Sunday, June 29, 2008

Adult Games

Naturally, Mixonian is referring to games for adults to enhance productivity and enlightenment!

Crafty Sally explains her Project Cup Game:

Last week, because I had sooooo many projects going on and I wanted to do them ALL, I wrote each one on a little piece of paper, folded it up, and put it in a cup. Every day I was so excited to get home, get my chores done, and pull a project out of that cup to work on. Each project was a reward!

When that was finished I could pull out another project. So what did I accomplish last week? I got labels made and attached to 8 quilts, made and attached hanging sleeves to 7 quilts, made a bed bench, a window pane mirror, 3 little pillows for the bed bench, 3 silverware windchimes, and finished the Sister Chicks wall hanging. That’s pretty ambitious for 5 days, don’t you think?

My project cup is now empty, but that’s not a bad thing. It simply means that I only have one thing going right now.

Christine recommends The Prosperity Game.

To increase your wealth consciousness, meaning to see the man in the moon within the realm of prosperity thinking, Christine introduced me to the Prosperity Game. It opens your mind to new possibilities and can lighten up, and enlighten up your day.

Finally, Mark's Theory of Least Attractive Job:

This theory posits that in order to avoid the least attractive job, a person will do almost anything. In his case, rather than work on his master's thesis, he completely landscaped the backyard. So, while the thesis took about a year longer than necessary, he and his family now enjoy a lovely backyard with entertaining area. I have applied this theory to get my ironing done, a task that becomes enticingly attractive compared to the alternative of the 30th day of writing about charisma.

The Mixonian game, the free drawing for a beautiful alpaca scarf ends TOMORROW. To enter this free drawing simply 1) click on the photo of the scarf to visit Caroline's alpaca website and 2) send a blank email with the word "alpaca" in the subject line to

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wonderful New Food and Wine Website

My friend Nancy has just unveiled her new website for wonderful recipes and wine suggestions:

For this week-end Nancy suggests using pineapple and beautiful ripe tomatoes to make a yummy salsa to top grilled fish.

Nancy writes:

Don’t limit this salsa just to salmon. It’s super with chicken and pork chops, too. And of course you’ll see it with bread sticks in the picture to scoop it up! I hope the picture makes you smile, as well. We had lots of fuzzy and furry visitors on our photography shoot last weekend.

Please cruise the new site. I will be adding 12 new recipes each month – and new wine reviews and articles as well. I’ll keep up the blog to let you know what I am doing – feel free to comment as well.

Thanks, Nancy for the info! I think it's time to get an early start on the week-end with a nice glass of wine.

Expand Your Awareness

Yesterday, my daughters' flight arrived from Houston almost 5 hours late. And an airport security official called to let me know that because security closed at 9, I would have to make sure I got there in time to go through security before they closed, even though the flight was not to arrive until close to midnight. The good thing is that this opportunity gave me extra time to think.

I recently learned that the Federal Express logo has an arrow in it. I had never seen it before. Now I do. And last night, on the way home, we got to see the most beautiful, exquisite moon -- it was less than a half moon, and a lovely luminous pinky orange color. Christina commented, "You know, Mom, some people can't see the man in the moon. I don't know how that can be when he's sooooo obvious." I didn't tell her, but it took me many years to see the man in the moon, and yet she's right, he is rather obvious, once you see him.

This blog is about enlightenment and I think enlightenment is almost synonymous with expanding awareness. An enlightened person can see the man in the moon.

A prosperity mentor, Peggy McColl, has taught me that increasing the level of abundance in one's life begins with an awareness of the prosperity that is already there, like the millions of books available for free at the public library, and the unlimited source of great ideas right here in this very house.

In her book, The 21 Distinctions of Wealth, she writes, "Most of us focus on what we lack and overlook our special gifts, qualities, and resources -- whether it's our creativity, our abundant love, our willingness to work hard, our excellent communication skills, our boundless enthusiasm, or some other quality or skill that has great value" (3).

Seeing opportunities for increasing your prosperity are right in front of you -- but you've got to be able to see them.

If you can't see the moon, ask yourself what could be blocking your vision. If you want other changes in your life, ask yourself why you aren't seeing opportunities -- to invest, to save, to learn, to experience. Or, you could ask the man in the moon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Thing At a Time

It's a multitasking world, even if multitasking doesn't quite work as well as we sometimes think. We make some progress on the issue at work, and get home to a messy house. We get the house clean, or cleanER, and realize we haven't done any exercise. And you get out an exercise, and realize you're too exhausted to even carry on a semi-coherent conversation.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, take 15 minutes, MINIMUM, and do the following. Set the timer on your cell phone for 15 or 20 minutes, turn off the ringer, find a place and go do nothing for the duration.

After, and only after this task is done, if you're feeling like you're not making progress like you'd like to, write down all the projects floating in your head, all the to-do's that are distracting you. Choose one and only one thing to do and do it.

The rest will get done. The world is (probably) not going to end. Do one thing at a time, and it will all get done. Mixonian promises.

When you're not sure what to do, ask yourself what is one thing that will move you closer to an important objective. One thing that brings you closer, not that it necessarily gets that goal accomplished. Mixonian promotes baby steps.

Don't forget to do something to pamper yourself. Most of the time, other people don't pamper us, that's our job. Don't leave that one undone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Take Care with Email Rhetoric

I personally know of 2 marriages whose demise was catalyzed by the mis-interpretation of email messages. One of those was mine, so I have valuable experience with this issue.

One of the maxims of communication studies is that in any message, the actual words we use account for only 7 percent of what is transmitted. Now whether or not this is entirely accurate remains an open question, I mean how can you quantify it down to exactly 7 percent? (The rhetoric of statistics is material for a different post.) But, the proportion does resonate.Think about how many times you've said, or thought, "it wasn't what he said, it was the way he said it."

So, when trafficking in email, you're using a communication medium that leaves out a full 93 percent of the message. The vast majority of the message is omitted, and you're reading the little bit that's left, the words.

No wonder some people allow their feelings to get damaged.

Sally and I were discussing this recently; even I got offended by a person's lack of empathy in a recent email message. Sally reminded me that if the message had been communicated in person, or even by phone, there would have been sufficient context to lend more understanding. With email, you've got to constantly give all benefits of all doubts. People are just not that careful about the emails they write; everyone is too busy and distracted.

So, email is great for the transmission of emotion-free messages and light messages. I do not recommend the reading of email intended for other people, it is impossible to correctly ascertain the context that surrounds other people's messages. It's hard enough to interpret your own.

Have a super day, I'm going to check my email.

Free drawing for lovely scarf on Tuesday. It makes a gentle gift to yourself or another special person. Smply click on the photo and then send a blank email with the word "alpaca" in the subject line to

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rhetoric 102

Okay, class. Now that you've had an in-depth : ) Introduction to Rhetoric, here's a quiz:

Which of the following statements represents rhetoric?

1. If elected Queen for Life, I will eliminate all crime, all tackiness, and provide the best education and the most supporting environment that is possibly possible, for all.

2. Honey, please pass the salt.

3. No comment.

4. I'm taking the dog for a walk.

5. How many times do I have to tell you that using deodorant is a good thing?

The Answers.

The first option is naturally an example of highly-refined political rhetoric. Would that all our political candidates spoke so eloquently. Not that we trust them. If you selected option number 1 as an example of rhetoric, you are correct. Bravo.

The second example illustrates a case of subtle rhetoric. The point being that we speak in order to achieve some end, even if it's merely getting more sodium chloride on our food, which is not necessarily a healthy choice. If you selected option number 2 as an example of rhetoric, you are correct. The teacher is proud of your insight.

The third option is an example of undercover rhetoric. No one ever says "no comment" for nothing. Even saying nothing in response to a ridiculous statement which deserves no response, is a message. The person who says "no comment" definitely has something to say. Perhaps this person agrees with the dictum, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." In any case "no comment," with or without the glaring look, is an example of powerful rhetoric.

The fourth example is simple rhetoric. It is a statement of clear intention, a simple way to shape the world. By deciding to take the dog for a walk, the person is making a selection, and thereby rejecting other options, such as lying on the sofa scarfing chips while watching reruns of "The Simpsons." This too, is an example of rhetoric, even if the persuasive element is not obvious.

The last example sounds like parental rhetoric. Even though parents learn early on that offspring filter out most of what they hear from their parental units, the hope burns eternal in the parent's heart that the progeny will learn from one's mistakes. As this is blatantly not a random utterance, but one spoken with a goal (an admirable one at that,) it is most definitely an example of rhetoric.

So today's lesson is that everything you say, you do so for a reason. As such, you too, practice your rhetoric, with varying degrees of success. The deeper cause for reflection is, your words are more powerful than you think. My last rhetorical statement for this post is....

Have a super Tuesday!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rhetoric 101

For a lot of people, the word "rhetoric" is essentially defined as the opposite of truth. See the following headlines from Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of RHETORIC:

- "Impoverished students deserve solutions, not rhetoric." Letter to Chicago Tribune.

- "All that other stuff is rhetoric and bull. I don't think about it." Athletic coach.

- "[What I've just said] is not rhetoric, or metaphor. It's only truth." Columnist attacking race prejudice.

- "President Bush's speech was long on rhetoric and short on substance." New York Times.

Hmmmm. No wonder I got the cold shoulder from Venezuelan government employees when I said I wanted to ask them about "Chavez' rhetoric." Friendly voices turned cold as stone. In their minds, I was asking for information about their president's lies and deceit. So, I'm a participant in the mission to rescue the meaning of rhetoric.

To begin this discussion, I offer the following definitions of the term:

- "It is the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion." This is the founding definition, offered by master pragmatic philosopher, Aristotle.

- "The good man speaking well." Roman political adviser, Quintillian. I'm sure he used "man" in the generic sense.

- "Rhetoric is the application of reason to imagination for the better moving of the will." Francis Bacon.

- "Rhetoric is the study of misunderstandings and their remedies." Another rhetoric-rescuer, British scholar, I. A. Richards, 1936.

-"Rhetoric is that which creates an informed appetite for the good." Southern scholar who did English composition missionary work at the University of Chicago, 1948.

- "Rhetoric is rooted in an essential function of language itself, a function that is wholly realistic and continually born anew: the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature, respond to symbols." Academic wild man and auto-didact, Kenneth Burke, 1950.

That's enough to get your noodle moving on a Monday morning.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Getting into the Bombshell Frame of Mind

After spending way too much time reading and writing about charismatic authoritarian leaders, specifically Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, I decided to get back to the important things in life by consulting my sister-in-law's copy of The Bombshell Manual of Style. It's highly readable by Laren Stover and has beautiful illustrations by Ruben Toledo.

I don't think anyone who really knows me has ever mistaken me for a bombshell, I'm far too frantic, but this book makes for good reflection. As you might expect, being a bombshell begins with the right attitude. Here are some qualities of bombshellness:

Radiate confidence. Why not?

Believe in your fantasies. Well, first you have to daydream so you know what they are.

Be authentic...obviously.

Be vulnerable, I think that goes with being authentic. You have a lot of answers, that's why you're confident, but you don't want be the one with ALL the answers.

Be resilient, otherwise you'll never make it out the front door.

Glamour first. This is the real test of a bombshell. However, you don't have to do it every day.

Be compassionate (think Bridget Bardot and her animals.)

Be intelligent...duh.

Thinking bombshell is a great exercise in not taking yourself so seriously. Seriously. Think about it. It's Saturday night, get some glam.

A Simple Story

This "Fish Story" comes from Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen, a book you must read if you make presentations. There is a link to his web site on the left.

Here is the story:

When Vijay opened his store, he put up a sign that said, "We Sell Fresh Fish Here." His father stopped by and said that the word "We" suggests a emphasis on the seller rather than the customer, and is really not needed. So the sign was changed to "Fresh Fish Sold Here."

His brother came by and suggested that the word "here" could be done away with -- it was superfluous. Vijay agreed and changed the sign to "Fresh Fish Sold."

Next, his sister came along and said the sign should just say "Fresh Fish." Clearly, it is being sold; what else could you be doing?

Later, his neighbor stopped by to congratulate him. Then he mentioned that all passers-by could easily tell that the fish was really fresh. Mentioning the word fresh actually made it sound defensive as though there was room for doubt about the freshness. Now the sign just read "FISH."

As Vijay was walking back to his shop after a break, he noticed that one could identify the fish from its smell from very far, at a distance from which one could barely read the sign. He knew there was no need for the word "FISH."

Keep it simple.

Friday, June 20, 2008

How to Ask

By Jack Canfield

Some people don’t enjoy the fruits of asking because they don't ask effectively. If you use vague language you will not be clearly understood. Here are five ways to ensure that your asking gets results.

Ask Clearly.

Be precise. Think clearly about your request. Take time to prepare. Use a note pad to pick words that have the greatest impact. Words are powerful, so choose them carefully.

Ask with Confidence.

People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.

Ask Consistently.

Some people fold after making one timid request. They quit too soon. Keep asking until you find the answers. In prospecting there are usually four or five “no’s” before you get a “yes.” Top producers understand this. When you find a way to ask that works, keep on asking it.

Ask Creatively.

In this age of global competition, your asking may get lost in the crowd, unheard by the decision-makers you hope to reach. There is a way around this. If you want someone’s attention, don’t ask the ordinary way. Use your creativity to dream up a high-impact presentation.

Ask Sincerely.

When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image facade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable. Tell it the way it is, lumps and all. Don’t worry if your presentation isn’t perfect; ask from your heart. Keep it simple and people will open up to you.

© 2008 Jack Canfield

* * *

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Only 6 Compelling Reasons to Write

Today is special. This is Mixonian's 100th blog post; the little blog is growing up so quickly! Mixonian was tempted to write a commemorative "100 Reasons to Write", but edited the list down to 6:

1. Writing brings clarity.

Our thoughts can be mushy and vague; the act of writing makes you choose words. Is that blouse merely expensive, or is it a rip-off? Is it overpriced, or a cherished luxury? Is it hopelessly opulent, or simply ridiculous? You're the writer; you get to choose. By choosing which words we want to use, we gain clarity.

2. Writing fosters creativity.

You could get up and paint every day; or sketch. Words or images, the act of putting them down on paper is inherently creative. Creative acts are the parents of new creative acts.

3. Writing crosses all time boundaries.

Albert Einstein, among others, posited that time does not exist. I don't know if that is true or not, but I do know I get up in the morning and in the blink of an eye, it is evening and I'm getting ready for bed. In writing, we can mix and mingle past, present, and future, while participating in a creative act in the present.

In teaching my students to write film treatments, they learn to describe something (the film they would like to make) in simple present tense, as if it already existed. To use a $20 word, this writing is generative: it can be a sort of midwife to bring this imaginary project into the plane of existence. Hmmmmm.....

4. Writing multiplies productivity.

Consider this analogy: First drafts, like journal entries, are like the brown water that comes from the faucet when it hasn't been used in a long while. Allowing the water to run out of the faucet makes way for the clear water to appear. Writing down the most mundane tasks floating in our minds, the library books that need returning, the need for dog food, and the clothes waiting to be picked up at the cleaner's, clears our minds for more interesting and productive thoughts and projects. That's why some people when they wake up in the middle of the night thinking of things, can go back to sleep after they write these things down.

5. Writing makes you more you.

Writing reminds you of your priorities and helps you to focus on what is really important, rather than what others insist is urgently calling your name. In the process of living this adventure called "life", the most ardent self-development fan doesn't want to become a different person, but rather an enlightened person. It has been said that each person arrives on the planet with a mission written on his heart, writing helps you remember this special mission.

6. Writing lets you use the cool words you've been learning.

For example: When that student was whining about his grades, I resisted the temptation to defenestrate him!

Have a creative day. Write about it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

25 Simple Pleasures

Continuing yesterday's theme of the art of enjoying life, Mixonian provides a list of simple things to savor. Think of what you enjoy doing here and now, before your fortune arrives. The items on this list are very low cost, and require little, if any participation from others. What would you add?

1. coffee in the morning, before anyone else is up

2. writing in a journal, in bed

3. perusing pretty cookbooks

4. listening to the birds, and/or the rain

5. getting dressed without rushing

6. walking home after work

7. swimming

8. an evening walk

9. making a collage from old magazines

10. writing short notes on pretty stationery

11. playing with the dog

12. a tidy house (or at least a tidy room :) )

13. taking 15 minutes to do nothing

14. organizing a desk or a drawer

15. planning an imaginary party

16. looking at the children's art taped on the walls

17. being caught up with grading papers

18. folding laundry

19. looking at a magazine

20. iced herbal tea on a warm afternoon

21. entering the Mixonian free drawing on the June 8 post.

22. re-reading a favorite book

23. listening to anything by a favorite composer, like Bach

24. writing a blog post

25. hanging out in one's pjs

Consider your own list. Can you think of 25 other simple pleasures? Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Art of Enjoying Life

It is said that living well is the best revenge. While Mixonian is not a revenge advocate, living well, or enjoying one's life as it is presently constituted, is ultimate wisdom. It's also the work of a lifetime. A few thoughts on this path:

1. It's been said before, and on this blog; an attitude of gratitude is essential. It starts with yourself. If you can't appreciate yourself, you can't appreciate others. No matter what is going on in your life, it can always be worse, be grateful that it's not.

2. Seek the good; seek the solution. Let's say, for example, Edna is upset because Cody is not treating her the way she wants to be treated in some specific way. The trick is not to berate Cody, it's teaching Cody how she wants to be treated. That is the solution, it's up to Edna, probably through trial and error, to implement a working resolution.

Take the case of Helga. She is unhappy because she is too busy; she feels oppressed. However, the only person who is oppressing Helga, unless she's a political prisoner of some totalitarian state, is herself. Only Helga can resolve this.

3. Focus on beauty. LaQueesha has a super ugly water heater in her kitchen. She can't build a cabinet to hide it right now so she covers it with plants. Now she doesn't see the water heater, even though it's still quite there, LaQueesha sees the lovely, happy plants. Bring beauty to yourself, your work space and of course, your living space. What makes it lovely is totally up to you.

4. The people and situations that annoy you are your teachers. Look for the lessons and learn them so you can move beyond these. Then you face new problems and new lessons. If you're not growing, you're not really alive.

5. Realize we're all connected, even to the tacky people. People whose actions and attitudes bother you are probably acting out of fear. Focus on the best possible interpretation of what is going on.

The best thing you can do for others, is to enjoy your own life. Successful people, who like themselves and their lives, are not burdens to others.

Life is a garden, tend to your own.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Best Dads Are Not Moms

Happy Father's Day!

The best dad in the world can never be a mom. There is one fundamental difference between these two roles:

Moms buy things; dads fix things.

Research shows that over 80% of all purchases all over the planet are made by females. While men only fix about 40% of things; the rest gets thrown away.

Don't forget the free drawing on the June 8 post.

Elements of Superb Entertaining

In other words, a birthday party that rocks. I just got back from a social event that represents the best in Southern hospitality -- one of those experiences that makes you feel glad to be a part of the great human family, and forget the dysfunctionality of your own family (it can only bother you if you allow that!)

Even though we can all appreciate Wayne Dyer's joke that friends are God's apology for your family, getting together with relatives can be enriching in unexpected ways. Getting together to celebrate a biggish event (80 years on the planet, for example) gives family members a positive project to collaborate on, and a purpose that gets everyone focused above the fray. The annoyances of others are simply your teachers in disguise so you can always look for the learning experience.

Entertaining often gets short-listed on our priorities because of other stuff that pretends to be more important. I hope this post encourages you to celebrate the next birthday in your household, in a bigger way. Hans Nouwen wrote that to celebrate a birthday is to celebrate life. It's a way to express gratitude that a person simply is there.

Less Work, More Fun

There are three basic strategies to entertaining without it being such a burden to the host/ess.

1. Involve guests and co-hosts. The event from which I just returned was orchestrated by three families living in three different cities. With or without co-hosts, guests always feel more involved when entrusted with an assignment.

2. Outsource. Whether it's a catering service, a bakery, or Sam's Club, getting professional help can save you time and money. Find someone to help get the house ready, and to clean it up afterwards. A totally overwhelmed host can be scary.

3. Simplify. Miami-based Jennifer Rubell has plenty of suggestions about how to work on this. Two suggestions of hers include giving a one-dish dinner or breaking up good quality chocolate bars as dessert.

Get inspired. Give a party. Connect with others. Invite Mixonian!

Friday, June 13, 2008

20 Things You Can Do This Week-end

A definition of insanity goes something like this: keep doing what you've always done, and expect the results to be different.

Developing one's creativity, setting new goals, and polishing your communication are not ways to (finally) make oneself acceptable, we are actually fine as we are. Nevertheless, there's something innate to the human spirit that yearns for both predictability and surprise, routine and adventure. The following list is fruit of my work in an e-seminar by Christine Kane (there's a link to her blog on the left.) She, and others who have studied human creativity, recommend doing something everyday that you haven't done before- that's quite a challenge.

Here's a list of 20 suggestions from which to choose, or maybe this list will spark a different idea for you. Mixonian welcomes your suggestions. Either leave a comment, or send email to

1. Write an acrostic. In case you don't know what this is, here's an example, using the name "Ann." This is something I learned from the wonderful Merici community in Caracas:

Amazing friend
Naturally beautiful

2. Write a poem. A haiku is a short one to try.

3. Memorize a poem. Try the "Oh, When I Was in Love" from the June 4 post.

4. Decorate a journal with scrapbook paper.

5. Doodle for 10 minutes. This will develop your visual creativity.

6. Clean out an abandoned space in your home or office.

7. Add to your gratitude list.

8. Dress a bit differently from the usual look.

9. Visit your local library and check out a book of non-fiction literature.

10. Get a massage.

11. Teach yourself a word or expression from a foreign language.

12. Visit a museum you haven't seen lately.

13. Sit on your bed and do nothing for 20 minutes. Set a timer from your cell phone. Silence the ringer.

14. If you go to a restaurant, try a new dish.

15. Go to bed early.

16. Get up early. (Makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise :) .)

17. Think of five places you'd really like to visit. Write these in your journal.

18. Read news from a source that's new to you, could be the International Herald Tribune, or a newspaper from Australia.

19. Make your own list of innovations to try in your life.

20. Enter the drawing described in the June 8 post.

Have a restful and creative week-end!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Are You Really Listening?

This post is by Dr. Cindy Brown, “The Relationship Strategist.”

One of the things I have learned that is most interesting to me is the difference in how men and women process language, speak and listen differently.

While women process words, language instantly and think and process out-loud as they are rapidly talking (and maybe multi-tasking too), men tend to process feelings, words and language in their heads and more carefully choose their words instinctively in their heads first before they open their mouth to speak, as if their life depends on it.

SO the relationship tip for women is: when you ask a man a question, wait a minimum of 30 seconds before you interrupt his processing. If you wait a little longer you will be amazed at how much you will get. Have your listening be from a place of curiosity, rather than from “what does this have to do with me?” or “what does he need from me to support him.” Be patient with men, they have a lot to say as long as we give them the space they need to dig deep.

The relationship tip for men is: be patient with us, often we jump from subject to subject, with no real point; sometimes we just need to talk (empty our baskets). Please listen to us with curiosity and not from “what’s the point” or try to fix anything (unless we ask you). If you just utter “uh huh,” and if you ask us at the end when we are done emptying, “Is there anything you told me you want me to remember or comment on?” Then we will be happy and feel listened too!

Hope you have enjoyed theses tips. More tips every month!
Thanks for being willing to continue to get NAKED with me! Check out for more information about my Get Naked program.

Remember: In order to be the person you have never been, In order to have the life and relationships you have never had, You must do what you have never done before: Give me a call at 310-202-1610 or contact me so I can support you in having the best life you’ve ever had!

© 2008 Dr. Cindy Brown

Behavior and Relationship Specialist Dr. Cindy Brown, author of The Cinderella System™ 7 Steps to Attracting the Man & Relationship of Your Dreams, publishes a information-packed monthly online newsletter with 100's of subscribers. If you're ready to jump-start your life and relationships professionally or personally, get your FREE Relationship Success Kit™ at: and your FREE Special Report & Audio Class now at

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ideas from Smart World

"Logic takes you from A to B. Imagination takes you everywhere."
--Albert Einstein

Harvard University Press recently published Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas, by Richard Ogle. I came across it at the ECU library, while I was looking for books on charismatic political leaders for my ongoing (may be "never ending") research about Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president since 1999. My finding this book is an example of a rabbit trail, an interesting side path one encounters while looking for something else, and is one of the many reasons writing a dissertation takes so long!

Writing a dissertation is much more involved than I ever imagined, but that's a good thing. If I had known from the beginning what is truly required to get through the process, I suspect fear would have kept me out of the whole business. In any case, this book seeks to answer the enigma of what it takes to experience breakthrough creativity, which is being valued more today than it has in a long time.

That's excellent news for those of us who don't feel like we fit into society's proposed cubby holes of rational and predictable behavior.

It is encouraging to realize, sometimes it is in the rabbit trails of research that real breakthroughs occur. I'm not saying that this blog post is a major breakthrough of any sort, but I encourage you to appreciate the reality that distractions that you encounter during work on your own project, may turn out to be more important than the project itself.

This book I've mentioned is packed with creativity research and is written from an academic perspective (by a linguist.) What first struck me in Ogle's writing (besides the fact it's dedicated to a "Laura" : ) ), is his emphasis on creativity not taking place in an isolated mind, but rather in the interaction among people, other developments, and idea flow. His work echoes that of Richard Florida, who cogently argued for the development of creative communities, not creative hermits. In other words, creative intelligence is not something that exists only inside your brain, it's inside there, and it's also out there.

Creative breakthroughs shape the future; just think how only 2 businesses, and Netflix, have changed the world for all of us. Perhaps on a smaller scale, our own breakthroughs shape the way we teach, consult, develop training programs, balance the personal/professional projects, raise our children.

There are so many opportunities to connect with the flow of creativity where you live; seek them and they will appear.

Win a lovely, soft alpaca scarf in our Free Drawing. See the June 8 post for the easy way to enter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Be Hot After 40

The anti-aging solution everyone's been searching for! :)

Mixonian realizes that not all her readers are age 40 or so, don't worry, your day will come! : ) You have something to look forward to! This post is dedicated to my hot and beautiful friend, Maria Luisa, who recently celebrated a birthday, and my grandmother, who's still pretty hot at age 90.

You may well ask how does a university instructor gain the authority to talk about being hot over 40. I am asserting my credibility based on mere rumor. The rumor is that on a website rating college professors, on the page where I am rated, students have placed chili peppers, as an indication of hotness. I am not going to check it out because I really don't want to know what students write about me. So on this flimsiest of pretexts, I proceed to address this vital topic.

Define Hot.

Certainly what is NOT meant, is focusing your life on try to get men's attention. I mean, that is soooo, yesterday's local news. Being hot is being: energetic, alive, able to muster enthusiasm, having projects, looking for the good in everything, and appreciating yourself. A hot woman knows herself, and loves herself anyway. The great thing about getting older is that is becomes so much easier not to expend effort trying to please other people. And the paradox of that is, not focusing on pleasing others make you so much more attractive.

Attitude is everything.

You've heard it before; it's still the truth. By the time a person has lived through four decades here on this planet, s/he has been through a lot: falling in love, falling out of love, getting dumped, getting hired, getting fired, having children, health issues, loss of friends/ one gets through without living through some of these. Even if a person did manage to escape adversity, can you even imagine such a boring, protected soul? Attitude means you look for the good in the situation, you bounce back. It does not mean failure is fun; it's just inevitable.

Take care of yourself.

If you don't care for yourself, no one else will. Maintaining good health as far as you are able is obviously a top priority. And while you cannot control all the factors related to your health, you need to do all that you can. If you have serious health problems, I think looking into nontraditional health solutions would be the thing to do. That's where I would go.

The mind-body connection is well-established, if not well understood. But again, having a positive attitude, looking for joy, finding occasions to laugh, all help with health.

Don't diet.

Whatever you do, never go on a diet. There are few things I am so certain about anymore, but this is one of them. If you tell me, on this diet, you can eat everything you want, except grass, then suddenly I am consumed with a craving for grass. I've been chubby before, and now I'm not, and going on diets only made me miserable and heavier. I think the best approach is making healthy substitutions, one at a time. But you've got to accept yourself first, and not decide that you'll be a worthy person once such-and-such goal is attained. I'm still finding healthy substitutions to make.

No frump allowed. Don't get me started on this. Check out the free drawing on the June 8 post.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Self Care is Self Love

Self care is a big topic for Mixonian because it took me a long time to grasp that love is not found out there, but in here. Even Jesus was for self care; he literally commanded people, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." I always assumed he meant that we should try to be nice to all the tacky and annoying people who cross our paths.

Self love is not selfish.

We all know that being selfish is not attractive, and we often go to extremes to avoid that condition. As a parent of young children, I remember being determined to encourage my son and daughters not to be selfish. We all know selfish people; we do not care for them. But if you think about it, talking about love is probably easier and more effective than teaching, "Don't be selfish -- or else!"

The beatings will continue until you learn to love. :)

It's not too hard to figure out whether you love yourself or not. Loving people love themselves and others; they feel loved. If you appreciate yourself, you will feel appreciated. If you value yourself, you will feel valued. When I look for love in all the wrong places, I feel unloved, unappreciated(!!!!). That is a high price to pay for this condition: resentment, bad relationships, unhealthy habits.

It begins with me.....or you.

I am responsible for how loved I feel. The same goes for you, too. In Being in Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires, Wayne Dyer has this to say, "If you're not receivng the love you desire, it seems like a pretty good idea to explore what's creating this state. Obviously, most of us want to placed the blame for lovelessness on something external to ourselves" (147).

Where to start.

If you think about it, life is so full of paradoxes, and love is a biggie. People who think only about their immediate comfort, are not happy. People who only about the comfort of others, are unhappy. Probably you've heard about the psychological construct of "projection", which is so explicit in the Spanish saying that I'll loosely translate as, "Every thief judges others according to his condition (i.e. of being a thief). What you feel about others and toward others reflects your feelings about yourself.

Think about what you really appreciate about yourself. Write down compliments you have received. Make a list of 100 achievements, even the ones often overlooked, like learning to bake a cake, or write a letter.

You rock. If you haven't seen it, check out the free drawing posted yesterday.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Free Drawing for Lovely Alpaca Scarf

Carodel Alpacas is offering Mixonian readers the opportunity to win a free exquisitely soft alpaca-fiber scarf. It's about care of self. Small, but potent luxuries.

It's easy to enter, just two quick steps:

1. Click on the photo, or click here: . Either way, you visit Carodel's alpaca site.

2. After you see the Carodel alpaca site, send a blank email with "alpaca" in the subject line to

That's all!

On June 30. Mixonian will randomly select the winner and send this lucky person an email asking for his/her mailing address. Carodel will then mail you the beautiful alpaca scarf. Couldn't be simpler.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Focus for Results

Wow, this was a hectic week -- full of good activities! However, living at a hectic pace can get tiring, and it isn't necessary to be frantic all the time. The way we live our lives reflects our patterns of thinking and our upbringing. These patterns have brought us to where we are and probably there are some aspects of our lives that we'd prefer to change. Once a level of awareness is established, that other ways of life are possible, it becomes a matter of deciding where to focus, instead of where to hide from our problems. It's not a matter of being perpetually unhappy, it's a matter of relishing challenges (a universal human quality) and tackling them with enthusiasm.


One good way to focus is to think of one area you'd like to work on: organization, dressing better, making more friends, healing a relationship, saving money. Focus on one thing at a time, and the wonderful surprise is that progress in one area has a multiplier effect that will help other areas as well.

I started this year with a focus on organization. I even made a cute little sign that said "organize" and posted it by my desk. Little by little, I began to get one thing organized, and then another, and then another. It's a continual contest with chaos, but I'm getting better at being more organized with less effort. This has paid off unexpectedly with my dissertation writing.

Multiplier Effect

Organizing my thoughts in my writing has always been a challenge. Now I'm better at it (and organizing my house) and I see more clearly how to organize my thoughts as I put them down on paper, or on the computer screen. I'm also getting more effective at organizing my communication class material.

Copy Someone Else

Finally, after you decide what to focus on, which you can always change later, find people to copy. Style-meister Tim Gunn recommends looking at magazine pictures of people whose style you admire, and gradually your look will more closely resemble your ideal chic person. If you want to focus on health, find someone who has successfully dealt with health challenges and find a behavior to copy. You don't have to know the person to her to help you; that's what blogs and books and articles are for.

Focus on one thing at a time and find a role model, just for that one single quality. You may be intrigued by the style of Hilary Duff, but she probably won't be able to help you be a better parent. But if you feel better about the image of yourself you're projecting onto the world, you're likely to be a better parent, or partner. Improvement in one area effortlessly helps you in other areas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Jack Canfield's Success Strategy

Act to Create It
by Jack Canfield

If you want to live a dream life, not only must you decide what you want, turn your dream into measurable goals, break those goals down into specific action steps, and visualize and affirm your desired outcomes -- you must start taking action!I recommend making the commitment to do something every day in at least three different areas of your life that moves you in the direction of your goal.

If one of your goals is physical fitness, make a commitment to do some sort of exercise -- aerobics, weight training, stretching -- four to five times a week for a minimum of twenty minutes.I read recently that if you simply go for a 30 minute walk four times a week, that would put you in the top 1% of those people getting physical exercise! If your goal is financial independence, start saving and investing a portion of your income every month with no exceptions. If your goal is to write a book, write for a minimum of one hour every day.

Most people never get what they want because they let their fears stop them. They are afraid of making a mistake, looking foolish, getting ripped off, being rejected, being hurt, wasting their time, and feeling uncomfortable. Fear is self-created by imagining catastrophic consequences that have yet to happen. It is all in your mind. In fact, you can actually scare yourself by imagining negative and harmful images. But simply stop the catastrophic thoughts and images, and the fear goes away.

One of the biggest fears that stops people from asking for support, guidance, advice, money, a date, a job, the sale, or anything else is the fear of rejection. In fact, it's been known to literally paralyze people. They become tongue-tied and refuse to reach for the phone or get up and walk across the room. They break out in a sweat at the mere thought of asking for what they want. I have come to realize that the whole concept of rejection is false -- that rejection doesn't really exist. Think about it for a moment. If you asked someone to join you for dinner, and they said no, you could tell yourself that you had been rejected. But think about it. Did you have anyone to eat dinner with before you asked them? No! Did you have anyone to eat dinner with after you asked them? No! Did your life really get worse? No. It stayed the same!

One of the secrets of success is to start acting like a success before you are one. Act as if. If you had already achieved your dream, what kinds of clothes would you be wearing? How would you act? How would you treat others? Would you tithe a portion of your income to your church or favorite charities? Would you have more self-confidence? Would you take more time to spend with your loved ones?

I suggest that you begin to do those things now. When I decided that I wanted to be an "international" consultant, I immediately went and applied for a passport, bought an international clock that told me what time it was anywhere in the world, printed business cards with the words "International Self-Esteem and Peak Performance Consultant," and decided I would like to first go to Australia. I bought a poster of the Sydney Opera House and placed it on my refrigerator. Within one month, I received an invitation to speak in Sydney and Brisbane. Since then, I have spoken and conducted trainings in over 30 countries and continue to expand my business around the globe.

Start acting as if you already have everything you want. Most people think that if they have a lot of money, they could do the things they want to do, and they would be much happier. In fact, the reverse is true.If you start by creating a state of happiness and abundance, then do the things you are inspired to do from that state of being, you will end up having all the things you ultimately desire. You may not be able to fill your closets with expensive Italian suits and designer clothing, but why not invest in one or two really great outfits, so that when you do need them, they are there. When you dress like you have already made it, you will look the part, and successful people will naturally be attracted to you and invite you to participate with them.

If you focus on having gratitude for what you do have, you will feel rich, and you will attract more abundance into your life. If you focus on what you don't have, you will send out a message of lack and you will attract more lack into your life.

Remember, the proper order of this is to start now and be who you want to be, then do the actions that go along with being that person, and soon you will find that you can easily have everything you want in life--health, wealth and fulfilling relationships.

© 2008 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oh, When I Was in Love With You

Oh, when I was in love with you,

Then I was clean and brave.

And miles around the wonder grew

How well did I behave.

And now the fancy passes by,

And nothing will remain,

And miles around they'll say that I

Am quite myself again. : )

--A. E. Housman

Monday, June 2, 2008

What Your Outfit Says About You

One of the things students learn in the study of communication is that everything communicates. In other words, you cannot not communicate. It's in your facial expression, your hairdo, jewelry, posture, pose, the words you say, of course, and those you don't day, and in what you're wearing.

Generally speaking, when you put some effort into looking nice, you're sending a positive message to the world. Your message is that you care about yourself, but you also care about the rest of the world. There are no fixed rules about this, like wearing foundation says you care, wearing only chapstick indicates you're a lazy slob. Looking slobbish can mean you're highly distracted with a brilliant project, and that message will come across, too, through other channels.

If you really want to make a positive impression on others, style-mentor Tim Gunn says the way clothes fit is the key. It is wrong-o to think that tight clothes make you look slim, likewise with tent clothes. Too tight and too loose both indicate you are not comfortable with yourself. And if this is true, Mixonian suggests you fake it with correctly-fitting clothes and soon you will actually begin to feel better.

Dressing inappropriately for the occasion won't be noticed by everyone, but a few people will certainly be impressed, though not necessarily in a good way. In a way, dressing appropriately is like buying advertising, it only works half the time but you never know which half.

Sending the message that you are an intelligent, imaginative, caring, and capable person is not about fashion, unless you work in the fashion industry. It's about finding your style, maybe even your own sort of uniform. Dressing well does not mean having closets full of clothes. The opposite may be true. People who have less closet space are forced to make better buying decisions about their clothes. Find the clothes in which you feel most comfortable, and make sure they fit. The warm-up suit is only for exercise!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The 7 Habits of Very Boring People

Taking a trip on the lighter side of life, Mixonian offers the following tips for those who are interested:

1. Realize that in each situation, you are the victim. Look for dramatic effect to enhance how poor and pitiful you are. No matter what happens, it's someone else's fault. They really are out to get you, so be careful.

2. When anyone speaks to you, make sure you don't really listen. They might get the impression that what they're saying is important to you. If what someone has to say is of any value, it doesn't matter if he has to repeat it two or three times before you catch on.

3. Be careful not to give more than what you're paid for. Never a lender be, you probably won't be repaid. Keep close accounts of how much you give, and how much you receive.

4. Take yourself very seriously. If you're really good at this, you can find endless opportunities to be offended by others. That will reinforce guideline #1.

5. Be a one-note. You probably know everything you need to by now, so don't try to put new ideas in your brain, stuff might start to fall out.

6. Make sure you try to please everyone at home and at work. If this principle is the guide for your life, you will enjoy limitless occasions to practice guideline #1.

7. Never accept people as they are. After all, no one is perfect and everyone can use some improvement. You can make it your mission to show others exactly how they need to change in order to meet your standards.

There may be other guidelines for the boring, but these should be enough to get you started. Feel free to distribute these to others who need help in this area.