Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stuck in Traffic

By Julie Rahm

The August 2010 National Highway 110 traffic jam in Hebei province China is considered the world's worst traffic jam (ever).  Traffic congestion stretched more than 62 miles from August 14 to August 26. The traffic jam included 11 days of total gridlock! The event was caused by a combination of roadwork and thousands of coal trucks traveling to Beijing from the coalfields of inner Mongolia. As a result, the Chinese government implemented a series of drastic measures to tackle the city's traffic woes. These measures included limiting the number of new plates issued for passenger cars to 20,000 a month and barring cars with non-Beijing plates from entering certain areas during rush hours. But, the worst daily traffic occurs in Brazil, not in China.
According to Time magazine, São Paulo, Brazil has the world's worst daily traffic jams.  According to reports from the city's traffic management agency, the historical congestion record was set on June 1, 2012, with 183 miles of cumulative queues around the city during the evening rush hour. However, according to the firm MapLink, which tracks congestion from about 800,000 vehicles using onboard GPS, cumulative queues actually reached 349 miles. 
Since 1997, the Brazilian government has implemented road space rationing using the last digit of the plate number. However, during rush hour every weekday, traffic in this city of 20 million people is still severely congested. According to experts, traffic jams are caused by the accelerated rate of motorization and the limited capacity of roads and public transportation. In São Paulo, traffic is growing at 7.5% per year, with almost 1,000 new cars bought in the city every day. The subway has only 38 miles of lines. Citizens of São Paulo spend between three and four hours behind the wheel each weekday. To mitigate the traffic problem, in 2008, the Road Space Rationing Program was expanded to restrict trucks and light commercial vehicles.
Here in the US, the Texas Transportation Institute estimated that the 75 largest US metropolitan areas experienced 3.6 billion vehicle-hours of delay per year, resulting in 5.7 billion U.S. gallons in wasted fuel and $67.5 billion in lost productivity, or about 0.7% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product. The institute also estimated that the annual cost of congestion for each driver was approximately $1,000 in large cities and $200 in small cities. Traffic congestion is increasing in major cities with delays becoming more frequent in smaller cities and rural areas. According to traffic analysis firm INRIX, the 10 worst US traffic cities (in order) are: Honolulu; Los Angeles; San Francisco; New York; Bridgeport; Washington, D.C; Seattle; Austin; Boston and Bayboro.
     So, this week’s stuck traffic theme allows me to tell you about being stuck in life situations. Too often, we are stuck in a challenge with no movement forward. Either we are stuck, or the situation is stuck. An infusion of energy is required to break free of the quagmire. I can resolve the problem for you if you message me online at  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Salty Life

By Julie Rahm

Salt is big business. In 2007, the total world production of salt was estimated at 257 million metric tons, the top five producers being China (59.8 million tons), the United States (44.5), Germany (19.8), India (16.0), and Canada (11.8). Americans are responsible for most of the demand. We consume more than two-and-a-half times the recommended amount of salt. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium or about one teaspoon of salt per day. The Center for Disease Control found nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are in high-risk groups that would benefit from a lower-salt diet of no more than 1,500 mg per day, yet most consume closer to 3,500 mg per day. Nearly everyone is aware of the risks. The Wall Street Journal reported that Pepsi is developing a “designer salt” that is slightly more powdery than the salt it regularly uses. The company hopes this new form of salt will cut sodium levels by 25-percent in its Lay’s potato chips. Nestlé prepared foods company, which produces frozen meals, announced that it will reduce sodium in its foods 10-percent by the year 2015. Also, General Mills announced that it will reduce the sodium content of 40-percent of its foods 20-percent by the year 2015.
It seems everyone is working toward lower salt consumption. But, here in Eastern North Carolina, salt is often consumed in a different way. Salt is sometimes rubbed into the wounds of others. And, even worse, some people rub salt into their own wounds. What do I mean? As an example, a tactless manager who I recently saw in action was quick to point out the failures of his employees. He put salt in others’ wounds. His “I’m better-than-you” attitude and managerial style rendered him less effective than his counterparts. Instead of instructing, this manager would critique his employees in a harsh demeaning way. Productivity suffered until the manager was able to hear and feel the words he delivered.  Once he stopped putting salt in wounds, productivity increased and the workplace environment improved dramatically. Most often, others know they have failed and don’t need to feel any additive pain. 
          Another misuse of salt is putting it in your own wounds. Self ridicule and critical self talk leads to underachieving and keeps you stuck. Why? Because excessive thinking about your faults causes  misperception of your own abilities and of the way others see you. And, excessive thinking blocks your insight so you don’t really know where you are in your life situation. Consequently, you can’t get where you want to go. So, easy with the salt! Leave salt out of your wounds and be kind in what you say to yourself and others. Your thought mastery is the difference between achieving your desires and falling short.
Would you like to learn how to be unaffected by others rubbing salt into your wounds, or how to stop putting salt into your own wounds?  Follow me online at  

Saturday, May 11, 2013


By Julie Rahm
A bucket is a watertight, vertical cylinder with an open top and a flat bottom attached to a semicircular carrying handle called the bail. The bucket has been a part of human history for thousands of years. The word "buc" means pitcher in Old English and was first used in the 13th century.  The earliest depictions of buckets are found on carvings dating from around 3200 BC. They show the servant of Pharaoh Narmer carrying a bucket. Babylonian carvings have gods and genies with small buckets containing holy water in one hand and a pinecone for sprinkling in the other. And, ancient carvings in Mexico also show priests with buckets.
 Recently, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a beautifully painted Greek terracotta wine bucket dating from 350 BC. In medieval European countries, buckets were made from wood and leather. The wooden buckets were made by coopers and had rope handles. Apart from their domestic uses, medieval buckets were also used in catapults as an early form of germ warfare. They hurled waste, dead and diseased human body parts and animals over the fortified walls of towns and castles. (yuk) And, you may know that Stanislas Sorel first patented galvanized buckets in 1837. These sturdy and rust proof galvanized buckets rapidly replaced leather and wooden buckets. Plastic buckets first became available in 1967!
Interestingly, to my husband, John buckets are a metaphor. When he was a fighter pilot in Marine Corps, he was a Low Altitude Tactics Instructor. John instructed other pilots on the art of flying low to avoid enemy radar. He taught the “tasking bucket”. When flying jets at extremely low altitudes, pilots must manage their tasking bucket. The most important task in their bucket is “terrain clearance tasking”. Terrain clearance tasking includes flying the jet, checking the altitude, watching the angle of bank, and monitoring the aircraft nose position. The other tasking in a pilot’s bucket is “mission tasking”. Mission tasking further is sub-divided into critical and non-critical. Critical tasking must be done to accomplish the mission. For example, critical tasking might be navigation or radio communication. On the other hand, non-critical mission tasking is a chore that can be accomplished anytime. A non-critical mission task could be folding a map or drinking a sip of water. When pilots “pull” a five “G”, 480-knot turn at low altitude, their sole focus must be on terrain clearance tasking. Failure to act on these tasking priorities can lead to disaster and probably a funeral. So, this week, I tell you about buckets and tasking to tell you this.
In life, it is important to prioritize your tasks and keep your bucket from spilling over. What are your critical tasks? What are your non-critical tasks? What are your personal “terrain clearance” tasks that will cause you to crash and burn if you fail to accomplish them? Fill your tasking bucket with those tasks first! Then, visit my website at 

Saturday, May 4, 2013


By Julie Rahm

The London Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1904. It is the oldest of London's symphony orchestras. It was set up by a group of players who left Henry Wood's Queen's Hall Orchestra because of a new rule requiring players to give the orchestra their exclusive services. From the outset, the London Symphony Orchestra was organized on cooperative lines. All players shared the profits at the end of each season. This practice continued for the orchestra's first four decades.
Through the 1950s, the London Symphony Orchestra was regarded as inferior in quality to new orchestras. It continually lost players and bookings. The profit-sharing principle was abandoned in the post-war era as a condition to receive public subsidy. Also in the 1950s, the orchestra members debated whether to concentrate on film work at the expense of symphony concerts. Many senior players left when the majority of players rejected the idea. However, by the 1960s, the London Symphony Orchestra was once again one of the finest and remains so today. By now you must be wondering who are the finest orchestras in the world.
Number one is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Starting in 1888, the Royal Concertgebouw has been performing classical music for over 125 years. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has a unique sound because it has only had six chief conductors since its establishment. And, with a collection of nearly a thousand recordings, this orchestra takes its position at the top.
Number two is the Berlin Philharmonic. Founded in 1882, the Berlin Philharmonic has had ten principal conductors, with its latest being Sir Simon Rattle. Under Sir Rattle, the orchestra has won a handful of BRIT Awards, Grammys, Gramophone Awards, and more.
Number three is the Vienna Philharmonic. The Vienna Philharmonic is a very popular orchestra with six and thirteen year waiting lists for its weekday and weekend tickets! And, with one of the world’s best concert halls, and a grueling audition process for its musicians, it is highly regarded.
Number four is the aforementioned London Symphony Orchestra. Since its founding in 1904, the London Symphony has quickly become one of the world’s most well-known orchestras; in part due to their extensive involvement original film scores like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter, Braveheart, and The Queen.
In the United States, the top five orchestras are the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pamlico Community Band. Legend has it the Pamlico Community Band was formed in 1862 when the steamship “Oriental” ran aground near Oregon Inlet. The Steamer “Oriental” was a 210-foot U.S. Army troop transport ship. When the ship ran aground in 1862, musical instruments washed ashore and were salvaged by local residents who then formed the Pamlico Community Band.
All these orchestras begin every performance by getting in tune with one another. If you feel out-of-tune with those around you, I can assist. Contact me by visiting me online at 

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