. to return to some form of “normal” by Memorial Day 2021. People are generally required to show proof of vaccination before boarding airplanes and attending theaters, movies, sporting events and other large gatherings.

3.     The Justice Department softens its case against Google and Facebook, persuaded by the argument that the consumer actually benefits from the services provided by these companies. Certain divestitures are proposed and surveillance restrictions are applied, but the broad effort to break them up loses support, except in Europe.

4.     The economy develops momentum on its own because of pent-up demand, and depressed hospitality and airline stocks become strong performers. Fiscal and monetary policy remain historically accommodative. Nominal economic growth for the full year exceeds 6% and the unemployment rate falls to 5%.

5.     The slide in the dollar turns around. The post-vaccine strength of the U.S. economy and financial markets attracts investors disenchanted with the rising debt and slower growth of Europe and Japan. Treasurys maintain a positive yield and the carry trade continues.

6.     The equity market broadens out. Stocks beyond health care and technology participate in the rise in prices. “Risk on” is not without risk and the market corrects almost 20% in the first half, but the S&P 500 trades at 4,500 later in the year. Cyclicals lead defensives, small caps beat large caps and the “K” shaped equity market recovery unwinds. Big cap tech is the source of liquidity, and the stocks are laggards for the year.

7.     The surge in economic growth causes the 10-year Treasury yield to rise to 2%. The yield curve steepens, but a concomitant increase in inflation keeps real rates near zero. The Fed wants the strength in housing and autos to continue. As a result, it extends the duration of bond purchases in order to prevent higher rates at the long end of the curve from choking off credit to consumers and businesses.


And two wild cards:

·        Tesla acquires a major global auto manufacturer in a transaction that involves a combination of cash and stock. Elon Musk is the CEO and pledges to eliminate the internal combustion engine by the end of the decade.

·        Former President Trump starts his own television network and also plans his 2024 campaign. His lead program is The Chief, in which he weekly interviews heads of state and CEOs with management styles like his own. His virtual interview with Vladimir Putin draws more viewers than any television program in history.



Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Capture

The Capture aired in 2019 in the UK and was launched on iTunes internationally two months ago.


An eight part thriller series set in today’s London.  A dramatic, tense, complex, riveting Big Brother conspiracy series.  I couldn’t stop watching it.  92% Rotten Tomatoes rating; 4 Stars from The Telegraph and The Independent.  I loved it.


And a second series has been commissioned.  Worth watching – and sticking with it – it gets easier to understand with each episode!




PS:  It's also on NBC's streaming channel - Peacock.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

What’s so Funny ‘bout Peace, Love and Understanding?


As I walk through

this wicked world

searching for light in the darkness of insanity

I ask myself

Is all hope gone?

Is there only pain, hatred and misery?


And as I walk on

through troubled times

my spirit gets so downhearted sometimes

So where are the strong?

And who are the trusted?

And where is the harmony?


What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?


Come on Joe.  Come on Kamala.



Sunday, January 17, 2021

What a Crazy World


“It’s tough to make predictions,

especially about the Future.”

(Yogi Berra)


Nine months ago, who would have thought there would be global/national shortages of elastic, garden chairs, pasta machines and jigsaws?


Louise Eccles wrote a great article in The Sunday Times looking back at a year of shortages, stockpiling and human ingenuity – when bread was in short supply we got baking, when exercise was restricted we bought trampolines (!!) – and bouncy castles – and Home Brewing went through the roof!!


Department store chain John Lewis in the UK revealed the Pandemic trends of 2020.



Freezers up +177% as panicked shoppers stockpiled groceries (and landline sales were up 80% as workers bought equipment for their new home office).



Loaf tins up 303% as homes were filled with the smell of freshly baked banana bread, sourdough and soda bread.



Loungewear and leggings up 1,103% - waist up dressing and dress down Blursdays became the norm.  You know who you are!!



Sewing machines up 203% - make your own face masks – if you could get hold of the aforementioned elastic.



Picnic rugs up 900% - eating in the park and on the local beach.



Paddling pools up 970% - children going crazy at home (you too!) – get them into the garden.



Christmas trees up 233% - early Christmas shopping to lift the spirit – ornaments, cards through the roof (did you receive and send more cards than since the ‘good old days’ this year?).



Jigsaws up 708% - what else can you do after you’ve binged everything in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew on Netflix?



Patio heaters and fire pits +2,007% - lockdowns abound – back into the garden – barbecues and pizza ovens also all a go.



Board games +83% - Monopoly for Millennials! – with vegan bistros and meditation retreats now on the board.


So – you were not alone!



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Throwback Thursday – Never Out of the Fight


On July 2nd 2019 I posted a blog bemoaning weak, unprincipled political leadership in the US and the UK and sharing the US Seal’s Creed.

We are in a global war right now, but this time we are all on the same side.


A war against the Pandemic.


A war against Recession.


A war against widening income gaps.


A war against unprincipled, purposeless leadership.


The Seal’s creed is about duty, honour, integrity and resilience.


It is about the common man with uncommon desire to succeed.


It is about our front line operators.


It is about you and me.


It’s worth a read.



US Navy SEAL Ethos/Creed

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me - my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail. 



Tuesday, January 12, 2021



Eldest son Ben tipped me off to this year’s first international sleeper on Netflix – a tongue-in-cheek French mystery dramatic retelling about gentleman thief and master of disguise Arsène Lupin.


Great fun.  Charismatic performance by Omar Sy.  2021’s Casa de Papel.  First five episodes out now (a la Casa de Papel).  Next five to follow soon!


It’ll make you smile.



Sunday, January 10, 2021

For all you Crazy Ones and Misfits out there


On December 6 I revisited Celebrating the Crazy Ones.


Here’s a song from good mate Paul Numi’s Chimera album (my September 11 blog) – ‘A Square Peg’ – which celebrates Misfits (Paul NumiChimera - A Square Peg)


“This crisis won’t change us

It might reveal at last who we truly are”


The album has 100,000 views and is No. 1 in Chicago!!!!!


Here’s to the Misfits!