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This American Life Promo #2: First TV Season on DVD

If you’ve never heard this show then find an hour where you’re driving or walking the dog and listen to it. It’s a great show that tells real stories of different people. I only discovered it recently but I’m already hooked. Check it out online or through iTunes:

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Another name

The thing that has your attention is what you’re truly focused on. Well lately I’ve been focused on GTD/self improvement things. So to keep my attention focused on keeping with these positive changes, I’ve changed the name of this blog to Peaceful Warrior. This concept comes from the book “The Four Agreements”. It’s a Toltec way of life/thinking which sounds very interesting as a life philosophy. The warrior part refers to the war of the individual mind rather than a soldier. Anyways, I like the concept so I’ll give it my best effort.

Early Riser Discipline

I’ve read a lot of the posts about becoming an early riser. Unfortunately they all failed for me. Not because they’re bad but I think it takes discipline. Improving my discipline is my next goal…

From the following post it seems I should focus on the goal more than the art: Discipline is an illusion; Motivate yourself instead

if you think you don’t have discipline, you don’t need it. What you need is to commit to your goal or habit and fully motivate yourself.

I’ll try these tips and see how it works out. I started using Joe’s Goals again with modified goals and using the logbook too. I expect I’ll definitely see improvements in the next few weeks.

YoungEntrepreneur.com Blog » The Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Starting A Business

Sounds like good tips I’ll have to remember someday when I start a business.

1) Not enough money.

The most common reason why new businesses shut down is that the owner runs out of money. Cash flow is critical to a startup business. You could be profitable and still have to close your doors because your customers are taking too long to pay you. Cash is king in a startup venture and you need to prepare for it.

One option is to make sure you have enough startup capital from your own investments or outsiders (bank loan, private investors, etc). A second option is to ease into the business so that you start doing it on a part-time basis until you know that it will make enough money to support you.

2) Not thinking survival.

Starting a business is all about survival. How do you stay around one more day so that you can learn more about your market and close new customers?

At the beginning stages of a business this may mean doing work that might not be completely what you want to do but it helps pay the bills. You need to do whatever it takes to survive and get through until the business can fully support yourself.

3) Losing momentum.

Many new entrepreneurs have ambitions to start a business so they create a website, try to make a few sales, go all out for a few months and then stop completely. Building a business is all about momentum. If you had 24 hours to spend on a business they would be put to far better use by spending one hour a day than for 24 hours straight.

It takes time to develop a new company and for people to react to what you have to offer. Never lose the momentum and even if your business is only a part time initiative for you at the moment, make sure that every day you are making progress of some sort to move your company forward.

4) Doing it all alone.

Nobody is perfect or has the skills to do everything themselves. You need to understand what it is that you bring to the table and what you need to surround yourself with. If, for example, you are very strong at inventing but don’t want to sell then you need to find a salesperson to help you.

You won’t succeed by forcing yourself to do things that you truly don’t enjoy and will never be good at. Know where you stand and what value you can offer. By getting people around you who complement your skills, you will be able to achieve your goals and have a lot more fun along the way!

5) Not hiring right away.

You should begin looking at who can be brought on board to help you from the first day of starting your company. There will be tasks in any business that you, as the owner, should not be focusing on if you hope to build any sort of sizable organization. Why are you doing admin work when you should be out closing customers, talking to the media, and landing new partnerships?

But I’m broke! How can I hire someone? Even if you have a $0 budget you can find people to work for you through high school and foreign student internship programs. Once you have a budget, you can bring people on board for as little as one hour a day (what I first did) and then increase their hours when you can afford it. You need to be spending your time working on the business and not in the business.

6. Doing it just for the money.

If you don’t truly love your business then you won’t be successful. If you read the stories of famous entrepreneurs and how they built their organizations you will find that it all comes down to the root of loving what you are doing.

Money is definitely important, as most companies are for-profit enterprises, but it will often take a long time to come and if you don’t truly enjoy your work then you won’t be able to convince yourself to keep going. You can only do something that you don’t really love for so long before you give up.

7. Getting to year 1, past year 2.

Many entrepreneurs have a hard time getting to the end of year one. Typically it’s because they started the business on a whim and got excited about an opportunity but didn’t do the proper research. These entrepreneurs usually run out of money and close down after a few months.

A second challenge is getting through year two. It usually takes three years of hard work to make a business. Year one is all about the excitement of getting started. You’re high on energy and ready to take on the world. In year two entrepreneurs often find themselves still not making much money and the startup excitement has faded. You’ll need to work your way through the downturn and know that the money is coming if you keep at it.

8. Don’t build around a customer.

The best way to make a lot of money quickly is to find a customer who has a problem and is willing to pay you to solve it – and then you go out and build the solution. Most entrepreneurs take the opposite mentality of “if I build it, then will come” only to realize that they’ve built it and nobody is coming. Instead of talking to customers as to why they’re not coming they decided to continue building and building. Soon they find out that they’ve invested years of work and nobody is interested in buying from them.

The companies with the highest failure rates are restaurants because they are usually built around an owner’s personal tastes. Meanwhile, the entrepreneurs with the lowest failure rates are lawyers and accountants because they are based around a service that we all need (whether we like it or not!) Talk to potential customers, see what they are interested in, identify who has money and what their pains are and then create your product / service around them.

9. Don’t seek mentors.

A great way to get a business going is to find out what other people have done to achieve success and implement those strategies into your own company. Find mentors who have knowledge of your industry and will give you time out of their day to help you.

You could set up a formal board of advisers and compensate people for their time but if you’re a startup you can play on the fact that most entrepreneurs are willing to help out a fellow business owner as a way to give back. If you show genuine appreciation and approach the right people, the advice you get will help make or break your company.

10. Don’t get involved in the community.
Tied in with not seeking mentors is not getting involved in the small business community. Countless opportunities are generated by connecting with other young entrepreneurs and finding out what they are up to and how you can help. You will get new business opportunities, partners, investment, media attention, ideas for productive tools to use, advice for your company, and many other resources that otherwise would take you years of trial and error to figure out (if you ever do at all).

A great community to be involved in, needless to say, is the Young Entrepreneur Forums, where there are over 32,500 entrepreneurs waiting to meet you and help you grow your business!

YoungEntrepreneur.com Blog » The Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Starting A Business

Be Present | Zen Habits

This is a good article about focusing on the now. What’s happening in the present moment. I’ll be practicing this from now on. I don’t want to set any timelines or deadlines but rather I want it to be a mantra that I can remember. Maybe I should get a tattoo that says “Be Present”. Probably not but I’m going to try my best to remember this daily. Check out the article for more info:

The Magic of Flow
There’s a concept called Flow that’s been pretty popular among productivity circles in the last couple of years. I’m a big fan of it myself. In a nutshell, it’s basically losing yourself in whatever you’re doing — reaching that magical zone where you forget about the outside world and are completely doing what you’re doing, whether that’s writing or drawing or coding or whatever.

It’s a wonderfully productive zone to be in, and a state that also, incidentally, makes you happier. Productive and happier at the same time. Hard to beat that.

However, it can’t happen if you’re switching between tasks or thinking about the past or the future. It basically happens when you are in the present. So practicing being present will help you get to flow, which makes you happier and more productive. Best argument yet for being present, perhaps.

A Simple Guide to Being Present for the Overworked and Overwhelmed | Zen Habits

Matt’s Idea Blog: How to read a lot of books in a short time

Stumbled on this article but since I have a ton of books also I’d like to plow through, I’ll have to try this technique. It also got me thinking about the Aversion Therapy mentioned early in his post. I should make uncomfortable those things that I want to do less of like watching TV. It means giving up my comfortable recliner. Ah well someone on craigslist will enjoy it.

the most useful technique comes from Jason Womack [3], and synthesizes nicely the most common ideas. In a nutshell, he says he reads the book four times:

  1. Table of contents, glossary, index.
  2. Anything in bold, titles, and subtitles.
  3. First line of every paragraph.
  4. Entire book

Here’s the twist: Steps 1-3 should only take about 10 minutes. To capture relevant information he uses a note-taking scheme involving putting dots in margins, and cross-referencing them in an index in the book’s front. When done, he transfers them to a text file.

Matt’s Idea Blog: How to read a lot of books in a short time

Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School

I’ll have to remember to teach this to my kids:

Rule #1. Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teenager uses the phrase “it’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule #1.

Rule #2. The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule #3. Sorry, you won’t make $50,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

Rule #4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he is not going ask you how feel about it.

Rule #5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule #6. It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule #7. Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule #8. Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Nor even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on.

Rule #9. Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be perky or as polite as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule #10. Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule #11. Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be kid. Maybe you should start now.

You’re welcome.

Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School