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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-05-10

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Free bonus:$125 shopping spree. (Some folks might really like it).

In this issue:

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

1. Product Highlights

Conquering Aggressiveness
In this age of drive-by shootings, building bombings, subway stabbings, and IRS audits, the world seems like a very dangerous place. We can see the aggression. But, there's also aggression in our friendships, marriages, and other relationships.

At times, it eats away at us like a poison. At other times, it explodes from us, taking with it precious chunks of life and love that we can never replace.

How can you avoid getting into a situation where you behave like one snarling cat facing off against another? This course shows you how.

Behavior: Conquering Aggressiveness
This course is one of a series developed by Dr. Jay Prince and now licensed exclusively to Mindconnection through his widow. During his lifetime, Dr. Prince treated many patients who needed to overcome a problem through psychotherapy. Dr. Prince also had several corporate clients, who came to him for solving dysfunctional situations within their companies.

This course follows the same protocol used in short-term professional psychotherapy. The notable exception here is the course is self-treatment. Whereas you could expect 4 or 5 one-hour sessions with a psychotherapist, the self-treatment approach will take more time and more self-initiative. But, you won't be paying $200 per hour for five hours this way, either.

As with any form of psychotherapy, your journey along the healing path may not end with this course. However, note these two facts about this kind of treatment:

  • The success rate is very high, for people who make an honest effort to work through the therapy.
  • The therapy lays the groundwork for a stronger method of treatment, if needed.

Going this route--the self-treatment via Dr. Prince's course--will save you money for three reasons:

  • You pay a one-time fee for the course, rather than $200 an hour for 4 to 6 hours
  • If this therapy solves your problem, that's your total cost.
  • If short-term therapy can't solve your problem, you have determined that without spending $200/hr.

Estimated completion time: 10 one-hour sessions.


2. Brainpower tip

When discussing any subject with another person, it's easy to get into a difference of opinion. What's really interesting about this is people often differ while holding essentially wanting the very same thing! What they argue about is rarely the real issue.

For example, Brad and Lisa work for an appliance manufacturer. Brad runs the marketing department and wants 6 buttons on a new model of dishwasher. Lisa heads up product development, and wants 5 buttons. They begin to argue about buttons, which is a non-issue. They both want a more user-friendly dishwasher, and they both want the exact same number of features. What they have failed to do here is define the debate.

One way to avoid arguments is to refuse to have diversity. A higher manager, tired of the bickering, could just rule that Brad always makes the decisions. But then, Lisa's valuable input would be lost. So, how do you get diversity without disagreeableness? The key is to focus on having an effective conversation rather than an exchange of monologues or a competition of advocacies.

To have an effective conversation where inputs are going to vary, you need to do the following:

  • Define the purpose of the debate. Why are we discussing this? What do we hope to achieve? Who will benefit, and why?
  • Define the terms of the debate. Are we really concerned about the buttons, or are we going to focus only on those topics that directly support the purpose?
  • Define the length of the debate. Many people win arguments by simply wearing down the other person. Putting a time limit on the conversation can often prevent it from becoming an argument. The attitude "life is too short for this" comes to the fore.

Really pretty simple, isn't it? If both people agree to respect each other and the topic they are discussing, the results can go well beyond the potential of either of the individuals involved.

The equation changes from a subtractive form of math to a multiplicative form of math. Three minus three is always less than three times three. Think of that, the next time you are tempted to compromise mutual brainpower by falling into the trap of a pointless argument.

3. Time tip

Too much to do, and not enough time to do it? Yep, happens all the time. Again and again. Ever wonder why? There's a short list of causes for this scenario. But rather than address all of them here, I'm going to address the most common one. To understand what the others are and how to overcome them, see our time management course at:

Let's say you have 10 weeks to complete a particular task that takes 12 hours. How do you normally approach this? Nearly everyone will wait until they have about a week left, and then schedule those 12 hours in. They will then congratulate themselves for allowing more than enough time.

A problem arises when they begin the task, only to discover they need another resource to complete it. Or, they discover they are too tired to work at their best on it and it takes more than the 12 hours it would have taken had they been at their peak.

Or they have something else come up--perhaps an emergency. Or, they'd like to do something else, but can't because this block of time is now used up for this project. The result? A feeling that there's not enough time to do the task, because you are now running into time conflicts.

The cure for this is to start the task early. Get the ball rolling. Just divide the task up into smaller subtasks, and start doing them. If you run into a problem, you have more time to address it. If you thread all of the component subtasks of your projects throughout your calendar, you will provide yourself with more time cushion.

You can also look at a given subtask, decide you're not up to it right now, and just do it later. Rather than work at an average 60% competence (which is probably typical), you work at an average 80% competence. This means you get more done. But, the relationship isn't linear. Working at 80% average competence doesn't mean you are getting just 20% more done. With higher competence, you have increased creativity and decreased mistakes. Your overall efficiency might increase by a factor of five or even ten.

People have argued with me about this, claiming "I am always at my peak competence." To which I can only reply, "OK, you're right." I say that because there it is a complete waste of time to argue with someone who takes such an arrogant and self-defeating viewpoint.

This technique of matching your tasks to your ebb and flow of performance is simply a way to take advantage of the cycles nature imposes on us. To fight these cycles or to pretend they don't exist is simply a way of embracing underperformance.


4. Finance tip

How often do you get those flyers that promise 10% off, for one day only? So, you go to the store to save money. And you leave with quite a bit of merchandise.

Question: Do merchants run these sales to save you money or to sell product?

To avoid overspending, make a list of items you would like to buy and do not deviate from that list.

When you respond to a 10% (or whatever) sale, you are going to a store where other people are in spending mode. It can be infectious. That 10% sale causes some people to really stock up, even on items that are excluded from the promotion. Others, who may not even know about the sale (because they didn't get that coupon) automatically mimic this behavior (it's a group psychology thing). The net discount that the merchant actually pays out might be closer to 2%.

This little finance tip will save you hundreds of dollars a year, if you are a typical consumer. Now that you have all of that extra money, take a look around at and spend some of it there! For example, see our book reviews and recommendations at Ah, nothing like gratuitous plugs!

5. Security tip

Do you have one of those electronic security systems? Do you think it will protect you? Here's an experiment. Grab a pair of scissors, and go to your telephone interface box. Now, look at the scissors and look at the phone cable. In most installations, this is exposed. Mine is actually enclosed in pipe. Do you see the obvious, here? Find an electrician in your area to install this properly, or save yourself the hassle and cost of a security system by disconnecting the stupid thing. After all, that is exactly what a burglar is going to do first--and all that person needs is a pair of scissors.

Of course, if you have a dummy phone wire system installed in hopes this fool will cut that and then enter your house to send the alarm via the concealed wiring for the real system, great. By the way, you can have an electrician install a relay with normally closed contacts so your alarm system can detect when that dummy wire is cut. This will allow you to know an intrusion is coming, so you have more time to insert your earplugs, check your weapon, and so on. 


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Great abs
Pick up any fitness magazine, and you'll find an article about "abs." People buy gadgets for "ab development," then end up storing those items in a closet because of lackluster results. You can find books on great abs, but most folks spend the time to read them or the money to buy them.

So, here's your abs freebie. There are two elements to having great abs, and it's possible to have them even if you are middle-aged. The two elements are fat loss and muscle gain.

Now, in all fairness, I want to write a disclaimer here. It was Mother's Day yesterday, and I hope all mothers understand that for you to get the abs you had before you gave birth is demanding a bit much. So, don't feel guilty about not meeting unrealistic expectations. Some women luck out and can have awesome abs after kids, but most will have to realize that becoming a mother was a mixed blessing and a fairly flat tummy is more than good enough.

For you men who have not given birth to children (and I assume that's all of us), there is no excuse for looking as though you did give birth. If you are still married, do this for your wife as well as yourself.

  • To reduce fat, reduce your caloric consumption. It's that simple (well, most of the time). Yes, there are many other things you can do--but this is the one step folks typically overlook. Do not go on the Atkins diet or some other stupid, unhealthy, insane, should be illegal, whacko plan (don't ask me how I really feel, unless you want to hear about my jail plan for the purveyors of this nonsense). Simply eat less at mealtime. I don't mean fewer carbs. I mean smaller portions. That won't get you there fast, but it will get you there. For more specifics and faster progress, see the free articles at
  • To build abs, do the right exercises. Sit-ups are a joke. These build your hip flexors, not your abs. If you can do dozens of repetitions of an exercise, that exercise is not building muscle. The reason has to do with basic bodybuilding science. Exercises that do build abs are squats, deadlifts, and hanging leg raises. If you don't know how to do these, contact a gym and find someone with certifications (not just the title "personal trainer") to show you. Your abdominals are muscle tissue, just like your arms. They need proper overloading and proper rest to develop.

7. Thought for the Day

Do you reserve special thoughts for special days? Now that Mother's Day has passed, when's the next time you will do something special for the special mother(s) in your life? If you share my good fortune in having a mother who is still alive, when will you next make her feel special? If your wife, best friend, aunt, niece, mentor or some other person holds a special motherly relationship to you (or your children), time's a wastin'! Don't wait until Christmas to buy a present or to give of yourself. Make plans for a June surprise, today.


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.

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