An Exercise to Improve Concentration

Concentration and focus is like a skill and can be exercised to be improved.

While running, I like to perform a particular concentration drill that I’ve developed. Every step is a count of 1 until 1 reach 16, then I start over. But that’s not all. I maintain a rhythm of breathing out every 4 counts, that is, on 4, 8, 12, and 16. If I’m really winded, I’ll breathe out every two counts: 2, 4, 6, etc.

But that’s not all. I found that my mind could still wander while running, counting and breathing. So I developed a task which can occupy my conscious thought completely. I visualize a set of 4×4 squares for each count, as shown below.

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I find that this exercise helps keep me calm and reduces my propensity towards distraction.

If you want an advance…

If you want to work for me and want an $800 advance and I’ve never met you in person, make sure you have at least one reference. I’m not just going to give a random person on the Internet $800 because he says he can do some work.

Go straight to the CEO for customer service

Ever been in a situation where you found customer service to be hopeless? You’re dissatisfied with the way a company has treated you? Try appealing directly to the head of the company.

Now, typically top level executives like CEO’s don’t answer their own phone calls (Though I did get through on a phone call to the head of marketing for a large corporation once. A story for another day.) E-mail is mostly bad too.

So what’s the best way to reach the CEO? Write a politely worded complaint letter describing your problem and expected solution in a neutral tone. Don’t whine, exaggerate, or insult. Get Mr. Spock to proofread it for you if you have to.

Then comes the magic step: send the letter FedEx overnight express addressed to the CEO. Yes, it’s more expensive than a phone call, fax, or e-mail, but that’s part of why it works. Think about it: if you were an underling in charge of handling the CEO’s correspondence, would you dare stop a a blue and orange FedEx envelope from reaching your boss’s hands? If someone makes the effort to send FedEx express, it must be important!

You Won’t Believe Who DeKalb Voted For

Georgia voted in the 2016 presidential election for Trump by a slim but solid majority. This is what the vote looked like:

DONALD J. TRUMP (REP) 51.05% 2,089,104
HILLARY CLINTON (DEM) 45.89% 1,877,963
GARY JOHNSON (LIB) 3.06% 125,306

But that’s not the whole story. I live in DeKalb County, Georgia. It’s an urban county with a high percentage of minorities, a weak area for Trump. The vote here went quite a different way. The state of Georgia provides all the numbers I’m going to show you in this post. Here are the numbers just for DeKalb. Clinton was much more popular here than in Georgia as a whole and got 80.44% of the vote. See the table below.

DONALD J. TRUMP 16.47% 51,468
HILLARY CLINTON 80.44% 251,370
GARY JOHNSON 3.09% 9,666

But that’s not the whole story either. DeKalb is a big place with rich and poor areas, suburbs, white, black, and Asian, and Hispanic neighborhoods. More people live in DeKalb than live in Vermont or Wyoming, and those places get 2 senators and 3 electoral votes.

Even within DeKalb County, a number of polling precincts went for Trump.

Precinct Trump % Clinton % Johnson % Total Votes
KINGSLEY ELEM 56.48% 39.24% 4.28% 1845
MT. VERNON EAST 55.13% 40.45% 4.42% 1901
AUSTIN 54.87% 40.49% 4.64% 1941
DUNWOODY LIBRARY 54.68% 41.01% 4.31% 1902
TILLY MILL ROAD 51.35% 42.10% 6.55% 1145
DUNWOODY HIGH 51.20% 44.27% 4.53% 1500

I had to look up Kingsley Elementary: it’s a charter school in Dunwoody near Tilly Mill and Mt. Vernon Road. In fact, all of the places Trump came out with a majority seem to be in Dunwoody.

Let’s flip this and take a look at Clinton’s top 6:

Precinct Trump % Clinton % Johnson % Total Votes
WADSWORTH ELEM – 05 0.40% 98.18% 1.41% 495
OAK VIEW ELEM 1.63% 97.35% 1.02% 2645
COLUMBIA ELEM 1.04% 97.14% 1.82% 768
MARBUT ELEM 2.15% 96.97% 0.88% 2377
MILLER GROVE MIDDLE 1.73% 96.97% 1.30% 2076
PANOLA ROAD 2.00% 96.91% 1.08% 1199

In many locations, Clinton scored above 90%, including a Saddam-like 98% at Wadsworth Elementary. Wadsworth is between Glenwood and Memorial Drive and is a magnet school. The test scores there look really good.

Finally, where are the libertarian voters in DeKalb?

Precinct Trump % Clinton % Johnson % Total Votes
SKYLAND 40.44% 52.19% 7.37% 1276
ASHFORD PARK ELEM 47.09% 45.63% 7.28% 1718
CHAMBLEE 2 38.73% 54.68% 6.60% 1774
CROSS KEYS HIGH 35.65% 57.79% 6.57% 1355
TILLY MILL ROAD 51.35% 42.10% 6.55% 1145
MONTGOMERY ELEM 43.45% 50.24% 6.32% 1694

These precincts tended to have a higher than average percentage of Trump voters. The #1 area for Johnson is Skyland, which is west of Buford Highway, south of the airport and includes Plaza Fiesta. I would not have thought this to be a hotbed of libertarianism, but there you go. And hey, my precinct, Montgomery Elementary, is there too! I did see a good number of Johnson yard signs around the neighborhood.