Saturday, November 10, 2007

Does This Motivate You In Any Way?

Motivation? - Or Distraction?

After watching that video, were you motivated in any way or were you just distracted?

Has anyone guess the 'end result' of this demonstration? I know, it's only a video, but still - is there a purpose for this video?

The video and the 'elaborate setup' in the video is based on the Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) idea that people basically find difficult, involved ways to accomplish simple tasks...

See if you can figure out why I put this video on my blog.

I'll be back soon to make another post to explain more about Rube Goldberg and his philosophy...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Does This Motivate or Overwhelm You?

Internet and Communications Technology is developing and growing at an incredible rate. It is expanding how far away and with how many people we communicate with and also creates (and improves?) new ways for people to reach each other - all the time.

Technology can be overwhelming for those who think they aren't keeping up or can't keep up with the latest breakthroughs, improvements and changes in the computer, communications, internet, and electronics realms.

The video here takes on an interesting perspective that might make some people feel better about the seemingly aggressive advancement of technology in our present world.

The viewpoint presented is that PEOPLE are STILL the driving force surrounding technology - even if some people think that 'the machines are taking over.'

This video has audio, but no 'scripted' speech or 'documentary voice', but it manages to get a strong message across. The graphics speak for themselves quite well here, however, if you find that you feel 'lost' while viewing - just 'Re-Play.'

I watched this 3 times, myself, just because I thought the video projected some effective, POWERFUL messages.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thoughts On Personal Power

What is 'Personal Power'?

Some people mistake Personal Power for being in control and being the most 'in control,' however, this is not really what personal power is.

Personal Power is about confidence in oneself - even to the point that one allows another person to 'be in control' of certain things in life and in relationships. It definitely is NOT about being controlling, being a control freak or needing to be in control of EVERYTHING!

The words 'Power' and 'Control' have been grossly misused and misconstrued in most societies. Power has come to mean 'absolute control' in most instances.

One can be very much in control of their own person and maintain Personal Power even if they are not the primary person in control of others.

Personal Power means owning your own feelings and making your own decisions. Sometimes it means making the decision to let someone else control something. For instance, if you are a frazzled out worker who is wrapped up in too many projects at once, too much paperwork and too many tasks are driving you into the ground, you can gain Personal Power by designating some tasks to others. You will lose basic control of the tasks, but will regain confidence in self by bringing your job tasks in better balance with what you can reasonably accomplish as a single working person.

OWNING the fact that you feel frazzled, that you took on too much work - and admitting this is all part of Personal Power. Even if you try to designate tasks and this doesn't work, having ownership over how you feel, over knowing your true limits, and being realistic about things will help you to cope better with work, in general.

You can't exude Personal Power without, first, understanding your strengths and weaker points. Gaining command of a situation that you don't really have the skills to manage isn't really Personal Power - it is foolish, stressful, and often personal sabotage. Often, getting yourself into a situation like this will necessarily end on a bad, negative note, and you will not have gained confidence, credibility or anything, really. This is called, simply, 'gaining control of a situation,' but this gain doesn't ensure 'success' in the situation at all.

You can gain Personal Power by engaging in things that you know you are suited for. You can go ahead and realistically challenge yourself by getting into activities or situations that you believe in, as well, and if you accomplish what you set out to do.....THEN you will have gained some Personal Power. If you fail at the tasks, having gone into them with reasonable expectations, you won't necessarily LOSE any Personal Power.

Personal Power is about asserting a realistic self and placing oneself in situations that offer a chance for self-growth, self-realization, and a real view of who a person is.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Highly Motivated To Enter Simpsons Movie Contest

Enter The Simpsons Movie Contest with me!
(more details here)
Find Out About The Simpsons Movie Contest
(opens in new window)

Fox TV and Opera (browser) have paired up to sponsor an official The Simpsons Movie contest where a Random winner can win official The Simpsons Movie merchandise.

The contest will end on July 27th, so there are only 7 days left for you to enter the contest.

This post is SHORT because I have to go back to enter the contest, myself. I got so excited and realized that I can tell a LOT of people about this contest through my blogs, so I dashed away from the entry form in order to post a notice about the contest right away - and in as many places as I could find.

You'll probably beat me to the entry form if I don't hurry up!

Find Out About The Simpsons Movie Contest
(opens in new window)

Good luck!

Feed Shark

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Are Your Friends Motivated?

Are you trying to be 'motivated' while you're around friends who don't understand what you're trying to do? Do you have friends that say "I don't know why you think you need to do that" in response to some positive changes you're trying to make - such as testing out a new volunteer position, engaging with affirmations on a daily basis, trying out a new kind of meditation, some pointed physical exercise - other basic self-improvement activities?

Do you have friends that say "you're fine - let's just go do what we always do" - who seem to be making it easy for you to get off track before you even really get started with the new life you're trying to develop?

A tip - your friends don't need to be motivated along with you. They truly might not understand why you feel the need to make changes or what changes you're trying to make. Although it's beneficial to have people around you who are motivated in the same ways as you, it's not a necessity to make your regular friends and family 'agree' with your changes. It is, however, pertinent that your friends and family understand that you're going to go ahead and proceed with making changes. Whether they accept this fully or not, you have no control over.

Maybe you can explain "It's not about what we already do...I'm just wanting to try some things out." You don't really have to tell more about it at all. If your friends demand to know more, ask if they'd like to try some of the same things with you. If they don't, leave them alone. If they do, great. Either way, you've let them know that you'll be making changes, the changes aren't due to something good or bad about THEM, you've also invited them to 'share' in the changes, if they like so that they don't have to feel 'left out' of some of the 'new you' that you're trying to create. Again, they'll choose what they choose, but at least you've communicated with them.

Often, when an individual makes changes, people around the person make assumptions about why the changes are being made, and these assumptions can often be wrong, leading others to make snap judgements and feel discomfort (based on their own perception of the situation) for a while. Often, others just want things to remain the same, so there's no disputing that making changes in YOUR life can be difficult if people around you keep wanting you to be the same, familiar person that you've previously been.

The best safeguard to 'being allowed' to make changes (that is, to set a boundary with friends which says "I am going to do this - do not interfere"), is to be as honest with people as you can be and keep the changes about YOU.

"I feel such-and-such way, so I'm goin to change this or that in my life,"
"I feel such-and-such way, so I'm going to change this or that about myself,"

These are good ways to let others know that you're trying to change YOU and not 'circumstances' that might affect others, as well.

When an individual makes changes within a social group, family, even the smallest circle of friends, the dynamics change in the group, even if not intended by the individual making changes. Sometimes this is uncomfortable for people, even when one person changes for the better. Really, if other people can come close to understanding what you're up to, this is sometimes best.

People might be afraid that you're trying to deliberately change dynamics in the group and make the group follow what you are doing, so if you keep your statements about your new motivational goals confined to what you are doing and what you have as a goal, this might help people to know that you're not being critical of someone else or of your relationships within a group of people, family or friends.

This might alleviate some of the negativity and conflict that often occurs in relationships when one person tries to start making positive changes and develop more positive thinking.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Powers of Mind

I just saw a really cool motivational video about the powers of the mind. It reminded me (again) that most people only use a small portion of their 'smarts' on any given day, myself included.

This is something I am trying to change in my life - the tendency of 'not thinking' things through, not using my mind enough and fully...the tendency to accept things without thinking - instead of using CRITICAL thinking skills, and my own intuition more often.

Often my 'intuition' gets stuffed down because 'other people' have a set and steady way of doing things and they tell me to think a certain way, do certain things. If many people are also doing these same things, it becomes easy for me to just 'go with the flow' without heeding what my intuition says or without thinking critically about why I am about to do the same thing as many other people.

The truth is - I don't think all that much like other people. My life has been filled with a lot of bad things like addictions, abuses, etc. No, I'm not whining about it or trying to 'express my different-ness' blatantly - and I will own up to the fact that a lot of these bad things were self-imposed, that's for sure...I just also know that I still carry a lot of perceptions about the world that active addicts also carry and act upon...only I do not act upon these things by choosing alcohol and drugs as a way to blunt unpleasant perceptions anymore. I know for a fact that because of my addictions, I DO NOT PERCEIVE OF THE WORLD like non-alcoholics do, so it still baffles me as to why I listen so little to my intuition.

It kind of baffles me, at the moment, too, as to why I just lumped the whole sum of the worlds' people into 2 general groups while I began this post! (1 group of addicts and 1 group of non-addicts haha). I know better than this - but again - it's what 'average' people do when the topic of 'addiction/alcoholism' comes truth, I rarely think of 2 groups, but rather - of an array of individuals, each separate and unique - however, for this post, I fell into 'labelling' just like 'most people do' - and even THIS kind of expresses a type of 'non-critical' thinking - or reaction to the topic I set down temporarily (addiction topic) again - I have proven that I often do things without engaging in 'critical thinking.'

I've been successfully sober and clean for over 3 years but will often still disregard 'general feelings' - intuition - and simply REFUSE to use my mind fully. Sometimes intuition tells me that certain situations 'feel' unsafe for me or that certain people 'don't feel' to me - to be 'average.' For example, perhaps someone is DRUNK near me and most people don't pick up on this - but I am picking up on 'something' that is not right because I know very well the behaviors of addicts while others might not pay attention unless a person under the influence does something DRASTICALLY out of 'the norm.' I may mostly ignore some behaviors of the person in question, too, because I LISTEN TO THE NORM NOW that says when most people are out in public they are assumed to be 'normal,' 'sober during business hours,' and 'displaying good behavior.'

In 'my old world' of drugs and alcohol, I got very used to seeing bad behaviors and I know how those work, how they play out (these are actually MORE FAMILIAR and 'normal' for me to acknowledge, so disregarding these is a constant battle of which most people don't understand) - but since I've been sober, I see mostly 'good behaviors' from people. This is partly because I am not around active drunks and addicts anymore...but if there's an addict around, even where most people are sober, I usually pick up on it...or - I can detect a certain agitation in people who are 'away from their stash' for a while, trying to do something 'normal.' Not always, but very often. My 'sober' friends all try to get me to 'be normal' and IGNORE things like this...and the more I do, the more I try to comply - the less I honour my intution and acknowledge the things that my 'inner self' knows...the more uncomfortable I get. If I am around 'recovery friends' who don't think this kind of intuition is strange or useless at all, I am much more comfortable. Part of 'not listening' to intuition when I am with non-addicts is also a part of the 'turning into a non-thinking person' just because other people told me to turn into this kind of person and ignore certain detals - so really, it's not all that beneficial to me on some days.

The more sober time I have, the more I am starting to heed my least, I find that when I do listen to my 'inner gut feeling,' I put myself in fewer difficult situations and have less stress, in general. I don't think intuition is really all that 'new age,' 'questionable' and 'mystical' at all. I believe that the mind is equipped to deal with certain intricate situations and perceptions that I simply may not be paying attention to short, I'm not using my brain fully most of the time, so the inner workings of my mind keep on spinning, detecting dangers, discrepancies in situations versus what is said (perhaps someone is lying to me and their words are convincing but their body language is not...but I invest my energy in their convincing words. I will get an intuition from my mind, along the way, perhaps, if the unconvincing body language is enough for my subconscious to pick up on).

Anyhow - I'm sure that a lot of other people have similar views on the topic of intuition and the idea that most people hardly ever use their minds to full potential. Also, I hope what I wrote will allow those reading who are in 'Recovery' to know that their 'strange feelings' are NOT JUST PLAIN's pretty natural to feel uncomfortable and have an intuition in certain ways that 'normal' or 'non-addict' people do not really put any esteem upon. It would actually be a DANGER to be without this discomfort - it's just part of the inner mind working better than your consciously, mindful efforts at any given time.

Now, I'll leave you with an obvious BANNER - to some information about mind power. I am actually pretty displeased about the wording on this banner, so I'm commentint about it before I post the image...

It says on the banner "How To Influence People: Subjective Communication" but I have gone to this website, myself - it's where I viewed the video (mentioned at the beginning of the post) - and sorry, but I DISAGREE with this 'stated purpose' on the banner!

A blatant marketing technique, I can only imagine - for spreading this information, even to people who are just interested in 'Influencing People.'

I can tell you RIGHT NOW - that if you respond to this banner - it will not take you to any information that will uncover how to 'influence people' and mess around with them to achieve your ends.....HAHA (for those who just want to mess around with peoples' heads and affections).

What this stuff REALLY IS


Information about how to think more critically, how to do things more 'mindfully' so that you're using more of your mind power!

If you follow the banner - even if you sign up for free information - you're going to learn about a new way of THINKING and of using more of your mind's potentential - rather than 'being able to influence people.' lol

Anyhow - here's the banner - as well as the video I mentioned:

More details below

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Meditation and Mental Wellness

Meditation can help you achieve a consciously relaxed and focused state of mind. People who practice meditation report increased self awareness, greater ability to focus when concentration is needed, and also - a more positive outlook in life.

Although meditation is often commonly associated with monks, mystics and other spiritual disciplines, the forms of meditation that these individuals are known for are only a very small representation of the kinds of meditation that one can include in their daily life. You certainly don't have to be a monk or mystic to enjoy the benefits of meditation to increase mental wellness. You don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it and can meditate in your own living room, bedroom, or even at work (if you can just find a quiet place for a few minutes, depending on your workplace environment). A lot of people use a few minutes of their lunch-time or mid-day break to engage in a few moments of meditation and 'mindfulness.' This helps them feel refreshed and focused for the later part of their workday.

Though there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles of meditation remain the same. The most important principle is that of removing obstructive, negative, wandering thoughts and fantasies, and an aim at calming the mind, enabling a deep sense of focus. This clears the mind of debris (scattered thoughts and negative anti-productive thoughts) and prepares the consciousness for a higher quality of activity.

Often, negative thoughts or just external events – those of noisy neighbors, bossy officemates, that parking ticket you got, and unwanted spam – can be likened to a polluting of the mind. These things are distractions that take your thoughts off course so that you may not function doing your more important thinking and tasks during a typical day. Finding a way to filter out these external, unwanted items and shut out negativity allows for a kind of ‘cleansing’ of the mind. Once cleansed, the mind will be able to focus on deeper, more meaningful and more productive thoughts.

Some people who practice meditation regularly even shut out all sensory details - all sensory 'input' so that no sights, no sounds, no significant sense of touch is present for stimulus. In this, they try to 'detach' from the commotion around them. People often use this type of meditation in order to focus (once a quiet, calm state is reached - where external stimuli is not an issue) on deep, profound thoughts and goals. Since we are used to hearing noises and sound all the time - accustomed to sights and touch - in fact, we rely on these senses so much that we use them without thinking - this type of meditation may seem deafening and very strange at first. People who persist through the first stages where things seem deafening and odd often report a new awareness of things around them. Basically, this form of meditation allows different perspectives on sight, sound, touch, and allows one to be 'mindful' in a very focused way - about what one sees, chooses to hear, what one hears and chooses to hear and about the touch sensations that an individual chooses to pay attention to.

You may have seen meditation and meditating positions on TV and have decided that those poses seem threatening to you. With the variety of meditation techniques, and purposes for meditation, there simply are a great number of meditation variables - some which look quite 'severe' to the beginner - poses with impossibly arched backs, and painful-looking contortions – but don't worry. The greatest feature of meditation is that is is ACCESSIBLE to nearly everyone. A great 'beginner' feature is for you to just SIT COMFORTABLY! If that doesn't mean an arched-back 'pose,' then GREAT - find a comfortable sitting position! Don't even try one of the advanced poses that look so strange and uncomfortable to you. If you do - they will only be, in fact - strange and uncomfortable for you. You won't gain a lot of benefit from your meditations, as a beginner, by mirroring strange looking meditation poses or techniques. Just allow yourself to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration. This may be while sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down, and even walking.

If the position allows you to relax and focus, then that's the best starting point for you. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In other positions, the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep.

Loose, comfortable clothes are helpful since your beginning goal is 'relaxation' when first starting to learn meditation. Tight fitting clothing has a tendency to make a person feel 'restricted' and tense. Heck - it's even perfectly acceptable to meditate in your pajamas! A lot of people do just this! It's a great way to start a day - and doesn't even require that you get showered, dressed or comb your hair!

The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere. It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any other place that you feel comfortable in. (I know someone whose favorite meditation place is in the garage - complete with 'car-smell' and 'concrete floor smell' and all haha - whatever works! My friend, despite the strange location choice for meditation - is one of the most focused, productive people I know - and a great person to turn to for problem-solving when everyone else around is stressed out). You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on a more challenging position/pose - or an out-of-the-ordinary location...or just for plain comfort. You may want to arrange a special place in your home such as a spare/guest room, den, a quiet spot in the basement, etc., so that your meditation space is tailor-made and soothing to your senses.

Silence helps most people relax and meditate, so you'll likely want a quiet, isolated area that is away from the ringing of the phone or the humming of the washing machine. Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up on aromatic candles isn’t a bad idea either.

The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are actually performing their mantra. This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value. This is a particular type of meditating and you do not need to perform your meditation in this way - however - it is often a good tactic that helps focus the mind. Similarly, a repeated action of breathing can be focused upon to help the meditation along. You can do this in place of the humming or mantra that you might have observed with different forms of meditation. Some people will find that if they hum during meditation, it only serves to distract them and the use of a mantra is often considered a kind of 'developed' meditation that one learns after practicing basics first. Some people can start off with a mantra, but everyone is different, so don't be discouraged, either way. Find what works for you.

The goal you're working toward is 'focus.'

Some people do better with use of their eyes during meditation and will focus on a light, an object, a candle, a corner of the room, etc. Again, this is up to individual preference and comfort. Find what works for you, focusing on a single sight. For some, meditation is done better with eyes closed and focusing on looking at something only distracts them until their thoughts are many and racing through their head.

One sample routine to practice while in a meditative state is to silently name each area of your body, pointedly focusing on each area as you do so. In doing so, be aware of any tensions apparent for any parts of your body. Spend some time, if you do find tense areas - on visualizing a release of the tension from these problem areas. You may feel surprisingly better, physically, afterward.

Meditation is a relatively risk-free practice with benefits well worth the effort and time you put toward the practice.

Studies have shown that meditation can result in beneficial physiologic effects to the body. There is an ever-growing consensus in the medical community to further study the effects of meditation. Even those who don't understand how it works will attest to the benefits of meditation.

This has just been a small sample about a way for beginners to start to consider or to begin the practice of meditation. Meditation is a great way to eliminate cluttered thoughts that might get in the way of your focus, your motivations and general goals.

Just 20 minutes or so of 'mindful thinking' or of meditation during your day can help you relax so that you perform better for the rest of the day, physically and mentally. You might find, also, you'll have better understanding and control of your emotions once you're more relaxed and focused.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Is Self Development and Improvement Really THAT Important?

Sometimes, when all doubts, fears and insecurities wrap us up in knots, we turn to the idea of, "I wish I was somebody else." More often than not, we think and believe that someone - even 'most people' - are better than we are. In reality, many people are even more frightened in life and are more doubtful and insecure than we are!

You might spot a beautiful woman sitting by herself at a party, seeming non-chalant, sipping on her drink. If you think to yourself, "she looks so perfectly calm and confident," then you might be guessing totally wrong. If you could read through her thoughts, you might be amazed that she actually has worries about "why am I alone, don't people like me?" and "doesn't anyone think I'm attractive - are my ankles fat, is my hair too short....?"

We will often look at others - especially others who appear to have WHAT WE WANT in life. We think that these things that we want will make us happier. Consequently, we assume that others who already have these things - are HAPPY! That they 'have it all together,' and they 'have everything they want.'

Often, however, they aren't happier. They put out a 'surface' image for all to see just like YOU DO!

Why not quit HOPING to be like other people - quit HOPING to be someone else and, instead, work with all the positive qualities you already possess?

If you think that you don't have enough positive qualities - THAT WON'T MATTER!

It won't matter - because - you can always IMPROVE! You can often develop the qualities that you don't think you possess right now. Often they are present, just not in use - because you've always spent your time 'hoping' to be someone else - instead of bringing out the possibilities and the good things in YOU!

Granted, you will also have some bad qualities - or unwanted qualities.

THAT'S OKAY TOO! In the same way that you can develop positive qualities, you can get your poorer qualities under control so that they don't hinder the better YOU that you want to become!

Many psychologists say that bad habits do not just go away - in fact, you should NOT just take away a bad habit....this is dangerous!

The reason - habits are coping skills - they are ways of thinking, ways of doing things, mannerisms, etc., which all serve certain functions. If they didn't, they wouldn't be present - or annoying - or helpful.

If you take a bad habit away - you take a little chunk of yourself and try to throw it away.....then you have YOU with a missing piece left over.

Either the bad habit will come back to fill the little space - or you'd better REPLACE THAT CHUNK with a CHUNK OF GOOD STUFF...

So really - you can hit two targets with one arrow!

How do you start?

Well - first, be WILLING TO LISTEN to other peoples' advice - even if, sometimes, you don't like what they say. Talk to a trusted friend - they will probably tell you things with little fanfare so that you can really learn what is likeable about you and what isn't. In fact, along with identifying how you appear to others (to your friend, at least), your friend might have suggestions about how he or she wishes you would take an annoying characteristic of yours and replace it with something he or she has already seen of you that is POSITIVE (but maybe you hadn't noticed!). Some of this might not even be very hard on you at all!

The main thing is - BE PREPARED FOR THE TRUTH! And upon being prepared, BE WILLING TO MAKE THE CHANGES that are suggested, too. (If you get to this point, then just remember YOU DID ASK)

Your friend will likely realize how SERIOUS you are about improving yourself and might even APPRECIATE that you asked for their help.

One of Whitney Houston’s songs has the words, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” True enough. In order to love others, you must love yourself first. You cannot give what you do not have, so how could you expect to exude love if you don't, first, love YOU?

Go ahead and let people see, by example, that you are making changes, making improvements. Self improvement makes us better people, and sometimes, makes other people better, too - if they notice the changes in YOU and would like to follow suit - and if they undertake to become better themselves, like YOU did. We can inspire people, just by improving ourselves - in a way that 'telling or 'asking' people to be better will never, ever work!

You aren't a second-rate being, just because you have some flaws. Forget the repetitive thought of “If only I was richer… if only I was thinner” and so on. Accepting your true self, actually KNOWING THE TRUE SELF THAT IS THERE - is the first step to self improvement. You almost can't make changes at all - certainly not lasting ones - if you're not accepting of what exists in the first place. Acceptance doesn't mean 'giving up' because we see flaws, either - it can simply be a part of identifying what is present in our personality so that we can make changes. If we stop comparing ourselves to others, we can spend more time understanding ourselves and we can avoid looking at others, only to find out at the end that we’ve got 10 more reasons to envy them than we had when we were focusing on improving ourselves.

We all have our insecurities. Nobody is perfect. We always wish we had better things, better features, better body parts, etc. But life need not to be perfect for people to be happy about themselves. In fact, finding our faulty, less-than-perfect parts can be a HUGE motivating element for change. Self improvement and loving yourself is not a matter of shouting to the whole world that you are perfect and you are the best. It is about virtue and acceptance culminating into times of contentment and ease-with-self. When we begin to improve ourselves, we then begin to feel contented and happy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Slightly Off Topic - Code Amber System

I thought that posting about the USA/Canadian Code Amber Alert Systems would be a little off-topic on this blog, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this blog is a perfect place to put tickers for the Code Amber Alert Systems.

Code Amber Alerts rely on a very unique and widespread SOURCE of help that most people don't even consider. This help is very effective in assisting law enforcement and child or family resources officials regain kidnapped or abducted children. The suprising SOURCE is none other than - the GENERAL PUBLIC! So really, ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE is an excellent place to put Alert information!

Code Amber Alerts are real-time tickers online - and extensive broadcasting offline (Radio, TV, Billboard alerts) that are displayed and dispersed when there has been a questionable act against a child. Basically they occur when a child goes 'missing' and law enforcement authorities deem that the general public will be the best help in recovering the missing or kidnapped child (BEFORE any mortal harm is exacted upon the missing child).

Had the Amber Alert Systems been fashioned and implemented before 1996, a certain Amber Hagerman, formerly of Arlington Texas (for whom the entire Amber Alert system is named) might still be alive! Amber was out riding her bicycle and someone kidnapped this innocent little girl - then brutally murdered her. Had a Code Amber Alert been broadcast at the time, some of the witnesses who saw the killer with her at certain locations would have KNOWN that Amber should not have been with that person at all - and that she had been kidnapped. Someone might have reported a 'sighting' of Amber and law enforcement officials might have found her before the kidnapper had a chance to hurt her.

I am just sorry that I didn't find the information sooner which would allow me to put a ticker on this blog and offer more of the general public additional access to such a helpful system.

The tickers for both Canada and the USA are located in the left-hand column and I would very much appreciate - if you see the ticker 'blackened' or not functioning, please interact with me and let me know. Under regular conditions, the ticker will run messages explaining the program details, however, when an Alert is under way, the message area will have a Yellow/Amber background and contain details of the Code Amber Alert in progress. Again - if you see the tickers in a non-functional state, please contact me so that I can check on them and make sure that something hasn't occured due to Internet problems or some other cause - to render the tickers non-functional. I will do what I can to make sure the items get back to working status as quickly as possible!

Thank you - ahead of time!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Motivational Quotations Video

This video is almost 5 minutes in duration. Sit, relax, enjoy...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Self Improvement and Failure

Everything that happens to us in life happens on purpose. At times, one thing will lead to another and you won't be able to tell, exacly why things occur. Some people will become overwhelmed with domino-effect events, and those people usually are unable to cope well with life. People who, on the other hand, refuse to lock themselves away, cry over past heartaches, embarrassment and failures, actually treat some of the chaos of life as their TEACHERS. They find the useful lessons in every event and happening as toold of self improvement and success.

If you've watched the movie with Robin Williams as Patch Adams, you might recall a very positive message about turning what looks like bad circumstance - into good:

Hunter/Patch Adams is a medical student who failed to make it through the board exams. After months of suffering in melancholy, depression and suicidal attempts – he finally decided to seek professional help. He voluntarily admitted himself to a psychiatric ward. Months as a resident of the ward allowed him to meet many different kinds of people. He met a catatonic, a mentally retarded individual, a person suffering schizophrenia and so on. Patch found ways of treating his own ailment and finally realized he needed to 'get back on track.' He awoke one morning with the realization that after all the failure and pains he'd suffered, he still wanted, very much, to become a doctor! He developed and then carried with himself a new and positive attitude that brought him self improvement and success. He not only improved himself, but also improved the lives of people around him, greatly elevating quality of live for himself and those he came into contact with. Patch Adams did, indeed, become one of the best doctors know.

"Sure," you might say, "Patch Adams is only a MOVIE!" and this is true...however, THE MESSAGE that this movie carries need not be taken lightly - or discounted just because it is fiction. The message is important...and is the reason why the film was made in the first place - to ENLIGHTEN viewers and give them hope in the face of adversity.

So, when does self improvement become synonymous with success? Where do we start?

Well you can begin with the way you think and feel. Actions first had to take 'thought' form, so if you start thinking differently, you can then perform DIFFERENT actions that are positive in your life.

Stop thinking and feeling as if you’re a failure, because anyway you look at it, these thoughts and feelings of failure are simply not 'reality' - they are OPINIONS!

Even if you say 'but it's TRUE, the evidence is here that I have failed!'

It still stands that 'failure' is not within the essence of YOU! The evidence of something failed is simply an act or event that failed. It is not YOUR INHERENT QUALITY to have become 'a failure.'

An example:
If you spill a cup of coffee and then declare, "I am a failure for spilling that cup of coffee!" then this is not a rational statement! Who YOU ARE has nothing to do with a cup of coffee overturned or not! You are NOT coffee, spilled coffee, the cup, or any part of those things. Your movements or through whatever happened that you did - are what spilled the coffee over - that's all. Failure also has nothing to do with coffee, spilled coffee, the cup or any part of those things. Failure is an 'idea' and basically is negative opinion.

Wipe the coffee up, pick up the cup, and walk away saying, I spilled coffee and cleaned it up.

No failure, no nothing - just a cleaned up spot where the coffee once was!

Think more objectively about life and stop 'personalizing' and 'opinionizing' every little thing.

This internalizing can be hard to disengage from if you've become accustomed to it for a very long time.

Here are some suggestions for getting rid of the negative things that stand in the way of improving yourself and that might block your forward path to success:

*When others around you feel down and low about themselves - or exhibit negativity, help them move up. Don’t follow their lead - they'll pull you further down and then you could end up feeling as 'low' and as inferior as they do. If it isn't possible for you to help, DISENGAGE from them until you are feeling stronger. You can't pull someone out of a pit when your own feet are too close to the edge. You'll both fall in!

*The world is a large room for lessons, not mistakes. You're not doomed for ever, you're not stupid, and you're not a failure if you failed an exam or spilled a cup of coffee. You failed an exam because you either didn't know the material or some other reason. You spilled the cup of coffee because you set it close to the edge of the table while you were studying for the exam. You can figure out your weaknesses regarding the exam material and improve you knowledge to get a better grade next time. You can set your cup of coffee further back from the edge of the table and enjoy your coffee when you want it instead of cleaning it up next time.

*Take things one at a time. Self improvement is a PROCESS, not an instant 'cure.'

* Set meaningful and achievable goals. Self improvement won't work if your goals aren't realistic. It may not be a plausible goal to be 'like someone else,' either, so be careful of what your goals really are. Find out about yourself - your true likes, dislikes, aptitudes, and abilities - then set goals that are attainable FOR YOU.

*Become willing to accept change - that's what self-improvement is all about - changes.

There are very few overnight successes in this world, however, too many people will stop making efforts to improve because of this very statement! Hone patience as a valuable tool to see you through the process of improving yourself. Again - improving oneself is a PROCESS, not a 'cure' for what is unpleasant in our lives.

Get Pro-active About Being Positive

You're not in control of anyone else - But You Can Change YOU

Are you a positive or negative person?

Listen to your thoughts. Now tell me, what thoughts fill your head? Would you label them as positive, or negative?

Now let's say you are walking down the street with your thoughts thoughts. Do you think that those who meet up with you on the street would be able to tell what's on your mind?

The answer to number one is up to you. But, the answer number two can be pretty generic. Though people will not be able to tell you exactly what your thoughts are about or what you're specifically thinking, they will have an idea of how you are feeling, more or less.

Here's another question. When you walk into a room filled with friends - say, at a party - do many of the people fall to silence, as if something terrible has happened? Or does everybody already present 'perk up' as if they're all waiting for something great and exciting to happen?

You know what? The answer to these questions depends on your frame of mind.

Thoughts are very powerful and thoughts affect your attitude, in general. The attitude you convey to others reflects withing your appearance, too – unless, of course, you are an award winning, accomplished actor.

It doesn't end here, either. Your attitude can also affect people around you.

The type of attitude you carry depends on you. It can be either positive or negative.

Positive thoughts have a filling, energizing, positive effect. The people in close proximity to a person exhibiting positive thoughts are usually energized by this type of attitude and just by being WITH the postive person.

On the other hand, negativity will sap the energy from most other people and have a dampering effect on 'moods.' You'll also look 'gloomy,' 'glum,' and 'sad' very often when you carry around negative thoughts.

A positive attitude generally attracts, while a negative attitude repels them. An exception to the second part of that rule is that often, negative can attract, too, however, it only attracts MORE NEGATIVITY - and you don't want that.

An example of negative attracting negative:

Ever notice how sometimes negative people form together into paired situations or small groups - and the mood within the pair or group seems to be unbearably and unbreakably 'bad,' so that nobody wants to be around such people? Well - originally, one negative individual probably 'attracted' more negativity - and two or more people stuck together in negativity are a pretty powerful force. You don't want to get stuck in something like this.

In the end, whether in singles, twos or groups, the general 'mood' radiating from a negative bunch of people will eventually and strongly REPEL positive individuals and groups. Positive people just tend to shy away from those who carry a negative attitude.

We can also define attitude as the way of looking at the world. If you choose to focus on the negative things in the world, you'll brew yourself up a negative attitude. If you choose to focus on things that are positive, you will exude positive behaviors, beliefs and moods.

Studies have shown that a positive attitude promotes better health. Those with this kind of attitude also have more friends. Projecting a positive attitude helps one to manage stress and engage in better problem-solving skills versus those who have a negative attitude who often are overwhelmed with stress and see little in the way of solutions for their problems.

A positive attitude begins with a healthy self-image. If you will love the way you are - if you are satisfied, confident, and self-assured, you can also help others who are around you feel the same way, too.

Of course, a negative attitude has an opposite effect. Carrying a negative attitude has a twofold drawback. You feel bad about yourself, and you make others feel the same way. Why would you do that to yourself as well as spread that around to other people?

If you want to have a positive attitude, you have to feature healthy thoughts. Sometimes this is difficult to do in our times since - all round - our media sources feed us constant streams of negative data and information. A study shows that for every 14 things a parent says to his or her child, only one is positive. This is truly a sad state of affairs in our day and age, isn't it?

If you want a healthier outlook in life, you need to think happy thoughts, and you have to hear positive things as well. So, what can you do? For starters, put some HUMOUR in your life. Go see a funny movie. Laugh and takes less physical energy, believe it or not, so smile and laugh than it does to frown, snort and grumble! Make sure you INCLUDE FUN THINGS into your daily routine. Play with your children more if you have them, Phone up a friend just to tell them a joke and that way you can both enjoy the benefits of laughing and smiling. Take an active role in providing your own positive stimuli into your life every day. This will promote good feelings, relieve stress, and also keep you motivated for a positive outlook.

Although it is impossible to keep ourselves from every negative thing in life, we can still carry a positive attitude as much and as often as possible. When negative or distasteful situations arise, sometimes a good way to deal with the negative parts is to attempt to assess how long we will have to deal with such a situation. Once we estimate to the best of our ability a good rule of thumb is to dedicate only a set amount of time to dealing with the negative problem - and not one minute more! Often, we get stuck in negativity and can't easily get out. We obsess sometimes on the negativity and give negative things more attention than they really deserve. Try to avoid this by setting clear boundaries for yourself about how much time you will spend thinking of or dealing with negative aspects in your life.

If positive attitude is so great, why do people choose to adopt a negative attitude instead? One who carries a negative attitude may be actually sending a signal for attention rather than intentionally sending out negativity. Don't get me wrong here - feeling sad, angry, or gloomy is not wrong, however, dwelling in sadness, anger and gloom for too long is not healthy either. Back to the last paragraph and the suggestion that you pay attention to negative things but only set aside a certain amount of time for them. Most feelings or moods that have a negative connotation are not taken as 'sadness, anger, and gloom' by others - they're lumped under the same label called 'negativity,' and will eventually repel others. Since you cannot control every nuance about how others will understand your mood, it is best to be pro-active and get your moods in order, whenever possible, on your own.

As always, if you are beset by troubles, even in your darkest hour, focus on the good things in life, you will always have hope. Problems become something you can overcome. Remember that almost nothing in life is 'static' (set in stone, unchanging). The very reality of the 'time' process affords the assurance that no matter how bad the problem, at some future time, the situation will be DIFFERENT. You can help to make the 'different' situation better, by inserting POSITIVE attitude as much as possible and whenever possible.

You do not have much to lose by adopting a healthy, positive attitude. Studies show that such an attitude actually retards aging, makes you healthier, helps you develop a better coping skills for stress and has a general positive effect on those around you.

So, what's not to like about a positive attitude?

Just get right on it - Adopt one today.

Motivation Is The Heart Of Self Development

What are you Motivated By?

Some people are motivated only by drastic factors.

PAIN can be a powerful motivational element and is often the reason why many people make changes.

Pain manifest itself through many forms. Here are some that receive little attention:

Flunked grades (pain of embarrassment, humiliation) may make us realize that we need to make changes in our study habits.

Debt (pain of suffering poverty, of 'going without,' or a reminder of lack of skills needed to earn money) may force us to look for alternate sources of income.

There are other, more obvious sources of pain which cause us to consider making changes.

Here is an "A to Z" guide for keeping Motivation in our thoughts and lives:

A - Achieve your dreams.
Avoid negative people, things and places. Long ago, Eleanor Roosevelt told us, “...the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

B - Believe in your self, and in what you can do.
Just because you haven't 'done it yet,' doesn't mean that it can't be done. Believe that you can accomplish unfamiliar tasks and that you have the strength and ability to succeed.

C – Consider every angle and aspect.
Motivation comes from determination. To be able to understand life, you should feel the sun from both sides. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Do something out of the ordinary once in a while - just for the experience.

D – Don’t give up.
Thomas Edison failed once, twice, in fact, dozens of times while working on his invention, the incandescent light bulb! Use motivation as the energy behind what you want to achieve!

E – Enjoy life.
Work like you don’t need money. Dance like nobody’s watching. Love as if you never cried. Learn as if you’ll live forever. Motivation takes place when people are happy.

F – Family and Friends.
– are life’s greatest treasures. Don’t loose sight of them. Include family and friends in your life plans and in your dreams.

G – Give more than enough.
Don't just put out what is necessary or expected. If you've got more energy, more time, more to offer, give it up and put it into what you're doing. Do every task like it is important.

H – Hang on to your dreams.
Your dreams may become clouded once in a while, but they'll always be behind you as a driving force, so don't mistake that they are gone when they are veiled for some reason.

I – Ignore those who try to destroy you.
There are those who do not like to see 'success' in others. Don’t let people like this get the best of you. Stay away from toxic people – they masquerade as friends, but they really hate to hear about your success and will interfere in everything you do that seems successful and positive.

J – Just be YOU.
The key to success is to be yourself. The key to failure is to try to please everyone. Which key do you hold?

K – Keep Trying no matter what!
A motivated person sees the pains and difficulties in life as obstructions, not as dead ends. A motivated person faces hardship head-on, knowing that there lies value even in just the effort.

L – Learn to love your self.
Now isn’t that easy?

M – Make things happen.
Motivation is when your dreams are put into motion. Take action, make changes, adapt.

N – Never lie, cheat or steal.
Always play a fair game. Besides, all 3 of these 'vices' are punishable by law in certain forms. "N" is a no-brainer!

O – Open your eyes.
See things in 2 ways – envision how you want things to be, then realize how they 'should be.' Open you eyes to possibilities, take in rational information - then proceed from there.

P – Practice makes perfect.
This 'advice' is so old that it hardly needs explanation. Practice what is WORKING when you know that it is right. Practice attaining what you see working, without doubt, for others.

Q – Quitters never win. And winners never quit.
Choose your fate – it's your choice, really. Are you going to be a quitter? Or a winner?

R – Ready yourself.
Motivation is also about preparation. We must hear the little voice within us telling us to get started before others will get on their feet and try to push us around. Remember, it wasn’t raining when Noah started to build the ark.

S – Stop procrastinating.
Proceed to the next line right now.

T – Take control of your life.
Also, take responsibility for the things in life that are in your control. Many things are outside our control, but our reactions to everything is within our control. Take responsibility for how you react to life's pains and gains.

U – Understand others.
Learn how to Listen as well as talk well. Ask for clarification in what others say. They will appreciate repeating their words to you if they think you are truly paying attention.

V – Visualize!
Motivation starts with what we imagine. Do more than 'think it' - see it in your mind's eye - then go out and attain your healthy desires.

W – Want it more than anything.
Dreaming means believing. Don't push your dreams aside or talk yourself out of them just because they are not what others are dreaming - or because the dream appears unattainable.

X – X Factor (X-tra).
EXTRA attention and effort to detail is what will make you different from the others. When you are motivated, you tend to put on “extras” on your life like extra time for family, extra help at work, extra care for friends, and so on.

Y – You are unique.
Place Value YOU - No one in this world looks, acts, or talks like you. Value your life and existence, because you’re just going to be here once.

Z – Zero in on your dreams
Go for it!!!

Genuine Happiness Starts Right Here

Genuine Happiness begins with YOU - and a decision to simply.....well...


Life isn't always sweet like candy. At times our lives are overloaded with 'challenges,' stress, and a general weight that often seems hard to bear.

During these 'rough times' - Look around...

Look to others and - if possible, share some of their happiness. Decide to! Just do it! Refrain from comparing THEIR better circumstance to YOUR current problems. Refrain from grumbling about how someone else might be having a 'happier' time in life than you are. This is important - because - it will teach you to stop focusing on 'self' in negative or 'pressurized' ways. By 'Pressurized' - this means - heaping pressure on yourself to solve every problem, get OUT of your current bad situation, take on too much pressure and responsibility for your circumstances.

Often bad things happen in life that are absolutely not under our sphere of control. In these cases, it doesn't help one little bit to focus on 'self' too hard - to determine if we could have prevented a bad event of situation (obsessing on 'the past'), to tell ourselves that certain things are our own fault (self-blame, punishing self), or to come up with a solution (taking too much responsibility for something outside of our realm of control).

In many instances, once 'self' is removed from intense focus and we observe others in a happier or more reasonable state, we begin to pick up 'hints' of what THEY ARE DOING to experience happiness. In the least, enjoying or appreciating someone else's happy moments or circumstances can be distraction enough to remove some of the 'self'-focus that might be hindering our true abilities to find solutions outside ourselves.

In a way, 'happiness' is an exercise in promoting a positive attitude. This is best learned in 'good situations,' although most people don't consider the element of 'happiness,' until they are experiencing everything BUT happiness. It is a curious thing, how this works - how people are reminded of the wish to be happy by the presence of 'unhappy' feelings, situations, events.

Do you ever wonder how some people manage to 'stay happy,' or have 'low times' that are of remarkably short duration? Do you know anyone like this? Someone that, possibly, you admire for his or her ability to see 'the light of every situation?'

If so - watch that person - ask that person, if you get the chance, how he or she manages to keep a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Likely, the person will be more than happy to share techniques. Make sure you listen closely to his or her answer, if you are provided with some 'tips' - no matter whether the person's perceptions of life seem vastly apart from yours or not. After all, a different viewpoint is worth serious consideration - if the person you asked is happy and positive - while you are obviously not! If you ignore suggestions just because the suggestions are different than what you currently understand or are familiar with - the 'asking' has been in vain!

Until the time arrives when you can discover the secrets of one of these 'perpetually positive' people, here are some tips:

A very first step to becoming a genuinely happy person is to love yourself.

Loving yourself involves being able to accept yourself and accept other people. Accept that you and other people are not perfect individuals. Love yourself and those around you despite universal imperfections.

Genuine happiness also involves being satisfied with what you have - to a certain degree. When you feel contented with the job you have, the way you look, with your family and friends, the place you live in, your car, and all the things you now have – truly, you'll be aware of answers to any questions surrounding “how to be genuinely happy.”

When we discover a small start of happiness somewhere from within, that small start will eventually lead to something else, and to something else, and so on. If, however, you keep questioning life, its obstacles, and such - and if you are always prepared to state that life hasn't hardly ever dealt you any good cards, you'll never be able to find genuine happiness.

I believe that life is about finding out about right and wrong, trying and failing, wining and losing. These are things that happen as often as you inhale and exhale. Failure, in a person’s life has become as abundant and necessary as air. But this should not hinder us from becoming happy.

How to be genuinely happy in spite all these things? I tell you… every time you exert effort to improve the quality of life and your being, whether it is cleaning up your room, helping a friend, taking care of your sick dog, failing the board exams and trying again, life gives you equivalent points for that. Also, remember that failures are not all punishments and losses. They are life's way of telling you that something doesn't work in the way that you thought it would. Use 'failure' to help you pin-point mistakes - instead of using failure to tell yourself that life is unfair, that nothing works out right, that you never do anything right.

Imagine life as a big score board like those which are used in the pro sports world such as NFL, NBA, or NHL. Every time you take a step forward, you make scoring points. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at that board at the end of each game and think to yourself “Whew! I got a point today. I’m glad I gave it a shot.”, instead of looking at it all blank and murmur “Geez, I didn’t even hit a score today. I wish I had the guts to try out. We could have won!” In the end, the statement you decide upon at the end of the day is ALL can make a positive or a negative, complaining statement. What kind of statement do you really want to make at the end of each of your days?

Make darn sure that you start taking notice of your improvements, positive things in your life, positive outcomes of situations that you are in. Positive experiences are replicable. Learn to mind how your thinking has been when positive events and situations are occuring in your life. In this, you can begin to 'prevent' needless unhappiness. PAY ATTENTION to happiness when you're experiencing it, during fun events, good conversation with friends, etc.

Just like in matters of physical health - the best solution to the problem of sickness - is PREVENTION! With happiness, you want to 'prevent' the repetition of undue or unnecessary amounts of 'unhappiness' in your life. With physical health versus sickness, we REPEAT good health practices in order to stay well. If we get sick for a little while, we take care of ourselves better until the sickness passes - and then we keep working on maintaining health. If we want 'happiness-wellness' - we need to find out what makes us happy, then REPEAT good practices that maintain our happiness. When troublesome things occur to affect our happiness, we should take better care of ourselves until the troublesome elements work their way through our lives. Afterward, we get back on track with 'maintenance' again.

Happiness is a decision. Happiness won't fall in your lap just because you feel that you are in need of experiencing happiness at a certain time. If your perspective is always open to the receipt of happiness - and if you've decided to become responsible for making the decision to take on a 'happy perspective,' you will become a happier person.

10 Ideas To Bring About Positive Thinking

The powers and benefits of "Positive Thinking" are often under-rated!

Positive thinking isn't an 'end-all' to improving your life, but it's certainly an excellent and necessary thing to start doing right away.

By practicing positive thinking - in an active, conscious way, you'll be able to focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, your accomplishments instead of failures, and this should increase your motivation and general happiness. You'll spend more time realizing your progress and less time feeling frustrated.

Here are some suggestions for positive thinking that will help you feel like you're starting to take control of things in your life:

1. Be Good To Yourself - Treat Yourself Well!
It is much easier to be positive when you are getting enough rest, eating well, exercising, taking small breaks for reflection during the day, and being kind to 'self.'

2. Make a "Gratitude List" - Remind Yourself of Things You Are Grateful For.
Challenges and necessary stresses won't have nearly the impact on you if you've bolstered your attitude with gratitude. When you pay attention to the things in your life that are going well, 'turning out right,' and that feel or seem genuinely satisfying, it will be hard for circumstances, other people, or yourself - to bring you down! By taking at least 1 minute - a few times a day - to remind yourself of positive things in your life, you'll appreciate the elements of your life far more from now on!

3. Remove Stress by Not Making Assumptions!
Stop making assumptions about what other people think, about not being liked or accepted, about how others interpret you. The time it takes to formulate and react to 'assumptions' IS TIME WASTED! You don't really even KNOW FOR SURE that your assumptions are correct. It is other peoples' business TO LET YOU KNOW their opinions and thoughts in certain situations - and if they don't offer these, take care of your own tasks and immediate environment. This is not to completely discount 'that gut feeling' that people sometimes get. If you gain a 'gut feeling' for some reason that won't go away - ASK! Don't waste time 'assuming' things without gaining proof! Cut down on your worries and just ASK questions so that you find out for sure about things. Once you know the answers - you can act accordingly - but certainly don't waste time by engaging in pure 'guesswork' all the time.

4. Get rid of 'Absolutes' in your vocabulary.
Absolutes often create 'conflict' because they 'sound' like final ultimatums or unchangeable opinions which other people find to often be 'attacks' on character. No more "You NEVER do things when I ask" or "You ALWAYS interrupt me." Absolutes heighten the emphasis of your words to the point that your words become caustic, accusatory, or offensive to others. Absolutes can make situations worse and unworkable where the situations don't really have to be such an issue.

5. You CAN Detach From Negative Thoughts.
Your negative thoughts do not have to hold power over you. If you acknowledge the thought - then let it pass, you'll be much better off than in holding the thought then formulating an opinion or further analysis of it. Let it arrive, step back and acknowledge the thought, then refuse to follow the train of thought down any negative tunnels. Get your thoughts back to more necessary, positive things.

6. Squash the "ANTs."
Dr. Daniel Amen talks about "ANTs" in his book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life." "ANTs" - Automatic Negative Thoughts are bad thoughts that are usually reactionary in nature - like, "Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me," or "The boss wants to see me? It must be bad!" When you notice thoughts like these, realize that they are ANTs and squash them! They only lead to 'assumptions,' anyway - and if you read tip #3, you already know how useless assumptions are for you to engage with.

7. Practice Lovin', Touchin' & Squeezin' (Your Friends and Family)
You don't have to be an expert to know the benefits of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick-me-up. One research study on this subject had a waitress touch some of her customers on the arm as she handed them their checks. She received higher tips from these customers than from the ones she didn't touch!

8. Increase Your Social Activity.
This will help to decrease loneliness. If you surround yourself with healthy, happy people who emit positive energy, you will receive great benefit from just being in their vicinity.

9. Volunteer!
Join a volunteer group in an organization you believe in - or simply help someone else. Help someone with a task that you are aware that he or she cannot perform on their own. It doesn't have to be anything big, but it will give you a boost and will help another person. You can volunteer your time, money, or resources, but really - often voluteering time and effort is most rewarding. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.

10. Use Pattern Interrupts to Combat Rumination.
If you find yourself ruminating, a great way to stop it is to interrupt the pattern and force yourself to do something completely different. Rumination is like hyper-focus on something negative. It is very rarely a productive practice, because it's not rational or solution-oriented. Ruminating is usually just excessive worry. Try changing your physical environment - go for a walk or sit outside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music.

If you've had problems with 'negativity' in the past, these 10 ideas should help you to break free of negativity - and build a more positive outlook on life.

9 Qs To Help You Find Out "What Makes Me Tick"

As a preparation for launching self-improvement efforts, it is important that one really knows what makes one tick!

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself about "What Makes Me Tick?"

1. What is it that I REALLY want?
This is the question of the ages - one that has been asked since the beginning of time. There seem to be so many things you want to do with your life and so little time - even during a single, individual day - to be able to get things done! Believe it or not, most people when asked, "what do you really want?" cannot truly answer the question! Take steps to ensure that you can answer this question.

2. Should I really change?
Often, life is so hectic for most people that they fall into patterns of comfortable habits. You'll need to figure out if any habits are 'working' - that is - if they are conducive to your idea of 'good life,' or whether they're just habits that came about while you weren't noticing them - while you were busy with life. Figure out if there was something you 'missed' while you were busy with life - such as listening to new music (instead of relying on old favorites), seeing a different type of movie (maybe your preferences have changed in the past 2-3 years), developing friendships with different sorts of people than you normally hang out with. You might find, in new experiences, that you simply weren't paying attention for the last little while and that you really 'missed' changing something (perhaps improving upon something) about yourself or your interests - that would be better honoured or changed at this point in your life.

3. What's the bright side in all of this?
The bright side is that you'll get rid of the 'tunnel-vision' tendency that we can all get caught up in when life is just too busy around us. The 'tunnel vision' that only allows us to experience a limited portion of life! Heck - if there's a train in the tunnel - perhaps now is a good time to HOP ON IT and just see what happens! If you remain fixed to the world you've created, the perceptions of the world in your head, then THAT'S ALL THERE IS IN LIFE. Nothing else will exist except what you are willing to 'experience.' Perhaps if you can EXPERIENCE more of life BEFORE you make up your mind about how life works and how life is, you'll find an incredible BRIGHT SIDE of life that you never knew possible before. You won't know if you don't catch that train!

4. Am I comfortable with what I'm doing?
We are often trained, from childhood to EXPECT to have to do 'unpleasant tasks' in order to receive future rewards and benefit. Though this training isn't inherently 'bad,' over long periods of time, it can very easily outweigh our responses to OUR OWN NEEDS of comfort and health. Figure out whether most of your 'tasks' within a day are 'mechanically performed without question' - due to this early childhood training - or whether you have good reason to STOP doing certain things that are not benefitting you in a healthy way. In the very least - start questioning WHY you perform certain routine tasks. (Some tasks are necessary - you can't quit doing EVERYTHING, either...but for the things you can't cut out - maybe you can put a different 'spin' on them - do them a different way - and see how that works for you).

5. Have I done enough for myself?
You may not be taking proper care of balancing your 'need to do - general' list with your 'need to do for me' list. Discontentment is rampant in society. Work out YOUR DISCONTENTMENT in healthy ways.....FIRST - by being honest and figuring out what you are displeased with in life. This is another area that (especially North Americans) people have trouble even identifying for themselves. Sure, people say they are discontented with government, work, society and a host of other things - while often, they are really dissatisfied about 'where they are in life' - and not everything is the fault of the government, work and society, etc. The fault is more rightly placed with PEOPLE NOT KNOWING WHAT THEY TRULY WANT. You see - you CANNOT GET what you want, anyway - if you do not know what you're going after! Make sure to enact small favours FOR YOURSELF. Provide yourself with 'beneficial' self-talk (Congratulate yourself at the end of the workday...just for having put in a full day, say it to yourself, too, "I congratulate myself for the work I've done today"). Take 5 minutes each day to just 'be with yourself' and acknowledge accomplishments of the day.

6. Am I happy at where I am today?
Think about what your dreams were 5 years ago. If too few elements from your dreams of 5 years ago are recognizable in your may have gotten discouraged somewhere along the way and abandoned your dreams. Start bringing back an element at a time, where possible - or - at least give yourself PERMISSION to dream again. Maybe you need to dream 'new dreams' to help fit your aspirations into the life you have now.

7. How much could I have?
Many people unwittingly RESTRICT themselves from the things they COULD HAVE in life. Sometimes they are told by others that they don't deserve certain things. Sometimes they aren't really willing to WORK FOR certain things. Find out if either of these conditions apply to what YOU do or do not have...then CHANGE whatever is necessary in order to gain the most out of life. Sometimes people aren't willing to WORK FOR certain things in life - not because they are lazy - but because they either don't really know what they want...or, somehow, they feel at odds with what they THINK they want (what they really want is really quite different than what they've allowed themselves to THINK, on the surface, that they want). In this case, a deeper instinct is telling them not to work hard for what they THINK they want because they don't truly want to acquire that 'something.' The key to figuring out how much you could have in life - is to figure out YOU...get to know yourself better.

8. What motivates me?
It's an answer you have to find out for yourself. Other people might mention what they think should motivate you - but only you can really know. In fact, there have probably already been so many opinions from other people about the topics of 'you' and 'motivation,' that you've adopted parts of someone else's motivations - which might not 'fit' with you at all.

9. What Really Makes ME Tick?
Having worked through the previous 8 questions, you should have a much better idea of what makes you tick than you had before. If you still don't know, don't fret - just try working through the questions again - there are only 9 in total!

If you truly DID HAVE TROUBLE with identifying certain 'wants' 'needs' and 'dreams,' then perhaps you can try actually taking a half hour to an hour - DEDICATING TIME TO YOURSELF to sit down with pen and paper and answer these questions. Many people find that WRITING things out is more helpful than just reading and pondering over material. Even though many people are fully capable of only reading and pondering, when they actually write things down, they come up with different answers! Usually the written answers are more deeply felt, and give a much better conclusion about 'self' than with just reading and thinking.

Seriously, it is not a very good idea to launch forward with 'self-improvement' methods if you don't, first, know the answers to the 9 questions given here. Believe it or not - a small number of self-improvement techniques (usually behavior-type changes) can actually WORK without actually being GOOD for you! In this, you can actually develop a REALLY NEW, GOOD HABIT that makes you miserable or that doesn't FIT for you! With certain behavioral modifications, it may not matter about your belief or not concerning the modification. If you REPEAT the technique, you can end up with 'good habits' and behaviors that end up being UNWANTED, after all. This would occur if you're not really SURE about your wants, needs, and self - but push on ahead anyway, assuming that whatever you do to improve will turn out alright.

In the end, if you're planning on making changes, according to what you find out by answering these questions, take small steps with your changes in the beginning. Change is often uncomfortable at first. Going from bad habits to good, once we are able to determine what we really want and what would really be good for ourselves - is still 'change,' so just be aware of anything in your emotions, behaviors or thinking that might become unduly uncomfortable for you. Don't be TOO CAUTIOUS - but don't be TOO DRASTIC, either if you're working on yourself ALL BY YOURSELF.

If anything DOES become a concern for you (great discomfort) - return to these or other kinds of "Self Awareness" questions. You can never know yourself TOO WELL!

These types of questions will ALWAYS be PERTINENT - because as you grow and age, your perceptions change, your viewpoints change, your knowledge of the world changes. Certainly the way you think about yourself and your circumstances will change as well.

Did you figure out What Makes You Tick?

Woody Allen Inspirational Quotes

Here are some inspirational quotes and tidbits from - "Life With Woody" - than can improve your outlook

Think like Woody Allen:

Woody Allen has this to say:

1. "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons."

2. "I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it's the government."

(Enough said, eh?)

3. "There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?"

(This is one of the classic ones - the issue about life's little problems not being so bad - until 'he' shows up. )

4. "Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions."

5. "A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to go to bed with me, she said 'no'."

6. "Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in the bath and she'd come in and sink my boats."

7. "I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

8. "I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."

(Ewwwwe Yuk!)

9. "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."

The last twisty bit of wisdom to go by… however, whenever, and wherever we may be.

10. "The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don't have."


Ever Lost Your Car Keys?

Have you ever been rushing around your home, getting ready to go out, go to work, go pick the kids up from school, go put the pet in the car in order to take it to the vet, etc..., and you KNOW that you put your car keys - RIGHT THERE, (where you usually do) when you last came in from driving the car?

Have you checked THREE TIMES in the same place - the usual place, and the keys are just GONE?

Yeah - the keys just got up and walked away, huh?

Stop thinking about the picture of YOU in your head, placing the keys in 'the usual' place because:

Either YOU DID NOT DO THAT - as usual when you came in last time
They have been MOVED!

Most people will run the scenario, complete with picture in their minds' eye for several minutes while they're feeling like they're "LOSING IT," trying to find their keys!

All this is doing is IMPRINTING a STRONGER MESSAGE that:


Instead of.....

"Look for where the keys might be."

While your eyes are actually searching around, your mind isn't actually connected with the eyes anymore because YOU ARE SO FERVENTLY CONCENTRATING on the wrong picture and your mind can't function at its best. You will likely even SEE YOUR KEYS BUT NOT RECOGNIZE THEM while you're running the thoughts about "The keys are supposed to be in the usual place," through your mind!

Ever finally FOUND your keys in the most OBVIOUS PLACE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU after about 10 minutes of looking, being frustrated, and almost pulling your hair out?

This is because it took you passing by your darned keys with your eyes about a gazillion times before your brain finally told itself to stop listening TO YOU and just SEE THE KEYS for what they ARE and for WHERE they are sitting!

The impressions you had of insanity and the slight nervousness you might have had - and brief thoughts of 'Am I going CRAZY? Why can't I find the damn keys???!!' are from DISSONANCE in your brain while it tries to sort out why on Earth you are telling the eyes to look for an image set in your brain. The brain is actually going a little 'loopy' because YOU KEEP LOOKING at the USUAL PLACE with your mind - and the KEYS ARE THERE....but when you physically look at the usual place with your eyes, the keys AREN'T THERE. Your mind, for several minutes is expecting, just like you are expecting - that if it looks in 'the right place' then you and your mind will find the keys!

The solution is:

Make your mind 'blank' - you already know what the keys look like and that's all you should be looking for! Think of the keys - but not of the setting - and just 'start to look for the keys.' Don't look for the 'keys on the hook,' or the 'keys on the telephone table,' or the 'keys on the corkboard,' or wherever the usual hanging place for your keys is. Just find the keys!

Very subtle 'braintricks' occur all the time in humans. If we learn to STOP doing these things to ourselves, our lives can become more productive and less frustrating.

"Negative" is Inevitable

Once people know the positives and negatives of a situation, most tend to focus on the negatives, blindly thinking that attention to the 'bad' (trying to eliminate, avoid, conteract the 'worst' before it even happens) will somehow ensure that 'good things result.'

Plainly, most people know good things from bad, good habits from bad, healthy lifestyle from unhealthy lifestyle.

Why then - are people still doing unhealthy, wrong, bad things?

Why then - are people still making unhealthy, wrong, bad choices?

Why then - are people still thinking unhealthy, wrong, bad thoughts?

Probably because IT IS EASY to be wrong, unhealthy and to think negatively.
Probably because IT "FITS IN" to be wrong, unhealthy and to think negatively.
Probably because IT IS HARD TO be correct, healthy and think positively.

AND MOSTLY - because IT IS COMFORTABLE to be wrong, unhealthy and to think negatively.

Most people walk around all day with thoughts of what they have to avoid or about what they are restricted from or by throughout the day.

"I can't be late for that meeting," "I can't be late for work," "I have to stay away from 'so-and-so' at work because I can't stand her," etc...

These kinds of thoughts occur as a matter of HABIT - instead of:

"I'm going to be at that meeting with time beforehand to grab a coffee and BE RELAXED when it starts,"

"I'm running on time, so I'll be right on time for work,"

"Though I feel annoyance around 'so-and-so,' if I am objective about work details when I encounter her, our personal differences will be removed from my focus today."

Often, too - people walk around all day thinking about what they don't want to think about!

It's TRUE!

Example 1:

"I'm thinking about how I don't want the repair bill for my car to be too expensive - in fact, I wish I didn't have a car bill to think about. If I didn't have a car repair bill to think about, I wouldn't be so stressed. If I were able to think about something other than the car repair bill, I'd be able to focus better at my job tasks today. That darned car repair bill - my broken down car, is ruining my whole day. And on top of THAT - I don't even know if my car will be ready at the end of the day...if it's NOT, then I'll have to pay for public transit so that I can get home, it will take me an extra hour to get home, I'll start supper late - my whole evening will be ruined, too. "

Example 2:

Instead of, "Hey, I've saved $10.75 on parking today while my car is in the shop! If it's not repaired by the end of the day, I'll take public transportation home from work and deal with the repair bill once I receive the details from the mechanic shop."

A lot of people who tend to naturally think negative thoughts - people who are 'worriers' - will probably think the second scenario is a load of 'hooooey!' - but seriously, it's MORE REALISTIC than the first way of thinking!

The first scenario is a 'catastrophic' mindset and a very troublesome way of thinking about a distasteful situation. It is true that someone facing an inevitable extra expense of a car repair bill is going to be somewhat upset - however, in the first scanario, it RUINS the person's entire day and is telegraphed into the future to 'expectedly' ruin an evening at home, too!

In the second example of a way to 'think about' the same situation, the person acknowledges the details of a bad situation, but doesn't bother 'forecasting' about what the present situation means to the entire day and evening, as well. Though the person has thought reasonably into the future (how to get home if the car is not finished in the shop by the end of the day), it was with a rational kind of problem-solving attention to the situation.

Likely, the person from the second example will have a decent day - while the first 'catastrophy-laden' individual will probably feel cranky, overburdened with problems, and annoyed all day long - even into the evening.