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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-12-07

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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

Happy Pearl Harbor Day!

1. Product Highlights

It's been my pleasure lately to speak with officers and enlisted folks who are serving in Iraq. They are buying many SpeechGuard electronic phrasebooks. 

These differ from electronic translators, in several key ways:

  • They store entire phrases (over 4,000).
  • You can operate them with voice commands.
  • It uses highly-advanced voice recognition (only recently allowed to be sold to the public, rather than just the military).


2. Brainpower tip

Often, our thinking process gets clouded with judgment--misjudgment, to be more precise. What happens is we begin to make emotional judgments about the situation and others involved, rather than focusing on the problem and seeking solutions.

Here's an example. Bill heads up a small team (for work, church, professional organization, golf league--whatever) that is doing a particular project. Ron, on the team, isn't delivering his part.

So, Bill shoots off an e-mail that basically tells Ron the deadline is almost here and Ron needs to pony up. Now, Ron feels defensive. So, he is going to do one of the following:

  • Make an excuse, which undermines moving forward.
  • Simply give up on the project, because Bill gave up on having confidence in Ron.
  • Dig in his heels and deliberately fail, because he's been treated like a child.
  • Do the minimum to get Bill off his back.
  • In some other universe, get the job done.

Now, this is just in a sweat-laden nightmare Bill was having. In reality, things are different. Bill calls Ron and offers an apology for lack of communication. "Gosh, Ron, I've been meaning to get with you on this project, but I have just been swamped. And now that I've left you to fend for yourself, I can see this project's in a bit of trouble. Can you tell me what the problems are, so that I might help you overcome them?"

This approach is the "help me to understand" approach made famous by Napolean Hill. Rather than attack the other person for underperformance, you set judgment aside and assume the problem is one that faces both of you. And, you ask this person to explain the problem and then help you to work it out.

By allowing the other person to save face and feel respected, this approach encourages clear thinking and a focus on the problem rather than the politics. 

3. Time Tip

Think of time as opportunity, then turn opportunity into accomplishment. When you think of time merely as something that passes along the face of a clock, you tend not to think of it until you're about out of it. That's a passive approach that frequently puts you into damage control mode or some other high-stress, low-productivity mode.

By thinking of time as opportunity and making plans accordingly, you are taking an active approach that puts you in charge.

Example #1. Time passes on a clock. You are about to go to bed, when you realize you have a test to take tomorrow. So, you stay up late studying for it. The next day, you are tired and your recall is week.

Example #2. Time is opportunity. You find out you have a test to take two weeks from now. You make yourself some study notes, and read them when in line at the grocery store. You recite material while in the shower. You read a little bit each night before bed, and at other times. On the day of the test, you walk in there fully confident and well-rested.


4. Finance tip

Some people say credit cards are bad and will get you into trouble. This argument is on par with the "guns kill people" argument--it is completely without merit. Let's see why.

First of all, think of a credit card as a means of exchange--not an extension of buying power. If you budget your purchases, then it doesn't matter if you use a credit card or wampum to pay for what you buy. The tool of exchange is irrelevant. (Similarly, it doesn't matter if a person is garroted or shot--s/he is still dead. It's the behavior, not the tool, that is the problem).

Second, select the right card for your particular situation. You can find credit card information very easily. One source is

General principles

  • If you pay off your balance each month, get a no-fee card and ignore the interest rate.
  • If you carry a balance, get a low-rate card for now. Then, budget your spending so you no longer carry a balance. If you are carrying a balance, you are mismanaging your finances. You should make it your goal to get on the no-fee card within one year or less. Sell things, if you must.
  • If you run many purchases through your card--perhaps for your business--use a special-offer card. Rebate cards are great--you get a check based on some percentage of your purchases. Other cards offer points toward merchandise or hotel stays, others offer air miles, 

Don't get a bunch of different cards, in an effort to get the best of all worlds. Pick one strategy and stick with it. This reduces your paperwork and other hassles.

Do make a point of having a special card just for travel and another that never leaves your house. The second one would be for select trusted merchants plus any services you have routinely charged to a credit card. This way, if you lose your "goes where I go" card, you can cancel it and still have your scheduled charges take place without needing to call everyone with a new card number.

5. Security tip

Here's one donated by an astute reader (sorry, I didn't note who sent it!).
  1. The next time you order checks, have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
  2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number On the "Memo" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
  3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS # printed on your checks (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

  •  We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them. 
  •  File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do this).

  • Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
  • By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done.

There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks. The numbers are:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  • Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
  • Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Assess your health insurance. Even if you have a plan through an employer, you may not have the right coverage. If you take care of your health (and that would place you into about 5% of the population if you live in the USA), you don't need to pay the high premiums that cover all kinds of minor stuff while leaving you exposed in the case of major medical. Shop online for other types of coverage, to fill in the holes.

Assess your health practices. Illness is largely optional. Consider just a few things, here.

  • If you are eating processed foods, you are opting to become ill.
  • Men with body fat in the double digits and women with high teens body fat levels are in the danger zone. To reduce body fat, don't "diet." Instead, eat six small meals a day. These should contain protein about the size of your palm. Get good carbohydrates in the form of various colors of vegetables, and eat some fruit every day. Cut back on grains and grain products. It's really that simple.
  • Don't drink sodas ("osteoporosis in a can"). Drink water, instead.
  • Exercise. The human body was meant to be in motion. But, don't mistake supplemental gym machine exercise for real work. It takes real work to keep the body conditioned. See for free information.

 7. Thought for the Day

Are you planning for success or failing to plan? If you are failing to plan, then you are planning to fail. Proper planning starts with deciding which things are really right for you to be doing. Set some goals, and think carefully about them to ensure they are in harmony with each other and with your objectives as a person. 


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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