Why I Love Amazon.com

I had a rude awaking yesterday morning as I got out of bed, I discovered to my horror that my Kindle screen was broken!  It was actually my fault as I needed to recharge my Kindle’s battery and so I plugged it in to my computer’s USB port the evening before, and I placed it beside my bed, thinking to have tucked it safely underneath the bed.

Well, during the night I had to head a biological call and so I got up out of bed and felt for a moment that my foot landed on top of my Kindle. I didn’t think much of it at the time as I thought that I had not really applied any pressure to it at all.  Well, when I picked my Kindle up to get some early morning reading, to my shock and absolute horror, my kindle could only be read on a small portion of the screen!

Naturally I was all calm about it because I am so cool, calm and collective (I freaked out), I was thinking,  oh no! I am going to have to buy another one and I just got these a few months ago!  I looked up support to see if maybe there was something I could do with a reboot and get it going again.  I tried everything I could think of, and nothing made it work! So I took the plunge and I called the International help line since I am currently in Italy. And here is how things went:

Amazon: Hello this is Amazon assistance what can I do for you today? (with a cheerful voice and an interesting accent)

Me: Uh err, I sort-of  kind-of seem-to-have stepped on my kindle by accident and I was wondering if there was some kind of CPR I could perform to revive it?  I rebooted it holding the button for 20 seconds and it turns on but I can only see a part of the screen.

Amazon: Tell me what you see, does it look as though the paper is ripped?

Me:  (Is he spying through the phone?) Why yes, in fact it looks exactly as though the page is ripped!

Amazon: Well that means your screen is broken.

Me: (Heart skips beat, despair sets in, I am convinced that I will be without a Kindle forever until I can order a new one) Oh my, but I am in a real fix, I am sort of, you know, addicted to my Kindle.

Amazon: That is a healthy addiction, don’t worry sir I will send you another Kindle right away.

Me: REALLY! wow this is great! (even though I broke it!)

The new Kindle is being shipped as I write this post, I will send back the damaged one, and Amazon of course knows that if I need anything, I will be visiting them first to see if they have it!

This is not the first time I contacted their assistance; the last time was online, I loaned a book and it was stuck in limbo, again due to my mistake, for having loaned it to the kindle email address instead of my wife’s actual email.  I wrote my question, and without exaggeration, within 10 minutes… problem solved!

Amazon knows the principle of “give and it shall be given unto you”, they do smart marketing through excellent service and assistance, I am sold on them and frankly if you don’t buy Amazon, I think you are nuts! Ha!

On the other hand, those who give things away “free”, but then leave you hanging when you run into a problem like I have with my current WordPress Theme, and go on to state on their site that, “we do not offer any assistance for free Themes” will end up losing out big time! This  is not a winning strategy and will cost you in the long run.  When I get something, even if for free, and I run into a problem, I would appreciate help with it.

Take for example the Commentluv plugin which has not worked on my site due to some technical issues with my current Theme.  I really like the Theme I have, and I believe that the company I got it from, free of charge, is very talented and have great Themes.  However, they placed plain as day on their site that they do not offer technical assistance for their free Themes! I had to test them on this since dear Andy Baily took a portion of his precious time to try to help me (for his free plugin), but could not help me due to some settings on my theme.

I wrote to see if I could get some help, and well, sad to say to this day not one word has come back!  Guess where I will NOT be purchasing my theme from when I move on to a paid platform?  I think you figured it out. So let this be a lesson to anyone who is out to make money, in order to receive you have to give.  Give freely, and you will see that once you have built up a trust with your clients, once you have something that they need, you will be the very first place they will come to buy!  You have to be there for those who have gotten anything from you, even if for free.  People are your best publicity, not your ads, not simply your site! If you don’t win your clients over through, products and good follow-up, you may sell to some, but your success will be short-lived.

What is your take?

Leadership Lessons Part 1

A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” — David Gergen

The role of a leader is something that you grow into after you have learned what it means to follow.  There are certain attributes that a leader must have and they are vision, , inspiration, initiative and courage, the guts to see something through.  A true leader is one that doesn’t need to continue to remind everyone that he is the boss. He inspires others with a desire to join in because it is evident that he is going somewhere.

Being a leader does not mean to lord authority over others and be continuously barking out orders.  It is having a vision for a certain job or project, the ability to impart the vision to others to the point that they too are excited to have the chance to take part in it.  A leader is also a person who is capable of recognizing his limitations and when it is time to confer with others who may be able to offer sound advice.

If you are a real leader, you will not feel threatened that others will take your place but rather you will pull other in that show signs of  leadership potential and will surround yourself by them.  By doing so you will be able to both benefit from their input and  train them to carry on should you have to take a leave of absence.

It is a common error when one is freshly pulled into a place of leadership that they over-compensate and err in many of the above mentioned areas.  They think that they need to prove their capability to be “in charge”, but then end up losing the following that they so desperately need in order to complete a mission. Seasoned leaders inspire a solid trust from their followers, as a follower you feel more secure if you are part of the “team” and not just part of the “pack”.

A real leader knows that he needs a team, he cultivates his team and makes them feel at ease around him, they know that if they have another seemingly better idea, they can in all confidence share their ideas without feeling as though they are not yielding to his leadership.  There is a free and trusting bi-directional flow of communication .

What do you admire about a good leader? Do you have a boss that you feel inspired by, or rather do you feel you are not being heard?  Share your points here!

How To Stay Young!

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” –Sofia Loren

It is a fact of life, as time goes by, we age.  It is said that from the time you turn 20 that it is when your body starts to age and you are literally growing old!  Sounds a bit depressing, but it is a reality that we have to accept, because whether you like it or not, that is the way it goes.

Some people take aging very gracefully, accepting it as a fact of life, other are like a cat when it is sensing insecurity and it digs it’s claws into your arm or a curtain or into whatever it happens to be standing on at the time trying not to fall. This type of person becomes totally obsessed with trying anything and everything to hold on to their youth.

There are creams, potions, pills, concoctions of all kinds that are being sought out to help stave off growing old, non of which really work entirely.  No one wants to lose that “sex-appeal”, or grow undesirable to others,  and so many, who can afford it, go under the knife to make adjustments to their body in order to be more sexy or desirable.

So many get their breast enlarged as they are convinced that only large breasts are beautiful. Granted they tend to cause rubbernecking and double takes, but that is not necessarily what will make you more appealing. You might attract a lot more attention, but it may be the attention that you were not hoping to get, then again it may be, that is your choice.

Granted it is a great idea to stay fit, get your needed daily exercise, to keep your body healthy and in good condition, and yes even as appealing as possible.  But I believe that there is a point where it becomes too much of an obsession in life, and this in itself can end up being the very thing that robs you of your youth and beauty.

Whilst in your younger years I feel that being so worried about what others thought of you was the very thing that would cause you to miss out on enjoying yourself and others.  As years have gone by, and you get to a point that you accept yourself for who you are, and you “let your hair down”, others will feel more comfortable around you, and in fact will want to hang out with you more. You can stay young by being you.

People who are so full of themselves and worried about what others think, can be a bit annoying to be around.  They end up missing out on so much of what is way more important in life; such as sincerity, simplicity, and being down-right fun and relaxed!  When I was  younger, I think I repelled more girls when I was so into trying hard to be the cool dude, and when I finally realized how uncool I was and accepted myself for who I was, I noticed that I was being noticed so much more, and I enjoyed myself more as well.

Being young is a state of mind.  I don’t think I have grown any older, I have to take a retake in the mirror at times as I feel like I have always felt, but then there is this guy staring at me from the mirror that has matured more than he feels.  I am not worried about it at all, I am just happy to be here for now, and I want to enjoy life!

What is your take?

Murphy’s Law at Work!

You never run out of things that can go wrong. –Murphy

You have most likely heard of and been a victim of the Murphy’s laws .  You know,  all of the typical scenarios such as…when you are late for an appointment then literally ALL of the traffic lights will be red along your route.  You are waiting for a very important phone call, you are nowhere near home and your cell phone’s battery gives out! The list is endless of things that tend to go wrong just at the right time!  They are enough to test your religion!

I am currently here in Italy and during the month of August, the world literally stops rotating!  Everyone has to take their vacation all at once. If you need to get anything done or taken care of, you have to plan way ahead before you get to the month of August, because chanced are, if there is anything that you need during that month such as repairs, specialty items for your business, well you just will have to wait till September!

I work at a Motorbike and Karting race track as a manager and marketing manager.  We don’t close in August, in fact it hardly ever closes except for Christmas day! In one week alone, anything that could go wrong did! The faithful all-reliable Fax-scanner-printer burned a circuit board and was out-of-order! The cash register stopped sending off the daily reports due to a glitch in the program, the internet went down (just for a day) right when there was a lot of work to be done online. We print tickets on special adhesive stickers and they ran out (human error as it was not communicated that they were almost out) nonetheless, August is not the month to forget that such items are impossible to order.   The brakes on my car went out, and one of the headlights burned out.

I am not sure, I may be leaving something out here, but suffice it say it has been a testy month and Murphy’s laws have been proven to be in fully functioning order!  After you go through a period of time in which you experience this type of thing, you can look back and have a laugh at what really was not so seemingly funny at all at the time!

But like all things, we can be thankful that it is not always like this.  Some people are full of natural grace in these circumstances, and others totally lose it bringing upon themselves even greater stress and frustration.

I was reading a book by Jim Rohn where he depicts this type of situation and he sad, well it is a time when you just have to say “isn’t that interesting”.  Unfortunately I have failed the test on a number of occasions, but I can say that getting all bent out of shape has never solved any of the problems, in fact it tends to aggravate things even more and cause yet other problems.

So I had a very interesting month indeed!  Have you experienced anything like this.  If so please take the time to share it with the readers here.  It helps to have a laugh at an otherwise serious situation!

Why Do We Have To Grow Up?

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.– Aldous Huxley

As I was growing up we didn’t have so many of the cool things that are available to kids now a days.  When my own kids were smaller I used to think back at the time I was growing up, just to have a ball, a game-board, a bicycle was about as cool as it got.  We relied on our imagination to invent excitement, and it worked really well.  That is what I think is cool about kids, they can get excited about some of the most simple things.

Life starts out pretty simple but as the years go by, we do such a good job complicating things.  Most kids are full of imagination, you can give them a basket full of clothes pins and they can make it into an alien spaceship docking station! A ball can keep their attention for hours on end, a bicycle can endure a lifetime for some.

As we grow up and mature, we begin to see everything from a totally different perspective.  It is all natural and of course necessary, but it is a bit sad that while we are growing up, we tend to lose one of the most important things in life, our enthusiasm and simplicity.  I mean, little things that before seemed all-important to us get crowded out and we focus more on the difficulties, complexities of life.

The older we get, the more difficult it is to be pleased.  We no longer stop to watch the sunset, be amazed at the beauty of a flower, watch the night sky and follow a shooting star!  But when we finally stop our fretful running and begin to take notice once again of these miracles of nature, our childlike curiosity, and enthusiasm comes back to us and we return to our creative nature.

Kids just have that natural inborn faith and inventive mind, unfortunately in the great majority of us, that gift of faith and believing in the unseen, gets over-shadowed by our skepticism and doubt and over all fears. True genius is born from having faith and enthusiasm to invent what others cannot see. Ignorance seeps in when we no longer think that it is possible to see beyond our circumstances.

It is amazing, but just think about it, in the first 5 years of our lives we learn to use our hands, walk, run,speak as many languages as we are exposed to,  comprehend and the list is endless, we had no limitations, we simply absorbed all and took everything in.  Then as time goes on, we grow up, and begin to shut many things out, and in some cases our God-given creativity!

In some aspects, I hope that I never grow up! I am still figuring out what I am going to be when I do! But, am I off my rocker?  What do you think?

Quality Time

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. –Carl Sandburg

Learning how to organize my time is one of the very most difficult tasks that I believe I have had to tackle in my life! To this day I still struggle with it and have to daily discipline myself in order to do all that I need to do in the day.  As a person, I am more on the inspirational side, I can get real excited about something and run with it and so I have often tried to hide behind this “talent” when it has been brought out to me the need to manage my time.

One quote that I really love is one in which Jim Rohn said,…”If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? …Not much.”  So much of life goes on with the idea that you will take care of that tomorrow, I will get to that later, I will start that program afterwards.  Well, tomorrow never comes, by the time it is the next day, tomorrow still remains tomorrow.

Time is a thief, it is merciless, you can hope to take care of something “as soon as possible” but the clock keeps on moving even when we would prefer it stand still, and the “possible” moment never presents itself, unless of course it does present itself in the form of an emergency. In an emergency, it is difficult to give the quality attention to anything in order to make a real difference, we have been robbed!

Time is an investment that we reap returns on later in life, once we have arrived to that later point in life, there is no chance of turning back, once time has been spent…it is gone forever, however the fruits we will reap tomorrow, positive or negative that they be.

I have learned that, as tedious as it may seem, it is all-important to take the time to plan your days well in order to use them wisely.  There is a time to work, a time to play, a time to rest, a time to exercise, a time to love, a time to serve.  All these things deserve quality time and attention, if not, the affect that they may have will not reach the potential returns in your life.

At one point when I was trying to “save money and time”, I was attempting to work on a database program to process data for a little school that I was administering.  Naturally, I was struggling with this project since I am not really a programmer.  I was always fascinated with programming, but not an expert.  The sad part is, whilst busy trying to play genius, a number of the school personnel had come in one by one needing my attention. Naturally I was not able to give them my attention since it was totally taken up with my “project”, in fact I impatiently sent them on their way!

How sad, I had at least three opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives, yet I was investing my time in something that was not my job.  After making this realization, I promptly called the experts in and allowed them to do what they are good at. I saved my time, and gave them a job and  I returned to my real job, and had to apologize to those who I had terribly neglected.  My intentions were good, but the fruit was bad!

Do you have any tips or comments concerning time and the need for managing it?  I invite you to please share them here below!

You Wanna Get? Then Give!

Luke 6:38  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

The rule of thumb from the beginning of time for those who hope to receive anything in life is that you have to learn to give first! This is true in any area of your life, a relationship, a job, your own personal wealth, because it is in giving out that you will then receive.  The Biblical verse above goes on to say, with the same intensity that you give out it will be given back to you again!  Wow that is pretty profound and contrary to our natural way of thinking.

There are so many gimmicks and offers saying “how to make money doing nothing from home“.  Sadly there are a lot of people who believe this and end up sending their money away to buy the “magical package” of material that will get them started on a great do nothing adventure to make money. Personally, I wouldn’t  want to make money that way even if it were possible, because when get anything without making the sacrifice, you end up not appreciating it, squandering it or losing it in the end!

The the corporate world has been changing in a big way, thanks to the Internet and Social Media.  They have now understood that in order to sell their goods, they need to start offering things up for free.  Whether that be a service, goods, or even just plain and simple free good advice.  People no longer read a billboard that has “buy this, buy that, buy the other” because they are more skeptical to this approach.  However if the company offers something which attracts their attention to that they like, this then gets their name out there by doing so, and then they are swarmed with customers.

This same principle of giving holds true in a relationship.  If you get into a relationship with the idea of “what can I get out of him/her”, then the relationship will be short-lived.  You cannot expect to be loved if at first you don’t love.  Unfortunately, too many people are afraid to venture out in giving, or committing themselves because they fear that the feelings will not be reciprocated. By not giving however, you then end up losing out, because you fail to follow this natural law of giving hoping instead to get first. The secret lies in giving without even expecting anything in return as you will not be disappointed, sooner or later you will come out a winner!

I hate to tell you, but everything that is worth anything costs something.  In order to get something you have to make the necessary sacrifice, whether that be through investment of money, time or your love.  And if you do happen to get something without the sacrifice, be careful, it may cost you more in the end than what you had bargained for.

As for me, I would rather work for what I get, I would rather give in order to get, it has worked for me my entire life in wondrous ways!  How about you?  Please comment and share how you see it!

The Danger of Apathy

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.”–Dan Millman

One of the greatest illness that affects our lives is apathy.  The dictionary defines apathy as: a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion.  An apathetic individual has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical or physical life.

The mind is like a muscle, the more we use it, the more it becomes strengthened and the more we are able to accomplish and  fine tune it in order to accomplish all that we set out to do.  Granted, there are days that you might wake up and feel a lack of initiative or “get up and go”, but should you begin to entertain this as being your “normal”  state of mind, beware!

With all the great new technology at our finger tips, the numerous venues of entertainment, it is all too easy to come to the false conclusion that, if I am not being entertained, or if it is not “fun” then why bother.  The great danger today as parents and raising our children in this new technological advanced, gizmo-abundant world, is that they grow up getting addicted to constant entertainment.  When however, once they get to be adults, they find that life is not all fun and games, there is a lot of responsibility that needs attending to that can be way too “down to earth” and downright “boring”.

I believe life with all its challenges, both positive and negative, must be confronted  with a sense of excitement and challenge.  If you entertain the spirit of apathy, you are setting yourself up to a more serious problem of depression, and depression can lead to a list of other complications. The answer to this is NOT anti-depressant drugs as they only lead to addiction and eventually drain your bank account and add to your woes.

You have to guard your mind, and by saying guard your mind I mean use it by seeking out new interests.  You have to actively and aggressively fight this state of mind and attitude of “whatever”.  You have to realize that you are important and that you are needed no matter how insignificant you may feel! No man is an island, you affect people one way or the other.

Personally if I can have even just one person comment that what I have to share helped them, then my whole existence has new meaning!  It was worth my time to write my article, it was worth the effort that I made to get out of bed this morning, it was worth having gone through all that I have in my life.  Because if you can be there for just one person, you have begun to change the world!  The world around you!

If you have a child, a friend, a colleague anyone you might know that seems to be lacking in motivation, interests, and are into themselves, or don’t seem to care about anything, take the time to talk with them, share with them your interest, take them out to do something get them involved in something!

Get involved yourself with community projects, find some new trade you might think interesting and read about it. It takes just that initial act of getting started  on something new (which is always the hardest part) and you will have a whole new lease on life! Do not get sucked into just being entertained, start caring about what is going on around you! Get involved, shake yourself up as if you yield to apathy, it is the beginning of death! Don’t be like the person of whom it was said “died at 20 buried at 80″ start living now!

I would be interested if you have been a victim of apathy in your life, tell us a story on how you overcame it!  Please do leave your story here! Thank you!

Brown-Noser or Contributor?

“The danger in the leader-follower relationship is the assumption that the leader’s interpretation must dominate. If this assumption exists on the part of either the leader or the follower, creativity and problem-solving processes become stifled” — Patsi Krakoff

Any truly great leader or boss, if he is going to accomplish anything, knows that he needs to surround him or herself with people who are going to be honest and able to speak up if they see things differently than themselves.

At the workplace, it is normal that when you have just joined the team, you have everything to learn and it is time then to sit back and take it all in and learn how things are done.  But as time goes on, and you are given greater responsibility within the organization, it should become your responsibility along with everyone else to seek out ways that can help to improve productivity or service.

Too many people believe that in order to keep their job they need to become “yes-men” and just always agree with the boss.  In certain circumstances, like in emergencies, this could be what is needed, however on the long-term you will not be contributing in the way that is necessary in order to make the needed progress.

A boss who looks for people to “suck-up” to him is really insecure in his own leadership.  He feels the need to have someone affirm his position

Don't seek out this reward!

whether sincerely or not, as it tends to feed their pride. But it is better to inspire participation than it is to demand total submission.  A good leader seeks out help and knows that he, in himself, is not the “all-in-all”.  He builds a team around him, and after getting to know his team he then knows who he can pass the ball to trusting that it will not get fumbled.

The big problem with a “brown-noser” is that they are most likely to act as though they are with you whilst in your presence, but they are quick to criticize you when they are with others.  Most are entirely double-faced and can tend to cause more problems for the organization than good. The idea in the end is to build a good team so that it wins in the end, as in sports, if one team member thinks that he has to always carry the ball, the game will most likely be lost.

So if you want to keep your job, or make sure your business stays afloat, be a contributor, not just a wimpy bottom smoocher!  Your boss needs you more than he might lead on to make you think.  Naturally, keep in mind that you don’t know everything either, so don’t become over-confident or cocky either, as this also is of no help.  Be a team-player, be a contributor!

Gratitude and Positiveness

“I once complained because I had no shoes, till I met a man who had no feet.”

Life is so full of ups and downs, and twists and turns.  It is sad but it is so easy to look at what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do have.  We work hard at times to achieve certain goals, and when things don’t work out just the way we think that they ought to, it becomes all too easy to complain or get upset.

Most of our problems however are things that we can work out without much ado.  If things don’t quite work out one way, we can easily adjust things to work out our problems in rather simple fashion.  There are however those who have it harder than ourselves, they were not necessarily dealt the best cards out of the deck, you might say.  Some people can tend to grow bitter about it and blame God, parents nature or life. And yet others can turn something considered catastrophic and male into a gift.  If you have not yet met this wonderful person, allow me to introduce to you, Nick Vujicic

Did God make a mistake?  Should his parents have aborted?  Nick has inspired millions throughout the world to reflect on their lot in life.  He has truly inspired me as well and I pray that after having watched this video you can realize how silly most of our problems are in comparison.  And who may have a true difficulty, handicap or problem, you can turn around and make it into a gift and inspiration to the entire world!