Present Ideas with Conviction to Avoid Being Challenged

Unless you present your convictions and positions with authority, people will walk all over you.
I heard a call where a rep had the sale in the bag. The soon-to-be-customer, grasping for any last minute throw-in asked the rep, “How’s ’bout you guys pick up the delivery on this?”
I about leaped out of my chair when the rep hemmed and hawed, then said, “Well, we’re really not supposed to do that.”
Smelling blood, the customer spotted an opening: “Really not supposed to, but you do on occasion, right?”
“Uhhh, yeah, sometimes.”
“What cases are those?” inquired the customer
“When we need to get an order.”
The customer pounced. “OK. This is one of those situations. I’m a new customer, and this is what you need to get the order. You can explain that to anyone who would have to approve it, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”

What caused this whole mess? Really. That’s it. Really. The word, “really.” And the rep’s hesitant tone of voice.
When you know you have a deal in hand, you’re faced with a request that is 90% nonnegotiable, or if you have a position that you feel deep down strongly about, it’s imperative that you give the impression that your stance is rock solid.
So what should this rep have said? Easy.

Prospect: “How’s ’bout you guys pick up the delivery on this?”
“(sincere tone) Wish I could. (Matter of factly) Delivery is just going to be $32 on this order. Which location do you want it shipped to?”
Notice there’s no apology for the shipping (“Well, shipping is a part of our cost and if we did it for you, whine, whine . . .”) It acknowledges the request, feeble as it might be, states a fact, the shipping price, then gets on to the business at hand, deflecting the person’s request.
You could even use humor. Act as if you didn’t take the comment seriously, and they’ll realize they weren’t serious about making it.
Present your positions with conviction, and you won’t have them challenged as often.

Wedding Rings: Past, Present and Future

The rings are very special items in weddings. Though they do not have to be expensive they are priceless, to the bride and groom if to no one else. One of the most special rings that can be picked for nuptials is a 3 stone wedding ring.

They are called past, present and future rings because that is what each stone represents. They are a reminder and a promise to each other that their lives are entwined not just for a moment, but for their lifetimes. Truly romantic!

Three stone rings have literally three stones of an almost equal size and quality. The stones are normally diamonds though some choose to use their birthstones instead. Each stone is meant to be a match to the other two pieces.

The stones are usually placed in a row. The central stone may or may not be slightly higher in the setting than the other pieces. Just as in our lives, it is the present that is the most obvious.

Finding matching gems can be difficult and time consuming. This is why an honest jeweler is important, as well as providing sufficient time to get the perfect ring. After all, your jeweler needs to find the stones and then create your ring for you. That is definitely not a quick thing to do.

Hollywood celebrities aren’t immune to the appeal of the three stone ring. Madonna’s Edwardian style ring was specially designed by husband Guy Ritchie and features three round diamonds in a platinum band. Toni Braxton and husband Keri Russell on the other hand, chose a ring with two heart shaped diamonds flanking an oval center stone.

Lesley-Ann Graham runs [] – a valuable wedding planning [] resource with articles, tips and advice to help you plan your perfect wedding. Visit Lesley-Ann’s wedding blog for more free wedding planning help and advice.

Are Biodiesel’s Environmental Benefits Being Unfairly Presented?

Since the production of biodiesel fuel requires the expenditure of energy some have claimed that the environmental benefits of biodiesel fuel are being unfairly presented. That, in fact, the production and use of biodiesel fuel actually creates more environmental pollution overhead than is commonly acknowledged.

Typically, these allegations focus on one or or more of the following:

Uncounted environmental pollution occurs in the cultivation of the source crops used as the basis for biodiesel fuel including fertilzers, farm equipment operation, electricity, etc.
Uncounted environmental pollution occurs in the conversion of the source crops to biodiesel fuel including harvesting, drying, storage, adjunct chemical additives and their production and the actual conversion process itself.
Uncounted environmental pollution occurs at the electrical generating plants that typically supply the heat energy used in the conversion of source crops to biodiesel fuel.
The short answer to this is that these allegations are fundamentally true and that the environmental pollution overhead is seldom counted when benefits of biodiesel fuel are being touted.

That being said (some would say admitted), this type of allegation which is usually used in some sort of comparative analysis of biodiesel and fossil fuel, is generally a selective context argument that fails to make a true apples-to-apples comparison. For clarification, let’s address each of these allegations in turn in a proper context.

The first allegation while true, fails to make a corresponding connection between the environmental overhead cost of crop production and the environmental overhead cost of fossil fuel location and extraction. Ask yourself, when is the last time you saw the environmental overhead cost of fossil fuel gasoline or diesel location and extraction included in their pollution figures. And, this question generously ignores the mega-environmental overhead costs of oil spills, habitat and wild-life destruction, etc.

The second allegation is also true but likewise also fails to make a corresponding connection between the environmental overhead cost of crop conversion and the environmental overhead cost of operating fossil fuel cracking and refining plants as well as storage. For a valid comparison, the environmental overhead cost of operating these plants and the energy they consume should have to be included. Again, even this comparison generously ignores the mega-environmental cost of having a hazardous chemical and pollution generating plant. Any resident who lives near such a plant can tell you stories of repeated hazardous waste alerts both in the air and ground water; fires, etc.

The third allegation is true; but in this case there are two context offsets to be considered:

Biodiesel fuel production is not alone in its consumption of electrical power. Certainly, fossil fuel cracking and refining plants use megawatts of electrical power and I have yet to see this source of environmental pollution overhead included in any fossil fuel pollution calculations.
Electricity generating plants typically have carefully controlled environments with high efficiency fuel consumption; smoke scrubbers, etc. so pollution created by electrical generating plants is almost certainly far less per watt of power than pollution generated by on-site or rolling-stock engines. And this latter point generously ignores the fact that large amounts of electrical energy comes from hydro-electric plants with near zero pollution production.
So the next time you hear these allegations regarding biodiesel; be sure to point out the selective “factual” source of these allegations and hold any such alleger to a proper presentation of all evidence in full and complete context.

Attending the Monthly Meeting at the Newcomers Club – A Presentation about Human Impact on our Plane

This morning I got up early and had a nice breakfast in the inner courtyard of La Nuestra. Shortly before 9 am Andie and I left for her monthly meeting of the Newcomers Club, a group of about 170 mostly English-speaking expatriates from all different countries who have settled in Cuernavaca. Andie Grater has been the president of this volunteer organization for the last 4 years. We didn’t have to drive very far and arrived at an Episcopelian Church where several people were already setting up chairs and coffee for the monthly reunion. Two staff members from the American Consulate in Mexico City were setting up a table with information about taxation, voting and other issues relating specifically to US Citizens living in Mexico.

The Newcomers Club often invites speakers or experts on topics related directly to the expatriate community. I had a chance to speak with a few of the club members. There was a gentleman roughly in his late 50s who had emigrated from Israel three years ago and was now working in real estate and providing catering services for Middle Eastern foods. I also chatted with a young gentleman in his 30s who had emigrated from Poland and now had a wood-working company with his partner, making special wood toys that they sell throughout organic food stores in Mexico. Then I connected with a lady who was originally from Germany, and she and her husband have been working for a long time for a German charity helping blind people all over the world. She has lived all over Latin America as well as Pakistan. Cuernavaca’s Newcomers Club is definitely a very interesting and diverse group of people. Most of the members I saw were in their 50s, 60s and up, although I saw a few younger people. The majority are retirees who have settled in Cuernavaca permanently. After the initial refreshments were taken, the group settled in and Andie, as the President, made a variety of announcements. Then a lady by the name of Ana Gonzalez, talked about the special project run by an NGO called Caminamos Juntos para la Salud y el Desarollo (“Walking Together for Health and Development”).

The project was founded by Susan Smith, a Canadian woman, who has adopted a very poor Mexican village. One of the greatest problems of this village is that its water has been contaminated with arsenic, so drinking water is a real issue. The people of this village are very poor, and every month Susan asks the Newcomers Club to donate different items, from pots and pans, to blankets, toys, school supplies and much more. Then after a few more announcements, Bob Vockerath, a distinguished looking gentleman in his late seventies, originally from Vancouver, Canada, got up give a special presentation. He talked about several books he had read (Plan B and Limits to Growth) which talk about human impact on the planet and the sustainability of our human activities. He talked about population growth, resources, industrial output, pollution etc. and showed several charts of projections of where our future might take us. Limits to Growth was first published in 1972 and several experts modeled the development of these key factors and projected them well into the 3rd millennium. From about 2050 onwards their models predict a stark drop in population as resources get depleted, pollution takes on an increasingly destructive level, and industrial output multiplies. He mentioned some interesting statistics: between 1950 and 2000 the global population increased from about 2.5 billion to 6.1 billion. Average incomes tripled and so did the demand for grain. Economic output multiplied 6.6 times from $7 trillion annually to $46 trillion. The demand for grain is interesting because 1 ton of beef, for example, takes 10 tons of grain to produce, a very resource-intensive form of food production.

Bob Vockerath also went into a brief description of the book Plan B and that its author expounds on 6 basic social goals:1. Basic universal – primary education2. Adult literacy programs3. Family planning4. School lunches5. Assisting pre-schoolers6. Universal basic health care In addition these social goals are supplemented by earth restoration goals:1. Reforestation2. Protection topsoil on croplands3. Restoring rangelands4. Restoring fisheries5. Protecting biodiversity6. Stabilizing the water table. Social goals and earth restoration together are forecast to cost an additional $191 million per year over and above what is being spent already. This contrasts to annual military spending of $975 billion, apparently in the US alone every year $475 billion are spent on defense. So if we simply reallocated our spending we would be in a position to effect tremendous social and environmental change for the better.

The crowd in the room was listening attentively and asked many questions. I was really impressed by this meeting since many people in the audience were in their 60 all the way into their late 80s or beyond and they showed such a strong interest in this topic although the future consequences of these issues will have a much stronger affect on their grand and great-grand children. As someone with an interest in ecological issues, I found this presentation very informative and concluded that the immigrant community in Cuernavaca is involved in some pretty interesting things…