3 Reasons Why Humble Pie is Good for You

               Perhaps one of the most humbling experiences is the moment that you realize that technology is leaving you behind and you have to seek help from a 12-year old.

               This Christmas, we decided that getting a video game system was on the table.  I was enthralled after seeing a display for Xbox at the store showing a racing game with graphics that were so far beyond the Atari video games that I recalled as a kid.  The catch was, due to the cost, that it would be a shared Christmas gift for both my son and I.  So, being a good father, I put my list of tools and gadgets on the back burner and threw in my hand for a gaming system. 

               My son and I started looking in earnest at the best system and, in the end, decided on a PlayStation 3 and put the games we wanted on the wish list for Christmas morning.  Santa was good to us and we did get the PS3, along with several games. 

               My son and I setup the system and began playing, starting with a shooting / soldier game.  Almost immediately, I realized that I was in huge trouble.  While I was struggling to figure out how to turn around or look up, relatively simple things in real life, my son’s hours of playing with his friends made him an expert.  Even handicapping himself with every disadvantage under the sun, he could beat me without even breaking a virtual sweat. 

               I realized that playing with him was hopeless for me, and not at all challenging for him.  So we switched to the driving game that I had wanted.  That was not much better.  It was closer, but still, I could not beat him at any race.  Even my daughter joined in and beat us both routinely.

               Back in the real world, I have been a police firearms and a police driving instructor.  Being beat at games based on both skills was frustrating and somewhat humbling as my son made fun of my rather poor talents (it was rather amusing as well, especially for him).  It was also humbling trying to learn new skills like how to maneuver around a video game, especially ones that are very popular with so many people that I know. 

               The experience got me thinking about what life lessons could be learned.  After reflecting on it, I decided that being humble (or maybe better to say humiliated) is not such a bad thing and actually can be quite helpful.

               So get out your knife and fork and get ready for a dose of humble pie – and trust me it is not so bad.  Why?

1.      Humility keeps you learning.  There is the old expression that necessity is the mother of invention.  Sometimes when things get tough, the tough really do get going.  Realizing that you are hopeless or pathetic is the first step towards making some changes and improving the situation.  In my case, I will just have to sacrifice some of my valuable free time to improve my video game playing skills.

2.     A dose of humble pie keeps you cautious.  When you realize that you are vulnerable and have weaknesses, you can be wary of those shortcoming and work around them.  It also forces you to be conscious of potential threats, such as a competitor who might do things better (or convince a customer that they do).  When you are aware of threats and pitfalls, you can take steps to avoid them.  Another advantage is that when you realize your weak areas, you can build teams at work to bring in people who do better than you do in that area.  I’ve heard a number of leaders say that they are not that smart, but they make a point of surrounding themselves with people that are in order to be successful.

3.     It makes you a better person.  Face it – no one likes an arrogant SOB.  A dose of humility keeps you motivated to help others develop professionally.  Someone without any humility might get that attitude that they became successful all on their own, without any help from anyone else.  Maintaining that touch of humility keeps you in touch with reality and all the people in your life that influenced and mentored you to success.  And it helps you laugh at yourself when you do mess up (and we all do).

               Stay humble and keep moving forward.  And if you want to find me, I’ll be trying to figure out those video games.


Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense.  He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management.  Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces.    To learn more visit http://www.businesskarate.com/profile.html. 

If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at eric@businesskarate.com. 

How to Throw a Punch

               Arguably, the punch is the best-known self-defense move.  It is the first one to come to mind when thinking about defending yourself.  It is ubiquitous in Hollywood fight scenes and action moves.  It may also be one of the least effective self-defense moves if done incorrectly.
               In the typical Hollywood style, the punch is thrown in a wide arc or roundhouse (aka the “haymaker”) and can be seen coming for a country mile – which works for movie audiences.  In a real defense situation, this can be easily blocked or sidestepped.
               A better technique is the straight punch or jab.  Instead of a long arcing path, the fist travels in a line straight to the target – thus the name – straight punch.
               Before going any further, however, we need to look at two critical elements.  First is how to make a fist.  Second is how to position your wrist.
               Making a fist incorrectly can actually cause you more harm than the bad guy (or gal) attacking you.  The trick is all in where you position your thumb.  If you tuck your thumb against your palm and wrap your fingers around it to form a fist you risk serious injury – to yourself!  Another common mistake is to leave the thumb hanging out and exposed; something of a hitchhiker mode.
               The first step is to roll your fingers into your palm until your knuckles are even.  Then tuck the thumb against the fingers between the 1st and 2nd joints.  This fist gives you two solid surfaces for striking.  One is the area formed by the base of the fingers along the knuckles.  The other is the bottom of the hand often called the hammer fist.
               The second piece of throwing a punch is the position of the wrist.  Most martial arts teach students to punch with a twist so the knuckles end up horizontal or parallel to the ground.  The twist or snap gives the punch more power.  However, this is dangerous for someone who does not practice extensively.  It is easy to snap the wrist on impact if the wrist is not kept perfectly in line with the forearm.  If the wrist folds up or down as you are punching into a target, the blow can easily sprain or even break the wrist and put you out of action. 
               To avoid this, defense tactic instructors for police train officers to keep their wrists vertical so the knuckles form a line perpendicular to the ground.  This provides a stronger position for the wrist and helps avoid injury when striking.  Incidentally, this is the same wrist positioning used by bare-knuckle boxers of the past.
               Remember to practice.  Self-defense moves need to be instinct and practice is the key.  Now you know the right way to throw a punch, and better than a Hollywood action hero.

Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense.  He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management.  Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces.    To learn more visit http://www.businesskarate.com/profile.html. 

If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at eric@businesskarate.com. 

Have a Safe and Merry Christmas!

Twas the week before Christmas and all around town
People were bustling and shopping and scurrying around

On top of it all, over the noise of the traffic, all across the city
Carolers could be heard with a happy holiday ditty

Most of them had a heart full of cheer
But there were a few, a dark few, with a Grinch-like leer

For their thoughts were on thievery and robbery
Car break-ins, burglary and other nefarious skullduggery

 But don’t worry or let your holidays be ruined with fear
Simply follow a few of the security tips presented here

 Remember if going out for the night
Set a timer to turn on a light

 Christmas decorations hanging from the rooftop with care
When turned off, tell a burglary ‘no reason to beware’

If someone tries to take your wallet or purse
Trying to fight them may make it worse

 But if your life is in danger, then fight tooth and nail
Yell, scream, kick and bite and don’t stop until you prevail

In a busy mall, tell your kids, if lost, find a store clerk
Teach them to seek help rather than some perverted jerk

Identity theft is always a popular scam
So be alert to fraudsters on the lam

Since I am running out of rhymes
And this may be a waste of your time

Read the additional tips lower down
And don’t let security worries make you frown

 In any case, while you’re out and about at play
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday

            To help keep your holidays safe and happy, Business Karate offers the following tips:

If you’re traveling:

*    Get an automatic timer for your lights, including outdoor Christmas lights.  A home decorated with lights left off in the evening is an open invitation to potential burglars, letting them know that no one is home.

*      Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home, shovel snow and even park their car in your driveway.

*      Be sure to have the mail and newspaper delivery stopped or picked up by a neighbor.

If you’re out for the evening:

*      Turn on lights and a radio or TV to make it appear that someone is home.

*      Don’t leave gifts where they can be seen from outside.

*      Be careful about locking all doors and windows, even if leaving for a short time.  The majority of burglaries occur through unlocked or open doors and windows.

While shopping:

*      Stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you.

*      Park in well-lit areas and be sure to lock your car.  Keep shopping bags and gifts in the trunk, out-of-sight.

*      Avoid carrying lots of cash; use a credit card or check whenever possible.

*      Be alert to persons using cell phones with cameras behind you in checkout lines.  Identity thieves may try to obtain you credit card numbers and driver’s license information through cell phone photos and use the information later for Internet purchases.

*      Don’t leave your wallet or purse unattended – it will make a great target for a crook looking to go on a shopping spree with your credit cards.

For more security and crime prevention tips, click here.

Your biggest risks may not be your biggest worries.  About 33% of small businesses fail after becoming victims of crime.  Ordinary, everyday criminal acts – not high profile terror attacks or disasters. 
Get real solutions for real problems.  Contact eric@businesskarate.com to learn about security management coaching and how to help your organization thrive.