Monday, December 10, 2012

KamerMaker - 3D Printer Big Enough to Print A Home...

... in manageable pieces anyway. It's a cargo container repurposed into a gigantic 3D printer. A must-see for 3D printing fanatics.

(sorry about the maze-like way you have to get to the article - trying to keep refreshing my coding knowledge)

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

This is a Coding Test - I'm learning programming!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reaching Your Potential (Part 3 of 3)


To realize your affirmations, keep them rooted in your mind and work on them regularly. The most important technique is imaging.

  • At least once per day, lie on your back in a comfortable area (a bed or couch can be used if available, but a carpeted floor can work just fine), where you won't be disturbed.
  • Begin the imaging session every time in the same way, by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath. Let the inhalation expand your abdomen and your chest, while you use your mind to search out areas of tension in your body, letting each one melt slowly away. Thinking words like "relax," "release," "let go," and "peace," can help when faced with trouble spots.
    Once you feel fully relaxed, bring one of your affirmations to mind. Say it aloud, then take a deep breath like you did when you began relaxing. Repeat this up to five times. Begin creating a mental image of yourself and your life as it will be when the affirmation is a reality. As vividly as possible, imagine your feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions when the transformation has taken place. Work your imagery down to the minute details of an entire scene.

    Example: Let's say your affirmation is, "When I work, I am focused, alert, and relaxed - my mind is clear and sharp." Create an image of yourself at your desk. Imagine the flowing, joyful state of mind where details fall into place and each complex problem gives way to your powers of concentration. Picture the smile on your face and the lightness of your posture. See yourself fulfilling tasks one after another and completing many with ease.

  • Act everyday, as if your affirmation has already come to pass.
  • How would you behave if you had become the empathetic, loving person you want to be? How would you talk to people? What feelings would you have? Just playing the role creates a space for you to grow in the desired direction. In other words, "Fake it until you make it," and you'll make it a lot faster.

    Example: If your affirmation is something physical, such as, "I'm 25% stronger and faster," you can't immediately make this a reality, and "faking" it could actually be dangerous. However, you can mentally make it happen by representing the change in your stance, walk, and how you approach people, as if you were the new stronger, faster you.

  • Post reminders in several strategic spots that you're sure to pass every day:
    • mirrors, especially in the bathroom
    • the wall along stairs or in a hallway
    • the refrigerator
    • your car radio
    Any small, brightly colored note will suffice.

    Every time you pass one of these "checkpoints," say your affirmation to yourself, silently or aloud. Practice quickly bringing an image of it to mind where it's already been realized. It may take a little time at first, but soon you'll be able to create vivid scenes in no more time than it takes to snap your fingers. Keep at it, and the images, words, and feelings will stay with you as you carry on with your life towards your new, assuredly assured success!

Whatever you do, make sure you start actually doing it! If you just read this article and don't put any of it into practice, it's worthless. If you procrastinate and never get around to it, it's worthless. Don't let your potential get away with never actually happening!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Reaching Your Potential (Part 2 of 3)


Far more powerful than traditional goals, affirmations can keep you moving in the direction you want. Think of affirmations as simple statements you make about yourself in the present tense (rather than in the future). These statements will help you reach your goals because they are about you, not external circumstances or results.

Example: You've started your own business and want it to succeed in a big way. Instead of striving toward a goal, such as, "My business will net $500K in the next year," try leading yourself there with statements such as:

  • "My current negotiating abilities with vendors and clients are fantastic."
  • "I positively complete major deals with ease."
  • "I am totally present in my work and generate effective strategies with particular attention to important details."

When you make an affirmation, you create in your consciousness, the condition that you want to achieve. Once the mental reality exists, a natural inevitable process can gradually make it happen in the physical world as well. You transform your life by transforming yourself into the person you want to be.


Choose your affirmations wisely, make them clear and specific, and write them down! Committing these visions to paper is vitally important towards making them real. Additionally, for each one that you choose, ask yourself the appropriate questions from the following:

  • Does this affirmation represent a change in me rather than in the world?
  • How will this change affect others in my life?
  • Do I absolutely, without a doubt, want what I say I'm hoping to achieve?
  • Is this an image of someone I really truly wish to become?
These are important because the success of this method depends on committing yourself wholeheartedly. Imagine the consequences in vivid detail, knowing that becoming less dependent, more assertive, and more adventurous will change your relationships. Discussing your plans with family and friends can help you bring your visualizations into focus, therefore making them easier to create in your life.

Affirmations can be similar to goals in the fact that they work best in a six month to one year time frame, and with a selection of four or less. Few people have the ability to maintain the focus and concentration required to realize more than four affirmations at a time.

Another example of a good affirmation: - "I have great empathy for other people. My ability to understand what they're feeling borders on telepathy."


... Stay tuned for Part 3 to learn more!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reaching Your Potential (Part 1 of 3)

As humans, aren't we amazing? We are comprised of chemicals which seek their lowest energy level at all times. We are, by chemical definition, lazy. But, we have an amazing addition that makes all the difference - spirit. Without thought and understanding, we would be rocks, and nobody wants that! So let's take a look at making the best of those things that drive us, and see if we can't reach a new un-rock-like potential.

How To Get Where You Want To Go

Of course, you have to actually want to get somewhere first... so we'll assume you do, or you wouldn't be reading this right now. But setting goals and striving to meet them doesn't work for everyone. Many of us get frustrated by factors we can't control when we fail to reach our goals, then feelings of disappointment and defeat creep in.

There has to be a better way, right? Of course there is.


Some goals are helpful, such as making a "to do" list at night and checking off each completed task the next day. This way you're organizing your tasks and rewarding yourself a little at a time along the way to a productive day.
However, life goals and aspirations are a little more complicated than something you can complete in a day's time. Too many people focus obsessively on external benchmarks to the point that those become the meaning of their lives.

Example: You may feel you have a gift for healing, so you set a goal to become a doctor. Perhaps you lack the finances or academic accomplishments to go to medical school though, so you feel like a failure and forget your dreams altogether. This is like a horse with blinders stopping at a puddle. Think of all the other kinds of healing your rigid goal cut you off from: social work, massage therapy, hypnotherapy, or even spiritual guidance. In this scenario, a narrow ambition kept you from getting what you really wanted.

What's worse, is that concentrating too much on life goals can cut you off from the experience of life. When winning is all that counts, the hours, days, and even years you spend heading toward that goal are overlooked, or at the very least under-appreciated. When you focus solely on your goal, you spend your time thinking about the future outcome, so you prevent yourself from experiencing the present. People who achieve real success are those who forget about what they're trying to achieve and concentrate instead on what they're actually doing.


... Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn more!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cary Grant. Who?

There are plenty of people in the world who still know who he was, but just in case you aren't one of them, you should definitely take a gander at his Wiki Page.

Words that stick out are debonair and dashing. Definitely a man who had his self and his style together. Few men have been more revered for their well-groomed good looks, yet Grant made it a point to be very cavalier about his appearance - rarely admitting to doing any exercise, avoiding make-up when on camera, and not being picky about having a particular barber every time. These ticks didn't make him a fan with directors who were concerned about their film's visual continuity, but it did help to endear him in the eye of the public for his "natural beauty."

And now you have a sudden urge to dress better and get your stuff together... but how!? Well, my friend, it's your lucky day!

Cary Grant's Secrets for Looking Great, Always

  • Buy only stylish conservative clothing.
  • - Grant's father was a tailor's presser in Bristol, and Grant always stuck with the well-regarded Savile Row tailors for his clothes. Of course, how much he spent, didn't matter as much as how great they looked on him. Because classic suits never go out of style, he was often able to wear the same suits for years. In fact, Grant usually had only a surprisingly small wardrobe of a few, mostly dark, suits.
  • Shirt collars and suit lapels can help overcome physical shortcomings.
  • - Grant was well aware of his minor physical flaws, and took measures to mask them. He had his tailors build up the shoulders of his suits (to hide his sloping shoulders), as well as modify his shirt collars and suit lapels (in order to make his thick neck appear longer and thinner).
    **Tip** - Thick-necked men should favor long, pointed collars and lapels, which are slightly larger than usual. While thin-necked men should go for spread collars and narrow lapels.
  • Good conditioning doesn't require a muscular appearance.
  • - A trim, well-conditioned physique and grace of motion are the keys. Grant wasn't a fan of push-ups or free weights, but instead favored swimming each day. Regular exercise helped him stay fit without building large muscles, and also attributed to his graceful motion. It's been said that his memorable appearance may more likely be because of his movements than his handsome face. Some of his elegance can be traced back to the fact that he was a trained acrobat, and could even pull off several tricks later in life. Additionally, part of his work history prior to acting, included "stilt walking" on Coney Island, which is partially funny because he was slightly bowlegged.
  • Don't fight the aging process.
  • - When Cary Grant's hair began to turn white sometime in the '60s, he let it go white. It's said that he felt if he dyed his hair it was bordering on dishonesty, but I'm not so sure about that since he didn't have a problem covering up other physical traits (read shoulder padding). He more likely was aware that obvious attempts to alter his appearance could have ruined his natural casual image. He would cover this by saying that desperate attempts to hang on to youth were unattractive by their very nature, and he was oft disdainful of fellow actors who had toupees or facelifts.
  • Have and display confidence.
  • - Part of Grant's charm was his ability to appear comfortably at ease in his own skin at all times. If you've got it, flaunt it, if not, fake it until you do!

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Happenstance Collection of Helpful Health & Happiness Tips

Guess what ...

... even everyday emotions like tension, frustration, and sadness can trigger ischemia - a drop in the heart's blood supply that is often a precursor to a heart attack! In one study, published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association," negative emotions were found to MORE THAN DOUBLE the risk of ischemia.
- Reduce stress "in the moment" by asking yourself if it's really worth getting upset. If the answer is "No," try using mental manipulation tricks, or relaxation techniques such as meditation, in order to move forward as smoothly as possible.

... changes in diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks. Try to focus on a diet low in fat and rich in vegetables, fruit, fiber, and low-fat dairy.

... dark eyeglasses without ultra-violet (UV) protection may be WORSE than no sunglasses! Dark lenses reduce the visible light, causing the pupils to expand, letting in more UV light. This is particularly important with children, whose eyes are more sensitive to sunlight than adults' eyes, because sun damage during childhood may increase the chance of cataracts and overall vision loss later in life.

... surgery patients recover faster and go home sooner when they share a room, especially with someone who has already had the same operation. If you can't room with someone who has had the same surgery, don't dispair - similar benefits can actually be found by at least visiting with such a person prior to your procedure. Ask the floor nurse if they can facilitate it for you.

... garlic should not be refrigerated. The cold makes it soften and sprout, and gives it a bitter taste. Garlic bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry place with adequate air circulation. Onions should be treated the same way, until cut, although many people refrigerate them to "reduce" the tears caused by cutting them.

... you may be able to retrieve a letter mailed by mistake. A free form called a "Sender's Application for Recall of Mail" should be filed in the zip code where the letter was sent. The catch: your chances are best if you contact the post office BEFORE the mail is collected. Good luck!

... there are some quick tricks for finding a mild-tempered, friendly, healthy puppy. The best time for testing is around seven weeks old.
  • Gently lay the puppy on its back on your lap. It should wiggle a little and possibly try to bite your hand, but not wiggle uncontrollably nor continue to bite you.
  • With some distance between you and the puppy, clap your hands and make sure the puppy is attracted to the sound. It's a good sign if you walk away immediately afterwards, and the puppy follows you.
  • If you throw a ball, the puppy should show some interest.

... washable allergen-proof covers for pillows and mattresses are available just about everywhere those items are sold. The covers can greatly reduce your exposure to allergens from dust mites and significantly relieve nighttime allergy symptoms.
On a similar note, a CLEAN bath towel placed over your pillow each night can greatly reduce acne in affected individuals.

... low fat diets combat migraines. Migraine sufferers who cut their dietary fat intake by 1/3, reported fewer, shorter, and less severe migraines within two months. This is mostly because bloodstream fat alters the amount of serotonin and histamine in the blood in ways that either cause, or make migraines more severe.

... a study of 35,000 post-menopausal women, showed that those who took at least half the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E - current RDA is 15mg (22.4 IU) for anyone over 14 - decreased their likelihood of developing heart disease.

Here's hoping, that hour after hour, you have a healthy happy wholesome weekend! ;-)

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Live From Texas, it's Saturday Night!

Just some light laughable reading for a lackadaisical weekend.
  • A big man can cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.
  • If you fall off a tall building, go really limp so people might think you're a dummy and try to catch you, because hey, free dummy!
  • A little boy asked me where rain comes from, so I told him "God is crying." He asked me why God was crying so I told him "Probably because of something you did."
  • Boxing is a lot like a ballet, but without the music and choreography. Oh, and the dancers beat the crap out of each other.
  • A hippie once asked me if I would be so nonchalant about cutting trees down if they could scream. I said, "I might be, if they screamed all the time for no good reason."
  • I think they don't take dogs into space, because if it stuck its head out during re-entry, its face would burn off.
  • I think clowns are scary. Mostly because of that time I went to a circus when I was a kid, and a clown murdered my father.
  • I think a nude opera would be really awesome, because every time they hit one of those high notes, you can probably really see it in their genitals.
  • As I was driving with a friend, we saw a sign that said "Watch For Rocks." My friend said it should read "Watch For Dangerous Rocks." I told them they should write a letter to the highway department, but they said "No, no, it was just a joke..." just to get out of a simple letter! And I thought I was lazy!
  • Do you think there's anything more beautiful than a beautiful eagle soaring across a beautiful sunset, carrying a beautiful rose in its beak, with a very beautiful painting in its talons? And also, you're high.
  • I'll always remember my Uncle Cave Man. We called him Uncle Cave Man because he lived in a cave and from time to time he would attack and kill someone. It made a lot more sense when we finally discovered he was a bear.
  • In weightlifting, as with any sport, I don't think sudden, uncontrolled, projectile diarrhea should automatically disqualify you.
  • Whenever I see something screech across a room and latch onto someone's neck, and they scream and try to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing?!?

Have a great weekend!!

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Shrewd Safe Stock Investment Strategies

The stock market is a crazy messed up world, and can be unforgiving to naive captains setting sail for the first time. If you want to get your feet wet, without getting shark-bit, try following some level-headed investing advice.
The following guidelines are based on advice from a large-cap value fund managers.


Don't spend your time and energy trying to predict the economy, interest rates, inflation, or the current market flow; focus on finding stocks of great businesses whose prices have been beaten down. If you want companies that will deliver the highest possible returns with the least amount of risk, but also provide great growth, you should be looking for companies which meet the following criteria:
  • High return on tangible assets.
  • These are the numbers on the left side of a balance sheet. Compare them with the company's cash flow minus depreciation. There is a strong relationship between assets and profitability - the more assets it takes to earn one additional dollar of revenue, the more difficult it is to improve your earnings. Make sense? For this reason, you should also avoid companies that are in capital-intensive industries, such as railroads, airlines, utilities, and industrial commodities like paper and steel.
      Focus on the following types of companies:
    • Unique professional services: tax preparation, advertising, money management, etc...
    • Development, manufacture, or distribution of vitally important, inexpensive, or widely used products: pharmaceuticals, retail, etc...
    • Media outlets with few, if any, competitors: tricky in this digital age, but think about Amazon's app store and Apple's iTunes to get your brain kicking...
    • Government-guaranteed franchises: mortgage and student-loan packagers (if their numbers, and contracts, are good after all the bailouts and bubbles of late, then they are definitely worth looking into)...

  • Shareholder-oriented management.
  • Defined as management that has demonstrated an ability to recycle cash flow in a strategically effective manner. Management has a number of choices about how it can allocate capital. The most important is reinvesting cash in research and development, improving marketing, or implementing cost-reduction programs.
    Other ways include: acquiring other businesses, liquidating less-profitable sections, buying back company stock and paying down debt, or paying dividends. There should be evidence, over time, that management will actually use capital in the best strategic way.
    Clearly, the way management allocates capital is a good test of its regard for shareholders and the company's future growth, however, this is a subjective conclusion, which is usually reached by conducting interviews with top executives.

  • Low purchase price.
  • Don't think of this in a "penny stocks" mindset. Think of it in relative terms, and I don't mean your uncle Joey's inside tip. Look for a company's stock price to be substantially below its "private market value," which is what an intelligent businessperson would pay for the stock.
      Three reasons for a "cheap" price:
    • Stock market decline
    • Perceived external threat to the company's cash flow, even though the company is doing well
    • Overreaction of the market to a short-term problem with the company that can be easily corrected


As you can probably imagine, you don't have to look far to find companies that match the above criteria. Simply summarized, we want slightly above-average quality companies in a discounted state. Consider a good discount to be 60 to 70 percent of "true" value. Consider selling when your purchase reaches 80 to 90% of that value. Consider that this could take years, and remember we are discussing shrewd safe investing here. This keeps you from being swept up in short-term market and economic trends and limits your portfolio's risk.

    - The Rules -
  • Look at a company's "free cash flow."
  • - This should be considered instead of its price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios (the traditional tools of value investors). Technically, free cash flow is a company's net income plus depreciation and amortization, minus maintenance and a portion of capital expenditures. Basically, this tells us what kind of earnings a business really is capable of generating for its shareholders.
  • Invest in a few well-chosen companies.
  • - Concentration (Confucius would be proud) on the big hitters is just the way good teams win - like it or not. This doesn't mean you have to limit yourself, but make sure you know where your loyalties lie. Consider your top five stocks holding around 30% of your total portfolio value, and your top 20 accounting for around 65% overall.
  • Invest for the long term, and trade as little as possible.
  • - On average, expect to hold stocks for five years.
  • Think independently.
  • - Don't get caught up in the market mentality, and don't buy stocks based on firm ratings. Use the standards, follow the considerations, and remember the rules. This is not the be all to end all, but it will get you started on the right track. Once you've developed your own trustworthy instincts, feel free to make your own rules.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Alternative Medicines You Shouldn't Turn Your Nose Up At

Maybe you've got an ailment that traditional medicine just isn't working for, or you might just be curious about healthier alternatives to the stuff big pharma is cramming down your throat.

DISCLAIMER: Be aware that the following is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness, and you should always consult your physician before changing current treatments.

Like many doctors, most people are under the impression that all alternative medicine is nonsense. It turns out though, with some due diligence, you can separate the actually-beneficial nuggets from the truly inane cult-offered chaff. So let's dive in!

Keep in mind that the stuff that's good for you is usually pretty easy to spot, as things that work, often catch on quickly and become commonplace. They also follow a pretty basic foundational rule for the most part: anything that reduces stress and treats the mind and body as a single entity can have a significant impact on the prevention and management of disease.

There is growing evidence that our emotions can influence resistance and immunity to infection and even canSer. There are numerous studies documenting the fact that positive outlooks by doctor and patient can have a beneficial course on a variety of disorders.


- Acupuncture: can often control chronic pain. I think it should be available at every hospital.
- Aromatherapy: has been shown to be a side-effect-free way to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and even help sexual performance.
- Biofeedback: manipulates brain waves to help control such "automatic" functions as muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep regulation, and blood supply to the skin.
- Hypnosis: can be used to control pain, curb obsessive behaviors, and help you cope with painful memories. It's one of my favorites because through self-hypnosis, many of these issues can be managed by yourself, for free.
- Massage Therapy: varies with the therapist, and you should find one who is most effective for you. Massage therapy is a great way to relieve sore muscles and manage spasms.
- Meditation: reduces stress without any exercise, although a routine that incorporates moderate exercise would provide additional mind/body balance, which leads us to...
Yoga, Tai Chi, and other Oriental techniques: improve breathing, muscle function, and posture, all while producing a calming effect on your emotions. I'm surprised that these seem to just finally be making a break into mainstream workouts.

Q and A

If a doctor dismisses alternative therapies, should I still consider them, or just find another one?
It's not advisable to "go it alone," so before abandoning the conventional route, make sure that you have explored all the options. This may involve getting a second, or even third, opinion. Of course, you'll want to make sure you ask if they are just hesitant to suggest alternative therapies from lack of information/training, or if they are downright opposed to them. If they are completely closed-off to the idea or they tell you "There's nothing more I can do for you," then it's time to try another one.
When dealing with alternative medicines, there are all kinds of quacks and quackery... Are there telltale signs to watch out for?
Be wary of anyone who advertises or solicits you by mail with promises to cure what current medical knowledge says is incurable. If they try to sell you something that can make you "perform" at age 90, as you did when you were 20, make sure you walk away. Nothing short of a wig will restore a full head of hair, there are no magical canSer or chronic fatigue cures, and we can relieve the symptoms of arthritis, but not cure it. Anyone telling you differently is a quack, or at the very least, misinformed. Also be aware that quacks love to use the "conspiracy theory" angle - doctors, the government, or simply "they" are holding back treatments to line their pockets. Paranoia will only take your stress levels in the wrong direction, so stay away from anyone who tries to instill it.
No mention of herbal therapies?
Herbs (and supplements in general) can be a slippery slope. There are several, which are safe and effective, but no one should use them without first discussing them with their doctor. Herbs can interact with other medications that you may be taking. If your doctor has no experience with herbs, he should be able to recommend an herbalist. With that being said...

Beneficial Herbs

-Echinacea: works to prevent recurrent viral infections and reduces the severity of symptoms.
-Evening Primrose, Borage Seed, and Flaxseed Oils: all have anti-inflammatory properties. They contain gamma-linolenic acid, which is converted by the body to a form of prostaglandin, which reduces inflammation, and is the mechanism by which aspirin works.
-Feverfew: has been shown to prevent migraine headaches. It is a preventive only, not a treatment. It works only in 1/3 of all patients, and is a long, slow process, but may be worth trying.
-Garlic: one or two fresh, raw cloves daily, can lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, help thin blood, stimulate the immune system, and help control infections. It is less effective when cooked, and in my opinion, more effective raw than in odorless pill/capsule form.
-Ginko Biloba: may improve memory in the elderly. Research has shown that it can improve blood flow to the brain, heart, and legs.
-Saw Palmetto: should be considered by anyone who is troubled by symptoms of an enlarged prostate. If you decide to try saw palmetto, look for the words "fatty acid" or "lipophilic extract" on the label.
-St. John's Wort (hypericum): is an effective, mild antidepressant. It has few side effects, if any, and I always recommend it before considering more powerful agents. Definitely heed the drug interaction warning with this one though.

Now get out there and live a happy and healthy life! I mean it!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quick Tips Towards a Better You


FEARS: Help your child handle fear by listening respectfully to what they say, without becoming overly concerned or active, which would reward the feeling of fear. Belittling the fears will make the child less likely to share them with you. Patience is key, and you have to give them time to overcome their fears at their own speed. You can help them come up with ways to handle their fears, praise them as they get better at facing their fears, and acknowledge their coping skills.
QUICKTIP: Physical play, drawing, painting, and completing small tasks help children master their world and can make them less fearful.

ETIQUETTE: Have a "Polite Night" every so often to teach kids table manners. Get out good plates, and silverware, and dine by candlelight. Practice the proper etiquette for a formal dinner, from setting the table correctly, to eating rolls and cutting meat.

PERSONALITIES: If your child is particularly intense, let them win when disputes are unimportant. Be careful not to give in to unreasonable demands though. From time to time, pick activities where winning is not the main objective, like gardening or storytelling. When your child begins to get riled up about something, try a diversion tactic, i.e. That should be enough of (insert current activity here) for now, how about a quick snack? Make sure your child sees you relax, and acknowledge your own mistakes so they can learn to deal with theirs.


In Your Flow: How do you feel when you feel really good? Typical responses are: alert, joyful, energetic, accomplished, challenged, lucky, strong, at peace, winning, etc... Whichever words you use, they determine how you feel when operating at your personal highest level, which some refer to as "being in the flow." Focus on these feelings when you have them, and use them every day to create better results for yourself in everything you do.

Being More Productive: It is NOT possible to catch up on five days of sleep deprivation during a 2-day weekend, and as a result, many people are perpetually tired or even lethargic. Instead of a coffee break, try relaxing into a 20 minute nap, especially between 1 and 3 PM, when there is a natural dip in human body rhythms. This dip is noticeably worse for people who are sleep deprived.


Excuses - Don't Use Them: You always want to be known as a star performer, which means you'll have to ditch these excuses.
- They didn't get back to me. This implies reactive instead of proactive choices. Take the initiative to come up with creative solutions when the normal methods for reaching someone aren't producing results.
- I thought (insert coworker's name here) was taking care of that. This not only starts the blame game, but is completely unproductive. Stay focused on the project's overall progress so that you're aware when something isn't being done when it's supposed to be. You may wind up taking on additional responsibilities, but you'll come out looking like a champ instead of a chump.
- No one ever told me. This sends the signal that you're oblivious to what's going on around you. If you have questions about something, figure it out, or ask, BEFORE it becomes a problem.
- I didn't have time. This would indicate poor time management on your part, particularly if it's an item that is regularly completed within a given time frame.
- I didn't think to ask about that. This shows off your lack of foresight and/or proper planning.
- I'll do my best. This is a tricky one because it almost doesn't sound that bad when you just look at it. Ultimately though, it suggests that you are trying to avoid final responsibility if things don't go well. Turn it into a determined "Yes."

Employable Forever: Manage your career so that you are always in demand, not only in your current company, but elsewhere as well.
- Keep your knowledge up to date. Be on the lookout for new skill-sets to learn and ways to improve existing ones.
- Have quantifiable accomplishments. These should show how you reduced costs, increased revenue, or made work more productive or efficient. An easy way to keep track of this is by continuously updating your resumé.
- Network constantly. If you're not a people person, become one. There is a lot of truth to the old saying, "It's not what you know, but who." Take the opportunity to talk to people representing other businesses which interact with your employer's. This will help you explore your career options on an ongoing basis, as well as open your eyes to potential areas for those quantifiable improvements.

Best wishes for a bright and happy weekend!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Be Great - Keep a Journal (Part 2)


Even seasoned journal writers encounter writing blocks from time to time. To keep from getting discouraged, remember that there are several approaches to expressing yourself in writing. Keeping your method fresh, is a good deterrent to becoming blocked.

Keep these techniques in mind:
- Use a springboard to focus your attention. Choose a topic, statement, or quotation, and start writing about it. Consider that the summarized points I mentioned you should start with, towards the end of Part 1 can also serve as a type of Table of Contents for you to look back on and expound upon when trying to record all the little nuances of your day.
Other examples of useful springboards:
- "Why am I feeling so angry?"
- "What I want most in life is ______."
- "What's the most important thing that I need to do tomorrow?" (Don't be afraid to list several things and then question your prioritizing.)
The springboard approach is just one way to break your writer's block. Once your writing and thinking become fluid (your flowjo is engaged), concentrate on expressing how you feel about people and/or experiences.

- Write an unsent letter. Probably one of the most helpful, simple, and under-used tactics in terms of getting out and working through frustrations, is the unsent letter. I personally have at least one email saved in my draft folder that I'll never send. I've written about this technique before in How to Let Go of a Grudge. Make believe you're writing a letter to someone outlining what you like, or dislike, about them. The safety of your journal makes it possible to write things that you could never say in person. This process provides a catharsis, as you can release hostile feelings that are too painful to bottle up, yet could wreck a relationship if they were expressed aloud. The undelivered letter clarifies your feelings, particularly if your thoughts are very complex. It offers an opportunity to resolve unfinished business, allowing you to tell the truth to someone without actually stating it in person.

- Create dialogues. Another way to express deep feelings is to write about them, and THEN write in the imagined voice of the other person. Dialoguing promotes two precious faculties: empathy and creativity. Most people make surprising or exciting discoveries when they let their imaginations roam this way. Try it out for yourself and see what comes up!

- Freeze-frame happy moments. Write a description of an experience that was truly intense and memorable. Immerse yourself in recollection, filling the page with physical and emotional detail. Doing this, recreates your body's physiological response to that lovely event, and therefore, promotes the healing effects of being happy. Most people report they fell refreshed and energized after expressing their favorite moments in writing.

- Explore the roads not taken in your life. Imagine that you had actually married your high school sweetheart, or taken an overseas job, or gone to art school. Write from that perspective. What would your life be like right now? This technique is an extremely powerful tool for developing decision-making skills about your future.

- Future-eyes (futurize) yourself. Imagine yourself one month from now, then one year from now. Where are you? Where do you want to be? What are some of the things you can do to get there? Write it all down as a confession to yourself. The words will awaken your intuitive and creative wisdom, which in turn, will help you make better decisions.

- Create a topical list for the day. Number a separate sheet of paper to 31. Next to each number, place a topic of personal or professional interest.
-old friends
-accounts receivable
-new relationships
-recent dreams
-million dollar ideas
Each day of the month, use the corresponding topic as a springboard for writing down your thoughts. This process will remind you to regularly monitor and reassess the important areas of your life.

Your journal will make you aware of how life and dreams change, even though some stay the same. Best of all, it will teach you how to think clearly about everything you do!

Congratulations! You're well on your way to becoming a better you! ;-) Feel free to share ideas/tips/tricks that have helped you, in the comments below.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Be Great - Keep a Journal (Part 1)

Most great people in history have kept journals. Take a step towards being just like them, with the following information as your guide.

The exercise of writing down reflections about events experienced each day is an invaluable way to evaluate your performance, allowing you to set higher standards of excellence for yourself, and it can also help you find new ways to solve difficult problems.


Many people resist keeping a journal because they think:
- They aren't good enough writers,
- Someone will read their innermost thoughts (heaven forbid!), or
- They have much more important things to do.
These reasons are just excuses, and you can't succeed in anything if you let worthless excuses stop you.

= A journal is for your own benefit, so your writing ability is only being judged by you. Practice makes perfect, and as long as you can read it, it's good enough for you to get started!
= In order to succeed, many people will need any number of other people to help them along their paths. Coaches, mentors, or even just confidants, can all help you better if you have a more complete understanding of your own self. You may find yourself actually asking others to read your journal (or at least parts of it), in order to help them help you. Crazy, I know!
= You need a way to evaluate your feelings and abilities, and also accept self-criticism in order to improve your weaknesses or build on your strengths. When is becoming a more effective and efficient human being, friend, relative, worker, etc... not on your priority list??

Instead of thinking of a journal as a list, in which you merely relate the day's events ad nauseum, relate it the diary you imagined (or even started) as a child - fill it with self-reflection, self-expression, and self-exploration. Emotions and opinions are paramount, meaning adjectives are your premium ingredient! The more descriptive you are, the easier it will be for you to recall your exact state of mind when you are looking back over your collective works.

A powerful benefit of thinking about your emotions, is that when you become consciously aware of them, you are more capable of shaping them. Woo woooooo (train noise)! Next stop: Emotional Stability.

Other powerful benefits of keeping a journal:
* Improve Self Expression. In a journal, or writing in general, you are able to express what you feel in ways that may be too difficult or even impossible at work, home, or especially out with friends. Getting drunk and spilling your proverbial guts, doesn't count as real self expression.

* Stress reduction. Expressing your anger in writing releases the emotional pressure that builds up when you hold feelings inside. Is it any wonder that many people say they feel calmer and spiritually at ease after a journal-writing session? Think of it as venting to your best friend.

* Stronger relationships. Writing about people you know will help you understand them better and put you in touch with your own feelings about them. When you're furious with someone close to you, discharging raw emotion in the privacy of the page enables you to work out solutions in advance, rather than face to face in an irrational outburst. Also consider that the other benefits discussed, will lead to a healthier individual en-total, meaning relationships in general will be easier for you to sustain.

* Better organizational skills. By structuring yourself to write regularly, you automatically develop stronger organization skills, such as list-making and time management. Needs and goals are also easier to clarify and prioritize once they are written out.


Oh great, now there are rules?!?
Keeping a journal is first and foremost and exercise in creative freedom.
Some people are inspired by an elegant bound notebook with fine paper, while others feel more comfortable letting the words flow onto loose-leaf sheets that can be clipped into a binder. As easy and convenient as it may be for you to keep your journal in a digital format, studies have shown that the "archaic" form of actually writing, for whatever reason, is much more powerful. You can always scan the documents into digital copies later.

Do your best to write something every single day. You can schedule 15-30 minutes at the same time each evening, or just pick up a pen when the mood hits you. If you're more of the latter style, try to make sure you keep the utensils (pen and paper) handy at all times, so you'll be ready when your fancy strikes.

Easy ways to get started:
- Put yourself in the mood. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth. This focuses your vision inward, clears a space in your mind, and eases the transition from workday reality to contemplation. Simply begin by asking yourself "What am I feeling at this moment?"

- Jot down a few lines to summarize the major high or low points of your day. This exercise is equivalent to stretching before working out or playing scales before jumping into Mozart's greatest hits on the piano.

Great job so far, you're well on your way!

Stay tuned for the next installment where I'll talk more about what to include in your writings, and how to get your flowjo kicking.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Begrudgingly De-Grudging - How to Let Go of a Grudge (Part 2)

For your health!


You can do it! The single most important step in forgiveness is giving up the irrational belief beneath your anger - the demand that other people act in the way that you want.

TIP: Look for the should's in your thinking, i.e.:
- He shouldn't have done that to me;
- People shouldn't act this way;
- I've been good, decent, and caring so I should be rewarded.

When you find yourself having thoughts like this, challenge them. While it would be very nice for people to act decently and respectfully toward one another, is there any reason to believe that they must behave this way? Of course not.

Remind yourself that everyone is fallible and that you can choose to accept this reality or fight against it - often at great cost to yourself.

Exercises to advance the inner talk that makes forgiveness possible:
- Write a letter to the other person, but don't plan to send it. Express fully how you feel, why that person's actions have hurt you and made you angry, and declare assertively, to yourself, that you forgive them.
It may take several days and many drafts to get the letter just right. You've completed the exercise only when you feel that the letter you've written is so honest and authentic that you would welcome receiving it yourself. (Actually sending it is always an option for the future.)

- Bury the grudge - literally! Write out the thing you're angry about and bury it in a pot of soil. Decide that for three months, you'll act as if you've forgiven the other person. The paper should degrade in the soil, just like your anger will fade as time goes by. This powerful symbolic exercise may seem silly, but it is extremely therapeutic, and it works!

- Enlist help. Have a friend or relative take the role of the other person. Confess all your anger and painful thoughts to that person. Encourage the "stand-in" to resist your attempts to rationalize your past behavior and to discuss only the ways that lead to forgiveness. This creates the "ideal" situation for expressing your pain and working through it with a level-headed "opponent." Be sure not to fall into the trap of having them pick sides and agree with your anger because this will only foster the grudge, as discussed in Part 1.

- Tap into the power of imagery. Use a technique such as deep breathing to achieve a fully relaxed state. Then imagine yourself talking with the person who hurt you, and imagine forgiving them or at least acting in a friendly, accepting way. This technique releases anxiety and connects the act of forgiveness to calm, pleasant feelings.

Best of luck to you all for freedom, love, and peace through forgiveness!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Begrudgingly De-Grudging: How to Let Go of a Grudge (Part 1)

Holding a grudge takes mental, emotional and physical energy. It makes you obsessive, angry, and depressed.

Some might say that forgiving and forgetting pays... but it won't be in nickels and dimes.


Three of the most beautiful words in any language are "I forgive you." Well, they are if you're a screwup like me anyway! But let's face it, it's not always easy to let go of past hurts and offenses, especially when the source is someone we care about.

A grudge can take on a life of its own, and endure for decades, even often outliving the original offender (no reference to the movie).

Considering the power of a grudge, is it any wonder that its anti-matter, forgiveness, is also very powerful (possibly even moreso)? So you can imagine why certain groups push forgiveness when the members are trying to regain control over their lives. The power gained from forgiving can lead to many other positive turns!

Forgiveness also has a spiritual quality, so many religions foster and encourage the process as well. There are more down-to-Earth reasons to put aside hard feelings though - solid, compelling reasons, including basic mental and physical health.

Too often we want to forgive, but something gets in the way. Eliminating the obstacles and achieving this empowering freedom, often requires more than minimal effort.

So I'm a screwup AND I'm lazy? ... For shame! No, no, no, it's totally natural to put a lot of pressure on yourself, which only compounds the stress related with holding a grudge. As you know, stress itself is bad enough for your well-being, but add on the anger you're feeling towards the other person... and now you've set the ball rolling on a whole spectrum of health miseries, including: chronic stomach maladies, heart problems, and even skin conditions!

Without question, the more anger we experience within, the more we wind up spewing out. This can lead to social complications on top of the internal problems. Apparently, the inability to let go of hurtful words or actions from one person, also makes it harder to trust or feel close to other people. Holding a grudge winds up infecting your family or prime social network, forcing everyone to choose sides and establish loyalties. These unhealthy activities breed secrets and spite instead of love and caring.


Forgiving is almost entirely an internal process. You could sit down with someone and say to their face "I forgive you for embarrassing me in front of the family..." or you can simply keep silent but start acting in a new way that is accepting... Either way, the real work involves you alone! Often, the first step is identifying and overcoming the fears, false beliefs, and misconceptions that make it difficult to forgive someone.
Some common false beliefs that prevent us from forgiving easily:
- If I forgive, I'll have to trust the other person, and I'm afraid I'll be hurt again. In reality, trust and forgiveness are very separate. To forgive is to free yourself from an uncomfortable emotion. You're just accepting the fact that the other person is a fallible human being, who must earn your trust.

- To forgive is a sign of weakness. In reality, the opposite is true. The forgiving person is strong enough to be assertive and able to express their feelings directly rather than lying or dissembling. This is a sign of character that most people truly respect.

- By forgiving I will be letting the offending party get away with something. In reality, the act of forgiving actually brings the wrong that was done to the forefront, and makes it clear that the deed was unacceptable in the future. You always have the option of choosing not to forgive, or becoming more aggressive yourself if the person repeat the offense repeatedly.

- I can't forgive until I forget In reality, you'll forget a wrong much faster when you've let go of the emotional charge attached to it. Forgetting is often the RESULT of forgiving.

- It's phony to act forgiving if I don't really feel it. In reality, we often empower ourselves to do uncomfortable things by a pure act of will, because we know those things are in our best interest. Go through the motions of forgiveness, and your emotions will catch up. Be it to believe it!

-- Part 2 Coming Soon! --

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Be a More Effective Manager

The best companies, departments, and staffs, are those where everyone feels comfortable and confident in their decisions. They are free from fear of retribution or humiliation.

To improve the morale and work quality in your department and, even company, follow these guidelines:
Set a standard of personal integrity. Easy: Keep your promises and honor your commitments. Moderate: Deal with everyone fairly and support this behavior in others. (Can be) Difficult: Give your people the pride of working for a moral company.

Find out the central interests of your people. How can you manage someone you don't know anything about? Give people opportunities to do what they enjoy most and do best. Build on people's strengths.

Give assignments that stimulate personal and professional growth. Stretch your people by assigning tasks and projects slightly beyond their known capabilities.

Give your people opportunities to practice self-responsibility. Give them space to take the initiative, volunteer ideas, attempt new tasks, expand their range and make mistakes.

Challenge the seniority tradition. Promote on the basis of merit. The recognition of ability is one of the great motivators of self-respect and enthusiasm for the organization.


Show that it is safe to make a mistake. Let people feel free to say "I don't know, but I will find out." To evoke fear of error or ignorance is to invite deception, inhibition, and an end to creativity.

Show that it is safe to disagree with you. Convey respect for differences of opinion. Do not punish dissent.
Important: Disagreement does not have to be disagreeable.

Make eye contact and listen actively. Offer appropriate feedback and give the speaker the experience of being heard.

Never permit conflicts of personalities. Keep encounters about work task-centered, not ego-centered. The focus needs to be on reality -- "What is the situation? What does the work require? What needs to be done?"

Provide reasons for rules and guidelines. When they are not self-evident. Explain why you cannot accommodate certain requests. Don't merely hand down orders.


When an employee does superior work or makes an excellent decision, invite them to explore how it happened. Don't limit yourself to praise. By asking appropriate questions, you help raise the person's consciousness about what made the achievement possible and thereby increase the likelihood of repetition.

Provide clear and unequivocal performance standards. Let people understand your non-negotiable expectations regarding the quality of work and help them understand how their performance will be measured.

Praise in public... correct in private. Acknowledge achievements in the hearing of as many people as possible but let a person absorb corrections in the safety of privacy.

Convey in every way possible that you are not interested in blaming. You ARE, however, interested in solutions. When we look for solutions, we grow in self-esteem. When we blame or make excuses, we weaken self-esteem.

Take personal responsibility for creating a culture of self-esteem. Subordinates are unlikely to sustain the kind of behavior you want if they do not see it exemplified by higher-ups.
Great managers are not the ones who come up with brilliant solutions, but those who see to it that their staffs come up with brilliant solutions.

Avoid over-directing, over-observing, and over-reporting. Excessive "managing" is the enemy of autonomy and creativity.


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Sunday, August 5, 2012

5 Lessons in Creatively Creating Your Next Income Stream from a "Great Idea"

You don't have to be a genius to make a living with your imagination, but there are some things that you'll want to know...

Here are some ideas learned along the way to a successful career in profiting from great ideas:

1) Focus on innovation, not invention. Truly groundbreaking ideas are rare, but you don't necessarily need one of those to make a financial foundation for yourself. In fact, a useful understanding of creativity as "The logical combination of two or more existing elements that results in a new concept," could be enough to get you on the right track. Don't underestimate the potential income from simply developing innovative applications, as opposed to completely new concepts.
Famous Example: G.I Joe was the first "action figure" with movable joints for boys when it was introduced in 1964, but the product wasn't really that different from others already on the market. G.I. Joe's were simply the combination of the idea of "dolls," such as Barbie, which were marketed toward girls, with the idea of static action toys, which had always been marketed toward boys.

2) Find a high concept. That's a Hollywood expression for a big idea that is instantly understandable and marketable. The best ideas can be described quickly, and are concepts that stick in peoples' minds (think "Call Me, Maybe"). Besides, two seconds might be all the time you get to pitch your idea to the right person.

3) Read as much as you can, on as many different subjects as possible. Since the invention of the internet, it has become easier than ever before to get substantial amounts of information about any subject you want, but don't rule out trade and consumer magazines for specific niche ideas, which could be developed into new applications. Try to decide if something is really a trend, or just a passing fad. When the same idea starts popping up in the news, magazines, and on TV - pay attention. Make note of things that capture your attention. If they got you, they are probably catching other peoples' attentions also. If you see a product that appears to be a good idea, try to think of other uses for it, even if those uses are outside your areas of knowledge/expertise.

4) Meet regularly with people outside your industry or area of expertise. Consider licensing as a profitable business in itself. Think of a large company doing something similar to your (or another person's) idea, as a speedway to that idea's success. Licensing in this fashion also opens doors to many new networking opportunities - as you represent a bridge between two entities, you'll be learning about both sides of the ideas.

5) Adapt proven ideas to the changing world. Update an existing idea that has become out of date. Again consider the toy market. Consider toys as our world around us, reduced to miniature or simplified versions. Decide how you can fill the gaps, or try to look for similar analogies in other industries.

Bonus: Sell them the printer, THEN sell them the ink. Some industries call this "consumables," but it works for just about any product idea. If you can sell a single doll, but then sell 10 different outfits for that doll, you've just turned one customer into 11 potential sales.

Good luck in all your endeavors! I'd love to hear your successes or pitfalls.

Support a worthy cause of your choice for free!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

I had an idea like this...

I guess you could say "I had a dream." I envisioned a place where homeless had homes and peace and sustainability ruled. I hadn't thought to search for something similar until today, and I found that some homeless people have already established something very close to what I was thinking. It's a little crude, and not as well-funded as I was picturing, but it's nice to know there is an existing basis for what I'd like to see happen.

Check this article out for more information:

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