How Far Would I Go?

Every once in awhile there crops up an issue that gets you thinking “if it were me how far would I go?” Sometimes it’s something that you do have to confront in some fashion and you have to ask yourself the same question.

What is it most of us want? We want to be happy; almost everything else you can mention ends up with you being happy. I want the same thing; I really want to be happy. Not that I’m in a bad mood right now, but I want to be happier.

What brings us happiness? Money is a good start. Yeah, I know the “lie” that money can’t buy you happiness. Money buys you peace of mind, or at least it does if you’re not one of those people who just can’t be satisfied with anything.

Love brings us happiness. Okay, the cynical part of me is going to say this; money helps in the love and happiness area. Don’t believe me? See how many couples that say they’re in love and get married when they don’t have money will stay happy when they realize that they need that money to sustain themselves. Add children and it’s even more overwhelming.

One more thing that brings us happiness is “stuff.” Ah, now there’s a good one. Truth be told, you don’t need a lot of money to buy stuff, as long as you’re not trying to buy too much stuff or stuff that’s too expensive for you. In my mind, a new Hyundai Santa Fe would make me as happy as a new Bentley, even though they’re thousands of dollars apart. A chocolate cake makes me as happy as having a meal at Ruth Chris Steakhouse but the difference in price is dramatic.

What’s even better than buying stuff? Getting free stuff! That costs no money at all, and often it’s unexpected. Sure, you might expect to get gifts for your birthday or for a holiday, but you don’t always know what gift you’re getting, and thus it’s a happy experience.

It’s also great when you know what you have a chance to get. Many of us play the lottery when we know how much money we have a shot at winning. In New York, we say “a dollar and a dream”. I don’t do it often, but when the money gets really high, I’m there with my “2 dollars” hoping for my dream.

How do you view contests? Well now, here’s a dilemma I’m facing at the moment. We all love winning contests if we get into them; after all, if you don’t want to win why get into it in the first place? If the thing you can win is nice enough, it’s always worth giving it a shot.

I’m in a short story contest at the moment. The story had to be 750 words or less, and I’m competing against 9 other stories. The rules were that we could ask people to vote for us if we’d like, but we all had to decide how fair it was or not.

Well, I thought about how I could ask some people without being all that overt about it. I wrote a few friends and asked them to check out the site, which story was mine, and to compare it to the other stories and if they liked my story to please vote for it. But I did say they could vote for other stories if they wanted to; after all, I wanted to be fair. Truthfully, though I like my story and think I should win, there’s another story there that I think is wonderful, and since you can vote “yes” or “no” on every story, I would always vote for that story as well as mine for the winner.

What else have I done? Well, I did mention it to a few other people, including my blogger group on Facebook. But I didn’t come right out and tell them which story was mine, though I alluded to it, and I also told them they could vote for other stories as well if they chose to do so.

A few days ago I got an email from the person running the contest; actually, all of us in the contest received the email. She was giving us a heads up as to where we might stand after half the money, since the contest runs through the end of the month. She listed the top 3 stories, and it seems I’m not in the top 3. What the hey? One of the stories in the top 3 didn’t even stay within the rules of the contest, as it’s not a complete story but only the beginning of one that’s more than 2,000 words.

So my quandary; how far would I go to try to win a gift, in this case a Kindle, which would be really cool even though I’ve never seen one in person? How much do I really want to win? How far would I go? Would I finally cross the line to selfishness and ask outright for you to go to the site and vote for my story, and tell you which story it is?

Actually, no, but not for the reason you might think. I had a post all set to, through my own version of subterfuge, ask people to go vote for me and help me win this bad boy. I wanted to take a shot; after all, if I wasn’t even in the top 3 I needed help. However, later that evening, I first got an email refunding my $3 entry fee; that was weird. Then I got an email saying that the contest was changing because one of the entrants had cheated. I knew it wasn’t me since I was really far behind so I asked the person running the contest on Twitter what was going on. She said one person was oddly so far ahead of everyone else that she knew it had to be technology that was pumping up the votes. Thus, she decided to cancel the contest as it was and ask 5 judges to make the selections instead. All votes were being thrown out, which meant I now had a legitimate shot once more; yay!!!

Whew; there you go. I didn’t have to think about crossing the boundaries, although it wouldn’t have been crossing them anyway since the rules stated we could do it. My mind is clear; I can go eat cookies now in peace, and hope the judges see my work of “art” in a different light Ah Kindle, you know you want to be here with me. 😉

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Keep Hope Alive

“I don’t believe it.”

“And that is why you fail.”

Luke Skywalker & Yoda, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

Well, those last two posts were really long, so it’s time to slow down just a little bit. You know, this has been an interesting week for me, one that immediately seemed like it wasn’t going to be all that good that blossomed into something much better. Those are great weeks, and I believe we all could use stuff like that.

On Monday, I had a guest post that I wrote show up on Rachel Lavern’s blog Fearfully ‘n Wonderfully Made titled Motivated To Get Things Done. In that post I talked about the different reasons, both positive and negative, that motivates people to do things, get things done, and determine what outcome they want. It’s kind of like being online; you can decide to use your talents to create spam and be loathe by everyone except other spammers, or you can use your talents to try to improve your lot and everyone else’s lot in a positive direction.

I was thinking about this concept of being motivated to do better things, and I happened to remember one of the best times I was ever motivated when I was a little younger. Back in 1988, Jesse Jackson was running for president of this country, and even though he didn’t win, he was the highlight of that entire political season, which culminated in his great speech at the Democratic National Convention.

What you see below is the last 8 minutes or so of that speech, which captured the imagination of everybody and had many of us looking for ways to affect the world positively the next day. Whether you like the man or not, you have to admit that this was inspiring in some fashion. Even if you decide you just can’t do it… well, it works for me. 🙂 Keep Hope Alive!

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Why I’m Now “Mitch Mitchell”

I know the title of this post could seem confusing to some people, but to others they’re probably only now getting another introduction to who I am. My name is Mitch Mitchell; has been for, oh, at least 35 years or do. “Mitch” isn’t the first name I was born with; no, I’m not giving it, but for some people it’s not hard to find. I just don’t choose to use the name, haven’t since I was 16, but people who met me through someone else who gave them the other name tend to use it . Since I don’t like it, I just choose not to tell it to anyone, even if my main organization is called T. T. Mitchell Consulting, Inc.

For all the years I’ve been blogging I’ve always gone by Mitch. It really hadn’t occurred to me to have it being anything else. Yet, at some point near the end of last year I figured it was time to start putting my entire name into blogging. I really hadn’t thought much about it until I started writing my posts about influence. Realizing that I wanted a bigger slice of the blogging and overall internet and social media pie, and other reasons, it suddenly came to me that many people by this time might know “Mitch”, but they didn’t know “Mitch Mitchell”.

Of course, just saying that means nothing without some background. So, here’s a part of the thought process for it all, something that you might think for yourself at some point.

1. I have a lot of articles on the internet. I have my EzineArticles posts. I have articles on my S&S site. I have articles on a lot of other websites that I’m not going to list. I’m in a lot of regular magazines as well, many of them health care related, but other topics as well. I started thinking that it would be easier for people who might see some of that stuff to realize that I’m the same guy who was writing all that stuff, even if it’s across the board.

2. There’s one prominent Mitch Mitchell and one a little less prominent that I’m competing in name against. Let’s face it, I’m not going to overtake the Mitch Mitchell who used to play drums for Jimi Hendrix any time soon, deceased or not. His first name wasn’t really Mitch either, but John. There’s also a reporter for the newspaper in Fort Worth whose name I see all the time; being born in Fort Worth, that’s a strange coincidence to say the least. I think I compete with him on a regular basis; at least in the top 50 listings of the name I come up at #16 because of my business blog, and at #23 because of this blog. As a matter of fact, out of the top 50 listings only 2 of them aren’t me or the drummer, and none of them the reporter; I can live with that. 🙂

3. There’s another “Mitch”. Actually, I’ve known of Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs for many years, but our paths rarely crossed until fall of last year when we both ended up on BloggerLuv (which I’m not putting up a link for because it’s possibly gone forever, as it’s not showing up anymore for now) and started talking. Suddenly, being “Mitch” didn’t make much sense anymore with their being two of us showing up in a lot of the same places, and he’d always had his last name attached so it made sense that I do it as well.

4. For that matter, there are a lot of “Mitch’s” out there, even some female ones. Sure, my image accompanies me on most blogs, but I’ve found that if you don’t have a Typepad account your image won’t show up there. Suddenly, I’m just “Mitch” on the wind without any real recognition of who I might be. At least being listed under my full name will get me fairly quickly on a search engine; just the first name wasn’t going to cut it.

5. Of course, my business name is T. T. Mitchell, and I could have gone with that, as I did on LinkedIn. However, it’s so weird having people calling me “T. T.” there, and I’m trying to figure out if I can change it. In the long run whenever I meet people and they call me that I tell them to call me Mitch, and I realized I didn’t want to get into that kind of confusion across the board.

And there you go. It might seem like kind of a complicated process, but I’ve noticed many of you who comment here use both your first and last name, and since I have a long range goal for using my full name it makes sense for me to change over to it now. From a marketing standpoint, it seems to be a no-brainer. In my opinion, it’s much better than a keyword name any day of the week. What are your general thoughts on the subject?

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Strange Looking Spam

What is it with spam? Truthfully, I get the part about trying to get backlinks by almost any means necessary. But some of it is even confusing to me because it really makes no sense.

Over the past couple of weeks, in high volume no less, I’m getting stuff that looks like this:

Star2Pros – Get off the lower ladders…

[…This trackback notifies you of the usage of…]…


sarcodosis skin problems…

[…]the time to read or visit the content or sites


Effective Weight Loss Programs…

[…]below, are a few not really different sites than this one, but still the sites are absolutely worth checking out[…]…


1.) Home Security…

2.) […]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[…]…


1.) Keys, locks and more…

2.) […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]…


Weight Loss Secrets…

[…]even though the URLs we hyperlink beneath are completely not that similar to ours, we posit that they are worth visiting, so have a look[…]…


If I’m getting stuff like this, almost everyone else has to be getting this type of thing as well. My question is twofold. One, if I’m running the GASP Anti-Spambot program, doesn’t it mean this stuff is getting through because someone is deliberately doing it? And if so, who in their right mind would think that anyone who’s paying attention would look at this stuff and say “yeah, that looks legit, I think I’ll keep it around?

Here’s comment on the first question. I’m at the point now where I’m starting to think someone has come up with software to get around the plugin. I say that because I’ve always been under the impression that if someone didn’t check that box, nothing was getting through. I knew that some stuff would still end up in the Akismet spam filter, but I didn’t think it would get to voluminous so quickly, and it has, across all 4 of my blogs. I know Sire discovered that some nefarious folks are actually paying people to post blog comments, but I can’t believe anyone would pay someone to post junk like above.

Here’s my comment on the second question. I don’t think anyone really cares about the message so much as they care about seeing what they can get away with. With all of the messages above having the same style, it seems more possible that the set up of the message might have something to do with how it all gets through the plugin. I’m not technical enough to know how it could be related, but the proof is in the pudding (another saying I have no idea where it comes from).

The thing is that it gives the impression that it’s trackback spam, but it’s not. I’ve gone to a couple of the websites that end up being shown as the domain name and there’s never any mention of one’s website or blog post, thus it’s not that. Still, I’m trying the option GASP gives you in eliminating the ability of anyone to send trackbacks to your blog, just to test it for a couple of days. I don’t have much faith that it’ll stop, since I don’t think it’s related to trackbacks.

Man, these spam people are just so smart and creative, aren’t they? I guess we should be thankful that they’re not trying to figure out how to take money out of our bank accounts before it even gets there.

But we’re not. 🙁
 

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Social Media Overwhelm?

A few days ago I was once again the radio guest of our friend Beverly. We talked about the subject of social media overwhelm, as well as social media in general, and it was pretty neat. If you wish, you can listen to the interview through this download. Oh yeah, while I’m at it, I was also interviewed by Karen of Blazing Minds for her blog, so you can check that out as well.

Overall the topic is an interesting one because obviously I do believe some people suffer from this, even people who haven’t started using it yet. It was just under two months ago when I wrote the post titled Social Media Isn’t For Everyone after all. In that post I was talking about the reality that if you don’t have the time or if something can’t help you out if you’re only using it for business purposes don’t even get started.

However, the topic of overwhelm is something different entirely. With the exception of LinkedIn I have gotten obsessed for at least a short time with most of the social media sites I’ve participated on. I was initially obsessed with Twitter, even though I didn’t write all that often, because it was just amazing seeing all those messages and seeing all the information that seemed to be available. I was initially obsessed with Facebook because of all the games and the groups. I was initially obsessed with Ryze for the groups. And I was obsessed with YouTube because, well, all those videos, not only music but the goofy stuff people put up.

At a certain point one calms down and gets back to business; at least we hope so. True, I haven’t given up on blogging, but I have that as more of a purpose thing than an obsession. I do think that the major appeal to Facebook has to do with all the games that people can play, because overall I still don’t think Facebook is all that social. Twitter is much more social if you connect with the right people. I talk to people all the time there, sometimes for upwards of an hour or more, though it’s usually late night. I haven’t had chats like that since the old days of ICQ; who remembers that?

If you start feeling overwhelmed with social media, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to think of what you feel your needs really are. If you like playing the games, go for it. If you feel the need to be, well, needed, whether it seems that you are or not, that’s something you now have to deal with. If you’re using it to get lost from the real world and find it hard to leave, that’s an even bigger issue to deal with. And if you feel overwhelmed but have never done anything with it… well, just remember these words from President Franklin Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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