Bad Medicine is What You Need

Posted by 27 November, 2008 (1) Comment

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No, I’m not referring to the Bon Jovi song from the 80’s (actually titled “Bad Medicine”). I’m referring to the concept that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I think it’s well known that some germs are good and low levels of stress are good, but too much of a good or a bad thing can be bad.

That’s certainly the case, and has now been proven by biologists as detailed in an issue of New Scientist. This concept known as hormesis, means that high doses of a substance can be toxic, but at low doses, it could actually be beneficial. To prove a point the author states that many compounds that improve health at low doses, including vitamin A, vitamin B6, selenium, iron, and zinc, are in fact toxic at high doses.

But antioxidants are a good thing, right?

Mark Mattson and Edward Calabrese explain that antioxidants are part of a wider class of plant chemicals, called phytochemicals, that are toxic at high doses but beneficial at lower doses. The amounts we normally eat are insufficient to reach toxic concentrations in the human body, but are enough to activate our molecular stress responses. In other words they are hormetic stresses.

The article also mentions recent research has also shown that hormesis is responsible for at least some of the health benefits of exercise and calorie reduction. Reducing calorie intake and increasing energy expenditure lowers your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and we now know this is because diet and exercise induce a state called “mild metabolic stress”, where levels of glucose and the molecular energy currency, ATP, are depleted.

So, what does this all mean to you? For one, it’s scientific proof that proper diet and exercise are a good thing. Throughout our history, we have always modeled things after nature. Whether it was the Wright brothers modeling their airplane after a bird, or more recently, scientists trying to mimic the composition of a spider web, which is extremely strong given its low weight. I think that hormesis (I hadn’t heard of this word prior to reading the article in New Scientist) is something we can look at and model after in our everyday lives. Whether we are exercising, trying to save money for retirement, or trying to eat healthy, we should model after nature and do things in moderation. If things are difficult at first, you should remember that it’s natural and things will get easier because we all need mild stressors to make us stronger and more able to handle more difficult challenges in the future.

Photo by Notions Capital

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What I’ve Learned From College Football and the Presidential Election

Posted by 24 November, 2008 (2) Comment

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I’m a huge fan of college football. I keep up with the University of Texas Longhorns and a hand full of other teams. I read all of their articles and I am on the message boards. I even keep up with the recruiting through out the year.

This Presidential election was interesting to say the least. There were a few firsts which was exciting to see. It was a great contest between two worthy presidential candidates.

Watching the Presidential election process and the Texas Longhorns, I couldn’t help but see the parallel between the two. Both, Mack Brown, the head coach for the Texas Longhorns, and Barrack Obama, the Presidential candidate for the Democratic party, often spoke about routine.

Is this one of the key factors that sets successful people and apart other people?

If I take a quick scan through the dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Obama and Steve Croft’s 60 Minutes interview on November 17th on their Personal Transition, I found the word “routine” came up three times. I only point this out because it’s something I happened to notice while watching the interview last Sunday.

Mack Brown also speaks about the routine of the team on a regular basis. On game day, they go through the same routine for every game. It’s all about repetition for them from doing the drills in the same way and the same order to going to meetings and waking up at the same time everyday. This is also the case prior to the start of the season. Mack Brown had his team scrimmage on a Saturday prior to the first game. This is a fan appreciation day, but it also puts the team into the routine of playing a game on Saturday in front of fans. Prior to the scrimmage, they go through all of the motions that they would for a normal game.

As I write this, I wonder what routines I have that are leading me to success. Over the past 6 months, the one routine that I feel has helped me improve is blogging. I have routinely put out 3 blog posts per week. Blogging itself isn’t necessarily helping me per say, but it has helped me get into a routine that I can carry over into other areas of my life.

Peter at Pick the Brain.com has some great suggestions for 10 Morning Habits You Can Build Your Day Upon. Perhaps you looked over the 10 habits that Peter suggested and you aren’t sure whether they are for you or not. Well, Steve Pavlina has a great article titled “30 Days to Success“. In his article, he suggests that you give the habit or routine a 30 day trial. If after the 30 day trial, you aren’t sure whether it’s for you or not, you can extend it to 60 or 90 days or longer. The interesting point he makes is that:

Now if you actually complete a 30-day trial, what’s going to happen? First, you’ll go far enough to establish it as a habit, and it will be easier to maintain than it was to begin it. Secondly, you’ll break the addiction of your old habit during this time. Thirdly, you’ll have 30 days of success behind you, which will give you greater confidence that you can continue. And fourthly, you’ll gain 30 days worth of results, which will give you practical feedback on what you can expect if you continue, putting you in a better place to make informed long-term decisions.    

I thought the concept that Steve Pavlina presented was really useful and I will incorporate that into my life when I look at my potential positive habits.

What are some habits you have that you are proud to mention?

Photo by The Austin American Statesman

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Categories : Personal Development Tags : , ,

Life is Like an Etch-A-Sketch

Posted by 17 November, 2008 (6) Comment

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Wouldn’t it be nice if your life was like a Etch-A-Sketch? Dr. Daniel Drubin wrote in Letting Go of Your Bananas:

Take a good, hard look at what you have and, if you don’t like what you see, shake things up. You get to create a new vision as often as you are unwilling to accept some of the limiting pictures in your life.

Is life that simple? Can you change the direction of your life that easily? I contend that if people are fed up with the direction in their life, they will change. It’s a matter of someone’s motivation being greater than their dislike for their direction in life. Otherwise, it’s the path of least resistance and that usually doesn’t lend itself towards change.

Mike King at Learn This recently wrote a great post on motivation that is a great read and pertinent to helping you find the motivation to change!

Once you decide you are going to change, you certainly need direction and focus otherwise you’ll get lost or easily distracted. Dr. Daniel Drubin has some great guidelines to consider as you become the CEO of your life.

1. Think one step ahead and always have a backup plan for whatever you are doing; don’t put all of your plans in one basket.

2. Understand and effectively utilize the power of your personal affirmations and self talk.

3. Be childlike in your unwillingness to accept no as an answer.

4. Live the principles of TELL – Teaching, earning, laughing, learning.

5. Always deliver more than you promise.

6. When given the choice regarding how to think and behave, always choose limitless over limited.

7. With a dramatic need for speed, decide to break the speed barrier for changing your life.

8. Become more purposeful in your thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

9. Eliminate the eighth day of the week: “Someday”.

Are you the CEO of your life? If so, what are some of your guidelines?

Photo by Eliya

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Three Essentials for a Banana Free Living

Posted by 10 November, 2008 (6) Comment

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I’m currently reading Letting Go of Your Bananas. Bananas in this instance, are the positive and negative things in your life. Like life, there are good bananas and rotten bananas. This book aims to help you become more successful by getting rid of everything rotten in your life.

The first piece of advice is to:

1. Maintain a willingness to be coached

I think this holds true in all facets of life. Of the successful people I know, many of them have mentors (similar to a coach). If someone isn’t willing to take the advice of others and learn from other people’s successes and failures, they may find it difficult to obtain the type of success they desire. I think in general, the intent of this statement is for individuals to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from others.

2. Develop a consistently powerful work ethic

Nothing is going to come easy. If you want something, you are going to have to work for it. Michael Jordan didn’t become the best basketball player of all time overnight. He had to work for it. On the other hand, you don’t want to end up on the extreme other side of the scale where you are putting your health at risk as has been the case in Japan as reported by the Washington Post. Zen Habits has a great post about Balance Between Life and Work.

3. Always be crystal clear about the direction of your life

If you want to know where you are going in life, you need goals. Goals are great, but they need to be manageable or else you’ll get frustrated and quit. Steve Pavlina has a great post on How to Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve. One thing I have done to help me achieve my goals is to start a blog. Here are My Goals for the Remainder of 2008. There are a few reasons why I started a blog to help achieve my goals.

1. I want you, the reader, to help keep me accountable. I don’t want to look like a douche bag for not completing at least most of my goals. I’ll admit though that most of my goals for this year focus on being consistent. In my opinion, that’s probably my biggest problem.

2. My goals are written down on my blog. I look at them from just about anywhere in the world and I don’t have the opportunity to lose another piece of paper :).

3. My blog helps me with my biggest problem, consistency. There have been a few night where I have really not felt like putting up a post. The recent work travel has really limited my time spent at home where I usually type up my post. However, I have consistently posted 3 times per week (2 posts and 1 Cool Links of the Week) since June so I am very happy about that.

Photo by Pamela Heywood

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Categories : Personal Development Tags : ,

6.1 Key Steps to Success

Posted by 15 September, 2008 (3) Comment

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Photo by Chichacha

1. Believe in Yourself

You have to believe in yourself and your ability to be successful. If you don’t believe in yourself, you are going to have a difficult time visualizing being successful. If you don’t believe in yourself, how is anyone supposed to believe in you? If you don’t believe in yourself, I think you are going to have a difficult time convincing a bank to support your business. Believe in yourself! Visualize your success!

2. Set Goals

Setting goals is like creating a map. If you don’t have a map, how do you know where you are going? You need to set yearly goals as well as 5 year, 10 year, and life goals. It’s great to have lofty goals, but you also have to be practical and allow yourself some successes. I know I’ve had a big problem with lofty goals and then being discouraged when none of my goals were being met. For instance, for 2008 I’ve set 14 goals for the rest of this year. [Goals for the Remainder of 2008] Most of the goals have to do with being consistent. In my opinion, consistency is one of the biggest differences between people that are successful and those who are not. Successful people set goals and work consistently toward them. What sort of goals are you going to set? Ideally, goals should make you feel good once they are accomplished. If they aren’t going to make you feel good, chances are you are less likely to complete them. One idea I read about on Millionaire Mommy Next Door is the concept of a Treasure Map. The idea is to put together a collage of things that make you happy. You should put the “Treasure Map” in a place where you’ll see it often. This is a great reminder to stay focused on your goals so you will one day be able to reap the rewards of your hard work.

3. Develop a System

Make things easy for yourself. You don’t want to be like the guy in the picture below who is struggling. You more than likely already have many struggles in life so don’t add to them! You have to develop a system and you need to stick with it. It needs to be manageable. Remember, it’s important to have some early successes otherwise it’s easy to get discouraged. Also keep your system simple. If your system is complex, it’s going to be much easier for you to want to give up and quit.

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Photo by Randy Son of Robert’s

4. Stop Making Excuses

Excuses are lame. Don’t be lame! People who are successful don’t make excuses. People who are successful define goals, put together a plan to achieve those goals, and they go do it and keep after it until they reach their goal. Remember, take the time to exert effort toward achieving your goals, and stop thinking of all of the reasons why you shouldn’t do something. As Dr. Schwartz would say in “The Magic of Thinking Big”, excuses are something “small thinkers” talk about. Don’t you want to be a “BIG THINKER”?

5. Hold Yourself Accountable

Keeping yourself accountable is pretty difficult. One of my major tools for keeping myself accountable is that I consistently post to my blog. I post twice a week on the same days at the same times. There are a few reasons why I blog, but one of them is that I post my goals on my blog. I don’t have a ton of readers, but the few I do have keep me accountable. I don’t want to have to post an article about how I did not achieve my goals. I would feel badly that I not only let myself down, but I let my readers down. I think it’s easier to deal with disappointing yourself than it is to disappoint others. Some other ways that you can keep yourself accountable to your goals is to ask that your friends and family to keep you in check. You can also search for a Meetup.com group that has members with similar goals. My last suggestion is to find people with similar goals and form a “master mind” group.

6. Tackle the Goals for Early Success

I’ve tried to make sure that I’ve achieved some goals early on. To be honest, most of my goals were geared towards being consistent and keeping to a schedule. As goofy as that may seem, I think inconsistency has been one of the reasons I have not achieved the success I want. For instance, if I post two quality articles per week to my blog, I have no doubt my blog will become more popular. In a different area of my life, I will undoubtedly be able to run a half marathon if I run a few times per week and slowly increase my stamina and distance. It’s really all about being happy. For me, reaching my goals, as easy as they may seem, will not only make me happy, but will give me a sense of accomplishment.

6.1 Create Your Own Luck

A lot of people claim that people are successful because of luck. I don’t buy it and they shouldn’t be selling it. People create their own luck and their own opportunities. I have some friends that are real estate investors that are receiving SERIOUS money by leasing their mineral rights to gas drilling companies. Sure, they are very fortunate that they happen to own the mineral rights to many properties, but they created this luck. They spent a lot of time researching, buying, fixing, and renting the properties. They are certainly reaping the rewards they may or may not have anticipated, but their hard work helped create this luck. Note that I only gave luck one tenth of six bullets!

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