Apologizing and Forgiveness

To apologize means to express regret that you did something wrong, and then to make it right. To forgive means to accept the fact that you have been wronged, without seeking to impose punishment and without harboring resentment. Although these ideas seem straightforward, they are not at all simple.

To be sure, if you wrong someone, you are at fault, and you must accept responsibility. However, at times, you must accept responsibility for an unfortunate occurrence that was not your fault.

For example, let's say you manage a business, and one of your employees insults a customer or fouls up a shipping order when you are not around. Clearly, you are not at fault. After all, you didn't insult the customer or send the wrong order, and it is impossible to control everything your employees do when they are on their own. However, because you are in charge, you are responsible for what happened, which means you should apologize. In the first case (the insult), you might apologize to the customer in person or over the phone; in the second case (the shipping mistake), you might write a letter of apology.

In all cases, apologizing involves two separate actions. First, you must admit what you did and express regret. If you are a good person, you will feel bad when you apologize, but don't try to minimize that feeling by hedging. Be straightforward and humble. Don't say, for example, "I apologize if I hurt your feelings." Say, rather, "I apologize for hurting your feelings." The difference is obvious, especially to the other person.

Second, as part of an apology, you must accept responsibility, which means that, whatever harm was caused, you must make it right.

Doing so can be tricky. For instance, if you break something, you can fix or replace it. That much is obvious. But what if you act poorly, insult someone or hurt someone's feelings? How do you make it right when the time has come and gone?

The answer is to remember the occurrence and to let it influence your future behavior. For example, let's say you have apologized for interrupting someone repeatedly during a particular conversation. To make it right, you should make a point of monitoring yourself the next time you talk to that person and voluntarily keep yourself from interrupting. The person may or may not relate your new behavior to a past transgression, but he will appreciate your courtesy and -- most important -- you will be a better person.

Apologizing and forgiveness are complementary actions. As such, they work best together. (I apologize to you; then you forgive me.) However, one action does not necessarily require the other. There will be times when you will apologize and still not be forgiven; and there will be times when it is in your interest to forgive someone, even if he has not apologized.

To forgive is harder than to apologize, and can sometimes take effort and soul searching. Still, developing the skill of forgiveness is one of the most important lessons we can learn. Without it, we will never experience real inner peace.

True forgiveness requires us to banish resentment. Unlike apologizing -- a skill that can be taught to children at a young age -- learning how to forgive is something you cannot learn until you are an adult, old enough to have accrued experience and wisdom. Even then, it is something you must teach yourself.

As such, look upon the skills of apologizing and forgiveness as two different aspects of building character and maturity. You learn how to apologize when you are young, so you can learn how to forgive when you are older.



Cold Reading

There are various types of people who purport to be able to read your mind and tell you things about yourself that (you would think) they have no way of knowing. Some magicians, for example, will do mind reading acts in which they seem to demonstrate mental telepathy. Of course, there is no such thing, and legitimate magicians are the first to admit that they use tricks (although they won't explain the tricks).

Other more unscrupulous people will use the same tricks, but they pretend that their "powers" are real. Into this group fall the fortune tellers, the psychics, the mediums, and other charlatans, who take money from unsuspecting, ignorant, or credulous people.

That such people can astonish you by telling you things about yourself is not in dispute: they can. The question is how do they do it? The answer is they use a method called "cold reading".

Cold reading is a psychological technique in which the "reader" talks to you, fishes around for information and, without your catching on to what is happening, convinces you that he knows more than he really does. At the same time, the reader influences what you are thinking and feeling, again, without your being aware of what is happening.

Most of the time, the reader knows exactly what he is doing, and the fraud is deliberate. However, there are people who, by trial and error, have somehow figured out how to do a cold reading and don't realize what they are doing. All they know is that they have an intuition that allows them to influence other people. To some extent, this is the case with all good salesmen. Indeed, when the techniques of cold reading are applied skillfully in a social situation, they imbue the "reader" with a great deal of personal charm.

In my life, I have seen a particularly interesting example. I have a friend who, over the years, has discovered that she is "psychic". She is a wonderful, kind person and she gives people readings only because she wants to help them (as, indeed, she often does). However, she is not a psychic. The truth is, she has, without realizing it, developed skills as a cold reader and -- unlike most fortune tellers -- is using these skills unconsciously without any deliberate misrepresentation.

In the argot of the professionals, a reader, who is able to prepare by finding out information in advance, gives what is called a "hot" reading. When the reader has no advance information, it is called a "cold" reading.

One of the most famous professional readers is the Amazing Kreskin, who describes himself as the "World's Foremost Mentalist". In spite of what he says, Kreskin -- whose real name is George Joseph Kresge Jr. -- is not a mind reader. Like other such entertainers, he uses a combination of hot reading (that is, cheating) supported by highly developed cold reading skills, misdirection, showmanship, and lying.

The truth is cold reading is nothing mysterious once you understand it. I can't get into the details here, but they are readily available and, if you are willing to practice enough, you can teach yourself how to do a cold reading. If you do, my guess is that you will find out that it's not worth the trouble, unless you aspire to be an entertainer or a fraud.




Conversation is more than simple talking. Within a conversation, people not only talk to one another, think and exchange ideas, discuss what they believe, and share what they feel.

Conversing is so common that we look upon it as second nature, and it is easy to take it for granted. However, unlike other social activities, the roots of conversation lie deep, and are far more important than they might seem at first.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) pointed out that, if we are to have a good life, we must recognize and cultivate those traits that separate us from other animals, and that the trait which defines us as sentient beings is being able to reason: to think, to anticipate, to be rational, and to talk. In other words, to converse.

As human beings we are social beings and, as such, we are uncomfortable with loneliness. The cure for loneliness, however, requires more than the mere presence of others. After all, as we all know, it is possible to be lonely in a crowd. To avoid the pangs of loneliness, we must satisfy the basic human urge to form a mental connection with someone else. In other words, from time to time, we must be able to have meaningful conversations with others, or we will never be truly happy and comfortable.

Like all skills, the art of conversation is one that we must learn, and it takes effort and self-examination to learn it well. Conversation is satisfying because it demands a lot from us and gives us great rewards. Its demands are not only to talk well, but to listen well; to develop a sense of empathy and sensitivity to others; and to cultivate a desire for purposeful contemplation.

Whether we are discussing the role of virtue in a well-lived life or simply the latest football scores and what they mean to our favorite team, when we join our mind to that of another human being in a reasoned search for the truth -- however acrimonious or harmonious that search may be -- we are not only developing our personality and sense of self; we are fulfilling our destiny as sentient beings.




Is etiquette nothing more than common sense? Oh, my goodness, no. If only life were that simple.

Common sense is the ability to use one's native judgment to choose wisely among various alternatives. Etiquette is much more: it is the embodiment of all the social customs and principles that govern the behavior of well-mannered men and women.

To be sure, some rules of etiquette are based on common sense. For example, at the dinner table, we do not talk with our mouths full, because doing so, not only makes it difficult for others to understand what we are saying, but it increases the chances that we might choke. Just as important, if we recognize that the best dinner conversation is pleasant, inclusive, and gently stimulating, we can see that such goals are difficult to achieve if, while we are talking, we are also presenting others with an intimate view of our half-chewed food.

Most etiquette, however, is based purely on custom. For example, there is no practical reason for saying "please", "thank you", and "you're welcome". We do it because that is what well-mannered people do, and if we want to be accepted socially, we must learn the rules and we must follow them.

This is why proper etiquette must be learned. Good manners are not natural behavior (just ask any parent). Without etiquette, as artificial as it might seem at times, we would grow up to be mere sentient animals, rather than well-behaved, well-socialized ladies and gentlemen.

Whenever we are with people, we are judged by the way in which we conduct ourselves. If we are well-mannered, we will be welcomed by good people everywhere, regardless of our appearance, our wealth, and our talents.

Both my parents were considerate and thoughtful. My father was a particularly charming man and, my mother, before I was born, taught charm school (a place where one learns polite manners and proper etiquette). As a result, my parents were well-liked during their lifetimes and are remembered fondly by those who knew them.

Charm, of course, is a complex trait, one that requires, not only perfect manners, but tact, sympathy and poise. This is a lot to ask of anyone, but in my experience, if you work on the manners, you will find that, as you mature, acquiring the other characteristics is not at all difficult.

So, how does one learn good manners? Ideally, we are taught by our parents.

However as I can testify firsthand, no matter how diligent our parents might have been, many of us will never understand etiquette as well as we should, unless we make an effort as adults. (I can still remember my father showing me, time and again -- mostly unsuccessfully -- the proper way to eat hot soup.) For this reason, I believe that it is a wonderful idea for all of us to make an effort, once in a while, to brush up on our skills.

Perhaps because I could see how well good manners worked for my parents, I have always been fascinated by etiquette books. Even today, I love to read such books, especially the old ones. (A good etiquette book never really goes out of date: although specific customs may change, good manners and consideration for others does not.)

When you next find yourself in a library or bookstore, take a moment to check out the etiquette books. If you have never read such a book, I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it can be to practice the behaviors that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, "award or deny you very high prizes when you least expect it."



Flash Mobs

You are walking around a city, thinking of this or that, when you begin to notice something strange. People seem to be gathering from out of nowhere, one here, one there, another two or three from around the corner, when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a large group has formed.

It looks like a spontaneous gathering but then, all at once, everyone in the group starts spinning in circles as they walk back and forth across a busy street. After 10 minutes of this mindless activity, the group breaks up quietly, each person walking away as if nothing at all had happened. Within seconds, they are gone, leaving you scratching your head, wondering if you really saw what you think you saw.

What you have just witnessed is a flash mob, and here is how it all happened.

Anywhere from a few hours to a day before, someone sent out a notice asking for strangers to appear at a certain place at a certain time. For example, the notice might ask people in Bakersfield, California to gather at the fountain at the Marketplace Mall at 4:00 PM the next day. No other information was given.

At exactly 4:00 PM, once the large crowd had gathered, an organizer (the mob rep) walked through the crowd, handing out a sheet with instructions. In this case the instructions were to spin in circles for exactly 10 minutes, while walking back and forth across the street. However, they might just as easily have been to move around in a large ring and gobble like a turkey, to bow down and worship a nearby statue, to sing a funny song three times, or whatever.

Flash mobs are organized using instant communication technology, either on the Internet (via email, mailing lists or Web sites) or by using text messaging with mobile phones. The general idea is to induce a large group of people to "organize, congregate, act, and disperse".

Flash mobs were started on May 27, 2003, in New York, by a mysterious organizer known only as Bill. Bill sent an email message inviting people to gather at a particular store at a particular time. He sent the message to a group of friends, who forwarded it their friends, and so on.

The first gathering did not work well, because the store had found out about the plan and had called in the police. However, the second gathering, on June 19, 2003, worked well and became the first successful flash mob.

Strictly speaking, Bill's flash mob was not the very first large, temporary gathering. The idea had been tried before in various underground communities. However, this time, the idea caught the fancy of first, the alternative press, and then, the mainstream press, which spread the word, leading to the international popularization of flash mobs.

The idea of flash mobbing has given rise to other, similar activities. For example, there is flash blogging, where a large group of people all "show up" at a particular weblog at the same time, post comments, and then disappear as suddenly as they came.

The name "flash mob", was not made up by Bill, who used the term "inexplicable mob". The name was coined by an unknown blogger who was inspired by the 1973 science fiction story Flash Crowd by Larry Niven. In the story, inexpensive teleportaton devices allow people to travel instantly to any place on Earth. An unexpected consequence of the technology is that, whenever anything newsworthy happens, large numbers of curious people transport themselves to the site within minutes, creating havoc and changing the nature of the event.




Flirting is the activity of making playful advances to another person, usually for romance, sex, or both. If you want to be a successful flirt, focus on making the other person feel good. Use eye contact, listen, be self-confident, be respectful and show a sense of humor. As with many other activities in life, successful flirting is not so much what you do, but how you do it. Hint for Men: The next time you see a beautiful woman, go up to her and say, "Hi, my name's Harley. Didn't I write about you in one of my books?" (Well, it always worked for me...)




To use your lips to caress the lips of your beloved, to express your affection and your feelings of amorousness -- is there anything more delightful? But, like parachute jumping and cliff diving, if you are going to kiss, it's better not to make a mistake your first time. Don't worry, and don't be shy. All you need is a bit of instruction, and the Net is ready to help.



Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT)

Consider the following snippet of dialogue, overheard during a personal growth seminar:

Leader: "Everything you experience doesn't exist unless you experience it. And everything a living creature experiences is created uniquely by that living creature, who is the sole source of that experience."

Student: "How am I responsible for my wife getting cancer?"

Leader: "You're responsible for creating the experience of your wife's manifesting behavior which you choose to call, by agreement with others, a disease called cancer."

Okay, I know what you're thinking. What type of poor goop would sit there and listen to someone tell him that he is "responsible" for his wife getting cancer? Who would believe such meaningless double-talk?

I'll tell you who would believe it. Someone who has become indoctrinated by a Large Group Awareness Training organization or LGAT.

The most famous LGAT is est, Erhard Seminars Training, founded by Werner Erhard in October 1971 (who insisted that the name est be spelled with a lowercase "e"). Est has been modified over the years, and today it is known as "The Landmark Forum".

Aside from est/Landmark Forum, there are many other LGATs: Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Lifespring, PSI Seminars, Silva Mind Control, Tony Robbins seminars, Mankind Project, and on and on. The ones I mentioned are the most well-known LGATs in the United States, but, over the years, there have been literally hundreds of others, most of which don't survive for long.

When someone becomes deeply involved with a LGAT, he will adopt ideas that, to outsiders, are simplistic and foolish. In the process, he will redefine his life in terms of a dysfunctional group run by power-hungry, greedy tyrants.

Once this happens, the group ethos will tell him how to think about life: who to choose as his friends, how to act at work, how to spend his money, what to do in his spare time, how to raise his children, and so on. In return, the person will be given the opportunity to spend large amounts of money and many hours of his time (often as a "volunteer") searching for happiness, creativity, and fulfillment, all according to the prevailing dogma of that particular group.

Although other organizations have similar goals, what we are talking about here is different from the religious and charismatic cults that have always existed. It has only been since the 1960s that the LGATs have flourished, offering "trainings" to a great many people.

The basic idea of such trainings is to provide an intense, large-group experience that, in a relatively short time -- such as a few weekends, or even a single afternoon -- will transform an unhappy, fearful, unfulfilled person into a paragon of human development. The promise is that after taking an LGAT course, anyone should be able to control his reality to such an extent that he will be at peace with himself, have wonderful relationships, succeed in his work, excel at his hobbies, and make lots of money.

Since to some extent, we are all unhappy, fearful and unfulfilled, LGATs have a vast potential audience. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all have wonderful relationships, succeed in our work, excel at our hobbies and, at the same time, make lots of money, especially if the training to do so would take only a short time? The truth, however, is that LGATs don't work. What they really do is fill people with false hopes and unrealistic expectations (while emptying their wallets).

Interestingly enough, many LGAT graduates swear that their training has provided them with immense benefits. I remember, for example, back in the late 1970s, listening to a friend tell me he would have paid $1,000 for just the first four hours of his est training.

However, when such claims are examined dispassionately, it can be seen that -- despite all the time and money devoted to the cause -- almost nobody shows any real, permanent improvement in their lives. (So if your friends or relatives try to sign you up for a LGAT seminar -- especially a "free" introductory seminar -- please be skeptical of their extraordinary claims. You may not be aware of it, but people who become involved with LGATs, are subjected to a great deal of pressure to enroll their friends and relatives.)

The reason for this disparity is that, in spite of all the noise such organizations make about improving people's lives, LGATs have only one main purpose: to bring ever-increasing numbers of people into the organization, along with ever-increasing amounts of money.

To do so, LGATs use camouflaged, hard-sell techniques and sophisticated marketing. For this reason, LGATs are deliberately packaged in ways that disguise their true nature, which is known only to insiders. The message being broadcast to the outside world does not reflect what life is like inside the LGAT.

In the 1970s and 1980s, one of the most successful LGATs was led by Leo Buscaglia, who made a massive amount of money promoting books, lectures and TV shows in which he revealed that "Love is life". "Only when we give joyfully", taught Buscaglia, "without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means."

Still, in spite of his continual efforts at self-aggrandizement, Buscaglia was relatively low-key for a leader of an LGAT. Compare him, say, to Tony Robbins who on his Web site exhorts us to "Imagine the life you've always dreamed of living, with no barriers or boundaries. Imagine a life rich with success and achievement, endless physical vitality, heartfelt personal relationships, and a deep sense of spiritual fulfillment."

If that isn't enough to convince you to pull out your credit card, how about this? "Tony Robbins' original life-changing program, Personal Power, had helped millions of people take control of every aspect of their lives -- financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally."

If you do attend an LGAT session, you will find a large group, many of whom are already true believers, led by an outgoing, upbeat "trainer". During the session, you will be subjected to a great deal of manipulation and peer pressure. As this happens, if you stay aware, you will notice the trainer skillfully using the following techniques:

-- Regressive fallacy: Falsely claiming that a particular technique is responsible for something that would, once in a while, occur naturally.

-- Post hoc reasoning: Falsely claiming that because one event occurred after another one, the first event caused the second one.

-- Subjective validation: Selectively remembering certain events and forgetting others.

-- Confirmation bias: A tendency to see what we expect to see.

-- Wishful thinking: A tendency to see what we want to see.

-- Communal reinforcement: Believing that something we are taught is true, because we are surrounded by other people who already believe it.

The most obvious technique used to fool people is creating new vocabulary by redefining common words to have new meanings that are known only to members of the LGAT.

In the Landmark Forum, for example, students are taught new definitions for the following words: get, share, responsibility, technology, breakthrough, rackets, winning formulas, stories, commitment and integrity.

You should know that, among the people in the give-me-money-and-I'll-fix-your-life industry, all of these principles are well-known. Look around and you will see similar strategies in organizations as diverse as multilevel marketing (Amway/Quixtar/Alticor), pseudo-religious cults (Scientology, Avatar), and personal growth events (firewalking seminars).

It is in the LGATs, however, that such techniques have reached their zenith, successfully separating millions of people from their money, while promising the moon but delivering next to nothing.




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We all know we shouldn't lie, but are white lies okay? What about lying when the cause is a good one? Is lying ever okay? As a general rule, no. Life can be hard enough at times just dealing with reality. When someone misleads you, even if they mean well, your vision of that part of the world will be wrong, and your actions and judgments will be skewed. And if you are the person who lied, you will find that, over time, you will have to exert more and more ingenuity explaining away your previous lies in a consistent manner. You should recognize that lying covers more than intentionally telling a falsehood. There are also lies of omission, where you create or perpetuate a lie by not saying something. Don't fool yourself, these are still lies. In general, lying is a highly destructive habit that always ends up causing more trouble than the lie was supposed to avoid in the first place. On the other hand, cultivating the habit of telling the truth has a wonderful side effect: you will become a better person, naturally, because you know you will never be able to lie about your actions.




The idea of seduction is to chase someone until they catch you. The time-honored role of seduction is for young men to attract the attention of young women in order to have sex. However, there are a great many other variations. If you look at life carefully, you will see that there are a great many situations that have nothing to do with sex, in which it is useful to be skilled in the art of seduction. In fact, every time you want someone to do something for you, remember that the art of attracting people is 90 percent charm. However, there is more. You should know there is a cult of seduction buffs on the Net who obsess about techniques they think will lead them to successful conquests. There are also a great many determined men who are seduction wannabes, so women: my advice is to read some of this stuff. The sheer brazenness of what some men will do to get what they want will probably disgust you, but at least you will be prepared.




In 1971, Abbie Hoffman published a book that jumped to the best-seller lists and, in less than a year, sold more than a quarter of a million copies. This book was refused by tens of publishers. Stores refused to carry it and the media refused to accept advertisements for it. The name of the book? "Steal This Book". When he wrote the book, Hoffman (1936-1989) was a well-known Yippie radical and member of the Chicago Seven. (If you are not sure what this is, ask an old person.) Steal This Book was a compendium of rip-off tricks and survival techniques. Today, in the ultimate irony, Hoffman's book is available for free on the Net. To complement it, I have included some sites with information about stealing. (The fine print: Stealing is wrong, so don't do it. This is only for fun.)



Thank-You Notes

Would you like to know the secret of my success? It has to do with thank-you notes. Check out my Web site for the details. I hope, after reading what I have to say, you will become a thank-you note person (if you are not one already). If you start writing thank-you notes and it changes your life, please drop me a line and let me know what happened. (You can send me a note from my Web site.)



Time Sense: Polychronicity and Monochronicity

Are you a polychron or a monochron?

My guess is you have no idea what I am talking about. And yet, this is one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself. Knowing if you are a polychron or a monochron will help you understand a lot about yourself, including how you fit into the world and how you get along with others.

The terms monochron and polychron have to do with our time sense: how we perceive and manage time. To a polychron, time is continuous, with no particular structure. Polychrons see time as a never-ending river, flowing from the infinite past, through the present, into the infinite future.

In the workplace, polychrons prefer to keep their time unstructured, changing from one activity to another as the mood takes them. Although polychrons can meet deadlines, they need to do so in their own way. A polychron does not want detailed plans imposed upon him, nor does he want to make his own detailed plans. Polychrons prefer to work as they see fit without a strict schedule, following their internal mental processes from one minute to the next.

Monochrons relate to time differently: to them, time is discrete, not continuous. Monochrons see time as being divided into fixed elements -- seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and so on -- temporal blocks that can be organized, quantified and scheduled. Monochrons love to plan in detail, making lists, keeping track of their activities, and organizing their time into a daily routine.

Monochrons prefer to do one thing at a time, working on a task until it is finished, then, and only then, moving on to the next task. To a monochron, switching back and forth from one activity to another is not only wasteful and distracting, it is uncomfortable.

Polychrons are different. They love to work on more than one thing at a time. To a polychron, switching from one activity to another is both stimulating and productive and, hence, the most desirable way to work.

Can you see yourself in here somewhere?

I bet you can and, once you do, you can see how easy it would be for a monochron and a polychron who live or work together to butt heads frequently, driving each other crazy without even knowing what is happening.

Here is a common example. Because of the way polychrons see time, they are often late. This only makes sense because, to a polychron, exact times (and even exact dates) are not really meaningful and, hence, are not all that important.

Try telling this to the monochron who is kept waiting for that polychron. While the polychron was finishing a couple of last-minute chores at home, the monochron was at the appointed place five minutes early, anxiously looking at his watch. To a monochron, time is exact and, as he sees it, being late is both rude and disrespectful. To a polychron, any time -- even an exact time -- is just an approximation. If someone keeps him waiting, he doesn't really care. He just figures that something must have happened to hold up the other person, and it's not that big of a deal.

In order to keep the peace, polychrons do learn to be on time when they really need to be. However, if you can get them to talk truthfully, they will tell you that they don't really understand why so many people feel that punctuality is a virtue.

The important lesson here is that, when it comes to organizing time, we all think that how we do it makes the most sense. The hidden assumption is that there is only one right way to understand time (our way). The truth is there is more than one way to think about time and neither extreme is right or wrong; they are just different.

Of course, this is not to say that, in a particular society, it won't be more advantageous to be either polychronic or monochronic. Indeed, the terms "polychronic" and "monochronic" were first used to describe whole cultures and not individuals (by the anthropologist Edward Hall in his book The Silent Language, 1959).

According to Hall, some cultures are traditionally monochronic. In such a culture, time is thought of as being linear. People are expected to do one thing at a time, and they will not tolerate lateness or interruptions.

In polychronic cultures, time is thought of as being cyclical. In such cultures, it is not important to be punctual, and it is acceptable to interrupt someone who is busy.

If you live in the United States, Canada, or Northern Europe, you live in a monochronic culture. If you live in Latin America, the Arab part of the Middle East, or sub-Sahara Africa, you live in a polychronic culture.

If you are a monochron living in a monochronic culture, you fit in without knowing it. But what if you are a polychron (as I am) living in, say, the United States? You will find yourself at odds with the work habits of most of the people around you, perhaps even disagreeing regularly with family members or spouses.

I have already mentioned that, to a polychron, it is acceptable (and even desirable) to be late, but there is a lot more. Polychrons consider a schedule to be less important than interpersonal relations. So they will, for example, be glad to stop what they are doing to talk to someone, or take a phone call, or to send email. Although polychrons like to handle more than one task at a time, they won't care if someone interrupts them during their work time or even during their break time. To a polychron, all time is the same, and they tend not to separate their work time from their personal time.

Although I live in a monochronic country, I know many polychrons. To my eye, they seem to enjoy their lives a lot more than the majority of monochrons, who live in a highly demanding world that rarely seems to let them relax and just be who they really are.

Perhaps being a polychron in a monochronic country isn't all that bad. You get to watch all the busy bees around you, planning, scheduling, and working hard, making sure that the many things that need to be done are done and done on time, which means that you get all the advantages (and there are many) of living in a monochronic society.

Moreover, as long as you can finesse your way around the demands of punctuality and mandatory deadlines, you can work when you want to, on whatever it is that interests you at that moment. Since you don't need to make an artificial distinction between your work and the rest of your life, you have no need to separate what you think from what you feel. Thus, you can live your life with a great deal of passion, much of which will find its way into your work.

No wonder I feel as if I am always on vacation!