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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Life and Business Should Be Treated Like a Chess Game


Think about life, business, or anything in between in terms of playing chess. The most successful chess players are not the ones who think only of the impending move they’re about to make, they plan three or four moves ahead—preparing for their adversary’s potential moves and how they are going to set up their winning move to get that coveted “check mate.” 


What are some of the combinations and permutations of your next three moves? There are no right answers, just questions that lead to deep thought and increased reaction time. And while this kind of strategy is necessary, it gets a little easier the longer you do it; and there’s nothing to stress about. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don't Confuse Motion With Action


Just because you schedule a lot of meetings or classes or busy work projects doesn’t mean you’re actually being productive. Take a minute, slow down and figure out whether what you’re doing is contributing to your overall brand, your bottom line, or your well being. You’ll probably end up saving yourself a bunch of energy and have more time to make your company profitable, to go on that cool day trip, or take up those guitar lessons you’ve always wanted. 

Winging it + Motion = Wasted energy
Plan + Motion = Action

Thursday, January 15, 2015

There Are No Shortcuts


Do you want to know a little secret about how to take the fastest route to achieving your goals—maybe even a shortcut? 

Are you ready for this?

The fastest route to achieving your goals is by strategizing and taking every necessary step along the way. In short—there are no shortcuts.

Shortcuts, at one point or another, will always lead to a cliff. And if you’re not already discouraged enough to quit your goals after you’ve arrived at that cliff; you’re going to have to spend loads of time trying to get back on your original path.

Do yourself a favor and stay the course. Don’t be enticed by promises of making easy money online or some Ponzi-type marketing scheme.

Shake every hand and kiss every baby you need to in order to get funding for your project. Set deadlines, brainstorm, make no assumptions, take risks, fail cheaply, mentor, mentee, and for goodness' sake have some fun. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Recipe for Success

Create
  • Make something that has the potential to become bigger than yourself. Create a movement, a risky piece of art, or something that changes the world. 
  • Make sure you believe in the power of what you’re working to create/just created. 
  • Make sure your creation is the solution to someone—Or ideally—some group or demographic’s problems.
  • The creation can’t be just about gaining more income, and if it is— why do you need the income? Is it for your child’s education? Will the money help free up your time so you can learn a new language or create art? Seldom is anything just about the money.
Be helpful
  • -None of us can achieve our goals solely on our own. We need help from others to get to where we want to be. To get help, we need to start helping others first. 
  • When you help someone with their business or project, you’re beginning to establish a long term relationship with them and put a deposit in the friendship bank. Relationships are what people invest in; not products, services, or creations. When the relationship that you’ve established becomes fruitful, then you can go back to that relationship and ask for a withdrawal from that friendship bank. 
  • Pro tip: The relationship will never work if you decide that you’re going to keep score as to who owes whom what favor. Let it happen organically
Take Risks
  • This is key. You have to be willing to fall flat on your face in the process of achieving your goals. Failure helps you get where you need to go faster than you normally would without it. How? You begin to learn invaluable lessons and figure out what and what not to do. 
  • Gravitating toward comfort is human nature but the most successful people that I’ve ever seen are explorers and adventurers—modern day Columbuses and Magellans who have taken their ships and sailed away from shore with no land in sight, believing that they would one day find the “New World” that would bring them the personal and/or career riches they were looking for. 
Persevere 
  • You have to be willing to persevere and stick through the most difficult of times. Success is never something that happens overnight, rather it’s a process in which you need to practice patience and tenacity. Anything worth having should be something you’re willing to fight for...so FIGHT! Whenever you get knocked down— get up, brush yourself off as soon as you can, and start throwing punches again. You have to be a Rocky or The Little Engine that Could (and is).
Feel free to add these ingredients to your recipe for success. One point of note, these ingredients are delicate and you must keep a watchful eye on the stove and make sure that all these flavors are in balance with one another. Bon appetit my friends.  

——
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You is now available for pre-order. 50 authors. 50 inspirational stories of overcoming tremendous obstacles. 
Read a few sample chapters HERE.

The first 200 people to pre-order will get a “thank you” in the front of the book, and a free copy of the book The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The i'Mpossible Project …According to Nora (42)


This is the forty-second edition of The i’Mpossible Project: A series where anyone can share a personal story of inspiration or an event in life where they overcame tremendous odds. Everyone has a powerful story to tell and something to teach the world. (See HERE for guidelines on how you can write for The i’Mpossible Project.) Here we have Nora Resell with My Homemade Life 
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My name is Nora, an ordinary fifteen year old girl in a small, ordinary country in Europe, but with an extraordinary disease, NMO, which I have lived with for about ten years now. My life has been a roller coaster ride of rough, happy, sad, and special moments – just like everyone else in this world. NMO is more than a “moment,” it’s a disease that you cannot ignore. 

To be born in Norway with little information about Neuromyelities Optica (NMO), must’ve been hard for my parents. No one knew what when my first attack came on. When I was five, I had an severe transverse myelitis attack and lost my ability to walk or even sit. But within a few months, I fought my way out of that wheelchair. Soon after, I lost 96% of my vision and am now legally blind. I’ve had a total of six attacks—nothing to brag about of course—but I get back up each time. I have daily pains behind my eyes, in my neck, back, feet and countless other places in my body. Some days are worse than others. Despite all this, I am still here. It took a lot of effort to get where I am today; a great deal of tears, but I’m alive and happy, which really is the most important thing.

Fortunately, I have amazing, healthy friends who support me. Of course, they don’t understand my disease like my parents, but my friends are only humans and this disease is not easy to grasp. I’m glad they don’t think about my blindness and my disease all the time—not exactly the most fun topic of conversation.

Despite my disorder, classmates and friends come to me with their problems. They need and want someone to comprehend and understand them. I am happy to give advice (and find it to be somewhat of a relief) because my dream is to become a psychologist—because I love being helpful and giving of myself.

Writing provides another small relief, be it a novel, song lyrics, drawing a picture, or composing the notes of a melody. 

Everyday life and dreams keep me content and happy—not something everyone with a serious disease can say. Not everyone is lucky enough to get out of their wheelchair—no matter how hard they work, and I can empathize with the loss of physical ability. But with out minds we get to control how we respond to what life hands us. There are many hours in a day that need to be filled—with music, writing, expanding your social network, or something else. You don’t need to be super talented to enjoy something. As long as you can find something you love, it’s okay.

If I could choose between a life with or without NMO, I would of course ask for the latter, but I don’t have a magic genie to grant me that wish. Maybe someday there will be a cure, or a way for me to see again, and to get rid of some of the pain, but everyone with NMO or another disorder, needs to have something to live for. Something that makes his or her life worth living. I found what I was searching for—friends, family, a purpose—and you can do that too

---
Why is this "The i’Mpossible Project?" 
Inspired by Josh Rivedal's book and one-man show The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah. Gospel (non-religious) means "Good News" and Josh's good news is that he's alive, and thriving, able to tell his story and help other people.

On his international tour with his one-man show, he found incredible people who felt voiceless or worthless yet who were outstanding people with important personal stories waiting to be told. These personal stories changed his life and the life of the storyteller for the better. 

Josh's one-man show continues through 2015 and beyond and he is looking for people in all walks of life, online and offline, to help give them a voice and share their stories with the world.

The i'Mpossible Project …According to Ned (41)


This is the forty-first edition of The i’Mpossible Project: A series where anyone can share a personal story of inspiration or an event in life where they overcame tremendous odds. Everyone has a powerful story to tell and something to teach the world. (See HERE for guidelines on how you can write for The i’Mpossible Project.) Here we have Ned with The Story of A Young Man’s Need to End it All: A Tale of Survival 
---
During the middle of senior year of college, I felt like I had reached a happiness peak ten times the size of Hindu Kush. Speaking of Kush, I was smoking all the time, as much as fifteen times a day. I would smoke before every class, workday, workout, and before most other activities. I constantly smoked my medicine, and if I didn’t have my medicine, I felt as if I wouldn't be able to maintain this heightened level of living. For about a year, there wasn't a single day that I didn't smoke, and I was happy as a clam. But as the end of senior year approached, everything changed.

Though I was completely caught off guard by the dramatic change in my mood, the deep depression that hit had its predecessors. My first depression was triggered by breaking up with my girlfriend of a year or so, my first major relationship. That time, I thought about swerving into traffic and crashing my car, but never acted on it. My second major depression came two years later. Its trigger: a reverse culture shock from coming back to school after an amazing semester abroad. I remember Googling ways I could kill myself, but again, never acted on it. I still don't know what triggered my worst depression that spring, but I can guarantee that my medicine (weed) wasn't working anymore. I even experimented with going without smoking, but it didn't work for me. I started to get weird and uncomfortable, even around my best friends.

The Day of the Jump

I went to sleep hoping not to wake up then had to deal with the fact that my wish didn't come true. I remember some of the fragmented thoughts and feelings I had after classes that day: scattered brain; nap; beached whale feeling; dead brain; dead? Wouldn’t that be nice? It had to end. And it had to end soon.

And so, that night, after five margaritas and a personally provoked epic fight with my girlfriend, I drove to the bridge notorious for the suicides it hosts. I pulled over, got out of the car and high jumped over the bridge’s highest point. I’d been thinking about this jump for a month, but the alcohol and screaming match gave me the guts to go for it.

The last thing I remember was my hat flying off as I leapt into the darkness.

My next sketchy memory is the glare of the spotlight on me all torn up. I survived. “Shit.” Apparently, I’d swum to a rock. A Herculean feat, they told me. “You must have had the will to live. You’re lucky you’re a strong athlete,” they told me. Nine out of ten people die from that jump. The survivors are usually mangled and severally disabled.

In the hospital, family and friends visited every day. They spent days and nights by my side. I was never alone. The man in the bed next to mine, who’d also tried to kill himself, had no visitors. He only had the 24/7 nurse watching him. Her job was to make sure neither of us tried to hurt ourselves while we were there.

Once I was released from the medical floor, they committed me to a psych ward for seventy-two hours—state law. It was heart wrenching being surrounded by sick mental people who lived in the mental hospital mumbling to themselves and screaming. They had nobody to love them or take care of them. I, on the other hand, had my family visiting every day, tirelessly advocating on my behalf, bringing me magazines and showering me with love.  

From Surviving to Thriving

The three years since the jump have had their bumps. My body has recovered like a champ (a miracle) but healing my mind was not as easy. As the depression lifted, I had a bad reaction to medication, which precipitated a bizarre mania. I was out of control. The mania led me to another stay in a psych ward for several weeks, again with my family visiting every day. As the cloud lifted with medication adjustments and an amazing therapist, my life slowly returned to normal—a new normal.

For the last two years, I’ve cautiously worked my way off my medicines (with the guidance of my psychiatrist and psychologist) and am on a very low dose now. I received my diploma and eventually landed a great job. I moved in with my best friend from college in a city filled with a lot of family.

I do morning workouts, I go on business and pleasure trips, I spend weekends with my favorite people, I see my family often, and I try to be kind and compassionate to others. People now, like before the jump, see me as my normal charming and successful self. Little do they know that if I’d had my way three years ago, my family would still be in mourning and I would not get to enjoy each amazing day that is my life today.

I always knew I was lucky in my life before the jump but never did I know I would hit a jackpot worth 7,669 days, representing twenty-one years of my life that did not go down the ocean’s drain. For those of you reading this who want to disappear or die (or know someone who does), please take it from me: Don’t cut this life short. It will surprise you in amazing ways that you simply can’t see right now. If you hang in there, life will come around. You will not only grow from the pain, you will probably flourish. Each day will taste that much sweeter. It feels good to beat an illness.

***
If you are someone you know are feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255. If outside the U.S., find a helpline HERE
---
Why is this "The i’Mpossible Project?" 
Inspired by Josh Rivedal's book and one-man show The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah. Gospel (non-religious) means "Good News" and Josh's good news is that he's alive, and thriving, able to tell his story and help other people.

On his international tour with his one-man show, he found incredible people who felt voiceless or worthless yet who were outstanding people with important personal stories waiting to be told. These personal stories changed his life and the life of the storyteller for the better. 

Josh's one-man show continues through 2015 and beyond and he is looking for people in all walks of life, online and offline, to help give them a voice and share their stories with the world.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Everyone is My Teacher



I recently saw an interesting quote from the Dalai Lama which read, “Everyone is my teacher, starting with my enemy.” That is an interesting perspective from a guy whose people have been in exile and persecuted by the Chinese government for the past fifty or so years. 
And I thought, this cat is pretty smart and wordly—if he can take that approach to his life then I can and should do the same. So over the past few weeks I started looking at everyone in my life as my teacher...and I’ve realized that I can learn something from every single person I meet throughout my day if I allow my mind to be open to that. From the CEO I met at a networking event, I can learn that hard work, determination, and being nice to people do pay off in the long run. I can learn from The Book of Mormon team that staying true to your art, your values, and not backing down also pay off. I can also learn from someone who isn’t so well known or high on the ladder in society too. I can learn from my friend from Ecuador who works as a busboy that it’s possible to keep a smile on your face and have a good attitude when faced with the daunting task of working five consecutive fourteen hour shifts. I can even learn from my adversary how I can improve the way I treat my friends and colleagues on a day to day basis. 
Everyone in the world has at least one thing to offer and we shouldn’t overlook anyone because you never know if the lesson you learn from that busboy will be the lesson that moves you to a higher plane in one or more areas of your life.