Friday, October 31, 2008

Better Vocabulary, Better Experience

The power of words has long been recognized by the ruling classes; that's why censors have existed on and off for centuries. That's why books are sometimes burned, or prohibited. Words are tools we use to co-create reality.

That's also why Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez changed the names of so many national institutions and even the name of his country; he's trying to create a new national existence. But, while changing vocabulary is helpful to effect change, it's usually not enough in itself to say "I'm a now millionaire" and then lie in bed waiting for that new reality to manifest itself. On the other hand, telling everyone all the time how broke you are is probably not helpful for creating wealth. your own life, my life, you and I have the option of choosing more appropriate words to describe what we perceive. For example, today we're having unseasonably cold weather, but I'm thinking of it as fresh and invigorating cold weather. The temperature is the same regardless, and given my druthers, I'd rather be where it's warmer. However, I don't want my preference for warmth make my whole fall and winter experience more painful than it needs to be. Furthermore, I have learned that cold weather is good for agriculture.

So here are 8 word substitutions Mixonian suggests for you to consider:

Instead of problems, think opportunities.

Instead of jerks, think teachers.

Instead of pain, think signal.

Instead of obstacle, think challenge.

Instead of I need, think I would appreciate.

Instead of I'm struggling, think I'm on an interesting journey.

Instead of I have to, think I get to, or even I want to.

Instead of My adviser is ruining my life, think I realize I'm contributing somehow to this situation.

You can make your own list to suit your particular situation(s). Remember that today is going to be a fantastic day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Helen Keller's Secret to Happiness

by Marci Shimoff

Imagine being deaf, mute, or blind -- or even all three?

Could you be happy? Is it possible?

The brilliant Jean Houston, a renowned philosopher, author, and mystic, shared her insight about this during a lecture I recently attended. One day when Jean was a young girl attending school in New York City, her class went to visit Helen Keller.

After Helen finished giving a moving presentation, she asked the students if they had any questions. As her classmates looked sheepishly at one another, too shy to speak, Jean found herself raising her hand high. Although she had no idea what to say, Jean felt compelled to ask a question of this extraordinary woman who could not speak, talk or see and yet was living such a remarkable life.

Jean walked up to the front of the room, and as Helen’s hand traced Jean’s face to read her lips, she at last blurted a question. "Miss Keller," Jean asked. "Why are you so happy?"

Helen laughed for a long moment and answered, "Because I live each day as though it were my last. And life, in all its moments, is so full of glory."

What great wisdom: The only place happiness can ever be found is in this moment.
Of course, we’ve all heard this before. But stop right now and be present with this. Your life, even with all the pressures or challenges you may have, is rich with sights, sounds, feelings, experiences, and opportunities that when you feel them and savor them create a burst of happiness within.

Learn Helen Keller’s secret.

Helen was a master in the art of living in the here and now. As you go about your routine this week, apply her prescription, from an article that originally appeared in The Atlantic in 1933:

I who am blind can give one hint to those who see -- one admonition to those who would make full use of the gift of sight: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to the other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which Nature provides.

Happiness exists only in this moment. Whatever you’re doing over the next week -- whether spending time with a friend, working late at the office, or waiting in line at the DMV -- engage all of your senses and you’ll find that every single moment is alive with the possibility for joy, connection, and happiness.

Marci Shimoff is a celebrated transformational leader and #1 New York Times best-selling author. To learn more of her powerful techniques for establishing deep and authentic happiness and well-being, visit

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

15 Things You Find through Listening

You how you tend to find what you're looking for? Like the Jetta and the Jenn-Aire?

Well, it works for listening too. If you listen with a purpose, you'll move closer to what you want, and in any case have a more interesting experience. The trick is to stop planning what you're going to say next, and focus on what the other person is saying.

Here are 15 things you could listen for:

1. Connection to an interesting person.

2. A business opportunity.

3. A new friend.

4. An organization to which you'd like to contribute.

5. A million dollar idea.

6. Hidden greatness in someone.

7. An opportunity to contribute.

8. Something going on in town you'd like to see.

9. A fantastic book recommendation.

10. A new recipe.

11. A party theme.

12. A solution to one of your problems.

13. A big sale going on.

14. Fascinating gossip. Of course, we would not enjoy that.

15. A new perspective that never occurred to you.

And you know what....listening is freeeee.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

21 Shopping Strategies to Build Wealth

There are four words that are guaranteed to bring you down. Not only you, but your children and significant others. If you want to start a pity party, repeat these words: We can't afford it. Boo hoo hoo. Poor pitiful me.

On the other hand, there is a way out, besides shop-therapy. Not that rewarding yourself is a bad thing, it's just overused. I'll focus this on what to say to your children, but it goes for you, too. these strategies have worked wonders at my house.

When your child, or your inner child, begs you to buy this latest ultra gizmo, these are things you can say, instead of the nasty aforementioned four words.

1. I don't want to spend my money on that.

2. I don't want to spend my money on that right now.

3. This doesn't make my money work for me.

4. Another day.

5. We'll think about that for Christmas (or birthday, or Thanksgiving...)

6. Did you clean under your bed, like I asked you to?

7. This is not building my net worth.

8. I'm saving for a income-producing opportunity.

9. I'd rather invest in myself.

10. What happened to the gizmo I bought you last week?

11. I'll get a better gizmo later.

12. This gizmo is not a good seed; I don't think it will produce for me.

13. I'd rather spend this money to help others.

14. This gizmo doesn't really solve any problems for me.

15. Rich people buy assets, poor people buy liabilities.

16. I'm playing the money game to win.

17. Why don't we go to the library instead?

18. The habit of managing my money is more important that how much I have.

19. Let's think long-term, not short-term.

20. This gizmo doesn't build my business.

21. Let me think about it.

See, spending money, and asking your parents to buy you things are both habits. Mixonian is all for consumer spending, but spend your assets strategically, not as automatic response to a momentary lack of gratitude. Then when you do buy something, it's more fun than usual.

The best way you can spend money right now is investing in yourself!

Monday, October 27, 2008

With Whom Do You Flock Together?

If you see a red-haired lady in sparkly gold tennis shoes talking about money, that may be Chellie Campbell. Campbell teaches workshops on how to reduce financial stress and is author of two books on prosperity. I'm reading one, Zero to Zillionaire: 8 Foolproof Steps to Financial Peace of Mind, and I just had to share this with you.

This comes from Chapter 4, Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Rich and Happy:

I divide the world into two groups: My People and Not My People. My People are Dolphins -- happy, friendly, and rich. Not My People come in two species: Sharks, who want to eat you, or Tuna, who want to complain to you. You can tell who's who by the way you feel after you've been with them, and the state of your bank account. Dolphins put money in your pocket and a song in your heart. Sharks rob you and leave you bleeding. Tuna cry for you but can't help you. If you want to be wealthy, you have to learn to be a Dolphin and choose your fiends and co-workers wisely. Don't borrow from a loan shark. Don't ask unsuccessful people for career advice. Get Zillionaire advice from Dolphins, and you'll become one yourself (89).

Well, later in that chapter of her book, Campbell clarifies that people can be Tuna at times, Shark at others, and may eventually become Dolphins. I think it's important to remember, though, that we are all inter-connected: dolphins, sharks, and tuna. Even if you choose to limit the time you spend with certain people, you can still love them (or try to) as hurting or fearful, or who-knows-what-their-problem-is members of the human family.

Also I think we need to careful about judging other people, remember the words of Mother Teresa, "If you judge people, you don't have time to love them."

Those 2 caveats aside, I agree that we need to be careful about some people who either try to take advantage of you, or bring you down with their incessant complaining.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Your Response that Counts

By Jack Canfield

In these troubled economic times, when everywhere you look there's a rumbling of great uncertainty, I think we should all take a pause (and a deep breath) to think about our lives. Are we moving in the direction we want to be? When things happen in the world that seem so far beyond our individual control, it can feel unsettling. And even though we think we are the masters of our own success, watching the news these days can chip away at our beliefs.

Even in tough economic times, you get to decide how to respond to certain conditions, opportunities, and outcomes--both good and bad. While I don't claim to be an economist, I do know one important fact. The economy is the same for everyone, it's how you respond to it that determines how you feel about it.

It's yet another example of what I've been teaching for years. . .

E + R = O (Events + Responses = Outcome)

The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it's success or failure, wealth or poverty, wellness or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event (or events) in your life.If you don't like the outcomes you are currently experiencing, there are two basic choices you can make:Choice #1: You can blame the event (E) for your lack of results (O).

In other words, you can blame the economy, the weather, the lack of money, lack of education, racism, gender bias, the current administration in Washington, your wife or husband, your boss's attitude, the lack of support, and so on. No doubt all these factors exist, but if they were the deciding factor, nobody would ever succeed. For every reason it's not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and have succeeded.

It's not the external conditions and circumstances that stop us -- it's us!We think limiting thoughts and engage in self-defeating behaviors. We defend our self-destructive habits (such as drinking and smoking) with indefensible logic. We ignore useful feedback, fail to continuously educate ourselves and learn new skills, waste time on the trivial aspects of our lives, engage in idle gossip, eat unhealthy food, fail to exercise, spend more than we make, fail to tell the truth, don't ask for what we want, and then wonder why our lives aren't working. Choice #2: You can instead simply change your responses (R) to the events (E) until you get the outcomes (O) you want. You can change your thinking, change your communication, change the pictures you hold in your head (your images of the world) and you can change your behavior (the things you do.) That's all you really have any control over anyway.

Unfortunately, most of us are so engrained our habits that we never change our behavior. We get stuck in our conditioned responses-to our spouses and children, to our colleagues at work, to our customers and our clients, to our students, and to the world at large.You have to gain control of your thoughts, your images, your dreams and daydreams, and your behavior.Everything you think, say, and do needs to become intentional and aligned with your purpose, your values, and your goals.If you don't like your outcomes, change your responses!

Here's an example of how this works...Do you remember the Northridge earthquake in 1994? I do! I lived through it in Los Angeles. Two days later I watched as CNN interviewed people commuting to work. The earthquake had damaged one of the main freeways leading into the city. Traffic was at a standstill, and what was normally a 1-hour drive had become a 2-3 hour drive.

The CNN reporter knocked on the window of one of the cars stuck in traffic and asked the driver how he was doing.He responded, angrily, "I hate California. First there were fires, then floods, and now an earthquake! No matter what time I leave in the morning, I'm late for work. I can't believe it!"

Then the Reporter knocked on the window of the car behind him and asked the driver the same question. This driver was all smiles. He replied "It's no problem. I left my house at five am. I don't think under the circumstances my boss can ask for more than that. I have lots of music and Spanish-language tapes with me. I've got my cell phone. Coffee in a thermos, my lunch-I even have a book to read. I'm fine."

Now, if the earthquake or the traffic were really the deciding variables, then everyone should have been angry. But everyone wasn't. It was their individual response to the traffic that gave them their particular outcome. It was thinking negative thoughts or positive thoughts, leaving the house prepared or leaving the house unprepared that made the difference.

It was all a matter of attitude and behavior that created their completely different experiences. If we all experience the same EVENT, the OUTCOME you get will be totally dependent upon your RESPONSE to the situation. If you want to take control of how you respond to life, you'll start noticing that your outcomes will be more along the lines of what you have always hoped. Remember, you control your destiny so make it a fantastic one!

© 2008 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder 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:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thoughts On Nonverbal Communication

Not many people realize it, but non-verbal communication is way more important than the words you speak or write. People can feel what you’re feeling and thinking, long before you open your mouth. Your attitude shows up in your posture, your facial expression, even the way you breathe!

One major negative nonverbal cue that silently shouts from your being is anxiety. This feeling may come across as desperation, which is a definite turn-off. Desperation makes people want to avoid you, flee as soon as possible. The root of desperation is fear, so you need to explore your feelings of fear, anxiety, of not being worthy of what you seek. Awareness is the beginning of resolving these issues, but to really give off positive energy, you need to find something to feel good about.

Still skeptical?

Consider this. Can you tell when you're with someone whether they're feeling up or down? Of course you can. Now, with which kind of people do you prefer to do business -- confident, joyful, optimistic people, or depressed victimized folks?

My former husband, Leandro, used to tell this story. A man needed to borrow a lawn-mower from his neighbor. But he feared that the neighbor would tell him “no.” He kept thinking of all the rejection he would face when he asked the neighbor for his lawnmower as he walked to the man's home. By the time he got to the neighbor’s house, he simply shouted, “Just keep your old, dirty lawnmower. I don’t even need it, anyway.”

While the story exaggerates what usually happens, it does give a valuable lesson: what you communicate to yourself, you also communicate to others, even if it’s unintentional.

So what do you want to project? Probably confidence, happiness, abundance, and good will. How can you transmit these positive emotions, when frankly, you don’t feel too well, and you’re anxious, nervous, and downright scared. What you can do is find something to feel good about. It could be gratitude for your family, indoor plumbing, effective heating, or even candy corn.

Emotions are so strong that research by Japanese Dr. Masaru Emoto did a study that demonstrated that emotions affect the crystallization of water. In his study, positive or negative emotions were directed toward water before it was frozen. Images of the resultant water crystals were either beautiful or ugly, corresponding to positive or negative emotions.

That’s pretty consequential when you consider that the human body is more than 90% water. If you're not feeling too positive, I have one reminder for you: Attitude of Gratitude!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marketing Yourself Is Theatre, Too

In the age of email, supercomputer power on the desktop, the Internet, and the raucous global village, attentiveness--a token of human kindness--is the greatest gift we can give someone. Tom Peters, The Pursuit of WOW.

Continuing yesterday's theme of presenting to entertain, there is a parallel insight into leading marketing practices. PQ Media reports that "alternative media" (which means not radio, TV, billboards, or print) accounted for 16% of all marketing expenditures in 2007, double that for 2002 (Nov. Fast Company 136).

Now, what the heck does that mean for you? Not many Mixonian readers own their own advertising companies.

But you are your own marketing firm....fully responsible for marketing yourself. And now your growing creativity is more valuable than ever to help you experience those things that appeal to you in this life! Those who exploit their own personal creative force are the ones not being yanked down this drain of financial pessimism: they're too busy scripting their own mega epics: the story of their own lives.

Ponder these questions to maybe tweak your personal marketing strategy:

What is your most important message to the world?

Each person is a unique combination of preferences, perspectives, abilities, and desires. What's important to you?

How do you see your contribution?

Do you see your primary task as facilitating the success of your students or subordinates or children (or some combination of these)?

Before you get to the delivery of your message, you want to decide what the core message really is, probably showing appreciation to others - family, friends, co-workers, customers, suppliers -- is a key part of that message.

Given that almost every person on the planet is stressed out to the max (not Mixonian readers I hope),you can easily make a contribution by communicating your core message of care for others in small ways.

Here are some examples:

  • A message of encouragement on the back of your business card.

  • A note in your child's lunchbox.

  • Invite people to your home, even if it's potluck.

  • Get involved in exercise (or other health initiatives) with others.

  • Create a unique-to-your-company holiday and celebrate it.

  • On a virtual team? Celebrate someone's birthday remotely but together: ship party supplies (hat, confetti, invitation, balloons) to each member of the team and then share in the "virtual" craziness.

  • Add flourish to your resume: maybe your own personal symbol.

  • Buy a book of jokes and learn some of them.

  • Brainstorm with your team to come up with non-traditional marketing ideas.

  • Start writing your own blog.

Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift to God. Julia Cameron

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take Your Presentation to the Next Level

If you've ever had any children over to visit you, you are familiar with the two most dreaded words in the English language....


Kids have amazingly short attention spans and a lot of them haven't been educated to entertain themselves. The same is true for a lot of people in your audiences. So they're texting, or daydreaming, while you go bullet point, by bullet point, until the most welcom end of the Power Point presentation.

There is another way.

Think Shakespeare: your presentation should be an entertaining play for your overworked audience.

In their article in the November issue of Fast Company, Dan Heath and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick, write:

The best presenters don't structure their presentations by thinking, What's the next point I should make? Instead, they decide, What's the next question I want them to wrestle with? (88).

Ponder these as you work on that upcoming vitally-important presentation"

1) How can I build suspense into your presentation?

2) How can I surprise my audience, in a good way?

One easy way to surprise and delight your audience is to spare them a text-laden Power Point. Remember you can always incorporate the technical and/or price details into a take-home hand-out or e-mail attachment.

If your company produces something tangible, maybe you can use the real deal, and avoid slides all together.

One memorable student presentation used small appliances (hairdryer, clock radio, phone charger) as the student explained how much electricity each appliance used, both when in use, and when turned off. I heard this presentation over a year ago, and it still stands out in my mind.

In another memorable presentation, the student served everyone in the class a small dish of freshly-made pasta. And her last name is really Carbonara.

If you want to stress the benefit of money savings, maybe hand out Monopoly money.

The key is to think about your presentation from a fresh perspective: you're bringing live theatre to a stressed-out audience. Do yourself and them a favor by delivering an outstanding performance. You might even enjoy the preparation and the delivery.

Next stop, Broadway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Now That Your 401K Is in the Toilet....

Some germane reflections on wealth:

1. "Human creativity is the ultimate economic resource. The ability to come up with new ideas and better ways of doing things is ultimately what raises productivity and thus living standards" Richard Florida in The Rise of the Creative Class (xiii).

2. "The daily practice of gratitude is one of the conduits by which your wealth will come to you." Wallace Wattles, in The Science of Getting Rich written in 1910.

3. "Everything that happens in your life if moving you in the direction of your goals." Bob Proctor.

4. "There is no failure, only a delay in results" unknown source.

5. "There are no justified resentments" Wayne Dyer, PhD.

6. "The world is a looking-glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face" William Makepeace Thackery.

7. "Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant and usable and feeds into my creativity" Twyla Tharp in The Creative Habit (10).

8. "Money-giving is a good criterion of a person's mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people." Dr. Karl A. Menninger. I found this quote in Joe Vitale's e-book, The Greatest Money-Making Secret.

To summarize, your wealth is far more than your savings: ultimately your wealth is an inner resource. Making it grow does not depend on the stock market. Developing your creativity with the clear intention to create wealth together with a practice of generous giving and appreciation for what you have is what makes a person truly wealthy. Finally, resentments and unforgiveness may keep you from seeing opportunities to create good things in your life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Implementing Rule #6

In his wonderful book, The Power of Intention, Wayne Dyer retells a story about the mysterious Rule #6. If you haven't read this book, do so. I found a copy at the local library, or you can click on one of the books below on the right of this blog and order a copy for yourself on Amazon. It's full of practical wisdom, or phronesis, to use my favorite PhD word.

Anyway, Rule #6 has to do with not taking ourselves soooooooooo seriously.

That doesn't mean we're not professional, we're not authentic, or that we must be superficial. It simply means you don't feel the weight of the world on your shoulders as your sole responsibility. It's accepting that you do your part and trusting that the end result will be fine. And it will be.

Have you ever not been able to handle anything that life has thrown your way?

Have ever experienced anything so awful that not one single good thing came out of it?

Do you really think the outcome of the company/country/family/world hinges on all your worrying about it?

I didn't think so.

People who don't take themselves so seriously are a lot more fun to be around. I'm speaking as a card-carrying member of People-Who-Are-Too-Serious-About-Themselves Anonymous. I have two strong credentials:

My kindergarten teacher wrote to my mother that I was too concerned about my young brother. A textbook case of early-onset seriousness. At age 5, I felt full responsibility for my brother, apparently not trusting my parents to do their job properly. I am relieved to say that this brother has turned out well, despite his overbearing big sister.

Right out of college, I moved to Dallas and lived with a college friend, Ann. After a few months of sharing space, she was kind enough to take me out for drinks and tell me that in my early twenties, I was acting like I was 40 (imagine)! Too serious! Not fun! Thank you, Ann! Too bad it took me almost 20 years to understand what you were trying to tell me.

Having celebrated my 39th birthday several times by now, I can say I have reformed my ways, but it's an ongoing struggle. Getting a PhD doesn't really help, except when you're surrounded by so much self-importance, you have to laugh about it.

As a reforming case taking myself too seriously, I can recommend the following tactics for dealing with this "serious" condition:

1. Have children. Your kids have a great way of putting things into proper perspective for you. Every day.

2. Adopt a puppy.

3. Stand on your head. You'll probably have to lean against the wall. This new perspective can make you laugh.

4. Rent funny movies.

5. Hang out with fun and funny people. Be careful about spending too much time with excessively-self important people.

6. Get a job teaching children, it works similarly to tactic #1.

7. Don't watch the news. It's their job to make you worry.

8. Find something to be happy about now. If you can't do this, go back to the top of the list.

Put laughing on your daily agenda. Seriously.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Get Ready for Unexpected Income

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Did you ever find a $5 bill in your pocket? This morning, it was so chilly, I put on my robe right after getting up. I found something in my pocket, where I usually find used tissues. Today it was a $5 bill. That's a good start to the day in my book.

We all receive unexpected gifts and income from time to time. But mostly, we smile and forget about it. Some people fear that showing too much happiness is in effect setting themselves up for a disappointment. Mixonian says, look for unexpected income and you'll find it even more often.

Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned how when you decide to buy a new car, a new Volvo, for example, you start to see Volvos everywhere. The same goes for butterflies. The same goes for unexpected income, which we'll interpret to include unexpected gifts that are not actually money.

Christine Kane even has a prayer to thank God, in advance, for unexpected income. I became aware of this dimension last April or May, and since then, unexpected income seems to be snowballing my way, recession or no recession.

Here are some unexpected gifts that came our way, just in the last 10 days:
  • My daughters and I were at Starbucks. Miranda was not too happy with what I had ordered for her, but she was drinking it anyway. Then the waitress magically appeared with a gigantic frappucino - just what she wanted! Retail value: close to $4.

  • I got a check for $126 representing a year's worth of dividends, from a stock I had forgotten that I owned.

  • A customer (himself an unexpected source of income) inquired about a pending translation which I thought I had already sent him and billed for it. Not at all. The work was done, I just needed to turn it in and bill for $500. (BTW, Mixonian does Spanish-English-Spanish translations.)

  • A couple of nights ago I took my daughters to the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival concert. I knew that they were eligible for free tickets because they study violin. However, the surprise was that I got in free as well. Retail value: $10.

  • Christina got an unexpected gift of a $15 gift certificate, from a friend we don't know very well.

  • I got a late birthday present, from an unexpected source. It was a book I can't wait to read.

  • I was in a music shop to buy several music-related items for my daughters. The shop's owner gave me a set of violin strings. Retail value: I think around $30.

Of course, unexpected income doesn't mean you don't get unexpected bills as well, but appreciating and enjoying (and taking note of) unexpected income and gifts raises your energy level to experience a more abundant life.

Even if you see a penny in the street, pick it up and accept it as a symbol of prosperity that is on its way to you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

10 Ways to Deal with Politics

This post is especially for those readers who aren't really crazy about either presidential candidate, and for those who actively support one of the two candidates.

Keep these thoughts in mind amidst the ongoing election campaign.

1. No matter who wins, life will continue, with abundant opportunities for prosperity and peace.

2. No matter who wins, it's better than it would be under anarchy.

3. If you don't vote, you lose the right to complain. However, Mixonian doesn't endorse complaining.

4. Not many people are willing to do what it takes to campaign for any office; be grateful for those who provide us with political options.

5. No matter who wins, we are still responsible for what happens in our own lives. Blaming the other party is counter-productive.

6. No matter who wins, you can still make the world a better place by being grateful and generous.

7. The United States is still one of the most prosperous, free, and innovative countries in the world.

8. If your candidate doesn't win, things probably won't be as bad as you think.

9. No matter who wins, Mixonian will continue to publish.

10. Even though the campaign is exciting to observe, at times anyway, remember that news programming is another form of entertainment and staying tuned may not be the best use of your energy.

Happy week-end!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Away with Anxiety!

Not that you're playing role of Hamlet at the Washington National Theater, but sometimes one feels anxiety about a certain meeting or presentation. It could even be worry about an upcoming family reunion or encounter.

If you're feeling uneasy, but not really sure why, stop a think about it. Try to pinpoint what is is, or whose reaction you're anticipating to be negative. Take the example of a college professor who's about to return midterm exams to the class. She knows the students were expecting to perform better than they actually did. You also know that they are usually reluctant to take responsibility for not studying; it's much easier to insist the test was "not fair!"

Thus the instructor knows, from past experience, that the students get defensive about their responsibility and the instructor defends her right to make the exam. It's a perfectly understandable conflict of interests, it's not a particularly rewarding experience for either side.

So, besides telling yourself that you really do love the other party and it loves you too, which is always a good idea, you can do something concrete: write the script for how you want it to be, as if it has already happened.

This idea has been endorsed by a variety of smart people, including musician Christine Kane, writer Henriette Anne Klauser, and outrageous marketing man, Joe Vitale.

Instead of writing, "The meeting will be much better than I expected."

Write, "The meeting exceeding all my expectations; it was flawless!"

Instead of writing, "I will not be defensive when my student insist the test was not fair."

Write, "Given my experience with disappointed students, it was not surprising that I remained calm and loving and shared responsibility in the co-creation of this outcome. We came up with some specific suggestions to improve student performance on the final exam."

Instead of writing, "I will not be nervous."

Write, "I was hardly nervous at all, once I started speaking the words flowed so smoothly. The presentation was outstanding!"

Joe Vitale shared the experience of advance scripting one of his appearances on the Larry King Show. He wrote it out on hotel stationery before the show, and carried the paper with him onto the stage.

Remember, people pick up on your nonverbal communication before you open your mouth. Script the event the way you want it to and then enjoy the results.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Playing Pretend Pays

On Mixonian's September 23 post, I wrote about grown-ups playing a good way, of course. Playing pretend to exercise one's imagination and make life more interesting, not to escape responsibility. Exercising this resource can pay off in tangible dividends as well. Read on.

Since that post was published, research has surfaced that shows how pretending can actually pay off, in higher test scores, or possibly in investment dividends. Here is a true story on the power of imagination in ordinary people.

This account comes straight from Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

Two Dutch researchers did a study in which they had groups of students answer forty-two fairly demanding questions from the board game 'Trivial Pursuit.' Half were asked to take five minutes beforehand to think about what it would mean to be a professor and write down everything that came to mind. Those students got 55.6% of the questions right. The other half of thes tudents were asked to first sit and think about soccer hooligans. They ended up getting 42.6% of the 'Trivial Pursuit' questions right. The "professor" group didn't know more than the "soccer hooligan" group. They weren't smarter or more focused or more serious. They were simply in a "smart" frame of mind, and clearly, associating themselves with the idea of something smart, like a professor, made it a lot easier -- in that stressful instant after a trivia question was asked -- to blurt out the right answer. The difference between 55.6% and 42.6%, it should be pointed out, is enormous. That can be the difference between passing and failing (56).

Far be it from Mixonian to question the validity of whether professors are really any smarter than soccer hooligans, but this study definitely supports the power of imagination to deliver real results.

The human imagination is a free unlimited resource at your disposal - the more you use it, the more it works for you. And this resource is safe from all financial economic crises.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beware the Complicators

If you saw the youtube video clip posted on Christine Kane's blog the week of September 18, this post will ring a familiar tone. The clip was about the escalator break down. About a similar theme, read this post carefully, and see the real genius behind the writer of Mixonian.

The Mystery of the Goggle Marks

I've been swimming seriously now for almost three years. By "seriously" I mean 1 to 3 times a week, most weeks. I got started in Caracas, with a group and a coach, and now I continue at ECU's pool, on my own. Today I swam 70 laps, which I'm told is a mile.

I love swimming. Even more, I love having swum. I rejoice when I can smell chlorine on my skin.

But, I've had this serious problem with swimming: red goggle marks on my face. Very scary looking.

The goggles always left these deep red marks around my eyes, and it always took many hours for them to fade away. I attributed these to my oh-so-delicate skin.

While swimming, I would dream up cures for this serious disfigurement. I thought of special goggles for me, putting silicon between the goggles and my skin, or finding some miracle cream that would make them disappear faster. Maybe I would make lots of money when I found the cure.

Then one day this week, I got advice from someone I thought was a semi-professional swimmer. Then I realized it was my daughter, Miranda.

We were swimming in adjacent lanes and all of a sudden Miranda asks the miraculous question, "Mom, have you tried loosening your goggles?"

Wow, what brilliant insight! I never thought of that. I thought looser goggles would let in the water. But, I loosened the band that goes around your head by one full inch, the water still stays out, and you can hardly see my goggle marks. Plus it's a lot less painful.

So, why do some people like to complicate things, or refuse to see simple, obvious solutions? Here are two possible answers:

1. Thinking that what you're doing is more complicated makes it seem more important, and by extension, you feel more important.

2. Some people fear asking for help because they associate getting help with losing independence. So these people isolate themselves, and there's no one around to point out the obvious solution, like loostening your goggles.

Both of these possibilities point to a distorted sense of self - one who solves complicated problems without anyone's help. While the lonely hero may make good movie plots, it's not a very nice way to live.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Going the Extra Mile will Get You Even Farther

by Jack Canfield

Successful people go the extra mile. Plain and simple. They do it because it says multitudes about their work ethic and character. They stand out from the crowd because of their extra efforts. They are unwilling to give up, even in the face of difficult times. They get the promotions, they get the loyal customers, they grow their businesses twice as fast, they get financial rewards, job security, and they go home feeling satisfied.

Do you exceed expectations? Do you surprise people with more than they were expecting from you? Do you look for ways that you could be of more service, or for projects that you could help out on?

People notice hard workers. They notice special services and all the small touches that make dealing with you so pleasurable. And when they are talking to their friends they will mention you and recommend you because you are the one who stands out. Do you wonder what's in it for you? Do you think it's unfair to give more when you're not being compensated for it or recognized for it? Do you have the "it's not my job" mentality?

To be successful you must change your thinking. You can only win by making extra efforts. People who go the extra mile always get payback. You will discover yourself becoming more self-confident, more self-reliant and more influential with those around you. You will get noticed! People will see that you pay attention to detail, that you consider all the small things that really make a business successful, that you care about your image, and that you belong with all the other people who work hard to achieve. You will attract new business and new opportunities. Listen to any success story and you will hear of someone who worked exceptionally hard to get what they wanted.

You'll hear how they put in the extra time, did what wasn't part of their job description, and over-delivered on what was asked of them. You'll hear how they stuck at it until they broke through, and usually you'll hear how it only took them a couple of years to do it. What have you been doing for the past couple of years? The same thing? How quickly have you advanced? How quickly has time gone by? Think of what you could accomplish if you made it a habit to exceed everyone's expectations. Image what doors could be open to you if you decided to be of better service and value.

How are you willing to go the extra mile? What kind of extra service are you willing to provide in order to stand out from the rest? What areas of your life could you be giving more of your effort and time, becoming more valuable, and improving your reputation? Be willing to treat everyone like you'd treat your dearest friend. Don't skimp on service. Don't be mediocre or run of the mill. Show people what you are capable of. Show them that you care about your image and reputation. When it comes to success, the people who are willing to go the extra mile get there that much faster!

© 2008 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder 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:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What To Do to Stay S.A.N.E In These Changing Times?

By Dr. Cindy Brown, "The Business & Relationship Strategist."

We are living in a time of great change and uncertainty with the media and everyone around us sharing their fears and negative predictions. How do you stay positive and unaffected by this forecast of doom and gloom? How do you not get pulled into the collective unconscious and have it affect your energy and ultimately your business?Here are some simple strategies you can apply right now to help you minimize your exposure to the negativity, thus allowing you to continue to create positivity and success to surround you and your business and relationships.

Satisfy your basic needs: Make sure you know and fulfill your basic needs during this time. Make sure you sleep well, eat healthy and regularly small meals, exercise to process and release thoughts, emotions and stress. Make sure you get a balance of personal and social with work and/or family time. Make sure you get enough socialization, touch, affection and sex as well to help release stress. If you don't know what your basic needs are and need a coach to help you please contact me for a coaching session.

Appreciate and notice what you have and give gratitude daily. One great way that helps replace negative energy with positive is to recite what you are grateful for each day out-loud. Like energy attracts like energy! My good friend Deb and I actually email them to each other each day. Oprah recommends creating a Gratitude journal where you write them down and recite them each day.

Say NO to Negativity!!! Be careful not to watch too much T.V. especially shows or the news that tells you all the bad news, or even read the paper. Stay away from people who feel they are a victim of life's circumstances and they don't know what to do to get out of their situation of fear and stress. Make sure you follow the strategies mentioned here if you are exposed to this kind of negativity. Listen to motivational CDs to improve your mood or Hire a live coach like me to pump you up on a weekly basis.

Expect good in your life and greatness from yourself ALWAYS, regardless of your circumstances around you or in the world presently. Read or listen to positive articles or self-help material on a daily basis to program your mind for feeling Great and receiving good. Recite positive passages throughout the day to keep your energy in the positive range, rather than the negative one.

These are just a few of the simple strategies you can implement right now in order to turn your life away from stress and negativity and onto a positive vibe of success without stress. You can be SANE during these changing times. I practice it everyday, you now can too! Enjoy Life, that's what it is there for us to do!

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 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™ publishes a information-packed monthly online newsletter with 1000'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 .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Escape these 5 Toxic Plot Lines

Some say there are only eight different basic plot lines in all the stories ever told. Others say there are 16, or a few more. The best known is probably the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl. In Latin American soap operas, a popular plot goes like this: country bumpkin moves to big city to work as a maid, and achieves "success" by marrying Mr. Big. Of course in those stories, these cleaning ladies always look like Brooke Shields, and somehow wear high heels with their uniforms to mop floors.

The story of your own life no doubt includes overcoming obstacles to achieve worthy goals. It may also include some wild adventures, perilous travel, and unexpected encounters.

What follows, however, is a list of plot lines to avoid in your own life stories:

- The protagonist never quite achieves the mission because somewhere close to the finish line he shoots himself in the foot. Rather than learning from this experience, he repeats it.

- The protagonist lives to please others, and somehow never really pleases anyone, and continually plays supporting roles in other people's plots.

- The protagonist, always working for the sake of the mission, loses his health and his family to benefit the sponsoring organization.

- The protagonist, having learned that others always let you down, shuns help from friends, in stubborn determination to do everything by herself. She prefers the life of isolation, rather than risk another disappointment.

- The protagonist is always in control of the situation, but isn't much fun to be around, ever. Takes himself far too seriously.

Now all of us may fall into one of these toxic plot lines on occasion, but don't make one of these the story of your life.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Power of Story

Jim Loehr, of the Human Performance Institute, recently published The Power of Story. It caught my eye because he is a psychologists working with world-class athletes and top business executives, and he's writing about how influential the stories we use to explain ourselves are -- both to ourselves and others.

That concept is also big in communication studies, it's sometimes called "myth," but the idea is the same: how you explain what is happening in your life becomes your personal life story. Your story can help you, or not. A story is also tool used by others to persuade you to join their cause.

Here's an excerpt from Loehr's book:

It's not just individuals who tell stories about themselves; groups do it, too. Nations and religions an universities and sports teams and political parties and labor unions each tell stories about themselves to capture the imagination of their constituencies. Companies tell their stories to engage their customers and, increasingly, their workforce, stories which must be internally consistent and power if they're to succeed over time. The Starbucks story: Our home is your home away from home, a place where strangers are transformed into member of a community; to give our story integrity and durability, we aim to treat all our people, from customer to employees to independent coffee-growers around the world, with equal dignity and respect (9).

For thousands of years everything important was communicated through stories. Then we fell in love with the scientific method, and the story was shoved to the back with the children's fairy tales.

Now we know better, our stories make our meanings. Science is also valuable, but that's another own story.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Birthday Thoughts

Remember when you were 5 years old and about to turn 6, so old that your age could no longer be represented with only one hand? Then, in the blink of an eye, you get so old that you're not really sure how old you're turning on the next birthday.

I remember when my grandmother couldn't remember her age at times. Was she 58, or about to turn 58? At the time, I couldn't imagine how that was possible to forget how old you were. Now, I get it. The years go by so quickly!

We are supposed to feel complimented when people underestimate our ages these days. That's almost the ultimate positive feedback -- that you don't look that old, or like you have that many children!

Well, if you think about it, you probably don't want to go back and re-live those old experiences, that is unless you could do so with the wisdom you've acquired in the process. So what's more valuable, looking youthful, or being wiser?

Finally, while being wiser than you used to be is a good thing, birthdays are also reminders of our immortality. It's a great opportunity to express gratitude for the abundance of blessings that surround us: health, loving family, understanding friends, cooler weather, public libraries, indoor plumbing, coffee makers, salads in bags, swimming pools and Starbucks coffee ice cream with chocolate!