Diana Nyad Speaks on Her Life After Sexual Assault

Diana Nyad is a legendary endurance swimmer. She has earned national acclaim for over forty years for various athletic feats. Her notoriety started when she swam the 28 miles around Manhattan in 1975.

Her greatest swimming achievement came at 64 years old in 2013. On her fifth try, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida (110 miles) without using a shark cage. I distinctly remember her profusely thanking her large team of helpers that assisted her in the effort.

Last week, Diana wrote an op-ed column in the New York Times about being sexually assaulted multiple times in high school by her swim coach. She explains what it was like to carry that burden during those formative years and how it still impacts her today.

It is not an easy read, but I am glad she had the courage to talk about it. I encourage anyone that thinks they can raise their sympathy and understanding of these situations to read Diana’s column.

Evidence vs. Fear

Fear is loud. Evidence is quiet. Listen to the evidence.

I like that quote. It’s a reminder to get past the headline that is supposed to induce an emotional reaction. Look for the facts instead.

Nick Maggiulli has examples of subjects that humans fear even though the available facts on those subjects look far less menacing.

RIP Roy Halladay

For a 10-year stretch (2002-2011), Roy Halladay was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. While Halladay entered pro baseball as a touted prospect, he struggled early in his career.

In his second season, he posted the worst earned run average (ERA) of any pitcher in baseball history. He was sent down to the minor leagues. It was in the minors that he retooled his approach and returned as a budding superstar.

The stories about Halladay’s intensity and preparation, even on off days, are legendary. He is one of the most beloved teammates baseball has seen in the 21st century. He set the example for star pitchers in the prime of their careers today.

Halladay died yesterday at age 40 in a plane crash. It’s rare to see an outpouring of support to this extent after an athlete’s premature demise. We can all benefit from reading some of the stories being written about Roy this week to better ourselves in the future.

Here is a good one to start from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

The Only Metric That Matters for a Service Business…

…is retention. Are you able to keep your current clients?

Josh Brown states his case here in reference to financial advisory firms, but I think this perspective can be adopted by any service business.

Focus on overdelivering for the clients you have, and odds are others will recognize the value of your product/service when you inquire about working with them too.

The three bullet points I liked best from Josh’s post:

— Tell the clients what you are going to do and then do it

— Turn away potential clients whose objectives are not within your circle of competence

— Standardize the process, customize the advice

Lizzie O’Leary on the Grey Area of Workplace Sexual Harassment

This column by Lizzie O’Leary at The Cut was excellent. O’Leary reflects on a career filled with moments that fall into the grey area of workplace sexual harassment. Examples include married executives and Congressmen she just finished interviewing who then asked for her number or to meet them for a drink at a late hour.

She typically let these moments slide because she did not want to jeopardize her career and/or figured no one would listen. The few times she did speak up, she was almost always told to keep it to herself.

Her hope is the next generation of women beginning their careers today do not endure a similar path. Hopefully they will know they can speak up, and the workplace environment will have improved enough to be receptive to their concerns.

The Iowa Wave Through a Child’s Eyes

In September, I linked to Adam Kramer’s terrific piece about the new Iowa football tradition for the fans and players to wave up at the parents and children on the 12th floor of the adjacent Children’s Hospital between the first and second quarter of its home games.

George Schroeder has now posted a excellent, emotional look at this tradition but from the eyes of a 6-year old boy who has spent all of 2017 at the hospital. I highly recommend reading it here.

Investor Expectations Are Too Damn High

The Schroders Global Investor Study was just released for 2017. Globally, investors expect a 10.2% annual return over the next five years. For millennials, it’s even higher at 11.7% per year.

That’s possible but unlikely, especially because it’s a projection for a broad investment portfolio, not just stocks. The historic annual returns of stocks, the best performing asset class, don’t even reach that 10% figure.

We’ll reiterate that given where starting valuations are today for stocks and bonds, a 4-5% expected annual return for the next 5-10 years is a more reasonable assumption and is less likely to lead to disappointment.

Source: David Brett at Schroders

African Residents Urbanizing Faster Than Any Region in World

This will be interesting to follow over the next several decades. Africa already has more of its population moving to urban areas than any other country/region in the world, and it is projected to have the largest urban population globally by 2045.

Africa Urbanizing Faster Than Rest of the World

Source: Bluegrass Capital on Twitter

On a related note, the Financial Times published this great piece on Accra, the capital of Ghana, back in September. It provides a specific example for how cities in Africa are catering to the emerging middle class.

Exercise Matters For Maintaining A Lower Weight

The study cited in this NY Times piece has a very small sample size (just 14 participants), but it adds an insight I had not seen before.

Adopting a more healthy diet is crucial for a person trying to lose weight initially. However, once the pounds are lost, exercising often becomes the key to keeping the weight off going forward. One reason for this is the study’s participants showed slower metabolism after their initial weight loss. Basically, your body is disagreeing with your new healthier state by burning 500 fewer calories per day. Exercise can be used to offset this.

For the successful stories among the study participants, the amount of daily exercise they did was more than the recommended amount normally seen.

On average, those who managed to maintain a significant weight loss had 80 minutes a day of moderate activity, like walking, or 35 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, like running.

The catch with so much physical activity is it can lead to injuries. Each of us must still listen to our bodies and know when to ease off.

Another takeaway is we can become more understanding of why people regain weight they have lost. A large factor is the body’s natural reaction. It is not an indictment of that person’s commitment to being healthy.

The idea that people who regain lost weight are necessarily slothful and gluttonous is an unfortunate stigmatization that is not based in fact.

Source: Gina Kolata at NY Times