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Carve Your Own Digital Pumpkin
by On October 31, 2008

Check out this cool site where you can carve a Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkin on your screen! 

Click “done” and a candle will be lit inside it

http://www.toilette-humor.com/slash/carve_pumpkin.swf

Happy Halloween 🙂

Riddle Me This
by On October 30, 2008

I ran across this riddle and thought I’d pass it on. I was going to write a debrief about the answer to the riddle, but thought the impact may be greater if you thought about it yourself. I will post the answer in the next few weeks. In the meantime I would love to hear who you think it is. I’ll come back and fill you in on the correct answer with the debrief…

PS – there is no prize for the correct answer, BUT once you know the answer it will change your life.

Here is your riddle:

I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am at your command.
Half of the tasks that you do you might just as well
Turn over to me and I will do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed,
You must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done;
After a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people and
Alas of all failures as well.
Those who are great I have made great,
Those who are failures I have made failures.

I am not a machine, but I work with all the precision
Of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.
Now you may run me for profit or
You may run me for ruin.
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me,
And I will lay the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?
____________________________________

Post your answer below

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

Riddle Me This
by On October 30, 2008

I ran across this riddle and thought I’d pass it on. I was going to write a debrief about the answer to the riddle, but thought the impact may be greater if you thought about it yourself. I will post the answer in the next few weeks. In the meantime I would love to hear who you think it is. I’ll come back and fill you in on the correct answer with the debrief…

PS – there is no prize for the correct answer, BUT once you know the answer it will change your life.

Here is your riddle:

I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am at your command.
Half of the tasks that you do you might just as well
Turn over to me and I will do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed,
You must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done;
After a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people and
Alas of all failures as well.
Those who are great I have made great,
Those who are failures I have made failures.

I am not a machine, but I work with all the precision
Of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.
Now you may run me for profit or
You may run me for ruin.
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me,
And I will lay the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?
____________________________________

Post your answer below

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

How Encouragement Can Super Power Up Your Organization
by On October 29, 2008

Have you ever wondered why some groups of people not only consistently win, but consistently dominate? I like to call these teams, groups of people or organizations “Super Powered.” What common traits do these groups exhibit?

First, Super Powered groups are encouraging. The dictionary defines encouraging as: 1) To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten 2) To give support to; foster and 3) To stimulate

Everyday, you and I face situations where we have an internal battle with encouragement. We observed, assess, and design our own capability and worthiness based on our own experience in self thought. Further, whether we do or do not attempt, accomplish, or succeeded in something is often determined in our mind.

In Super Powered organization though, these thoughts and decisions move outside of the individual to the medium of group encouragement. The power of that encouragement within a group enhances the power of the individual taking their capabilities from a four cylinder engine to a Supercharged V8.

For example, studies continuously show that verbal encouragement is one of the top factors in successful parenting. Kids, who were encouraged to read, read. Kids, who were encouraged to try harder, do so. Kids, who were encouraged in their school for athletics tend to excel.

The reason in encouragement’s power is that it is intensely contagious. Those who are encouraged will encourage others and themselves. They will provide the extra efforts that inspire a coworker and will learn how to put themselves over the edge with more confidence self talk.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was casually going about my business at home working in the kitchen. In the other room my three kids is have a portable hopscotch game with interlocking foam rubber pieces. My heart warmed when I heard a one child after another take their turn and the other children say things like “great job!”, “Wow, you are really at that!”, “Try it this way, you can do it!”

Hearing verbal encouragement from my children to one an other further encouraged me that my example and commitment of verbal encouragement was having an impact. That is it is helping build a Super Powered family.

In the same way, your commitment to encouraging those in your organization will move you down that same path. So, let me close by encouraging you to be an encourager. As soon as you are done reading this article, I want to list three people in your organization that you can verbally encourage today and make a point to do it right away.  Tell me who you encouraged and how it went by posting a comment below.

Be Free!

Blaine Halverson

Studying without Feedback Increases Anxiety During Exams
by On October 28, 2008

By Robert Seiler of College-Study-SKills.com

How can you tell how effectively you’re studying?What I’m about to tell you can really turn your grades around if you can get your head around it. Don’t pass it off as something simple and perhaps not worth thinking about because I believe it’s one of the easiest ways to improve your grades if you bother to make it a part of how you study.

Before I tell you what it is I want to ask you a question. 

Let’s say there are two music students who want to learn the piano but one of them is unfortunately deaf. Which student do you think will be able to learn to play piano faster and better?

I don’t play piano but I would assume the deaf student would have a lot of difficulty learning to play at all. You may say that it’s obvious that if you can’t hear the notes you’re playing, you will have a lot of difficulty learning to play piano, but what’s this got to do with how you study for your exams?

Well… imagine that studying is like learning to play a piano, but, like the deaf music student who can’t hear how well they’re playing and don’t know they’re hitting all those wrong notes, you don’t know how well you’re studying.

Let’s take this a little further. If the deaf music student spent a whole year learning to play piano but wasn’t able to hear any of the music supposedly learnt during that time, how well do you think they would play in the concert at the end of the year compared to the student who had no hearing problem?

If you’re studying the whole year for those exams at the end of the year and you have no idea whether you’re actually learning anything (making music), then how are you going to feel when you go into the exam to perform for the examiners? Pretty nervous I would say. Perhaps a sick feeling in your stomach, or self talk like ‘I don’t know anything’ or ‘my mind has gone blank’ etc. Am I hitting a few familiar notes
here?

In contrast, how would another student feel who knew for sure that they understood and remembered everything they’ve been studying during the year? How could this be possible you’re probably asking.

Let me explain… What’s the difference between the two students in each of the previous examples? In one word it’s called… FEEDBACK

When I was putting together my own personal study system, I came up with five different ways of learning. One of the most important of these was feedback. It’s one of the natural ways we learn, not just when we’re at school, college and university, but in all aspects of our lives, from our professional lives to playing sport.

Feedback is defined as the return of a portion of the output of any process or system, to the input.

In other words, it tells you how you’re going and is extremely important in learning. In a sport such as tennis for example, this return of output comes from a number of sources, some of which are:

-your tennis coach
-the scoreboard
-the spectators and
-your own observations of how you’re playing the game.

In music, eg playing the piano, you get instant feedback when you hear a wrong note. The importance of feedback in learning is obvious if you try to learn the piano with ear-plugs in your ears!

In the sport of study, when do we get a chance to obtain feedback… in the exam when it’s too late. I admit that some feedback is given in tutorials and assignments, but this only goes to show how important it is and that there should be more of it.

We need feedback for a number of reasons:

1. It gives us a way of measuring our progress.
2. It tells us whether were studying enough.
3. It convinces us of what we know which gives us confidence that we’re studying effectively.
4. It tells us what we don’t know, thus identifying areas which need more time spent on them and those
    which have already been learned and dont need more time wasted on them.
5. It helps us improve.
6. It gives us encouragement, satisfaction and motivation by allowing us to see the results of our efforts.

Feedback is extremely important when it comes to fear and anxiety which occur often before and during exams. They usually arise from the unknown, in this case not knowing what’s in the exam and also not knowing whether you have in fact learnt and remembered all the information necessary for the exam.

As for not knowing whether you’ve actually learnt and understood all your study material, any method you decide to use for studying effectively should continuously provide you with feedback on the effectiveness of your study. By reducing the unknown in this way, the fear and anxiety which accompany exams will be reduced, thus increasing confidence and performance.

Theres nothing more reinforcing when you study than knowing that you’ve learnt all the material that you’ve spent so much time trying to absorb.

Feedback has been described as the breakfast of champions. So whatever you do… make sure that the study system you use provides you with lots of feedback. Does your current study system drown you with feedback? If not, make sure you get one that does.

Article written by Robert Seiler of College-Study-SKills.com

Robert Seiler is a graduate of two Australian universities.  After a failure in his first degree, he developed his own study system which he used in his second degree with spectacular results. He won a scholarship, was awarded a university prize for best performance in a final year subject, managed As in his subjects, and received a degree with honours. Learn how he did it at College-Study-SKills.com

Dump Your Sales Slump
by On October 27, 2008

Have you ever experienced a slump? You know what I mean. You used to be so good at doing something…perhaps hitting a golf ball or a baseball. Perhaps you used to be at the top of your field in your profession, but the creative solutions just aren’t coming like they used to. Or maybe you were number 1 in your sales organization, but lately you just don’t seem to be getting the same results. It’s called a slump.

If you are in this scenario, I just want you to know a few things.

First, you aren’t crazy, there’s nothing wrong with you, and you are not alone. This kind of thing happens to almost everyone at one time or another. Even the best.

Second, although it’s tempting to blame your slump on all kinds of external circumstances, the fact is the essential difference is you. The market hasn’t gotten tougher. Your clients have not become really changed.
Your slump is the result of your actions. It could be external behavior (such as making presentations, or swinging your bat) or your internal behavior (negative thoughts and pictures that you replay in your mind).
The secret to getting out of your slump lies in identifying the behavior that is causing your difficulties, and then correcting your current behavior. It may not be easy, but it’s really that simple.

Third, although being in a slump is frustrating, scary, and just plain no fun, it need not be permanent. Here’s the real deal…you have been there before. You can be there again.

TAKE HEART. Have courage you can dump the slump.

Be Free!

This article was written by David Denis owner of http://www.rocksolidwriting.com

David is a freelance writer for hire offering article writing, sales letters, training manuals, speech writing, seo content, sales writing, blog articles, copy-writing service, sales scripts and business name ideas.

To learn more, or request a quote visit http://www.rocksolidwriting.com/freelance-writer-quote

Reading – The Best 15 Minutes You will Ever Invest
by On October 24, 2008

View Freedom Personal Development’s Recommended Reading List

I recently was made aware of two comparative statistics that I thought you might find extremely valuable. I learned that the average American reads less than 2 books per year, one and a half to be exact, with almost two thirds of those going unfinished. On the whole, Americans have lost the habit of reading good books.

There is a notable exception, however. CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies read, on average, roughly FOUR BOOKS PER WEEK! That equates to about 200 times the average for the rest of America, and I can guarantee that the vast majority of those books are good, meaty stuff that causes them to think about their business and/or their Life in a very healthy way.

Now I am not saying that you yourself need to start reading 4 books a week, but I will tell you this, I have personally seen that there is a direct and positive correlation between the amount of good reading an individual does and their influence and income. Unquestionably, the most life-changing habit you can develop is to systematically read good books.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones coined the phrase that “Leaders are always Readers”. Our friend Brian Tracy has seen it happen many times where an individual went from zero to 30 minutes a day of good reading and saw their income double, and we’ve seen it too. If you do not currently make positive reading a regular part of your life- DO SO IMMEDIATELY!!!! Along with changing who you spend your time with, it is absolutely the most powerful way to change your life for the better.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that you need to work, spend time with your family and engage in all the great activities that you engage in, and you should. You don’t need to become a full time student or some kind of hermit bookworm crazy person. All you need is 15 minutes a day, preferably right in the beginning or right at the end of that day.

And don’t give me any crap about not having 15 minutes a day.  If I followed you around for one day, I’d bet $1000 that I could find a whole hour that could be better spent reading and you wouldn’t even miss it. Watching TV, surfing the internet, eating lunch, just zoning out, the list goes on and on.  I dare you to take just 15 minutes out of those kinds of activities each day and invest it in a good book. I promise that over a very short period of time, you’ll find it’s the best 15 minutes of your entire day.

Be Free!

Roger Seip
Instructor

PS – I would love to hear your book recommendations – post a comment below. 

Here are some of our favorites: Freedom Personal Development’s Recommended Reading List

26% Off How to Master Your Time by Brian Tracy
by On October 23, 2008

List Price $79.95 ~ Your Price $59 ~ Order Now! ~ Offer good through October 30, 2008

Those who get more done in less time get more out of life . . . more rewards, more success, and more free time to pursue their dreams and enjoy themselves.In fact, you’ll discover from success expert Brian Tracy, that “the quality of your life is largely determined by the quality of your time management.”

You don’t have to be cold and calculating to be well organized. Time mastery does not mean letting the clock rule your life. In fact, the very opposite is true: time mastery gives you the absolute freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it. Ironically, you even learn to make time for spontaneity. The more time you make for yourself, the more free time you’ll have.

Unlike many programs on time management, How to Master Your Time has no charts, no forms, no daily schedules. Tracy believes in them but knows you are quite capable of developing them for yourself. His purpose in this program is to teach you the philosophy of time management, to help you internalize it, and to help you develop a belief system that will make your every moment more efficient.

As Tracy puts it:
“This program is the result of 20 years of experience-of research and teaching with more than 200 corporations. I designed this program to give you everything you will ever need to know about mastering your time for your personal life and career.”

You’ll make a decision to become excellent at time management . . . to concentrate on the highest pay-off tasks. Your life will simply begin to work better.

Through listening to these CDs, you’ll learn to:

  • Use positive self-talk and affirmations to change your self-conceptions about time
  • Visualize efficiency and excellence using mental rehearsal techniques
  • Model your own behavior after the most efficient people you know
  • Learn to lead others as an example of successful time management
  • Become results-oriented, working smarter, not harder
  • Delegate more effectively and become more adept at prioritizing
  • Energize yourself with the positive results of your labor

By becoming a master of your time, you’ll greatly improve the sense of control you have and in turn improve your well-being in every aspect of your life.

Remember, time is your most precious and perishable asset. You can begin investing it more wisely by listening to these tapes and putting their wisdom to use. Start today!

6 CDs

List Price $79.95 ~ Your Price $59 ~ Order Now! ~ Offer good through October 30, 2008

Book Review – Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion
by On October 22, 2008

Dr. Robert Ciadini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is an enjoyable read with colorful examples throughout.  The book focuses on six “Weapons of Influence.”

The first, Reciprocation, is about how people tend to return a favor. Ciadini uses examples of how people are more likely to buy after being given a free sample, and how you can identify these marketing techniques properly and say no to them.

The second weapon is Commitment and Consistency. It states that once a person is committed to an action or goal, either orally or in writing, that they are likely to follow through in their commitment even after enthusiasm wanes. Ciadini sites interesting examples of how prisoners of war were forced to write pro communist essays to attempt to make them more sympathetic to Communism. He states that written testaments are effective in bringing about genuine personal change because they can easily be make public.

The third weapon is Social Proof and it states people will do things that they see other people doing. Ciadini talks about how laugh tracks are inserted into sitcoms to encourage the audience and direct them to the points in the show they should laugh at. He also talks about how people are unlikely to help a stranger in distress unless they see other people helping. Ciadini then gives advice on how we can identify when social proof is incorrect.

The fourth Weapon of Influence is Authority. This focuses on how people tend to obey authority figures even if they are asked to perform objectionable tasks. Ciadini uses a great example of how an experiment was performed where a person was giving what they thought was a test subject electric shocks. More times than not the person administering the shocks would continue to do so at the orders of a lab coat wearing scientist even when the test subject was screaming in pain and begging them to stop.

The fifth weapon Ciadini cites is Liking aka tThe friendly thief. This section talks about how people are easily persuaded by other people that they like. He uses examples of viral marketing, the physical attractiveness of a sales person, and even Tupperware parties.

The sixth weapon is Scarcity. Ciadini talks about how saying products are available for a “limited time only” can increase desire and demand for that product.

By the end of the book I almost had the impression that Dr. Ciadini was in favor of using these “Weapons of Influence” which seemed more like “Weapons of Deception.” However, he goes full circle at the very end by stating that we are at war with profiteers who are exploiting these six weapons. In all, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion was very technical in its definitions, but very entertaining in it’s examples. A fun read with content everyone can relate to.

Reviewed by Mike Emrick

Your Answer Reflex – How it can Help Durning Exams
by On October 21, 2008

By Robert Seiler of College-Study-SKills.com

Have you ever touched a hot iron and then pulled your hand away really quickly to avoid getting burned? Did you have to think to yourself, “Gee! – this iron is hot – I better not touch it any longer because it’ll probably cause a really bad burn on my hand.”  The answer is obviously NO!  You wouldn’t have had any time to think about what you should do and pulling your hand away is automatic.

It’s what we call a ‘reflex’ action. It doesn’t involve much, if any, thinking because by the time you think about it, it’s too late.

Let’s lighten up a little and investigate another situation where reflexes are important but a little thinking is involved. If you’ve ever played tennis, or most other ball sports, you’ll know that it’s important to think quickly because the ball can move very fast. However, if you just stand there and think for too long, the moment is over, the ball moves past you, and you’ve lost the point. The reflex was too slow.

The reason you practice so much in tennis, or any other sport, is to train your reflexes to the point where you almost don’t have to think at all. When your opponent serves to you at over 100 kph you react in a millisecond and hit the ball back for a winner. Your brain virtually has no time to think about what you’ll do. It happens automatically.

Now you’re probably saying ‘what does this have to do with getting A’s in my exams?’

Imagine that when someone hits a ball to you in a game of tennis, it’s like being asked a question in the exam. Returning the ball is like giving an answer. Someone hitting the ball to you, or asking you a
question in the exam, is called a stimulus. Returning the ball, or answering the exam question, is called a response.

What do we normally call the combination of a stimulus and a response? It’s called a reflex. A reflex is the response to a stimulus. In the example of the hot iron, the incredible heat is the stimulus and pulling your hand away really quickly is the response. In this case the reflex doesn’t have to be trained at all because the body is already programmed to react to protect itself from injury.

Some reflexes however have to be learned before they become automatic. That’s why we practice our sports so much – to train our reflexes to minimize the amount of thinking we have to do. There is so little time to think.

In exams, the same situation exists. You have a limited time (several hours) to respond (give answers) to lots of stimuli (exam questions). I invented the term ‘question / answer reflex’ to describe this situation. Once again, as in our previous examples, if you take too long to respond to the stimulus (answer the question) then you’ll probably fail at what you’re doing.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to train the ‘question / answer reflex’ so you could react much faster in the exam? Whenever a question is asked, you react at lightning speed with the answer, almost like touching a hot iron and pulling your hand away. As soon as a question is fired at you in the exam, your mental reflexes are so well trained that your answer responds immediately. You hardly even have to think.  All the thinking has already been done in your pre-exam training and your answer is virtually automatic!

Doesn’t it also make sense if information in exams is expected to ‘come out’ in a question / answer format, that it should ‘go in’ in much the same way? Would you train for a tennis match by hitting a baseball with a bat? Then why do students train for exams by highlighting and underlining notes? Wouldn’t it make more sense to train for exams using the same system you use in the exam ie questions and answers?

Now go and work on your ‘question / answer reflex’.

Article written by Robert Seiler of College-Study-SKills.com

Robert Seiler is a graduate of two Australian universities.  After a failure in his first degree, he developed his own study system which he used in his second degree with spectacular results. He won a scholarship, was awarded a university prize for best performance in a final year subject, managed As in his subjects, and received a degree with honours. Learn how he did it at College-Study-SKills.com