GUEST POST: Life-Long Learning by Anmol Singh

Sing was kind enough to give me some excerpts from his book to share, this is 3 of 4. I don’t think anyone would take me seriously if I gave my take on this book, if anyone’s going to convince you to read this book, it’s going to be Singh himself, so I’m going to let him — make sure you read them all!

Invest in yourself. That’s what you are doing when you make knowledge acquisition a top priority in your life. There’s a billboard-size sign hanging in the workout room at my local gym. It says: “Never Stop Moving.” We should all have a similar sign hanging somewhere, even if it’s just in our minds: “Never Stop Learning.”

(Want to explore this topic in specific detail? We’ll show you how in Chapter 3 of my upcoming book, Prepping for Success).

As you consider your own lifelong learning status, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I curious and anxious to explore new territory?
  2. How do I find out what I need to know?
  3. How do I organize information?
  4. Do I understand the recurring patterns and themes in my life?
  5. Am I a creative problem-solver?

For now, let’s focus on Question #1. Real learning demands a certain curiosity. How curious are you, really? If you want to enhance your level of curiosity, spend a lunch hour or two visiting a neighborhood playground. There’s nothing more curious than a child. How come the slide is crooked? Can I make the swing go higher? Why is the tree losing its leaves?

Somewhere along the line, that unfettered curiosity was bred out of us. Maybe there is a point where we think it’s not grown up or cool to ask questions. That point of view is totally out of sync with lifelong learning. Start now to get your curiosity back. Find a spot in your calendar right now and plan a visit to a neighborhood playground or the children’s reading room at your local library.

Then start asking questions. People like it when you question them. Most people love to share what they know. They feel flattered that you would bother to ask. So ask away. And listen to the answers.

Questioning is the first of seven qualities that you need to cultivate in order to become a successful lifelong learner. The second is to crave knowledge. In order to acquire knowledge, you have to want it more than you want other things. Your learning must take priority over Sunday night football, or a weekend of golf (unless golf is what you crave to learn, of course.)

Third, you must practice. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin America, still works to perfect his listening skills. “Listen more than you talk,” he advises. Bill Gates practiced his perseverance skills when others said he couldn’t do it and he founded Microsoft when he was barely 20. Steve Jobs practiced daily creativity and took Apple public when he was 25.

(If you really want to make progress on the path of lifelong learning, you’ll want to know the other four qualities. Find them in my new book, Prepping for Success)

Once you get started on the knowledge path, you will find resources everywhere. There are blogs, books, webinars, community college courses—the list goes on. As you begin to implement your plan, commit at least one hour every day to studying, listening to CDs or podcasts, writing down your ideas.

In addition to the time you spend with yourself, which is important, reach out. Network with groups in your profession. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings and look for online meetups. Find someone who has done what you want to do and ask them to mentor you.

Wherever you are in life right now, you can get where you want to go if you are willing to invest in yourself. Invest in your health, your relationships, and your education. Believe in yourself because you are worth it.

This was an excerpt from the Book Prepping For Success: 10 Keys for Making it in Life by Anmol Singh, Learn more about the book and get a Copy at www.Preppingforsuccess.com/book

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GUEST POST: Self-Discipline by Anmol Singh

Sing was kind enough to give me some excerpts from his book to share, this is 2 of 4. I don’t think anyone would take me seriously if I gave my take on this book, if anyone’s going to convince you to read this book, it’s going to be Singh himself, so I’m going to let him — make sure you read them all!

Self-discipline. Sounds hard. Boring. Takes forever. Maybe all of the above are true on occasion. But self-discipline is one of the necessary keys to your success in life. So what exactly is it and how do we acquire it?

Speaker/comedian Andy Andrews defines it like this: “Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do, to get a result you would really like to have.” So it is, in every sense of the word, an inside job. Nobody can do it for you or to you. Rather, it is a combination of commitment and hard work, often over a long period of time, to get where you want to go. It all starts with your ability control your thoughts and actions through discipline. This means managing your thoughts, your behavior, your personal habits, and your emotions. You must keep all of them in check. Does that make you into some kind of unfeeling robot? No, definitely not.

Your self-discipline starts when you learn how to create a personalized set of habits that will enable you to keep moving ahead when the going gets rough. Is it easy? No. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and everyone would be ragingly successful. As you look around you, you are well aware that’s not happening.

Consider this contrast: in one month, 2,800 people searched the Internet for “self-discipline.” More than 200,000 searched for “fun.” So most people would rather have fun, that quick hit of instant gratification, than go through the lengthy and sometimes painful process of controlling their thoughts and actions and sticking to a job until it is complete. Because after all, isn’t it easier on a cold, dark morning to hit that snooze button and catch an extra hour of sleep that to roll out of bed, make a cup of coffee, and do some inspirational reading? The choice is yours.

Most successful people are long-range planners. Consider these contrasts.

  • Short term: grab that beautiful outfit on sale at your favorite boutique. Long term: pay off your credit card debt.
  • Short term: grab a cigarette to help you relax. Long term: breathe deeply and get healthy.
  • Short term: join the office gang for happy hour after work. Long term: save a few bucks and fatten your savings account.

You get the picture. And you probably know which actions you would be most likely to take.

Whether or not you choose to develop self-discipline is strictly up to you. But before you decide on your next move, consider what NOT having it could be costing you. Listed below are just a few areas of your life where having self-discipline brings success and not having it leads to discomfort, unhappiness, and possibly outright failure.

Self-discipline means looking at the various aspects of your life and quitting activities or habits in those areas that are producing unhappiness and outright dysfunction. Consider how you are functioning in each of these areas of your life right now.

  • Finances
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Important relationships
  • Job and career
  • Spiritual life

It’s entirely possible that you are functioning at peak performance in some places and not in others. For example, many people are so focused on their job, their career, building a business, producing an income—that they are neglecting their health and their important relationships. Right now you can choose to bring things into better balance. You can see the areas where you need to change and begin to develop habits that will bring your whole life picture into clear focus.

The secret to successful change and habit-building is to begin with micro-changes. Let’s say you know your work is consuming the majority of your energy and you’re neglecting your significant other. A micro-change might be to sit down together for a glass of wine one evening a week. Devote all your attention to the other person. Don’t discuss your work, or theirs. And here’s the REAL secret: be consistent. If you’ve promised yourself to do this once a week, do it no matter what. Don’t do it once or twice and then go back to your old ways. That is not habit forming!

An organized life is a disciplined life. Do one small thing each day to improve your personal and business environment, your health, your relationships. That’s all it takes. Before long, you will have become a self-disciplined success.

This was an excerpt from the Book Prepping For Success: 10 Keys for Making it in Life by Anmol Singh, Learn more about the book and get a Copy at www.Preppingforsuccess.com/book

GUEST POST: Patience: Are You a Turtle or a Rabbit? by Anmol Singh

Sing was kind enough to give me some excerpts from his book to share, this is 1 of 4. I don’t think anyone would take me seriously if I gave my take on this book, if anyone’s going to convince you to read this book, it’s going to be Singh himself, so I’m going to let him — make sure you read them all!

Remember the famous race between the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise didn’t care who saw him plodding along, a little road dust clinging to his feet. He was making progress every minute. The hare, on the other hand, relied on the flash and the speed that the tortoise lacked. He sprinted down the path and then felt so confident in winning the race that he stopped for a nap. And when he woke up—oops! The tortoise was crossing the finish line.

And the moral of the story? The race does not always go to the swift. Sometimes it goes to the patient, the plodder. What’s your PQ (Patience Quotient)? Would you rather be flashy or persistent? Which one offers the greatest benefit? Let’s take a closer look.

A related word to patience that’s common in today’s vocabulary is GRIT. The definition boils down mainly to words like “courageously persistent, brave, plucky, showing resolution and fortitude.” GRIT is also described by an acronym that stands for Growth, Resilience, Instinct, and Tenacity. Bestselling books have been written about GRIT. College campuses hold seminars for beginning students to teach them how to acquire and apply GRIT in their studies and careers. There are GRIT boot camps and GRIT support groups. In order to reach your goals, you must have patience; you must have GRIT.

Unfortunately, too many management seminars and self-help course today ignore grit completely. They teach the fallacy of needing Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Just by approaching your goals that way, you are subconsciously admitting that Plan A might not work. Something might go wrong, so you should not waste time trying to fix it. Instead, plan in advance to change course. No grit to that strategy, is there?

Here’s a better plan: call on your grit and devote 100% of your energy to Plan A and not even 1% to Plan B. The only time you should move into Plan B is when you have done EVERYTHING you can about Plan A, and you know from your experience that it will not work. According to some experts, grit is the ability to dig deep within ourselves and do whatever it takes — including sacrifice, struggle, and suffer — to achieve our highest goals.  That is a Plan A strategy all the way. That is grit.

We now know WHAT it is. The big question is: HOW do we go about acquiring it? Here’s the good news: grit and patience can be learned. Of course, it doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up some sunny day and find you have a lifetime supply of patience at your fingertips.

Try this experiment to build your grit capacity: once a week, schedule a Day of Patience. The keyword for this day is FOCUS. Focus on the now, each moment, one instant at a time. Boring client on the phone? Listen and take notes. Pick up on key points of the conversation you can repeat back to her. For one entire day, don’t look forward or back. Live in the moment. Savor it.

Have you ever been to a wine tasting? At a formal tasting, you are presented with five or six different glasses accompanied by five or six different kinds of wine. The sommelier tells you a few things about each wine. Then, slowly, he pours a small amount in your glass. First, you put your nose deep into the glass and inhale. What do you smell? Flowers? Fruit? The scent of soil? You swirl the wine around in your glass. You notice the color and clarity. Then very slowly you take a small sip. You hold it in your mouth and savor the taste. That is the key word: savor. The wine not just something to drink. It has a past, a story, a process all its own. Producing a premium bottle of wine takes years and infinite patience. But the reward is sensational.

Savor your life. Live it with patience and grit. Because the reward is worth it every second of waiting.

This was an excerpt from the Book Prepping For Success: 10 Keys for Making it in Life by Anmol Singh, Learn more about the book and get a Copy at www.Preppingforsuccess.com/book

GUEST POST – The Open Road Awaits: Your Guide to Literary Road Trips

I’m very happy to have this guest post today — and not just because I need some time to finish a couple of things you won’t see for a few weeks. I love a nicely designed (and informative) infographic and this one hit the sweet spot for me. When I was asked if I’d be interested in posting this, I jumped on it. Give this a read and check this out. Then maybe plan a trip?

Literary Road Trips Across AmericaScott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and Tom Wolfe…

These are a handful of renowned authors responsible for writing some of the most iconic books we know and love. The sources for their inspiration came from their life experiences, including some at the heart of American culture—road trips. From adventures lasting ten to over one hundred hours, these famous works of literature account for the national parks, cities and cultural events each author explored.

For example, On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, follows the story of Sal Paradise and his friends. The crew of young, broke hippies in love with life travel from New York to San Francisco. Through his young characters’ adventures, Kerouac’s work captures the spirit of freedom and the American dream. The narrative draws from Kerouac’s personal experiences traveling across the country.

The experiences of many authors are brought to life through the words crafted in their stories, making it incredibly difficult to put these books down. And each year, thousands of Americans, inspired by wanderlust and words, set out on their own adventures. The freedom of a cross-country road trip, whether on your own or with a group of close friends, never fails to enchant. There’s something intensely clarifying about hitting the open road. You’re suddenly able to disconnect from the routines of everyday life. You become what’s happening in that moment. You are living outside time.

Inspired by the need for adventure and the words of iconic authors, CarRentals created a guide to literary road trips across America. Instead of simply living them through the pages of your favorite novel, you can set off on routes that follow the narrative arc of six iconic books. Create new stories of your own by exploring the paths of these famous American authors. The road awaits!

Guest Post (and Giveaway!): 3 Things New Authors Need to Know About Self-Publishing by Michael Phillip Cash

Today, I’m happy to welcome to our humble e-abode Michael Phillip Cash, multi-genre author, screenwriter, and all-around good egg (I assume). After some wise words about self-publishing (a topic he probably knows more than three things about), there’s a link to a giveaway. The giveaway prizes are a $25 Amazon gift card and the signed 4-book A Haunting on Long Island series. I haven’t read the series, but it looks like a pretty solid and intense time. Enjoy!

Michael Phillip Cash3 Things New Authors Need to Know About Self-Publishing

by Michael Phillip Cash

As the self-published author of more than ten novels, I can definitely say I know a bit about the process of self-publishing. I’ve been at it for years and I’ve accumulated a lot of information and I love passing it on to anyone looking to publish his or her own books. Below are just a few of the things I’ve learned along my self-publishing journey.

Get Your Name Out There
Publicity is everything. If you’re not making a brand for yourself, don’t bother writing. Your name should be known by as many people as possible. Get social on social media and do some genuine engaging. Join online writer’s groups and post often. Position yourself as the go-to guy or gal for self-publishing related info. People tend to be more inclined to return the favor when it comes time to share your book info.

Wait, Wait and Wait Some More
You’re going to spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for your book to be discovered. Waiting for your book to be read. Waiting for book reviews to be posted. Waiting for a mega movie deal.  Just waiting. Don’t let that discourage you. Remember, good things come to those who wait.

Keep Followers Informed
Tell people what’s happening via newsletters, social media posts and word of mouth. As you grow your list of followers and subscribers, you need to keep them up to date on your writing, publishing and marketing efforts.

Marketing, promoting, informing and waiting is all part of the self-publishing process. I won’t lie. Self-publishing can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is definitely incredibly fun and rewarding.

Michael Phillip Cash is the author of the four-book series A Haunting on Long Island. Readers can connect with Michael on his website and Facebook.

and now, as promised, the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Golden Gremlin by Rod A. Walters

Golden GremlinGolden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers

by Rod A. Walters

Kindle Edition, 228 pg.
Omega Man Press, 2016

Read: February 1 – 2, 2018


Edmund Kean (1787 – 1833) — or someone else, it’s unclear — said “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Stand-ups, actors, and writers alike will testify to at least the latter. The downside is that those that do the hard work, those that are good at comedy make it look easy. Too often it seems that people (professional and amateur alike) go for the easy approach, and it’s never a good idea.

There’s also no accounting for taste.

I’ll accept either as the explanation for why this book left me underwhelmed.

Walters assumes a curmudgeonly tone, calling himself a misanthrope and taking shots at the foibles of the culture around him. The younger set is a particularly favorite target. Too often his pieces come across as angry Facebook rants, written by someone who spouts off against social media. Still, his points are occasionally clever and his jokes show promise. If he’d subject each of these two a few more revision passes, I could imagine myself enjoying many of these.

I’d strongly encourage reading this in small bursts — the essays don’t build on each other, there’s some references between the two, but nothing you won’t remember even after a few days. I wouldn’t do more than one or two in a sitting or Walters’ charm will wear thin.

Walters says that he wrote to make Dave Barry and Ben Stein laugh. If he’d invoked Andy Rooney, I might have agreed with him. I didn’t dislike the book, but I sure didn’t like it. Walters was frequently amusing — and I have no trouble thinking that many would find him funny. But not me. At least not without a few more drafts.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in this book tour.

—–

2 1/2 Stars

Guest Post by Rod A. Walters: Little-r-Slash-Big-R Has to be BIG Enough

[from “Captain [OF] America,” t.b. published August, 2018]

Size really does matter if you want a really dark partial solar eclipse. Having seen a spectacular annular solar eclipse—a “ring around the moon” thing—in upstate New York in 1994, I expected the Monday, August 21, 2017, predicted local 70%-partial solar eclipse to look spectacular, too. Wow, seventy percent! That sounds really dark!

During pre-Eclipse Morning, taking our usual walk around the neighborhood, I sensed all those neighborhood cats who came trotting up to us were worrying about the upcoming eclipse darkness. This many troubled cats didn’t happen often. They seemed to want extra head pats. Certain that they had primitive cat worries about the dangerous coming darkness, and needing fatherly attention, I gave them each a short lecture about how it’s only going to get sort of dark, but no wooba-monster dog-thing will be lurking in the shadows for them. A couple of reassuring pats each, we would go on our way. Cats love science lectures.

Later, wanting to make sure the Eclipse Day turned out special, I had much earlier set a lunch date with my wife, knowing that a romantic bayside restaurant table would make just the perfect afternoon. If clouds or rain had turned up instead, we still would have gone to an excellent lunch, and called it a Solar Ecrapse instead.

Armed with ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse-watching dark glasses, I treated my date to a running commentary about eclipses, about the ones I had seen before, and about the eerie darkness which would soon envelop us. Romantically. At about 30% eclipse, then at 40%, and later at 50%, it still looked just as bright as when we sat down an hour earlier.

At the maximum expected 70% eclipse, I could feel my date’s unspoken question, “Is it getting darker yet?” Wup.

Lunch was good, the company was good, but the 70% partial solar eclipse didn’t put on any show, except as viewed through the ISO 12312-2 eye glasses. How could that 1994 annular eclipse have looked so weirdly dark, and this 70% partial not be? Why! Why!

Time to whip out the old slide rule. A quickly jotted-up equation showed that for an annular eclipse to block the same 70% of the sun’s light, the so-called “apparent” moon’s radius today would be about 83% of the sun’s. All real engineers will yawn, bored with this simple equation: little-r-divided-by-big-R equals the square root of 70%. All non-engineers  would just yawn, neither group giving a rat’s eclipse about it. But the slide rule’s mocking answer: that 1994 annular eclipse hit 90%—a much, much bigger size than today’s event. No wonder 1994 got darker! I should have done the calculation before opening my blathering mouth. I can still hear the slide rule laughing.

I’d decided to make up for it next day by explaining this crucial little-r-slash-big-R mistake to all those neighborhood cats.  I just know they will all be interested, if they bother trotting out to me again.