Category Archives: Motivation/Inspiration

Where I Find Inspiration

Our friend Peter asked an interesting question in one of his comments. His question was where I find the inspiration for all these posts and newsletters that I do. I guess it’s because I have a large output for all my blogs and my one newsletter, and of course all the writing I do for other people here and there.


I find inspiration in many places. Almost anything could spark an idea for writing a blog post. Even visiting other blogs or reading news stories or seeing what’s going on via Twitter or Facebook can spark something. And sometimes it’s a comment, like this post. Let’s take a look at my previous 10 posts on this blog to see where I got the inspiration from; I’m not going to link to them, just so you know.

I wrote about evaluating when to end something because I was reading another one of those blog posts where it was recommended to never give anything up because success is just around the corner. I had just a couple of weeks earlier stopped writing one of my newsletters because I realized I didn’t have what it took to write it anymore, and thus I felt what I was reading was contrary to what I was doing, and so I wrote about it.

I wrote about the song We Are the World because I was walking on the track at the gym listening to my MP3 player and it came up and I got chills listening to it. The impact was still strong when I got home, and there you go.

I wrote a Sunday post on cravings because I’ve been having a lot of them. I had just days earlier started a new metabolic eating plan that I’m being evaluated on, and I had been craving chocolate almost nonstop.

I wrote a post on the Count Per Day plugin because on one of the blogs I write for they had it, and I tested it to see how it compared to Analytics and wrote my thoughts on it all.

I wrote a post on blogging and Twitter because of a local event that showed just how fast news, good or bad, can spread based on a blog post and its popping up on Twitter, and how a business can either be ruined or have a chance to save their reputation.

I wrote a post on simple answers to what seems to be difficult problems because I’d just gone through two things, one literally a couple of days earlier, where I’d done a lot of work for nothing.

I wrote a post on the things a blog should have because of a comment someone left asking about it. Then the next day I wrote a post on the administrative area of WordPress because I had just helped a friend of mine set up a new blog, and she looked inside it and was really confused over what she saw.

I wrote the next Sunday post on trust because it’s the political season, and thus all those political commercials are on TV these days. It’s interesting how much we all hate them because they’re so mean, yet these people keep putting that trash on, and thus we don’t trust them because we know they could care less about us and are only in it for their own reasons.

And finally I wrote about the components of a newsletter because my friend has been thinking about writing one and kept asking me about length, images, etc, and it seemed like a good idea to write a post about it in case someone else had been wondering.

And there you go. See, it doesn’t take a lot to determine what to write a blog post about, even if I were writing a niche blog. Of course, this is the fun blog, so I write more posts on this one than the others. Inspiration really doesn’t have to be hard most of the time; all you have to do is pay attention to what’s going on, what people are saying to you, and of course your own feelings.
 

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Sometimes It’s The Simple Answer

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy. I accumulate a lot of information and knowledge, which helps me in many areas. Unfortunately, I often recognize that one can think of themselves as being so intelligent that they can do some of the dumbest things. I have two stories for you.


Simplicity
by Niklas Plessing

The first involves my car. I noticed one evening when I came home that the light on the roof of my car didn’t come on when I opened the door. That freaked me out because it’s pretty dark in my garage in the evening and we don’t have a light in there. I determined the next morning that I was going to figure out what the problem was.

I got my tools, went to the car, got out the manual and went to work. I knew where the fuses were, so I pulled out the pliers so I could grab those fuses and went to work. In about 30 minutes I’d looked at half the fuses, those that I thought addressed the light issue, and I couldn’t find a thing wrong. At that point I determined that maybe the bulb had blown; I didn’t test that first because I don’t have any replacement bulbs had that been the case.

The thing is, I’ve had my car about 4 years now, and truthfully I don’t know where everything is inside. I got in, started driving, and I only look at stuff when something strikes my mind. I look up at the light and I notice there are 3 buttons there; I’d never seen any of these before. None of them were pushed in, but one of them said “lamp”. I pushed that one in and the light came on. I closed the door and it started dimming like it’s supposed to do. I opened the door and it worked again; ugh! All that time when all I had to do was push a button. No idea how it got turned off, but there you go; it’s worked ever since.

A few days ago I went to a friend’s house because she had a computer problem. I didn’t remember what the problem was until I got there and she told me again, but I’d brought all my tools and some programs to check the sucker out, just in case I needed them.

She said there was no sound and that they’d been missing it for almost 2 months. I picked up the speakers, cheap Dell speakers, and they looked fine. I checked the connection behind the computer; all was good. I checked all the volume controls on the computer and made sure everything was turned all the way up.

Then I opened up Windows Media Player and started up a song. I heard something, and it was one of the songs playing. But the sound was really weak. I went to a different song and we could hear it, but it was low. We went through all the processes again, and the sound was still low for everything. We opened her iTunes and played a couple of songs there also; same problem.

However, the sound seemed to have increased in some fashion; that was odd. I looked at the speakers again. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t any type of volume control on them; who ever heard of speakers without volume control in today’s world. Then I took a good look at both speakers. One of them had a raised part that the other one didn’t. I thought the volume control might be under that, so I grabbed the one speaker and tried lifting it up. It wouldn’t come off, but the volume went up. I realized that was the volume control; duh! I had once again taken almost 30 minutes to figure out a problem that could have been solved in less than a minute. These folks, however, hadn’t figured it out in 2 months, so at least I was better than they were.

All of this reminds me of the apocryphal story of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The U.S. was trying to figure out how to write in space, so they spent millions working on technology for pens to work in zero gravity. The Soviets used a pencil; problem solved.

Sometimes the correct answer is sitting there in front of us and we miss it. Of course, that’s not as funny as going through the rest of the steps, but it would save some time. Something to think about on a rainy Wednesday; at least it is here.

SanDisk Sansa 4 GB Flash MP3 Player – Blue






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Sunday Question – How Would You Like To Be Remembered?

What prompted this post? Our friend John isn’t doing all that well physically. I don’t think he’d mind me telling you this, since he wrote it on his blog 21st Century Affiliate Marketing. Actually, he’s ending his blog, and it’s possible that if you’re interested he’d sell you the domain name and wish you the best of luck with it. John’s a great guy, and I hope y’all stop by to give him your best wishes.

One of those things that happens when you start getting older is that you start thinking a little bit about your mortality. Sure, it can happen when you’re younger, and truthfully it’s one of those things that’s scared me for most of my life. I haven’t had to deal with it all that often, and my dad is the closest person to me who’s no longer here, though I also had a college friend who passed away in 1994 that I didn’t see coming, though I probably should have.

I have no children. I tend to believe people have children for three reasons. One, they didn’t plan it; it just happened. Two, because they have this sense of family that they just need to perpetuate because it’s not they grew up. And three, because they want to be remembered in some way, to carry on the family legacy. I know that’s why I’m here; my dad wanted to carry on the line, and he hoped I’d continue things. That won’t happen, unfortunately, but I figure I have lots of cousins who have kids of their own, lots of males, so there will be Mitchell’s for a long while.

Still, I’ve often thought about if I would have a legacy when I’m no longer around. Yes, I want to have some sort of legacy. I want to leave my mark on this earth that will be remembered at least by a few people when I’m gone for some years, more than just family members. To whit, that’s why I’ve created so many things. None have made me famous yet, so I continue working at it, hoping one day that I’ll hit upon the big one, and then I’ll be happy and rich.

Rich is an important component of this whole thing because I have a main goal and a secondary goal. My main goal is selfish; I want a large house. Actually, I have no idea how large the house would be, but it would a a ranch style, one story ranch of course, with lots of space inside, along with a few other things. The second goal is that I’d love to create a research center of some sort that I could put in my parent’s name. What would it research? Well, that I haven’t totally locked my mind on. It could be cancer, since Dad had cancer, and I know so many people who have had and now have cancer. It could be diabetes because it’s a family disease that I also have. It could be heart research, since heart attacks are scary as anything. And it could be renal research, since Dad was on dialysis, and unfortunately I think I’m going to be heading in that direction in my future (I know, my wife tells me to stop predicting my future as well).

No matter how it occurs, I want to be remembered this way; a nice guy who tried to help people and achieved his dreams while helping others achieve theirs as well. What about you?

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Mikasa L3471-040 Parchment Red 40-Piece Dinnerware Set- Service For 8

Price – $269.99






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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? 🙂

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A Friday Great Dog Story

Sometimes you just have to break away from your norm and do something a little different. This is definitely something different for me. I didn’t write the following post. It’s been around since last summer, it seems. I don’t even know if it’s true, and I really don’t care.

Every once in awhile you need something that either makes you feel good or touches you in some fashion. I got this email a couple of days ago, and it moved me. I usually don’t read a lot of these because, as a guy who grew up when macho was the thing, I don’t usually like to take chances with stuff that might make me lose control. No, I didn’t lose control over this one, but man, it pushed me.

This story is on a bunch of blogs, but seeing as the internet is such a large place, I’m betting most folks haven’t seen this story, since I hadn’t seen it before. So, if I may, I’d like to present to you this wonderful dog story, enhanced a little bit with color. It’s long, so if you have a problem with that, stop now and go do something else:

They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie as I looked at him lying in his pen. the shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.

I’d only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,” whatever that meant. They must’ve thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner. See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his New home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls – he wouldn’t go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn’t really think he’d need all his old stuff, that I’d get him new things once he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn’t going to.

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like “sit” and “stay” and “come” and “heel,” and he’d follow them – when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when I called his name – sure, he’d look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then he’d just go back to doing whatever. When I’d ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn’t going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction got so bad that I couldn’t wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the “damn dog probably hid it on me.”

Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter’s number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. I tossed the pad in Reggie’s direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I’d seen since bringing him home. But then I called, “Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I’ll give you a treat.” Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction – maybe “glared” is more accurate – and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down. With his back to me.

Well, that’s not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number.

But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice”…. …..

To Whoever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it. If you’re reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time… it’s like he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong… which is why I have to go to try to make it right.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls. the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn’t done it yet. Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after it, so be careful – really don’t do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I’ll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones – “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.” He knows hand signals: “back” to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and “over” if you put your hand out right or left. “Shake” for shaking water off, and “paw” for a high-five. He does “down” when he feels like lying down – I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.

I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He’s up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they’ll make sure to send you reminders for when he’s due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car – I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time. I’ve never been married, so it’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he, doesn’t bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.

And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you….

His name’s not Reggie.

I don’t know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. but I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I’d never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything’s fine. But if someone else is reading it, well… well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It’ll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in his demeanor if he’s been giving you problems.

His real name is Tank.

Because that is what I drive.

Again, if you’re reading this and you’re from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with… and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call the shelter… in the “event”… to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he’d do it personally. And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting to downright depressing, even though, frankly, I’m just writing it for my dog. I couldn’t imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family. but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.

And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things… and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. If I had to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He was my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don’t think I’ll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight – every night – from me.

Thank you,
Paul Mallory

__________________________________________

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.

The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

“C’mere boy.”

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months.

“Tank,” I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.” Tank reached up and licked my cheek. “So whatdaya say we play some ball? His ears perked again. “Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?”

Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room.

And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

Dog Breed Necktie Black Labrador

Dog Breed Necktie Black Labrador

Price – $24.99