All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

My Top 10 Fictional Characters

This post I get to blame on my internet friend Mike CJ, who wrote a post called Why You Should Use Fictional Characters As Your Role Models. Some folks know that I patterned my life after some of the values of certain characters, while others I just like for whatever reason.

Snoopy on his doghouse

Anyway, since y’all know how I feel about commenting on Disqus blogs, and the fact that I’ve now been inspired to write a longer post based on what Mike came up with, here are my top 10 fictional characters, in order of favoritism; let’s see you try that one Mike! And folks, no images; not in the mood to deal with copyright issues and the like. Doesn’t mean I won’t have product links, though. πŸ™‚

10. Harry Potter – Some people consider this a kid’s story, but how many of you would be ready to step up to the plate if you were told that you and the most evil and dangerous person in known history couldn’t live together on the same planet, and one of you had to die. Take that information and put it into a 16 year old’s mind and you have the makings of either the most scared kid you’ve ever met or the bravest kid you’ve ever heard of. That Harry Potter chose to be helpful and kind while having his life attacked many times a year since he turned 10 and still persevered is enough to admire, and a lesson to us all that being good or evil is a choice, not a destiny.

9. Foghorn Leghorn – The “Big Chicken”, as he’s normally called by most people, was my dad’s favorite Warner Brother’s character, and became one of mine as well. Truthfully, he has no redeeming value; he’s just funny as sin. If I told you what my college roommate and I used to do on a consistent basis based on something he always did, you’d think we should have been institutionalized.

8. Captain Kirk – Being one of the few, apparently, who actually enjoyed the Enterprise series, one of the things lacking in the main character, who I still liked, was that he wasn’t enough like Captain Kirk. He had all the attributes of a gunslinger and the brains to know that he couldn’t just shoot first and ask questions later. My man crush was sealed when, in the second movie, he proclaimed “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.” I always believe that we all have the ability to achieve more and better things, no matter what our current circumstances are, and I got it from Captain Kirk.

7. Superman – I don’t know what Superman means to anyone today, but back in the day, who didn’t want to be Superman? He had everything you could ask for; invincibility, x-ray vision, could see through walls, fly in outer space, fly in the first place, super hearing, on and on and on. He could exhibit every superpower that every other superhero had except invisibility. And with all that power, he decided to live for “truth, justice, and the American way.” Okay, it was a nice dream, but it teaches us all that with great power comes great responsibility, as well as the fact that all sorts of folks will come after you if you happen to be top dog.

6. Snoopy – Speaking of top dogs, who in their right mind doesn’t love Snoopy? Today’s kids might be missing out, but Snoopy was the first Renaissance dog. He was a writer, pilot, tennis pro, hit 714 home runs the day after Hank Aaron broke the record, he can do animal impressions, do both disco and ballroom dancing, brought us Joe Cool, is a star hockey player, and sleeps outside the box, so to speak. He’s a man’s dog, independent and savvy, and I have a Snoopy doll, a Snoopy on my key chain, and a key with a Snoopy cartoon on it; always brings me peace. Snoopy proves if you dare to dream, you never know what you can become.

5. Bugs Bunny – The number one Warner Brothers character of all time, more cartoons than any other character in history; that’s saying something. He even has a star on the Walk of Fame. My thing about Bugs Bunny is that he wasn’t the biggest most of the time, but he’d take a whipping and come back for more, eventually overcoming every obstacle thrown at him. Had a lot of talent as well. I learned from Bugs Bunny that you don’t back down to bullies or any other problems in life; you come back stronger and persistently until you persevere.

4.
“[Luke:] I can’t believe it.
[Yoda:] That is why you fail.”

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

“No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Yoda has wisdom and power and he’s less than 3 feet tall; there are no obstacles that can’t be overcome if you trust in your own self.

3. Kermit the Frog – Even though he’s a frog, Kermit is “every man” and “every woman”. In other words, he’s a frog with a dream and a belief in that dream, and no matter what he’s going to go out there and get it, no matter what form it takes. He’s been a news reporter, a dancer, a singer, an author, and a TV show emcee. He’s traveled the world basically just being himself. And he’s the muppet that every other muppet wants to be and wants to follow. Once again, a lot of power with a lot of responsibility, yet he always does the right thing.

2. Captain Picard – It took me probably half the first season of Next Generation to fully start appreciating Captain Picard, but once I did he was the guy I wanted to see prominent in every show. In an odd way he was the anti-Kirk; not as tall or as good looking, certainly not as athletic or brash. But he was dignified and a thinker, and not afraid to get into it when necessary. He was older than Kirk was, which meant he sent the younger first officer into the fray most of the time. But the truth is that true leadership doesn’t always have to be in the forefront. True leadership helps others attain the highest level in doing what it is they have to do for the team, and sends them out knowing that they’re going to ultimately do their best. He was the closest human to ever think like a Vulcan, as he was told many times; that was a pretty nice compliment in my book.

1. Mr Spock – My favorite character of all time, the man I owe for helping me get through the last 2 1/2 years of college. I used to have a quick temper, and I think that was the one feature that kept people from getting close to me. One day I came across this thought about logic, said my anger was illogical because it wasn’t aimed at anything except my own mind, and changed in an instant, based on my beliefs about Mr. Spock. Thing is, he wasn’t perfect, and I certainly wasn’t going to be, but I was a drastically better person, and I think the loyalty of many long time friends proved I became something much better than I was. As I’m working my way through the book The Ethics of Star Trek, I’m reminded again just how much the character of Mr. Spock has meant to my life.

Okay, I’m done, and I had fun. What are your comments, and who are your favorites, and why? And let’s thank Mike for the idea. 

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Sunday Question – Are You A Positive Or Negative Personality?

Most people are going to think this is an easy question to answer, but I’m here to tell you that most people are deluding themselves, unfortunately.

Zig Ziglar says that, and I’m paraphrasing, positive thinking won’t allow you to do everything, but it will allow you to be better at everything than negative thinking. He’s one of the most positive people in this country and has been pushing out this message for more than 40 years. Here’s a guy who went bankrupt twice, yet found his way to the top of his profession, which is sales, and is one of the most sought after speakers in the country. If you don’t know about this guy you’re missing something.

When you think about positive or negative personalities, you don’t have to think in absolutes. No one is positive every moment of their life. No one is positive every moment of their day. Being positive doesn’t mean you can’t complain about something, or point out bad things. What it means, however, is that you have the ability to determine how you’re going to let it affect you over the course of your day or over the course of time.

For instance, I hate racism with a passion; I would, obviously. The United States is a racist country; heck, that’s not anything new, because truthfully every country in the world is racist in some fashion, so we’re not alone, and we’re not even at the top of the heap. I could easily walk around with a chip on my shoulder being angry at “the man” for holding me back, and blaming everything bad that happens to me on racism. And trust me, I know there are a number of things that happen to me that are based on race.

Instead, I tend to go a totally different route in my thoughts. Whereas I know racism exists, I also see the opportunities for breaking down some barriers here and there. I see that people of color aren’t allowing things to hold them back; at least not all of them. I see that people of color are achieving things that wouldn’t have been possible even 30 years ago, and that’s saying something. As I watch the news about Arizona’s stupid immigration bill, I not only see Latino people protesting, but a host of white people, often more of them that Latinos, protesting as well.

I also tend to believe that most people are inherently good, and that good things will happen for all of us. That I do it without any religious belief astounds some folks, but hey, that’s me. I do believe in the laws of attraction, though, and that we tend to bring on what we think, and who we hang out with helps determine where we’re going to go in life. I treat everyone fairly, and everyone gets the benefit of the doubt until they’ve proven themselves to be untrustworthy.

Two days ago I had another consultant tell me on the phone that I was too nice. It’s an interesting thought, and actually it’s funny because I often think our friend Sire is too nice. What I’ll believe instead is that we’ve decided to be more positive and inclusive than negative and obtrusive. We’ve decided that we want people to interact with us in a positive manner than in a negative manner, even when we might be calling someone out (that Sire is a trip!).

Back in March I asked what kind of friend are you, and some of the responses indicated that some of you like to stick to yourselves. You kind of missed the point of the question. I was basically asking if you believe people want to be around you, and if they do why. Except in networking meetings, probably because people sense I’m kind of tense, I tend to draw people to me. People talk to me all the time; I meet people who start telling me their issues almost immediately; it’s freaky. Babies are drawn to me; they stare and play with me all the time. Older women are drawn to me, and many of them comment on my eyes; I don’t quite get that one. Shy people are drawn to me, and people in trouble are drawn to me. I’ve always figured that if I were a negative personality overall, that wouldn’t happen.

So, with a bit more fleshing out of the topic, which personality do you consider yourself to be, and why?

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Charging For Advertising

In my last post I talked about how, suddenly it seems that my word is gold in some fashion, at least for my other two blogs anyway. Well, what’s also now happening is that I’m getting a lot of requests to put some kind of advertising on the main page of my finance blog, Top Finance Blog. This has presented somewhat of a conundrum, so I thought I’d express my thoughts in public here, in case someone wanted to jump in and offer alternative advice. You might have to take a quick look over there to offer advice on this.

First, I’m now hesitant to allow any text advertising on the blog. It’s not because I had it on this blog and it lost its page rank. It’s mainly because even back then on this blog it seemed out of place. I mean, I have other text links, but they’re associated with the blog itself or my own businesses. I consider a blogroll as being associated with the blog. The text link, though; I personally can’t figure out how it fits into the scheme of things, and I don’t want to go that route at all.

That means, second (I always figure there should be a “second” if there’s a “first”), the only thing left is a banner ad of some type. I don’t have a problem with a banner ad, because those I already have on the blog. I’m telling everyone that the largest it can be is 200×200, since that fits a side panel; I don’t see myself popping anyone else’s 468×68 banner ad into any of those posts, and I’m only running that type of ad at the top of each individual post through Commission Junction.

What I’ve been offering is to run banner ads at $10 a month. One guy said it was too high, others haven’t commented yet. I don’t think it’s too high at all; matter of fact, I’m wondering if it’s kind of low. I’ve also said the banner ads would be nofollow; I don’t think they like that either, but that’s my prerogative, right?

At the same time, though I’ve made the offer, I’d also have to figure out where I’d put it. Too high and it messes up the seemingly balanced site if people go from the main page to one of the articles. Too low and the advertiser might feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth, no matter what I charge.

Also, there’s the thing about relevance and location. I have a lot of UK companies wanting to advertise on the site, but I’ve stuck with American only. My thought is that most of my readers of that blog are from the United States, and I don’t want to intentionally be sending them to the UK for something they might want, then find out they can’t use it here. And relevance to finance is important as well; I’ve outright turned down products such as medical equipment because it’s not a medical blog of any sort, even if I do comment on medical finances and, of course, health care reform.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Am I being too tough or too lenient, and would you care about text ads, relevance, or location?

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Now My Word Is Gold?

A funny thing has been happening over the last couple of weeks, and I’m not quite sure why.

I have people writing me and asking me to look at their blog posts, then either write about it on one of my blog or actually post the entire thing into my blogs as a guest post. These are people I don’t know and have never heard of, and frankly, coming out of the blue the way it did, initially kind of freaked me out.

Then I got a little upset because I didn’t know these people. I’m sure every once of us has written something and wanted to share it with our friends who don’t follow our blog, or our wives and other family members. But I can’t conceive of searching for someone and asking them to go through all those hoops without building some kind of relationship first. And the idea of reposting an article from someone else’s blog; can’t conceive of that either.

One guy even told me how to do the entire thing; how presumptuous. To his credit, I did decide to go check the post out, and man, you think I write long posts sometimes. It was nearly 4,000 words, with pictures and graphs; almost more of a white paper than a blog post. When I told him I wouldn’t know what to do with that, because it was overwhelming, he wrote back to tell me how I could do it. After I wrote him saying that I didn’t know him, he’d never written anything on my blog and never participated in a discussion, and wasn’t following any of my feeds. He did say that he went through Google Blogs looking for folks who write things on his particular topic and my blog came up, so he was just submitting to everyone.

By the way, it’s not for this blog, but it’s definitely been for my other two blogs. I hadn’t thought my opinion on health care had gotten all that much further than just my own business blog, but I guess the word is starting to spread a little bit more than I had anticipated. And my finance blog is hitting kind of a renaissance as well. That one, by the way, now has all sorts of people wanting to advertise on it; but that’s the next post.

What’s your thought on someone you don’t know reaching out to you, asking you to read their stuff, then write about it on your blog? Do you find it intrusive or flattering?

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10 Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

In my own way, to show that I do things for my own reasons and not for other people’s reasons, I’m taking on what I call kind of a meme, which is based off this article on a blog called TwitterMoms titled Share 10 Little Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You. Actually, the title is much longer, because it’s actually part of some contest where you can win a gift card and some Tropicana juice stuff. Frankly, I don’t care about all of that, which is why I’m not doing all the other stuff they’re asking for. Instead, I thought it would be fun to do this particular thing.

Why am I doing this? A few reasons. One, because I want to show some of the things I write about on my business blog, which includes motivational stuff here and there; I sometimes do that here as well. Two, because I want to show that I do know some things that might make me healthier and happier, even if I don’t do all of them.

And three, because I love some memes. I hope you clicked on the link above if you don’t know what one is. However, you can check out the other 3 memes I’ve played with: Passion Quilt; Soundtrack of Your Life; and 7 Things You Don’t Know About Me.

Anyway, here’s my list of 10:

1. Hug the people you care about at least once a day. I hug my wife multiple times a day, and when I see friends, I try to get hugs in as well. Had to learn how to hug my guy friends, but that only happens if they can handle it as well.

2. Find something that will make you laugh at least 30 minutes a day. I don’t do this one every day, but I find when I do it that I feel really good.

3. Eat in some kind of moderation so you don’t feel sick to your stomach. When I plan my meals I do very well, but a night like Monday night, when I was at a meeting, convinced me that I could break from my pattern and eat a lot of pizza, which I don’t eat at home; ugh!

4. Have at least one small sweet treat a day. If I don’t have a sweet treat every day I tend to get into a mode where I want a lot of it, and of course that’s not good for me. So my wife doles it out to me a little bit at a time, and I appreciate that she does that for me, even if I can’t figure out where she’s hiding it.

5. Find a reason to get at least 30 minutes a day to yourself in some fashion. I’m bad at this one because even when I take a break, I do it at the computer. I need to convince myself to get away from it here and there.

6. Find a way to get at least a little bit of exercise every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes. Yeah, this one I’m really bad at. I do something maybe 3 or 4 days a week, but when I can get myself into a good mode, I’ll try to do something longer and at least twice a day. When it gets warmer, if I’m home this summer, I’ll be at the lake in the morning and the afternoon walking.

7. At least a few times a day, do a little bit of stretching. What I’m learning is that it’s not necessarily that my being out of shape is what injures me here and there, it’s that everything is so tight. I’ve taken to doing some stretching exercises daily, and a few times a day I’ll just stop and stretch in a few positions for about a minute or two. It all helps.

8. If you feel bad in any way for 7 days or more, see a doctor. I refer you to my story of how I discovered I was diabetic back in 1997 by paying attention to some signs that many people ignore.

9. Try not to take yourself too seriously. Sometimes I have problems with this, but I also laugh at myself many times a day. I tend to view almost every situation as some kind of story, which means I try to recall it so I can tell it later on. If it ends up being funny, even better.

10. Feel good about yourself. When I talked about the movie The Secret, I mentioned this thing about the laws of attraction. If you feel good about yourself and think positive things, positive things come into your life. A motivational speaker named Zig Ziglar says “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” I like to add “and you’ll feel pretty good as well.”

And there you go. Now, I always ask people to do their own meme based on my participating, and to date no one has ever followed me and given it a shot. For this one, I wonder who’ll step up to the plate and keep it going; maybe one of my Power 50 friends? πŸ™‚

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