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shopping spree. (Some folks might really like it).In this issue:
- Product Highlights
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tips
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
Happy Pearl Harbor
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
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
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
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
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
- 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!).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
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 www.supplecity.com
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
Wishing you the best,
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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