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Monthly Archives: January 2012

6 ways to stay positive in any situation

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I saw this blog post the other day and thought it had a nice sentiment on how to stay positive even when things are down. If you don’t want to click over, here’s what it said…

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a dismal mood? Being negative?

The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious; not only does it affect the individual, but it spreads to anyone they interact with. When only the negative perspective is in focus, the resolution process is impeded.

Eliminating negativity, or rather, being positive is a mindset that can be found at any moment, and turned into a habit. Here are some tips that can help you in shifting your mindset:

1. Shift Your Thoughts – Be conscious of your thoughts. Especially, when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are diving into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity, mind-created stories, and negative downward spiral. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.

2. Find the Lesson – There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. Sometimes lessons are expensive, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.

3. Attitude of Gratitude – You cannot be both angry and grateful at the same time. Start counting the blessings and miracles in your life, start looking for them and you shall find more. What’s there not to be grateful? You are alive and breathing! Realize how lucky you are and all the abundance in your life.

4. Positive Affirmations & Visualization – Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Do this whenever you have a few minutes (examples; Waiting for a friend, sitting on the bus, riding an elevator.) Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. This is important, as many of us can be so hard on ourselves though social conditioning. I am guilty of being extra tough on myself, but have learned over time to recognize my gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

5. Inventory of Memories – Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful. When you were at peace with the world.

Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

6. Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.

Whether you are positive or negative, the situation does not change. So, we mind as well be positive.

As with any habit, the habit of remaining positive in all situations takes practice and a commitment to yourself to take control. But start small, start paying attention to your emotions, start by wanting to change. I am working on this constantly, and I am here with you, working towards better understanding of my emotions and becoming a better person. Keep going at it, and you will gradually become a positive energy source for the others around you! Wouldn’t that be empowering?

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Family, Random, Thoughts, Work

 

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Which brands can you not live without?

What do Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, McDonald’s, and Disney all have in common? They’re all in the top 100 best global brands of 2011. A strong brand can be the difference between being Facebook or MySpace, Best Buy or Circuit City. In other words, brand is one of the fundamental keys to business survival.

Many things influence a customer’s perception of a company brand — but for me, two of the most important are product effectiveness and emotional connection. That is, how well does the brand’s widget function, and how does it make you feel.

So without further ado, here are the top 5 brands in my book…

5. Southwest Airlines From the innovative ticketing system to the non-reserved seats, on-time and highly reliable flights, and employees who “luv” their jobs — everything SWA does makes you want to fly with them again next time. I once tweeted about an issue with my Rewards account and a social media rep got back to me within 5 minutes. SWA just gets it.
4. Lexus – Uncommon service, high-performing, ahead-of-their-time vehicles, and massages while you wait. Lexus thinks of absolutely everything.
3. Amazon – Everything under the sun delivered to your door in 2 days, plus unmatched customer service and simple returns. Amazon is a system that works end to end.
2. Starbucks – Consistent quality, great tasting products, and imitators just won’t do (although the Keurig does come close) ;-). There’s nothing better than a Starbucks Americano, in my Lexus, on the way to the airport to catch a Southwest flight.
1. Apple – iPhone. iPad. Macbook. I’ve used all three in the creation of this blog post. Their products are the definition of innovation, they’re fun, and they just work. Apple is pretty darn close to perfection.

Agree or disagree with these? What brands do you love so much that you just couldn’t live without them? Let me know!

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Random, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work

 

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5 reasons why Facebook may be jumping the shark

Is it just me, or is Facebook becoming…passe? You wouldn’t think one of the fastest-growing companies in history, a social media powerhouse on its way to 1 billion worldwide users this year, would be showing signs of decline.  But a closer look shows that Facebook’s growth rate is slowing in the U.S. and cracks are beginning to appear in its foundation. Can Mark Zuckerberg right his ship, or is the site destined to join AOL, MySpace, and Napster in the technology graveyard in the cloud?

Jumping the shark

Fonzie on water skis, in a scene from the Happy Days episode "Hollywood, Part Three of Three," after literally jumping over a shark.

The term “jumping the shark” refers to the point in time where a product begins its inevitable decline that is beyond its recovery. It’s the beginning of the end, when the product has moved so far beyond the initial factors that made it successful in the first place, outliving its freshness and importance to the point of irrelevance.  The term originates from a scene in the fifth season premiere episode of the 70’s TV series Happy Days where a water-skiing Fonzie, wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, jumps over a shark, answering a challenge to demonstrate his bravery.

So why might it be all downhill from here for Facebook?

1) No more long lost friends. When Facebook first arrived on the scene in 2005, its initial appeal was the instant ability to re-form life connections that had long been lost. High school friends, distant cousins, and former co-workers came out of the woodwork, and the world was in a nostalgic mood. It was nice to know that your former high school sweetheart was a grandparent, four times over. Fast-forward six years and your friends list is probably the same size as it was then.

2) Design changes. Aside from making new friends and keeping the old, the other feature that kept you coming back to the site was Facebook’s wall. The magic formula of content and status updates that was relevant to you became Facebook’s secret sauce — and the algorithm used to determine what showed on your feed was more closely guarded than Col. Sander’s secret herbs and spices. Somehow it all made sense, the content was relevant, and you just had to check the wall 10 times an hour. These days, Facebook has been killing itself with innovation. Whether the motivation has been to add fresh features, make the site profitable, or keep up with emerging competitors, the news feed just doesn’t zing anymore. Timeline, chat, and privacy settings have all gone through massive redesigns from the original functionality. For the average consumer, the introduction of feature after feature has simply bogged down the user experience.  

3) Maybe our interests aren’t so common after all. Keeping tabs on your circle of friends is what it’s all about. A funny status message here, a heartfelt photo there…everything’s great, right?  But as people have become more adept with social media communication tools and as mobile phones provide instant access, some of our conversational filters have gone by the wayside. Especially in an election season, it’s easier than ever to hide behind the social media wall and post provocative, denigrating, or flatly wrong messages. Need proof? Check The 40 Absolutely Worst People In America and try not to vomit.

4) Other sites are better for news. Granted, Twitter and Facebook serve different purposes, but if you want breaking news as it happens or are trolling the web for something to catch your interest, your time is much better spent reading your Twitter feed. Twitter’s platform is faster, cleaner, and easier to scan…and it’s searchable. That doesn’t make Twitter more fun, just more useful. Content aggregators such as Huffington Post and mobile apps like Flipboard allow you to customize content that you want to see, filtering out the stuff you don’t. Users are catching on, but Facebook is lagging behind.

5) Other apps are more fun. Whereas you used to check your Facebook feed at every stop light, now you play Words with Friends. Whereas you used to harvest your crops on Facebook’s Farmville, now you kill pigs on Angry Birds. This intangible obstacle may be Facebook’s biggest challenge, because it’s simply the natural result of a product’s life cycle. People get tired and bored with the same old stuff, and a newer, shinier object emerges…which causes the product to attempt “enhancements” to keep your business (see #2 above).

So, long story short…does this apparent decline mean I’m going to stop using Facebook? No, not quite yet. For now, it’s still the best way to share information — or in my case, photos of my wedge salads – as well as links to great content with your circle of friends.

After all…I just updated my status with a link to this blog post.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Random, Thoughts, Work

 

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Teetering Over Tebow

I just don’t know what to think about Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos quarterback is all the rage, especially after winning his first NFL playoff game yesterday in divine style. Tebow mania has grown to be a polarizing phenomenon due perhaps to his outspoken faith, his “unconventional” play, and his undeniable fame…and it’s got folks on both sides hugely passionate. It seems you either love him or you hate him.
 
But I’m somewhere in between. I just can’t seem to get on the Tebowing bandwagon, but I also find it hard to dislike the guy. I’m not one of those who believes that The Man Upstairs is in your huddle to the exclusion of the other team, so the whole “Tebowing” thing is just not my style. And I tend to cringe a little inside when I hear players “thank the Lord” for their athletic skills or give Him the glory for their last-second field goal.

Sorry, I just can't get on the Tebowing bandwagon.

 
 
However, I am prone to support underdogs, which Tebow most certainly is.  He seems to be a guy who can only get better, because truthfully, he’s not that great in the skills department. He’s not a run-first quarterback in the spirit of Randall Cunningham or Michael Vick. No, he’s more a throwback to the old leatherheads who ran because their passes look like wounded ducks. 
 
Despite that, he is managing to win games, so you can’t help but notice. And he has shown stretches of greatness. When he hit Demaryius Thomas for the winning 80-yard pass-and-catch in overtime, it gave him 316 yards passing, and a 31.6 yard-per-pass average against the Steelers.  Those are great numbers, but what has Twitter all a-flutter is the eerie coinky-dink to the biblical John 3:16 passage, a number which Tebow famously wore (as do many other athletes) in black under his eyes when he led the Florida Gators to victory in the 2009 national championship game. Twitter later announced that 9,420 tweets per second were sent immediately after the winning play, setting a new sports record for the social media site.

3:16 is not how much time is left in the 4th quarter.

 
Having worked in a professional sports league myself, I can appreciate the value of ratings, talent, and hype – and these are most certainly coalescing in the NFL playoffs, thanks in large part to Tebow’s success. The Broncos-Steelers game pulled in a huge 25.9 rating for CBS, becoming the highest-rated AFC wild-card game since 1988.  Even more crazy, the final quarter-hour rating for the game was, you guessed it, 31.6. 
 
If Tebow and his divinity can find a way to dethrone Tom Brady and the heavily-favored New England Patriots next week, prepare for even more Tebow mania as he continues to win over admirers and fans everywhere.
 
Maybe even Yours Truly.
 
 
 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Random, Thoughts

 

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Does your camera enhance or interfere with life?

Babies are cute. There’s no doubt about it. And with the integration of multimedia tools in everyday technology (read: iPhone) it’s easier than ever to spend your time documenting this cuteness, instead of living in it.

A friend of mine recently wrote:

“It’s very cool that we can capture photos and video via mobile on the fly–no more missing those little moments. At the same time, I can’t help feeling it turns us into voyeurs in our own lives, more intent on capturing the moment than being in it.”

And so that got me thinking – this need to capture every moment and post every photo and tag and check in – does it get in the way of life, or does it enhance life?

Over the holidays, I captured this video of our precious little twin babies and posted it to YouTube. Yes, it’s cute and yes, they’re adorable – but unless you’re in my will, you probably don’t care. Go ahead, have a look. But I’m just warning you now, it’s 2 minutes of babies on their tummies, cooing, and trying to roll over.

For me, there is a certain pressure and obligation to document enough of these “moments” not only for posterity, but to share with family members not in attendance. We recently even harnessed technology to live videocast a private event for my son to his godfather who lives in another state.

It used to be that families would get together over the holidays, sit around and watch the old Super 8 silent family films as they flickered across the white dining room wall. Nowadays, you can stream your turkey dinners live to faraway places. So it’s a battle between being in the moment and capturing it in a way that doesn’t interfere with it (the Hawthorne effect, from my psychology days).

Does anyone else encounter this issue?  What ways do you have to strike the right balance?

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Family, Random, Thoughts