We are all being tracked.

Complete privacy is a thing of the past.

The best we can hope for is that we look good to the world.

Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, discussed this in a Dec. 21, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

“We have the means to measure, by some proxy, how we live up to our intentions and how we impact others,” O’Neill writes. “The strategy we set today provides the framework for improvement tomorrow,” she says.

Our life trail will certainly show imperfections. It will show what we did right, what we did wrong. The question becomes: did we do better today than yesterday, and will we do even better tomorrow?

It’s one thing for a person to succeed. But did he help others succeed in the process, or did he succeed because he took advantage of others?

Sophisticated devices, social media and other modern conveniences leave us more exposed than ever. We leave trails of data everywhere. We use the Internet to find jobs or customers, who can learn so much about us in a very short time.

It’s all good, right? For those who wish to remain as private as possible, it’s not necessarily good. For those who wish to conceal some things about them, it’s not so good. But most of us want to be out there, for everyone to see. We want to be able to communicate with others easily, even if we can’t meet face to face.

Of course, personal contact and face-to-face meetings are far superior to other communication forms. After all, we can’t read people online. Personal interactions are much more fun than our impersonal ones.

So what do you look like to the world? What mark are you leaving for all to see? Are you helping others?

We must be careful as we look at others not to judge quickly. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently, his high school friend in Oregon who died at 54 could look, at first glance, like a typical moocher. But Kristof, and those who knew him well, knew him as a hard worker, who just got down on his luck. Kristof called him a victim of economic inequality.

There are many ways those of us who might be down on our luck economically to recover, without asking for a handout. For one of the best, visit Success could be there for the taking if you are sufficiently motivated.

Paul Anka’s lyric in “My Way,” made famous by Frank Sinatra, says, “The record shows, I took the blows, and did it my way.” If “your way,” is to help others, may you take the blows deftly, without injury. Success likely will grace you. If “your way” is to do all for yourself, and little for others, may the record show improvement today, and even more tomorrow.



“The best is yet to come and babe, won’t it be fine.” (from the song by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, recorded by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett).

Jones — just Jones, no Mr. – is an old man who thrives on helping people see that the future is always bright – no matter one’s current circumstance.
Jones is the lead character in Andy Andrews’ book, “The Noticer,” which professional golfer Nancy Lopez called the greatest book she’s ever read.
Jones has a gift for noticing things, he says. He also has a gift for showing up in people’s lives to give them perspective on a problem – at the exact time they need it.
He is spiritual, yet practical. But mostly, he is ALWAYS optimistic that everyone will have a great future, no matter his age, or current troubles.
We probably all have a Jones character in our lives. It might be a friend, family member coworker, colleague or someone we’d just met. We may not even be able to identify that person off the top of our heads – but he or she is there. All we have to do is listen to him, and follow his advice.
We’ve all heard the saying that when God closes a door, he opens a window. We just have to recognize where the window is and go through it.
The last five years or so have been difficult for lots of people. There’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about what caused it, who’s to blame and what magic bullet is going to make things right again.
We are starting to see things get better, but too many people are still down. They may feel it to be the worst time in their lives. But as Andrews’ character points out, what seems to be the worst time in your life may lead you to the best time of your life. The secret to success, according to Jones: have people want to be around you.
Not a “people” person? Become one. No one has to undergo a radical personality change, but just try to see yourself from others’ perspective. What would THEY change about you, if they could, as Jones puts it.
Don’t know a lot of people? Start with the ones you do know. Make sure THEY want to be around you. Depending on how well you know them, you might ask them what they would change about you, if they could. Once you get the people you know to want to be around you, then you can work on those you don’t yet know. Believe it or not, it takes some effort to have people want to be around you.
Got people around you who are always negative, always saying, “Woe is me?” You might have to change the people around you, to paraphrase a popular adage, if the people already around you won’t change.
Be fun, but be good. Do the right thing, even when no one is looking. You see, good people don’t have to act, or put on a show. They are good to the core, naturally.
You don’t have to be a social butterfly. But be a good inviter. Invite people to coffee, lunch, dinner or whatever.
As you do this, you might, if you don’t have something already, have something to show them when you invite them. It needs to be something of which they can choose to partake – or not. Good inviters take no for an answer. If you don’t have something to show, visit You might find the best thing you’ve never heard of. And, you might want to show it to the world.
You also may find your Jones – or at least some perspective on your life that you’d not seen yet. Regardless, just know, as Jones says in Andrews’ book, that the past is not what you should focus on. The present may not be pleasant, but, no matter your age, the best is yet to come.