Build a Better Mouse Trap

Go the extra mile, seek and you shall find, as ye sow so shall ye reap… these are all well-known aphorisms that have had their fair share of acceptance. Even when trite, there is more than a kernel of truth in such old sayings as “build a better mouse trap”. Now what does this enigmatic phrase mean exactly? Quite simple, really. It implies that you can always improve on something, even when it already works. In life, there are many instances of this fact. There is almost nothing that can’t undergo some kind of transformation for the better. Use fancy words like amelioration and it’s all the same to me. The world and its content is on a constant road to progressive betterment.

Think of all that modern science and technology have done for us. We had penicillin and now we have tygacycline. We had cars, now we have hybrids. We had swamp coolers, now we have ACs. We had PCs, now we have tablets. There is fundamental change automatically built in most everything. Not only do biological entities evolve. Life gets more streamlined and just plain easier when we build a better mousetrap. Some people hate change and want to live in the past. There are still hippies in Berkeley and mountain men in Tennessee. Many say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I say “bah.”

If we can improve things, then why not? Just because we can, I suppose. And because it can make a real difference. Sometimes it is just for practicality as in upgraded sewing machines, better theater acoustics, and machine-made shoes. Other times, it is a matter of life and death as with new surgical procedures. People who died a century ago from heart attacks live today with stents and bypasses. Few die in childbirth. If it is within the realm of possibilities, there is someone somewhere who is creative enough and inspired enough to press forward. The mystery of invention is idea gestation and where it gets applied.

Things have gotten to the point that we expect the new and innovative constantly. We are hooked on novelty. We wait impatiently for the new iPhone and the latest video game. We want to be entertained and we want to be healthy. There are new superfoods we had not heard of a few years ago. We want it all – and now. There is no reason why building a better mousetrap like the ones on this page should be threatening or detrimental to anyone’s lifestyle. We farm better, we make improved products like TVs and washing machines, we enjoy better and faster air transportation. Better, improved, revised—these are the buzzwords of modern culture worldwide. We tear down buildings even just fifty years old. We fill in marsh land for housing projects and purify our water to prevent disease. We repave over the past to make way for the new. Who remembers key punch, ether, ice boxes, dot matrix printers, rotary dialing, clothes pins, garter belts, megaphones, milking stools, chimney sweeps, Italian lire…

Dealing With Extreme Pressure

So much is written about stress and anxiety and what to do to cut the pressure out of our lives for good. It keeps building up for some who have to cope with tough jobs, a task-oriented home life, other people, and constant peer scrutiny. If you care what others think, you fall into this category. If you are numb to it all, that is also a problem. What is the right middle ground?

Apart from laying blame on all these factors, it comes down to the reality of who is at fault. You have heard the expression, “you are our own worst enemy.” It is true. We create so many expectations that we can’t meet, so many unattainable goals, and so much self-induced stress for no reason. It seems that we could also remove it all in a flash. Not so. Most people don’t know how to lay off, let go, and give themselves a break. Perhaps they need a blast from a pressure washer to clear their heads, some high-powered gas pressure washer too! That would be a good kind of pressure to undertake. We all need self-analysis and an effort to break through the barriers that block our happiness and progress in life.

It is possible to deal with extreme pressure of the negative kind. There are many basic tactics that can help.

  • Face the music: think of what is really wrong, write it down, stare at it, and absorb. What do you think is the truth?
  • Crave change: ask yourself if you want a calmer life without the torture of unnecessary stress. It is destructive and needs to be banished. Talk yourself into changing.
  • Ask for help: no doubt your friends and family see the pressure etched all over your face and in your body language. They want to support you.
  • Consult experts: if your entourage is loath to interfere, there are experts ready to advise you. They know the causes and concerns that define modern man and can offer suggestions. Just having someone to talk with is a godsend. Real therapy is a must for those plagued with pressure.
  • Learn tips and tricks: you can teach yourself new behavior and acquire a new attitude. At first you have to fake it a little until it becomes internalized. You can learn to say a mantra or affirmation each morning to direct your day in a positive direction. (I can, I will, I want….)
  • Keep pressure at bay: stay away from toxic people, places, and situations. Don’t repeat failures. You are in control. Knowing that is half the battle.
  • Rid your mind of the claptrap of negativity: use that mental pressure washer on high to cleanse yourself of bad thoughts, misgivings, excuses, and self-induced anxiety. The old school of “the power of positive thinking” is still going strong and is looking for new students.
  • A new you is awaiting: people don’t have to stay in a rut if they don’t want to. You can look forward to a better, happier life on your own terms. Say “no” to the status quo and “yes” to a new you.

Hitting a Plateau

Life is a dance that goes sometimes in a nice, straight line and sometimes around in circles. You don’t always know when and where and it may be beyond your control. If you are making a beeline to a goal, you feel energized and optimistic. If you are running around in circles like a ceiling fan, you need help. You’ve got to keep your cool, read some tower fan reviews (they don’t got round in circles), pick one up then pick yourself up ha-ha.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. However, we are also the only ones who know what we need to do to get off the wrong track. As yourself a few questions:

  • What is bothering me the most?
  • Who is bothering me the most?
  • How do I get off the merry-go-round?
  • How do I get on the train to success?

A little self-analysis goes a long way. When the ceiling fan mode is dominant, try a few tips I use regularly:

  • Calm down and take a breath; get a grip
  • Exercise vigorously to clear your head
  • Do hard things: don’t be afraid to push forward
  • Get out of your rut by willing it to happen
  • Let the positive overwhelm the negative

When you hit a plateau, there is no need to feel that all is lost. We all run into a brick wall from time to time but it needn’t knock us senseless. It is a wake-up call to turn in another direction. Perhaps work is becoming drudgery or you are not communicating with your wife and kids. Friends shun you because you are always down. Taking command of your mental state can only propel you forward. Nothing can be all that bad for most of us, barring illness and death.

If it has to do with routine malaise, you have a lot of company. Sometimes life has its cycles—ups and downs. We go through periods of avoiding responsibilities and reverting to an older less mature self. Doing the hard things is often not within reach, but life demands it of us. When you are in the doldrums, try the following:

  • Treat yourself to something you love: a sports event, concert, new shoes, a gourmet meal
  • Get on Facebook and renew friendships
  • Drop in on family: they are always good for some love and caring
  • Make a list of your positive qualities and achievements in life
  • Perk yourself up with some yoga, exercise, and good nutrition. When your body is in tone, your mind will follow

You can be your own life coach, or get one. There is nothing as motivating as a pat on the back and a few compliments. Let yourself bask in your successes while obscuring the failures. Let them drift away…

Unhappy people dwell on the negative when it is over and done with. They can’t let go and move on. Recognize this in yourself and eradicate it with pleasant thoughts and the power of positive thinking. It is a kind of meditation exercise I am talking about, a kind of self-assurance that comes with the knowledge that dwelling on failure can only drag you down. Get up, get with it, and do hard things.

One of the Hardest Goals

Oh, yes, it is darn hard to keep one’s weight within a normal and acceptable range. Who hasn’t felt a tug of fear when suddenly you realize you have gained five pounds. If your bathroom scale is signaling red alert, it is time to take stock of the situation. If you are lucky and have one of those fancy model best digital scales that tell you what you should weigh for your age and height, and then it adds your BMI, you have no excuse not to set some immediate goals. You have the tools and now you need the mindset. First and foremost, are you even concerned?

Poundage goes on fast and comes off with great difficulty. It does not melt away as the bogus ads for pills on the Internet state. I don’t care what medical pundit is touting miracle cures. It doesn’t happen over a weekend with a juice cleanse. It is a more intense process that requires real effort: mental and physical. If you are a very disciplined, self-controlling person, it should pose no problem. You apply the same tactics as you would in other areas of your life. You identify the area of concern and devise a solution. However, if your will power has been falling down on the job and you are failing at many other objectives you have set for yourself, you should take heed. This is an indication that some serious behavioral modification is in order!

Everyone needs a plan and some motivation, no matter what challenge they have to undertake—a roadmap and guidepost. You might need to save for a trip or new car, have to help grandma out, or are facing a rent raise. So you create a time table and mark the steps along the way. You continue on and don’t stop even in the face of certain obstacles. You had a sudden increase in your utility bill, your sister Sue needs an operation, and you accidentally ate a whole cake. You persevere, however, and extend your due date a little bit. You don’t scream “failure” at the first hindrance. You accept little glitches and sally forth on your way to goal success.

Tough goals are really hard to keep. All the more reason to pat yourself on the back when you reach them in time. Give yourself a gift or treat (non-fattening) when your scale says you have lost a pound. Remind yourself as you push away the ice cream offered after a dinner party, and say no to a second helping of potatoes. Say yes to fruits vegetables, lean meats, and nuts. Say yes to a new, better, and healthier you.

A final point: remember, if you are trying your very best and you just can’t make the grade no matter how hard you try, either alter your expectations, or simply move on. Torturing yourself will only lead to stress and an unhappy life. Acceptance is the flip side of failure. It can lead you forward in spite of setbacks. It allows you to succumb without shame.

Toilet Innards

Give me a computer and I can do anything, anytime. I don’t mean just surfing the web and enjoying social media. I don’t mean finding the most obscure article in the world that I must read this minute. I can fix a computer, upgrade software and memory, and much more. I can design a website and imbed streaming video and links. Some call this handy, but not in the usual sense.

Handy describes my best friend Warren, but one day he met his match. My toilet was running for hours on end, no doubt wasting tons of water, and causing me significant irritation. I called him and within minutes there he was with a plumbing kit in hand. You can buy them in any hardware store. Just match the right size and style for your unit. If they make do-it-yourself packages, it must not require a plumbing apprenticeship to use.

He got a good set of replacement parts and started plugging away at the task, humming happily. The instructions were daunting to me: all those diagrams and pictures of teeny little parts. He got it, however, and the toilet was back to normal. Or so we thought! It flushed just fine. However, on the floor next to the base, a bit hidden from view, was a little circular thing with a hole in it—not ½ inch wide.

Oh no, I thought. He will have to start over and take the whole thing apart first. An easy fix has turned into a nightmare. I really needed to use the toilet but was afraid to try. I didn’t want to be mopping the floor all afternoon.

A week later:

Time passed and I was flushing away. In fact, the replacement parts seem to have improved the toilet – it’s now the best flushing toilet  ever! No flood; no ark is needed. The household pets are safe. The thing works without the washer, or whatever it was. Maybe they put in extra parts for fun, or to test newbies. Like the crazy guy in the Chinese fortune cookie factory who wrote, “help get me out of here” instead of nice words, there must be a nut in the plumbing parts factory who gets off on adding pieces to every kit just to fool people like me and Warren.

By now, I had tossed the mystery part into the trash. It was a kind of challenge. Putting toilet innards together (literally a ballcock assembly, float arm and ball, bowl refill and overflow tube, trip lever, flush valve seal, lift wire, and tank ball) is a puzzle of a unique kind. With all those parts, I can’t fault Warren one bit. He did pretty well, even if I did expect more from him as usual.

In any case, it was a cheap fix and I would have him do it again in a pinch. You know what a plumber charges just to walk in the door! I would advise you to lay the parts out and even assemble them on a trial basis before installing. Otherwise, you might end up with more than a washer to spare.

Meeting Ron

Ron Popeil is sitting at a big desk in his home office in Beverly Hills, California. He welcomes me – one of many visitors – and I sit in a high-backed chair directly facing his charismatic presence. Success is written all over the place, particularly in the many signed celebrity photos on the walls and all over the spacious mansion. It is luxurious but homey, a reflection of his down-to-earth nature. Ron sold his last invention a few years ago for millions and is enjoying a secure, amply-endowed retirement.

Decades ago it all began with the Ginsu knife and a company still known as Ronco. He ran a ubiquitous infomercial, one of the first to be nationally-known that reaped in orders (and dollars) by the thousands each day. It virtually launched an industry and created an empire. Slicers, food dehydrators, pasta machines, rotisseries, and more followed over the years. They all worked well, received amazing reviews from cooking magazines across the nation and cost little. The message is basic is best.

Ron was a marketing genius who coined the phrase, “but there’s more.” He was (and still is) the guru of the kitchen and the mind-behind hawking every kind of small appliance. Unless you are approaching retirement, you won’t remember the great knife that made history, but you have heard these three key words many times for every product imaginable. Their impact has been remarkable even as you laugh with recognition. You want, and listen, for more!

It’s all about slicing and dicing and food prep of all kinds–the everyday sort that every family expects to see happening in the kitchen. In fact, when you see the ads, you feel remiss if you are not making your own pasta or saving every leftover in a hermetically sealed bag. Women aren’t proper housewives without Ron’s wares. The ads make it look simple and fun—a kid could do it! It has become an art to emulate a professional chef in our advancing foodie culture, and you do need the right props on your kitchen counter to look the part. (No matter if they have names like EZ-Store.) They promise healthy delicious food made easy. Eating at home has found new favor with this generation.

Who ever heard about food dehydrators before these infomercials? And who cared? We live in an affluent society where we can afford to toss the remnants of dinner or feed them to the dog. But Ron’s ads were manned by motivational speakers disguised as spokespersons. They urged and encouraged women (and some men) to get with it and learn the art of cuisine as well as the necessity of saving money. With liquid injector sets and a complete line of spices, Ronco keeps you cooking. You are in gadget heaven on the website. The company has kept pace with trends and knows how to lure online shoppers. If you want to peek at the old infomercials, they are all there!

If you can’t resist one purchase, try the cutlery. He started with it and will probably end with it. It has a legacy which may inspire some fancy slicing come dinner time.

Toenail Dilemma

I love the hiatus of summer, but I do miss the action of class and friends during the school year—and all the activities that surround college life. I am told that these are the salad days of your life, not to be missed. Summer is a time of reflection, however, and I like to write and get a little ahead on some projects I have going, Nashville can be an exciting town with music pouring out of its ears during the season; but in the summer, people lie low and veg. Not me.

I have words of wisdom and tales to tell. My brain keeps going even in the heat. In fact, without school it has to have something to preoccupy it. I wish I had something profound, but given the time of year and the lazy vibe it brings, I will recount a mundane obsession I once had with my feet.

Yes. I said feet. Who cares about them? Most guys don’t, but….

I once had a toenail fungus in my left big toe threatening to spread like wildfire to the adjacent ones. How did I know? The larger nail was yellow and I could see a faint darkening beginning to happen next door. The big toe was blatant and unmistakably afflicted and I had never seen this on me much less any of my family or friends. Guys my age don’t go to the doctor, so online I went with great conviction. The Internet has every solution to every problem, if you can believe any of them! There were so many posts and ads that I figured it must be a pretty widespread issue. Thousands of entries from the medical sites like to smaller blogs like that are dedicated to a cure for toenail fungus.

It takes an inquiring mind to sort through this maze of material. Maybe it is a good exercise, but most likely a waste of time. I am not going to recommend it for everyone, but it seemed like the only way to go at the time. I certainly learned about what is buried in the Internet. The pictures were helpful for confirmation of my condition, but the remedies were ridiculous. I was not going to make a concoction so I elected to buy a ready-made elixir. (I love that word.)

Which one? I initially chose the one with a fancy doctor spokesperson hoping that he wasn’t degrading himself by touting the miracle potion. Would he lend his name to something that didn’t work? Yes. So I moved on. I landed on a simple recipe that took very little effort. Not caring about the whitest sheets, I had to buy some bleach and athlete’s foot powder. I had the beer. Not a smelly mixture, I applied it religiously for a week.

I would like to report that the do-it-yourself approach worked, evoking considerable pride and a pinch of self-congratulatory glory. Who doesn’t like to boast about success? I don’t know if I would take this road for just any “medical condition” but this time was the charm. I want to make a point about taking charge of your life, even the little things and learning to adapt as you go along. The small positive outcomes can mean the most sometimes.

The Importance of Taking Action


Great ideas go nowhere fast if they don’t have an action to go with them. You will never invent that perfect mousetrap if you never do any research on past mouse traps, finding out what worked and what didn’t. If you never do any actual work to bring that great idea to fruition, you may as well not even have an idea in the first place because it will never become anything more than that. If you have a dream try to make it come true. It won’t pursue you, you have to pursue it instead, as that’s the way the real world works.

Imagine that there is a group of people all assigned to the same task. There are four jobs that need to be done. The first is idea construction, the second is drafting the concept, the third is acquiring the tools and construction materials and the fourth job is the actual construction. There are four people and four tasks. If all four people are doing idea construction, nothing will ever get built, and it’s the same way with all of the everyday actions that we fail to take throughout our lives. Nothing ever comes of our great ideas and the reason is because we don’t want to carry out the construction of that idea into something tangible.

Successful people were not born into their success. Rather, they are successful because they went for it and did the footwork necessary to bring about that success instead of sitting around waiting for it to magically appear out of nothing. Those people didn’t just have good ideas, instead they had the idea and then went into action to make it happen. This kind of motivation is difficult for most of us, which is why only a few people actually become successful at what they do. The rest of us dream about success but those people stop dreaming and make it happen.

Anyone can become a success story but we can’t let the rest of the world bring us down to their level. Other people think we can’t do it, because they don’t think THEY can do it. The last thing they want is for you to prove them wrong as that means they are the ones who are wrong. Stop listening to the negativity of others and just listen to your heart as it guides you.

Low self esteem can make us afraid to take action. We think, there’s just no way that any idea of mine will ever make it in this world. I can’t be successful; I can’t come up with good ideas and make them work. Stopping the negativity is the first step toward positive action and positive results. When we stop thinking we can’t do and just go ahead and do it, we accomplish a lot toward changing our own perspective on life, work, success and failure. We basically become the one thing we never thought we could be… fulfilled.

Increase Your Productivity by Cutting Out the Distractions in Your Life


Distractions are always going to be a part of daily life, unless we live inside a bubble and the rest of the world can’t get in. The phone rings, the cat wants to play, the children are fighting, the boss is harping at you, you get an email from someone, the doorbell rings, your neighbors are arguing loudly upstairs…anything can and does happen. All of these things distract us from the tasks we have set for ourselves, especially if the distraction seems more interesting than what we were doing.

But there are ways to remove the distractions from your life so you can get your work done. For one thing, you can practice time management. Most of us think we already do this but if we don’t do it correctly, our time still runs away from us. So, we have to do everything we can to eliminate the distractions around us. Turn off the phone, log out of your favorite social media site, click out of all ‘fun’ sites where you can watch videos or chat with strangers from around the world, and get focused on your task. You can still do all the fun things but they must wait until the important stuff is done.

Decide which tasks are most important and which are least important, and make sure that you accomplish the most important first. This eliminates the stresses and concerns that always come with the more difficult jobs and allows you to have the freedom to do the less important jobs without that overhanging distraction. Do everything according to its time priority. If the task is due tomorrow, start on that one first. The tasks that are due in a few days or a week can wait a little longer.

Keep your workspace clean. When there’s a mess surrounding you, that’s a distraction that keeps you from concentrating on your work. Not only that but the mess can actually ‘eat’ your work, hiding it from you and causing more distractions while you stop work to look for things you’ve lost. Clean up the clutter to make yourself more productive. If you can’t avoid the distractions, remove yourself from them. If your work is on a computer, take your laptop with you and go somewhere where you can have peace and quiet. Get away from conversations, music, television and everything else that distracts you. If you can’t get away from the distractions, then drown them out. Wear earplugs or headphones, anything that keeps the background noises down.

Take periodic work breaks to check up on what is going on around you. Do your work for about an hour and then spend a few minutes checking your phone messages, doing callbacks and emails. Reserve a little time for face-to-face conversations and then get back to work again. Make work the priority and you will actually find yourself wanting to get back to it.

Crushing the Resistance and Succeeding in Your Life

success_blog_fullThere are many different types of people in this world, those who start something and never finish it and those who not only finish but finish big. I have struggled much in this arena, trying to be the latter while trying to ignore that part of me that is the former. We all have these two characters as part of our personalities and the struggle is in determining which one will be the dominant and which will be recessive. It isn’t easy to do something unique and special, something creative that is a part of you alone. Accomplishing this requires a certain mind set and turning away from the enemy that resides within all of us… namely, ourselves.

I tend to be rather high-strung and motivated. I get an idea and I want it done now. That’s where a lot of my struggle lies as I always want everything done yesterday when I know that it will take a lot of good, hard work to accomplish the task at hand. Time is never on my side when my crazy ideas come to me. I have to work, eat, sleep, go places, do stuff, and it seems as though I never have the time necessary to get my ideas accomplished at the speed that I’d like. But, even when it seems to difficult to do what needs to be done, you have to stick to it, and rise to the challenge that is placed before you.

The resistance (a term from the book “The War of Art”) is within us all, it takes the form of laziness, procrastination and lack of self esteem. If we have a great idea but never get started on it, that’s laziness-taking effect and that costs a lot of people a lot of great accomplishments. Motivation is a key factor in overcoming the resistance to great ideas becoming great realities. Procrastination makes us tell ourselves that we will get the job done but first we should read up on the task, or study harder and learn more. We will do a much better job tomorrow after a full night’s sleep and upon awakening we suddenly decide that either the idea isn’t so wonderful after all or we still don’t think we are ready to tackle it yet. When procrastination takes hold, nothing ever manages to get done except for a lot of wheel spinning.

Self-esteem is another powerful factor in how we accomplish our tasks. If we don’t feel we are strong enough or smart enough or good enough at what we do, we sabotage ourselves faster than anyone else could ever sabotage us. Tiptoeing around all of these factors while trying to do something spectacular is the easiest way to allow those factors to slip in around the edges of our will power and make us resist getting the job done. Instead we need to jump up and face each bad habit that tries to invade and cut it back down to size again.

Why We Procrastinate — And How to Crush It

imagesProcrastination is the enemy of all and my enemy as well. We all try to avoid the pain that is certain to come our way if we step outside our comfort zone just a little bit. Want to buy a new car but don’t think you can afford the monthly payments? You will never take that step if you constantly berate yourself for not working hard enough or saving enough money. There is more than one car out there and they don’t all have the same payment plan attached to them. Do your research, find a vehicle you can afford and buy it. Walk toward that thing that hurts you so much you want to avoid it and get past it to where you can live a little better.

I think of a good friend of mine. He has a great job, makes a lot of money… and absolutely hates what he’s doing. He’s had that job for the past six years and hates it more today than he did when he first hired in. I keep asking him when he’s going to quit and apply for the type of job he really wants and his answer is always the same. He’s always waiting for his next vacation, or waiting for his bank account to reach some magic number so he can ‘float’ for a while on his savings if need be. There is always some good reason for not doing what he needs to do in order to be happy, because doing it will cause that momentary pain that he will have to get past in order to move on.

Procrastinators are always living in the future. They don’t learn from past experience and they don’t see the current moment as it passes them by. Instead, all they see is that perfect future day where everything will fall right into place and the one thing they have been dreading will just fix itself somehow. Then they know that they will sit back and laugh at themselves for not wanting to do what was so easy to do. But the trouble is, that perfect day isn’t coming, so people need to make the best of the current day and do what needs to be done now while they have the chance. We may never know a tomorrow, after all.

Once we manage to get past the putting everything painful off until tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, we will suddenly find ourselves faced with our fear, and discover way down deep inside that we really do have the ability to get past that barrier and overcome the fear. All it takes is one little leap of faith and a tiny step of action. The new job is applied for, the new car is purchased, the new home is bought and you are moving in already. The sooner we stop procrastinating and get the job done, the happier we will be.

Check out this video from Robin Sharma for some more tips on how you can beat procrastination.

Alright! It’s time to beat procrastination, go out there and do hard things, crush it and live your dream.

Getting the Most Out of Every Part of Your Day

Apple_Podcast_logoSuccess has no particular schedule to keep. It’s not on a 9 to 5 timetable, where you can stuff it away in a box and only take it out to play while you are on the clock. Successful thinking and actions require a full day to accomplish. When you aren’t at work, aren’t on the clock, that’s when you need to whip out the energy to get more done, even when you don’t think the time is right to do so. Any time is a good time for good ideas. Take the time to learn more about your business even when you are not at work. Don’t waste time thinking about other people’s success, just concentrate on finding your own.

Downloading some of the top business podcasts from the Internet can help us to stay tuned to the subject of our work and our interests in life even when we are on our own time. Listen to the podcasts while driving to and from work, or driving to the store. Listen to them while taking a shower using a shower head with a Bluetooth speaker and listen to them whenever you get the urge, no matter where you happen to be. Can’t sleep? Listen to a business podcast and get some great advice. Shopping? Tune in and learn while thumping the melons and pricing the meats and get inspired. Cleaning the house? Listen to the podcasts while mopping the floor or sweeping the spider webs from the ceiling.

Take every opportunity to advance yourself and success will be waiting on your doorstep. Nothing can get in your way once you have armed yourself with the knowledge needed to go far in the business world. Study your chosen profession at every opportunity so you can be prepared for that time when you will need to use that information. When you take your dog for a walk, you could be listening to a podcast along the way. Do whatever it takes to bring out the expert in yourself so that when your opportunity rises, you’ll be prepared. Successful people do this and so should we all. It’s only a matter of time.

When we are fully prepared for anything to happen, there are no surprises when they do. That promotion is waiting, that great client is coming your way. That business opportunity you can’t pass up might be waiting for you at any junction so you need to prepare yourself in order to make it happen. Success doesn’t gift wrap itself and lie at your feet in waiting. It hides just around the next corner so you have to be ready for it and allow it to engulf you when it approaches. Once you’ve done that, you will have the career of your dreams and you will be the one everyone is talking about and thinking about as the successful person they would like to become. Your very own podcast might help one of them someday, so put aside your failure issues and get with the program.

Three essentials for success in your life

sleeprefreshSuccess is an alluring dream but it can also be a horrible nightmare for some of us. We struggle, fight and claw our way to the top and sometimes we just slide right back down that hill again. Finding ways to keep up the good fight isn’t too difficult if you know where to look for them.

Sleep: A proper amount of sleep is essential for every aspect of life. If you don’t get enough sleep your body suffers and will try to gather that sleep at the wrong time and the wrong place. Adults typically require from 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, but this varies with the individual. Some of us are sustainable on 6 hours of sleep while others of us require around 10 hours each night. You’ll know if you get enough sleep as you’ll be energetic, ready to start your day and won’t lose steam as the afternoon winds down. One way to tell if you are getting enough sleep is by having someone calculate how long it takes you to fall asleep. If it takes around half an hour you are getting your rest, but if you are asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow you are exhausted and need to re-evaluate your sleep schedule.

Make a Vision Board: This is a relatively new idea but it can make a world of difference in keeping us focused on our goals in life. A vision board can be an actual board with goals written on it or it can be as simple as a sign or two on the wall. However it’s done, it must convey the attitude you need to succeed in life. The board must be always positive. You can write that you are already thin if you are on a diet. Don’t write that you are getting thin or want to be thin, but write as if you are already there to keep the mind focused on that arrival point. If you want a promotion at work, write that you have the job and keep those new responsibilities in mind as you work towards that goal.

The Action Method: This requires some imagination in order to work. Take every aspect of life as if it is something very important to your future and break it down into three sections: Actionable, references and backburner items. Paying your cell phone bill is actionable, the bill itself is a reference to remind you and a future goal of trading your old cell phone for a new and improved one is on the back burner until a later date. Use this technique for every part of your life and you will soon discover how easy it is to get on that elusive road to success. Recording your goals and displaying them where you can see them every day is another great way of keeping them fresh in your mind. This can be done with a chalkboard or even sticky notes, although the best way to do it is with the official templates or notebooks from Behance, the developers of the Action Method.