Ask Dr. Brinkman

‘Priorities’ Category

Saying “No” is Your Most Important Time Management Tool

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Steve Jobs said, “Focus is about saying ‘no’ to 1000 things. I am as proud of the things we have said ‘no’ to as those we have said ‘yes'”.

Here is a great article on “no”.

Have you ever come back to work after a holiday with firm intentions that this time you will manage your commitments better? Yet, a few weeks back at work and that resolution seems a distant dream.

It seems that nearly everyone wrestles with this issue and none more than the people who like to be busy, involved and contributory in their daily activities – and I include myself in that group.

It was useful to remind myself the other day about the first of the 8 Top Time Tips on the back of my business card. (Almost every attendee of a conference or workshop gets one):

The No. 1 Tip: ‘No is your most powerful time management tool.’ …. read more here

How to Create More Time

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Everyone can use more time. The truth of it is, there is no time. There is only right here and “Now.” When you woke up it was “Now.” As you read this it is “Now.” And in an hour it will still be “Now.” In each precious moment of Now many things will ask for your attention. They will not all fit in the here and now. What you choose to allow in your Now quickly becomes your past. Success and fulfillment is making choices in your Now Moments that are based on your highest priorities.

To create more time in your life the first step is finding out what you are “saying Yes to” in the Now moment. Because every time you are saying “Yes” to something in the here and now, you are also saying “No” to a whole lot more.

Without knowing your specific situation, I would say one of the two most important action steps that can be taken to be more organized and effective are clarifying values and doing a time log.

Download the complete Time Log PDF article here.

Download a Time Log spreadsheet here.

MyEvent Log, an iPhone app that you can use to do a time log.

To Do or Not to Do

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I have some motivational signs posted in my office, mostly to do with focus and belief. I shared the Rule of Acquisition #173 in the last post. Here is another favorite of mine that most visitors to my office seem to gravitate to:

HALF ASSED ACTION

IS BETTER THAN

PERFECT PROCRASTINATION.

Simone’s Story of Escape & Survival

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Simone BrinkmanMy mother spent six months of her mid 20s in the Auschwitz concentration camp. As the Russian front advanced quickly, the German soldiers fled west to be captured by British or American forces. They were very afraid of the Russians. Auschwitz was evacuated and my mother was part of 1000 girls they took on a death march through the snow. They were the tail end of the German retreat and on a so-called rest break, they were to dig a ditches in the road. The idea was to slow the Russian tanks down.

It was January, bitter cold, they were hardly dressed and were starving. As they stopped to camp overnight my mother broke down and began to cry. A German soldier asked her what she was crying about and my mother said, “I can’t stand it anymore. I’m freezing, starving, and I’d rather you kill me.” He said, “Look at me.” She looked into his blue eyes, blue eyes she could see in her mind the rest of her life. He said, “The war will soon be over and it is us who will be dead and not you. You can make it just a little bit further a day at a time.” He then gave her a piece of his sandwich and ordered her to go guard one of the fires at the camp.

The next day my mother had renewed hope. She looked for an opportunity and noticed two things. When you went through deserted German towns and the road curved, there was a point when the guards couldn’t see you. There were about 1000 girls and only 100 guards. She also noticed when they stopped to camp for the night there were many moments when no guards were visible. At one of those moments she snuck away. Looking for a place to hide she went to a deserted house and scratched the frost off the window to reveal a wonderful scene inside. A Christmas tree with ornaments, but even better with fruit hanging from it. She broke into the house, devoured an apple, but before she could feel the joy of freedom she realized she had left her two sisters and friend back at the campsite. For sure they’ll think she’s dead and this could be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” for them. She also knew they couldn’t continue the march much longer either. But what should she do? She’d already escaped! It was only a few seconds of deliberation before she thought, “I could not live the rest of my life knowing maybe I could’ve done something. If I can do this once I can do this twice. I’ll sneak back and we’ll get away together.”

So she hid some fruit on her person and tried to sneak back to the camp. But a guard caught her! “Where were you!”, he barked. She explained she just wandered off and got lost. He beat her a few times with his rifle. But even during the beating my mother knew that this would be the last time and tomorrow she would escape.

The next day when the road curved and the guards couldn’t see, she, her sisters and friend all scattered. This time my mother found a barrel and waited for hours until nightfall before she came out. The first thing she noticed was silence and that’s when she realized, “I’m free.” Just like that. All things pass. She, her sisters and friend had escaped and survived.

For the rest of her life when times were tough, when problems or upsets would occur, my mother would let her thoughts drift back to those days and put the present circumstances into perspective. Then in her words she would, “Spring into action and do something about it!”

Priorities in Black & White part 2

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I spent the summer of 2008 in NYC taking care of my elderly father. (See “Priorities in Black and White”). Then I brought him to my home in Portland, Oregon for a couple of weeks of intensive naturopathic therapies. When I dropped my father off in NYC in mid September and flew off to the UK for seminars, it was to be the first time in two and a half months that he didn’t have someone with him at all times. Here is what happened.

He not only survives but he thrives. He has more energy and memory than before he was hospitalized. He is back at work managing a commercial office building for his former partner in the disco nightclub business, not because he has to work, but because it gives him pleasure. He drives to work each day from Manhattan to the Bronx.

Three months after leaving him, I returned with my family to celebrate his 90th birthday. We had a party for him at O’Flanagans bar in NYC where the idea for Adams Apple (the disco he opened in 1971) was born. And being the kind of guy he is, he flirted with the girls at the bar and danced the night away.

My father Felix Brinkmann is a survivor. During World War II he was in three concentration camps. When my family and I visited Auschwitz we saw samples of well-organized handwritten spreadsheets created by the Nazis that showed the profit to the Reich from the slave work of a prisoner. If not purposely killed early, an initially healthy prisoner would be worked to death by the sixth month. My father survived in the camps for a full year.

His father was an electrical engineer so my father, Felix, was very familiar and comfortable with all things electric. In that era, it would be the geeky equivalent of a computer programmer today. He also had a natural ability to fix things, even things he never saw before. It was those skills, his ability to work, and his never give up attitude that allowed him to survive.

When he was in the Lodz ghetto (before being shipped out to the camps) he was in charge of a telephone repair factory. A German officer hearing about his ability to fix things brought him a record player and asked if my father could make it work. Felix said of course (even though he had never seen the inside of one before). He asked the German officer to leave it and a few records for a couple of days. Felix “the electrician” fixed it in a matter of minutes and as a treat to his “employees” he brought all the workers at the factory together to hear the music. People didn’t have such things in the ghetto and hadn’t heard music for years. Most of the employees were young women and some of them insisted, “Herr Brinkmann you must dance.” My father chose my mother. A day later he made her his secretary, even though she couldn’t type, but as my dad said, “She sure could kiss.” And the rest is history.

He spent the next year in the concentration camps; six months in Auschwitz (Poland), two weeks in Mauthausen (Austria), and five months in Ebensee (Austria). While in Auschwitz he was picked for the gas chamber five times and five times got out of it because he could speak perfect German and explain his value as an electrician. This summer and fall when we would discuss his life threatening illness, his response was to show me the numbers on his arm and say, “Big deal. I’m a survivor.”

In dealing with my father’s illness I am amazed that we have a medical system that can prevent people from dying from a life threatening disease, but then release them with no care whatsoever to actually help them recover. Out of the ten medications he was prescribed, none of them produce healing. They all just force a certain physiologic response. It would be difficult for a young person to recover from the liver issue my father had, but for an older person, it’s nearly impossible. That’s where naturopathic medicine comes in. I brought my father back to Portland for two weeks of intensive naturopathic therapies, which included I.V. vitamins, B12 shots and a supplement regime to support the liver and other vital organs. For the entire month of August following his release from the hospital he didn’t even remember being hospitalized for the month of July. After one week of naturopathic treatment he could remember the day and time we were flying back to NY. Before the illness I could barely get him to walk a block. Now he not only walks six blocks, but he does it with intention like any self-respecting New Yorker.

Although my naturopathic medical course took me into the mind/emotions, relationships and it’s affect on your well-being, this experience re-energized me in terms of what is possible physically.

I want to share the benefit of that with you, so in the coming months I will be interviewing some exceptional holistic healers and posting those interviews. Many of these will be audio downloads, while some will be articles by guest authors within the Conscious Communicator e-article series. Here’s to your health and I’m here to support you.

Dr. Rick Brinkman

PICTURED ABOVE: From Top to Bottom:

Felix Brinkmann 1939, age 21,

Felix and Simone 1946,

Felix Brinkmann’s concentration camp tatoo 2008,

Felix Brinkman at his 90th birthday part November 20, 2008.

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Simone, Diana, and Arie in the Ghetto 1941Today is my mother’s 90th birthday. She passed away last year, 5 days before her 89th. She was an incredible person, always positive and embracing life even though when she was 25 she spent six months in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.  She also was an identical twin who survived Dr. Josef Mengele.  

Dr. Mengele was a German SS officer and physician at Auschwitz-Bireknau. He gained notoriety for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced laborer, and for performing human experiments on camp inmates, amongst whom Mengele was know as the Angel of Death. 

Dr. Mengele was always looking for twins on which to perform his horrific experiments. My mother (Simone) and her sister (Diana) would try to keep far apart so they wouldn’t be recognized as twins. One day as Mengele was gathering subjects one of the prisoners came up to him and said, “Dr. Mengele, I have another set of twins for you.” And pointed out my mother and sister as way of gaining favors from the Nazis. Simone and Diana were brought to the back of a parked army truck to be loaded in the back. The guards who brought them there left. Then all of a sudden the truck just drove away leaving Simone and Diana standing there. Needless to say they didn’t stand there very long.

For the rest of her life my mother kept the book “Mengele” on her bookshelf. If she ever felt bad about anything, sorry for her self, or upset she would simply pull the book off the shelf, read a paragraph or two and then the present circumstances didn’t seem so bad. 

Thanks Mom. You are an inspiration. Happy Birthday.

PICTURE: 1941 Lodz Ghetto, Poland, from Left to Right; Simone, Arie (currently Distinguished University Professor Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park) Diana

Priorities in Black & White

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

“I could not llve the rest of my life knowing maybe I could have done something.”

After escaping from a Nazi death march in 1945, these are the words my mother said to herself right before she purposely let herself get captured again, so she could tell her sisters about how they might escape. She found her sisters among the 1000 girls in the march, explained how to escape and the next day they all did.

She passed away earlier this year and I spent most of December and January living with her and enjoying her in Arizona. This July my father (also a concentration camp survivor) was hospitalized for a month with a life threatening disease. When he was released August 8th I thought I was going to be in NYC for 5 days to help him get set up. Now thirty three days later I am leaving him for the first time.

Luckily I had space in my schedule to be there for him, although even when I am not traveling there are still plenty of work prioities. Just in the creative category alone there was 5 articles, 4 blogs, 3 podcasts, and a Tele-seminar oh my. Unfortunately they didn’t all get done. But what did get done is everything I could possibly do for my Dad. This included de-cluttering his apartment (a six day process), organizing his home so he can function even with impaired short-term memory, taking him to Portland for 2 weeks of concentrated naturopathic therapies, having great quality time with him, organizing home care support and a whole lot more. But today I finally had to leave. So I tagged his ear with radio transmitter and released him into the wild of NYC. 😉 And as I sit here on a plane bound for seminars in the United Kingdom I can hear my mother’s words and know for certain that I can live the rest of my life knowing I did all I could. Sometimes priorities are simply black and white.

PS: During the second week following his release from the hospital my father and I went out to our local Chinese restaurant. My fortune cookie was the fortune you see superimposed on the picture to the left. His fortune was, “Forget the stock market, invest in family.” So he bought dinner. 😉