We Are 10 Verbs Away From Efficiency

Efficiency is impossible without action.  Here are 10 verbs, or actions, that will make you more efficient in life.

It is more than probable that the average man could, with no injury to his health, increase his efficiency fifty percent.
– Walter Scott

  1. Practice – Practice makes perfect… at least that’s what they say.  While you may never quite meet your own personal expectations for perfection, practice will make you more efficient at whatever you do.  Always remember, if the activity is the art, practice is the science of improving the art.
  2. Rest – If you have ever tried to bench press heavy weight you know that the 1st set is much easier than the 2nd.  This is because your muscles are 100% rested before the 1st set.  Now substitute your mind for your muscles.  If it never gets proper rest, it will not be capable of operating at full capacity on the 1st set… let alone the 2nd and 3rd.
  3. Think – The act of thinking sparks creativity, and creativity is one of the primary sources for increased efficiency.  Unhindered thought will lead us in new directions and open doors that were once hidden.  Only after we think about it will we truly realize what we are missing.
  4. Walk – A moderate paced walk provides exercise for the body and stimulation for the mind.  It gets our blood moving and frees our thoughts from the restrictions of a static environment.  A regular routine of walking will make you more efficient at being alive.
  5. Read – Close to 50% of all communication is in written form.  With that said, could anyone possibly learn at an efficient pace without reading?  The answer is no… so learn to enjoy the act of reading, and read as much as you can.
  6. Prepare – Without suitable preparation and organization our actions are merely a shot in the dark.  If we want to stand a chance at attaining our goals we must prepare ourselves to efficiently deal with the obstacles that lay ahead.
  7. Focus – If you never focus clearly on something, you will never be 100% efficient at anything.  Multi-tasking might seem to make you efficient at getting multiple tasks done at once, but it usually reduces your efficiency in dealing with each individual task.  This ultimately results in a reduced overall performance output.
  8. Start – Well begun is half done.  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Some of the greatest ideas ever thought never made it.  Why?  Because the genius behind the idea failed to take action.  Just remember, no action results in a 100% failure rate, or an efficiency rate of zero.
  9. Listen – If you don’t listen to others you will live a lifetime of talking to yourself.  Not only will you continuously be unaware of what is going on, but nobody will want to speak with you either.  The most complex problems are solved by groups of people who communicate efficiently with one another.  If you don’t listen, you will be left behind.
  10. Fail – Failure is the first step toward success.  Most people don’t get it right the first time.  Many people fail to get it right the first 5 times.  Remember, strong-willed persistence always eclipses failure.  It may take more than one swing to compose an efficient hit, so don’t give up on strike #1.  Instead, interpret each failure as a lesson on the road to victory.

2 Simple Keys to Long Term Exercise Motivation

2 Keys to ExerciseI’ve been working out at least 4 days a week since I was a freshman in high school.  I’m now 26, so I feel like I have a solid understanding of how to stay consistently motivated and dedicated to an exercise regimen.  I’ve read numerous articles with widely varying tips on how to accomplish this.  These tips range from the simple act of getting a gym membership all the way to the intricacies of documenting a well defined set of fitness goals and personal rewards for accomplishing these goals.  I’ve even read that getting dressed in gym clothes or making a commitment to walking the dog is enough to get the average person motivated.

While I don’t doubt the legitimacy in some of the suggested methods I’ve read, I don’t really think that they hold the key to long term exercise motivation and commitment.  A regular exercise routine can be extremely redundant.  The redundancy will eventually bore the average person out of their right mind.  So even tough joining a gym, finding a workout buddy, and documenting fitness goals is a good start, it won’t exactly keep a person motivated 6 months down the road.  In time, most people will start thinking hard about all the enjoyable things they would rather be doing instead… at which point the battle is lost.

So, what’s the key to long term exercise motivation?  There are actually 2 keys, 2 very simple keys, music and variance.  Motivation is usually driven by the desire to accomplish something, but it is kept intact on a moment to moment basis by continuously stimulating the mind.  If the mind isn’t stimulated, it will rapidly lose desire for the original goal.   In order to create a desire for exercise, you have to stimulate your mind by making exercise an enjoyable and adventurous experience, which is exactly what music and variance add to a long term exercise routine.

  • Music – Music makes us think, it gets us going, and it sets our stream of consciousness on a positive course.  Both fast beat and slow beat music have the same stimulating effect on the mind, so alternate between the two while you exercise.  Also, discovering new music that you like is one of the most rewarding experiences.  Once you overplay all your favorite artists, start plugging their names into the various Web 2.0 music recommendation sites.  These sites will assist you in discovering new bands and artists based on similarities to music you already like.  Use your exercise time to rediscover your favorite artists, discover new ones, and build a massive collection of music that you will enjoy for the rest of your life.  It won’t be long before you realize that music makes exercise fun.
  • Variance – No matter how wonderful an activity is at first, if it is performed in repetition over the course of several weeks it will ultimately become a dreadfully boring experience.  Keep things fresh!  Do a variety of different exercises each week.  Your gym has numerous exercise machines, free weights, and pieces of cardio equipment.  Ask a trainer for help if you need to, or just be adventurous and figure it out for yourself.  Watch other people and learn.  Just make sure you always start off with very light weight or speed settings when you are unfamiliar with an exercise.  Once you have all the exercises down, start randomly alternating through them on a weekly basis.  Do 3 or 4 sets of 3 or 4 exercises 3 or 4 times a week.  Never do the same exact exercises in the same exact order 2 weeks in a row.

30 “If Statements” in Life Worth Learning

Here are 30 “if statements” worth learning if you have the intentions of leading a more productive life.

If I am what I have and if I lose what I have, who then am I?
– Erich Fromm

  1. If you don’t understand the product or service, don’t buy it until you do.
  2. If you do not take ownership of your actions, your actions will eventually own you.
  3. If you are not saving at least 10% of your salary, you are not saving enough.
  4. If you talk too much, people will stop listening.  If you don’t talk enough, people will never hear your point of view.
  5. If you are lazy, you will fail.  Laziness will always overshadow your true potential.
  6. If you hate your job, you also hate half of the time you spend on this planet.
  7. If you are not investing (120 minus your age) percent of your savings in the stock market, you are giving up thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.
  8. If you don’t finish what you start, your success rate will always be zero.
  9. If you don’t consume enough liquids, you will never be healthy.
  10. If your monthly debt payments exceed 40% of your total income, you will go broke if you don’t fix your spending habits promptly.
  11. If you avoid your problems, your problems will steer the course of your life.
  12. If something sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.
  13. If you are buying a brand new car every 3-5 years, stop!  You are wasting your money.
  14. If you don’t keep up with important current events, you will look like an idiot in front of others.
  15. If you back-up on a freeway off-ramp, you increase your chances of having an accident by about 1000%.  Go to the next exit and turn around.
  16. If you are not learning something new every day, you are wasting away days of your life.
  17. If you threaten to quit your job, even if it’s a subtle suggestion, you better be ready to leave now.
  18. If somebody asks you for your social security number, don’t give it to them!
  19. If you are paying high monthly insurance premiums for a lower claim deductible, you are pissing in the wind.
  20. If you don’t ever intend to help others, expect them to return the favor.
  21. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you probably aren’t learning much at all.
  22. If you don’t dream, you will live solely as an entity of someone else’s dreams.
  23. If you are ever confused, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  24. If you don’t listen to good music while exercising, you are missing out on the best part of your workout.
  25. If you are not happy, it’s time to change something.
  26. If you never stare off into the distance, you’ll never get there.
  27. If you dress a certain way, people will treat you a certain way.
  28. If you never try something new, your life’s story will be boring.
  29. If you aren’t in love, don’t settle.
  30. If you are overly emotional right now, make the decision later.

Dear Old Media (CNBC)… Sincerely, The Ron Paul Faithful

Ron PaulFollowing the Republican debate last week CNBC placed a poll on their website asking visitors to cast their vote on which candidate they thought won the debate.  After a few hours Ron Paul had accumulated 75% of the votes.  CNBC promptly took down the poll and left an “Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful”  in its place.

We all know that American journalism and mass media is heavily skewed and censored, but this sort of one-way media manipulation just irritates me… and I’m not even a diehard Ron Paul supporter.  One of my good friends, Nick, is a diehard Ron Paul supporter, so he emailed the following letter directly to CNBC.  Even though this is off-topic for my blog, I feel strongly that Nick’s letter should see the light of day beyond some CNBC executive’s email trash bin.

Dear Old Media,

In response to your “Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful,” you only gave half of the story.  While many of the claims you made were not outright false, your analysis of the situation is incomplete.

First, let’s stop with the childish implications of “hacking”.  Nobody is hacking anything and you know it.  Millions of Internet transactions take place securely every day that would be much juicier targets for hackers than a silly Old Media poll for which there is no gain and which is censored as soon as Ron Paul pulls ahead, as many of them have been – this is not the first.  Just admit that several thousand real people took the time to go to your website and vote in your poll.

The Ron Paul Faithful will admit to organizing to vote in your poll.  You claim this amounts to “…a well-organized and committed ‘few’ [throwing] the results of a system meant to reflect the sentiments of ‘the many’…”  Perhaps, though I hope for the future of this great country and its future generations that we are a well-organized majority.  That point aside, your claim is hypocritical because this is exactly what the Old Media and the “legitimate” polling organizations (as you call them) have been doing all along.

The Old Media is itself the well-organized minority that is throwing the results for the majority through censorship, misleading data and half-truths.  Take for example the amount of questions and response time that Ron Paul is granted during these debates.  He is consistently granted the least amount of time out of all the candidates, despite polling higher and raising more funds than many of them.

Let us also examine the “legitimate” polls that you reference to imply that Ron Paul’s support can’t be so high.  As you well know, these phone polls are unscientific and biased.  You are claiming that the opinions of a few hundred Republicans with land-line telephones represent the opinions of the majority.  Furthermore, the polling companies regularly leave candidates like Ron Paul off their list of poll choices, naming only “mainstream” candidates to choose from.  These polls that you swear by and reference so often represent the opinions of the majority no better than the poll that you took down when you didn’t like the results.

So who is the well-organized minority that is trying to sway the majority?  Is it really us, a sincere group of citizens trying to get the word out concerning our candidate?  Or is it you, an Old Media giant and biased polling community who tries to enforce their personal choices of “mainstream” candidates on the citizens of this country?  We were not given equal voice in your format so we organized and took voice in our format, the Internet.  We’d do it again.

The Old Media seems to have forgotten the meaning of, and it’s responsibility to, unbiased journalism.  If you are going to present an editorial as news because it is more entertaining, you must strive to give equal time to all opinions.  Otherwise, just go back to reporting the facts and keep your predictions and opinions to yourselves.  When a well-organized few has such an effect on the opinions of the many and on the outcomes of our political process, I get very worried.  You do the entire nation a great disservice.

The Ron Paul Faithful

The 15 Most Common White Lies and Why

White LiesEveryone tells a white lie on occasion, it’s just a question of why.  Some white lies save relationships, some ease a hectic situation, and others buy us time.  The list could go on forever.  Stretching the truth is a natural component of human instinct because it’s the easy way out.  We all do it, so there is no reason to deny it.  Honestly, I think the world is probably a better place because of our white lies.

As long as we aren’t hurting others or breaking the law, these innocent lies can make life more pleasant.  They can absorb potential friction between our varying personalities and vacillating moods as we nudge into one another on the quest through our daily routine.  Most of these white lies only stretch an interpretation of what the truth actually is anyways.  Given our rigid optimism to each lead a tailored ideal life, white lies simply cushion us from ourselves.

Here’s my list of the 15 most common white lies and why we tell them:

  1. It wasn’t me! – Because some things just aren’t worth taking credit for.
  2. The table will be ready in 5 minutes. – Because it sounds a lot better than 15 minutes.
  3. Oh, yeah.  That makes sense. – Because option B involves admitting that I am clueless.
  4. Thank you so much!  I just love it! – Because telling someone that their gift sucked would make me look like an insensitive jerk.
  5. Yeah, you look great in that dress. – Because it’s better than being slapped.
  6. Oh, things would have been different if I was there! – Because I’m Superman and I can always make a difference… or at least that’s how I want others to perceive of me.
  7. No, officer… I have no idea how fast I was going. – Because claiming ignorance is sometimes better than admitting to insubordination.
  8. I’m 29. – Because 29 is like 20 years younger than 30.
  9. Yeah, I’ll start working on that ASAP! – Because telling you I have 10 things to do first would just irritate you.
  10. Yes, John was with me last night. – Because that’s what friends do… we agree and ask questions later.
  11. My resume is 5 pages long for a good reason. – Because I’m darn good at bullshittin’!
  12. Man, that sucker was 10 feet long! – Because anything less would be boring.
  13. Yeah, I was a badass on my high school football team! – Because I want to be seen by others in an even stronger light than I see myself.
  14. I’m 21, 6’5, with a muscular build. – Because you can’t see me in this online chat room… ha ha!
  15. I thought I already sent that email out.  I’m sure I did. – Because telling you that it was a low priority and I forgot would probably hurt our relationship.

Also, check out these best selling books on common white lies: