Bookmark and Share

Past issues

Mindconnection eNL, 2002-12-26

In this issue:

  1. Post Christmas
  2. Planning for 2003
  3. Brainpower tip
  4. Finance tip
  5. Health tip
  6. Fitness tip
  7. Time saving tip
  8. Thought for the day


1. Post-Christmas

For most of us, Christmas is a hectic time. But then suddenly, it's quiet. To some folks, this is a let-down. To others, it's a relief. Most of the world's people don't even celebrate Christmas.

For everyone, this post-Christmas period can be a time of opportunity. Think about the whole Christmas experience. What was most rewarding about it--special time with friends and family, perhaps? What about it was least enjoyable? Standing in long lines to buy stuff other people don't want and the standing in long lines to return stuff you don't want, perhaps? Think of what you can do to have more of what you like and less of what you don't like.

If the whole thing always is tough for you, consider declaring a "Christmas Fast" for 2003 and just don't do it. Remember, this is not a Christian holiday. In fact, the concept of a Christian holiday is an oxymoron according the the Apostle Paul (Galatians 4:10). So, enjoy Christmas for what it offers--or don't do it. If you have a "Christmas obligation" because of kids (for example), then start right now planning for ways to make next Christmas something you and those around you will enjoy. You have 12 months--don't waste them.

Don't wait until Christmas to show or tell people you love them. If you do it all year, it actually has meaning at Christmas or whenever you do it. If you celebrate Christmas, be sensitive to friends who purposely do not celebrate it for religious reasons or who celebrate some other festival or a religious practice near the same time of year. 

If you're curious about how Christmas came about and how it came to be as it is today, here are some resources:


2. Planning for 2003

What is in store for the new year?

For most of us, it'll be the same old thing: broken promises to:

  • Lose the fat accumulated from the holiday betrayal of our dietary principles and common sense.

  • Not stand in line to buy gifts and then stand in line again to return them.

  • Read more.

  • Be a better person.

  • Get fit. Or fitter.

  • Cure a personal flatulence problem, and stop blaming the dog in the meantime.

  • Eat less garlic before important social engagements.

  • Be more loving.

  • Watch no television.

  • Etc.

You don't have to play that game. You have other options. Rather than set a lofty goal, just list 12 specific things you want to do next year. Assign one to each month or some other period. Here are some examples:

  • Buy Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength right now (that link works) and start the program when you start the year. Stick with it--no more squeezing into your clothes after the holidays.

  • Buy Sherry Diestler's five-star book Becoming a Critical Thinker: A User Friendly Manual (3rd Edition) and then re-read it in February to develop those crucial critical thinking skills.

  • Take a loved one to a fun place.

  • Write to my Congressional Representative about some issue that is important to the nation, such as stopping terrorism by disbanding the IRS.

  • Meet a neighbor I haven't met yet.

  • Visit the zoo.

  • Visit a museum.

  • Go to a different ethnic restaurant for the first time.

  • Do a random act of kindness.

  • Learn a foreign language.

  • Clean out two closets and donate to charity anything I haven't worn in a year or don't use anymore.

  • Learn a new skill.

  • Write to each friends and relative, at some point throughout the year.

  • Decide whether to "advance my career, keep my job, change my career or change jobs."

  • Do what it takes to make the previous decision a reality.

  • Make peace with someone "I'm not on good terms with."

If planning isn't your forté, just keep it simple. Make a short list and just do one item at a time from it. If you have problems starting or completing a task, take our Solving Procrastination Course, developed by a license psychologist.


3. Brainpower tip

When you are really stuck on a problem or can't remember something, don't fall into the trap of sitting there stewing on it until the answer hits you. It probably won't hit you.

What should you do, instead? Take a walk. Read a magazine article. Call a friend. Go play with your dog or the neighbor's. Mow the lawn, or exercise, or.... Do you see the pattern, here? When the gears seem to be slipping in your brain, go do something else. This works for several reasons we can explain and for some we probably can't. Basically, each area of your brain can do only so much work without a need for rest.

Mindconnection has a problem-solving course in PDF. I have presented this in various venues, and will be presenting it again this spring for an audience of about 350. The course is inexpensive, but will teach you things that people wish they had learned at that $799 problem-solving seminar they went to (funny, the last seminar I presented this at cost only $499--how can these other folks charge so much more and deliver so  much less?). The author of this course solved a $3 million/year problem at a nuclear power plant. Other people had tried to solve it for 15 years. The author solved it the first day he was on it. Don't you want that kind of problem-solving power? You can have it. Trust me, I know. I am the author. 


4. Finance tip

For more than 80% of us, our biggest expense--more than food, clothing and shelter combined--is taxes. Payroll taxes alone cut your paycheck by more than half (the SS tax is paid 100% by you, even if your employer "pays it" for you--there is so much money per job and that is it).

President Bush is rolling out some federal income tax cuts, but the federal income tax will still remain outrageously high and you still have all your other taxes to pay. How can you reduce these expenditures? Each of us needs to look for ways. Write to legislators, vote against those who approve stupid spending (most government spending is stupid), and vote against any tax increase for any reason. That last concept is important. Most tax issues that make it on the ballot are pure extortion. Why is it you are always voting on whether to provide more funding for schools or roads, but you don't get to vote on big salaries for useless government positions? Let your legislator know you want the government to cut back on "services," because you are getting "serviced" way too expensively. Tell your legislators to earn their salaries and make the same tough decisions you must make every day. They need to stop acting like they work on street corners and start acting responsibly with your money.

Meanwhile, you need to cope with the existing laws. Contribute to charity within the next few days, so you get the deduction on this year's taxes. Buy a tax book before the year's end, and deduct the cost when you next file your personal income tax.


5. Health tips

If you buy anything plastic, air it out. The typical computer monitor has to burn about 1,000 hours before it cooks away the toxic gases contained in its shell. The new car smell is largely toxic gases--your farts are actually safer, but I am willing to bet your friends prefer the smell of the new car. Unless your friends are really weird. Then, the plastic may be the least of your worries....

What are some tips to help you cope with this toxicity problem (I mean, from the plastic)?

  • Air all plastics out in a garage, car, or other area that is ventilated but secure. If you don't have such an area, use the bathroom and turn on the fan.

  • To speed up the emission of fumes (thus lowering their toxicity) so you don't have to wait 6 months to use the item, blow a fan on the object. Plug it in so it gets warm. For example, plug your new computer monitor in, in your bathroom and let it sit in there overnight with the door closed. This will reduce fumes significantly. Just be sure you check the GFCI and keep the monitor away from pets and water. Warning: Do not get the "bright idea" that using a hair dryer or other heat source on the plastic is the way to go. It's not.

  • In a car, crack the windows or open the vent while driving, until the car is at least a year old.

  • If you introduce new plastic items into your environment, steer clear of cigarette smoke. This is a bit like saying to keep your head out of the ballistics path on a shooting range--anyone with an IQ beyond the single digits knows not to smoke or to be around smoke (amazingly, some folks believe cigarette smoke somehow magically differentiates between smoker and innocent bystander). But, many of us do go to smokey places despite this--the risk seems smaller than it actually is. When your body is already under attack from plastics fumes, the toxicity from cigarette smoke will be greatly enhanced. Interestingly, there is no research to show a similar effect from marijuana. That is probably because marijuana isn't treated with over 500 lethal chemicals, the way tobacco is. You might want to ask your government officials about this.

  • Wear natural fibers, rather than polyester. In addition to not emitting toxic fumes (assuming they're not dry-cleaned), natural fibers won't melt into your skin during a fire. Nearly all synthetics will. And when they do, the injury and the pain that goes with it are far, far worse. This is why electricians and many other tradespeople do not wear synthetic fibers.

  • Think about that new item before you buy it. Do you really need to replace what you've got? If so, no problem. But, if you constantly replace good electronics or automobiles with new ones, your physical health isn't the only health being punished. Your financial health is obviously being punished, but you may be buying things you don't need to satisfy an emotional need you aren't facing. There's nothing wrong with buying new things--just don't do so as a palliative.

Here are some books on indoor air quality and indoor air pollution:


6. Fitness tips

Check your shoulder alignment. Most people round their shoulders by hunching forward. This is especially true with today's human-hostile furniture. That Herman Miller Aeron chair that won all those awards is creating a whole army of people with back and leg problems. Critical thinking was absent both in the design of that chair and in the awards process. Not to rail too much about that particular chair, but I have spoken to the folks at Herman Miller (very nice folks) about this chair and the stupidity of a hammock suspension that requires a hard metal bar under your hamstrings and a C-posture if you work at a computer. They seemed concerned, but I have no clue what they are doing about this defective product. I just hope the folks who bought it without thinking aren't able to sue the company. OK, time to move on. Just remember that how you sit in a chair has a lot to do with your posture.

To ensure good shoulder alignment, pull your shoulders back, where they belong, so your shoulder blades are on the same plane of reference rather than at angles to each other. This automatically strengthens your entire torso, improves circulation to the brain, improves respiratory capacity, and improves the mechanical stability of the shoulder. Cosmetically, this is an excellent practice because it raises the chest up to a prominent position. If you keep your shoulders in proper alignment, you will look, feel, and be at a higher level of fitness.

By the way, shoulder pads in clothing are just plain silly. Why not have nice shoulders, instead? Here are some resources for you:

Men's Health publishes a shoulders book. However, I have ordered several of their books and found each one to be so erroneous that I sent it back for a refund. I used to subscribe to their magazine, too, until I found too many errors of fact. I won't subject you to that, here. 

Most men do bench presses and arm curls, and call that working out. They end up with an unbalanced shoulder structure and not nearly the usable strength improvement they are capable of obtaining. Those books listed above should be required reading for those folks.


7. Timesaving tip

Here's a free tip from our time management course:

How many times have you called someone and then spent several minutes discussing what it might be you can’t remember you wanted to say? Make a list of topics to cover, before calling someone. Stick to the list, and don’t belabor any one point. If you find yourself droning on and on, you are wasting the other person’s time and probably making that person bored to tears.

If someone is boring you to tears or dragging out a phone conversation, you can always say, "There’s someone in my office. I need to let you go." Don’t say, "Can I call you back?" This person was wasting your time—don’t reinforce the behavior.

Since you are in your office, you can always say, "There is someone in my office." If you are a motor mouth yourself, just start drinking water or coffee while on the phone, and you won’t be able to have long conversations.

In addition to saving you time, following this tip will make the other person feel appreciated and valued by you, plus it will help you project an image of strength and purpose rather than one of weakness.


8. Thought for the Day

We are the sum of our thoughts. What are you doing to help yourself have better thoughts? What inputs are you providing to your brain? What kinds of thoughts help you achieve what is important to you, and what kinds of thoughts detract from that? Are you having enough real thoughts? What can you do to stimulate better thoughts?

Just thought you might want to think about this.

Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


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.

To unsubscribe, write to This e-mail link

Let other potential readers know what you think of this e-zine, by rating it at the Cumuli Ezine Finder:

Articles | Book Reviews | Free eNL | Products

Contact Us | Home

This material, copyright Mindconnection. Don't make all of your communication electronic. Hug somebody!