Tag Archives: employment

Independence, Freedom, Life

snowbunniesA quick story……

As you may have guessed I have been self-employed before and I enjoyed it. Even when I worked at two banks, I had lots of self-autonomy and acted as if I was running my own business or profit center…….

….I believe that we all should have freedom to be with our family or friends as we choose, to do things as we want, to make as much as we want, to spend quality time with those we want to, to be creative, to exercise and do healthy things, and so on…..

I really relish what working for oneself has to offer – whether it is inside a larger corporation or actually self-employed. I gravitate to these sorts of things….I wish more people knew what it felt like too…..

In any case, we all know that the Internet is full of so many gurus, gadgets and ‘opportunities’ that appear to offer freedom, income, etc. etc. I confess that I’ve tried a blog and business before. I had a CD-set of information, advice and references that I sold. I had podcasts. I sold books written by others on the same subjects. I’ve tried things and failed. I’ve also had a few successes.

I think many of us would like to work from home, or be able to do something like that. I believe that it is possible.

So, my point is, that I’ve come upon a couple interesting things. Really just two. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on many others. I have found many useful items, many scams, and things in between. Many items were actually good but perhaps something not what I wanted to do. There are many items out there that one can actually make money or do. It is about committment.

Anyhow, I’m in the process of checking out these few things. If they seem to be reasonable, realistic, and worthwhile, I’ll tell you. Then you can check them out and see if you think it is worth it.

I respect the fact that you read this blog, I respect that visited this once or maybe visit each day. I promise that I won’t abuse your trust and the relationship that we have. This blog is primarily  here to share good ideas, information and have fun. Deep down I believe that if I find something that is really good, it will still fulfill these things.

Until then. Enjoy and take care.

For more, click here





No Sideways in Life; only forward or back

 No Sideways in Life; only forward or back

My daughters are at the age that they still like me, still laugh at my jokes, still hold my hand. However my wife and I see the glimmer of the teenage years and the changes that sometimes come. I like to think my kids are well adjusted and that even though change will come, we’ll all still be close.

In any case, I’m trying to cram in a variety of things while they are still receptive….things like important values on life; inspiration, encouragement, independence, confidence, ….getting them to think about focusing on things to pursue some level of mastery or at least competence….having a good sense of humor….thinkining good thoughts….and yes, sharing the love of my geekness.

What do I mean by the latter? I am trying to get them to appreciate some good movies and books….anything from the Power of One, The Help, The Insider, Ten Commandments, True Lies, Rocky, Rear Window, Indiana Jones, Apollo 13, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings,  (which I loved as a kid), to more romantic ones like Sleepless in Seattle, Affair to Remember, You’ve Got Mail (my wife and I like it together), to funny movies like Ace Ventura, Naked Gun,  to all the great comic book related movies like Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, etc.

I was joking a bit about Superman one day with them and then I thought of a serious point I read somewhere in the world of comicbook geekdom….something like “Superman really isn’t that courageous, he is almost invincible, he has little chance of failing…everyday people are truly courageous, or have the opportunity to be courageous, because we are vulnerable and we can fail just as easily as we can succeed.”

I tried to relate that to a life lesson and got a bit carried away but I wanted to run with it…..

We then spoke about being shy, intimidated, scared, and how do you handle fear? Specifically we spoke of the fear of failure, of embarrassment, of losing or making mistakes.

I wanted to try to get them to look at life from a different perspective. I asked them to take a look at what life will look like not if you try and fail…but if you if you just accept the conditions and don’t take chances, don’t take actions and have some courage, and especially if you let it go on for decades. That’s the real nightmare scenario for most people.

In my opinion, we all have to continuously improve. Maybe I’m neurotic or maybe I have a self-image problem but I constantly try to improve me. I sometimes fool myself, or loaf a bit, or I may even regress but I know that long term, I am better than the old me. As many authors have stated, “Simple fact, there is no sideways, no coasting…no neutral.”

I believe that there is no stopping the need to improve, or at least work on all key parts of your life; spiritual growth, career, relationships, business, frienships, health…. There’s only up or down

We all experience times when things go well or move ahead. We experience times when things seem to fail all around us. Author Jonathan Fields provides a quote about this, “Either way, the speed and magnitude of the change in the way we experience life is so great and, often, so outwardly apparent, that we – or those around us – are moved to act to either support or redirect our trajectory. Action in the context of such powerful movement is a near mandate.”

As Fields notes, the most ‘dangerous’ periods are those times when we’re sliding ever-so-slowly up or down? For whatever reasons, we’re at a point in our lives because of momentum or inertia. We sometimes get to a point where we think life is good and we don’t want to rock the boat – if it isn’t broken, why fix it?  Sometimes we might get to a point where we even say “hey, my _____ isn’t great, but it’s not THAT bad. Who cares if I’m a little fatter, poorer, lazier, sicker and in just a bit more pain. It’s not such a big deal.”

That is a terrible thing we’ve all slipped into from time to time. Call it complacency, call it whatever. There is no coasting. There is no neutral. No sideways.

As Jonathan Fields says in his article ‘There is No Sideways in Life’.  “It’s a myth, an illusion. There’s only up or down.”

Fields says, “Your currently “passable” life becomes increasingly painful as you enter the long, slow slide toward death. Because you failed to accept the knowledge that there is no sideways, there is only up or down. Even if the pace is slow, barely detectable. There’s no such thing as sideways.”

Tony Robbins, Fields, Oprah, and countless classic philosophers have said it in one way or another, you need to have better questions like, “What if I succeed?…What if I do nothing?”

This is where you build a vision, make it strong and vivid. Add emotion, then consistently repeat it over and over. Think about it as if you’re already there. Think of it as how you’ll feel looking back to when you didn’t have it and feel the accomplishment. How good will you feel?

Think about what actions, even a small one, can you do today to work to that image, that vistion. And, the next time you feel like momentum, inertia, sideways, coasting…neutral is enough. Think again. It takes courage to take action, to get out of that comfortable spot….

Have courage, us the courage to move towards your dream, however big or small. Whether it’s just talking to someone at a social event, making a call, writing or creating, taking a chance. We’re all scared. Veteran rock stars and movie stars admit that they still get scared or nervous even after years of experience.

Courage is often confused as people who have no fear and just move ahead. ON the contrary, courage is when there is fear and we overcome that fear, even just for a moment, and then move ahead to take action, to do something we once would not have done.

Happiness = focus on now, be present

OK, you may have heard me say before that we all need to focus on the now, the present, right. And I often talk about how we need to be happy with what we have, accept what we have before we can move on to better things. Simple right? Sounds like it.

I do repeat subjects such as this – but for a reason. We all get better with repetition. When we reinforce good things we benefit. Plus, I’ve had people reach out to me and ask more about it, so it shows that there is interest in some of these ideas.

Ok, let’s jump into it. We all want to be happy each day, right? And we’d all like to have a gratifying career, right? A gratifying life where we can see the direct contributions like some careers offer, like a doctor or police officer or firefighter, for instance. 

But, we all, at least from time to time, long for other things right? We want bigger and better things. We sometimes wish that we are somewhere else. Maybe, perhaps, we’re at work but we wish that we are instead at the beach, on a hike, at that party, or somewhere ‘else’.

But studies show, and I think we know it intuitively, when your body’s at the office and your mind’s at the party, at another job, at home, or at the beach, it can create frustration at work.

Satisfaction, memories, happiness, and reward come in the “present”.

To be happy in life and to be happy at work, we need to be in the moment, living in the present instead of thinking about the past, future, or wishing that we were somewhere else – and this all relates to life in general and career satisfaction in particular.

Some people have a tough time doing that (and society doesn’t help much), and it’s costing them their happiness.

There’s a recent article by Andrea Kay (www.lifesabitchchangecareers.com) via Gannett Publishing that describes a well-documented study conducted by two Harvard researchers who set out to measure happiness, shows that 47 percent of the time people think about something other than what they are doing, and that mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.

Ms. Kay’s article further describes that psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert concluded this after collecting data from more than 15,000 volunteers ages 18 to 88 from more than 80 countries in 86 different occupations.

They gathered the data through an iPhone application that tracks people’s happiness, trackyourhappiness.org, asking at random intervals how happy someone was, what they were doing and whether they were thinking about their current activity or something else that was pleasant, neutral or unpleasant.

The study showed that mind-wandering occurred in all activities. When someone is working, they discovered a person’s mind wanders 50 percent of the time. It makes you wonder if that’s one reason so many people complain their work is not rewarding.

That tendency for the human mind to wander and think about what is not happening, is a cognitive achievement that comes with an emotional costs, say the researchers in the journal Science, adding, “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” (the above was from Andrea Kay’s article To be happy in your job, focus on now)

We allow ourselves to be distracted and we’re constantly distracted by many things around us. Email, the phone, that think your coworker said, the bills, family, etc.

Have you ever been somewhere alone with someone and only two of you are talking. One of you says something and the other doesn’t hear it despite the silence? That person is probably thinking of something else, right? How could they not hear it? (Of course you always hear the stuff, it’s the other person.)

Ms. Kay states that “Researchers found that things like worrying “seem to be incredibly destructive to happiness” and “that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the nonpresent,” Killingsworth says in HarvardScience.”

OK, so what’s the answer? You can look towards the Bible, learn from Buddhism, listen to practicioners of Transcendental Meditation, or just listen to your therapist: make a conscious effort to ‘be in the present’. Often we first have to be more aware of ourselves – be aware if we’re daydreaming, wanting something else, or if we’re ‘present’.

If you do that, you will notice that you’re more engaged, more satisfied, more productive. That alone will make you feel better. Being in the moment will bring more happiness. Think of one of those days we’re all had – when we’re distracted, interrupted, worried, and it seems like we do 100 things but accomplish none. Do we feel happy? Accomplished? No.

Then think of those moments – often doing sports or something fun – when you’re only thinking of “that thing”. I think about rock climbing. I don’t do it often but when I have, I can only think of that activity. All things fade away. I enjoy it and I feel lighter, I feel clear. And guess what, the last time I went climbing I later had a good idea about something after – I had been worrying about it for sometime and my guess is that my subconscious worked on it while I climbed.

Meditation is a great way to help us learn to be more in the moment and to focus. I definitely have trouble sitting in a quiet manner, focusing, and not letting my mind wander. I think of ideas, people I need to call, lists, etc. But we need to work on the silence. Wayne Dyer suggests using a prayer or poem that you like and very, very slowly saying it when you start to meditate – and focus on the gap in between the words. He uses the example of the “Our Father” and says to focus and meditate on the spaces between each word, the emptiness, silence and peace. That helps us meditate.

Lastly, it goes without saying, that present moment can very well turn out to be one of the best memories ever. How many times has someone said or done something out of the blue and that moment becomes a memory that you refer to often? Remember that simple thing a child said or did? That unexpected moment in nature? The compliment or kind word? That surprise or laugh?

Here’s to the present, may you remember that it is a gift.

Below are ideas to help us all focus on happiness.

These are found in the article; 12 Steps to Happiness, By Stacey Kennelly | August 9, 2012 at http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Savor life’s joys. Pay close attention to life’s momentary pleasures and wonders through thinking, writing, or drawing, or by sharing them with others. Download instructions for the “three good things” exercise—a way to help you savor the good in your life.

Learn to forgive. Keep a journal or write a letter in which you work on letting go of anger and resentment toward someone who has hurt or wronged you.

Practice acts of kindness. Do good things for others—whether friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or planned. Download instructions.

Nurture relationships. Pick a relationship in need of strengthening, and invest time and energy in healing, cultivating, affirming, and enjoying it.

Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal in which you imagine and write about the best possible future for yourself, or practice looking at the bright side of every situation. Download instructions.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. Use strategies (such as distraction) to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems, and guard against comparing yourself to others.

Develop strategies for coping. Practice ways to endure or surmount a recent stress, hardship, or trauma.

Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have—either privately, through contemplation or journaling, or to someone else—or convey your appreciation to people whom you’ve never properly thanked. Download instructions for keeping a gratitude journal and for writing a gratitude letter.

Strengthen your spiritual connections. Religious and spiritual people are happier, perhaps because of the social connections they get through their community.

Commit to your goals. Pick one, two, or three significant goals that are meaningful to you, and devote time and effort to pursuing them. Download instructions for using your strengths to help you achieve your goals.

Take care of your body. This could mean exercise, of course, but also meditating, smiling, or laughing.


Simple Stuff 10

(SIMPLE STUFF is a short bit of ideas, quotes, phrases, and ‘stuff’ to help you stay focused, stay loose, ask better questions, and laugh a bit.)


Deepak Chopra joins Rainn Wilson in his van to talk about life’s big questions including happiness, creativity, and dark matters. Plus: How do you define happiness? Leave us a comment below!

Words to Live By: Responsibility

(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)

In my college years I thought that I was responsible….basically because I kept up a half decent GPA and didn’t get into trouble. Nothing really that great in retrospect. The first time I really knew what responsibility was started in May 1990. College was over for the summer. I decided that I needed to take a week off to ‘rest’ from my hard studies (was I serious?). So the next week I started working in my father’s sales agency for the summer. Soon after my father had his second heart attack.

Now my father later recovered and lived many more years. But he missed most of that summer. Young Jim (me) grew up fast. I’m glad it happened but it wasn’t fun at the time. I had to learn the business quickly – almost overnight. I had to learn what it meant to service clients, work with vendors, pay bills, logistics, etc. etc. My mother was out of town at the hospital with my father most of the week so I had the house to care for right away. Our well (water) went bad and I had to figure that out.

So I was responsible for the business and home. But through that process I also reflected on how ‘soft’ I was and how I was not being responsible nor was I taking any responsibility in my life. I was blaming others, blaming circumstances, angry at others, and I did not respond well to challenges. I was thinking like a victim instead of a leader or a winner. It is this latter definition of responsibility that I wish to discuss with you now.

Deepak Chopra says “responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for your situation. Having accepted this circumstance, this event, this problem, responsibility then means the ABILITY to have a creative RESPONSE to the situation as it is now.” Every crisis or problem also has an opportunity in it – this type of awareness allows you to take your situation and transform it to a better situation.

So in a moment of responsibility there is a level of Acceptance (Words To Live By: Acceptance. http://wp.me/p2mGFu-1n ). When someone or something comes into your life, confronts you, whatever – accept that the moment is as it should be. There is meaning in all events. There is opportunity and education. This all helps YOU evolve. When you blame, point the finger, or source out the responsibility, you’re ignoring the root, the problem and the opportunity and education. Without accepting responsibility we can’t move on either.

I think it is important to remember that responsibility is the “ability to respond.”

Stay in the Driver’s Seat by taking responsibility in all situations.  Many people tend to fall into a victim mindset when they are challenged in life. Acting as a victim – blaming other people or things – disable us and it’s as though we are trapped and cannot do anything to change.

Think about it…would you knowingly want to face the world with fear or in fear? Then why face it as a victim? Things ‘happen’ to a victim, and not in a good way.

When we take responsibility, we gain control and power over ourselves and the situation.

Similarly, take responsibility for your accomplishments, the good things. I know that I am someone who rarely looks back and appreciates the good things. I often focus on what I have not yet accomplished. Take a moment to see how you were able to respond to life recently, things that you’ve done or accomplished. Build some good references for the future. Don’t get hung up here because the past does not equal the future – but use the accomplishments and good stuff to gain momentum.

Responsibly yours,


Myth Of Decline: U.S.

Here is a great article I came across – something we don’t hear enough.

Take a quick look…

Myth Of Decline: U.S. Is Stronger and Faster Than Anywhere Else

By Daniel Gross of http://www.thedailybeast.com

It starts…”

Given the magnitude of the economic fall, it’s no surprise that declinism quickly emerged as the time’s chic intellectual pose. Left and right, highbrow and lowbrow, ideological and pragmatic, historians and futurists—all came to an agreement: the U.S. had a very slim hope of recovering from its self-inflicted blows. The lion was now a lamb, shorn of aggression and vitality, unable to compete with rivals like China. Much like Japan, which has endured two decades of stagnation and misery since its real-estate bubble popped in the late 1980s, the U.S. had fallen and couldn’t get up.

As is frequently the case, however, the conventional wisdom is wrong…….”


Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive

I saw this and thought it was worth sharing…

Courtesy of Forbes.com, by Susan Adams, Forbes Staff

Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive

One of my colleagues used to head to the men’s room and brush his teeth every time he felt a surge of writer’s block. He swears it did the trick. Another exits the building and walks around the block to clear his head. I like to take advantage of the mid-day yoga sessions that Forbes offers in the gym on the ninth floor. When I return to my desk, my body is relaxed, my mind is clear, and I attack my work with new energy……….

Read the article at http://www.linkedin.com/news?actionBar=&articleID=5620579803355684883&ids=djcRd3cNd3ARdPkMcz0Rc38SdiMTdzkRdPwQd3sNdzsRcP8MczoRb3wUd3wVc3gNc3gMcPkQdj0OdzkIcPwUd3wSdjkPcP0UejsRc38SdiMUd3cNdz0OdzASe3oQdzgMczoR&aag=true&freq=weekly&trk=eml-tod2-b-ttl-1&ut=3eq7dAxV22R5g1

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