Thursday, October 05, 2006

4qtr2006 - Not Just Talk! Newsletter

Table of Contents - 4qtr2006 - Not Just Talk! Newsletter

  • Feature Article: Beyond Illusions
  • Notable Quotables: Great Things I Didn't Say First
  • What's News at GottaGettaCoach!?
  • Attention Busy People: Executive Book Summary Service
  • GottaGettaBlog! Weblog Highlights
  • Administrivia

4qtr2006 - Feature Article: Beyond Illusions

I read an interesting article in the August/September 2006 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine called: "The Quirks of Constancy." It starts off with a big picture of the Ponzo Illusion. For those of you unfamiliar with the Ponzo Illusion, it was named after the Italian psychologist Mario Ponzo, who, in 1913, offered this drawing for consideration:

Now if you're like most, you probably see the top yellow line as clearly being longer than the bottom one. But, in truth, both yellow lines are identical in every way. So look at the illusion again. Isn't it fascinating that the top yellow line still looks longer than the bottom one even though you know that they're the exact same size? That, my friends, is why it's called an illusion!

And that's why the article's subtitle asks the following question: "Even when we consciously know two lines are the same length, why can't we help seeing them as different?"

So how does Ponzo continue do what he did? The answer has to do with something like this: The railroad tracks convince our brains that there's some depth to the picture and that the top yellow line is 'farther away' from us - and therefore should appear smaller - than the yellow line below it. But because it doesn't look smaller, our brains automatically conclude that it must be because the top line is actually the bigger of the two.

Except, of course, that it's not! They're both identical, as seen when the "railroad tracks" are replaced with straight lines. Voila! The illusion is gone:

But this isn't really an article about what a guy named Ponzo discovered some 90+ years ago, though. It's about our need to do a better job of recognizing - and giving ourselves credit for - the incremental improvements we achieve in our ongoing self-development work. You see, just as we continue to see Ponzo's yellow lines as different sizes even though we know they are not, we also all-too-often continue to label, or see, ourselves as not having changed - even though there's irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Witness:

  • Quote-unquote "shy" people still tend to label themselves as shy even though they now sometimes talk with people standing on line with them at the grocery store, or get into conversation with fellow commuters on the train platform.
  • Quote-unquote "unconfident" people still tend to label themselves as unconfident even though they have no problem asking co-workers or colleagues if they want to grab a cup of coffee or get a bite to eat.
  • Quote-unquote "not-so-smart" people still tend to see label themselves as not-so-smart even though they are clearly subject matter experts (SME) on a wide variety of topics and people continually seek them out for their SME-ness.

In these cases, and others like them, there is specific, quantifiable, evidence that real and meaningful improvement has been made, that real and meaningful improvement is being made, and that real and meaningful improvement continues to be made. Yet the illusion of their self-limiting beliefs prevents them from recognizing their changes as such.

The message here is this: If you know you're honestly making an effort to improve yourself, it's more than likely that you have improved - more than you realize. Remember: Just because your short-comings sometimes still look bigger than your successes, it doesn't mean that they actually are. Any lack-of-progress you're feeling is probably just a variation of Ponzo's Illusion.


4qtr2006 - Notable Quotables: Great Things I Didn't Say First!

  • “We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy. ” - Cyril Connolly
  • “What can this piece of paper do; imagine?” - Alamgir Hashmi
  • “Oh, how powerfully the magnet of illusion attracts.” - Gutzkow
  • “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us.” - Carl Sagan
  • “Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire's eye or on the ball.” - Jim Murray
  • “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” - Albert Einstein


4qtr2006 - What's News at GottaGettaCoach!?

News and Highlights from last quarter:

  •, exclusive partners of the WSJ and Business Week online, publishes Creating a Portfolio of Mentors, the latest article by Barry Zweibel.
  • GottaGettaCoach! is retained by Hill-Rom, Inc. for a series of management coaching assignments.
  • GottaGettaCoach! was certified as the 194th “Really Awesome-est" Company on the Internet! by Too funny!
  • A Strategic Coach, an article written by Barry Zweibel and published by the American Society for Training and Development, is being used to supplement some foundational research being conducted in Copenhagen on the use of coaching as a means to increase engagement and innovation in the workplace.
  • Barry Zweibel is interviewed for an article in the ABA Journal on background checks becoming more a prevalent part of the interview/selection process.
  • information from the GGCI career coach page


4qtr2006 - Attention Busy People: Executive Book Summary Service

Don't have time to read all the new business books you're been hearing about? Well here's some good news - GottaGettaCoach! is now affiliated with Soundview Executive Book Summaries, the people wo make those 8-page summaries of top-notch business books.

Download them to your laptop, or PDA, listen to them on CD or as an MP3, or have them sent the old-fashioned way - by mail. You choose.

An annual subscription gives you 30 summaries for as little as $3.97 each, so you save time and money AND keep current with the latest in progressive business thinking.

If all you get is one new idea for the entire year, the subscription more than pays for itself. But you'll probably get very many more. Give it a try and see for yourself.


4qtr2006 - GottaGettaBlog! Weblog Highlights

I've been using GottaGettaBlog! as a vehicle to capture news, notes, and musings about coaching, mentoring, and getting more from YOUR Untapped Potential - along with whatever other stuff I happen to find amusing and/or thought-provoking - since June of 2003.

Highlighted postings from last quarter are listed below - just follow the links:

from July 2006

from August 2006

from September 2006

Your on-line comments at GottaGettaBlog! are both welcomed and encouraged. To receive weekly digests of new GottaGettaBlog! postings, update your subscription here.

4qtr2006 - Administrivia

This edition of Not Just Talk! was written and created by Barry Zweibel, executive coach, leadership consultant, and president of GottaGettaCoach!, Incorporated.

GGCI specializes in helping executives - and managers aspiring to leadership positions - to:

  • think more strategically more of the time
  • communicate more effectively, up, down, and across the organization
  • better leverage their time, effort, and personnel resources
  • adopt a more coach-like attitude with staff and vendor personnel
  • be ready willing, and able to have difficult conversations, when needed
  • drive key business results without being a jerk!

GGCI also provides life coaching and career coaching services to those looking to make good things happen sooner in their lives and careers.

For information on how GottaGettaCoach! can help you - or those in your organization - please contact Barry directly at 847.291.9735,, or via

PRIVACY POLICY: GottaGettaCoach!, Incorporated values your subscription and respects your privacy. As such GGCI will not rent, sell, or lend, any subscriber information to any 3rd party without your express permission – permission we are NOT asking for at this time.

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