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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-07-04

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. Sears
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Present well
Whether you are interviewing for a job, pitching to a customer, or presenting a proposal to upper management, your success hinges on your presentation skills. And we all know what a bad presentation is like--you sit there (sleep there) and wish you were at the dentist, instead.

No wonder the idea giving a presentation gives you the heebee jeebees. Your chances of success are about nil, unless you understand how to give a winning presentation. Where will you get that understanding? Not from sitting through yet another interminably boring session of some nervous and ill-prepared person reading slides to you. But, we have the answer....

How to Give a Winning Presentation

Click the photo
for information.

Our "How to Give a Winning Presentation" course will show you how to connect with your audience. Prepared by a team that includes a professional presenter, two instructors, and a long-standing member of Toastmasters, this course will allow you to stand out as a presenter.

Your audience will tune in, rather than tune out. This course will show you how to have your audience thinking about what you are saying, rather than thinking about what they are going to do when the torture has ended.

If you need to succeed in management, sales, or any other venue where good presentation skills are successful, this course is for you. Newly revised and well-researched, it's packed with tips, examples, and expert advice. All of which work together to help you excel as a presenter.

We are raising the price later this month. Right now, it's $19.97 because I wanted to feature it in this eNL for our subscribers. If you have the weekend off, spend that time with your family, not with this course. We'll hold that price long enough for you to still take advantage of the discount even a week from now.


2. Brainpower tip

In the world of physical training, many men try to build impressive arms by doing a lot of biceps curls. Consequently, they never get impressive arms. To build impressive arms, you must build your back. The body, you see, tries to maintain the "drive train." If your back can't support the load, your arms won't grow to handle it either.

The brain works in the same way. If you want to be a stronger problem-solver, you must build those areas of the brain that are part of the drive train. Let's look at some elements of effective problem-solving, just to take this one brain function as an example:

  • Attention to detail. "God is in the details." I won't expound on that--the statement stands on its own. What kinds of activities to you do to develop your ability to work with details? Some people are very good with detail. Personally, I am good with detail in some situations and not so good in others. If I knew how to develop this area, I would tell you--but I don't. Any readers having the right information, please contact me.
  • Reasoning ability. This is an area where the vast majority of people do very poorly. For example, some people "reason" that depriving potential victims of firearms somehow reduces crime. These people would do well to go to the library and focus for at least a year on developing their ability to reason. There's a test you can take for reasoning ability. It's called the Watson-Glaser Test of Reasoning. It's a standard psychological test. And, yes, I scored 100% on it--which is explains why I am so pro-Second Amendment.
  • Pattern recognition. This is another area where most people are weak. We all recognize patterns, but the weakness comes in when we misapply patterns. I used to run into this when I was a plant engineer. People in production would insist on applying a solution that worked before, based on symptoms similar to what they had seen before. But, there were some subtle differences that made patterns mismatch. One way to develop pattern recognition is to read and analyze a ton of case studies.
  • Ability to construct and deconstruct cause and effect. This is basically your ability to trace a chain of events. Many political arguments follow the pattern of "there is water in the ocean, thus X is true." Michael Moore uses this technique. He never establishes the correct cause and effect relationships, but merely uses facts in isolation to "support" his viewpoint. And he's made himself a millionaire by doing this. When you can construct and deconstruct cause and effect, you inoculate yourself against brainwashing. I don't know how to develop this ability, but my advice is to always approach any argument by tracing the cause and effect and be as "anal" about it as you can be. Don't accept things on face value and don't accept leaps of logic.
  •  Ability to discard the irrelevant. Your mind can sift through only so much. You have to know what's relevant and what's not. I have no advice for developing this skill. I think it comes from experience.

3. Time Tip

Here it is, the 4th of July. For our international subscribers, I'll tell you quickly this is a celebration of the birth of our nation, the United States.

While I am grateful for this nation and all it offers, I find the holiday celebration to be a bit over the top. So, I will comment on it here in my own party-pooping style (just allow for that, and you will pick up some good tips).

We celebrate the 4th by keeping working people up way, way, way past their bedtimes, so they drag their butts from sleep deprivation for the next three weeks. In POW camps, the guards do this by waking the prisoners with a variety of methods including the setting off of explosives. In the USA, the welfare workers and kids who are out of school do this by waking the working folks with a variety of methods including the setting off of explosives. This goes on for several days before and after the holiday, with the peak period being on the 4th.

Accident rates are higher, productivity is lower, and so on. I personally don't see the point in this annual abuse of the working class, but hey, what do I know? And I still don't understand the attraction of blown-off fingers, blasted ear drums, and permanent blindness. Call me a killjoy, but I guess I'm just not into those things.

How can you deal with this sleep deprivation, other than leaving the country for a few days? Here are some suggestions:

  • Wear earplugs. If you own a home, you mow a lawn. And, thus, you have hearing protection. What? You don't have it? Read that owner's manual! Here's a tip for you: any time you must raise your voice above normal conversational volume to be heard, hearing protection is required. I don't have to tell you that you have to raise your voice to be heard over your lawnmower. Unless you want hearing damage--which you probably already have to some extent if you are mowing without plugs--wear those earplugs! You can get them at any gun shop, and probably at any hardware store.

  • Run one of those room air purifiers to generate white noise. Combined with earplugs, this can reduce the "wake up factor" dramatically. You could also try playing music, if you have a CD player or DVD player you can put on an endless loop.

  • Set up an air mattress in your basement or other rather secluded part of your home.

  • Change your hours. Midnight seems to be the cutoff for the fireworks crowd. While people whose jobs require them to start at 0600 or 0700 won't cure the problem with a one-hour time shift, they will experience less of an effect. People who start work at 0900 can eliminate all effects by starting half an hour later. Talk with your boss about a temporary hours shift, so that you can do a full 8 hrs work rather than cranking out 3 hrs worth while you drag your butt waiting for some badly needed sleep. The financial case is there. If your boss is more fixated on clock time than output, so be it. Maybe you can take a long lunch and catch a nap at home, mid-day.


4. Finance tip

The single largest expense you face is taxation. This expense is more than what you pay for food, clothing, and shelter combined. The most recognized component of this tax is the Federal Income Tax. But, the fed actually has several forms of income tax and some of these are levied by bureaucratic fiat rather than by law.

Politicians keep spending our money to get re-elected, then raising our taxes to pay for it. This is really an interesting business model. I am amazed that people willingly put up with it. The result of this nonsense is a tax system that, in itself, is an enormous burden. But, we also have burdens of compliance and bookkeeping that are staggering. In addition, we have the fact that this tax system has enabled a vast criminal enterprise within the IRS. This is a group whose employees, a couple of years ago, stole 4300 computers from its offices. What does that tell you about their trustworthiness?

Well, here's your tip. Do what you can to end this complex system of excess taxation and the racketeering that it has enabled. In the USA, a group called Americans for Fair Taxation seems to have a very good approach. Keep in mind, these are not tax protestors. These are people who simply want a taxation system that works. What we have right now is too politicized, too expensive, and too absurd. Citizens of other countries should look for similar groups. If we can get our so-called governments to actually govern rather than rob us blind to fuel the job security program of "elected" officials, we will vastly improve our quality of life.

5. Security tip

If someone calls you asking you to verify your credit card charges, this could be a legitimate call from the security department of your credit card provider. Then again, it could be a scam to obtain information from you. That's information that can be used in an identity-theft based crime.

I recently spoke with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials about this issue. Here is the advice they gave:

  • Don't provide any information, period. These people called you. Unless your Caller ID shows they are really from your credit card company, don't talk with them about your credit card.
  • Your credit card has a toll-free number on the back. Yes, it's a pain in the butt to go through their automated menus, but eventually you can get to the fraud department of your credit card provider. That is the department that would be conducting the purchase verification.
  • If you have an answering machine that gives your first and last name, change your greeting. Sometimes, all someone needs to do is verify your name and phone number match. They can then use this information, along with other information, to perpetrate credit card fraud. Which can cost you dearly, for years.

What law enforcement officials were not allowed to say on record is that much of the credit card information comes from government agencies. They are trying to crack down on the abuse, but it's almost impossible. IRS employees are notorious for re-selling your private information. You are required by law to give this information, and there's nothing you can do about the illegal selling of it.

However, you can monitor your credit card charges (check with your credit card company about the ability to do this online, so you can check daily) and you can guard your credit cards. When making a purchase, never let your credit card out of your sight. Granted, in restaurants, this can be a problem--but that is also statistically where the largest number of credit card numbers are stolen (they get the number plus the verification code--plus they look your name up in the phone book to get your address and it's a slam dunk). Consider paying in cash.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

I was recently at a 4th of July party where people were drinking sodas, eating cake, and consuming vast quantities of sugar-contaminated food (for example, fruit that had been sitting in syrup). I noticed that roughly 94% of these people sported a gut. Hmm.

Something else of interest, here. I hardly knew anyone at that party. I mingled quite a bit, and people would invite me to sit at their table with some greeting like, "Have a seat, young man." While listening to their conversations, it became apparent that they were pretty close to my own age. This is not unusual for me. Every now and then, someone would come around with cake and offer it to those at a table. I would invariably be the only person turning it down. It has been 38 years since I last ate cake, with one exception.

My point here is there is no such thing as "moderation" when it comes to poisoning your body. If you drink sodas (osteoporosis in a can) or eat any of the long list of highly-processed junk that passes as food, you will pay for it. I don't look young enough to be my own child because of genetics. I look that way because I totally abstain from these poisons. I am missing nothing. There is plenty of good-tasting food on God's green earth and we don't need to eat the garbage to have a delightful culinary experience.

Now, let me clarify something here. I did not come up with this idea--I'm just not that talented. But, many years ago I listened to some people who were following this way of being. Ask yourself why Jack LaLanne looked half his age when he was 60. It's because he spent a lifetime abstaining from toxin ingestion while also engaging in healthy behaviors.

You can do the same thing. I have no idea if you can reverse damage already done, if you are along in life X number of years. But, I do know you can stop accruing more damage.

People invariably say such things as, "I want to enjoy life" as an excuse to poison themselves with junk food. I have to wonder what part of physical illness, incapacity, bad breath, premature aging, debilitating illness, financial ruin, surgery, and dependency they find enjoyable. Call me crazy, but I just don't see the appeal.

 7. Sears

Here's an item contributed by Don Brennecke:

I assume you have all seen the reports about how Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. Suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves. Pass it on. So I decided to check it out before I sent it forward.

Checked and copied the status: Claim: Sears pays the difference in salaries and maintains benefits for their called-up reservist employees. Status: True.

Then I sent the following email to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this email and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your store. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item even if it was cheaper at the other store.

Here is their answer to my email:

Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears. The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears regards service to our country as one of the greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn Sears Customer Care 1-800-349-4358 

Please pass this on to all your friends, Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military. THIS IS AMAZING AND A TRUE SIGN OF SOMETHING GOOD IN TODAY'S WORLD OF BUSINESS! BRAVO TO SEARS.

If any of you readers know of other businesses that help our service people, please let me know. I want to thank the service people of New Zealand and the U.K. for being our staunch allies, also.

By the way, Mindconnection also supports our Americans in uniform. A few weeks ago, I was at one of our city's finest restaurants with a friend/business partner from New Zealand. While there, I had the privilege of getting the waiter to give me the check for a sailor in uniform and his well-dressed dinner companion. From his insignia, it was obvious he was a Seaman. This means he was home on his first leave and getting ready to be deployed. After I got their bill (yikes!), it was obvious this was his fiancée and he was really trying to treat her.

To my embarrassment, the sailor left his table to ask if we were the ones who paid for his dinner. When he said, "Thank you," I told him, "I was only trying to thank you for what you are doing. It's not thanks enough." And, it really isn't. I told her she should be proud of her man in uniform, and she said she couldn't be more proud. In my family, sailors will always hold a special place in our hearts. My Uncle Craig died in a uniform like that, and, well....

I encourage everyone to take advantage of any opportunity to help our men and women in uniform. There are many small things you can do, such as trading places in line with them, picking up their tab, or simply thanking them for wearing that uniform.

8. Thought for the Day

What do you think of when you start your day? Many of us just get up and deal with what the day throws at us. But, I suggest to you that you may find more fulfillment by starting each day with at least one or two goals that you really look forward to. Let these energize and motivate you.


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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