Wednesday, December 29, 2021

In Case You Missed Them: Some Ideas “Worth Sharing” from the Past Couple of Years

My strategy for getting through the pandemic:
Research, create, share, repeat... & relax!  😁


Introduction


These past couple of years have been difficult for us all, to say the least. [Insert your own pandemic-related miseries here as evidence.] If you’re like me, you’ve had to make a real effort to stay positive. And if we can’t always achieve the positive, then we can at least achieve a measure of sanity by doing the little things, and maybe a few big things, that keep us grounded. As a former trainer/consultant and author, I find that the act of creating and sharing something which has potential value for someone else provides meaning and a much-needed sense of purpose. Whether these creations are actually used and valued by anyone I can’t be sure. But I do know that the act of creating them puts me in touch with my muse or Source or whatever. And I felt much better as a result of making and releasing them.

Below are links to some items Worth Sharing that might have escaped your attention as you endured the last couple of years. Here you’ll find: 


  • Practical tools and info you can immediately use.

  • Mental health tools and encouragement (including a few audio podcasts) that can help you acquire perspective and get through these tough times.

  • Some moral and ethical challenges

  • Some links to the creations that I’d like to share as my legacy. (Almost all of these are absolutely free.)


I hope you find something valuable here. 


Practical Tools and Info


These aren't profound. They're just a collection of tips and tools you might find useful.

Go to "6 Podcasts to Help You..."
Go to "Internet Archive: To Capture & Store..."


Mental Health Tools & Encouragement


Preserving our sanity through the pandemic has meant we’ve had to become introspective, face our inner crazies, and meet nervousness and fears head on. Below you’ll find some processes, tools, encouragement and perspectives that have helped me.

Go to "Medito: Your Free Meditation & ..."

Some Podcasts: Audio Pep Talks & Words of Encouragement from the Archives



Some Moral & Ethical Challenges


Some of the thorniest issues we faced in the last couple of years have forced some of us to step back and think about who we are -- and who we want to be. I tackled a few of these issues here:


Sharing My Legacy


Nothing has made me more aware of my own mortality than living through a period when (so far) over 800,000 of my fellow citizens have died. My “raised fist to the universe” in protest of my own physical mortality has been to try to assemble various collections of my works for posterity. If humanity survives, they’ll be around after I’m gone. Here they are:

Go to "Some New Graffiti on the Wall of the Universe: All My Stuff at Internet Archive"

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Is your video streaming tap leaking money? Here's a 4-step strategy for taking control.



It's money down the drain!


A leaky faucet can be insidious thing. A barely noticeable drip, drip, drip easily falls below our awareness. Yet running hour after hour, day after day, it can siphon away a huge amount of water and lead to a massive surprise water bill. And worse, the water is pointlessly gone without ever being used!

Monthly payments can be like that dripping faucet. Seemingly insignificant expenses can easily fall below the radar as we automatically pay them and go about our busy lives. And when these expenses are for stuff we don't really use, well... that's just a stupid waste!

In this article I'm going to challenge you to think about one category of monthly expenses that can easily get out of control if you don't consciously manage it. I'm talking about streaming services. And like the water from that dripping faucet, the dollars spent on that unused (or underused) streaming service is gone forever, leaving you with nothing to show for having spent them! Consider this from Lifewire.com:
"The average person who uses streaming services subscribes to between five and seven services. You know the ones: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+, Discovery+, Paramount+, Peacock, HBO Max, and others."
So let's say you are limiting yourself to five of these. The basic, ad-free versions of five of the services above could get you a monthly bill of around $65. Subscribe to all nine of the services listed and you'll be paying well over $100/month with fees. Add this to your cable bill (Why are you still buying cable!?! Can't you use an antenna?? That's a topic for another day...) and your internet bill and WOW -- that can add up to some very big bucks spent on content!  

Seriously: Step back and ask yourself: Do you actually use every one of your streaming services every day? ... every week? Do your payments stop when you're not using a service? Have you really "dug deep" into the catalogs of any of your services to see what shows you're paying for, but not watching?  If any of these questions make you uncomfortable, then you're ready for a more disciplined, strategic approach to your streaming. 

A Four-Step Strategy for Taking Control of Your Media Streaming

At our house we have a rule: Subscribe to no more than three paid streaming services at one time. This rule isn't all that hard to live with if you're willing to be a bit strategic about your choices. We add and drop services frequently. And we also supplement the paid ones with a couple of excellent free services from our local library (Kanopy & Hoopla). The bottom line: Our current total streaming bill is under $25/month! And we still have WAY MORE stuff to watch on these services than we have time available!  

(At the moment, our subscriptions are with Hulu, Acorn TV and PBS Passport. But these are all subject to swapping out for Netflix, etc. at any time.) 

Here's how you can implement this money-saving streaming strategy.

Monday, October 25, 2021

10 Specific Actions That Can Help You Become Happier (an audio podcast)

Focus:  Whether you're part of a project team or a family group, when individuals are happy, the entire group will likely be happy! But how can you become happier? In this archived podcast from 2009 I share 10 specific actions that I’ve taken to create more happiness in my life.

------------------ October 2021 Update ------------------

This podcast was originally produced in December of 2009. In the 12 years since its release, social media companies and their fine-tuned algorithms have mastered the art of manipulating our consciousness. They pull us in and lock us down into contentious tribes. The sites cherry-pick news, opinion, sensationalistic rants, memes & images that exactly match our unique biases and push our buttons. Then they serve them up in a customized stream to keep us angry, warring and, most importantly to their bottom line, glued to their sites. 

If I were creating this podcast today, my highest-priority Action for producing happiness would be:

  • Ration your time (or remove yourself entirely!) from social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. 
These sites are powerfully toxic to our happiness. At the very least, they generate a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) as we see our "friends'" self-servingly-edited timelines and perfect lives unfold via their curated posts. And, at their worst, the algorithms keep us angry and outraged and posting our own venom. And all this is antithetical to happiness!

So as you listen to this podcast (or read the transcript) consider the powerful negative roles these social media sites have come to play in our lives as omnipresent aggregators of everything that irritates and enrages us. Then ask yourself: "If I am pursuing peace of mind and happiness, why am I engaging these toxic social media dumps?" 

--------------[End of October 2021 Update]--------------

(Use the control bar below to download or play the podcast. Or scroll down and simply read the rest of the transcript. Enjoy!)

[Transcript of this audio was originally published on December 7, 2009. Some links referred to below may no longer be valid]

Transcript

In this post, we focus on the individual instead of the team. After all, teams are made up of individuals. And when individual team members are happy, there’s a good chance the entire team will be happy! But how can anyone become happier? To begin to answer this question, I share 10 specific actions that I’ve taken to create more happiness in my life. (And I hope you will share your suggestions in the Comments section at the end of this post.)

1. Turn off the local news; it’s not real.

Think about it. News production is a business. News producers must create powerful headlines that generate a sense of urgency on the part of viewers or listeners. They want big, bold, sensational announcements that scream nervously about fires, murders, local indiscretions by public figures… all to attract a large audience. If it’s nasty and ugly and sensational, we’re going to hear about it. To make matters worse, these kinds of stories are comparatively easy to get.  Journalists can simply listen in on the local police scanners, follow the police or fire department to the scene of the latest crime or accident, and pick up that sensational story.  So it’s easy for broadcasters to bury us in this drek! Yet, at the same time, there are countless little acts of kindness in neighborhoods everywhere that go unreported.  What’s more, there are employees who labor quietly to create a great new product, or go that extra mile to serve their customers, or otherwise make their anonymous positive contributions to make the world a better place. But most of this positive energy goes unnoticed by local news producers.

The result: You come home from a long, hard day at work, turn on local news, and a glut of negative energy pours over you. You wallow in bad events that simply aren’t real for you, your family, or the people in your neighborhood! Ultimately you begin to feel a little uneasy, sad or angry.  If you aren’t careful, this stuff begins to cast a dark shadow over your whole life. But you don’t have to let this happen! You can do what I do: I turn off my local news and go out and enjoy a walk in my neighborhood or call a friend or relative and say Hi or whatever! I do anything other than sit through all that bad news.  (What about the local weather, you ask? No worries. I get my local weather, updated every few minutes, from the internet!)

2. Turn off the national & world news; it’s not real either.

The same business dynamics related to local news apply to the national and world news.  And worse yet, with national and world journalism, the scale of the bad news is typically much grander.  The bad behaviors of public figures are said to have world-wide implications. The wars (there are always wars, right?) and acts of inhumanity are captured in gory detail. And it is implied that the local disaster on the other side of the world could soon apply to you, in your neighborhood.  Meanwhile, in nations all over the world, public officials, citizens, and workers labor quietly to do their jobs as best they can and generate countless acts of kindness that go uncelebrated. So again, I suggest this: Turn off the national and world news, go outside and look around. There’s a good chance that all that bad news that was so compelling as it poured into your home is simply not a reality in your back yard, in your neighborhood, in you family, or among your friends. And if it’s not in these places, then it’s not real to you. So why let it shape your thoughts and your mood?

Here’s a challenge: Stop watching local, national, and world news for one solid week. At the end of the week, tune in to a news broadcasts and see how you feel. If you’re like me, you’ll be shocked at the amount of negative energy these things spew at you. And you’ll probably quickly turn them off again!

Remember these words from Marcus Aurelius:  “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind, for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” So the question is:  Do you want your soul to be dyed the color of bad news or the color of the countless good deeds that are happening all around you?