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Mindconnection eNL, 2003-03-17

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In this issue:

  1. Brainpower tip
  2. Time tip
  3. Security tip
  4. Computer tip
  5. Finance tip
  6. Career tip
  7. Health tip/Fitness tip
  8. Thought for the day

 This issue is dedicated to Don B., who had such high praise for the previous one.

 

1. Brainpower tip

We do a lot of filtering. We filter coffee to remove the grounds. We filter water to remove chlorine. We filter pool water to remove particulates. We filter the air that our car engines breathe, and we filter the air that comes into our furnaces. We even filter the signals to our stereos so they sound right (well, OK, the manufacturer provides the input filter for you and you never have to mess with it--but it's there).

Oddly enough, many of us fail to filter what comes into our minds.

Filtering brain inputs for better performance

In electronics, you filter out noise that can retard performance. In electrical power, you filter out surges that can destroy equipment or even kill people.

Our minds are subject to many things that retard their performance. And we get inputs that lead us to destructive behavior. Let's take a look at a few of these, then what some options are to replace them with.

Noise source

Alternative or response

Television, newspaper, and other mass media. Also gossip groups, BS sessions, armchair generals, etc. There's no law requiring you to have a television in your living room or even to have a television. Leave it off unless there is something you have a particular reason for watching.

Most mass media coverage is inaccurate and negative. Examine your sources of information and look for biases.

Popular music. How many more times do you need to listen to some mindless tune sung by a person with severe personal problems? Recorded books. Get substance! If you don't feel like feeding your brain all the time, then be selective about your music. There is no law requiring you to play music while you drive.
Negative people. It's fine to talk about problems--how else can you solve them? But when a person's world view brings you down, you don't need that! Positive people. If you don't know any, then just practice being one. They will find you.
Neutral people. These are folks who have nothing to say. If it isn't trivial, they're not interested. Sometimes, you can't get away from such folks--they may be relatives or coworkers. The key is to make yourself more interesting. Have something to say, yourself. The neutral person will either become interesting or find someone else to bore.
Broad generalizations. Little alarm bells should go off in your head when you hear words like "all," "every," and "always." Think of an example where the generalization isn't true, and ignore the generalization.
Demonizations. When you hear a person characterized as evil or as having no redeeming qualities, this says more about the person making the statement than it does about the person being talked about. Think of something good about that person. Many times, demonization colors the facts and then feeds on itself. Be objective, and try to understand all sides of a conflict.
Surveys and statistics based on assumptions,  suppositions, or small sample sizes. You can often recognize these by their attendant prophecies of doom or by their precise numbers that have no explanation or reference. Question the methods or ignore the results. Most results use false logic to draw unsupportable conclusions from the data. This is a propaganda technique. Shut off this source of input.

 

2. Time tip

The Law of Meetings states, "The meeting will expand to fill the time given it." An unstructured time frame for a list of activities does not engender a sense of urgency. What usually happens is one or two take an exceptionally long time and then you suddenly find you are "out of time" for the rest.

To overcome this, break a time frame down into separate components. For example, allow a block of 30 minutes for answering e-mail. If you are not done in that time, too bad. Any more e-mail must wait until you reach an "overflow" block of time. What happens with such an approach is you quickly become very efficient at whatever you are doing. You stop expanding the activity to fill the time. And suddenly, instead of being out of time, you have a surplus of it to use as you wish.

To really be a time master, check out Mindconnection's Time Management Course. Time is money, so consider this a wise investment. In this case, it's only $11.97 and it may well keep you from time-related stress disorders that can run into thousands of dollars of treatment.

 

 

3. Security tip

A simple little thing like putting deadlock bolts on your doors increases your security by a whole tier. Forget those little door chains--the screws that hold them in don't bite onto very much door frame. To make a door secure, contact a door company. Have them evaluate and modify your door frame as needed, and install an insulated metal door. Wooden doors are good choices, only if they are solid and not hallow-cored. If you can kick the door as hard as possible and not break it, then the wooden door is OK. Otherwise, don't trust your life to something you can so easily break. When you are in bed, the purpose of a door is to give you time to put on your safety glasses and ear protection, then aim your "insurance policy" at the intruder until the police can get from the doughnut shop to your house.

OK, I take back that slam on police--my cousin's son is a State Trooper and a wonderful human being. He doesn't do doughnut shops. But, the police have to come from somewhere, and that takes a lot of time. Be prepared--the door is your first line of defense. Take a look at your windows, too.

 

4. Finance tip

For most Americans, their single biggest expense is payroll tax (it's about half your wages). After that come housing and then transportation. Food is way down the list. Well, until we get a voting populace that stops electing/re-electing government officials based on how much they can spend, our taxes will continue to be about 10 times the size they should be (I have calculated that amount based on what the typical citizen gets in return for such high taxes). Housing is fairly controllable--just don't try to keep up with the Joneses. The same thing applies to transportation and again to clothing and entertainment.

That brings us to food. I am amazed at how much people spend at the grocery store. I want you to think about this very carefully.

 

If you look at the typical shopping cart, you see the following items:
  • Highly processed grains
  • Saturated fats and hydrogenated oils
  • Some food mixed in with that, but contaminated by it

The typical person has a very strict diet. It consists of two things, almost exclusively: damaged carbohydrates and damaged fats. Just read the labels. It is very hard to find something that doesn't contain these items, once you leave the produce department. And most folks don't buy much in that department.

This stuff is a nutritional disaster, but people pay a premium price for it. Now, here's the part I want you to think about:

If my grocery store tripled the price I paid for my produce and my items that don't contain those two items and then let a typical family of four have all their groceries for free, they would still be paying far more than I do. Let's weigh the real costs, here.

What people spend on food--the real costs of the typical diet:

  • Obesity
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Colds
  • "The flu again"
  • Impaired thinking
  • Increased likelihood of injury
  • Lost youth and vigor
  • Lost strength
  • Lost flexibility
  • Lost energy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Prematurely aged skin
  • Near guarantee of cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, or other organs

That's only a partial listing. I think you can see the costs of eating such a narrow diet far exceed even the exorbitant purchase price.

So, my financial tip here is to eat what nature intends for your body to eat. You save money at the checkout line, and you save hugely in many other ways. If you can't figure out what should go into your cart, here are three tips:

  1. Read the labels. Don't eat anything that has hydrogenated oil in it, is "reduced fat" (that simply means added sugar), or contains any of a myriad forms of processed sugar.
  2. Read the free diet articles at www.supplecity.com
  3. Take a look at people. Buy only what the folks who look healthy are buying. Statistically speaking, it will take you several hours or multiple trips to the store to find such people. That's because most people have been conditioned to poison themselves. It doesn't mean they are stupid--just programmed by powerful media messages.

 

5. Computer tip

Can't remember where a file is? If you are on Windows, you can simply open Windows Explorer (the file management system, which should be your primary way of accessing files--don't open them from within an application) and right mouse click. Select "Search." You'll have several options. Use the one that works best for this particular search.

To avoid future problems, open existing files  through Explorer, and make sure you tell a given program where to store new files. You can change default settings usually in the Options tab. 

You can read more free computer tips at the free Mindconnection online library:
 http://www.mindconnection.com/library/. Just click on the Computer link.

 

 

6. Career tip

In these times of massive layoffs, you may be tempted to join coworkers in venting about the management. Yes, many times layoffs are due to management incompetence. But, that is not always the case. The factors that are responsible for today's layoffs have been in place since LBJ was President. He accelerated things with his "New Deal," which is an unsustainable assault on the businesses that provide our jobs. And his botching of Vietnam created other factors we are still paying for. Today, we are seeing what's called the snowball effect.

More and more, government incompetence is a key player in layoffs--for example, it costs so much to comply with federal regulations of employment that employers are simply throwing in the towel and seeking workers overseas. They must choose between doing that or going under.

Another element we cannot ignore is the world marketplace. This is also a driver, but you can't solely blame it because not every locale is having layoffs. The determining factor is the cost of complying with government regulations.

The point here is grousing about your managers as the cause of the layoffs is more than often an exercise in falsehood. And, it won't help you.

Even if the grousing is justified (it's probably not, given what we've just discussed), it won't help you. What will help you is projecting a positive attitude. Even if you have to fake it. Try complimenting your employer on what it is you like. Your company is your customer. How would you feel if you went to a restaurant and the waiter acted unhappy to serve you? Or suppose you hired a contractor to remodel your home, and you kept hearing him grumble about the "incompetent homeowner" and how you are eroding his margins?

The message here should not need further explanation. If you understand what I just told you, then you have a "layoff edge" over most, if not all, of your coworkers. Nobody owes you a job--you need to make them feel happy to provide it to you.

 

 

7. Health tip/Fitness tip

Everyone is capable of having a lean physique, contrary to popular excuses like it's all genetics. In my own case, I come from a fat family but have washboard abs and a litheness that most guys half my age have long since lost. If I can do it, so can you. Here are some tips, which seem timely as summer is approaching:

  • Forget fad diets. They don't work. You can find sound dietary advice for free at www.supplecity.com

  • Forget about "burning off calories." It takes something like 10,00 sit-ups just to burn a pound of fat. The treadmill isn't the answer, either. Don't you get treated like a gerbil enough, already? Relying on the treadmill is OK, if you don't mind burning off 50 calories an hour (that's about average). There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. You do the math.

  • Use portion control. Simply eat a little less. By cutting calories on the front end, you begin to lose fat. Of course, what you eat also matters. But, most folks simply eat too much.

  • Don't starve yourself. When you cut back too much, your body starts conserving as though you are starving. The trick is to eat a little less. Maybe once a week, have that extra helping of blueberries or that extra apple. But by foregoing it the rest of the week, you should see the fat start to melt off.

  • Eat by the clock, not by your hunger signals. A friend of mine vehemently disagrees with me on this. Guess what? He's fat.

 

 

8. Thought for the Day

I hear a lot of people pontificating about macro issues, such as the looming war in Iraq. When I ask them on what basis they form their opinion, it's invariably a noise source--not an information source. I have to wonder if they are doing this rather than engaging in a useful introspection to deal with their own issues. Something to think about.

 

Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection

Authorship

The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.

Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.

Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).

The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).

Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.

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