Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "Presence"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “Don't fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become” ― Amy Cuddy

2.  Book I am reading - Presence:  Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy. 

Madonna isn’t the only person famous for telling people to strike a (power) pose. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy advocates for the same in a book that expounds on the ideas set forth in her popular 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Shapes Who You Are.” 

It may sound silly, but assuming the assured body language of Wonder Woman, or that “Man Spreader” on the bus, can literally change your body chemistry and make you feel more confident in anxiety-inducing situations. I must admit I was a bit dubious when I first heard about this, but Cuddy’s Presence offers up sound science to back up her claims, and, well I tried it. 

Even sans the Lasso of Truth, I was less nervous about a big meeting I had after taking Cuddy’s advice, and was therefore more successful at that endeavor. Translate this to a first date, a job interview, even those prickly conversations you hesitate to have with loved ones…and you’re conjuring self-confidence at the times you need it most. 

This is something that hits home for Cuddy, who overcame a traumatic brain injury to become a respected professor and researcher at the Harvard Business School, a feat she once thought inconceivable. Learning about the tenuous time in her life when she was paralyzed with doubts about her intellectual capacity, about how successful she could be in life, lends Presence a certain emotional center you don’t find in many books of its type.

3.  Song of the Week - Vogue - no one put striking a pose more in Vogue than Madonna.  This video has almost 75 million views.

4.  Video of the Week - Amy Cuddy:  Power Poses.  This is Amy's Ted Talk where she talks about power poses.  Power posing is the essential theme of her book.  This is a great and entertaining summary.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Confidence-Boosting, Attitude-Changing Power Pose Exercise Here is a woman that does what she calls Sassy Meditation.  She is from Fitness on the Rocks and she is kind of funny.  I can't believe she actually said T*ts out when she describes body position.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "Dirty Minds"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - "Great minds think alike but dirty minds work together." Who knows?

2.  Book I am reading - Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex and Relationships by Kayt Sukel.

If Albert Einstein wrote The 50 Shades of Grey it might have been like this book. Funny, insightful, provocative and sexy.

Kayt Sukel takes a long, hard look at human relationships from a unique perspective. With her background in neuroscience, Sukel examines what goes on inside our brains when we think about love, and sex, and all that good stuff. It's a fascinating read. 

The brain is such a complex organ that much of the studies performed so far are not conclusive, but the book sheds a whole new light on some of the most enduring questions of mankind. The collision of biology with the vaguer arenas of emotion and love is a compelling saga in itself. Kayt does a wonderful job of setting out the research in a way that makes it easy for non-scientist to understand. If this all sounds a little dry, though, don't be fooled. It is an extremely funny and provocative book, and Kayt's ultra-dry wit had me laughing out loud. Informative, entertaining and relevant - who could ask for more?

3.  Song of the Week - Dirty Mind by Flo Rida Catchy tune. Nothing really dirty about it. But, a good listen.

4.  Video of the Week - Do you have a dirty mind? Here is the test to see.  It is a bit slanted and, well, dirty. But, it is all in good fun.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Here is the Fast & Dirty Workout by Alex Silver-Fagan. This is a beast-mode workout meant to get the most exercise out of the least amount of time. It is truly down and dirty.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "This Naked Mind"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi ― quoted by Annie Grace in This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life

2.  Book I am reading - This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace.

I joined a 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge. I failed the challenge. But, will try again. It was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be. And, for way too many reasons to list here. To learn more about that project, check my other Blog called  30 Day Alcohol Challenge. In the process, someone recommended Annie Grace's book This Naked Mind.  It was eye-opening.

The amount of information you don't know about alcohol, what it does to your body, how it's marketed, and how much a part of our culture it has become is staggering. I was very surprised about what I learned. Shocked in some instances.

This is not a book for the proverbial alcoholic. It is not a book for the person who has succumbed to alcohol to the point of losing their job, their family or their own dignity. This is for the person who might question whether or not they might have a problem. It is for those among us that drink a fair amount but still appear to keep it together. It is for those that wonder....

3.  Song of the Week - Drinkin' Problem by Midland. A cool country song. This video has over 30 million views. Best line in the song, "some people say I have a drinkin' problem, but I have no problem drinkin' at all."  Enjoy!

4.  Video of the Week - This Naked Mind summarized by the author in less than four minutes. You may relate in some way to what she describes. And, you may find answers to questions you didn't know you even had.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - I actually had to watch quite a few videos to find something worth promoting. Most videos focus on muscle gains as in bodybuilding. But, since the Patriots haven't called me yet, I am focused on the day-to-day fitness. Here is some advice that is worth hearing.  How Alcohol Affects Athletic Performance and Muscle Growth.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "The Great Escape"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “Funny people, the Germans. When you got them in a bunch they were all Nazis (they had to be), but when you got the little people by themselves and worked on them for a while they didn't have any morale underneath. Inside they seemed naked and defenseless.”― Paul Brickhill, The Great Escape

2.  Book I am reading - The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill. This is the story depicted by the movie of the same name with Steve McQueen and a bunch of other soon-to-be-stars. Unlike the movie, the book gives you a more detailed glimpse into what they went through as POW's in Germany during World War II. And, nothing could showcase the ingenuity, creativity, resourcefulness and determination of a group of men better than this book does.

Some of the things they did while imprisoned were incredible. Fake uniforms, forged documents, 100's of feet of tunnels complete with lighting, structural support and ventilation systems. And, they did this all while under the watchful and probing eyes of the German guards.

An incredible example of the indomitable human spirit.

3.  Song of the Week - Escape (The PiƱa Colada Song) - hey why not? It's a cool song and it fits.

4.  Video of the Week - The Great Escape - this is the trailer where you can rent the movie from YouTube for $2.99.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - The Zombie Escape Workout - you will probably never have to deal with a Nazi Germany again but Zombie's are a different story. Here's the workout just in case you need it. Doesn't look easy.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three Ways to Deal with Setbacks

Every now and again you’ll have one of those days.  Things don’t seem to work out and you experience setbacks.  Its human nature and quite understandable for someone to get down on days like this.  But, the quote, “Setbacks are a set up for a comeback,” really is the formula to deal with setbacks.

The quote is not specific with instruction as most quotes aren’t.  But, it is loaded with wisdom.  The quote’s answer to setbacks is to reset your mindset.  It reframes the setback so that you can look at it from a different point of view.  It takes the “end of the road” and turns it into a “bump in the road.”  It keeps you going.  But, it says even more.

Setbacks come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Some are self-inflicted and some come from the outside world.  You skipped the workout, fell off your diet, didn’t say you were sorry, didn’t make the call, etc.  These are things that you control.  And, then there are things you don't control.

There are times when even when you’ve done your best, setbacks can come from areas you don’t control.  Your staff didn’t show up or they made a mistake, the bus is late, it poured rain on your new hair-do or whatever the world decided to do to ruin your day.

Regardless of what the setback is, there are a couple of simple ways to turn an unfortunate situation into a fortunate one.

1. Stay calm and look for the good in the situation. Yes, that can be hard to do. When you notice the coffee rolling down your rear window because you left it on the top of your car will make you want to scream. But, no matter what happens there is usually something to at least learn. And, that is always a positive.

2. Think "now what?" Thinking this way forces you to accept the situation. It has happened and there is nothing you can do about it. It also prompts you to think about what action you can take now given the new circumstances. Move on.

3. Do not beat yourself up. If you can read this your human. If your human, you're going to make mistakes. Accept it, get over it, and move on.

If you really want to take a setback and give is some meaning think this thought:

"What if life happens for us, and not to us?" Tony Robbins

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Bullsh*t of Not Having Enough Time

"I don't have enough time" is the biggest bullshit answer ever given. We all have enough time. We all have the same amount of time. Rich, poor, smart or stupid, we all get the same amount of time each day. No more, no less.

Why do some people seem to get more done in that time? Do they have some magical formula? Are they just more efficient? Are they just lucky?

There is answers are no. There is no magic or luck. People who get more done in the same amount of time do so because of two reasons.

One, they are using a Compass to plan their time and not a Clock. Read Should You Use a Clock or a Compass. The basic premise is when you use a Compass you plan your days around your priorities. You work on what's most important not what's most urgent.

Why don't some people focus on priorities?

Some priorities are uncomfortable. No one likes to do the uncomfortable things in life. But, nothing grows a person more than uncomfortable tasks. Eating right, exercising, study, managing your your personal affairs. These things all need to get done. Yet, most of them are as glamorous as watching grass grow. But, do them day in and day out and over the long term you get a lot done. And, it's the things that really matter.

The second reason some people get a lot done is that they don't manage distractions. This is probably the more important of the two reasons. Distractions come at us from every direction at all times of the day. Email, text, Facebook, Twitter, the phone, office drop-ins, are just a few. There are many more. And, all of them can wreak havoc on your productivity.

Keeping distractions to a minimum is mostly your personal discipline. You need to resist these constant temptations. The best way to do this is to plan when you will check email or Facebook or whatever. If you are not in that time zone, focus on your priorities and get something done. It is not rocket science.

The world will not end because you didn't "like" your friend's Facebook post of their cat sleeping. Like it later if your into that sort of thing. In the meantime, focus your energy on high-value activities that contribute to your purpose. This is what makes the world a better place.

One, focus on your priorities. Two, minimize the distractions.

If you do these two things, you will always have enough time.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "Rejection Proof"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “When you are not afraid of rejection and it feels like you have nothing to lose, amazing things can happen.” Jia Jiang

2.  Book I am reading - Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang.  This is a really good book with an awesome message. It is humorous and yet filled with insights that are refreshing and reassuring at the same time. 

After Jia was rejected by an investor for funding of this app, he was devastated and dreaded the thought of asking again. With his company on the line he decided to seek out 100 rejections in 100 days to desensitize himself. Not only did he desensitize himself from rejection, he learned so much about rejection he wrote a book about it.

Jia video taped all of his rejection attempts and started a vlog on YouTube about it.  You can check it out here. Jia is a very genuine and unassuming man.  A pleasure to watch and read.

3.  Song of the Week - Rejection by Martin Solveig.  A catchy pop music video directed by Martin Solveig, featuring the beautiful Zuzana and Marina, and special appearances from Miko & Cartman.  You can buy the song here.

4.  Video of the Week - Jia has done videos to get rejected where he asks to make an announcement on a Southwest flight, asked for a free "burger refill," and being a greeter at Starbucks. But, none is at famous as the one that went viral and got over 5.5 million views worldwide. The video that made him famous was Ask for Olympic Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Don't eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Well that was a given. But, more seriously, when you should do cardio when lifting weights? This came up for me and looked around for an answer.  The Ripped Dude gave it to me. I know he knows what he's talking about because the global fitness industry has branded him 'The World's Most Ripped Fitness Model.'

Here's The Ripped Dude's answer:  To achieve "shreddedness," your body needs to use your stored fat as fuel for exercise. In order to do this, you must burn off your glycogen stores first. When you weight-train, you typically use glycogen as fuel. By doing weight-training first, you can burn the majority of your glycogen stores. Knocking out your cardio after you crush the weights will burn more fat!

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "One of the World's Fittest Men"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - "Don't over think it. Just begin." Rich Roll.

2.  Book I am reading - Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich Roll. 

Great book!! Rich started life off with some athletic ability. But, after his first drink at a college party he started down a rough road that eventually led him to rehab. He beat the booze but soon had other issues. 

On the eve of his 40th birthday, Rich Roll was in bad shape. His days were filled with work, stress, and junk food, and his nights were spent on the couch, remote in hand. Taking out the trash was the closest he came to exercise, and, at 50 pounds overweight, a walk up the stairs left him winded. He decided it was time to make a change. 

After undergoing a diet detox, adopting a vegan lifestyle, and pushing his fitness regimen to undreamed-of heights, he was profiled by Men's Fitness as one of the world's 25 fittest men. 

Among Roll's many jaw-dropping athletic feats: he completed the unprecedented "Epic 5"--five back-to-back Ironman-distance triathlons on five different Hawaiian islands in under a week--an achievement many said was impossible. This is the story of that remarkable transformation, a complete physical and spiritual rejuvenation that proves that anyone can "find ultra" if they know how.

3.  Song of the Week - "There and Back Again" by Daughtry.  Hard rocking, motivating. Perfect for working out.  Here is paired up with Rich Roll working out. I bought the song here.

4.  Video of the Week - Rich Roll's Top Ten Rules for Success - he's down to earth and easy-going.  Here is Rich's top ten rules for success. It is actually surprising how simple his approach is.  

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Rich Roll attributes a great deal of his success to his Vegan diet.  Here are the 10 Health Benefits of the Vegan diet. A great resource to get started on veganism is Vegan Diet for Beginners. It has 50 recipes and 8 weeks of diet plans.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Is That A Problem or An Opportunity?

Let's cut to quick on this one.  It's always an opportunity.

But, only if you look at it that way. 

Whether it is a problem or an opportunity is the result of your mindset. It's how you choose to look at the situation. It's what meaning you decide to give it.

If you look at it as a problem you take on a victim's mentality. Why does this always happen to me? Why do I have to deal with this? When your thinking goes there, you immediately become less resourceful and less able to deal with the situation regardless of who's fault it is.

When you look at it as a problem it becomes something you need to fix or neutralize so that it isn't a problem anymore. The screaming child, the traffic jam, the annoying coworker. This kind of thinking will lead you to only solving the problem and not seeing what you could make out of it or what good could come from it. And, there is always some good that could come from it. But, you need to look for it.

In every problem there is an opportunity. There is possibility. But, you have to look for it. You may need to pause and make yourself think about it. But, it is there.

Problems are opportunities in disguise. You need to see through that disguise and uncover it.

The thing about problems are that they often arrive as interruptions. The flow of what you're doing comes to a stop and you need to deal with a problem. It becomes an inconvenience and keeps you from doing what you're trying to do. But, if you think about it, so do opportunities.

Opportunities often show up and interrupt what we're doing. They are just welcome interruptions. A friend calls with tickets to the game, drinks at the new local hot spot. Somehow these interruptions are okay. They are okay because the opportunity is easy to see. And, we don't mind putting off what we were doing to take advantage of those opportunities. In fact, we often make sacrifices to take advantage of them.

But, when problems interrupt us that is a different story. These interruptions feel like setbacks, obstacles, things that delay us or stop us altogether. These types of problems will always exist. They are a part of life. So, why not take advantage of them.

How do you take advantage of them?

The answers lies in the questions you ask yourself when problems arise. Instead of why me? Try, why not me? How could I take advantage of this situation? What could I learn from this? How could I grow from this?

Of course this is easier said than done.  But, it can be done.

Stuck in a line at the store? Caught in traffic? Instead of getting upset and stressed out, use that time to do something constructive. You going to spend the time anyway. You're going to be late anyway. Call a relative you haven't spoken to for awhile. Read something informative on your phone. Listen to a book or podcast.

One of the best stories that I ever heard was about a Mom that got a flat tire with her three kids. They were stuck on the side of the road waiting for the service truck. So, to kill the time she asked each of her kids how they were doing in school. And, the Mom learned that one of her kids was being bullied. Do you think that flat tire meant something different after she learned that?

Sometimes things happen for a reason. Instead getting upset when problems come up, get curious to find out what you could do with the situation. In every problem there is an opportunity. But, you have to look for it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Friday Five featuring "The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck"

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - "Stop worrying about the things you have to do and start focusing on the things you want to do." Sarah Knight, The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.

2.  Book I am reading - The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight. Be forewarned, this book is loaded with F bombs and a few other not-for-TV words.

In a previous Friday Five I featured The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Yes, they are very similar but the there is a distinct difference.  Mark's book gives you a more philosophical view on not giving a f*ck. Sarah's book provides a more practical way of applying the philosophy.

Sarah goes into great detail defining just what a f*ck is. It is not what you think it is and we all have it. Further, Sarah walks you through areas of life that we all share to categorize the f*cks we give and how stop giving them if you decide to. She also explains that there are some f*cks you are just going to have to give. So, she goes on to explain how you develop your f*ck budget. Seriously.

The real drive behind the book is about de-cluttering your life of the things you don't care about but keep doing because someone else cares about them.

Once you get past the regular use of F bombs, she does makes sense. And, she is pretty funny. Entertaining book with some real life application.

3.  Song of the Week - I Don't Care by Apocalyptica. I did find songs with the "I Don't Give A F*ck" theme. But, I would rather listen to a decent song. This song is pretty good. Almost 61 million views on YouTube. Video is a bit dark themed, but the song is well done.

4.  Video of the Week -  The Magic of Not Giving a F**k. This is Sarah's TEDx version of the book. It is a great summary and you can get the gist of the book in less than 13 minutes.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - ALL GAIN, NO PAIN: The Over-40 Man's Comeback Guide to Rebuild Your Body After Pain, Injury, or Physical Therapy. I recently started back to the gym after a Spartan Race. I had some aches and pains but still wanted to workout. This book offers some solid advice on working around injuries. For $1.99 it was the best buy of the year for me.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Monday, October 2, 2017

5 Reasons You Sabotage Yourself

You don't mean to do it. Just when you think you're going go after that goal or finally doing what you've always wanted to, you do something to screw it up. You don't mean to do it. Or, do you?

The subconscious is a clever little devil that is always at work trying to keep you safe. It will play tricks on your mind, convince you of things that are not true and blind you to what you need to see. But, the subconscious is dumb.

The subconscious is primitive and driven by emotions. It lives in constant fear especially the fear of change. And, it will be in the background quietly whispering reasons you should not do something. And, as a result you stop yourself from reaching your goals.

Why are you doing this?

1. Fear of loss. What you are doing now is familiar. It is your comfort zone. It may not be good for you. You may be eating too much, smoking, drinking, spending, yelling or whatever. But, it is a comfort zone. Even if what you are doing is not good for you, you are getting some good from it. Or, you wouldn't keep doing it.

When you consciously think about it, you know it is not good and you are motivated to change. And, as you soon as you begin to make the change you will feel like you are leaving something behind. Something that feels good and safe. That is the old you in a comfortable and familiar place even if that place was not good for you. As you move away from that place you get a feeling. That feeling is the fear of loss. It is a feeling that is primal and primitive. 

And, it is wrong.

2. The illusion of self-control. This is when you think you can control yourself when you really can't. The temptation presents itself and you think, "just one." One cupcake, one drink, one cigarette. It doesn't matter what your one is, it is the number right before two. If you never have the one, you will never have the two.


Don't trick yourself into thinking you have self-control while justifying that you deserve just one. Demonstrate self-control by not having the one. That is true self-control.

3. Boredom. This reason is connected to another human habit. It is the shot of dopamine you feel when you get excited. When you start to break away from an old habit for a new one, you will get those shots of dopamine. But, as the new habit takes effort to continue, the dopamine hits come less often.

To keep the dopamine coming you need to make sure you add variety to the new habit. If it's a new diet you can use spices or different recipes, or different places to eat. If it's exercise you can try new exercises. Any change to vary the new routine will keep the dopamine coming and your momentum strong.

4. You don't deserve it. This is the subconscious devil that tells you are not worthy. This comes from low self-esteem. The problem is that it isn't true. Low self-esteem usually stems for some experience you've had so long ago in your life that it is now irrelevant not to mention destructive. You do deserve it!

If you get determined, work hard and achieve your goal. You do deserve it. You've earned it. Stay focused on the goal and keep moving forward.

5. Fear of the unknown. All new action brings new experience. You will do what you haven't done before. You will go where you haven't gone before. That can be scary. Or, exciting.

Re-frame these fears from scary to exciting. They take on a new meaning that allows you to move towards the newness and let go of the familiar.

The key to beating all these behaviors is a high sense of personal awareness. Be careful about acting on voices in your head or the feelings that you get. Ask if it is the subconscious trying to hold you back.