Tuesday, February 20, 2007

10 Benefits Of Laughter

1. Laughter is contagious. It not only makes people who laugh feel better, but also those who laugh with them.

2. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.

3. Laughter generally increases activity within the immune system. It also decreases stress hormones that constrict blood vessels and suppress immune activity.

4. Laughter is the best medicine, perhaps against heart disease. A study found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.

5. Laughter is even equivalent to a small amount of exercise. It massages all the organs of the body, according to Dr. James Walsh.

6. Laughter builds relationships. Laughter establishes—or restores—a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people, who literally take pleasure in the company of each other.

7. Laughter disarms tension and stress. Shy people can make use of laughter to break subtle barriers in the way they project themselves to connect to others and express thoughts, feelings and ideas they otherwise would keep to themselves.

8. Humor brings the balance we need to get through the turbulence of life comfortably.

9. A sense of humor can help you accept the inevitable, rise to any challenge, handle the unexpected with ease, and come out of any difficulty smiling.

10. Laughter adds spice to life; it is to life what salt is to a hard-boiled egg.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Why Some People Have All The Luck!

Why do some people get all the luck while others never get the breaks they deserve?

A psychologist, Professor Richard Wiseman from University of Hertfordshire, says he has discovered the answer. 10 years ago, he set out to examine luck. He wanted to know why some people are always in the right place at the right time, while others consistently experience ill fortune. He placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact him. Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for his research and over the years, he have interviewed them, monitored their lives and had them take part in experiments.

The results revealed that although these people have almost no insight into the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behavior are responsible for much of their good and bad fortune. Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

He carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. He gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: "Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $50."

This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it. Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and miss other types of jobs.

Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for. His research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four principles. They are skilled at:

1) creating and noticing chance opportunities,

2) make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition,

3) create self-fulfilling prophecies via positive expectations, and

4) adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

Towards the end of the work, Professor Wiseman wondered whether these principles could be used to create good luck.

He asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. Dramatic results! These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.

One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier. The lucky people had become even luckier and the unlucky had become lucky.

Finally, he had found the elusive "luck factor". Here are Professor Wiseman's 4 top tips for becoming lucky:

1) Listen to your gut instincts - they are normally right

2) Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine.

3) Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well.

4) Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call. Have a Lucky day and work for it. The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect.

10 Thing About Warren Buffett You'd Never Knew...

There was a one-hour interview on CNBC with Mr Warren Buffet, the second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:

1) He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

2) He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

3) He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

4) He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5) He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.

6) His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.

7) He has given his CEO's only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your shareholder's money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

8) He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His pasttime after he gets home is to make himself some popcorn and watch television.

9) Bill Gates, the world's richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Mr Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

10) Warren Buffet does not carry a cellphone, nor has a computer on his desk. and his advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Meditation and Contemplation on Beauty.

"Seek beauty, love beauty, for it is beauty that will save you. Obviously, I am speaking to you here of spiritual beauty. Through meditation and contemplation, try to sense this beauty, to clothe yourself in it, to become imbued with it, for it will protect you from the beauty that deceives. If you dress children in new clothes, they are intelligent enough to understand that they must not go out and play in the gutter. So what lesson should we draw from this example? If you are like someone who dresses in overalls and mucks about in mud, dung or dirty grease, you will not recoil from any kind of filth. But one day when you succeed in reaching the world of true beauty, which is pure light, and your aura becomes impregnated with this light, you will no longer feel the desire to dive in just anywhere and soil this magnificent garment."

- Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

Thursday, February 8, 2007

How to handle stress for work-life balance.

Experts say that reacting to events as stressful is learned behavior. We can unlearn it and learn new ways to react. Of course none of these experts ever worked for your boss.

Still, it's really not the outside event that's stressing you out, is it? You and your body are stressing you out. You're allowing the outside event to trigger that reaction.

Tactic: Ask yourself, does this really have to be a stressful situation? Do you gain anything from allowing it to generate stress?

Tactic: Consciously work at lowering the stress levels for the people you work with, changing the scale of the ambient stress around you. You'll be surprised how quickly that can lower your own stress level as well.

Tactic: Sometimes simply backing off from a situation can lower your stress. Take meditation breaks. (That’s medi-TA-tion, not medi-CA-tion.) Get out of the office for lunch. If it helps, play hooky occasionally, even if it's just leaving an hour early on a Friday afternoon for a movie date with your spouse. Take your vacations. They'll make you more successful not less.

Workers at one Japanese firm take a hula break everyday.

Paul Sheehan is an architect and the CFO of the Dyer Sheehan Group, Inc., a leading investment real estate brokerage in Ventura, California. He's also a former professional musician. Paul handles stress as well as anyone I know. When he does need a break, he shuts off his phone and closes his office door, a sure sign he's not to be disturbed. Then he picks up his guitar.

"I might spend 15 or 20 minutes concentrating intently on whatever song I'm writing," he says. "And de-pressurizing. For those few moments, work becomes the farthest thing from my mind."

Tactic: Take a one-minute vacation several times during the day. Close your eyes and imagine yourself on the beach in Bermuda or skiing down a slope in San Moritz. Like the beer commercial says, "It's a whole new latitude." And you know as well as I how often a solution to an intractable problem pops up once you stop hassling about it and let it percolate around in your unconscious for a while.

Tactic: Seeing your situation through the eyes of others can't help but put it in a completely different perspective. That's why support and peer coaching groups can be so effective. And of course they also allow you to tap into a far broader range of experience than you could possibly gather on your own. Just being able to vent in a truly safe environment (preferably outside the company) can often deflate an overblown problem.

Tactic: In your off hours, if you happen to have any, find something interesting enough to keep you from obsessing about your job. This can be tough, especially when you consider that one of the main causes of lack of sexual interest in both men and women is preoccupation with work. Like Pandas, humans often have difficulty breeding in captivity.

If sex, or at least sex with your spouse, can't get your mind off your job, find something that will. Learn to dance or play a musical instrument, exercise, play in a softball or bowling league, take courses in adult ed, take a day trip, have a night on the town, collect matchbook covers (or manhole covers for that matter) or just do something you've never done.

If you've got to obsess away from the job, do it about something other than work. Back in the early 70s, a good friend of mine got deeply into the "Paul McCartney is dead" hoopla.

"I decided to worry about that," he said, "so I won't have to worry about anything more important."

If all else fails, worry about Paul McCartney. I mean, could Silly Love Song really have been written by the same man who wrote Yesterday? If he's not Billy Shears, who is? What is really going on here, and isn't it just possible that Brian Epstein and John Lennon were eliminated because they knew too much? And how does Marilyn Monroe fit into all this?

Tip: If you don't have any off hours, get some.

Author, speaker Barry Maher, is an expert on communication, leadership, management & sales as well as a motivational keynote speaker. This article is adapted from his book, Filling the Glass, honored by Today's Librarian magazine as "one of The Seven Essential Popular Business Books". Read Barry's other articles, sign up for his newsletter and/or contact him at www.barrymaher.com.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Frugal kids have good chance of becoming wealthy adults.

You can usually tell whether children are going to be wealthy or not by the time they are 3 or 4-years-old.

If they take their pocket money and immediately blow it on candies, and the next day ask to borrow a dollar you know you're unlikely to ever get back...let's hope this behavior doesn't last them a lifetime.

Sadly, too often it does.

But if a child is frugal with his pocket money, always putting aside a chunk of it, you can be confident he has a good chance of achieving financial independence as an adult.

And a frugal kid who invest her money in candies to sell to other kids at a profit might become another Warren Buffett.

Live below your means. This is a behavior that both Mr. Buffett and and Mr. George Soros exhibited from an early age.

Their achievement of wealth beyond most people's wildest dreams has not changed those core values.

Once a Swiss art dealer loaned Mr. Soros a Paul Klee painting he could easily afford.

"He loved it, but sent it back saying he could not separate the painting from the figure on its price tag," according to an account.

Some billionaires insist of being driven around in a chauffer-driven limousine.

Not Mr. Soros. He'd grab a taxi, ride a bus, take a tram or simply walk from one part of a town to another. "I always lived on a scale that was more modest than my financial resources."

For Mr. Buffett, thrift isn't just a personal virtue but an integral aspect of his investment method.

He admires managers who "attack cost as vigorously when profits are at record levels as when they are under pressure."

Stories about Mr. Buffett's frugality are legion. One day, he was riding the elevator up to his office and there was a penny on the floor. He reached down and picked it up. To the other stunned passengers in the elevator, he quipped, "The beginning of the next billion."

Excerpted from Mark Tier's book, The Winning Investment Habits Of Warren Buffett and George Soros.

The other side of the "Gold Rush"…


I had a discussion with a friend, "The One Who Looks Intelligent", and somehow we came to talk about “The One Who Sells Templates” and sort of laughed over why "so many people are rushing to buy templates".

(We are not pinpointing particularly anyone and you can replace the word 'templates' with any products.)

Then the friend said something that jolted me for weeks. I quote him, "Remember the time during the Gold Rush, when everyone was rushing to pan for gold. They were not the ones who got rich. The real guys who made it rich are those who sold jeans and shovels."