My Daily Observation – The Race To the Bottom: 2/2/18

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DannySeth Godin uses a phrase frequently: “the race to the bottom.”   The race to the bottom is much more common than the race to the top and I want to take a few moments to explain my thoughts on how I have decided to structure my life in order to make sure I’m racing to the top.

First, here is what is meant by “race to the bottom.”  In all decisions whether they be personal or professional we all have conscious choices to make.  Those decisions have a direct impact on the results we get in return for our actions.

So when a restaurant decides to make budget cuts and begins buying lower quality products, the race to the bottom has begun.  When a corporation makes the decision to underpay their employees, the race to the bottom has begun.  When a person makes the decision to neglect their health, the race to the bottom has begun.

Any time a decision is made which doesn’t promote a person or organization forward, the race to the bottom principle automatically kicks in and takes over.

Here’s the thing: it is visibly noticeable.

Employees who know they are underpaid feel undervalued and know the company is not aimed up.  They don’t believe in the cause, thus they don’t put their blood, sweat and tears into making the company successful…the race to the bottom.

General contractors who allow employees to cut corners produce a product that is sub-par and the employees know it.  They know that what they are doing is not the right way to do things…the race to the bottom.

When a person knows fast food is ridiculously harmful to their health, but they make the decision to eat these meals on a regular, weekly basis, thus making the decision to neglect their health…the race to the bottom

On the other hand, when a restaurant decides to buy the absolute freshest vegetables, organic and chemical free even if it costs the business a little more, they are participating in the race to the top.

When a general contractor makes the decision to only use the best quality materials he can buy, ensures foundations are laid properly and hires skilled workers even though he or she might have to pay a bit more to ensure corners are not cut, he or she is participating in the race to the top.

When an individual decides to eat healthier, read more than watching television, invest time in their family, go for a walk in the evening for a little exercise, that person is participating in the race to the top.

I implemented an exact plan with exact habits of which I adhere to religiously and I did so in order to participate in the race to the top.  At work I respond to emails immediately in order to participate in the race to the top.  I return phone calls within an hour so that I am racing to the top.

At home I take the time to buy Evelina flowers and honor our date night so that we are racing to the top.  I work to watch my tongue and not speak ill of others so that I am racing to the top.  I demonstrate loyalty to my friends so that I am racing to the top.

We all have choices and a decision to make: do you want to race to the bottom or race to the top?  And in which direction are your actions aiming you?

Danny

My Daily Observation – A Dream So Vivid: 2/1/18

DannyI’m not even sure where to begin this post so I’m just typing.  I’ve been up since 4:30 am talking to Evelina about a dream that woke me up.  It is 6:04 am and I still cannot distinguish reality from what I experienced in this dream.

The dream began with Evelina and I trying to decide where we were going to eat dinner.  We were with our family, but we were Asian and didn’t have much money.  We were planning to celebrate a special occasion.  I knew the entire family although I don’t ever recall seeing them before.

Then almost like I was being sucked out of that scene, I found myself in another place in time.

Next, I was with a friend and we were both wearing military uniforms.  In the dream I was confused and asked my friend, Grant, why I was wearing this uniform.  It was at that time he told me to stop joking around and that I was an officer in the German army.  I knew every single detail of the uniform.  Can still feel the fabric on my skin.  I knew where every metal went.  I remember the shine on my shoes.  And the image of myself in the mirror was not me, but I was me.  And for some reason my uniform was white.  I remember feeling like myself but confused because I was in a different time and place.

The crazy thing about this dream is I was being pulled by a force that was dropping me into these moments that I swear were real events from my past; but events I’ve never lived.

Next I was watching a scene unfold on a 4-lane interstate divided by a 5 foot concrete divider.  On the right hand side of the interstate, on the frontage road was a Chinese restaurant with an orange sign with a dragon, the pole on which it stood was rusty.  The interstate was at the base of a mountain.  A small boy with brown hair was hit by a truck while riding his bike on that interstate.  He was wearing a Superman bicycle helmet.

Up to that point I knew these events were from the past.

This is where things turned and the events were incredibly exact, vivid and clear.

Next I was awakened from a nap by someone knocking on the door.  When I awoke I was lying on a bed in a hotel room.  I was wearing a gray shirt with silver, Shark skin colored slacks with a brown belt and brown shoes.  Evelina was in the bathroom, the door was closed but not completely shut.  I remember seeing her getting ready through the crack in the door.  I opened the main door to see 2 of my friends, Joe and Grant, standing with a man that I didn’t know, but for some reason he looked like a man I knew from many years ago named Mike.  They asked me if I was coming down and I knew in my mind that they were referring to the downstairs bar and I also knew we were there to talk about business.

But in my dream I knew that when I went to sleep it was January 31, 2018.

As I said, Evelina was in the bathroom with the door shut, but not not completely closed.  I opened the door and she had her hair in 2 small braids pulled back exactly like she likes to wear her hair.  She was wearing a red nightgown and getting ready for bed.  I asked her why Joe and Grant were asking me to go downstairs and who was the stranger with them.

She said “You know why we’re here.  And that guy with Joe and Grant is the guy we met for dinner, baby.  We just had dinner with them.  Is everything okay?”  I held her by her face and said “Baby this is very important.  What day is it?”  She said “It’s February 8th. sweetie, now get downstairs and take care of your business.”  I responded to her “Sweetie it cannot be February 8th.  We just went to sleep together a couple of hours ago and it was January 31, 2017.  If it’s February 8th that means a week went by between the time we fell asleep last night and this moment here now.”  She says, “Honey, it’s been a lot longer than a week since 2017.”

In the dream I was completely aware of all the things Evelina and I did last night before going to bed and before falling asleep.  I was completely aware of our conversations and reminded her in the dream of those conversations.  I remember being so confused about how I lost a week of time.  But the reality was that I had lost a lot more time than a week.

Once again I was sucked out of that moment and dropped in another moment.

We were standing at a bar looking at a New England Patriots Superbowl ring.  The ring was taken out of a manila folder and was encased in what looked like a piece of glass.  It was being passed around by a group of friends and when it came around to me I realized the case could be opened.  I opened the case and tried the ring on and it fit perfectly.  Then someone pointed out an envelope and it was a letter of authenticity and I realized Evelina had bought this ring for me.  My buddy PJ was there beside me and said “Hey mate, this is your ring.”  In the dream I was so proud of the Patriots for winning their 13th championship.

Then I was taken to a dark place; almost like a dark room.

In this room were 2 beds and there was a glow of light similar to the type of light that a television emits.  My friend Galen was there, but didn’t look like the Galen I know.  The force kept trying to drag me away and I kept yelling into Galen’s face “You have to remember me, please remember me, you have to remember me!”  The feeling I had was that I would see him again but for some reason he wouldn’t be able to recognize me physically, but would be able to see me if he looked close enough inside me.

This happened again and again over the course of 6-7 scenes where I am telling friends and Evelina the same thing, “You have to remember me.”   And each time it almost felt like a reincarnation situation.  Like I would return in another form and they would have to pay close attention and look deep inside to see me.

The last 3 scenes of the dream were somewhat more odd.

Evelina and I were lying on the exact bed in our bedroom, but the room was slightly different.  I was trying to explain to her that a force keeps trying to take me away and I was reminding her of all the times from the past that I implored her to “remember me.”  She said “Someone has taken our duvet cover.”  I look to the right side of our bed and a woman with long blonde hair is walking away dragging our duvet.  I said to Evelina, “Please tell me you see her.  That is the force that keeps trying to pull me.”  Evelina says to me “I do see her and I do remember you.  I remember every single time we met.  And I remember every single time you left.  I have always remembered you.”

At that moment I realized what she meant was that she remembered every single time we had met for the first time.  I knew Evelina and I had been connected for many, many lifetimes.  I recall the look in her eyes.  I remember the touch of her hand.  I remember how her face felt in my hands.  And somehow I knew we had been together for 6+ lifetimes.

Through all of these moments with Evelina they all end the same.  The force has to take me and I’m not afraid, but I don’t want to go.  And just before I go I always hold her face in my hands and say “Promise me you’ll remember me.  You have to remember me.  I have to go now, but I’ll always come back.  But you have to promise me that when I do you will remember.  You have to remember.”   And just as I’m crying typing this, I was crying in my dream.  It was so overwhelmingly emotional.

The next scene I recall was in a restaurant and a few friends were standing around a high-top type bar table.  Someone misspoke and made me feel like everyone was keeping a secret from me.  It was October and I knew we were celebrating my birthday, but the secret wasn’t about my birthday.  I asked Evelina, “What’s going on?  Why is everyone acting weird?”  Then Evelina explained to me that she was “late”.  I asked her, “What do you mean late?”  She said, “Late as in we are having a baby!”  I grabbed her and can still feel the exact emotions of that moment.  When I woke from this dream I was crying, but honestly I don’t think I actually woke up.  There were several times that I experienced waking up, but I cannot be sure that it was only in my dream.

Then the last scene was me watching a FedEx plane flying over a mountain top.  In the dream the plane was obviously in trouble.  It barely cleared the mountain and crashed in the ocean or some type of large body of water.  In the dream I even remember parts of the numbers on the tail: 7304.  It was as if I were floating in the air watching all of this happen, exactly the same feeling I had watching the little boy get hit on his bicycle.  To my left was a small river that emptied into this body of water and on that river was an old bridge made of large stones.

I remember asking a question in my mind, but not out loud: “why am I seeing all of this?”  The only answer that came to my mind was “remember the details.”  At that point I woke up again.  I have no clue what that even means.

For some reason every single scene of this dream was incredibly vivid.  More vivid, more emotional and more real than any dream I have ever experienced in my life.  When I awoke I knew I had been a German officer.  I knew that little boy had been killed on the interstate beside that Chinese restaurant.  I knew that Asian family was my family.  And I knew it was all from the past, although I’m not sure what past that is.  I can recall all of the emotions of being pulled away.  I remember how the fabric felt on my skin.  I remember the ring fitting perfectly and being so happy the Patriots had won their 13th Super Bowl.  I remember the joy of Evelina telling me we were pregnant.

I also remember waking up many times during this whole dream and telling myself you have to go back to sleep and finish this dream.  It was as if this happened 3 or 4 times, but I don’t know if I actually woke up or if it were a part of the dream.

From the point that Evelina and I were in the hotel room I knew those events were not from the past and I was confused.  But I knew that I was experiencing the future when she told me the date was February 8th.

It was so intense and so real that I am still not sure where the dream ended and where reality started, nor do I have a clue what any of it means, if anything at all.  The thing I am left with is how ridiculously vivid the details were in every scene and how real the emotions felt.

My Daily Observation: Bloggers Can Be A Confusing Bunch Sometimes: 1/31/18

DannyBloggers…  Let’s face it, we can be an odd bunch at times.  This is easily the most caring, understanding, open-minded group I’ve ever been associated with knowing.  Compassion out the wazoo.  But when it comes to clicking on other people’s stuff, as a collective, we simply don’t do it.  Let me explain.

I produce my own content.  I also reblog 3 bloggers each day.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I produce a link post.  And 75-100 bloggers LIKE those posts every day.  When I check my Google analytics I see that few if any actually took the time to click the links and visit the bloggers I shared.

Meanwhile, I get 40-50 emails each week asking “How do I grow?”  The answer to that question is to network your butt off searching out people who will become a part of your tribe; your community.

So the work is done in the form of hand-delivered, new bloggers, yet few people actually take the time to click on those bloggers’ pages to meet them and say hi.

Let me put this in perspective.  When I first started blogging I clicked on those links.  I introduced myself to those bloggers.  And I did it 500+ times each and every day without fail and without missing a day and I did so for years.

I’m not saying this to brag, but to make a point.  There’s a disconnect in the question I’m getting so often and the action people are displaying which I monitor through Google Analytics.

Imagine this scenario….someone comes to you and complains that they need a job.  You write down a phone number and an email and say “This lady’s name is Mary.  Mary knows everyone and is a great source to know.  Call Mary and see who she knows who might be able to get you a job.”  A week later the same person is still complaining about not having a job.  You ask, “What did Mary say?”   Friend: “Oh, I never got around to emailing her.”

That’s how I feel sometimes.  I guess I’m kind of complaining to those who send the emails, but I never see networking.  Maybe what I’m going to start doing is just delete those emails; maybe not.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but they take up a lot of my time yet few, if any, seem to want to work at it.

Anyone else notice this or am I just paddling in my own canoe?

Danny

My Daily Observation: The Skill of Selling Snake Oil – 1/30/18

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DannyThere is this odd relationship that has always existed in our world: people who want something, but don’t want to commit to the time it takes to gain success, and people who  capitalize on those people’s willingness to take shortcuts in order to sell them something.   I call the latter the snake oil sales people.  They take advantage of unsuspecting people making claims that the product or service of choice is going to wash their troubles away.

“Buy this electric ab belt and have the body you’ve always wanted!”

“This concoction of herbal supplements can cure MS!”

“Rub this on your feet twice a day and no more plantar facsiitis!”

“Buy this golf club and you’ll hit longer, straighter drives than you could have ever imagined!”

And people buy, as they always have, the products don’t produce and the buyer is left disappointed.  But I want you to think about WHY the buyer is disappointed.   Of all the reasons the buyer has remorse, way down deep inside they truly had the desire to get what it was the seller promised; they simply wanted a shortcut.

The buyer wants to have the body they see on the ab commercial.  The sufferer wants a cure for MS or plantar facsiitis.  And that golfer wants to hit the longest drives of his life.

Let’s face it, I want Flex Tape to work, but if you read reviews you’ll see that buyers have remorse.

Here’s my point: the snake oil salesman knows something you don’t which is why so many people fall for these gimmicks.  They take advantage of a biological fact.  They tap into the emotional part of your brain called the Limbic system.  In marketing we aim everything at this part of you that you don’t know you use to spend money.  The Limbic system supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory and smelling.  A large part of your emotional life is stored in the limbic system and it is this part of your brain that makes decisions “feel” right.  It is also the part that influences purchasing.

Image result for electric ab beltThe limbic system doesn’t function on words and data, but on imagery.   And it is this part of the brain that the snake oil salesperson strikes because they know if they can learn to paint just the right emotional image in your mind, then they can get you to buy what it is they are selling.  And then there you are at home standing with a vibrating belt around your waste looking silly.

Here’s the cool part…you can take advantage of your own limbic system.  What if you started painting your own images in your mind?  What if you could get yourself to buy your own awesome story?

What if you became your own snake oil salesperson?  But instead of trying to sell yourself on the idea that a shortcut exists, you sell yourself the idea that with just one simple step in the right direction, you can change your own life?

Danny

A Basic Understanding of Online Behavior That Might Help Your Blog

DannyThe single most common question I get from other bloggers is “how do I get people to read my stuff?”.  And it is not an easy question to answer.  I feel as though I have an advantage in some ways because this is what I do for a living.  For those of you who do not know I study human behavior in the online world to determine and analyze consumption patterns and behaviors in order to help companies and corporations develop effective marketing messages.

This means it is important for me to understand all age groups and exactly how they interact when they go online to read, gather information, find news, go shopping, watch videos, etc.

In the blogging world it is incredibly important to understand these dynamics in order to produce the types of content that achieve 2 basics objectives: 1. add value to a reader’s life, and 2. be worthy of consuming.

In a general sense, the general public does not read; or at least they do not read lengthy posts online in mass quantities.  The only general exception to this rule pertains to industry/topic specific articles/posts or articles that the reader finds incredibly interesting for one reason or another.  And this is a discussion I have with business owners every day.

People will produce these epic, lengthy posts, especially or Facebook Business pages, and virtually no one interacts or engages and they wonder why.  cats.pngThen they post a picture of a kitty cat lying on its back and 500,000+ people like, comment and share.  The reason is people’s basic online personality is one of laziness and apathy; people simply don’t care.   And that is difficult for people to accept, especially when someone has an incredible level of passion for their cause, but others don’t seem to care.  But once I give a deeper explanation of how the virtual world operates they begin to understand.

Here is that explanation…the general public has been programmed in an incredibly specific way in which we operate online and the pattern crosses all generations and all demographics.  We jump online and we scan.  We watch a tremendous amount of video content.  We read bits and pieces of articles then we move on.  We only look at images that catch our eye then we move on.  We jump from website-to-website scanning for information and follow interesting things until we end up in a place online that is so far removed from our original intent that we aren’t exactly sure how we ended up where we did.  That’s why you might begin a journey on Facebook and 30 minutes and 15 websites later you are reading information about why the northern Penguin migration is being affected by the decrease in polar bear populations.

We also know this because of average time spent on websites and bounce rate.  The average bounce rate online is 50%, meaning half the people who land on a site do not click on another page on that site, but leave to go somewhere else.  Also, about 55% of people online spend less than 15 seconds on any given website at any given time.  So this tells us that people are bouncing around and they bounce around a lot.  Some data curation sites estimate that the average American spends upwards of 10 hours per day online and visits an average of around 90 websites per month, or 3 per day.   I believe that number to be much higher than 90, but do not have data to support my belief.

How many times have you been online and asked yourself “How in the world did I end up on this site reading this?”  The other day I spent 5 minutes watching a video of a goat jumping on a trampoline and still have no idea how I found the video!  I’m actually laughing as I type this because the video was hilarious and I watched it over and over.

The point is that you must take today’s online behavior patterns into consideration when marketing your blog AND in what types of content you produce.  You’ve heard me say it before, but here it goes again…

YOU MUST GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING WORTH READING AND YOU MUST GIVE IT TO THEM IN A FORMAT THAT IS EASY TO DIGEST!

And this isn’t my opinion, it is simply based on data and facts.

This fact is why I changed my blogging style a year and a half ago.  I was producing 1500-2500 word posts that were well thought out and guess what?  No one was reading them.  My bounce rate was super high.  So I introduced a segment called “Quote of the Day” which was a “micro” post.  Short, simple, to the point and easy to consume.  My visits increased a bit and my bounce rate improved.

I then incorporated a bullet-point “Blog Tips” post which listed a few strategies I use to gain followers for my page.   I used bullet-points to make it easy to read and quick.  Once again my views grew and bounce rate improved.

In this day-and-age the masses of people simply don’t want to read epic posts unless they are super-specific about something for which they have passion.   On this topic you need to read up on Seth Godin’s concept of building a tribe.

My point is that it is important to understand all of these factors IF your mission is to speak to a larger group of people.  You must find the right target market and then you must deliver a powerful message and you must deliver that message with the proper tools.  If any one of these factors is weak, then the entire campaign fails and fails miserably.  I know because I watch it happen every single day in marketing.

Just ask TiVo how things are going.  There was a time when no other company made a better DVR than TiVo, yet TiVo was never profitable.  At one point “TiVo” was a standard word people used when referring to any TV recording,  regardless of the actual hardware being used; much like we refer to Kleenex instead of tissue.  I “TiVo’d” that show even if I was using a Comcast DVR.  TiVo had/has an incredibly weak message to the general public and they did and are failing miserably although they manufactured the best DVR on the market.

For your blog you must fully understand your message.  You must then understand how people are searching and finding information online.  You must produce incredibly, powerful, easy-to-consume content.   And then you have to use the proper tools to get that powerful, easy-to-consume content delivered to your target audience where they live online.

Here’s the kicker: it isn’t easy.  It takes time, effort, diligence, failing, patience, failing and more patience.  Oh, did I mention failing and patience?

Danny

“I Can Do This!” 2018 Focus

pamelascanepa

Energy2018.26220263_10211499242305700_8872204564251266058_nGraphic made at canva.com ~Explanation below~

You may have guessed (or already know) that my keyword for this year is “Energy.”  I have many goals, and I am at a point in my life where I need to make them happen.  I don’t want to wait for a better time.  Even if it takes years to reach a goal, the time to start is now.

My morning mantra will be- “Let me get moving.”  That’s a great start for energy.  Of course, I’ve charted out some things I have to do.  Stretches to get limber and not feel old or sore all day.  I intend that to become like second nature to me.  Then the list goes on.

I’ve done this because I read somewhere that a resolution is nothing without a plan.  This is so true!  Working a full-time job can tire a person out.  Yet, I want to…

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Amethyst Earrings

Great Christmas ideas!

IreneDesign2011

il_570xn-1402830333_mfq4Russian Amethyst & Silver Heart Earrings

What do you think about these earrings? I would love to know 😀

You can find these earrings here and other gift ideas in my Etsy Shop

If you have any special wishes, maybe for a gift, you are welcome to contact me, I promise to do my best

Wish you a beautiful day

Irene

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My Daily Observation: 12/11/17

Danny

I like helping others although I will admit I don’t always like people.  For the most part I don’t like crowds and it seems that our society is becoming more self-absorbed and selfish.  I know there are a lot of quality people in the world, I just don’t see a lot of them on a daily basis.

I have a personal mission statement that states: “seek to add value to the world around me.”  This means each day I work to be patient, teach, lead by example, practice generosity, etc.  I don’t always achieve this mission statement, but it is usually at the forefront of my mind.

Do you have a personal mission statement?  I’d love to read your comments if you do.  Also, in a general sense, do you like people?

 

My Daily Observation: 12/10/17

Danny

One of the joys of blogging is it serves as a source of therapy.  I’m able to purge out things that I would normally hold in. To me it has always been a little weird that I share things on my blog for all to read that I don’t share openly to people who I know in the “real world”.

To continue the practice of transparency, I wanted to tell you guys and gals that I have started seeing a therapist.  I’ve been kicking the idea around for a couple of years, but finally found a practice via Google that I felt comfortable in seeing.  My first appointment was this past Thursday and it went well.  I will admit that the dynamic of telling a stranger my inner thoughts is a bit uncomfortable, but I think it will be great for me in the long run.  In its basic form therapy is simply talking and I love to talk!

To protect identities I will call my therapist Dr. Kate as I’m sure I’ll refer to her here-and-there.  Our first session was a get-to-know-you type talk about what I hope to achieve through talk therapy and a little bit about my background.  My goals are to understand how to be a better husband to Evelina and to work through some of the root causes for some of my more neurotic behaviors.  I’m laughing as I type this because I didn’t realize how much I hold inside that I don’t say out loud.  The vast majority of our thoughts never leave our mind; a fact I had not ever considered until this session.  Most of us live a life in our mind that others never, ever see.  No wonder there is so much depression in the world.

At any rate I’ll be documenting my journey and some of the things I learn about myself.  Hope you enjoy the ride.

DR

 

My Daily Observation: 12/6/17

Danny

Quite a few of you have emailed me asking about the post I wrote a few days back about Seth Godin’s concept of building a “tribe” and engaging with people who care.  One of the toughest things to do in life is to get an idea or thought or invention to spread through a population.  As bloggers this is a common goal: “I want to get my page to more people.”

But what if this is the wrong goal?  I’ve always said you don’t need everybody, you just need the right bodies.  If you manage to find the right group of people to connect with AND they buy-in to what it is that you are doing, then they will do most of the work for you.  Ultimately what you have to do is lead them.

I see 2 common mistakes among bloggers who desire to grow: they don’t find their tribe and/or they don’t lead their tribe.  Topics on which one could build a tribe could be: golfing with hickory shafted clubs, love for a particular genre of anime comic books, a fan club for a specific race car driver or the love of a particular band.  In my opinion the passion needs to be specific, not general.  iPhone enthusiasts stand in line, in the rain, all night to be the first to have the latest Apple phone product and then tell everyone in their life what they did and how awesome the new phone is.  No one forced them to do anything, they choose to do it of their own freewill because they have passion for the latest Apple smart phone innovations.  Their passion is much more specific than technology in general or mobile phone technology for that matter.  The passion comes from their love of Apple and more specifically, the iPhone.

Do you see my point?  Sometimes bloggers spin their wheels in a mud pit of frustration because no one will listen to them all the while posting content that is incredibly similar to what thousands of other bloggers are already posting.  The fact is that if you are ordinary (too much like everyone else), then you are invisible.  Maybe you need to get more specific and say something that no one else is saying and then get that message out to the right group in order to begin building your community?