The Best Things In Life

Happy New Year everyone. I do hope this year will be the best one you have ever had.

BirthdayStarChar

Last night I read to my youngest daughter. It's something I do regularly but not nearly enough. Unfortunately most of the time it takes me remembering how much it matters to her to get me focused on the task at hand. I consider it a job after a long day at work. I have things I need to get done and a smart phone to constantly check in with. I absolutely love reading to my kids...once I am in the process of doing it. Until then, it weighs on me, like housework or the desk drawers that need to be emptied. Stuff I should do but don't want to because it takes up my precious time. It isn't even a perspective or a mindset. I have literally trained myself to think I have better things to do. Sad really. However, not the end of the road and always time to rethink the way we live our lives. Always time to stand up. Consider with me the amount of time you waste on useless or frivilous things like TV. If you had only one year to live would you use any of it on Netflix? Or cruising social media to see pictures of cats in sweaters? So why is it important now? Are you prepared to lose out on once-in-a-lifetime activities and relationships to watch another youtube video or the next massive mid season league game? The best things in life are not things. Step up. Stand out.

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The Pursuit of Excellence

Chartrace

It strikes me that those who truly pursue excellence understand a few vital aspects of the game: Excellence is not an end goal and nor do you gain momentum towards it. It is not really pursued but more a moment-to-moment commitment. Excellence is more about what you do right now. Excellence, much like the word perfection, can never truly be achieved and nor does it matter. Aiming for the best you can do, mixed with equal parts sweat, vision, execution and commitment will leave you satisfied but hungry to keep pushing to another level. Happy with your results and excited to see where you can take it. The tip of the mountaintop does not exist when you pursue excellence. Looking back as you rack up experiences is a simple way to recognize if you have been pursuing excellence. Nothing there? You have been floating through life. Lots? You are somewhere in the zone. One doesn't pursue excellence. One lives it. Step up. Stand out.

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The Back Seat of the Car

CharRainbow

I have three children and like many of you I bustle them about to their activities like a taxi driver on New Year's Eve. Morning, noon and night. They get themselves in and out of the car like a drunk after a night out, which is to say, loudly and with incredible fuss. Bags and hockey sticks, instruments and artwork, all flies into the station wagon as we prepare for the next journey. They buckle up, encourage me to do the same and we are off. Throughout the travels they will talk to me about what is on their minds with an air or casualness that I have earned as their father. I am a trusted figure, having never totally failed them even though we have yet to make it to the land of Mickey Mouse and Cinderella. They can handle the slight blemish on my record it appears. We drive through traffic jams, speed traps, horrific weather and beautiful days and never once are they concerned with my actions. Their trust is implicit. Complete. Earned every day by not looking to change the rules on them or cause them to misunderstand the game of life as their parents see it. We make hard decisions as parents but we aim to remain fair. And that brings trust. Easy to earn when they are young but work that must continue for their whole lives. We want our kids to love us. So we will try. Even on the very difficult days. There is very little difference that should be made between the relationship you have with your customers, newsletter subscribers or friends. Always work to earn trust and never relax in your pursuit of this type of relationship. Trust is easily lost and it is never easily gained. It is the truly the greatest gift when someone allows you to have theirs. Treat it accordingly. Always remember this. Step up. Stand out.

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What Lies Under The Sofa…

SummerChar

You've washed the windows, polished the tables, mopped the floors and vacuumed the house.

But what lies under the sofa? Have you picked it up lately and seen what unsightly mess resides in the darkness?

It's easy to make the outside look amazing. Those places everyone sees. The opportunities, even in markets you may think are completely saturated, are found in the dusty and dark cracks. Under the couch.

Take a look at some of your favourite companies and most loved market places. Gander under their surface and see if anything surprises you.

That's where you might find your next great project.

Step up. Stand out.

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The Closer It Gets

Katemask

The idea comes to you while taking a long shower. Or riding your bicycle. Or on the long drive to work. The game changer. This is it. Now you know what you will do for the foreseeable future. You are elated and energized. Sitting down you plot the course and write out all the ideas, permutations and outcomes for your beautiful concept. It just flows out of you. Word after word, thought after thought. Simple. Free. Amazing. Your idea is coming to life right in front of you. The next step is to share it and tell people about how you will change the world. The reaction from the first few people is fantastic. Wow. They like it! Then a few negative responses and some questions that rattle you just a touch. You answer them to your own satisfaction and consider yourself lucky to have acquaintences that want only the best for you. This will make you stronger. Then you announce a "soft' launch. It is a meeting of connectors and business experts. This is the day your idea becomes real for the rest of the world. It is at this very moment, the day you earmark as launch day, when fear begins to grip you. Have I thought this through enough? What if they hate it? Am I prepared for this? I wonder if it really is a good idea? I should have listened to my friends and quit before it became too big. But this time you will be different. You will bring a new attitude. Look fear in the eyes and welcome them to your launch. Your idea is real. It is yours. It has value if you believe in it (and you have truly done your homework). The only person that can stop your progress stares back at you while you brush your teeth each morning. The closer it gets the more comfortable you have to be with fear coming along for the ride. The trick is to never let fear guide you. It's there. It will always be there. But it needn't define your work... ...or life. Step up. Stand out.

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Out of Your League

Charlady

"Those people are out of my league." If everything you do is actually in your league then how will you ever know what it's like in the other leagues. Won't you just be doing the same things all within your own little league? Is their league better or is it worse? Is that league doing more with less or making a bigger difference? Do they use different methods? Better practices? Smarter? Slower? Just why is this league better than the person you think you are? You are big enough of a person to play in any league. Know what you can bring to the table and earn the right to play a bigger and bigger role in each league you join. And remember, there isn't a league on earth that doesn't beg for people to add value. That's you. Step up. Stand out.

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Be An Expert At

KateTurkey

If you aren't the type that is the best doctor in the world. Or the best marketer. The best brain in the room. The next great visionary. Salesman to the stars. Player of the ages. Or any other expert that may exist out there. If you don't consider yourself to be the greatest in your category, then work on being an expert in one or two special areas of personal development. Be an expert at doing. Be the person that is known for getting stuff done. On time and on budget. Be an expert at putting one foot in front of the other and never giving up. Be an expert at being relentless. Be an expert at over delivering. There are very few people that are genitically coded to be the greatest ever and many more that became great by out working those aroud them. Be an expert at action. Step up. Stand out.

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Too Busy

CharSkeleton

You have been so busy that you forgot. Too busy on your phone keeping up with your social friends. Too busy thinking about how amazing your weekend and holiday will be. Too deep in your head worrying about what may never happen in the future. Lying on the coach disappointed in yourself because you missed another month of workouts. Too busy spending the raise you might get. Too busy reaching for the super sweet title and position of power at work. Too busy wanting your kids to be older, more mature and deal with themselves. You have been so busy thinking that at the end of the road is where you get to live that you forgot to be amazing right now. In this moment. Today. Moment to moment. So busy thinking it, whatever that is for you, will happen soon, or one day in the near future, that you neglected to notice that little pieces of excellence added together eventually get you to a place you want to be. And help you enjoy today. The journey. Practice being present. Be excellent in everything you do. In every moment. It is the only way to assure happiness. Don't be so busy you forget to live an amazing life. Step up. Stand out.

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The Time Is Never Right

CharAutumn

There is never a right time. Never. If you are young they say you haven't got the experience and we definitely need people that have been through the trenches a few times. If you are older they say we need fresh ideas and youthful exuberance. Your too old and stuck in your ways, the new world doesn't need you anymore. The industry is irrelevant. Same story in every single one. The disappointing part is that we believe it and repeat the tall tale endlessly ultimately making it come true. I'm just not right for this. Until someone comes along and bursts our bubble. Someone that is humble about his or her strengths and excited to learn. They show up smiling and ready to get busy, no matter their age. They play and have fun, yet know the job must get done, and the boss sees their execution. So does the world. There are no preconceived ideals this person fits into and they get very few breaks because they don't fit the story. They just get on with it, ignoring the talk or the box they are supposed to fit into. They just do it. Start it. Finish it. Work later. Learn more. Play harder. Smile more. See fewer roadblocks and talk about them even less. They own it. What they create is theirs to give away and what they learn is theirs to keep. For everybody else, the time is never right. For you, the time is always now. And it is always right for making it happen. Step up. Stand out.

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No More Brochures

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Is there an obesity problem? Said nobody. Do we lack adequate funding for education? Said nobody. Should I recycle? Is it bad for one to watch five hours of television a day? I wonder what I should eat to be healthy? Just where might I find this information? I just don't know where to look. Look everywhere. We know what we should do. We know where to find information. There is an article a day, every day, on most of the topics listed above in nearly every remaining newspaper on the planet. The problem isn't lack of information. It's whether that information is correct and more over, it is how to implement, measure and execute. Easily and for the regular man/woman that rarely changes much in their daily routine. We received your brochure. It had information that we read. Then we recycled it and then went back to our normal day to day actions. What are you going to do to support me make a change? How will you change the world's behaviours? And why? This is how you stand out from the crowd. The world doesn't need another know-it-all. We need humble servants prepared to make a difference through accountability and execution, and all of it based primarily on the information we already have. No more spilled ink. Time for sweat. Step up. Stand out.

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Wake Up

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We are a confusing bunch. We over think the obvious and one of the few things we do consistently well is to believe our goals are out of our reach. We waste time unlike any other creature on the planet. It is a rare day that a squirrel sits back, parks himself at the base of a tree and ponders whether he should or shouldn't collect a few nuts. He just does it. Tail up, one paw [I think it's a paw] in front of the other, and one nut at a time. Some will say a very small brain but I'm looking for the broader point. Wake up. Get out of bed. Get out your front door and launch yourself into what you want to be doing and probably should be doing. Get simple. Get real. Get busy doing important things that you like and want to do. Stop considering what you didn't complete yesterday or the wasted time you lost from last week and just put one foot in front of the other. Be in motion. Wake up tomorrow and simply make yourself leave the building in action towards your finest day ever. It might be a bit scary but you never know what will happen when you start making it happen. Step up. Stand out.

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How to Start A Movement

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This morning my friend sent me a Ted Talk that I had forgotten about but that is exceptionally relevant to all the underdogs out there. How to stand out? How to start a movement and the differing roles within a powerful movement. This is you and your quest to make a lasting difference. Take the three minutes to watch. Step up. Stand out.    

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Educating the Herd

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We like things the way they are. No changes please. Stay the course. Let's just make this easy and move on, I'm too busy to think right now. No time to think. Little to discuss and even less we'd like to debate. That's hard work and requires and opinion that isn't spoonfed to us by our friend who seems to know more than us. So how will you get a new idea to take shape? Who will care if nobody cares? Who will debate the finer points of your new concepts if everybody wants to stay normal? You will need to be consistent and find a way to build a conversation people are interested in and that they will rarely consider controversial. You will also need to find the outliers in your arena. Those that will beat the drum for change and engage in a conversation for a new future. They are out there and you might have to take every one of them out to coffee, or work for them, or make them sit up and pay attention by supporting their efforts. Whatever you propose, this is your tribe. Become a part of their network and build with them. Maybe even to an even bigger vision combining and collaborating together. To gain traction there is very little you can do beyond continuing to iterate your ideas and speak with people, one on one if you must, daily. Hard work gets you where you want to go if your idea even stands a chance. Keep building a conversation that people might want to attach to. Continue to support others see what their life could look like inside of your future vision. Make the change seem easier than doing the normal routine. Set out to make people's lives better. You don't stand a chance if you can't crack open the door of complacency but shouting louder will never work. Your work must nip at the edges of regular life, slowly pushing those edges outwards to include your ideas and work. Telling people what to do rarely succeeds. Having them discover their own best life inside your work is much more difficult but stands a greater chance to last over the long term. How hard are you working to tell your story? Step up. Stand out.

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It Only Takes One

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If a tree falls in a forest does anybody hear it? By the same token, you have a real and valuable story to tell, but if you decide to bottle it up without sharing, is it real? More importantly, for those that do share, if you waste your time trying to convince people who really aren't listening to your idea, story or plan, will your story live on? Like the preacher on the street corner we spend a lot of our time foolishly trying to convince those that don't care about what we are up to or why we are even doing what we do. We look to change people's thinking, which is the most difficult of things to accomplish. Look instead for those that are hearing what you are saying. They may be more difficult to find but once you discover one person you have the beginnings of a tribe and the possibility of your message spreading. Take your time looking for the right people to share your ideas with and gauge interest quickly when you begin to share your story. If you aren't being heard then simply enjoy the company of others. If you are, dig deeper. It only takes one person. Find them. Share. Step up. Stand out.

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Everybody Has A Plan

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"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." - Mike Tyson Business planning is an area of great interest and there is copious amounts of literature written about how-to and exactly what to do for getting the process just right. Perusing your local library or strolling through your online bookstore will shine a light on just how many experts there are on the business or project planning arena. From financial planning right the way through to vision declarations, there is educational tools in high quantities. However, most people and businesses end up with their plan shelved somewhere at the bottom of the desk drawer. The plan doesn't live, it literally ends the day the last period has been dotted. It was a fruitless exercise designed to only serve acquisition of capital. Once done at the bank the plan has served it's purpose. Where a business plan should provide guidance and become a real and living document is at the time you hit adversity. For that very time you get punched in the face. That is when you need to be anchored and reach back for the training and effort you put in to create your plan. That is when you need to arm yourself with the 'why' of your business. Why did I start this project? What adjustments do I need to make now that there are other teams playing against me? You see, everybody can have a plan, it's the people that consistently analyze if they are on track with their plan and know how to react once they get punched in the face that will almost certainly succeed. Eventually. Do you get up after you have been punched? Step up. Stand out.

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Bullying

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The advent of the smart phone and the invasive actions that young people can take has everybody talking about bullying and how we can deal with it. But it isn't just a youth problem. Words like bully are so broad but we think of them with very little scope. For most of us we think of the big guy that takes your milk money, the aggressor that holds the power. However, the mental side of bullying might be where the most damage is caused and is the most difficult to see or even address. Girls are often the power brokers of their community. They speak to who is the most attractive and who fits in more than the traditional sense of abuser. It is this type of bullying that becomes pervasive. It also starts to define people's actions as they grow older. It is why we pull for average. We cut down our celebrities and we look to mock those that are successful. We speak quietly in the lunchroom of those that are different or pushing to make a dent in the world. Why would they try so hard? They have no idea what they are doing? From our early days in school we seldom lose our tendency to try and exert control over others. We want the most successful to be like us so we don't feel alone and yet we want to be successful unlike those we feel we are better than. It is time to be aware of how we act and what we think. It is time to vaunt the person stepping up to the plate and swinging for a better world. It is time to get in line and help those individuals. To feel proud of their efforts and to support them by collaborating and building upon their ideas. It is time to allow free thinkers to exist without prejudice and time to accept that we have never gotten anywhere in life by doing the same thing over and over again. Don't be a bully. Be different. Be confident that you can make a difference. Be the one. Step up. Stand out.

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Tidal Waves

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The creation of the internet has caused a tidal wave. A wave so high and powerful that many things in its path will never be the same. Never. Email has crippled mail. Online shopping has forced the bricks and mortar to rethink their status as the place to shop. That same shopping has built shipping franchises into multi billion dollar enterprises.The record shop has been replaced by iTunes. Books and publishing by Kindles and pdf packages. Webinars can instantly share information across nations. Social media has replaced the watercooler. Work place environments have altered to accommodate e-commuters. Instant communication has altered the speed a movement can happen. Out there in your shaky industry lay the opportunities to reshape the way we look at the world. Where you live there are cozy people sitting back and enjoying their perfect life. Look there. The place where everybody is comfortable is the place where the tidal wave you cause could make a difference. Don't look there because you want to cause pain but because it is probably where society is feeling the irritation of an overpriced, over politicized and over laboured system. That is where the new economy can create great things for the people. Anything that is over protected or overtly political needs exploring. Look for cozy. Bring the wave of change. Step up. Stand out.

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CD Cases and Rivers

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There are very few instances where you will find people more confrontational than those that who have their livelihoods threatened. Unfortunately you will rarely see much vision within the ranks either. It will be large amounts of energy reinforcing the dam. Supporting their argument of stay the course. Marketing and communicating their points of contention using any means possible including the ever staged celebrity plea. The big guy standing up for the little guys. It rarley works in reverse. The little guys didn't stand in line when Metallica decided to save the record man and protect their beloved cash cow, the music industry. Oh, they tried. But we still streamed. It was actually easier. The retailers of America didn't get picket lines and celebrity endorsed messages when slowly the online store crept into our economy. Many simply just died, overtaken by little amazon and ebay, both of whom became the industry itself. Again, easier. Make it easier. Make it work. Make it work for us. We don't care what is out there already. We'll switch if it is easier, more fun, more complete, better value or any combination within. The suits cannot save themselves fast enough when a really good idea comes around. So, you can stick with the CD cases and quietly wither away or you can build a new way to look at things, making it easier for people everywhere to ride the wave. Step up. Stand out.  

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What Are You Protecting?

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The steel workers, auto industry, teachers, the music industry, stock brokers, real estate agents and many a political leader all know what it feels like when your environment changes forever and yet you are left protecting an old system. The music industry tried to stem the tide yet new and improved ways of producing and distributing artists destroyed what was. Like a tidal wave leveling what was in its path, you could see the remnants and recognize the shapes of what once was there but the landscape had been reclaimed ready for the new way of doing things. Humans don't like change. In fact, we dread change more than anything. At the same time we intuitively understand that change is what brings us forward. We simply prefer others to have to deal with the pain. We are scared of change as a whole. Maybe it is time to become more fearful of what the circumstances would be like if you don't embrace change. If you hold onto the last dying pieces of a struggling business or don't look towards growing markets for your next enterprising career. Where are the new opportunities? Look into the future. What happens if your industry changes for good? Will you be standing there trying to protect what was? It probably won't ever look the same again. We can yell and scream about making it better or protecting our rights or even be scared for our families but change happens and it rarely allows for what was to exist in the same manner. Don't be scared. Be prepared. Invite the changes. Be a leader for it. Step up. Stand out.

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Last Breath

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What is inspiration? What does it feel like? What kind of fire burns inside those that rise up and end up in the rarified air of what we refer to as the truly successful and happy? Imagine yourself in a swimming pool. Now imagine being under water and holding your breath. Then consider your breath slowly dribbling out of your body and how you might want to make it back to the surface. Now feel what it is like to have the hands of an oppressor holding you under as you struggle for life. There. That feeling. The moment you realize nothing else matters but keeping life. Your life. That second you see clearly that nothing else matters except your next glorious inhale of air. That feeling is born from the same place as inspiration. It is desperation morphed with desire and fulfillment. It is inside of you. But only you can locate it, sense it and use it. Go. Play like you are searching for your last breath. Step up. Stand out.

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Your Scene

Hen_pottery

People want to connect with you. You want to connect with people. You want to connect in that one area that you truly love and think about all the time. It might be sewing. It could be a sport. Possibly chess. Whatever it is you understand that scene. You know its languages and nuances. You know them because you are a part of that group. Your scene isn't dif

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Who Do You Stand For?

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There is a moment in all our lives where we are confronted with the opportunity to be bigger than the circumstances we are presented with. In fact, those moments happen all the time. Right from the very beginning of our lives. In the school yard. The office. On the team. In your family and in your home. These are the times when you feel things aren't as they should be. When someone is being wron

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Form A New Default

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There is a reason it takes years and years of schooling and residency to become a practicing doctor. It is the same reason that normally sixteen year olds don't make the pro leagues in sports. It may also be the reason why those parents with five children seem more at ease than the ones who just had their first child. There is some experience that is needed and some learning that ob

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The Back Seat of the Car

CharRainbow

I have three children and like many of you I bustle them about to their activities like a taxi driver on New Year's Eve. Morning, noon and night. They get themselves in and out of the car like a drunk after a night out, which is to say, loudly and with incredible fuss. Bags and hockey sticks, instruments and artwork, all flies into the station wagon as we prepare for the next journey. The

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What Lies Under The Sofa…

SummerChar

You've washed the windows, polished the tables, mopped the floors and vacuumed the house.

But what lies under the sofa? Have you picked it up lately and seen what unsightly mess resides in the darkness?

It's easy to make the outside look amazing. Those places everyone sees. The opportunities, even in m

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The Closer It Gets

Katemask

The idea comes to you while taking a long shower. Or riding your bicycle. Or on the long drive to work. The game changer. This is it. Now you know what you will do for the foreseeable future. You are elated and energized. Sitting down you plot the course and write out all the ideas, permutations and outcomes for your beautiful concept. It just flows out of you. Word after word, thought after though

Read More

No More Brochures

photo

Is there an obesity problem? Said nobody. Do we lack adequate funding for education? Said nobody. Should I recycle? Is it bad for one to watch five hours of television a day? I wonder what I should eat to be healthy? Just where might I find this information? I just don't know where to look. Look everywhere. We know what we should do. We know where to find information. There is an article a day, ever

Read More

Everybody Has A Plan

photo

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." - Mike Tyson Business planning is an area of great interest and there is copious amounts of literature written about how-to and exactly what to do for getting the process just right. Perusing your local library or strolling through your online bookstore will shine a light on just how many experts there are on the business or project planning arena. Fr

Read More

Your Scene

Hen_pottery

People want to connect with you. You want to connect with people. You want to connect in that one area that you truly love and think about all the time. It might be sewing. It could be a sport. Possibly chess. Whatever it is you understand that scene. You know its languages and nuances. You know them because you are a part of that group. Your scene isn't dif

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Life Hack

original

Life hacking is all the rage and makes for some really cool reading. A hack is basically looking for ways to fix a problem in your life [and everybody elses for that matter]. Hacks exists for just about everything. How to dry sport equipment? How to clean your windows, wash your car with non toxic soap and so on. Life hacking to me is also about questioning pre-e

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Your Scene

Hen_pottery

People want to connect with you. You want to connect with people. You want to connect in that one area that you truly love and think about all the time. It might be sewing. It could be a sport. Possibly chess. Whatever it is you understand that scene. You know its languages and nuances. You know them because you are a part of that group. Your scene isn't dif

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I Want It Now

expectations

Your stocks you just bought likely won't double tomorrow. Your probably not going to win the lottery this Wednesday either. And your house value isn't going to rise exponentially in the next year. Your kid will not make the NFL after his second year playing flag football. Your workout yesterday is unlikely to deliver the six-pack you dreamed you had. And that book you started doesn't mean that you are fast tra

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The Work of Fun

Hen_rockart

Fun is one the more ambiguous modern words. We use it to describe the experience of being happy and enjoying oneself but rarely do we consider fun as an experience of the journey. Consider a birthday party. Balloons. Cake. Party favours. Games. Perhaps costumes. Venue rental. Streamers. Food. Invites to friends. Presents. It all takes work to sort out. The better the party the more work

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Your Scene

Hen_pottery

People want to connect with you. You want to connect with people. You want to connect in that one area that you truly love and think about all the time. It might be sewing. It could be a sport. Possibly chess. Whatever it is you understand that scene. You know its languages and nuances. You know them because you are a part of that group. Your scene isn't dif

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The Road Less Traveled

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For years poets like Robert Frost have spoken about the choices that confront us in our lives. The decisions that we must make. The fork in the road. Which path to take and why. As media has become more accessible and more people can communicate on a moment to moment basis there is no end to the people that can point out that there will be choices. However, unfortunately les

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