Category Archives: Lifestyle

The Number of Friends you have can affect your future employment opportunities

It should come as no surprise that the number of friends and professional connections you have affects your health in life. The more social you are, the more people you have looking out for you. The more connections you have in life the more you are aware of what is happening around you. We all like to think that we don’t need anyone else in life to help us because we feel that we are bothering that person but the truth is that when you create a healthy relationship with someone where the give and take are roughly equal, in a sense, then you will see that we very much need people in our lives. The truth of the matter though is that our social circles also affects our career options in life.

Our social life is directly linked to our health which means the more events you attend and the more people you meet, the more energetic you are to get out and meet more people. Social fears and phobias develop in youth when a child is prevented from going out and exploring the world on their own. They never learn social skills by learning to strike up conversations with strangers. The problem with the age of 18 is that society somehow thinks its a magical number where someone just is expected to know how to deal with everything in life all of a sudden because they turned 18; not if they are not allowed to learn and do things on their own before then.

Many young adults, and people in general, feel they are socially awkward and rather than risk looking like a fool in front of other people they just stay home and watch on-demand entertainment (a habit that is destroying traditional TV watching). The reason Dale Carnegie made a huge success on his books was because he first tapped into the area of social-psychology by teaching people how to interact with one another and showing them how to make friends by using very simple techniques. Those same skills are still being taught today in seminars and workshops which can cost a lot of money. So why don’t schools focus on teaching students social skills that literally can make or break one’s whole life experiences? The reason? It’s too soft a skill to teach and many certain groups of people would feel that their children are being brain-washed by some left or right wing thinking. How sad.

Your Future Employment
It’s no surprise that people with the jobs they like the most are usually connected to a number of other people. For example, Bob in senior accounting will let his best friend know there is an opening coming soon and that if his friend wants to apply he should send his stuff right away to so and so. Study after study keeps confirming that the more people you know the easier it is to get a job. Infact, it has been proven that the more social people are in school the higher their success rate later in life. You can read here for some networking career tips here from Yale’s career center on how to get better at networking.

The great thing about school is that you are constantly surrounded by people so it is easier to make connections, find out what is happening in your community, and learn about job opportunities faster. Group projects enable people to make new connections and learn about people’s strengths and weaknesses. The schools that create the best creative people focus on group projects for all their work because it gets people to learn to work together and maximize their strengths but also connections. Teens and young adults are exposed to a number of new people daily because of their school life so the number of opportunities in life is dependent on the number of friends they have and the connections of their friend’s friends.

The interesting thing about social groups is that they get smaller as you get older because life switches from doing school daily for 12 years surrounded by a lot of people to going to college and learning more but in a less crowded manner. In school you have people around you all the time that you know, whereas, in college you are surrounded by a lot of people you don’t know so your social circle shrinks. This is why they say to join student organizations because it will help you make new friends with people who share your same interests. After college your social circle shrinks again because you are constantly working and have less time to spend with friends. Your friends social time also shrinks because they might be more focused on career goals and might be starting a family.

Social groups change from the teens to the 20s and  the 30s, from large groups of people to smaller groups to pairs. This kind of social shock for some can limit people’s social opportunities. The people who are not tied down enjoy more opportunities in their life and career because they do not have to discuss their decision with anyone else. They advance faster in their career and can travel more. The challenge with getting older though is that it does get harder to make new friends because there are less opportunities to join organizations and meet people if you are not social. This is why the website meetup.com is so huge because it allows people to find groups of people with similar interests but for many though it can still be a challenge just to show up to one because of social phobias. But if everyone has them why not make the first move by introducing yourself?

Social Skills Over Time
This is an area that most people do not think about because most people think their social skills are fine or that they do not need to make any new friends. The truth is that people need to always refine their people skills because those that know how to talk with others to get stuff done go farther in life than those that do not know how to start a conversation. Growing up in school it is easier to start conversations with other people because you are surrounded by so many people you grew up with so it is easier to just jump right in to any group of people and start talking

In college you have to be more forward in order to talk with other people otherwise you will be left by yourself most of the time. You cannot expect other people to approach you so you have to get out and do stuff and many times just go right up to people and say, “hi.” The last part is a huge challenge for majority of people because of fear. In the workspace it can get a litter easier to strike up a conversation with someone because everyone works for the same employer making it easier to have something to say in the beginning. It is not uncommon to develop work friendships because everyone is working on the same projects and have something to talk about afterwards. Then Ttere are those groups of people who just want to come in and impress the boss so they work longer hours, finish their work faster, and get more done at the expense of talking to people and making friends.

People who work in the same job for many years risk losing the understanding of what it takes to find a job. They expect that they will always have the same job. Those are the people who will have a culture shock when they are finally let go and have to find a new job again. The challenge with that is that they do not realize that after all those years they should have been making more friends and connections and updating their skills in order to stay marketable to other companies instead of working hard all the time and ignoring social outings with co-workers. The risk with getting too comfortable in your current job is that you can lose your job at anytime and have nothing to show for what you’ve done. The connections you make in your 30s and 40s have a huge impact on your employment in your 50s and 60s when it is harder to employ older individuals.

Social Evolution
Again this is an area that most people do not spend time thinking about because they are too focused on themselves for anything. The myth that if you just do your job really well and meet all your deadlines your company will reward you with a promotion, bonus, and job security. Job security isn’t real anymore and everyone is at risk for losing their job at any moment. In many cases the people who finish their assigned work the fastest might make it harder for the company to find them work to do and see a reason for demoting you to part-time instead of full-time or just hiring on a case-by-case basis. This can come as a shock to someone who believed that as long as they did what was asked of them, they would be rewarded. That is just not the case anymore.

Researchers, Connie Wanberg, Ruth Kanfer, Darla J. Hamann, and Zhen Zhang went through many studies across different disciplines to analyze social behavior on employment and what they found was that people who are younger tend to be unemployed for shorter periods of time than older individuals. This is all due to the fact that younger people are exposed to more social groups and interact with more people on a daily basis so they hear about more opportunities faster. Older individuals, on the other hand, are unemployed longer because of the nature of many things, including their social circles, which tend to be smaller because they value the quality of certain relationships more than maintaining larger groups of friendships. The other issue is that older individuals are out of touch with the ways of finding a job in today’s economy. If a person in their 50s and 60s, and maybe even 70s were to look for a job they would have to understand that they will not find it in any kind of newspaper or walking door-to-door to shops and businesses. They will have to learn how to perform certain actions that are common in the workplace now that were not taught when they were in school.

The number of social connections gets smaller as people get older and the only way to fix that is by maintaining the ones you have now and going out and meeting more people. The results of the researcher’s study found that if you want to make it easier on yourself for finding a job when you are older, you need to maintain the relationships you have at work and outside in your 30s and 40s so that you have connections to new job opportunities in your 50s and 60s. Those friendships from long ago will help you manage new job opportunities in the future. Infact, older people are realizing that with the new gig economy happening, they can find new sources of income that can help offset the growing costs of living. This is very important to learn because it can mean an improved way of living. For others who still want to continue working, it is helpful to understand the importance of always meeting new people in life.

In the movie, The Intern, a older man realizes that retirement is not all what he hoped it would be. He spends time with a few people but he knows his time could be better spent working again. The long days of having nothing to do got to him so he applied for a job. He found a flyer looking for older people who would like to work for a startup fashion company. He took the information and called them up. In the movie you see this man grow his social circle by ten-fold and make new friends. He quickly realized how outdated his technical skills were but not his executive skills. Many older people will enjoy this movie because for some it will strike a chord in their heart in knowing that they would like to work again like they used to when they were younger. The other part that is touching about the movie is that the older man watches how frantic all these young people are working knowing what is at the end for all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the film because no matter where you work, there will always be someone there after you to fill in the spot so rather than focus on putting in the long hours, one should focus on the friends they will make everywhere they go because you never know when you might need to call on that person for a favor or a lead to a new job later on in life. Do yourself the favor of going and seeing this movie because it has so many interesting things to say about the workplace for older people who are can still provide value.

If you are stuck about how to improve your social circle, look back at some of my past articles on networking but start first with Never Eat Alone and The Fine Art of Small Talk. Those should help you get started. You can look in the book section of this website to find out other books to read on networking.


News Article

To Get A Job in your 50s, Maintain friendships in your 40s

The Sharing Economy Attracts Older Adults

Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset

It is easy now-a-days to think that you have the next best idea waiting to happen. You discovered it one day when you were at a family get together and all the kids kept complaining that they didn’t have an easy way to fill up their water balloons and that it took too much time. You figured out a way to build a spout that can fill up hundreds of balloons all at the same time.

In coming up with this product you figured that the time it took to make your device was pretty simple and easy and you kept hearing from people all around you that you have a million dollar idea on your hand. You begin to reason that “yea, I do have a million dollar idea on my hand but how I do I turn it into a business?”

Glamorizing the World of Startups
The show, Shark Tank on ABC, has grown in popularity because of the ability of the producers to take what is normally a boring presentation process and turn it into something entertaining to watch. If a startup company needed an investment then they had to apply to many Venture Capital Firms hoping that a few call them back to come in and pitch their idea, which was way before the show Shark Tank.

People love watching the show because a lot of them sit at home saying to themselves, “oh I had that idea a long time ago, mine was better.” Others might say, “No, I wouldn’t invest in your company, you have no idea what you are doing!” These are common things all across the board when watching the show until you come across an idea that already been done before but in a new way. Those are the companies, with a healthy growth rate, that catch the eye of the sharks in the room. Of course many of those sharks are not all that interested in your company in the but trying to gain as much control of your company as possible in order to increase the wealth potential of their own portfolio.

So what are those Sharks thinking about when they look at other people’s ideas? Why do they act so ruthless and not care that they might offer them a lowball offer for a high equity share when it means a not-so-positive fate for the CEO pitching to them? Why? They want the product and idea and the CEO pitching has done the homework of showing them how the market is reacting to their idea. If it is positive, then with the amount of money each shark has, they can easily turn it around and make millions more off of it but first they need to own it outright or have controlling power.


In order to see why certain entrepreneurs go on to make it and why others keeping to spin in circles I will show three habits that are shown to have huge positive effect on growing your business but also help improve your work habits.

Step 1. Developing Habits
Successful entrepreneurs are different from people who call themselves entrepreneurs because they don’t really do anything except keep busy with busy pointless work. Successful entrepreneurs have developed habits that keep them out there learning about what all is happening.

One of the first things that naturally successful people do is develop a complete picture of what they want their life to be in their head. They are usually the ones to get up early and perform some habit before breakfast. The most common are writing, working out, responding back to emails, preparing a To-Do list that is achievable throughout the day, or working on a project one step at a time. People like this keep their schedule well planned out but allow flexibility.

Many CEOs and many articles have been written about what they like to do early in the morning. It is a most common trait to hear that many of them get up at 5 or 6 in the morning to start their routine. Many of them don’t pour that first cup of coffee until an hour or two later. This is enough time to get your mind and body into the habit of getting work accomplished throughout the day. People who start their day with no purpose or direction tend to putter around in the mornings going from one little thing to the next before they sit down and ask themselves, ok, what should I do today?

An entrepreneur should have their days planned out according to their week and month. For example, they know that they need to work on their website but they know that they cannot spend all their time doing that so they devote a certain portion of an hour each morning until they have to launch, or if it is already up and running, then working that hour to make sure it looks updated for people to see that the website is new and refreshed each time. This habit of updating also matches with making sure the website is growing over time. A website that looks the same from seven months ago is not a company that shows any growth or promise.

The work you do today should match what you plan to accomplish tomorrow and the work you accomplish this week should enable you to finish the work you plan to do next week. Everything is built on layers and successful entrepreneurs have a clear understanding of this but also of their time and schedule. Events that pop up are not a challenge because successful entrepreneurs understand that there are events that they just need to be at. Schedules help keep things in order but Life is what you plan around so thinking that you can just ignore certain events is not the habit of successful people in general.

Creating a habit is difficult because it means having to change what you have been comfortable doing before. Many times it just requires doing it cold turkey and not looking back. There are many, many books out there about how to change habits, many are amazing books to read like this one, but the difference between reading and doing is the act of prolonging. A book gives you the feeling of accomplishing something in small steps just to convince yourself that you are doing something but many times after the book is over you fall back into the same rut. Change is not easy but doing great things was never the intention.

Step 2. Focus on Goals with Accomplishments in the End
This is a very common thing that people have trouble dealing with. You start a project with intense focus only to get distracted by something else and you get sidetracked. You set aside the project and leave it until you have more time again to work on it. Or as you are working on your project you run into a problem that prevents you from completing your work. The obstacle in the way, for many people, keeps them from completing their work so they lose interest and start another project thinking that a fresh start is all they need. This is a common bad habit because after years have past you look back at all the unfinished projects.

Each time you start something new without finishing those old projects you create the bad habit of “doing things that are easy” but also the creating the mindset, “if I don’t like it then why should I force myself to work on it if I’m not enjoying it?” Both are big problems that keep people from doing great things but none is more so than the last one. When you reason to yourself that it is ok to only work on things that make you happy you teach yourself to be selfish in your personal habits of work. Not all work is meant to be fun and accomplishing great things takes large amounts of time to be great at them but a huge proportion of that time is meant to be difficult and strenuous. Only great people become great by doing hard things.

The most common activity all books on creating positive habits tell you is to start with small activities that can be finished right away. This helps build the habit of learning to finish things you started. When I meet people one of the things I pay attention to is listening to how they speak about what they work on. People who sprinkle excuses in everything they say tells me that they are not interested in getting real work done because “they don’t have the time.” They just want to look busy but the reality is you will never have enough time.

The habit of maintaining your schedule concise and clearly enables you to see how to finish the projects you start. You should be able to look at their schedule and see when each part will be finished so by a future date set you will be able to move on to the next phase. Take for example someone who plans on writing a book. Someone that is serious will not let anything get in the way of their schedule so they set a time that is least likely to have any other major event push it out of the way, hence why so many successful people like writing early in the morning. They might give themselves a goal of an hours worth of time or 2000 words a day until they hit 300 pages.

A project with a goal like that is easy to follow because it has a defined limited with a daily goal set so all that needs doing is the work. You will be ale to know when you will finish the book by knowing how many words fit on each page. Understand that if writing books is your work then creating a schedule is helpful but creating a workflow is more important. This is why many writers look for little get-away locations that offer inspiration and solitude on the weekends in order to accomplish more without anything getting in the way. The importance behind all this is making sure the thing you set out to do is finished because there will always be a next phase that follows. Just because you finished the book doesn’t mean it stops there, now you need to get a cover done, get it edited, and then submit it to publishing houses. knowing there will always be a next phase scares many people because it means the work never stops and why should it? People will always want more if they like it.

Step 3. Being Proactive about Opportunities
This is a mindset that is very hard for a lot of people to follow just because it means having to put yourself out there more. How many times have you met an entrepreneur who is working on their project and you tell them about something that they should attend that will help with what they are doing only to find out that they never went. Then you find out that they are simply working on their project because they enjoy it but their actions do not show they actually want any growth for what they are doing. Actions will always speak louder than words so instead of asking someone if they want to grow their business it is better to ask them how they spend their time. That is a huge indication of what their actions are saying. An entrepreneur that is just starting out by meeting people will be more successful with their projects than someone who stays home and keeps to themselves but pours a lot of money into online advertising. Which one will be more successful in the end? The one that gets out and meets people because they might meet someone that connects them with someone who can help grow their business.

The internet has enable many people to just sit behind a screen and never talk to anyone but it gives the wrong impression that that is all they need to do in order to grow their business. In the book, The Promise of a Pencil, author Adam Braun talks about how he used his friends and their friends to help throw him fundraising parties for his organization. In was through his proactive nature to get out there and connect with people to find out who would be interested in what he was doing, which was building schools in poor regions of the world that didn’t have access to education. Starting an idea like that takes larges amounts of people to help because sitting behind his computer and just running a website wasn’t going to do it. He was always attending events, talking to people, and trying to find the next person who could help and he did.

An entrepreneur who is inflexible about his schedule will miss out on a lot in life. I could easily say that I have enough on my plate to work with but there will always be new events popping up that I need to be at and if I miss them I miss what opportunities were present If I had attended. Business is still very much a contact sport and can only be accomplished by getting out there and meeting people so if you are not willing to change your life and schedule for that then why are you trying to be an entrepreneur? There are many office jobs that will suit you just fine.


These three habits can help start the process of what it takes to start thinking and acting like someone with a purpose, especially if they are trying to build a company. The sharks on the TV all come in with a purpose, which is to find the next great idea that will make them a lot of money. They got to where they are by getting up and working on their business everyday without any excuses. It’s not easy, and it is most certainly not fun majority of the time as this book made very clear about what being a CEO is really like, so the next time you make an excuse about something catch yourself and do away with it. The reality about excuses is this, you can only use them once or twice before people start to see right through them. This is because you should learn to fix the problem so it doesn’t happen the next time but when you use it again to get out of something you lose respect from people because the “action” you are speaking is that you have no control over your life so other people begin to think why should I share any new information with you when all you are doing to do is make more excuses to get out of it?

If you need more help understanding how to view excuses, which is the very reason why I have made it a point to never use them unless it actually happens, then this saying that my teacher in high school used to tell everyone that tried to get out of doing something works like gold, “Excuses are like armpits, everyone’s got them and they all stink.” Just remember that the next time someone tries to use an excuse on you for getting out of something.

The Importance of SXSW & Why You Should be There Every Year

South by Southwest is officially over which means that it is only 51 weeks away until the next SXSW festival which mean you have plenty of time now to save up and buy yourself a badge for next year and attend. For those that can not afford SXSW badges, I will explain to you what I learned doing SXSW this year for less than $20 dollars. Yes you read that correctly, having done SXSW so many times, being a resident of Austin, and living right next to downtown has its many perks.

SXSW had tons of opportunities for everyone to enjoy and experience so saying that it had nothing that appealed to you means that you really have no clue why this festival is considered to be one of the top festivals to attend in the whole world. It is ranked number one by Fuse website for Music Festival, which is understandable since half of the week is dedicated to just music acts. Business leaders, investors, and startup wannabes all come to SXSW from all corners of the world to find out what the latest trends are. Film makers, producers, and celebrities all come to Austin to screen their movies and make deals and talk about what new projects studios have in the works. The number of new movie ideas that blossomed during the film portion is enormous considering all who were here. If you went out walking about you would have seen celebrities all over the place just enjoying themselves. I told a friend some of the hot spots celebrities like to relax and enjoy themselves at and you know what he did? He spent most of his time at those places getting to meet people he thought would be surrounded by body guards just sitting down and enjoying a drink and talking to people. It completely took him by surprise how approachable some of them were but he was happy because he got to meet some of his favorite movie stars all in person.

Understanding SXSW Hype
You hear about this festival down in the southern region of the US and think, “what could those people possible know down there? They are so far away from where all the action is going on how could they say what the trends are?” Easy, SXSW brings the best minds down here to get away and talk with similar minded people about what it is they do all year. People attend these events because they all are trying to find the same answer to the same question, on hopefully what is the company’s dime, “How’d you get so successful doing that?”

The hype about this festival is surrounded around the same idea of seeing all these successful and important people walking about with those special badges around their necks that get them into private events. If you don’t have the money for those badges then you miss out on all the big stuff (hint: I got into some pretty big events and didn’t have a badge so it can be done). The truth of the matter though is that most of those badge holders are there trying to keep up with the trends so they can run back to their companies and help them prepare for what is coming in the next few months.

The big stuff for nerds, educators, and geeks all happens a week before the music festival portion. The education portion brings teachers, educational entrepreneurs, school district administrators and even technology companies down to learn about some of the new teaching styles, innovation in apps that improve learning, and other ways teachers can engage more people to learn now that we live in a world where being connected is constant. The challenge for educators in any form is how do you get people to take learning seriously now when information is always there online now?

This poses a challenge for many other people, especially companies that have to hire those students later on. People with shallow educations are a liability to companies later on that depend on creative individuals to innovate. Hence why they send their best employees down to SXSW to catch up and stay ahead.

SXSW is all about finding out what will be happening in the coming year, in terms of, technology, startup companies launching (remember Twitter exploded at SXSW in 2007), and new gadgets but also what films to look out for later in the year. So when you mix all this information together with other little films trying to screen and small businesses trying to expand their brand at SXSW with a zero dollar budget you begin to understand why hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to Austin for a week or two.

Remember SXSW does everything it can to help those first-timers navigate the large open space that is Austin by creating a page on their website for newbies. You can check out their page but I will point out one thing that their page does not cover, how to get the most out of the event and what to pay attention to, with or without a badge. SXSW does not cater to those without badges so that is why other opportunities have popped up to fill that need. SXSW has the official events they list on their website, twitter, and app but they do not list the unofficial events and knowing how to find that stuff takes skill and talent.

What I got out of SXSW 2015
Every year I learn something new about SXSW and the people who come to Austin. This year they included this in an infograph and the books they hand out only to badge holders. I got my hands on one and found some surprising information.  The average age this year was 36 and the top skill that all badge holders had was social media skills. This tells you that this is not a young person’s festival for Interactive and judging by all the tweets that I read over the past week, while showing people how to do SXSW, I learned that a lot of them couldn’t wait to get back to their hotel rooms, lock the doors, order room service, and enjoy the peace and quiet that they don’t normally get back home because a certain portion of them have kids.

One of the first events I attended was the Job Market fair that was in the new JW Marriott hotel. I went, not looking for a job, but to find out what kind of jobs companies were hiring for but also the kind of people they were interested in talking with. I will say it is funny when recruiters find out that you are not there looking for a job but instead want to learn about the new hiring trends because you already have a job. That is when their whole personalities change and they switch from presentation mode to letting down their guard. They are so used to selling all day long that it is rare for them to talk with someone that is NOT looking for work.

Here is what I learned from that job fair
– Companies are mainly looking for coders in all languages
– Sales, marketing, business, finance, and all the other regular areas they are hiring for as well
– The well prepared come dressed up ready to hand out resumes but few ready to relocate
– Most had just resumes to handout but nothing different to offer – here’s what I mean
– Recruiters are only interested in a few things about your skills – how many years of experience you have doing one or two skills really well, what have you created recently on your own, if you are willing to move, & are you currently employed. They don’t care about the name of your school.
– The well prepared carry business cards with them everywhere
– The top items of swag given out were tech gadgets (powerbanks, USB mini stereos, flashdrives, & styluses for tablets and phones)
– Employers will ask to see some of your work right there on the spot if you are a coder
– Companies expected that most people attending were either proficient or experts with basic business software programs, used social media fluently, and understood mobile technology well.

All this information is great to know if you are looking for a job but more importantly it tells you what companies are expecting people to learn in school and college. Coding is not just a skill that only a select few should learn now it is a skill that all people will need to learn because right now companies do not have enough of them. Check out my list of education resources to find out how to get started learning how to code for free.

Attendee Statistics
People come from all corners of the world to attend this great festival but what are most of them looking for? I pulled these stats from the interactive book that polled their badge holders asking what they were after. Here were the goals for those that attended
– 62% said Find New Business Opportunities
– 36% Connect with Existing Clients
– 24% No Particular Goals
– 16% Seek Employment/Contract Work
– 15% Hire Talented People
– 11% Launch a new Product or Service
– 9% Seek Investors
– 6% Invest in New Companies

The last stat corresponds with the number of attendees who are considered wealthy and probably investors, which is around less than 10%.

So what do these stats tell you about what people are looking for at this festival? Remember, these are all those people who purchased badges and look important walking around. Most of the people there wanted to either quit their job or find more work and a quarter of them had no clue what they wanted to get out of the festival. If a quarter of the people had no clue then that means they were just walking around and taking in all the sights and probably only attending a handful of lectures at a time.

The part that got my attention was the last few stats. This is the section that tells you who are the ones with money and/or influence. They attend the festival to sit in on a few talks and see what products are being demonstrated but to find those diamonds in the rough. They walk around looking for companies trying to launch grassroots style and find out a little more about what they do. They attend the official events but they also attend the events that are not official in hopes of finding that one unique idea.

People I Met
In the class before SXSW I taught, “How to Grow Your Business with SXSW.” One of the things I mentioned about the festival was that you were going to see a lot of posters and people passing out flyers everywhere and even chalk signs on crosswalks. Low and behold that is exactly what I saw as I was exploring; I had one guy introduce himself to me while we were waiting in line, he gave me his flyer to ask if I could check out his youtube page. Another time I got handed postcards that were an invite to a special screening about the American Inventor (you can watch it here now available on YouTube that screened at SXSW) and how it is harder now to bring an idea to life because of current patent laws.

I attended a lecture on how to build, run, and manage a kids’ maker space for STEM education. The thing that surprised me the most was that the event was open to anyone but there were very few people there. Maybe less than twenty at most but I did make the most of my time introducing myself and talking about how other people can improve their locations. I met one interesting man who told me he was having trouble getting people to teach at his locations but he had plenty of space. I informed him that he had the opposite problem of mine, I have the teachers but no space to teach in. So you see a great connection was made from being at these events.

I met a musician who provided free rides at SXSW that was working to become a DJ and said that he tried to take advantage of many of the opportunities there to meet some big names. He is hoping he can turn his work into something he can do at next year’s festival. I was glad to find the main options of getting free rides because getting around SXSW on foot can be difficult but good exercise.

Then while taking a break at Starbucks I saw two company employees from the Yo app so I introduced myself to find out what Yo was hoping to accomplish at SXSW. I was told they were promoting their brand by offering free breakfast every morning if you just sent a special Yo message but unfortunately their campaign did not work since the service was terrible judging by these tweets. I know that other people did get their meals but it doesn’t look like they got the reception they were after according to this tweet. Hopefully the founder was joking. In all the tweets being sent during SXSW I saw very few talking about Yo though.

Another time my friends and I were all enjoying some free lunch when one of them sat down at this table and started talking to people there. Well it turns out one of the people at the table just so happened to be a speaker for the Interactive panels. My friend kept asking this person questions about their job and what they plan to talk about and the more my friend asked the more amazed he was to find out who he was talking to. He didn’t think he would run into a speaker for SXSW that also happened to work on a show that he enjoyed watching. It turns out the guy was a writer. I told my friend that he needed to make sure they exchanged information and kept in touch, which they both did.

The one app that took SXSW by storm was MeerKat. This awesome app is set to change the whole streaming world by taking a new model of communicating to large audience members in real time and improving on it. I will talk about this more in the trends section.

This is just a small portion of all that happened to me while I was there. I’ve been told I need to put together a business that teaches people how to do SXSW. I’m considering it.

SXSW Trends from this Year’s Festival
In this article that was just posted, as of the writing of this article, you can see that people are still writing about all the stuff that happened during Southby. The conference covered a number of items that will soon start to impact out lives, one that just launched today actually, driverless cars and personal robots. The issue of robots and A.I.s entering our lives is quite profound as Dr. Cynthia Breazeal talked about in her SXSW talk on, “The Personal Side of Robots.” If you are not familiar with who she is this is the lady who created an Indiegogo campaign to bring Jibo, the world’s first family robot, into people’s homes. Her campaign caught media attention for going way pass her goal and raising over $2 million dollars from a goal of only $100k.

While walking around one of the things you caught a lot of people doing was holding cardboard boxes in front of their faces. If you are familiar with this idea then you know it was Google’s campaign to teach people about how to create their own virtual reality headset, much like the one for Oculus Rift, out of cardboard and their smartphones. You simply fold the cardboard pieces and you have something that looks like this below

All you do is drop your phone into the slot and it changes your dept of vision to make it look like virtual reality. This is a layout of how it folds.

Pretty cool little toy which is why I picked up two of them in case one broke from wear and tear. So why were people playing with them? Well Google Fiber decided to make a big push during Southby by setting up shop in their downtown location where people could come in and pick up a free headset and some stickers saying where they wanted Google Fiber next in Austin. I got a few of those plus a nice t-shirt.

I didn’t get to attend the Robot Petting Zoo, yea I know just the name sounds awesome, but I did get to meet some of the makers of one of the top robotic sport’s team. It turns out the little guy was busy playing soccer but I took his picture anyways.

Robots

Alright so after all the fun here is what alot of people were after while they were down there taking in all this information. I will mention some of the trends but then list a few of the topics that were covered at Interactive.

1. People want to learn from other people about how to improve what they’re doing back home
This might sound like common sense but it is how people behave and operate in new places. People go to conferences in hopes of finding that one person who has the solution to their problem back home. I would talk with so many people about the struggles of their business only to tell them where to look online about how to fix or improve what they were doing.

One business owner said that they were using a portion of their retail store to encourage kids to learn how to build stuff. They told me this came from the idea of seeing so many bored kids in front of their store so they figured why not make a separate space for the kids to teach them stuff while the parents shop. The parents and kids loved it but they ran into a problem of growth so that is when I told them about this TED talk about how one tutoring center turned into a world wide phenomenon. It had a few ideas that any business struggling with growth can learn from.

2. Businesses are becoming more of a secondary degree for work than a standard option
Chances are today you probably know someone who is an Uber driver or works as a freelancer cutting hair through hairstylist apps or even people who do odd jobs here and there. This new consumer-to-consumer economy is taking off faster than most companies know what to do. People can earn a very comfortable living with just service apps alone now and the best part of about them is that there is no set schedule to follow, you simple log in when you are ready to start work and log off when your tired. This creates an easier way for people to connect with others instead of going through an temp agency or having to apply for jobs online all the time. (Maybe the end for Monster.com? Who knows)

The interesting thing about this new way of living is that many major companies are getting in on the action too by creating new brands under their company name in order to keep consumer’s focused on the service instead of the company that owns or runs it. The challenge is that major companies have the money to sink into these apps in order to get a large share of this new collaborative sharing economy that is going on between consumers. All these apps make money by taking a share of the money that is transacted between the two parties. Basically the app is a more efficient method of connecting two people with similar interests and needs.

3. Meerkat Dominated Apps
If this is the first time learning about Meerkat then let me tell you why it was the new hot commodity that everyone was talking about. If you are a gamer than you know all about Twitch and how it has changed the whole landscape of video games by turning it into a spectator sport now. Video game players can turn on their twitch account and start streaming their game playing to all their followers and anyone watching. Well, Meerkat does the same thing except it is on your phone now. So you could build a following of people to find out what you are doing right at that moment and stream it.

Think Facetime but instead of 1-to-1 call it is 1-to-all your followers in real time. That is why so many people love the app because now instead of sitting at your computer and using a web cam to stream what you are doing you can now use your phone and stream wherever. What does this do to the internet and service usage? It puts a huge demand on internet service and requires high amounts of bandwidth. Curious to read what people are saying about this breakout hit? Click the articles below.

Meerkat Restores Faith in SXSW’s Startup Magic

Meerkat stole the show at SXSW. Sorry, Twitter

Why Meerkat, the breakout app of SXSW, is more than a flash in the pan

4. SXSW encourages the Entrepreneur Scene
If you walked around chances are you probably ran into a few guys and girls shoving flyers into your hands trying to get you to attend their launch party or swag party, which is where companies give out swag in hopes that you check out their products and learn more about who they are and what they do. I got a pretty sweet expensive swag bag from one of these little parties. During my time at one of these parties I talked with a lot of the CEO’s who were right there to talk about their products. One guy was happy to talk his product and how he started his company so getting to meet the people in charge is not hard to do if you know how to put yourself out there. You never know where they might be in a few months or next year but at least you got to meet and learn about how they got their idea and turned it into reality.

SXSW created the startup village which has grown to help startup companies gain more appeal and attention. But why is the startup village so important to entrepreneurs and why would you want to get your company in there next year? Easy, it connects existing companies that are failing to innovate with up-and-coming companies. There might be a consultant who is flown into check out what new businesses are coming up and what products they have to offer, so “John” might be asked to find a new business that his company might be able to do business with. This is how startup companies find new clients so it keeps them growing. What you don’t hear about are those meetings during dinner time with the startup CEO and co-founders and the consultant to talk about the details and work out a contract together. That is how the movers and shakers work.

5. Advertising is all about Getting into People’s Habits
Ex Machina is a movie that premiered at SXSW and it touches on the issue of robots and intelligence, but more importantly emotional intelligence. In order to get more people aware of the movie the studio created a brilliant ad campaign to get people interested in watching the movie by playing with their emotions. They launched a tinder account that looked like a normal 25 year old female just looking for love in Austin. If you were one of the unlucky ones to fall for it then you were not alone. Many guys apparently fell for it because just when you thought the conversation with her was getting interesting she linked you over to her instagram page where , at the time, it listed a film trailer for the movie and the poster for the film, the studio has since added more content now. All in all, it got a lot of people talking about SXSW and the innovation of marketing and advertising that went into that campaign.

6. Interacting with People Face to Face tops them all
All the apps and wearables and technology out there is pretty damn impressive now but nothing beats and probably will never beat face-to-face interaction. The best part about SXSW are the connections you make for a brief moment during the day and if you know how to make the connection you ask to meet for dinner and talk more in person. You want that face-to-face connection before that person heads back home because without it there is not much to learn about the person except what they write in their email.

The after parties are where the real deals happen and the magic takes place. The movers and the shakers all know this so they attend as many after parties they can get themselves into. They work the rooms for the free drinks and then see if they can connect with anyone. The whole idea is to find someone that has the “it” charm in what they say and do. They are looking for someone who looks like they know what they are doing, and once they find them then they see what all they have to offer that might be of benefit to one another.

Maybe you are shy and not sure what to do, but the best thing you can do is just to get out there and talk. This is why during SXSW there are so many parties with free drinks to help loosen people up to talk. Yes the free drinks also draw in the crowds but for the shy people who need a little pushing it helps them to not be afraid to go up and talk to someone. This worked for a number of people and the connections they picked up in the end were well worth it.

7. Robots are becoming more a part of our lives
It is hard to imagine that our lives are becoming more like what we watch in movies. Minority Report is one of those movies that when it came out people were astounded at seeing people swiping in the air to move things like it was magic and now we have those kinds of TVs and motion detectors, like Kinect and Leap Motion. If you show a kid that movie today it will not impress them except the cool cars and flying suits but everything else they can pretty much do today. But where do you think they got the inspiration from? That’s right, movies.

Now that driverless cars are going to become the norm in the next few years and robots have already been slowly entering our homes it will start to be our responsibility to learn how to treat them properly and what they should be allowed to do and not do. The latter part will be difficult seeing how we now have robots that are designed to learn on their own so how will we be able to regulate how much they learn or what they learn or even what they are allowed to do with that information once they’ve learned it?

In the robot petting zoo there are drones that can act as search and rescue but also ones that can build things so it will be very interesting to see how robotic drone technology will evolve in the coming year. This is why the FCC is having a hard time figuring out the rules because the potential of what drones are capable of is enormous and they don’t want to limit that but they also have to protect and respect people’s privacy, but seeing how nothing on the internet or our phones is private anymore I don’t see why they are worried about drones as the problem.

A few of the topics at Interactive were

– What Tech Startups Should be Doing Next – Jessica Lawrence
– The Future Role of Tech in Dining and Food – David Chang, Matt Buchanan
– Secrets of Growth Hacking: From Zero to $50M – Neil Patel, Sean Ellie, Tammy Camp
– You Are Everywhere – Kristina Halvorson
– World Leaders on Twitter: What they can teach us – Alexander Ekkelenkamp, Aurelie Valtat, Matthias Lüfkens


SXSW is an amazing festival to attend and if you live in Austin there really is no reason NOT to be here experiencing it all. It is just one week out of the year to plan for this that thousands of people make the time to be at. One of the best part is also the gaming portion.

The Gaming Expo was a fantastic experience that all gamers should experience at one point. For all the kids and families who did attend I commend those parents for doing a great job of taking their kids there and for the parents who just dropped them off to experience the whole thing on their own, I say, you are a great parent for doing that. Keep it up!

Gaming Expo

I learned quite a bit at the gaming expo and since I had all the time to enjoy myself here is what I did there. I attended a Zombie quiz show and got some free swag for it. I finally learned how to play the famous board game The Settlers of Catan and another game by the same makers called, Patchwork, which was a lot of fun. So how did I learn how to play? The game makers had tables set up with different versions of Catan setup on each one and if you wanted to learn how to play all you had to do was sit in on a tutorial, taught by one of their instructors there, and play along. So now when someone asks if I have Sheep in exchange for two coals, I know what they mean. After playing for awhile they gave me a nice swag bag that came with a character expansion pack for free including a Catan metal pin to wear which I got for having learned how to play.

I also made it a point to get a picture with the sweet Delorean from BTTF

After that I played a lot of video games that are still being tested out and got to see some cool video game characters walking around which I got my picture with. Afterwards I made my way over to the Maker Square space set up at the Long Center where I got to make some cool things, including a badge that I had to solider together in order for it to work, which looks like that in the picture.

All in all the whole experience was a lot of fun but also a lot of learning about where the gaming industry is headed. So now to the part you have been waiting for, what do I get out of all this? I’ll tell you.

How did you do SXSW for less than $20 bucks?
Easy, here is how I did it. I monitored twitter ahead of time (about a week or two) to find out what all the special hashtags were for finding the free events, free food, and free parties. I left those tabs open on my phone the whole time I was there and checked them ALL the time. I managed to get free food starting from the official day it started (Friday) until midday Tuesday. I got some free morning snacks during Pi Day (3/14/15). In the picture below they had little Pi’s in both apple and raspberry, because you know, Raspberry Pi? Get it? haha. I also found where my birthday was in Pi, and if you want to learn where yours is at then go to mypiday.com.

Pi

Not bad for managing my time there considering I also got to see Jimmy Kimmel live at the Long Center as well. You need Twitter in order to get around SXSW otherwise you miss all the free stuff popping up all around you. All you really need to survive is free food and then you can just walk up to events happening all around you. The cost for me was the bus rides into downtown and extra things I wanted to buy. Parking downtown is a nightmare during that time and not worth paying for.how to get around SXSW

How people did SXSW before Twitter just amazes me but it also says that you had to have a badge in order to get the book that told you were all the official stuff was. I have no idea how people found the unofficial stuff without Twitter.


Experience SXSW at Home
In case you missed SXSW, guess what! You can still watch all the panels that took place from the comfort of your own home. SXSW has put up majority of the lectures on youtube so I will put the link below so you can find the talks you want to watch. Then after that link I included the visual representation of those talks created by ImageThink. A lot of those images are very helpful in getting the main points from the talks.

Interactive Talks SXSW YouTube

Visual Form of Interactive Talks

Just find the video title and match it with the slide title to see the talk visually.


My time at SXSW was absolutely fun and I always tell people that they need to get out and enjoy it because there is no reason to pass up one of the best festivals in the world if it is right in your own backyard. People spend thousands of dollars to be there so why not take advantage of it for practically nothing?

Thanks for all the fun SXSW, I had a blast and can’t wait to do it all over again next year, hopefully this time as a speaker at Interactive. Austin you look beautiful and I had so much fun walking around everywhere.

Skyline of Austin

If you would like to learn what other cool festivals you should attend this year I posted the link below to some of the best ones including one for women.

Festivals Female Entrepreneurs Can’t Miss

9 Conferences in 2015 that are worth your time and money

Considered one of the Most Innovate Festivals to attend, Invite-Only (Awesomeness Fest)

Improve Yourself with Books to Read in 2015

If you did a search right now on the top ten books to read for 2015, you would probably find tons of lists already out there. The challenge with this is that there are so many genre of books now that the lists are endless. Twenty years ago things were not as complicated because most “Must Read” book lists came from large chain book stores and newspapers. Now we have so many different sources on what to read, including this blog right here, that it is hard to narrow down just what all is good to read.

Goodreads is a good place to start if you don’t already have an account. If you love reading you need to open yourself an account and use it. I use that website just about everyday when I update everything I am reading. They have tons of lists to follow, groups to join, book reading challenges, and more. I enjoy reading the reviews to get a better idea of what it is about I’m to read so I know I will get something out of it.

In the meantime the books selected all come from authors who have already written some amazing books. A few of the books I look forward to reading this year are Clay Water Brick, The XYZ Factor, and Work Rules.

Try to always take at least an hour a day to read, 30 minutes when you wake up, and 30 minutes before you go to bed or 4 15 minute breaks throughout your day. If you are a real go-getter in life than you can have 8 15 minute breaks throughout your day. However you decide to read, make sure to take some time also to include the classics, self-help books, and adventure books, either in physical form or audiobooks. Always check your public library first to see if they have a copy available.

In the list I have included those from the list but also some classic business books everyone should read.

Top Business Books to Read for 2015
1. Clay Water Brick – Jessica Jackley
People wonder how anyone can make a successful business happen without having money to support everything. This book here shows you how some of the most innovative individuals created something great with the least amount of resources. This is a good one to start with to get out of the mindset that you need X – Y- Z before you can get started. If you think that is true, read the Kids who are exceptional article.

2. How to Fly a Horse – Kevin Ashton
You would think training a horse to fly would be easy but then again you probably have no idea where to start. The author takes the reader on a journey through history to show how some of the best creations came from challenge situations. Creating something from the ground up is never easy so with the world we live in today where costs for starting a business has dropped to near zero, why is it still hard? This book was on the list of Amazon’s best books of 2014

3. Getting To Yes with Yourself – William Ury
This is the same guy who brought you Getting to Yes, which is ranked as the number one best seller in Business Negotiating category on Amazon. The author explains that all the challenges that happen in life all take place in your head. When you think a deal is going wrong because you emphasized the wrong word, chances are you are probably wrong, or maybe you shook his hand longer than you should have, making you seem desperate. These are all mental games you play with yourself so when you begin to realize not to take life so seriously you can then see how easy it is to make yourself agree with what you are saying. A great movie to watch to help you understand why you should not take life so seriously is called “Being There.” Considered one of the best philosophy movies ever made about Life.

4. Bold – Peter Diamandis, Steven Kotler
This book explains the power of exponential entrepreneurship. When you bring people of life mind together to work on a task you double, triple, or even quadruple the power that goes into solving a problem. This is the idea behind XPRIZE, a program that uses crowdsourcing to it’s ultimate power by asking people all over the world to solve their problems posted on their website, Singularity University, in return for a large cash prize. This book explores all they have learned about this impressive program about how ideas are solved through the help of exponential power.

5. Yes, And – Kelly Leonard, Tom Yorton
The power of Improv acting has helped changed so many people’s personal and business skills for the better because it changes how a person thinks in any given situation. Improv is a form of acting that encourages no sensor thinking and to accept everything thrown at you and learn to think in the moment. Many companies hire theater companies to come in and provide Improv training with their sales staff because of how important it is to learn. If you want to learn more about this skill and join a program, read my previous article on the art of storytelling.

6. The XYZ Factor – Nancy Lublin, Alyssa Ruberman
This is a book about learning to empower people to see the benefit of their actions when they put them to good use for others. This can be very challenging for companies when they work with younger generations that are only interested in instant gratification and isolated circumstances, most of which they have grown up in. The DoSomething.org program is meant to get kids out of this habit of waiting, which many grew up in homes where they had to wait to be told what to do and when, and start getting out there and making a difference on your own. For any kid who grew up in a restrictive household, the transition to learn how to think for themselves is very difficult, which is not fair to companies that have to deal with that, and so teaching younger individuals how change is possible through their actions is a good skill to learn.

7. Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader – Herminia Ibarra
This book takes on a different approach for leaders. There are many management books that say to find your style of management and leadership in order to guide your department or people. This book here says to listen to what the people are looking for and take guidance from how they need to be managed. When you don’t over think a problem and dwell on it you can then work from the insight your team gives you.

8. Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin
Changing habits can be hard but when you learn how to find the little tricks to turn small little actions into bit time change that is when results start to show. The author here talks about improving your life with changing your habits and routines. Humans are creatures of habit so it is important to understand how to make new habits work. Chip Heath also wrote a great book on the subject as well called Switch – How to change things when change is hard.

9. Work Rules! – Laszlo Bock
Imagine being the HR manager for one of the best companies to work for in the world? How much pressure would you have to know that you have to hire people that are extremely intelligent but also creative at the same time? That is a lot of pressure, in that, you have to design and create interviews to weed out the fakes and still find the ones that are hard to see the first time. Then after that you have to learn how to create an environment that encourages people to grow and increase productivity, all of which can be challenge, but brought together in this richly packed book of data examples.

10. Surprise – Tania Luna, Leeann Renninger
This element of surprise is important for many reasons but none more so than in the business world. Surprises happen all the time so being able to anticipate that surprise can keep you on your toes but also understand that change is constant. When you learn to accept things as they come, training from Improv acting, you won’t feel threaten by what is happening every time something new comes up.

11. No One Understands You and What to Do About It – Heidi Grant Halvorson
Why do people know who we are? Isn’t that what makes people want to work with other people, because they think different and act different? People who really studied psychology in college, and when I say really studied, I mean they went way beyond the required readings and read more than your typical grad student, you would know that how a person walks, the words they use to speak, the actions they take says everything about a person already. Not everyone studied psychology in college or graduate school so books like this are important to read because it helps people connect with others when they understand them. Engineers have the worst record when it comes to social and people skills so a book like this might help them to learn that when talking about a project of their their’s it is important to include personal identifying properties of themselves with how they created it instead of just the dimensions and costs and benefits of the projects. If you want to read another book on the subject and learn more about a person by the words they speak, “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us,” is a great book to read.

12. The Eureka Factor – John Kounios, Mark Beeman
Do you remember the time you came up with that amazing idea that someone has already come out with? Why did you beat them to it? And why can’t you have more moments like that? This book explains how those moments come about and how to have more of them. They spark imagination, ideas, and bring about change so if they are so important why are they so few of them? Learn more about how the brain works with this book about how great insights are achieved.

13. The Road Character – David Brooks
Ever wondered why Robert Moses lead the life he did, or why the Men Who Built America, had such deep rich self-fulfilling lives? The challenge with creating a rich fulfilling life is not just the doing part but the upbringing part; people of character are built upon a solid foundation of morals, beliefs, and values, which guide them in everything they do. When you have no guidance in which to follow, then why would it surprise you to learn that your life has no purpose? The men who built america found their purpose because they had the keen sense to see what others couldn’t and put it into action. This book takes a look at ten lives and examines them for all these traits to learn how to create a life worth living.

14. Triggers – Marshall Goldsmith
Behavior Consultant Mr Goldsmith looks at how to change behavior for the good and how to make them into certain habits. He takes a look at how behavior works and why we behave differently when we are in groups and when we are by ourselves. This book helps explore all that in order to find the right behaviors that will lead to a successful life.

15. The Misfit Economy – Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips
Did you know that Pirates in the Indian ocean make millions stealing huge oil tankers and cargo ships in the area? Or that hackers cause millions, if not billions in loses every year to companies, but encourage the growth for many more industries? The growing behavior of misfits is creating whole new industries to come about because the reality is when someone acts bad, you need another to fix it. This book examines the history of people that did things unconventionally and how it turned out for them and what you can learn from doing that. The reality is, business has no rules, so once you learn that rule, all bets are off for anything you do.

16. Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter – Cass Sunstein
This important book contains the very reason you don’t want to surround yourself with people of like-mind. But if you have too, this book will teach you what you need to be aware of to keep from falling into the trap of staying with status-quo. Cass showed that when people of like-mind get together their values strengthen because each member reinforces what they already know or believe in. This is very dangerous because this is how progress is slowed down because if everyone thinks the same way and they all agree with one another then there is nothing to change or improve.

Cass also shows that similar minded groups make less dramatic changes than groups that are composed of different mindsets. He talks about this in the new elected Congress that is very one-sided and how dangerous this will be for policy making and America. You can watch his interview on The Daily Show to learn more about what happens when people who are conservative get together with similar minded individuals, and vice versa. This is a very important concept to learn so you don’t fall into the same mental trap. This is why the phrase, “Keep Your Friends Close, but your Enemies Closer,” is important to learn because your enemies will keep you on your toes and learning all the time. This book is ranked number 1 in Business & Organizational Learning.


Here are some Additional Books to read

Zero to One – Peter Thiel (Number 1 in Economic Policy and Development)
The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
The lean Startup – Eric Ries
Business Adventures – John Brooks (Number 1 in Commerce)
Influence – Robert Cialdini (Number 1 in Marketing and Consumer Behavior)
22 Immutable Laws of Branding – Al Ries

To find more business books to read, check out my previous article and Book Page
This book changed this billionaire’s understanding about Business
Business Books

News Article

15 New Books to Read in 2015

Happy New Years! Ramp up your Year!

Yup, you read that correctly. It officially starts a new year and that, hopefully, means new beginnings and start overs for many. The start of a new year is a psychological refresher from the last year. It lets you shed all those annoying habits from last year, eating too many leftovers, not exercising enough, watching (NOT) enough TV, or not traveling enough.

Creating Your List of Achievable Goals
Many people have already started their list, including these popular ones. The one item that starts strong today is gym memberships. Right now millions of people are hitting the gym to get started on getting that healthy inshape body they always wanted. That also means the tons of new blogs and youtube channels being created to track their progress online. For the regular gym goers right now means packed gyms, not enough parking spots, overcrowded classes, and long lines to use certain machines. They can’t wait until march and April when all those resolutionists’ slowly give up on their plans

That right there should not be you in three or four months giving up on your idea for change. Change is all about personal habits so if you are looking for a real change you have to keep at it everyday (or at least a regular time during the week). If you do not make it a regular habit it will slowly die out. So how do you change that?

1. Isolate your activities throughout the day
The reason why so many people stop their new years resolutions is because they load up their schedule with so many things that one starts to demand more attention than the other. If you want to workout in the morning and you are a parent that means getting up by 4:30, at least, to jog and exercise (this is to say you workout at your home with no gym equipment) and then shower and get breakfast ready before everyone wakes up. So by 6:30 your parenting duties kick in and you start a new activity. Don’t let your exercising go past an hour because you need time to shower, clean and get dressed, if you go over that means your parenting duties suffer and your kids will let you know by asking why breakfast is not on the table when it should be (this is to say you are still a new parent, not a parent with teenagers capable of feeding themselves.)

2. Limit Your Day to at Least 5 Activities, no more
If you are single with no tie-downs then you can add more activities but again don’t over schedule because when special events happen it will require more of your time. So be aware of how much time you plan to give for each activity. If you plan to be more social, then joining 2 to 3 new organizations is a good way to start off, don’t add one for everyday day of the week because you will start to stretch yourself to thin.

5 activities a day means that each one takes up no more than 30 to 60 minutes of your time. If you want to get an online education, then make sure you count studying and homework as part of your 5 activities and not as one whole thing.

3. Look at the long term goal of your resolution and be honest about it
Find out exactly how you plan to include your resolutions into your already existing habits. It’s very difficult to break old habits so be aware of that and know what your weaknesses are. If you want to start a business then it is a good idea to take each step a week at a time. For example; Week 1. Learn what it takes to start a startup; Week 2. Talk with others who have started a business and find out what they learned about it the first time; Week 3. Determine how to find the resources you need; Week 4. Take classes and workshops on the various subjects of starting a business. etc.

When you break down your goals into weekly goals you begin to see the structure of it all. The same for those that want to start eating healthy, pick certain days or meals that you want to slowly start to change. Instead of eating sugary cereal in the morning, make it a point every other day to eat oatmeal or fresh fruit with an egg and juice. Then slowly build from there and see when you want to be eating healthy all the time.

4. Use Stepping Stones to the larger goal
There are many people who want to start cold turkey and go strong the first couple of days. The problem with this method is that you are going full steam with a body that is not conditioned to the new methods so it wants to give up right away. The way to get around this is to prepare yourself with getting into the habit of doing the same thing and see if it is something you can handle.

You want to start a business and think you can handle the daily requirements? Start a blog and see if you can deal with writing everyday and keeping up with the demand that a blog requires. This works also for those that want to write a book. The act of sitting down and writing everyday matches with the same demands a business requires, the only difference is that if you find that you can not handle the blog after three weeks you can shut it down and delete it; a business is very different once you start selling, taking people’s money and personal information because all of these have legal and IRS issues that you have to take care of in the long run. If you find that handling a blog is too hard then at least you can avoid a major headache with trying to run a business.

5. Your social life also has a big influence on your resolutions
There are plenty of studies to show that who you hang out with and spend your time talking to has a big influence on what it is you want to accomplish in life. The social influence effect of groups has a big motivating factor in how far you reach your goal. Women who are overweight that join a gym together and eat together have a higher chance of reaching their goals if they maintain their regular schedule. When one lady sees another losing weight it motivates them to try harder because they know that if they do not lose weight then it will feel bad to be around people who are reaching their goals and you are not.

Want to start a company? Join startup groups that bring similar minded individuals together?

Want to write a book? Join a writing group that forces you to sit down and write with no excuse.

Want to learn how to do woodworking? Join a group that will teach you how to get started right away?

Want to travel more? Join a group that takes day trips in their area.

If you can not find any then start one yourself and post it on a social network and build from there. Meetup.com is a billion company based on the idea bringing similar minded individuals together for a single purpose because they knew the potential connecting people had. Mark Zuckerberg took advantage of his social network by asking his users to tell him what his new year’s resolutions should be.

If you get stuck, join a group right away to get unstuck! Ask for help and ideas from other people. This is very important when you feel your resolutions are hard to achieve. Don’t wait for anyone to motivate you, you have to get going and out that door and doing something. Stay activate for as long as you possible can and never ever stop learning and growing as a person.

Getting Unstuck in Life
We all get stuck, it’s part of life but getting unstuck is hard for many. That is why you need to constantly be looking for new ways to grow. Here is a list of things I have put together that will inspire you to create some amazing new year’s resolutions. Your list should include at LEAST 20 items because when broken out among the year comes out to a reasonable number.

Do you need help on what to include on your resolution list or wish list or bucket list?
Check out the site Bucketlist.org where you can get ideas, get inspiration from others, and work on making your wishes come true by seeing how other people achieved their goals. Movies like The Bucket List and Everybody’s FIne are also inspiring films to watch, including About Schmitt.

Maybe you have lost your sense of wonder and need reminding about how great life is. That happens, and when Neil Pasricha lost some of the most important things in his life he turned to creating a blog, that has since gone on to win him many awards and being asked to give a TED talk that has since gone on to inspire more people. He created the now famous 1000 Awesome Things Blog, which he still updates to his day. He even has a book now from his blog and has gone on to do more motivating talks and his blog even has its own wikipedia page.

There are many lists out there about what you should do based on some of the popular resolutions like the one you read at the beginning of this article. I am always on the look out for unique bucket lists and came across a few. One that I like is this guy’s bucket list, the same one who did the 5 minute time lapse from when he went around the world.

Here are some lists to pick and choose from so you can get inspired about what you want to accomplish this year.

27 Surreal Places to Visit in the world before you die

101 Things to Do before you Die

Maybe some of these are too far to visit and can not afford the trip. Use a site like Trevolta to crowdfund your trip anywhere in the world. If you just want to start small then here is a great list of places to visit in Austin if you want to get out more. There is one item they did not mention that needs to be on the list and that is Stubb’s Gospel Brunch buffet. It is every sunday from 10:30 to 12:30 pm downtown.

So if you want to write a book, learn about Amazon’s Kindle Directing Publishing.

You want to become a programmer and software developer then sign up for codeacademy and practice everyday.

You want to go back to school without paying any tuition then sign up for opencourseware and coursera and udemy. You can even download the apps on your mobile device to take with you where you go.

Maybe you just want an all around education then sign up for Khanacademy.

While your at it think about learning a new language with Duolingo.

Or maybe you just want to watch good movies and read quality books, a free public library card is all you need then to accomplish that.

All these options are free to use and learn from so it is only a matter of self-discipline of following through with the work. An hour a day from each one will have a huge impact in three months. Imagine all that you will have accomplished if you just make the time.

The options are plenty so look around and make sure the goals you set for the year are worth your time and effort in the end. I might even share my wish lists on this blog later on.

Happy New Years!

Make It a Good One

Are you Getting Ready for next year?

Just one more day before the New Year starts so before you start putting away all the holiday fixtures around your house and putting up the New Year’s Banners and wearing the party hats, have you started to figure out some of the things you want to change and start doing more or less of next year?

Starting a new year is a very personal subjective feeling that is grounded first in emotion and then built up with reason. You first have to be aware of something before you can start doing something about it. Once you know what that something is you can then start doing something to “fix” it.

I will be writing more in the coming days about what all you need to know if you want the start of the new year to be great. But first I want to say that failure LOVES company, if it were a person, he’d be that neighbor from the movie Extract that you just can’t quite shake, even if you tell them how much you hate them, he still won’t understand what you mean and will think the best solution would be to get together and talk about it.

You need to know that half the things you will want to change and do have a high risk of failure so once you are ready for that you can slowly work on making sure that doesn’t happen, so starting small is a good way to begin the new year. For example, instead of saying, “I plan on climbing Mount Everest,” having never climbed a mountain before, is probably a bad goal to set, so start with, “I’m going to climb Mt. Bonnell,” and then see if you can accomplish that.

In the coming year you will need something to get your name out there more. People ask for them all the time and they are nice to have, if people, ever used them right, so if you enjoy carrying them around then make sure you have a stack of them, in a nice case, ready to hand out.

Right now Vistaprint has a deal where if you buy 500 cards, you pay ten dollars. There is also another deal for economy cards where if you buy 100 cards you pay 5 dollars. The nice thing about this site is that they provide all kinds of cards for you to select from. You can even upload your own logo (highly recommended) and put it on an existing template that they offer. In order to take advantage of the 500 cards you just have to enter promo code TV500. If you plan on getting that many cards just make sure that the design you pick up is good for all occasions.

Vista print also has cards for specific purposes as well, including, Networking Cards (starting at $16), Personal Business cards (starting at $8), and Parent Cards (starting at $8). Make sure to look around before you decide on what card you want printed. Vista Print provides a service on their website where you can browse the many templates they offer and then customize it with any design and information you want on the card. Just be sure to apply the promo code at the end or before.

Your card says a lot about you so make sure you design one that stands out. If you are having trouble coming up with business card ideas then click on this link for some ideas or this link for more cool ideas that other people have done.


The new year comes with all kinds of inspiration and there is plenty to be found in this amazing world so the next time you feel like your life is not going anywhere or you think that you have nothing to offer people, watch this video below to learn how a cat who is blind helps other cats and people learn to appreciate this wonderful world.

People need help in all kinds of ways and you never know where you will be inspired next. That inspiration might come in the form of a nature hike, but what about a hike with someone who can not see everything but can only experience it through smells, sensations, and touch. You begin to appreciate the gifts you do have and work to help one another. When one person is blind and the other is deaf then that pair can have a tremendous beneficial effect on each other, or as this movie showed us, a hilarious outcome.

I hope Honey Bee has inspired you a little to appreciate the gifts you have to share with those around you and that, no matter what handicap we have, or give ourselves, we still can help others. I will leave you with a quote from a famous person who was not only blind but handicapped in many ways but went on to achieve many things.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller