Saturday, May 08, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Posted: 06 Apr 2010 02:14 PM PDT
Imagine a scenario where you actually loved getting up in the morning. I’m not just talking about those occasional weekends or days off where you actually have no plans (or only plans made and loved by you). I’m talking about every single day. Before you scoff at the ridiculousness of such a concept and flick on further down your reader just stop . Indulge me for a moment.
If I were a genie and could grant you anything you wanted, don’t tell me you wouldn’t be interested in finding a pastime (career, hobby, part-time adventure) that not only paid the bills but actually made you feel – what’s that word? – good. And I’m talking gooooooood. Like so darn happy you smile at strangers on the street, walk with a little bounce in your step, constantly update Facebook with perky little notes, and basically just spend every day feeling like a kid does on Christmas.
Sounds annoying, doesn’t it? Unless it’s you of course.
So let’s assume for starters that you still need regular income. To start with we’re going to need this muse of yours (thank-you, Mr. Tim Ferriss ) to occupy only a set amount of time. Perhaps half an hour each day, with weekends off. That’s doable, isn’t it? Of course I’m talking about a solid 30 minutes committed to changing the way you live your life. All in one block.
The idea of introducing part-time passion like this is that it eases you in to the next step. Which is to gradually move you to a point where you are making a living from doing what you love. Where your part-time passion has replaced your full-time job. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I managed to do this about 5 years ago. I was in a mid-level management position which I was kinda sick of. Ok, hated. And I was doing some part-time Personal Training before and after work. It took me a full year of being over that job to toss it in and have enough courage to try running a full-time Personal Training business. But at least I got there.
Where would you like to be a year from now? What would you love to be doing?
If you’re not at all sure what your passion might be, then I’d recommend taking some time to identify your strengths. Here are 3 easy ways to get started on that:
- Ask your friends what they’d consider your strengths/natural skills to be.
- Take an online personality or strength/weakness test. This one from Dr. Martin Seligman is world-renowned. You have to register, but that’s free.
- Invest a little time in some daily journaling. Just let the pen roll as you envisage what your perfect day, then week, then year would look like. I don’t mean the down-time (although there’s plenty of people who’ve turned a passion for travel into a solid income).
Find a clean piece of paper and a pen. Write down the numbers 1-10. Think back over past weeks, months, even years – which events/activities stand out as being joyous or exciting for you? If you can’t think of anything, consider those events you reacted to in others with excitement, even jealousy. You might like to consider the following categories as a memory-jogger or just for ideas:
· Social connection
· Helping others
· Making deals
· Re-selling goods
The long and short of it is that you want to highlight those times when you feel most alive. What makes you feel creative, happy, free, a sense of belonging?
Now that you have your passion in mind it’s time to start making it happen. This is actually the easiest part of the process so far. Remember back to the start of this article? You’ve already committed to setting aside 30 minutes per day to work on your passion, so set the timer and get started. Try not to worry too much about how you can turn it into money, just focus on action. And, if you have several possible passions in mind, then choose one and start with that. Commit to it for 21 days and then decide if you’d like to keep going or start afresh.
Here’s how you might fill that 30 minutes –
- Write about your passion, what you like about it, what comes easy to you, where you’d like to improve your skills
- Research the work of others who are effectively using your passion in their lives
- Teach it to someone else
- Read about it
- Study different methods of doing it
- Create a vision board of what your life will look like when you’re doing it
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Posted: 05 May 2010 06:41 AM PDT
Growing up, I loved comic books. Not only would I read them, but I would spend hours daydreaming about what it would be like if I was a superhero with amazing superpowers. Of course with adulthood comes reality, and so when I grew up I knew it was time to stop dreaming about superpowers.
What is interesting though is how many people - adults - still act as is they have superpowers. They know they don't have them, but they still try to do things that can only happen in comic books.
Here is a list of seven superpowers that, even though they only exist in the comics, we all try to use from time to time. Unfortunately, the more of these we try to do, the less effective we become and the more we just get in our own way.
- Mind Control
Mind control is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to take control of someone's mind. A person with mind control powers can force someone to do things against their will, forget events, and even make them fall in love. Sounds great until you think about what the world would be like if other people had mind control powers and could control you!
Even though mind control doesn't exist, many people still waste an inordinate amount of time wishing they could control what others think and do. If you have ever stressed over how someone would react to some news, or whether people would approve of a project you were working on, or simply whether a stranger likes you, then you know of what I speak.
You can not control other people. They are going to think what they think and do what they do, regardless of what you want. They may like you, they may hate you. They may approve, they may disapprove. The sooner you can stop worrying about and trying to control what others do, the sooner you can get on and live your life.
This is not to say that you should do whatever the heck you want with no care about anyone else's feelings. We live in a society, and being polite, courteous, and thoughtful are what make us civilized. However, all you can control is your own actions. Focus on what you can do, do your best, and stop worrying about other people's responses.
- Body Swapping
Body swappers were the heroes and villains who could "switch places" with someone else. They would take over a person's body and usually that person would take over theirs. Every single superhero comic at some point had a story with a "body swapper."
If we can learn anything from the large slate of Hollywood swapping movies (like Vice Versa, Freaky Friday, Like Father, Like Son, etc.) it's that everyone has their problems. When you compare yourself to someone else, it's very easy to focus on your negatives and their positives. It's not until you walk a mile in their shoes (or magically inhabit their body) that you realize that they have as many, if not more, problems as you do.
Stop trying to body swap. Instead, focus on what's currently good in your life. Take a minute to appreciate what you do have going for you. And when you find yourself becoming jealous of others, remember that everyone has problems and skeletons in their closet and those people may very well be jealous of you.
- Mind Reading
Have you ever had someone screw you over, and you then spent hours trying to figure out exactly "why" they did that? Wouldn't it be great to be able to read their minds and know for certain?
Mind reading is impossible, so we can't know for certain, but that doesn't stop us from making up giant stories about what people's motives and reasoning are. Sadly, these stories are rarely ever right. Even when they are right, they are usually only part of the story.
People are far too complicated for us to be able to easily assign underlying motives and intentions to their actions. When we try to, we usually just make the situation worse. So many people create tremendous stress and problems in their lives by obsessively trying to figure out why people behave the way they do. This is a lost cause.
The key to avoiding this is to criticize observable action, not hidden intent. If you say, "It hurts me when you make fun of my height," that's criticizing an observable action. They can not dispute that a) they made fun of your height and b) it hurt your feelings. If you say, "It hurts me when you try to make me look bad in front of everyone else by teasing me," that's criticizing intent. They can dispute that they were trying to make you look bad and come right back with, "I'm just playing, I'm not trying to make you look bad."
At the end of the day, you have no idea what is going on in someone's head. If you know them really well you might be able to guess, but you still could be wrong. If they are a stranger, you really have no clue. In either case, trying to figure it out is a lost cause. Deal with what you can know and observe, let go of the rest, and you will be a much happier person.
Precognition is the ability to see the future. If you had precognition, you would know exactly what was going to happen in the future and therefore you would not waste countless hours wondering and worrying about it.
Since no one can actually see the future, we are all forced to live with uncertainty. Admittedly, this is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Unfortunately, it is the only thing we can do.
Preparing for the future is one thing. Stressing about the future is entirely another. Planning and visualization are great tools, but wasting time stressing, worrying, and complaining about what "might" happen are life stealers. Sadly, the more time you spend in the present obsessing about the future, the less time you usually spend actually preparing to make the future better.
Plan for the future, but live in the present. The future will happen whether you want it to or not.
- Time Travel
Ah, wouldn't life be sweet if we could hop in a DeLorean, go back in time, and fix our past mistakes? Of course, if science fiction has taught us anything it's that messing with the past is a bad idea. No matter how careful you are, the space time continuum is easily disrupted.
Even though time traveling to the past is a) a bad idea and b) impossible, so many of us waste time running over the past in our heads, replaying bad experiences by playing the "if only" game ("if only I had showed up on time!" "If only I said something different!" etc.), and overall just wishing things had been different.
Guess what? No amount of wishing is going to change the past. What's done is done. Observing the past for the purpose of learning from our mistakes is smart. Wallowing in the past and wishing things had gone different is crazy.
The next time you find yourself wallowing in the past, remind yourself that you can't change it and bring your focus back onto what you can do right now, in the present, to make things better.
- Reality Altering Magic
Have you ever had a moment where you stopped and said, "man, my life sucks"? Probably; we all have. What did you do next? Did you curl up on the couch with a bag of Cheetos and a Law & Order marathon and just spend all day "wishing" your life was better? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it didn't get any better as a result...
Attempting to have reality altering magic is like attempting to time travel, only you actually can change the present! You might not be able to instantly change the present, but you can take actions right now to improve your situation.
Once you're in a downward spiral it becomes so easy to give up and just hope things will get better. Hoping and wishing are not strategies! Stop wishing and break out of the downward spiral by doing something, no matter how small, to change your situation. Even the smallest actions can build momentum that will "alter your reality."
- Channeled Rage
The Hulk was the one superhero who could literally channel his rage. The Hulk's catch-phrase is, "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets!" (yes, the Hulk refers to himself in the third person). Sadly, the Hulk is the only person who could turn his rage into something good. For the rest of us, rage usually just leads to hypertension, heart disease, and regret.
But boy, it sure is tempting to let ourselves explode, right? You have that moment when you feel your anger rising and you start daydreaming about letting it out. But from experience you probably know that when you do, you almost always regret it.
Giving in to rage usually only does two things:
* You do or say something you wish you didn't
* You just make the situation worse, as the other party is now responding to your anger
Channeling rage into exercise, productivity, or any other positive outlet is great. But giving in and acting out of anger is a sure way to just make things worse for everyone.
Instead of blowing up in rage, take a few breaths, remember the big picture, and do your best to let it go. You will almost always be happier in the long run.
|Written on 5/5/2010 by Avish Parashar. Avish is the Motivational Smart Ass. As a speaker and on his blog, Avish makes people laugh while sharing with them simple ideas to make their lives easier and more successful. To read more of his ridiculous rantings on self improvement, watch videos of him in action, and download the free "How to Think Quick" MP3, visit http://www.||Photo Credit: eneas|
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Posted: 04 Feb 2010 08:10 AM PST
Whether your “real” work is a full-time day job, an academic course, or taking care of kids, you might have a few hours to spare each week which you’d like to use productively. Have you ever thought about starting a side business?
A few years ago, I thought that “business” was the realm of tough go-getters with a focus on profit and nothing else. Since then, I’ve met lots of individuals who run their own businesses from a couple who make rosettes for horse shows in their spare time, to people working as consultants with government organizations. These business owners come from all walks of life, and have built businesses based on very different skills, interests and areas of expertise.
Here are five reasons for you to start a side business.
- Extra Pocket Money
Having a small business which you run from home will bring in extra money. If you’re struggling to make ends meet with your family’s regular income, or if you’d simply like to have some extra for treats and holidays, this alone is a great reason to get your own side business going.
Be realistic about what sort of business you’re going to develop, if this is your main motivation. You’ll want something which doesn’t involve much outlay (of time or of capital).
- Developing Your Skills
Many traditional office jobs don’t offer much room for development. I was keen to learn CSS in my day job, but there was no provision for training. Instead, I learned in my own time, creating free websites for friends and then paid ones for small businesses.
Starting up a side business will teach you a huge amount: everything from bookkeeping to client relationships to skills specific to your own area. All of this can go onto your resume, and could even help you land that next job or that promotion.
- Safety Net
In uncertain economic times, it’s a bad idea to rely solely on the paycheck from your employer. If your company goes under, you’re going to sink too. A side business can help provide a safety net. It lets you save up an emergency fund, and it provides a stream of regular income which isn’t tied to your day job. You may even be able to grow your side business to the point where it can support you and your family.
(For a great look at diversification and not putting all your income eggs in one basket, I love Naomi Dunford’s piece on Why We’re Broke and How to Fix It.)
- Try Out a New Career
Have you ever thought about switching to a new dream career? Maybe you’d love to be a writer, or a teacher, or a photographer, or a chef. The problem is, you’re not completely sure that you’ll love it as much as you hope you will.
Starting up a side business is a great way to dip your toes into a new career area. While I was working in technical support and software testing, I started freelance writing on the side (and quickly found that I enjoyed it a lot more than telling people how to use a “lost password” button.) Not every career lends itself to dabbling – brain surgeon, anyone? – but with a bit of creativity, there’s often a way to try out your dream job as a side gig.
- Take a Hobby Further
Some hobbies are perfect for turning into a small business – and this definitely doesn’t have to mean losing the fun of your hobby. If you’re a keen amateur photographer, for instance, you can justify buying better equipment if you’re making money from your snaps – and of course you can still use your camera for fun! (Thanks to the lovely Antonina for this tip.)
When your hobby becomes a business, you get a whole new level of excitement from it. Making money from something which you love is a great feeling – and so is sharing your skills and enjoyment with the world.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
If you have a PC with a Windows operating system, Internet Explorer is already installed on your computer.
If you have an Apple product, a Mac, then Safari is the default browser.
But there are others you should consider. Firefox is very popular and Google even has a browser that is also free. Read about it from the DLM Blog:
Posted: 30 Apr 2010 07:52 AM PDT
Google Chrome, the web browser by Google, has been gaining market share steadily since the day it was introduced. And rightly so. It's by far the best browser I've used (and I have used a number of them). I think my productivity has increased significantly since I switched to Google Chrome as my primary browser.
In this article, I give 8 reasons to persuade you to switch to Chrome if you haven't yet. Now, nothing is perfect and there are some caveats here too, but, the pros definitely overshadow the cons and hence I recommend using Chrome.
- It's Very Fast
Yes, it is. You realize how fast it is when you click on the chrome icon to open the browser. It comes up in a flash, much faster than any other browser. As you start using it, you will find that the webpages also take less time to load.
Chrome is based on Webkit. The Chrome team recently talked about the factors that make it so fast. Sounds convincing and I see it in action every time I use it.
- Most Secure Browser
Not that security vulnerabilities aren't discovered in Google Chrome, but, it is considered to be more secure than its counterparts like IE and Firefox. In fact, it was the only browser that survived the Pwn2Own competition where security experts tried to exploit all the browsers in search for bugs.
- Simple Searching
The address bar in Chrome also acts as the Google search bar. Hence you could just type your search query there and hit enter. It will quickly pull up the relevant Google results. You don't need to first go to Google in order to search. This saves time.
- More Screen Real Estate
One of the best things about Chrome is that it's minimalistic. The browser options are tucked away on the extreme right and that enables it to get you more screen real estate by providing a bigger browsing space.
This feature is quite useful when you are on long webpages and need to scroll down frequently. It also helps bloggers like me to take better screenshots.
- Quick Incognito Mode
The incognito mode in Chrome is a nifty feature. Although private browsing mode was later introduced in Firefox and some other browsers too, Chrome's incognito wins hands down. I particularly like how quickly you could go incognito by pressing Ctrl+Shift+n.
Apart from the obvious use of private browsing, there are several other uses of Chrome's incognito mode. Like, you could log into two Gmail accounts at once using this feature.
- Default Bookmark Sync Option
There's a "Synchronize my bookmarks" feature in Chrome which you can access by clicking on the wrench icon on the top right. You could use this feature to synchronize your Google account. That way you can access your bookmarks if you are using Chrome on a different computer.
- No Restart Required When Installing Add-ons
Yes, unlike Firefox where you need to restart your browser whenever you install a new extension or uninstall an old one, Chrome doesn't require that. And as someone who plays with a lot of add-ons, I can tell you, this feature saves a lot of time and frustration.
- It's from Google!
Right, I love Google. They are known for their quality products and hence I believe Chrome has better days ahead. Now, some would argue that it's giving too much power to one firm, but, considering that most of us are pretty much dependent on Google and its services, it doesn't harm to try out their browser too. Oh, by the way, I did write an article on how to free yourself from Google in case you are interested.
|Written on 4/3/2010 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. Abhijeet is a blogger and web publisher from India. He loves all things tech as long as it aids in productivity. He edits Guiding Tech, a blog that publishes useful guides, tutorials and tools. Check it out and subscribe to its feed if you like the site. You can also find him on Twitter.||Photo Credit: Randy Zhang|
Monday, May 03, 2010
One that I recommend is Seth Godin. I have several of his books and they altered some of my thinking. I don't always agree with him, but it stirs the creative juices.
Oh yeah, he write something on his blog everyday.
Like this which popped up Saturday afternoon:
Can't decide which are the odds, and which are the ends:
Right now, go buy this hard drive and do a bootable backup of every computer you care about. $60. If you spend six minutes a month (set it up before you go to bed), you'll thank me one day.
If you're remotely serious about cooking, you should buy a cast iron fry pan. Your grandchildren will fight over it when you're dead.
Great writing matters. Here's my favorite blog about shaving (!) and here's a shaving website (no, there's no theme developing) that cops an attitude with their copy and pulls it off. And it helps the shaving cream is aces.
There are deep and magical micro-tribes online, and they're maturing. Check out this one before you buy a stereo. Wherever early adopters go, there are opportunities.
While I was waiting in (a long) line to see Shepard Fairey's pop up shop in New York yesterday, an enterprising gallery owner walked down the line and handed people postcards promoting his new show. The titles of the paintings are killer, and even better is the idea that people in line (wherever they are) are desperate for distraction.
And finally, the world's most famous book cover designer is also a killer novelist, writing about the prosaic world of advertising and art. The original is extraordinary and I just discovered that there was a sequel. (for $6!). I loved it and was moved by it. Thanks Chip.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
With Mother's Day next Sunday, here's a clue:
Lifestyles and Leisure: What does Mom want for Mother's Day?
Why not treat Mom to dinner "out" for Mother's Day? According to The Media Audit's National Report, women with children of any age living at home are 13% less likely than the typical U.S. adult to frequently eat out at a full service restaurant. Thus a night "out" of no cooking and no dirty dishes might be a welcome proposition, especially considering that 41.3% are managing motherhood with full time jobs as well.
How about buying her an electronic gadget? According to the same study, one in five moms plan on purchasing an MP3 player or iPod in the next year. With nearly 28% who work out regularly at a health club, a portable music player might be appreciated by Mom. Furthermore, 15% of moms intend on buying video equipment such as a video camera, VCR or DVD player.
The national study also reveals that Mom might appreciate a good book and/or a bottle of wine. According to the report, 11.7% of moms frequently consume wine, a figure that is 5% higher when compared to all U.S. adults, and 37.3% have purchased twelve or more books from a bookstore in the past year, a figure that is 8% higher when compared to the typical adult.
When it comes to sports, Mom is first and foremost a football fan over any other major sport. According to the study, 50.9% of U.S. moms regularly follow a professional football team on TV or radio. However, when it comes to her typical weekday TV enjoyment, Mom is more likely to be viewing HGTV, Bravo, Oxygen and Lifetime Movie Network when compared to the typical U.S. adult.
Mom may also appreciate a night out at the movies, or a few new DVD's. Among moms, 46.6% frequently rent or buy movies, while 39.1% frequently view movies at the theatre. Surveys were conducted in 80+ U.S. markets.
THE MEDIA AUDIT is a multimedia, qualitative audience survey that covers over 450 target items for each rated media's audience. These qualitative data points cover things such as socioeconomic characteristics, life styles, business decision makers, product purchasing plans, retail shopping habits, travel history, supermarket shopping, stores shopped, products purchased, fast-food restaurants eaten in, soft drink consumption, brands purchased, health insurance coverage, leisure activities, banks used and other selected consumer characteristics important to local media and advertisers.
For more information, feel free to visit our website or call (800) 324-992