Sunday, December 13, 2015
I don't always agree with proverbs, and I don't agree with this one. While I believe that friends are more important than money, I think the proverb is inspiring a false choice. Both are good and you can have both.
In his book "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" T. Harv Eker points out that rich people think "and", the rest of us think "or". By thinking or, that we must choose one and not the other, we are making a choice when no choice is required--a false choice.
We can also make a bad decision by using or to justify a bad decision. Should we eat the fries or the dessert? Neither. Sometimes the right choice is to do nothing, or at least none of the above. When at a restaurant, look for what you'll wish you had eaten, not for what looks good. It all looks good, right.
As a computer programer, I learned that "and", "or" and not are logical filters that can precisely control what to include or exclude. When they are needed and used appropriately good things happen.
So listen for the words: and, or, not. Ask yourself why, and why not.
Fries or dessert? Why not neither?
100 friends or 100 rubles? Why not both? Why not 1000?
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Many of his guests are authors, trainers and educators--what else would you expect at a school? His goal us to help his listeners develop a lifestyle of their win choosing. Now he has released a book with the same goal. For example:
When you want to lose weight and keep it off, you don't go on a diet, because diets are about artificial restriction. They're miserable. Instead, change your lifestyle to match your goals.
This book is about changing your lifestyle to match your goals, a step by step process that can help you take control of your life and destiny.
The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy https://www.amazon.com/dp/1623365961/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_VWsowb0XQAQDD
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
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Sunday, June 21, 2015
By Gretchen Rubin
There are tons of self improvement books out, and countless articles on the Internet--my own extremecommonsense.net among them. This book stands out from the piles because it boils valuable ideas to a couple useful models and offers guidance to applying them to your life.
The bulk of the book organizes and details 21 strategies for implementing habits to change your life. The first few are universal and obvious -- once the author has pointed them out. Others work for some people and not others. Taken together, they offer a solid toolkit for changing habits, one of the most important skills you can have for self improvement.
Friday, June 5, 2015
What is Charity Miles?
Here's how the organization describes itself on the charitymiles.org website.
Charity Miles is a free iPhone and Android app that enables people to earn corporate sponsorships for charity while walking, running or biking. We are supported by awesome companies like Humana, Johnson & Johnson, Timex Sports and Kenneth Cole.
I have used the iPhone version of this app for some time and could not recommend it until the latest release fixed some annoying problems. Since they are solved, there is no reason to list them. By using it to record your exercise, you direct a small charitable donation to any of over 30 worthwhile causes.
If you like, and only if you like, you can post your result to Facebook or Twitter. Here is one tweet I sent:
I ran 4.6 @CharityMiles for @Habitat_org. Thanks to #JNJ for sponsoring me. #NationalRunningDay #GlobalMoms globalmomsrelay.org
This is a bit misleading since I walked rather than ran these 4.6 miles. Even so, this looks like a good deal.
I do something I would be doing anyway.
A reputable corporation gets acknowledged for its charitable program.
A worthwhile charity of my choosing gets a small contribution based on the miles I walk.
In 2010, I set a goal to lose 40 pounds. It took me six months to achieve that goal and most of that success came from recording what I ate and what exercise I did. Since then I have logged over 7000 miles and worn out more than one pair of walking shoes. Charity Miles doesn't keep this kind of record, but it does make you conscious of your activity. Make a difference in your life and the lives of others by installing this app and counting your miles for a good cause.
Charity Miles is available to download for free in the iPhone and Android app stores.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
In my last article, I told the story of how I (barely) avoided a credit card phishing exploit because I became suspicious while I cooperatively gave my card number to an anonymous voicemail system out to scam me. While I managed to avoid significant damage, this is neither the standard I aspire to nor one I recommend for you. This time, in the spirit of continuous improvement,!let's consider how to do better by avoiding the trap.
The short version is that I received a text message appearing to be from my bank claiming that my card had been locked and telling me to call an 800 number. The full story us here: http://www.extremecommonsense.net/2015/05/you-can-be-too-careful_17.html?m=1
Scammers depend on greed, fear, and psychology so we feel compelled to act quickly and stupidly. In my credit card example, I fell for the bait and started giving my information in moments, mostly out of fear. I needed to slow down a little and think. By answering a few key questions, I could have done that.
We tend to speed up, not slow down, when we feel threatened. If the threat is real, this is a survival skill. If not , it may be a trap. We control this by asking appropriate questions.
How urgent is this?
In my example, I got a Saturday evening text message that my credit card had been locked. Even if true, I wouldn't use the card for 14 hours at the earliest. If someone had tried to tamper with my account, the bank had parked it into a safe condition. There was nothing urgent in this. It just felt urgent.
Who Sent the Message?
On the surface this looked like a customer service notice from the bank. It could be, and actually was, from a scam artist. Since this wasn't urgent, I should have taken the time to be sure.
How Can I Be Sure?
There are two basic strategies available. First, check everything you can. Second, contact the bank directly, either through a prearranged number or their approved email address. Let's look at both.
In the previous article, I described oddities in the text of the message. There was no indication what account was involved. The language, though grammatically correct, was capitalized oddly.
This was a text message which revealed a real US phone number in my area code. While this is plausible, using Whitepages to do a reverse number lookup identified it as a mobile phone.
Finally, what about the number to call? It is possible to do a reverse lookup on an 800 number but even a legitimate number may say only that it is a U.S. phone. Even so, no harm in trying.
What Am I Being Asked to Do?
For the moment, let's ignore that you're being asked to call an unknown number, by a text message of unknown origin, and focus exclusively on the conversation that would follow.
In my case, an automated voice mail identified itself as the bank's activation service. Since the card was already active, this should have raised an alarm. It no doubt picked up what it could about me from caller ID and asked for my full card number, then the expiration date. When it asked for the PIN I (finally) got suspicious and stopped. This was too much information, not enough confirmation.
So, What Instead?
There are several ways to check with the bank safely. What I did was call the number the bank printed on the card. This led to s human customer service representative who asked for only the last four digits on the card and a prearranged question. Record that phone number so you have it if the card is lost or stolen. I asked them to replace the card.
By contrast, when the new card arrived I went through the real validation process. The system asked for the last four digits of the card and considered that enough since I had called from the phone number it had on file for me.
Your second option is to email the abuse group at your bank. If you don't have the address you can search for it online. Include as much information as you can. You'll get an automated confirmation at once and a followup later. This is fine if things aren't really urgent.
If you have a smartphone, odds are they offer a custom app to connect you to your account. You can use this to check the status of your card. It may also offer a secure messaging service to safely inquire in more detail.
Finally, you can go to a bank website from a browser. Just use URLs the bank gave you in advance. Never follow a link from an email or text message.
How Is This Possible?
The message was convincing only because it used the name of my bank. The 800 number I called also identified itself using the name of my bank. Since it came as a text message, they apparently had my bank and my phone number.
Where would that information have been available? I can't be sure. Late in 2013, I made a credit card purchase at Target, which days later discovered and closed a data breach. I replaced the card after that, but not the bank.
My experience with this has led to one simple rule: if you get a message that suggests a problem may exist, find a way to check it out without using numbers or links the measage provided. Beyond that, have multiple ways you can reach a bank quickly if an alarm is raised.
Sent from my IPhone
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I would answer this question with an enthusiastic but qualified yes. The enthusiastic part (yesss!) is because this helps make you a hub in the network, allowing your fellow members to connect indirectly with other people in your life, creating weak ties that benefit all. It also provides a way of promoting each other and your Toastmasters activities to a larger network. The qualified yes (yeees...) acknowledges that this isn't worth creating and maintaining a network you don't participate in anyway. That is, joining a network exclusively to connect with Toastmasters dilutes or eliminates the benefits of participating.
Here are a couple networks I use. If you are too, I recommend reaching into your Toastmasters contacts (including me) with them.
LinkedIn is more than a resume exchange and distribution service. If you use it to promote your professional activities, the word can spread. I connect with other Toastmasters here because these are the kind of connections LinkedIn is designed to work with. On LinkedIn, I will connect with any Toastmaster. If you want to connect to me, my profile is here: http://linkd.in/1EMGNZR
I recommend that your club set up a club Facebook page and use it to announce events and describe activities. Members should connect with the club page for the club's benefit and with each other as friends as they see fit. Here, I am more selective about who I connect with.
Do you videorecord your speeches? If so, you can post them on YouTube and create a personal or club YouTube channel.
Where else on the Internet do you show up? If you use Google+, Pinterest, or something else to connect with your Toastmasters network, leave a comment below and let everyone know where, how and why.
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Monday, April 20, 2015
Let’s imagine two scenarios for driving into town at night.
Scenario 1 You’re in a blizzard on an icy road, stuck in traffic, and the gas gauge is close to “E”. You can’t see more than a few feet ahead, and all that shows you is how much trouble the car ahead of you has staying on the road.
Scenario 2 You come over a hill on a clear, dry, empty road and you can see the destination lit up in the distance. The road may have detours or potholes but you can see them coming. The gas gauge reads “F” and there are five extra gallons in the trunk, just in case.
Which scenario will get you into town? Probably, either one. Which car would you rather be in? If this wasn’t about a drive, if it was about one of the big goals of your life, which car would you rather be in?
Significant goals are enough of a challenge when we fully understand them, when we can see ahead, and when we have anticipated problems. For that, we need to answer four questions:
. What do I want?
. Why do I want it?
. What could go wrong?
. What will I do?
As we go through the four questions and what to ask with them, I want you to work on one of your goals. To get real value out of it, pick a significant goal, one that could use some traction. Since I’m suggesting that we apply the questions to your big life goals, let’s use an example from one of the biggest, clearest, most famous goals in modern history–landing a man on the Moon in the 1960s.
What Do I Want?
One of the best ways to clearly specify a goal is to make it SMART. My version of this acronym/checklist is:
Here is how President Kennedy laid out the goal for the manned landing on the Moon during an address to Congress on May 25, 1961.
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space.”
Why Do I Want It?
According to Anthony Robbins, many goals fail because the goal doesn’t have a big enough reason why. Why is the fuel that gets a goal to its destination. If your car breaks down en route to a dinner, you probably call and cancel. If the dinner is for your wedding rehersal, you probably call a cab instead.
Putting why in writing is helpful, but you can make this more powerful with some brainstorming. Here are some techniques that you can try:
Amy four year old knows that why is an endless question. You can ask why you want something, then ask why that’s so, until you get five levels deep. At that point you’re probably close to something significant.
In his book Six a Thinking Hats, Edward DeBono advocates looking from different perspectives (Hats). Some of these can help us identify why we want something.
Red - emotional reasons
Black - avoiding negative consequences
Yellow - positive outcomes
Green - wild success
Blue - business reasons
Positive and Negative Motivation
Any motivation you name will either send you toward something you want or away from something to avoid. We lose weight to go toward fitting in clothes and away from heart disease.
As far as the man to the Moon project, President Kennedy gave the following reasons during a speech at Rice University in 1962.
“We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …”
What Can Go Wrong?
The more significant a project is, the greater the chance that something will go wrong. By asking in advance what can go wrong, we both reduce the chance that it will and develop contingencies in case they do.
On January 27, 1967, the Apollo 1 spacecraft exploded on the launch pad, killing the three man crew and jeopardizing the entire program. Many things went wrong that asking this question might have svoided.
What Will I Do?
Here we develop and implement the plan, so let’s leave those details for another day. As a final thought, keep in mind that few worthwhile goals can be accomplished by just one person. When thinking about who else to ask, you may need or find some additional motivation.
Blizzards and icy roads are unpredictable and occasionally unavoidable. We can control our preparation and plan for contingencies.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
But who would want to? The trip is easier and more fun if your vision is unrestricted and your tank is full of gas. This is true for any goal you might have, so let's clear the fog and light the path to an important goal of your choice.
Picking Your Route
Start by clearly defining your goal. Put it in writing and make sure it is SMART.
S - Specific
M - Meaningful
A - Actionable
R - Realistic
T - Time bound
Make Sure You Have Fuel
A car on a trip needs gas. Your goal needs motivation. Although things can happen to get in your way,most goals that fail do so because you don't have a sufficiently big reason. If you get a flat tire on the way to a casual lunch, you cancel the lunch. If it happens when going to your wedding, you fix the tire or find another ride.
Take time to record the reasons for your goal Here are a couple techniques that may help.
The Six Thinking Hats
In his book Six Thinking Hats Edward deBono recommends brainstorming by focusing on six different points of view (hats) one at a time.
White pure facts
Red emotions (how you feel)
Black worst case (possible negative consequences to avoid
Yellow best case (what would wild success look like?)
Green Out of box thinking
Blue Management and mediating the other points of view.
Take each point of view one at a time. What reasons come up?
Try Different Shoes
Our goals compete with each other and with all the roles (shoes) we choose to wear. We might be home owners, spouses, lovers, parents, breadwinners, and many other things above and beyond any formal job. Sometimes we set a goal based on one role but motivation comes from another.
One man told a story of his home being heated by a radiator that heated the wall but not the house. As a home owner, he set a goal to upgrade to central heating but no progress was made. Then one evening, he noticed his wife covered to her chin in blankets. "Would I see you naked more often if the room were warm?" He asked. She nodded yes and two weeks later the job was done.
We all learned at age 4 that asking why can be an endless loop, but going a few rounds van help us get to our real motivation. Going through a why loop five times will get you a long way.
Make Your Plans
Every goal needs a plan. For simple goals, a checklist on the back of an envelope may be more than enough. More complex goals may call for one or more projects, each calling for a plan of its own. If you can get this down to physical actions, so much the better.
I will be leading a workshop,on this material at the Toastmasters District 40 conference in Cincinatti on April 18. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1CA3Ijr
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The author makes the distinction between negative stress (distress) and positive stress (eustress) to show how some stress can be useful, even necessary.
I downloaded a Kindleverdion after hearing the suthor interviewed on Lewis
Howes podcast. The book reads like a journalistic research report , not storytelling. Given the author's background this isn't surprising, but for me the book was a difficult read.
Seeking Serenity: The 10 New Rules for Health and Happiness in the Age of Anxiety: Amanda Enayati: 9780451471512: Amazon.com: Books
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Sunday, March 29, 2015
Avoiding the Problem
Think about the last thing you lost. Where does it belong? Equipment, supplies and reference material all belong somewhere. That spot, wherever it is, is the easiest place to find whatever you're looking for. Take a moment to put it back where it belongs if you can. If you can't, put it in an inbox.
To avoid locking yourself out of your house or car, make a habit of having keys in your hand when closing the door. Lock the door with the key, or with the remote. Don't lock the door and push it closed unless the key us in your hand.
Here is a Jedi Mind Trick which can help you remember where you put something as you put it down. People learn things through visual, auditory or kinesthetic means, each according to his or her gifts. Which ever you prefer, your memory works best when you create links all three ways. Watch yourself put those kkeys down. Feel them as they leave your hand. Say to yourself "the car kris are on the bathroom counter under the toothbrushes" and be specific as you do it. In the best case, your learning processes have built strong links. In Thevenn worst case, you were paying attention at the time.
Okay, But My Keys Are Lost NOW!
You looked where they belong, where you thought they were, and the floor under where you thought they were. Either they weren't in the geinbox or the inbox idea is looking better -- for later. For now, some serious searching is in order.
Picture the item in your hand. Where were you and what were you doing the last time you saw it? Who else was there? Retrace your route, looking most carefully at the last place you were and where you had them last. Is there someone you can talk to?
If that hasn't helped, it's time to make a list. Where have they shown up when lost the past? Where could they be? Who might have seen them? Could someone have moved them? Are there other ways you can look, other people you can ask?
Develop the habit of limiting the places you put things. Pay attention when putting things down. Visualization can help as you put something down or as you realize it's missing. If you have to search, have a search plan, and always have a backup plan.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Some of the ideas are focused on productivity. For example, he recommends limiting the number of times you check email. The ones I found more valuable address the far more important issues of interacting with other people and managing our own actions and reactions. Better to avoid a fire than have to fight it.
Each story / lesson / chapter is only a few pages long, and each stands alone well enough that it can be read by itself.
Four Seconds is structured like his previous book 18 Minutes. Both are intended to dramatically improve your life by introducing rituals that can be done quickly.
The book is unlikely to make you laugh or cry, but that isn't its goal. It will make you smile, and think, for at least four seconds.