Saturday, February 10, 2018

Plans Are Important If...

Plans are important IF you want to get something done.

Right now I am planning to use an old analog multi-track studio recorder to record a bunch of songs I wrote long ago. I loaned the unit to my younger brother and when he returned it to me he forgot to give me the power supply, a microphone and cable, and a brick of tapes that I will need to do my project. My brother never used the equipment, by the way.

See, I plan, but, my brother pretty much lives in the moment. That's why he still has all of the other stuff and I have the recording unit itself. Sigh...

Most people are like my brother. They live in the moment. They don't plan and they don't think very far ahead-- if  at all.

When I sit down to record a song I have everything I need at my fingertips. I even have a cup of hot tea or coffee to sooth my throat when I start to record vocal tracks. If you walked into the studio space in my home you would see an acoustic guitar, a bass, a keyboard, drums, and a few other instruments lying around. I am ready to use each one in its part in the creation of the song. It all takes planning.

Life is like recording a song. You either plan your path and travel from where you are at the start to your destination or you simply meander along without any definite plans and just react to whatever events unfold. I prefer the former, not the latter.

A song needs a foundation. The drums and bass guitar (or string bass) tie everything together. The rest of the composition is built on that platform.

The rhythm guitar sets the melody. Lead guitar licks are just window dressing-- they add flash, but, they are not really necessary if the rest of the song is compelling. The vocals tell a story and help make the song dynamic. Harmonies help build drama and excitement. They are icing on the cake.

Your life is a song. All of the elements are there. With proper planning and execution, you'll have a hit. But, fail to plan and you plan to fail.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I Am Happy

Yesterday, my wife told me that she was looking through my archive of blog posts and she was really impressed with my titles.

Mary Rose is in the marketing and copywriting business. It is her job to help people get noticed. She knows the importance of a good title in that regard.

In the old brick and mortar business world it used to be said that the secret to success was "location, location, location." While that may have been true, to some degree, the secret to long-term prosperity for any business was repeat customers.

My old blog was hosted on Netfirms. It was a Canadian company back then. I had tons of readers and subscribers. Sadly, that all came to an end when the site was hacked, thanks to a lack of security on Netfirms' part. There was a backdoor placed on every single file in WordPress. They offered to scrub the site and remove the backdoor for a fee. That sounded somewhat spurious to me, so, I removed the WordPress blog and started using Blogger and never looked back.

I don't have as many readers as I once did, but, I am still blogging and plan to continue writing books and doing what I can to help people find happiness and plan their future success.

If you are new to my blog, thanks for reading. There are links to my books on Amazon at the bottom of the page.

You'll find the archive goes back a couple of years and there are lots of articles about positive thinking and motivation, setting goals and turning your dreams into realities.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

As A Man Thinketh

"The Aphorism, 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he' not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts." ~James Allen

It has been said many times that we are what we think. Why? How and what we think shapes our attitudes about life. Our thoughts alter our behavior.

When you have negative thoughts, continually, the result is cynicism. When you are intimidated by fear of failure, you tend to avoid new opportunities. When you are asked for your opinion, you become vague.

If you are confident then every new challenge becomes an opportunity to learn and grow. Every mistake is a learning experience and you know that you won't make the same mistake twice.

Success lies on the other side of failure. ~Thomas J. Watson Jr.

Remember this proverb: Wisdom is what you get from experience. Experience is what you get from a lack of wisdom. 

Don't fear making mistakes-- learn from them and move on.

You are in control of your thoughts. You have the power within you to accomplish almost anything you desire. You must first believe in yourself.

If you are not sure what you want in life my book, Get Happy, Write Away can help. If you need strength and discipline in order to create a plan of action when you discover what you want, Ninja Mind Tricks can help.

Today is the start of your future. Go for it!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why People Live Boring Lives

Shoot for the Stars

In a conversation at work the other day, two women who overheard what I said to another person were laughing in disbelief and exchanging glances between themselves.

It was easy to see that they thought I was full of malarkey (that's a nice way to say bullshit).

I found out years ago that most people live their lives devoid of dreams, desires, and goals. They amble along simply reacting to events as they unfold. I know that a lot of people classify "future time orientation" as a thing that "white" people have and "black" people don't. It has been my experience that it is not the province of white people at all. It is that thing which separates achievers from non-achievers regardless of skin-color, religion, gender, or any other variable one can quantify.

The "ladies" who were laughing behind my back could not fathom that someone at that company could ever have done what I was relating to another person there simply because neither of those ladies had ever aspired to do anything of note, nor will they ever accomplish anything of any intrinsic value because they have no goals, no dreams, no desires for anything past their fingertips.

There are many people I have known who worked for years to achieve proficiency in music, art, science, math, photography, or countless other pursuits, and they all had one thing in common. They all had dreams and ambition. Yes, they all had FUTURE TIME ORIENTATION. And guess what, they were white Europeans, African, Chinese, and Japanese. They were from India, the Middle East, Russia, and Latin America.

Planning for the future is often defined as having "future-time orientation" and I agree, that's part of it; but, the most important part is often left out. It is the DREAM, the DESIRE, the HOPE of accomplishment. It is turning your dreams into realities by hard work, determination, perseverance, and belief in yourself.

If you have no aspirations, I feel sorry for you. If you have no desire to achieve anything, again, I feel sorry for you. Without clearly defined goals any accomplishments occur by chance. 

By all means, DREAM. Look to the future and the world of possibility that is yours for the taking. You have an endless variety of pursuits available to you. All you have to do is figure out what appeals to you and, perhaps, what raw talents you possess that you can explore.

Dream, but, dream with a purpose.

I'll see you in the Winners Circle.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Power of Music

Music, it is said, soothes the soul. Music soothes the savage beast. Music is the highest, most passion-filled form of expression.

Much of who and what I am today can be attributed to music. I'd say that it is a combination of listening to artists like John Denver, writing songs, performing on stage, jamming with friends and family. In short, I have been surrounded by musicians and entertainers throughout most of my life.

When I was very young I would sing with my two brothers. My father's family often sang together in harmony. My mother's brother would visit from time to time and he would sing old songs with my father, again, in harmony. 

I loved singing in harmony and somehow, without any formal lessons, I learned how to pull harmonies out of thin air. I could just hear them in my head and sing them. With my two brothers, I could always find harmonies to sing. Now, my younger brother is good with that, too. 

I prefer lyrical music. I love songs that tell stories. I love songs about life, feelings, love, happiness, and, of course, sad times. Music heals us when we need it. It stimulates us when we need encouragement. If you have something to say, and you can say it with music, there is nothing better (poetry is good, too, but music is so much more powerful).

John Denver was, in my opinion, the best songwriter of the 20th century. When he died lots of people had feelings of emptiness. His music meant so much to so many people that I am still amazed by it.

I've been sick since just after the Christmas holiday. I am still fighting off a cold that stubbornly remains in one form or another. Right now, it is the stuffy head and drainage that plagues me. But, I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. This is the worst cold I've had since the 1980s and I am ready to move on... so, get with it immune system.

Last night I picked up my guitar for the first time since December 23rd when I played guitar at my wife's family gathering in Cincinnati, Ohio. I played it just for a few minutes, but, it was nice. With the cold, I was just not feeling up to playing. Still, last night, I was not ready to sing.

One thing is certain, though, as I lightly played and my wife stood nearby talking to me, my heart was soaring as I looked at her knowing the love she has for me.

I wrote a song for Mary Rose and sang it at our wedding. I can't think of a better way to say "I love you" than with song.

Here is that song:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

We're Having A Heat Wave

We're having a heat wave. It's finally in the thirties in Mid Ohio. We've had over a week of single-digit temperatures and wind chills as low as -20 degrees. Seeing 32 degrees on the thermometer this morning is a welcomed sight.

Every year in Columbus there is at least one week of sixty degree weather in either January or February. I am more than ready for it.

During this frigid weather I found it hard to do my morning workout. In the midst of it all I came down with the worst cold I have had since the 1980s. You read that right. Sinus headaches and stuffy nose issues aside, I still had an healthy appetite and I was still able to concentrate on business aside from the day gig.

I took time away from the day job in order to recover from the cold, but being the creative type, I did not sit idle. My wife and I set about planning a new business venture based on what I did years ago when I freelanced as both a graphic artist and a copywriter. I won't share any details at the moment, but, if things go like they did in the 1980s and 90s, it will be very lucrative.

It is important to always keep a positive attitude and keep your mind busy, even when you are sick and staying home from your day job.

The Future Belongs to Creatives

It is true that the future belongs to creative people. In the so-called "gig economy" the people who succeed will be the ones who can offer their professional services in addition to having the security of a day job. When a business becomes lucrative enough to go full-time, the lucky freelancer can start to really concentrate of growing their business.

There are multitudes of ways that people can start a small side income while continuing to work a day job until they can go full-time. You can start by assessing what it is you are capable of doing and figuring out how you can either create a need for it or monetize it in some form or another.

Now is the time to be creative.

Plan your future today.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cold Medicines Are Unhealthy

If you have a cold and you want to restore your health, most cold medicines are really bad for you.

I was in Kroger (a local grocery store) looking through the assortment of cold medicines they had on the shelf and I noticed that every one of them contained acetaminophen.

Years ago I took an extra-strength medicine that is one of the most popular brands on the planet whenever I had a cold or frequent sinus pain. It was discovered during a stay in the hospital that I had "minor lesions" on my liver as a result of using that medication for all of those years.

My doctor told me to use Coricidin because it does not contain acetaminophen and is also safe for patients on blood pressure medicine. 

ALL MAJOR BRANDS contain this liver-damaging ingredient. ALL HOUSE BRANDS and generics that get branded for different store chains also have it. This is the same for cold, flu, and sinus medicines in pill and liquid form. The higher the dose, the more damaging it is. You are slowly destroying your liver if you are constantly taking sinus meds like I was for all of those years. I stopped taking them in 2010 when the lesions were discovered and haven't taken them since.

I went to Walgreen and found Coricidin there. By the way, the formula I am taking is the one with red gel capsules. It is not the liquid or the smaller pills, they have acetaminophen, too.

You have to be informed. Big-Pharma as it is often called these days, really only cares about making money. Your health is not important to them. This is the same mindset that was responsible for replacing really cane or beet sugar with high-fructose corn syrup in just about everything on the planet. That chemical sugar makes me sick and when I found out why I started looking for alternatives. They are hard to find and cost more, but, they do exist.

DON'T TAKE ACETAMINOPHEN. Keep your liver in good health. You'll be glad you did.