Thursday, July 31, 2008


Confidence is about ignoring external or other people's realities in order to believe in yourself and your ability to make great stuff happen. What "great stuff"? Someone has to make it to the Major Leagues, so for thousands of dedicated ball players, the big leagues are a possibility. There are also thousands of CEO positions out there in the market place, so any ambitious executive has the option to imagine himself or herself sitting in the corner office.

In the 1950's when Robert Johnson was in elementary school in Freeport, Illinois, what were the odds that he would become a billionaire? What were the odds that he would become the first African-American billionaire? What was the probability that he would create Black Entertainment Television (BET), the largest black-owned and operated company in the country? Zero probability. In Mississippi, where Johnson was born, black kids still could not go to the same schools as white kids or even drink at the same water fountain. The son of a factory worker and one of ten kids, whose only entrepreneurial experience was a local paper route, such goals were inconceivable to Johnson. But he did dream of going to college and was the only one of his ten siblings to do so. While at the University of Illinois, he dreamed about joining the foreign service and becoming an ambassador. He took the first step by going to Princeton for a masters degree in international affairs and then accepted a job as an aide to Washington D.C.'s congressional delegate.

One night at a party at a neighbor’s house, someone told him that he would make "a good lobbyist for the cable industry." Johnson admitted to knowing nothing about cable TV, but he took the meeting and got the job as vice president of government relations for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. He quickly learned the business, including how programming could be segmented to a specific audience, which sparked his idea for creating a network aimed at African-Americans. With a $15,000 bank loan and one major investor who loved the idea, Johnson started BET in 1980. Five years later, BET was profitable and growing. In 2001, Viacom bought the network for $3 billion. Johnson, who remained in charge of BET, made $1.5 billion off the deal.

- Excerpt from The Big Idea Blog, Donny Deutsch

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Not succeeding can be a window of opportunity

Confident people are not hung up on how things work out because the challenge is what excites them, they’re into the process, and they know that whatever happens, they will be able to take advantage of the situation. Too many people let setbacks demolish their confidence. The best performers take it on the chin – in fact, welcome it – and still believe that success is just around the corner. Most often, they use obstacles as the drive behind maintaining high confidence and excitement. Setbacks can be a reason to believe in yourself even more, holding all kinds of experience, knowledge, and data to show you how you will be able to move forward and succeed. Not succeeding can be a window of opportunity, not to mention thrilling. For great thinkers, life would be very boring if it were filled only with easy wins.

The very place where most people lose their confidence – after a failure – is where exceptional thinkers build theirs.

- Excerpt from The Idea Blog, Donny Deutsch

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life.

- Harvey Mackay

Monday, July 28, 2008


There is a difference between joy, enjoyment, pleasure, love and happiness. All those things are feelings, but happiness is a state of mind, not a feeling.

- Unknown

Friday, July 25, 2008

Plan a Money-Free Weekend

If you're trying to be more frugal but find the day-to-day struggle too taxing to win, the Simple Dollar finance blog suggests a relaxing way to cut back on spending: A money-free weekend. This list has one hundred fun ways to spend a money free weekend!

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What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

You may ask yourself, "What the heck am I doing with my life, anyway?"
It's a big scary question, one that's easily avoided by checking out the coolest new Firefox extension instead. But if you've decided to tackle the beast, reader William Mize recommends a free ebook entitled What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?. The 136 page PDF is a workbook for creating your life plan.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


People who practice optimism, gratitude letters, etc, are happier over the long term. Gratitude is more powerful than optimism.

- Sonja Lyubomirsky, author, How of Happiness

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ten Steps to Drought-Resistant Gardening

The days of hauling out the hose to douse your garden are over, even in regions that once were considered water rich. According to several scientific projections, the parched conditions now occurring in the Southeast and other drought-stricken regions of the country are likely to spread as the effects of global warming take hold. Fortunately, you can take a number of sensible steps in your garden to conserve dwindling water. Our friends at the National Wildlife Federation have these tips:

  1. Work compost into the soil around your plants.
  2. Mulch your plantings.
  3. Choose plants that tolerate drought and a wide range of temperatures.
  4. Minimize and drought-proof your container plantings.
  5. Cut down on mowing and fertilizing.
  6. Let your lawn go dormant.
  7. Use water-conserving equipment.
  8. Water your plants early in the morning.
  9. Water less frequently but deeply.
  10. Put off major planting projects until after severe droughts.

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The best advice I ever got... [Peter G. Peterson]

"Focus on those things you do better than others."

- Peter G. Peterson, Co-founder and Senior Chairman, Blackstone Group
Excerpt from Fortune Magazine

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.

- Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Melanoma cases increased by 50%

Melanoma rates have risen 50% among young women in the U.S. since 1980, a trend that may be related to an increase in the use of tanning salons and exposure to the sun's damaging rays, according to a report released Thursday.

Among young men, melanoma rates have remained steady, the study found.

The most lethal skin cancer, melanoma occurs in pigment-producing cells. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 62,480 new cases of melanoma and 8,420 deaths from it in the U.S. this year.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the biggest risk factor for developing the cancer, although genetic factors can also contribute. People with fair skin are most at risk, but melanoma occurs in people of all races and skin tones.

People can reduce their general risk of developing melanoma by avoiding sun exposure when the sun's rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; wearing protective clothing and a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater; and not actively seeking a tan in the sun or a salon.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

People learn most when there's an emotional connection. If you want someone to learn something, find that emotional connection.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Urban Hiking - a new trend?

Urban hikes - a new trend in socializing and exercise. Generally, they are a half day of walking, with oddball points of interest and promising food stops. To make the hikes more interesting, invite a few friends.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Live while you can.

- John Shaw

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The best advice I ever got... [Indra Nooyi]

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From him I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you're angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don't get defensive. You don't scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, "Maybe they are saying something to me that I'm not hearing." So "assume positive intent" has been a huge piece of advice for me.

In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they're saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, "Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they're reacting because they're hurt, upset, confused, or they don't understand what it is I've asked them to do." If you react from a negative perspective - because you didn't like the way they reacted - then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, "Hey, wait a minute, maybe I'm wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort."

- Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, Pepsico
Excerpt from Fortune Magazine

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

As much as you are fired up about making changes in your life, if you do not carve out the time in your schedule, it will never happen.

- Pamela Slim, author of 'Get a Life' blog

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

- Steve Jobs, commencement speech at Stanford University. Steve is the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.

- Mark Twain

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Success is all about employee freedom. You have to fight the encroachment of rules and bureaucracy and people who want to limit us at every place. The fundamental risk in a technology company is the loss of creativity. You have to take a lot of little risks, break the rules, and push the values of employee freedom."

- Reed Hastings, Netflix founder

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

- Francis Bacon

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Who Says Kids May You Happy?

Interesting article from Newsweek. The author considers both perspectives - couples with and without children.

Personally, I agree with one of the comments, "...Everyone has to make the decision they can live with. I think it is nonsense that childless people are happier than people with children or vice versa. People who have children and are unhappy would be unhappy without children too, because there are people who will never be content with what they have...The grass is always greener on the other side, right?..."

"If most are not happy, then it's not because they do or do not have children, it's because they chose to not find the joy in what they have..."

Read the full article here - note: the comments are almost as interesting as the article.