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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-09-06

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Please forward this eNL to a friend!  Free bonus:$125 shopping spree. (Some folks might really like it).In this issue:

  1. Product Highlights
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tips
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Project Kickstart
Because "project management" has come from large, complex projects and there's a lot of jargon associated with it, you may find it intimidating. Most people do. And, project management software can leave your head spinning. But, there's an alternative to that: Project Kickstart.

One new ProjectKickstart user found this software so easy to use that she used it to plan her trip to Europe!

 
 
So, whether you are putting up a new building, planning a trip, working projects at the office, remodeling your kitchen, improving your landscape, or just trying to run an organized life--ProjectKickstart can really help. It's affordable and easy to use. UPDATE: Mindconnection no longer sells this product, due to distributor changes made by the developers.

 

2. Brainpower tip

When faced with a case that is a conflict of interest, a judge is expected to "recuse" himself (herself) from that case.

Often, "information" sources conflict with our interests. For example, the New York Times pursues an agenda that has nothing to do with reporting the news and consequently publishes many things that are simply not true. People who read this paper do so either because they don't know any better, or they want to be assured their own myth-based views are OK. But, isn't it better to get to the truth and actually know what's going on? Not according to the editors of the Times.

What happens when people allow bad information sources to have access to their minds? Rumors circulate, misinformation becomes dogma, and people base opinions on falsehood. When later presented with the truth, most people do not change their opinions, but instead stick to the original misinformation they received (which is one reason people argue). Most people have an aversion to admitting their previous views were wrong--and that is an aversion to learning. We should all be alert to such irrationality in ourselves and seek to overcome it.

To avoid crippling your brain with misinformation, recuse yourself from notoriously bad sources of "information. Yes, it's good to get divergent points of view. But, it is not good to expose yourself to brainwashing. The words of the intellectually dishonest do leave an impression--it is not possible to un-ring a bell.

 
3. Time Tip

Here's one that you won't find in the typical time management seminar.

Question: Where do people waste the most time?

Answer: On the job.

How many times have you worked very hard on something, only to find your boss changes directions yet again and your work is wasted? This happens all too frequently in the typical workplace.

The problem isn't that bosses are deliberately wasting your time. The problem is they are not availing themselves of the right tools to avoid mismanaging their most important resources.

To avoid this problem, get your boss in the idea habit. You'll need to find a good time to approach your boss about this. Do so in a friendly manner, and plan out what you'll say. Here's a recommended procedure:

  • Tell your boss, "Your success is important to me. I think you are being asked to do too much, but I know how you can overcome the odds. Would you like to talk about that?"
  • If your boss isn't open to this, find a new boss. If your boss is open to this, explain, "I think we can both agree you've been forced to abandon some perfectly good plans and a lot of hard work. And has meant a big waste of your time and that of your team."
  • Then, tell your boss, "Did you know that Toyota has not laid off one person since 1950, even when their sales were down 37% during the Carter era oil embargo? There's a reason for that. And it's the same reason that they dominate the J.D. Powers Quality Survey while being the world's most efficient automobile producer. Do you want to know the reason?"
  • If your boss says no, find a different boss. If your boss says yes, say, "The power of ideas. They don't believe the boss should be alone in trying to solve problems. We need to explore how they do that and use the same concept so we can also get astounding results."
  • You might want to give your boss the book, "Ideas are Free." You can get it from http://www.mindconnection.com/ if you click the radio button and paste the text "Ideas are Free" (no quotes) into the search box.

If you follow this advice and your boss follows the Toyota example, you will see a huge drop in time wasted at work. You'll feel more job satisfaction, and your whole team will be less likely to be laid off. Surely, those rewards make the effort worth undertaking.

  

4. Finance tip

I'll start with a tip just for Americans, then pass along one for our more general audience.

Here we are on Labor Day. Did you know that most of your labor goes to pay taxes? In the USA, we have embedded taxes. These are taxes that we pay at the register because the price of the product or service includes all the payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and so on of the people who made that product or provided that service--plus all their suppliers all down the line.

The total tax bite of an American's income is far higher than most people think. If you walk through the numbers you get 70%--and that's at the low end! Which means that the least taxed among us will work 28 hours out of each 40 just to pay taxes. If you work 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday, then you don't get paid for anything you do from the start of the day Monday until after lunch on Thursday! Does the phrase "excessive confiscation" come to mind?

The effect of all these taxes is American products are far more expensive than they should be. And that makes it hard for us to compete in the international marketplace. If you want to help keep jobs here in America, then support our President's tax cuts. Remember: when you take capital out of a capitalist economy, you weaken the economy. And we all rely on the economy for our jobs and other income sources.

I mention taxes in our finance tips so often because taxation is your single biggest expense. It's also the one that provides the lowest rate of return. And it's the one you can have the most control over if you raise a ruckus with public officials. Demand rollbacks on spending and taxes. It's your money, not the governments.

Hillary Clinton said that high taxes are justified because people aren't smart enough to spend their money wisely.

She forgets that people work in government also, and if government people are making those spending decisions then what problem is she solving? She also forgets that her approach failed in the Soviet Union. If you think you are stupid, then logic says you agree with Hillary (because her basis for confiscatory taxation is her belief that you are stupid). Otherwise, logic says you disagree with her. The reality is that confiscatory taxation has no benefits.

What amazes me is that people actually vote for someone who tells them they are stupid. We should let people like Hillary enjoy their delusions on their own--pay attention this November. Vote NO to more confiscation of your money.

 

Now, a more general tip. This one's on insurance.

If you do some comparison shopping, you'll find a huge variance in prices. Granted, it's hard to make direct comparisons. So, here's one general process that works well:

  • Determine what your actual insurance needs are. Most people over-insure their cars, over-insure their health, and under-insure their homes.
  • Develop an "insurance picture" for each type of insurance you are going to shop for. Determine what you will cover, how much coverage you want, and what your deductibles will be. Modify this as you learn new things.
  • Determine which insurance you don't need. For example, life insurance is usually a waste of money. Ditto for travel-related insurance. For some people, these forms of insurance make sense. But for the vast majority of folks, they are about as effective as flushing your money down the toilet (or trusting Hillary to spend it better--same thing). Watch that tank handle.

While shopping for insurance, consider the following:

  • Lowest prices don't always mean the best deal. Some insurance companies are very stingy about paying out claims and find petty reasons for screwing you over. If it sounds too good to be true, there's your first clue! Ask the insurance agent to provide something to show the insurance company has a record of dealing in good faith. Empty assurances don't count--you want numbers. Look up complaints and court cases online--that's not hard to do.
  • Check insurers out, and make a list of very pointed questions you can ask them about exactly what is covered and what is not. Write down the answers you get. Ask the insurer to send you something in writing, as well.
  • Use online resources such as www.insure.com or just do a Google search. We have a great search tool at www.mindconnection.com/search.htm, and you should probably bookmark that.
  • Cut car insurance 40% or more by carrying a higher deductible. Remember, insurance companies raise your rates or may even cancel you for simply making a claim. So, small claims are just not advisable. That said, consider deductibles of $1500 rather than $250. Ask to see how the rate changes based on various coverage options and deductibles.
  • Visit www.kellybluebook.com and determine the fair market value of your car. When the repairs to your car exceed this value, the car is considered "totaled." How much are you going to pay to insure this car? If you have the car paid off and there's not much resale value left, you might want to cancel comprehensive on it. The savings can be huge.
  • Be careful not to skimp on the automobile and homeowners liability insurance. Also, some people believe they don't have to pay if the collision is ruled the other driver's fault because it's illegal to drive without insurance. The reality is that many people drive without insurance and the money to pay your bills has to come from somewhere. A dry well is not going to be the source.
  • Homeowner's insurance is rife with trickery. Don't assume anything--the policy you get may not reflect at all what you and the agent discussed. These policies are often  written in such a manner as to discourage reading them. You are supposed to "carefully read" a policy that is in very tiny print and laid out in a manner designed to obfuscate. What you need to do is tell the agent the policy is incomprehensible and you want a summary in plain English stating what the policy covers and does not cover. Bullet points are preferable.
  • Consider very high deductibles for home and health. Cover yourself for catastrophic costs.


5. Security tip

This one is based on an item from Don Brennecke, a long-time reader and contributor to this eNL.

When you are in the checkout line at a store, be aware of people with cell phones out. The cell phones that are camera phones allow these people to photograph the front and back of your card. This means they have your credit card number, security code, and signature. And they can take this photo while your card is in the air between your pocket and the scanner. Simply covering the card with your hand or blocking the view while signing isn't enough.

If a person is near you with such a phone, point that person out and insist s/he put away that phone. If you get any guff, ask the clerk to call. They are likely to catch a criminal who's been stealing from many people, and the phone will have the evidence. If the clerk won't do it, call the manager. If you have to wait for more than a couple of minutes, leave your purchases and walk out. Then, follow up with a letter to that store's district manager. You will probably get a discount coupon in addition to an apology.

Don't worry about being thought of as rude. Don't worry if other shoppers are irritated. You have a right--actually, a duty--to protect yourself. Yes, you have liability limitations with that card. But, you can also drop into "identity-theft hell," by not being careful. All it takes is one time. Don't let it happen to you.

 

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

A non-subscriber who says he's been trying to "lose weight" for years expressed to me he just can't lose it. He has some major misconceptions, which I cleared up with him and will address here.

First, some background.

  • This man began by telling me he was 5'10 and weighed 220 lbs. He said he was going by the height and weight tables, so he didn't have that much weight to lose. He saw 200 lbs as being near the top of normal, so he figured he was almost there. He said he needed to lose about 20 lbs. I told him 200 lbs was very heavy for 5'10, and unless he were a competitive body builder he probably needed to lose more than 20 lbs.
  • To get an idea of where he was, I asked him his waist size. He said 38. That is also very large, but I know many men wear their pants below the waist. This is what he did, as I later discovered.
  • But, I said I needed more information. So, I asked him to go to his gym and get a complete list of current data (various measurements) for me.
  • As it turns out, he was 5'5" and he weighed 240 lbs. His build (based on bone measurements) is small-frame, bordering on medium-frame. So, he was at least 100 lbs over-fat.
  • We looked at his diet. He had read that nuts are good for you. And, that's true. But, he was eating about 800 calories worth of nuts twice a day--adding 1600 calories to his diet with nuts alone.
  • He was also taking various oils supplementally. He was overdoing this, as well. Between the fish oil capsules, EFA capsules, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and other oils, he was getting another 1,200 additional calories a day.
  • On top of this, he was eating supplemental protein to add another 1,080 calories a day.
  • So, right off the bat we identified caloric overload--nearly 3,000 calories a day, not counting food! He needed a total caloric intake of about half this level. I sent him a copy of the article "Hidden Calories," which you can find at http://www.supplecity.com/articles/hiddencalories.htm.

Some lessons learned

From this one small example, we can glean several important lessons:

  • Get an accurate assessment of your condition. Forget height and weight charts. Those do not give you good information to go on. Instead, find out what your body fat percentage is. That can be inexpensive to do. We sell body fat calipers that I have found produce results consistent with my Tanita body fat scale, and they are inexpensive.
  • Forget the height and weight tables. They are too "generous" and they don't account for muscularity. The "normal" range isn't normal--it's fat unless you are very, very muscular.
  • You cannot rewrite the laws of physics. If you take in more calories than you expend, you will gain fat. There is no getting around that. Look for hidden calories--count all of your sources. Hint: If it goes in your mouth, count the calories.
  • A pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. You can burn about 50 calories an hour, walking on a treadmill (70 hours to burn a pound of fat). It takes about 10,000 sit-ups to burn 3500 calories. How many sit-ups a day are you willing to do? How many sit-ups a day can you do, before injuring yourself? Hint: Sit-ups work the hip flexors much more than they do the abs, and can ruin the natural curvature of the back. I never do sit-ups. You can see my abs here: www.supplecity.com and judge for yourself if I am missing out on something by not doing them.
  • The key to fat loss, then, is not exercise (closing the barn door after the horse gets out). It's limiting caloric intake. You can do this through portion control and through eating foods that are less calorie-dense and more nutrient-dense. Other factors also affect fat loss (yes, exercise definitely helps, as does watching the glycemic index). But, nothing has the effect that simply eating fewer calories has.

We review several diets at www.supplecity.com/articles/diets.

Also, you can find out the truth about a new supplement scam by reading the article at http://www.supplecity.com/articles/glutaminepeptide.htm

7. Thought for the Day

If you find yourself justifying yourself to others, stop. It's always better to show than tell. Be comfortable in your own skin, and others will be more comfortable with you.

 

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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