Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How To Get More of What You Want

In a "thought for the day" from a marketing blog, I received this quote from Seth Godin:

"The goal is to create a product that people love. If people love it, they'll forgive a lot. They'll talk about it. They'll promote it. They'll come back. They'll be less price sensitive. They'll bring their friends. They'll work with you to make it better."
As I read this, my thought process transferred from how we create products to the product of OUR OWN SELF. Are we creating a person people love?

I think this thought carries through to our own life in learning how to get more of everything you want:

If we're someone people love, they'll forgive us for a lot. They'll talk about us. They'll promote us. They'll come back to us weeks after we may have last heard from them. They'll be less sensitive to our negative qualities or challenges of seeing us. They'll introduce us to their friends. They'll work with us to make our life better and suggest ways to live our dreams we share with them."

Yep. Seems true to me. Are you frustrated with friendships? Maybe you're not being the love you want to find? You know the cliche "be the change you want to see in the world" right? Maybe it is time to make changes. Now, if our life IS full of all this love, then KEEP IT UP!

When we make it easy for people to love us we will inevitably have (a) more luck, (b) more friends, (c) more success, and (d) live more of our dreams than people who are hard to love.

How can we get more of everything you want and become an easier person to love?

Here's a list, for starters:
  1. Be more fun! Have fun ideas to contribute to conversations and events.
  2. Make people laugh. If you haven't learned how to be funny yet, study comedians, read joke books, and learn how to be funny.
  3. Accept others without judgment. People hate being judged. Accept people for who they are and you'll find they love you more.
  4. Look for commonalities. Have you ever noticed that when people are really good at making friends, they find COMMONALITIES. Rather than look for differences, look for what you have IN COMMON and expand upon those traits and positive qualities. You'll be sure to grow more love with those you can relate to... thus, the word RELATIONSHIP! :)
  5. Include others in your life. People will often out to you if you reach out to them. Just make it a practice whenever you think of someone to reach out to them.
  6. Accept other invitations. When people invite you - GO! They would not invite you if they didn't want you to be there.
  7. Be more forgiving. I remember a friend once told me "Gosh, Scott, I sure like that you don't hold a grudge." My Mom says I've always been that way. Internally, I may feel angst, but I try to be cheerful anyway. I find that this is part of a forgiving spirit that helps me maintain the love in relationships.
  8. Be grateful. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way. It feels great when a friend calls and says "Thank you for...." George Bush Sr. rode the art of writing "thank you letters" all the way to becoming President of the United States. Think those letters had something to do with it? Be grateful for the love others show you and the love you receive will grow, too.
There's my list of eight ways you can get what you want. Did I surprise you? Maybe you thought there was a magic pill you could swallow. And, yes, there is! It's called the LOVE pill! Ha ha ha!

Can you think of additional ways to get more of what you want by showing more love to others? Please share your ideas in our comments!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finishing Strong: Living Life Passionately No Matter What

I love being human. Someone forwarded a video to me today. I'm human. I cried watching it.

Why? Because this guy, Nick Vujicic, is inspiring. I'm sure this is making the rounds, but nevertheless, I want to comment about his message. First, the video:

Okay... are YOU going to FINISH STRONG?

What is REAL LOVE?

To me, it is realizing that we are not alone, that no matter what, we have a spiritual force to be reckoned with. It is in God. It is in US. It is UP TO US to recognize it, and let it flow.

Nick does this. In his talks about moving from a "Life Without Limbs" to "Life Without Limits," Nick demonstrates how he turned his struggle into one of helplessness into one of independence and through surrender (through Jesus) Nick discovered his message of inspiring hope to others. I respect Nick.

Now, if you were feeling down and out -- or that life has no meaning -- may I encourage you to check out Nick's story?

I really don't need to add anything other than to say: NO MATTER WHAT, NO MATTER HOW, NO MATTER WHEN, OR WHERE, LIVE LIFE TO THE COMPLETE UTMOST POSSIBLE WITHIN YOU. It is like Duke Ellington, the great jazz composer, band leader, and pianist once said, "Do the very best you can with what you've got." Or, as I tell my fellow musicians when they first come to play music with me: "Whatever you've got, bring it!" Live PASSIONATELY!

At one moment, Nick didn't think he had a future. He wanted to end his night. Today, he moved beyond those thoughts of being inadequate. But he figured something out. "There are two things we want in life. One: to be loved. Two: that everything is going to be alright." It is true, isn't it?

In another interview with Nick, where he gives his full testimony ( you'll learn more about that.

Nick is inspiring because he simply gets it:

"Girls: You are beautiful, just the way you are... "
"Boys: You 'da man!"

I'd say Nick "brings it" in each moment. Are you bringing your best to each moment?

Nick's story will give you hope:

This life here is temporary. Are you living the purpose God has for you? When you fall down, get back up, try and try and try again. And then amaze yourself - and others - when you DO IT. It is our purpose to allow this passion, this spirit, this energy to flow through us and allow it to drive us forward to live as nobody else can: it is up to us to discover that journey.

Not too long ago, I failed at something. It was both hard and embarrassing to fail. And yes, it was very hard to face that failure. I thought about checking out and ending my journey. But, then, I got back up the next day, I looked outside and the sky was blue. I drove down to my favorite beach and stared into the deep blue water as it crashed upon the sandy shore. I stood in front of the ocean and the wind whistled lightly in my ears. The smell of sea salt refreshed me. A seagull with mature white colors and a funky leg stared at me. Nature called to me. I realized I'm alive for a reason. We all are alive for a reason. Do you remember what that reason is? The answer is WITHIN YOU!

No matter what, it is there, always. After 50 years of marriage, my Uncle Howard lost his wife last year. After a couple of heart attacks, Aunt Katie's weakened body just gave out one night. This year, Uncle Howard was there at my family's festive table during the holidays. He is going on. He is continuing to live. At 85, he is finding new reasons to enjoy life. What about you?

Live passionately. Experience REAL LOVE. It is there for you. You are beautiful. You are AMAZING. You are SPECIAL. I write this to remind you that no matter what, no matter where, no matter when, you have what it takes to make people laugh, to be real, to connect with people emotionally, and to make a difference. Don't just hope for it. GO FOR IT!

Be the miracle you are in every moment!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Alltop INSPIRATION features AspireNow

AspireNow is now a featured blog on Alltop for Inspiration Blogs (

We’re featured here along with ZenHabits (,, ThinkSimpleNow, and other helpful and inspiring web sites. Alltop is an “online magazine rack” that aggregates RSS feeds about popular topics. Do you have a web site where you’d like to feature content, an article, or display AspireNow’s logo badge? If so, contact AspireNow at info @ (URL).

Do you want to help promote AspireNow?

Help us promote the logo! Do you have a web site where you’d like to feature content, an article, or display AspireNow’s logo badge? If so, contact AspireNow at info @ (URL).

Link to AspireNow

If you want to link to AspireNow, use this link:

Title: AspireNow – Seriously Fun Self-help!
AspireNow: Seriously Fun Self-Help ( - a self-help web site inspiring people in over 80 countries to improve career, dating, finance, health, lifestyles, money and relationships.

Promote our article feed directly on your blog
An easy way to show AspireNow is to post our FEEDBOX directly on your website. To do this, visit this link and download the code directly to your blogger site, Facebook, email, Friendster, MySpace, AIM, and more:

By posting this feedbox on your blog’s sidebar, you’re giving your readers access to AspireNow’s helpful content and you're within our approved guidelines for reposting our content to your blog or page. Cool, huh?

Re-tweet our TWITTER posts

Tweet This! Hey – I just added a new feature to AspireNow’s A-Blog – Tweet This – if you like an article, click tweet this at the bottom.

Easier: Add our Twitter Feed

Or, if you’re like me, just go to your twitter and re-tweet it (easy). If you want to help us gain critical mass, tweet our updates. If you’re a Twitter user, re-tweeting our AspireNow announcements is a tremendous help. Whenever we announce something, you can automatically tweet our posting by going here:

(editor's note:) This feed is temporarily not working right - I'm in contact with twitterfeed to figure out what's wrong. I don't want to create another feed, because then I'll have two feeds going into twitter, so, bear with me. In the meantime, just add/follow AspireNow ( from your twitter account. I'll let you know when we get this fixed.

Share AspireNow’s twitter tinyurl on Facebook or Myspace

You can also post that you’re reading posts on your Facebook or Myspace “What are you doing now” area or on your WALL. These comments DO get read. You have to be a member of Twitter to do this, but hey, Twitter's a groovy way to stay connected.

Repost an article to your newsletter

If you love one of our articles, repost it through your newsletter, with a link back to “This article is copyright © 2009 by Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow: Seriously Fun Self-Help ( - a self-help web site inspiring people in over 80 countries to improve career, dating, finance, health, lifestyles, money and relationships.” – We request that you ALWAYS request permission to reprint an entire article and all reposting of AspireNow articles MUST include a hot link back to our website(s).

Scott Andrews, Founder

Bonus "Elegant Simplicity" time saving tip for authors – quick way to change font to show © symbol:

Are you ever writing an article and seeking a way to quickly put the copyright symbol inserted in your text, but don’t want to spend 10 minutes diving through your font menu to find the proper font to display the “©” symbol correctly? Here’s a quick time-saver: hold down [control] – [alt] and enter [c] key. It’s just that easy!


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Thursday, January 8, 2009

4 Ways To Increase Happiness Immediately

Most self help is ultimately about discovering how to be happy.

I've read over 5,000 books related, in one way or another, to improving either my own life or the lives of others. And, in so reading, I can say that ultimately what we seek when reading such a book is to increase our happiness from one of the following things:

1. Increases in:
a. Pleasure; improving how much we enjoy the things we do.
b. Career Success; be a better boss, creating a dream job, etc.
c. Dating/Relationship finding/keeping someone special and improving how we relate.
d. Financial Abundance; making more money, investing more wisely, etc.
e. Health; being healthy in diet, weight, muscle, shape, etc.
f. Hobby/Free Time; improving certain aptitudes in recreational activities.
g. Wisdom; gaining perspective in life, philosophy, and experience.

Sometimes, our success increases when our failure decreases, so many additional books deal with decrease. Therefore, our happiness increases when we decrease some of the following:

2. Decreases in:
a. Getting rid of doubt and self-incrimination.
b. Fear; removal of fear or ways to overcome fear.
c. Blocks; removal of blocks to success.
d. Debt; ways to remove or eliminate debt or poor money management.
e. Poor relationship choices; bad dating or inter-relational habits.
f. Failure; learning from failure to turn losing into winning.
g. Disease; overcoming disease or other health ailments.
h. Time management failure; overcoming procrastination, etc.

Almost all self-help topics could be categorized in one of these sentences above.

Based upon this analysis, I'm going to give you four simple ways to increase happiness:

First, Take three.

If you wish to increase happiness, why not take the simple approach to address THREE of these at any given time. No more than three, just three. If you're having a problem with doubt, start a new discipline of confidence. Find the experts on teaching confidence and learn the essence of what they share. If you're struggling with getting in shape, take one new action that will do that for you: in my case, I've joined a new gym today that will enable me to drop the next 10 pounds in my weight management goal. Or, if you're not enjoying your career, do a career evaluation. Read a few books written by people who LOVE their career and follow some of their advice. By working on several aspects of your life and continually improving, you're creating a habit of life improvement. This habit will lead to increased happiness.

Second, What really matters most?

If you ask almost anyone who has lived a full life, they will tell you that sharing laughter and stories with good friends and family are the moments that matter most in your life. To improve this aspect, why not create special time for those you love, who add the most joy to your life, each week? Perhaps Saturday coffee with friends, or meeting for a happy hour on Thursday or Friday night? Maybe a special Tuesday dinner night that moves from couple to couple? Do something like this a couple of times a week and you'll never feel like you've missed something important. By spending time with those you love, you automatically ensure you'll be happier.

Third, simplify.

In Eastern philosophy, common wisdom is to simply "be" in the moment and experience life right now. What can you do to help you accomplish this? Can you reduce the clutter in your home? Can you make your commute shorter? How can you reduce wasted space or things you no longer use? How can you minimize time spent wastefully and replace it with things you love the most? To the extent you can accomplish some of this simplification, your life will improve and you will be happier.

Last, it may sound silly, but LOOK UP and show the sky your PEARLY WHITES.

We need sunlight and I always find it remarkable that when I make a practice to look up to the sun and show the sky my pearly whites, I automatically lift my mood. The converse is watching television. The more we watch television, where we commonly look straight or down, and let life get dictated or shown to us, we have happiness decrease. So, this last one is simple: get outside more often and spend less time in front of the television. When you're outside more often you will bump into people and have a chance to witness, create, and experience life more fully. While you're at it, why not learn something new? Tennis, golf, basketball, play an instrument, paint a landscape, whatever, but doing something outside is likely to make you happy.

So, there's a simple four-part strategy to increase happiness and enjoy your life more completely. If you find this useful, share it with friends!

Did I miss anything on your own list of happiness creation? If you've got more ways to improve happiness, feel free to weigh in on my comments page.

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Use Orangepeel Visionboard Software to Make Dreams Happen

Realize your New Year resolutions with a software tool that really keeps the right thoughts in your mind....

Do you want to manifest your dreams and make dreams happen this year?

Use Orangepeel Visionboard Software to make your dreams come true! Well, at least, it is a valuable vision board tool to remind you of what REALLY matters MOST, right?

Orange Peel Dream Board
Get What You Want Faster.

I'm a big fan of trying to find anything that might benefit us in keeping our mantra, our vision, our dream -- all the things we want to manifest -- front-and-center in our mind so we attract what we want.

The OrangePeel Dream Board Visualization Software enables us to attract through the power of positive realization. Yes, I am an affiliate seller of this software. Why? Because it rocks!

Use it to create a video, visual collage and remind yourself of what you really, really want from life. Hey - it's your life. Why have a static dead screen on your computer when you can be inspiring yourself every day? I love my vision board and already used it to manifest (a) salsa dancing skills, (b) new career/job prospects, (c) more financial abundance, (d) a band winning awards, (e) beautiful people attracted to me. Should I go on?

Now, if you're like me, you've probably spent hours creating "the perfect collage" because your dreams are special to you. Rather than take hours and hours, now you can create a video collage in just minutes!

Using a dream board or vision board like OrangePeel can be very powerful to help you manifest your dreams regarding career, money, health, finances, and love. If you haven't designed your own collage yet, the beauty of a software tool like Dream Board is that you can modify your collage quickly, and it is always in front of you when you boot your computer. Cool, huh?

Check it out and if you want to purchase it, I created an affiliate program with Orange Peel to make it easy for you to join:

Vision Board

Here's some additional tips on collages:

1. Get a big stack of magazines, cut out words, patterns, pictures.

2. Go to the websites of your FAVORITE things, ideas, and places, etc.
ONLY use pictures of who, what, how, when, why you REALLY want - not representational, but actual. If you want to marry John James, then include a picture of John James in your dream board. Yes, you CAN be that specific. And, actually, this is often how our dreams our manifested MOST powerfully.

3. Check out my article on The Most Powerful Law for more information on the Law of Attraction:

Founder of AspireNow

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DreamBoard is Copyright OrangePeel, used with permission. Copyright 2007-2008.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From PESSIMIST to EMPOWERED: How To Overcome Being A Naysayer

"This won't work."

Have you ever found yourself uttering those words?

I am guilty of saying those words, myself. Is this comment a form of negativity? Being real? Truthfulness? Pessimism? Maybe all of the above? But do you think it EMPOWERS the audience or TEARS THEM DOWN?

There are times when we're trying to do something difficult and someone utters "this won't work."

I'm going to suggest a new approach:

The next time you find yourself saying these words, or anything like them, try ADDING two SIMPLE WORDS into the sentence:


So, instead of saying "I can't write this article" say "I can't write this article unless we..."

What's the point?

By adding "UNLESS WE" into the sentence, you force yourself to think of a SOLUTION to the challenge. You are no longer part of the problem, but by answering with "UNLESS WE..." you are part of the SOLUTION.

People who complain and say "it can't be done" are pessimists and naysayers.

People who suggest solutions EMPOWER others and help MAKE THINGS HAPPEN and GET THINGS DONE.


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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Amanda From Blogger Buster Rocks!

Have you ever messed up your blog so bad that you have no clue how to fix it?

You may have noticed that AspireNow A-Blog's format got tweaked just before Thanksgiving and I've been too busy (and not smart enough to figure out the code) to realize what I did wrong.

Well, I'm a big believer in the rule of "if you can't figure it out, think of someone who might" and emailed Amanda at Blogger Buster. I love Amanda: not only did she write me back quickly, she also pointed out that in one blog post I'd inserted "align=top" into the code, which caused that snippet of code to play on the top left and pushed everything else to the bottom.

Amanda to the rescue! If you're running your blog on Blogger, I haven't found a better resource for hacks, code evaluation, and ways to do what you want using the blogger platform than Amanda's Blogger Buster site.

Check it out Blogger users! And thanks again, Amanda!


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Join the Self Help Twine

I just started a "Twine" For AspireNow and Self Help. If you're interested in these topics, join the thread of topics over there and share with your friends! Here's the link:


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Feel Like The Incredible Hulk: Learn Anything You Want This Year

If you're like me, you're spending parts of the beginning of this year considering ways to be better, live better, make more money, be more healthy, create more fun, experience more love, and give more to the world in 2009.

In a search for how to maximize vacation time I came across a blog by Tim Ferriss, an author who wrote the book entitled The 4-hour Workweek Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. While browsing Tim's blog, I came across a video which ought to inspire most people, entitled "How To Feel Like The Incredible Hulk":

If you don't watch this, you're doing yourself a disservice. I'm not completely sure that Tim succeeds in SHOWING us how to FEEL Like The Incredible Hulk other than how to overcome FEAR. It isn't really about fear, it is about PROCESS. You throw out "the how" and instead focus on "the WHAT". Of course, once you start doing something easier, with more results in less time, you NO LONGER FEEL AFRAID OF IT! That's the glory of his process. In so doing, I feel Tim introduces a revolutionary approach in learning.

Tim's example topics are swimming, foreign language, and ballroom dancing. Each could be an example of aptitudes many people struggle to learn, would you not agree? Yet, I believe Tim describes a brilliant approach that takes something daunting and makes it easier to grasp, thus making it more quickly and effectively something you CAN DO NOW. I'll outline it for you below.

In each example Tim gives in the video, he demonstrates the following techniques to improve what you learn to become a master:

1. THROW OUT EVERYTHING you've been TAUGHT so FAR on the subject.

2. Deconstruction: with a new perspective, define WHAT elements of this aptitude are MOST IMPORTANT, by deconstructing what experts do.

3. Find WHO or WHAT SYSTEM can TEACH YOU THOSE ELEMENTS you deconstruct the most efficiently.

4. Reconstruction: Evaluate WHAT do you WANT or NEED TO LEARN to understand THOSE ELEMENTS.

5. STUDY THOSE "WHATS" from point 4 and use them to MASTER THAT SYSTEM.

It is actually a little more complex than this, but I believe this is the process Tim uses to break down how to learn anything. He probably learned this as an athlete, as he recommends treating language as a sport. While I believe that, at some point, you'll need to transition from viewing your topic as "sport" into viewing it as "art" to become truly expert, taking the topic you wish to learn and tackling it as a sport seems to be a rapid way to learn.

The approach applied to swimming:

Let's look at his approach to swimming. With swimming, you will notice his objective was to travel a large distance in water without feeling like he could possibly drown. He didn't really say that, but that's what I gathered. So, let's plug it in the learning technique:

1. Swimming the common freestyle swimming stroke is not the most efficient way to swim long distances effortlessly. The principles and assumptions of swimming, according to Tim, were wrong! Thus, swimming always seemed so difficult and caused fear, when he realized that by breaking down the question "what's the worst that can happen" and then pushing beyond the assumptions to create a new approach to swimming.

2. A better way to swim might be to find ways to eliminate resistance, streamline your body through the water, and get air more efficiently.

3. Discovery: TOTAL IMMERSION. You will notice Tim's focus on TOTAL IMMERSION, his notes on the book and the video, then practice to become a better swimmer in just 10 days. I myself have been considering ways to become a better swimmer, so I thank Tim for sharing this with me. Total Immersion (TI) makes considerable sense to me, too, so I'll be trying it this next week at a pool near me!

4. Evaluate what you need to learn to be a better swimmer using TI: notice how in the post I just referenced in point 3 how Tim makes notes, and then breaks down the basics to focus on: (a) swimming on your side rather than your stomach, (b)focus on shoulder roll rather than pulling or kicking, (c) keeping your head in-line with your spine, driving your hands down into the water rather than floating above the water. These observations and processes are Tim's examples that demonstrate how you focus on learning THE WHAT in WHAT MATTERS MOST to LEARN the NEW TECHNIQUE.

5. Practice this, and also implement refinements to improve and MASTER THE TECHNIQUE you've adopted. You'll notice how Tim then expands and shows a video of "switching hand positions" learned from the Russian swim team to reduce stress and maximize efficiency so that you can swim more laps without tiring.

I can see why Tim is excited to share his ideas on How to Feel Like the Incredible Hulk: his process could be applied to just about ANYTHING!

The approach applied to foreign language:

He further demonstrates this with examples of how he learned a foreign language:

1. He found efforts to learn language embarrassing and ridiculously time-consuming and difficult. He decided to abandon traditional ways to learn Japanese to find a new SYSTEM.

2. His new system had to be something that would break down language into easy to learn parts and then translate across other languages, so he could learn them, too. Again, what are the FASTEST LANGUAGE LEARNERS DOING that sets them apart? Answer: Deconstruction!

3. He discovered a system of learning Japanese, the Japanese Kanji Wall chart, which upon understanding led him to a method approach to learning over six languages. If you learn these characters, you can learn how to read Japanese. He also determined six sentences that enabled him to evaluate just about any language from several perspectives:

The apple is red.
It is John’s apple.
I give John the apple.
We give him the apple.
He gives it to John.
She gives it to him.

According to Tim, "these six sentences alone expose much of the language..." These sentences show you how the language works, so you can drill down from these basics to simplify how you learn the language. It's a method approach to learning but apparently it works.

Sweet, no?

4. What is important about this system is that material matters more than method.

Again, the WHAT more than the HOW. The materials of language include the sentence structure, in comparison with sentence structure you already understand, then in comparison with how the language will be used. For example, is it Subject - Verb - Object (SVO) or Subject - Object - Verb (SOV)? This matters if you want to differentiate Japanese v. Chinese. But it also matters when you get to the WHAT Tim evaluates things like vowel sounds. If they are going to be more difficult, learn those first, then move on to the building blocks of subjects and what you want to say. The what in language, as it turns out, is how it sounds!

5. Again, practice, then learn more advanced aspects of language as you seek to master the language. Tim points out elsewhere in his blog that he hits the wall with mastering languages at 6 months, then has to have the passion to push forward to go beyond that wall. It helps to know these things.

I'm going to apply this approach to learning Spanish and Portuguese over the next year.

The approach applied to ballroom dancing:

Tim's last example is ballroom dancing. He again follows his process here:

1. He shares his disaster story where a great dancer embarrassed him in front of his classmates. He then determined that he would learn Tango and learn to COMPETE in Tango.

2. He deconstructed the dance not from a LEAD but from a FOLLOW, so that he would know the sensitivities and nuance the FOLLOW needs in order for him to LEAD more effectively.

3. He went to Argentina and learned that teaching methods were either implicit or explicit. He then found several systems of tango dance and determined one he could excel in: long-sweeping movements, variations in pivots, and usage of variance in tempo in order to compete against someone who danced for thirty years and win. He then deconstructed the dance steps (hundreds of them) with video from a professional dancer he admired.

4. He lost some weight, learned those steps, and went on to compete nationally in tango dancing contests and won a quarterfinal!

5. I'm sure that he continued to develop some additional dance steps as he learned additional dances, and realized he could incorporate those into his style, but again this process started with deconstruction and then reconstruction from the very best who could teach the WHAT movements he was trying to learn.

I'm going to take this approach to learning to something I've been working on: bongos and piano. First: bongo drums. I've been working to learn the bongo drums lately and sometimes play them publicly; however, I know I must improve in order to IMPRESS people with my bongo drumming.

To use Tim's approach, I'm going to first forget what I know (people hit the drum) and learn from a new approach: that hand techniques, finger techniques, and the speed must be integrated from basic "forms" that can be quickly learned and carried into other instruments, too. I will then break it down into the basics of WHAT I need to know, WHO knows that BEST, then LEARN THOSE THINGS. I already had one lesson with my friend, Tim Costa, who traveled to Cuba for a month to study with masters of Cuban music. So, learning bongos starts with the "martillo" pattern. I've been learning that pattern over slow and faster rhythm structures. To expand upon this knowledge and skill, I purchased "The Art of Bongo Drumming" by Trevor Salloum. I'll show more on this in the future...

Are you striving to learn something new, too? Try this system and see how it works for you:

1. THROW OUT EVERYTHING you've been TAUGHT so FAR on the subject.

2. Deconstruction: with a new perspective, define WHAT elements of this aptitude are MOST IMPORTANT, by deconstructing what experts do.

3. Find WHO or WHAT SYSTEM can TEACH YOU THOSE ELEMENTS you deconstruct the most efficiently.

4. Reconstruction: Evaluate WHAT do you WANT or NEED TO LEARN to understand THOSE ELEMENTS.

5. STUDY THOSE "WHATS" from point 4 and use them to MASTER THAT SYSTEM.

Special nod: I'd like to extend my special thanks to Tim Ferriss for providing inspiration for this article.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Starting The Year Off Right

Yesterday a friend shared a story that made her sad:

Her daughter's best friend gave birth to a baby two months ago. Apparently, the daughter's friend and boyfriend were visiting my friend. During the visit, the young couple got into a fight. My friend said "If you're going to fight, I must ask you to leave." Apparently, they continued fighting after they left. The young man, father of the baby, went outside to get air. While outside, a drunk driver veered off the road, struck his body, and left him in a coma essentially brain-dead. The entire family is a bit in shock over it. This is about as tragic a story as I've heard, besides John Travolta and Kelly Preston losing Jett Travolta over the weekend.

Where's the silver lining?

I think it is about the baby... a baby can bring new joy into our lives in ways nothing else can. My friend said, "Yes, Scotty, the baby is already laughing while dreaming because his father is teasing him from the *other* side..." The baby apparently brings joy to everyone who experiences this happy baby. My perspective, while walking on the beach and comforting my friend, was to simply say: "Your daughter's friend met this man not for the man, but for the baby. The story here is about the baby. She must focus on the baby to regain happiness."

Do you want proof of how baby's can bring us joy?

Look at this video taken by William, from Sweden, of his baby laughing while he makes microwave oven noises:

If you're looking to start the year off right, don't forget laughter. I wonder if the entire loss of life of that young man could have been avoided simply by laughing instead of arguing. What do you think?

Laugh more, live longer!

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: The Two Lists

I was fortunate to spend time with an enigmatic man named Robert during a very special period of my life. Robert taught me many things during our days together, and this time of year reminds me of one particular interaction we had.

"Now that you are becoming more aware," Robert said, "you need to begin to set goals for yourself so you don't lose the momentum you have built."

"Like New Year's resolutions?" I asked.

"That's an interesting idea," he smirked. "Let's do that."

"By then I was used to his cryptic responses, so I knew something was up because of the way his eyes sparkled as he let out an impish laugh.

"Tonight's assignment is to make two lists," Robert continued. "The first is a list of all the New Year's resolutions you WANT to keep, and the second is a list of all the New Year's resolutions you WILL keep. Write the WANT List first, and when you have exhausted all of your ideas, then write the second list on another sheet of paper."

That night I went home and spent several hours working on the two lists. The WANT List felt overwhelming at first, but after a while I got into writing all the things I had always wanted to do if the burdens of life hadn't gotten in the way. After nearly an hour, the list swelled to fill the entire page and contained nearly all of my ideas of an ideal life. The second list was much easier, and I was able to quickly commit ten practical resolutions that I felt would be both realistic and helpful.

The next day, I met Robert in front of the local food Co-op, where we seemed to have most of our enlightening conversations. "Tell me about your two lists," Robert said as the familiar smirk crept onto his face.

"The first list contains all the things I SHOULD do if I completely changed my life to be the person I always wanted to be. And the second list contains all the things I COULD do by accepting my current life, and taking realistic steps towards the life I want to lead."

Let me see the second list," he said.

I handed him the second list, and without even looking at it, he ripped the paper into tiny pieces and threw it in the nearby garbage can. His disregard for the effort I had put into the list annoyed me at first, but after I calmed down I began to think about the first list in a different light. In my heart, I knew the second list was a cop out, and the first list was the only one that really mattered.

"And now, the first list." Robert bowed his head and held out both of his hands.

I purposefully handed him the first list and held his gaze for several seconds, waiting for him to begin reading the page. After an unusually long silence, he began to crumple the paper into a ball and once again tossed it into the can without looking at it.

"What did you do that for?!" I couldn't hide my anger any longer.

Robert began to speak in a quiet and assured voice. "What you SHOULD or COULD do with your life no longer matters. The only thing that matters, from this day forward, is what you MUST do."

He then drew a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and handed it to me.

I opened it carefully, and found a single word floating in the middle of the white page:



This story is reprinted with permission from Scott Blum Co-Founder of the DailyOM. If you're interested in more information from Scott Blum, visit and download the free e-book "Summer's Path". It is in the same vein as this article.

And, as always, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

- Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow

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