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People Like Doing Business with Friends
by On April 30, 2009

A few months ago, I was catching some waves in the wave pool at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas when I met an interesting guy who was doing the same.  We were kicking back, catching some waves, and learning the best way to catch the waves so you could ride them all the way into the beach.

As we talked, we realize that we were both from the Midwest and have many things in common.  In particular our laid back attitude and approach to life was similar and, In short, a friendship was born.  This friendship has gone on to become an awesome business relationship as well.

Why is it that so many of the best business deals are forged on the golf course or at the ball game? It is because it is not a sales pitch or a sale technique that is driving the deal. It is a friendship and common interests, a common bond or a way of relating to another person that goes deeper than any technique ever could. It is pure and unmotivated by personal interest or agendas. Just two people connecting on a variety of levels that ultimately leads to really listening and caring about the other person because of that connection.

Now it occurs to me that the very best business deals are created with people who like us and connect with us the same way that we do with our friends. When you talk to your friend at a party or a social event about what you do, there is generally no sale that you are trying to make or a hidden agenda. Ironically, it is the same reason that people who might ever need for what you sell that will ultimately take your card and contact you soon after.

When you are making cold calls, imagine you are calling to connect with an old friend.  You will be more relaxed and your tone of voice will show that.  It is easier to become excited about what you are selling when you aren’t calling to make a sale but rather to help a friend.

When you pursue, it often eludes you. But when you relax and let it happen, it falls in your lap. So when it comes to sales, a great idea will be to relax and let it happen. Focus on friendships, not sales techniques. Do not push people, pull them along with your own enthusiasm about what you do. In particular, spend a majority of your time getting to know people and making as many friends as you possibly can. Connect with them on many levels. There is something about everyone in the world that is interesting or that we can relate to if given a half a chance. Become a better friend to others and the business will take care of itself.

Be Free!

Ken Budka

4 Steps to Create Sales Incentives to Hit Your Goals
by On April 28, 2009

Why wait for your manager to cook up contests, rewards and incentives? Keep your business fresh and exciting by creating your own fun and games.

If you are like me, you take great pride in being paid on commission and wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes, the regular commission plan is not enough to keep the old fire of desire red hot and ready.

Just as your muscles adapt to your regular training routine and need changing stimuli to keep up the training effect. The human psyche also adapts. So juice up your work with a little extra challenge.

Set up a short term contest for yourself. Just as some companies might offer a cash spiff or dinner and a show for hitting a sales quota, you simply set up a similar arrangement for yourself, based on your goals. The incentive program you create for yourself can be WAY more effective than anything your manager could set up for you.

  1. First, when you set your business goals, mentally tie them into your highest purpose, values and desires. In doing this you pour gallons of the highest octane fuel into your internal motivation engine.
  2. Then, by setting up interim rewards for hitting important milestones along the way, you are shooting boosts of nitrous oxide into your fuel system – a little extra turbo charge to keep the trip interesting.
  3. Now break your goal plan into small chunks. For each smaller goal assign yourself little rewards. These rewards may be as simple as treating yourself to an ice cream cone or they may involve more complex and expensive things. Perhaps you will buy that pair of shoes you have been wanting, or that new electronic gadget. Whatever it is, make it something you really want, and you really enjoy.
  4. If possible set aside the money for your reward in a special account ahead of time. Then resolve not to indulge in your chosen reward until you have achieved your goal. You may want to enlist the help of someone else to act as your accountability partner. Many of us find ourselves more responsive to external accountability than we are to merely being accountable to ourselves.

Now go to work, and when you achieve the goal, then celebrate. Enjoy yourself!

Be Free!

This article was written by David Denis owner of

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

Memory Training Helps with Remembering Names
by On April 27, 2009

I recently received this email from a client that attended one of our Memory Training Workshops.  I just love hearing success stories from our graduates and wanted to share it with our blog readers.  If you have a memory training success story to share, send me an email at or post a comment below. 
Dear Eric,

I cannot begin to tell you how good I am getting with names.

I was at the orthodontist last week for my invisilign and was telling the two gals who were working on me about the class. I just happened to look at their badges for the first time and acknowledged them. One was Marrianna, and I immediately thought of Marriachia’s, and the other was Mallory, and I thought of Duck. I will never forget their names. I look forward to my next appointment and greeting them with their names at first sight.

I was so excited when I left and shared it with my husband Raleigh. The next day we passed a man who commented on our dog, his name was Marvin. I immediately tagged it to my father’s middle name, and could spot that man again anywhere. He served in W.W.II.

I know that you hear this allot, however, I am getting it quickly. Raleigh and I review the list of 20 that you gave us at the beginning of class [the tree list] for fun, and I still get caught on the same two numbers. I am sure it is because I am not a dice person, and although I am a good golfer, I never refer to the 19th hole as the drinking spot. I only think of 18 holes of golf. I am not a drinker. I am working on that one. I have not put a list on my body yet, but I do review the parts.

Thank you again for such a wonderful experience. I look forward to seeing you in another class.

Leslie D.
Hi Leslie,

It is wonderful to hear from you, and THANK YOU for sharing your success stories!
One thing you might try on the list of 20 is to change your picture for 7 and for 19.  If you can think of a different picture that better associates with those numbers that you are having trouble with – you might simply change them.  For example, some people use a spider instead of a skate for 8 some people use a drivers license instead of candy for 16.  I will let you see if anything works better for you for 7 and 19.
Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg

PS – If you want help with images for names, check out our free Name Search

Gratitude with Conan O'Brien and Comedian Louis CK – Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy
by On April 24, 2009


In this hilarious clip from the Conan O’Brien Show, comedian CK Lewis puts modern day life in perspective.  Even in these hard economic times, we live in an AMAZING world and the frustrations of day to day living are really a luxury.  

This clip made me think, made me grateful for technology and maybe most importantly, made me laugh out loud!

Be Free!

Salesperson's Magic Bullet – 4 Ways to Smile When You Talk
by On April 23, 2009

I was driving around last week listening to a guy named Andy Andrews in my car, and he said something that hit me right between the eyes.  Mr. Andrews (author of the book The Traveler’s Gift) was saying that if he was allowed only 1 minute on stage and one thing to say that would change someone’s life, it would be an easy decision for him to know what to cover. He said his advice would be to:


That’s it- crazy, huh? Seems so simple, but it’s such a common denominator. Listen to people you are on the phone with, you can literally HEAR THEM SMILING WHILE THEY’RE TALKING.  I guarantee they are having a more productive and successful day than the person who is NOT smiling.  As for these people, you can hear the corners of the mouth turned down and just feel the energy being shut down.

Smile while you talk- if there is a magical sales bullet when you are making cold calls, this is as close as it gets. 

Brian Tracy even says that “the most powerful thing a salesperson can do is to be walking into a meeting with a smile just leaving their lips.” Sometimes finding and keeping that true smile is harder to do than other times, but that’s OK.

So how can you do this? 

  1. Use a Mirror 
    This is a practical physical step and can be useful to check yourself, especially when making sales calls on the phone.
  2. Live a Life of Gratitude
    A forced smile is sometimes better than no smile, but clearly the nuclear bomb of persuasion is a sincere smile that comes from within.  Being thankful for the things in your life allows you to “not sweat the small stuff.”
  3. Honest Communication with a Coach
    Sitting down and just letting someone know what’s really going on inside is usually incredibly liberating. If you are honest and let off a little steam, you will feel lighter after the talk and see better results immediately. I’m not talking about just bitching to anyone who’ll listen (one of the UNhealthiest things you can do), but a proper airing of the soul with someone who can help.
  4. Gratitude Lists – as part of your everyday routine
    Practicing gratitude is helpful even when we do it just once, but it’s AMAZING when we make it a habit. By really appreciating yourself, your Life and the people you interact with daily, you find you smile so fast and so strong it will make your head spin. I dare you to try it out.

I imagine there are lots of other ideas that haven’t been mentioned, and I would love to see yours posted below. I hope you have a wonderful week- find your smile and good things will find you.

Be Free!

Roger Seip

Happy Earth Day – Strange But True Facts About the Earth
by On April 22, 2009

Today is Earth Day!  Started on April 22, 1970, Earth Day marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement. 

Today, millions of people worldwide come together to observe the need to protect the earth.

In celebration of Earth Day, we found some interesting facts about the planet we call home. 

Crazy, Wacky and Strange But True Facts about Planet Earth

  • The U.S. Geological Survey says at least 1,000 million grams of space dust, or roughly 1,000 tons of material, enters the atmosphere every year and makes its way to Earths surface.
  • In 1783 an Icelandic eruption threw up enough dust to temporarily block out the sun over Europe.
  • The world’s deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1557 in central China. It struck a region where most people lived in caves carved from soft rock. The dwellings collapsed, killing an estimated 830,000 people.
  • About 20 to 30 volcanoes erupt each year, mostly under the sea.
  • The distance from the surface of Earth to the center is about 3,963 miles (6,378 kilometers).
  • A huge underground river runs underneath the Nile, with six times more water than the river above.
  • Beaver Lake, in Yellowstone Park, USA, was artificially created by beaver damming.
  • Off the coast of Florida there is an underwater hotel. Guests have to dive to the entrance.
  • Venice in Italy is built on 118 sea islets joined by 400 bridges. It is gradually sinking into the water.
  • The Ancient Egyptians worshipped a sky goddess called Nut.
  • In 1934, a gust of wind reached 371 km/h on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA.
  • Every second lighting strikes the earth about 100 times.
  • American Roy Sullivan has been struck by lighting a record seven times.
  • The oldest living tree is 4600 years old.
  • The fastest growing tree is the eucalyptus. It can grow 10 meters a year.
  • The USA uses 29% of the world’s petrol and 33% of the world’s electricity.
  • Tibet is the highest country in the world. Its average height above sea level is 4500 meters.
  • The oldest mountains in the world are the Highlands in Scotland. They are estimated to be about 400 million years old.
  • Fresh water from the River Amazon can be found up to 180 km out to sea.
  • There is no land at all at the North Pole, only ice on top of sea.
  • A mud flow can reach speeds excess of 100 mph (160 kph).

Be Free and Be Green!

These strange and wacky facts about the earth were found on and

Perception: Good Luck – Bad Luck – Who Knows
by On April 21, 2009

Do you ever judge people? I know for me, there have been many times when I have judged my clients for not buying, my contact for blowing off my call, my colleagues for doing something I didn’t agree with, my spouse for not doing something I wanted, my kids for throwing their food, myself for many things…I have found that it’s not very helpful.

How about you? I get frustrated and negative. And you know what? Sometimes those things that upset or frustrated me were blessings in disguise. This brings me back to the old Chinese proverb about the farmer:

An old farmer had an old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills. When all the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was the same, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer’s son attempted to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this to be very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later the army marched into the village and gathered every able-bodied youth they found there to join the military. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg they let him off…Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

If we are doing our best and we trust that others are doing their best, we find ourselves much less judgmental.

Share some stories about where your original thought of bad luck was good luck OR where your original thought of good luck was bad luck (at least in your current perception). The more examples we have, the more examples are there to help us release our judgments and stay out of other people’s and God’s business. I look forward to reading your stories!

Be Free!

Leah Simpson

Science Explains Why it is Hard to Remember Jokes
by On April 20, 2009

This article was recently in the science section of the New York Times and explains why some things like TV jingles are easy to remember but punch lines to jokes seem to escape us.

If you are looking to improve your memory, learn about our Memory Training Workshops held around the country.
In One Ear and Out the Other
By Natalie Angier
New York Times
Published: March 16, 2009

By all accounts, my grandfather Nathan had the comic ambitions of a Jack Benny but the comic gifts of a John Kerry. Undeterred, he always kept a few blank index cards in his pocket, so that if he happened to hear a good joke, he’d have someplace to write it down.

How I wish I knew where Nathan stashed that deck.

Like many people, I can never remember a joke. I hear or read something hilarious, I laugh loudly enough to embarrass everybody else in the library, and then I instantly forget everything about it — everything except the fact, always popular around the dinner table, that “I heard a great joke today, but now I can’t remember what it was.”

For researchers who study memory, the ease with which people forget jokes is one of those quirks, those little skids on the neuronal banana peel, that end up revealing a surprising amount about the underlying architecture of memory.

And there are plenty of other similarly illuminating examples of memory’s whimsy and bad taste — like why you may forget your spouse’s birthday but will go to your deathbed remembering every word of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song. And why you must chop a string of data like a phone number into manageable and predictable chunks to remember it and will fall to pieces if you are in Britain and hear a number read out as “double-four, double-three.” And why your efforts to fill in a sudden memory lapse by asking your companions, “Hey, what was the name of that actor who starred in the movie we saw on Friday?” may well fail, because (what useless friends!) now they’ve all forgotten, too.

Welcome to the human brain, your three-pound throne of wisdom with the whoopee cushion on the seat.

In understanding human memory and its tics, Scott A. Small, a neurologist and memory researcher at Columbia, suggests the familiar analogy with computer memory.

We have our version of a buffer, he said, a short-term working memory of limited scope and fast turnover rate. We have our equivalent of a save button: the hippocampus, deep in the forebrain is essential for translating short-term memories into a more permanent form.

Our frontal lobes perform the find function, retrieving saved files to embellish as needed. And though scientists used to believe that short- and long-term memories were stored in different parts of the brain, they have discovered that what really distinguishes the lasting from the transient is how strongly the memory is engraved in the brain, and the thickness and complexity of the connections linking large populations of brain cells. The deeper the memory, the more readily and robustly an ensemble of like-minded neurons will fire.

This process, of memory formation by neuronal entrainment, helps explain why some of life’s offerings weasel in easily and then refuse to be spiked. Music, for example. “The brain has a strong propensity to organize information and perception in patterns, and music plays into that inclination,” said Michael Thaut, a professor of music and neuroscience at Colorado State University. “From an acoustical perspective, music is an overstructured language, which the brain invented and which the brain loves to hear.”

A simple melody with a simple rhythm and repetition can be a tremendous mnemonic device. “It would be a virtually impossible task for young children to memorize a sequence of 26 separate letters if you just gave it to them as a string of information,” Dr. Thaut said. But when the alphabet is set to the tune of the ABC song with its four melodic phrases, preschoolers can learn it with ease.

And what are the most insidious jingles or sitcom themes but cunning variations on twinkle twinkle ABC?

Really great jokes, on the other hand, punch the lights out of do re mi. They work not by conforming to pattern recognition routines but by subverting them. “Jokes work because they deal with the unexpected, starting in one direction and then veering off into another,” said Robert Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the author of “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.” “What makes a joke successful are the same properties that can make it difficult to remember.”

This may also explain why the jokes we tend to remember are often the most clichéd ones. A mother-in-law joke? Yes, I have the slot ready and labeled.

Memory researchers suggest additional reasons that great jokes may elude common capture. Daniel L. Schacter, a professor of psychology at Harvard and the author of “The Seven Sins of Memory,” says there is a big difference between verbatim recall of all the details of an event and gist recall of its general meaning.

“We humans are pretty good at gist recall but have difficulty with being exact,” he said. Though anecdotes can be told in broad outline, jokes live or die by nuance, precision and timing. And while emotional arousal normally enhances memory, it ends up further eroding your attention to that one killer frill. “Emotionally arousing material calls your attention to a central object,” Dr. Schacter said, “but it can make it difficult to remember peripheral details.”

As frustrating as it can be to forget something new, it’s worse to forget what you already know. Scientists refer to this as the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, when you know something but can’t spit it out, and the harder you try the more noncompliant the archives.

It’s such a virulent disorder that when you ask friends for help, you can set off so-called infectious amnesia. Behind the tying up of tongues are the too-delicate nerves of our brain’s frontal lobes and their sensitivity to anxiety and the hormones of fight or flight. The frontal lobes that rifle through stored memories and perform other higher cognitive tasks tend to shut down when the lower brain senses danger and demands that energy be shunted its way.

For that reason anxiety can be a test taker’s worst foe, and the anxiety of a pop quiz from a friend can make your frontal lobes freeze and your mind go blank. That is also why you’ll recall the frustratingly forgotten fact later that night, in the tranquility of bed.

Memories can be strengthened with time and practice, practice, practice, but if there’s one part of the system that resists improvement, it’s our buffers, the size of our working memory on which a few items can be temporarily cached. Much research suggests that we can hold in short-term memory only five to nine data chunks at a time.

The limits of working memory again encourage our pattern-mad brains, and so we strive to bunch phone numbers into digestible portions and could manage even 10-digit strings when they had area codes with predictable phrases like a middle zero or one. But with the rise of atonal phone numbers with random strings of 10 digits, memory researchers say the limits of working memory have been crossed. Got any index cards?
In One Ear and Out the Other
Natalie Angier
Published: March 16, 2009

Rare Video of Earl Nightingale – The Strangest Secret in the World
by On April 17, 2009

This rare video of Earl Nightingale was rescued from a VCR dub of the original film.

In it, Earl Nightingale retells and rerecords the highlights of his best seller, The Strangest Secret. He discusses the key to success and the key to failure… Sit back, relax, listen and open your mind to the words of wisdom from the great Earl Nightingale.

Be Free!

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn
by On April 16, 2009

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There’s an art to success! 

You don’t have to be a super-achiever or unusually creative. You don’t have to endure great obstacles. You don’t even have to do exceptional things. You just have to do ordinary things exceptionally well.

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn is the can’t-miss guide that shows you how to begin living life according to your own rules. If you feel you are behind in your dreams, start to catch up on success and attain all you want and need. Let success expert Jim Rohn teach you how to master the art of living exceptionally well!

You will learn the importance of self-education, developing new skills, and how to start your own personal success library filled with information that will make you more knowledgeable as well as more employable.

Your future is still a work of art that can be started at any moment. You will begin by following the strategies of exception living, including:

  • Four major lessons that must be mastered in life.
  • The most common self-imposed limitations and how to deal with them.
  • The foundation of a good financial strategy.
  • Three questions that can evaluate ever relationship in your life.

Jim Rohn is credited with inspiring and teaching the likes of Anthony Robbins, Les Brown, and countless others various success principles in the areas of financial independence, education, relationships, and much more!

You owe it to yourself to experience the wisdom of Jim Rohn.

6 CDs

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