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Showing posts from 2014

Capture Those Crazy Ideas with Connected Mind

Are you one of those people whose brainstorming abilities are barely under control?  When you have an idea, do the details come pouring forth in a tidal wave, and get lost as they crash to the shore and pour back into the sea? That is me in a nutshell.  I'm full of ideas, but when they come it's hard for me to get them under control and organize anything.  I've tried notepads, using my good friend Evernote , and a whole host of other stuff to get those crazy ideas under control and in some semblance of readability.  But that's tough sometimes when you have eighty things going on at once.  Enter my new favorite tool, the mind map .  I don't know if you've ever come across this concept, but basically it's something like this:   The basic idea is that the shape at the middle is the "main topic" at hand.  The branches out from the main topic are the subtopics, and then the smaller branches are the details, etc. It's a simple enough conc

Optimize and Socalize your Reading List with Goodreads

It sort of goes without saying that if you want to know more, you have to learn more.  And despite the influx of blogs, podcasts, videos, e-newsletters, etc. as sources of great knowledge in any and all topics, nothing beats the good old-fashioned book. Format of books aside (paper or digital is entirely up to you), books provide a complete look at a topic as an author intended - something that short blogs and random articles can't do.  If you're learning a personal development system, for example, you'll generally get an entire system to work with.  If you're learning an exercise program, you'll get the whole program at once and always have it at your fingertips.  The value and benefit of books can't really be overstated.   However...  The love of books generally translates into the creation of reading lists.  And reading lists can take a number of forms - from a group of books physically sitting on a shelf to detailed topic-driven lists of books

Take Care of Yourself... For You and Your Descendants

What would you say if I told you that the lifestyle choices you're making today affect not only yourself, but possibly the next four generations of your descendants? Think about that for a minute.  Many people start their health-related thinking with the point of view that they're only hurting themselves, so they'd much rather "just enjoy life" than take care of themselves properly. But, there may be more to it than that.  Check out the video below from The Bulletproof Executive podcast, where host Dave Asprey is talking to Doctor Terry Wahls (author of the recent book The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine ). At about the 35-minute mark, the subject turns to epigenetics, which is the study of how various genes are expressed.  For example, you'll hear people talk about how they have a particular disease gene, and they're just waiting for it to manifest as the actual disease.  Epigenetics is s

When Mistakes Lead to Revelations

Last night, I forgot to bring my Kindle Fire HD home with me from the office.  I generally let it charge while I'm at work all day and of course I use it during lunch, commutes, etc. when I'm reading.  It's a wi-fi only model, which means that I can only do offline activities with it during my commutes and whenever I'm out of wi-fi range. And guess what?  The sky didn't fall.  And I got a whole lot more stuff done this morning before heading to work. The Kindle Fire is a great little tablet, don't get me wrong.  I use it for lots of stuff, including books, magazines, social media, my Evernote usage, and more.  It's really convenient to have all that in one package wherever I go - as long as I remember to take it with me. :) But there's almost nothing I need on it that I don't also have available via a PC or my iPhone.  So it's more used out of convenience, and for when I want to read and not blind myself with the tiny text on my phone.  A c

Taking on a Challenge: Is It Worth It?

Over the past 30 days, I've been doing one of these internet meme athletic challenges, in this case the #PlankChallenge.  I'm sure you've seen them.  These are the challenges where someone posts a picture like this: It's pretty easy to see how this works.  You basically just do the prescribed amount of reps/time for the exercise in question for each day, and then announce your progress on social media using the indicated hashtag.   I think these are a great idea, but not necessarily for the reason you think they are. Yes, they help you get in better shape, especially when it's a challenge on a core muscle group like planks above.  That can't be denied.  I will take issue with the amount of rest this particular challenge allows you, however.  Some of these challenges will actually do a hard day, then drop back to an easier day as a rest of sorts... the one I just completed did not do this, as you can see.  That got to be pretty tough in the second ha

Your Goals Might Not Be My Goals

I got a tweet to my @Train4AutismCLB account the other day, just out of the blue, that really got me thinking about goals and motivations.  For those who aren't in the autism community, there's a bit of a rift regarding the charity Autism Speaks, which is the biggest, most visible autism charity out there.  Many people who are higher-functioning autistics believe that one of the organization's stated goals of "curing" autism would only take away a facet of their personalities that make them what they are.  Then there are those who would love to have a cure for autism or at least some way to relieve some of the nastier aspects of autism and help their loved ones to have an easier time functioning in today's society.  It's a fine line, no doubt.  But the tweet I got was from someone whose profile said they were an aspie, which is shorthand for someone with Asperger's Syndrome.  This is a high-functioning form of autism where people are very smar

A little update to my menu above...

Hey everyone - just a note that I added a new page to my menu, above, called " What is Mindfulness? " It struck me that I had this nifty title for my blog but had never really defined what I feel mindfulness is for myself or for the purposes of this blog. So... I did. :) Hope you enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.  

Become a Minority to Increase Awareness

All my life, I've been sort of a rebel.  Not in the conventional sense (is there such a thing as a conventional rebel?), as in riding motorcycles and wearing black leather or dropping-out-turning-on types of ways, but in mindset.  As long as I can remember, I've enjoyed trying to think differently than everyone around me.  It's generally led to my living as a minority as regards many topics and mindsets. Just via my nature, I've been on the minority side of things a lot. I read the Communist Manifesto for fun when I was in high school, just to see what it was all about.   I used to wear kilts for fun on a pretty regular basis, and even organized a short-lived Columbus kilt-wearers group.   I listened to rap music back before it was in the mainstream.   I follow a very ancestrally-based diet - a variation of Paleo. That's led to some very interesting insights on life. One of those insights is that being a rebel against things that conventional wisdom h

More on Journaling: So many tools...

Journaling was long a habit that I wanted to pick up but just never did.  And it was never because I didn't believe in its worth, it was that I just never built the habit or found the proper method that worked best for me.  I'd start it for a while, be enthusiastic about it, and then lose the habit when something else came up and interrupted me.   That's all changed for me now, as I look forward each morning and night to journaling in my newest tool I've found.  But that search has clued me in to a ton of great journaling tools that might help you as you're looking for that great push to get you into the journaling habit!   The Five-Minute-Journal:    This is obviously   the one I've adopted .  It's simple, it's quick, and it does the trick.  I won't expand into stuff I've already talked about with this in the two posts I've done on this fantastic tool.  But let's talk about some of the other aspects of the Five-Minute Journal.

The Five Minute Journal - Feel the Win

Three weeks ago, I posted about the Five Minute Journal and how I was trying to use it to adopt some good journaling habits.  I mentioned how I'd tried tons of online or electronic versions and was ready to do something in a different paradigm, in this case the totally revolutionary and creative idea of actually writing stuff out with a pen, on actual paper. Guess what?  It's worked. Here's what I've discovered about going through the actual process of manually writing this stuff out into a physical journal. 1.  I have only missed two days of writing, and I've gone right back into after those days. I keep my journal right next to my clock radio next to my bed.  There's something about having a physical object sitting there looking at you when you get up in the morning. And, I've created a little ritual around my journaling:  when I go to bed (right after I write in the journal), I put my Kindle Fire HD with a pen/stylus attached to the case rig

"I'm Still Standing, Better Than I Ever Did..."

It's been a while since my last Standing Desk update and I thought it was time to let everyone know about this little experiment and my outcomes:  Basically, this has been a big success. As I mentioned, my neck and back issues have gone away - they weren't huge to begin with, but they're completely gone to the point that I didn't even remember them till I looked at the previous posts to see where I left off. Sore feet are not quite a thing of the past, but it seems that factor has a lot to do with the physical activities of the previous day or two.  And that's acceptable.  I am considering a mat for the floor, though, just to alleviate a bit of the soreness that does come up from time to time.   My only question is whether to get a normal padded mat or a pebbled mat of some kind with a texture to it. I've discovered that a simple walk relieves foot soreness, but that situation is even more improved if I walk on something with some terrain to it

The Five-Minute Journal - a new project

Point #1 today:  I listen to a lot of podcasts.  Probably more than I should.  I have a backlog of about 30 episodes I'm trying to catch up on (call it a project).  Those podcasts include two that are complementary but different:  Abel James's Fat-Burning Man and Dave Asprey's Bulletproof Radio .  I love them both - they both discuss lots of whole-life "hacks" and changes one can make to improve health; mentally, physically, and emotionally. And if both of them have a guest, and they both rave about that guest's product, I'm very likely to give it a look.  Case in point:   UJ Ramdas and his Five Minute Journal .  We'll get back to that product in a moment. Point #2 today: I have, in the past, been a horrible journaler.  I totally recognize the value of it, don't get me wrong.  And I would love to be one of those people who just do it regularly by habit.  But, for whatever reason, it's a habit that I just have had a hard time adopting.  

Make a System Be Your Goal

"SET SOME GOALS!" The advice that we frequently see (and rightly so) to create a path to success, is to "set some goals and work toward them."  Totally awesome advice, no doubt about it.  But... there's a further problem.  What's the best way to create goals?   The acronym S.M.A.R.T. , frequently attributed to Peter Drucker and his management by objectives concept, is a great place to start with creating goals.  The five attributes of this acronym are:   Specific - nebulous goals like "I want to get my finances under control" are going to be less effective than "I will reduce my credit card debt by $2000 by March 1."   Measurable - the goals need to be something that can be defined specifically.  Saying "I want to lose weight" is not measurable, but saying "I want to be 180 pounds by Sept. 3" is.   Attainable - the goal must be something you can see yourself doing.  "I want to run a marathon"

Ditching the Chair Update: Lack of Use Raises Its Head

I'm just starting day three of my standing desk experiment and so far I really like it - though a couple of challenges are showing up. As you may recall, I pulled one of my cubicle cupboards off the wall a couple days ago and am using it as a standing desk platform.  It's wide, deep enough, and more than sturdy enough for the limited use I put it through up there.  Also, I keep all that storage.  So win-win-win.  I'm fortunate that it's at exactly the right height for my purpose.   So here's how it's developed over the past couple of days.  My monitors are set apart about 16 inches and that's nice because it gets my neck moving back and forth more.  I was having some issues with my neck/back between my shoulder blades being tight and causing me headaches, and that has gone away.  I think that having my attention locked onto one place all day was not helping there, and setting them apart more has made me move it more.  Granted, I tend to lose my mou

New Experiment: Ditching the Chair

It's been in the news a lot over the past couple years: how sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our bodies.  And it's not just because of the inactivity factor, the actual sitting position is not one that our bodies have evolved to take up. "What?" you say.  "We've been sitting forever! We sat around the campfire, around the kill, to do our work, etc.  It's totally natural!" Well, no it's not.   In fact, it's probably killing us .  Those activities mentioned above are actually done in a squatting position, as I've talked about in past posts . I've wanted to do the standing desk thing for a while, and more of late as I've gotten antsy about sitting all the time at work, feeling more stiffness in my joints and back, and just really feeling the effects of all the sitting.  I'm an active guy, but sitting undoes so much of that exercise I get. It's very interesting.  I've found that I can wake up in the

What We Can Get Away With Vs. What is BEST

Always reach high for yourself! The next time you watch TV, I want you to pay attention to the commercials a bit.  You'll be watching for subtext here.  Try to figure out how many of those commercials are trying to tell you that you can "get away with" something? For instance:  low-fat/low-carb snack ads are notorious for this.  "You can have all the flavor and none of the calories."  It's an amazing call for trying to see what you can get away with, with no consequences. Well, here's the problem:  there are always consequences.  And this isn't specifically a diet, health, or nutrition phenomenon at all - this is an issue with everything. No matter what we do in life, we are always making a choice.  And that choice is:  are we doing something in an attempt to keep going the way we are, and not make positive changes?  Or are we doing something because it absolutely is a positive change and will make us better? Too often we get into the min

Now Blogging at!

Hey everyone - Just FYI, I'm also doing posts over at on their blog page .  I've just started this gig (well, last month) and will be doing at least two posts/month there. You should be following that blog in its entirety, anyway, as lots of my friends are posting wonderful and sometimes very personal content over there! Blog

Following Your Interests Versus Finding Your Passion

Perhaps the cubicle world isn't right for everyone. One of the pieces of advice you'll frequently hear from people who know you're looking for a career path or vocation is that you need to figure out what you're interested in, and you'll find the job for you.  For many people, that's very solid advice.  Finding that interest can give you the clarity you need to move forward with your plans for living.   But it's not solid advice for everyone.  Some of us don't have just one interest.  Or we don't have an interest that transfers well into a regular 9-to-5 job.  In these cases, that advice can cause a lot of consternation and misunderstanding.  Sure, the advice-givers certainly mean well - they're trying to help you succeed in the "real world," a world where people have jobs and that's how they make their living.   I remember a time when I was in high school, we took a survey of our interests and the like and the results