No B.S. Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Business – Dan Kennedy


No B.S. Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Business

I’ve heard the name Dan Kennedy before, but wasn’t too familiar with what he was all about before reading a book recommended by an author I followed. This was my first introduction to the idea of Marketing and I walk away seeing how important it really is when deciding to go on the entrepreneurial path.

A few key concepts taken from such an informative book-

1. What is Direct Marketing?

Marketing is simply a form of advertising, getting your prospective customers to notice what services and/or offers your promoting that could be of service. Direct Marketing is communicating to customers directly with specific techniques that allow a “call to action,” directing the customers exactly what you want him/her to do next, how and when as effectively as possible.

2. Three Core Concepts

Three things when directing a marketing campaign to potential customers is Message, Market and Media:

Who are you trying to appeal to, resonate with, attract = Market

What are you communicating to let your customer know what you’re about and offering? Are your services about Taxes, Entertainment, and Football = Message

Media is how you’re getting the message out to the market (people you’re trying to appeal to). Whether it’s through television, internet, catalog, brochures, newspaper, what vehicle are you using to get it to the people?

3. Take Action Now!

With Direct Marketing, it’s about getting the customer to take action immediately. You want your customer to feel so compelled to “act now.” To take action right after reading the particular advertisement and what it was communicating.

4. Results

Big companies way of advertising is about branding, image, appeasing stockholders, winning awards for advertising. Direct Marketing isn’t about traditional advertising, but about selling something and making a profit now.

5. Direct Marketing is Key

Being good enough in your area of expertise isn’t going to make you the millions we all hoped it would. Being successful involves Marketing and tons of it. In essence it’s advertising directly to your market, offering tons of values while letting them know exactly what you’re about. The goal is to form a continuous relationship with your customers that continues and keeps them coming back and referring others.

There was so much packed in such a tiny book, I’m sure they’ll be many more direct marketing books that follow after this. The value direct marketing adds to any business is simply immeasurable and allows for great flexibility with extraordinary results.

Print Persuasion – Eben Pagan


Print Persuasion

I decided to mix it up on one of the few reviews I intended to write for the Ellsberg Challenge. I choose to look further into Eben Pagan as recommended by Ellsberg and listen to one of his more popular audio programs dealing with sales/marketing Print Persuasion.
This audio program introduced me to the idea of copywriting, exactly what it is and how it’s used along with the benefits in the world of advertising. Eben brought a team of effective Copywriters and interviews each one, having them highlight the effective components and recommendations of making your ‘copy’ powerful.

1. Highest ROI in any business

Marketing can bring the highest return on an investment inside a business and is usually thought of as the most important part of any business. Mass marketing, is thought of as the ability to persuade in print and is the highest leverage tool that can be used in the field of marketing.

With all the recent study of marketing/selling I’ve been reading about, originally thinking about producing a product, never considering the importance and value of learning what marketing is, how to do it effectively so the product sells itself with the use of effective marketing.

2. Persuading in Print is the Ultimate Skill

Copy Writing/Marketing/Persuasion is a form Communication, learning to persuade in print is the ultimate business skill. It gets you to think like a customer and approaching the product/service you’re delivering from an angle producing things that would get the prospect to buy.

Being able to see the power in the organization of words in a way that makes an impact on a potential prospect was something I never considered before and brings awareness to my writing, something I never considered before.

3. Trust and Friendship

Business/Friendship model – Most business come off like a big company, devalues the friendship entirely. As a copywriter, you want to inspire trust in your reader as a friend to a friend, individual to an individual, where you communicate authentically where you Relate – Educate -Translate the customer about your product/service. You want the prospect to feel comfortable buying from you.

4. It’s About Them and You Being Clear

Clarity – If you can be clear and help other people become clear, you can do well. “Ask, how can I say what I’m about to say in the clearest, least ambiguous way as possible.” –Eben Pagan

Find the main concerns of your prospects mind and address them. Ask what their biggest frustrations, fears are, what they would gain from listening to you. Helping them to understand what you’re about, what’s in it for THEM, helping them to make the right decision and allowing them to be happy they made the right decision by choosing you is you’re goal when writing copy.

5. It’s time for Action

Persuade to measurable action; if you can’t persuade, there’s no action. This was a common theme throughout the program; the ability to move and motivate. Reading is a passive state; your job is to bring them out of a passive state and into an active state. Leave them in an agitated state where your prospect is inspired to take action.

Your sales letter has to be able to motivate, move and inspire enough to get you prospects to buy and keep them coming back for more. The best marketing is in the design and the strategic planning of the product themselves. It gets your to think like a customer and approaching it from an angle producing things that would get you to want to buy.
Learning to persuade in print is the ultimate business skill. Not management, not technology.

Education of Millionaires – Micheal Ellsberg


Education of Millionaires

I came across Michael Ellsberg through his first book The Power of Eye Contact. I thought he was a good writer and did well explaining how important the keys concepts of eye contact is. I was on Eben Pagan’s mailing list and found out Ellsberg had another book out. I was skeptical in the beginning off some Amazon reviews and about such the vast change in book topics from the last. After starting to read it, I couldn’t help but wish I didn’t finish it so fast and wouldn’t mind it being a little longer.

With that being said, some of the main key components I got from Education of Millionaires:

1. Learn to Fail or Fail to Learn

Resilience! Really nothing else needs to be said. He’s thoroughly explained the importance of cultivating resilience on your path to becoming an entrepreneur, let alone a aspiring millionaire. Ellsberg mentions how most people featured in the book cultivated a life around resilience. They’ve learned to expect failure in inevitable, but learn to keep pushing regardless of the events and reframe it in a way that serves their best interest.

2. The Art of Giving

Give, give, give! You must be able to genuinely give, a clean, non-neediness, without zero expectations in return. Help people achieve what they need to achieve, support them and pay attention on how you can be of service.
The vibe has to be one of giving, not of taking. – Ellsberg

I unfortunately experienced many times when I had ulterior motives when I gave, in the form of hoping to get back. This created an attachment to outcome. I projected a disgusting, needy vibe of approval and self seeking on something external, outside of my of control.

3. Over Rated and Outdated

For awhile I was regretful about my lack of formal education, instead opting for a 2 year stint at a vocational school, putting me at a slight disadvantage of ever wanting to go back if I decided to get a traditional degree. Contemplating school and after reading Education of millionaires, I realize how outdated University is and how enrolling in school is almost a way of relinquishing control and responsibility for yourself and of your efforts. I think there comes a time when you know what to do, but out of fear we do what’s safe and reasonable instead of taking the action we know what’s required.

4. Branding

Branding is the emotional and mental thoughts and feelings people have when they think about you and your name. Taking responsibility and making the choice of putting effort into representing quality and value and having people associate a positive impression with you name. It’s learning to build your presence and separating yourself from the rest of the pack.

5. Sweat the Small Stuff

Be the “active ingredient” in your own life. Learn to take even the smallest obstacles as a necessary ingredient for greater success. Every menial task, underneath has it’s seeds of greater potential and lays the foundation to be applied to life’s challenges on the way to a prosperous future.

Also, I know a famous new author has recently been know to be self educated. E.L. James has been said to be self educated.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

Spin Selling – Neil Rackham


Spin Selling

I never stopped to think about how important learning selling was until I studied a few entrepreneurial books emphasizing the importance of incorporating selling and marketing with a bit of effective management. Recognizing the importance, I set out to read Spin Selling. The book was a 12 year study and over one million dollars in research to study the effects of what makes a top seller vs. average good.

Someone totally new to the idea of what selling was and the importances of it, here were some top key concepts taken away:

1. 4 Stages

There are 4 main stages of selling: Preliminaries – Investigating – Demonstrating Capability – Obtaining Commitment. The importance is placed on the investigating stage of finding something out from the customer that will allow you to sell more efficiently by uncovering what their needs are.
Reading about this stage couldn’t help me but think how getting good at this stage could also improve your relationships in this dating area.


Selling comes down to recognizing your role as a problem solver. With the use of questions being a more powerful from of persuading then any other verbal behavior, sales employ asking the right questions at the right time. It puts the seller in the position of allowing you to answer the questions of what can I solve for this customer?

SPIN is set of questions you ask in the Investigating stage:
Situational Questions
Problem Questions
Implication Questions
Need-Payoff Questions

3. Size Does Matter

There’s a huge difference in approaches between smaller sales and large sales. Small sales employ a healthy use of pressure to enforce a positive expectancy in their favor. Large sales were defined more as entering a relationship where careful planning is required. Taking time before going in and planning the right questions was recommended.
Smaller sales = Smaller Needs using Situational and Problems questions
Larger Sales = Bigger Needs using Implication and Need-Payoff questions.

4. Value Anyone?

Finding the need-building value before, offering a solution; Uncover, Understand and Develop needs. What problems is your customer suffering from? How is it affecting their performance? By starting off with a basic need, being able to turn that need into a want, is the basis of successful business. Without solving a problem, there’s no business to be had.

Needs + Value = Solution.

5. The Customer is Your Salesman

Allow the customer to feel positive about the purchase by having them focus on the solution and having them explain the benefits of your services to you. Having the customer’s attention shift from the problems that were uncovered through investigating, to a solution and action they can take makes your solution more acceptable. A lot of the selling in larger purchases usually goes on while you’re not there.

Selling is an amazing science that I always thought was for the typical “sleazy used-car salesman.” I see it’s such a unique and valuable skill to have and it’s honestly cheating yourself if you at least not even aware of what it is and how effective it could be if used in a productive manner. There will definitely be more selling books that I read dealing with selling after this one, even though this one probably summarizes it all up the best.

Millionaire Fastlane – Mj Demarco

The Millionaire Fastlane

Millionaire fast-lane by DeMarco really opened my eyes to what it means to be someone aspiring to be financially independent, away from the typical path of being an employee. This book made me think, had me depressed, then left me inspired. The cover being a little off-putting, reminded me of an equivalent to a bad channel 13 movie, it was nothing short of informative.

1. Years of Deception
The traditional formula for a financially successfully future was going to school for an extended period of time, studying hard, obtaining large sums of debt, establishing employment, and work well into your 50s, contribute to an IRA and your company’s 401k plan. Hopefully by you get to that point; you’re still senile and physically mobile enough to enjoy it. It’s demanding a long life with substantial employment.

Sure, we all secretly know this is true, but it’s a hard pill to swallow and usually avoided by more hours of over-time, working for the latest gadget and long hours in front of the television recharging. DeMarjo also recommended a friend of his Trading Price Action Reversals: Technical Analysis of Price Charts Bar by Bar for the Serious Trader (Wiley Trading). He’s an expert trader.
2. Process Orientated
It takes time. There’s a lot of effort involved. It’s a process, not an event, a repetitive, concentrated effort towards a specific goal.
All events of wealth are precluded by process, a backstory of trial, risk, hard work and sacrifice. If you try to skip process, you’ll never experience events. – MjDeMarco

We come from a culture of “Get Rich Quick!” We’re all seeking the magic-pill, hoping all the lottery tickets we’ve purchased throughout the years will finally allow you to cash in. We forget and often overlook that wealth usually involves a long, often agonizing path of frustration, tears, anger, and a whole array of other mixed emotions. It’s sacrifice, discipline, persistence, commitment, implementation and a long road.

3. Choosing To Be a Producer over a Consumer
Choosing to go against the grain of the typical long hour work week, jobs that lack passion; retreating at the end of the day to a home with a hefty mortgage and the big screen television. Not taking comfort in seeking salvation amongst a company where you trade the best 30years of your life in hopes of a tidy pension plan followed by bed health.
Choosing to be a producer, making an impact, solve problems, and offer value. Be the one who isn’t applying for the job, but offering the job, teaching the class, not taking the class.

Being introduced between the distinctions of Producer over Consumer had made me look at things and approach life entirely different. I can step back and ask “Is this taking me closer to my goals, or moving me further away?” It’s a shift of perspective how taking the former sets you up to win and opposed to living amongst the unloving.

4. Your Greatest Asset
It’s no secret, it’s time. Time is gas tank of life. The goal is learning to be frugal with your time and not squandering it away by it standing in line at 4am at the local Best Buy to catch the “early-bird-special,” or being the first on your block with the recent iPhone. It’s the breaking free of what MjDemarco referred to as “Indentured Time,” the time spent earning a living and all other obligations that comes with it. Learning to harness your time and recognize its valuable limited resource and investing it wisely, as oppose to choosing a lifestyle of indentured servitude of consumption.

5. Road to Wealth
MjDemarco has several tidbits and numerous ideas he mentions throughout his book on acquiring wealth and the path you take to get there. A simple concept to acquire wealth amongst a 300 page book is explained is boiled down to: To make millions, you need to impact millions. You need to touch millions of lives in scale, or many lives in magnitude.

It’s a shame how most books out there don’t tell it how it is the way it was explained in The Millionaire Fastlane. Many authors beat around the bush, marketing other products they’ve produced that never really give you any answers and just lead you astray. MjDemarco cuts through most of the shit out there and gives you a peak on a what it really takes to be successful.

Influence – Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.



I thought a book to throw into the mix was the classic Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D; a topic about the psychology of persuasion.

So in a nutshell, this book is all about getting people to say yes without putting much thought into whatever is in front of us we’re being presented with. Those who know how to get people to say yes, stay and flourish, while those who don’t soon fall away. The top key points taken away and summarized are located below:

1. Auto-Pilot-Who’s Flying the Plane?

We have a natural tendency as humans to have automatic behavior patterns that allow us to seek out shortcuts amongst the various triggers and stimulants that we encounter throughout our lives. We have stereotypes and automatic tapes that allow for these shortcuts to make our life easier and have the ability to direct human action. These shortcuts, although serve as a benefit, get us to respond mindlessly in the face of compliance professionals aware of out limitations that are preying on our vulnerability. Their goal is exploit our weakness in the face of this, getting us to say yes and be apart of the unquestioning, unthinking mass.

2. Tag! You’re it!

Reciprocation- the old give and take works deeper in our culture then even imagined. From Legislative officials of political contributions, to religious societies, even to stay-at-home moms pursuing Amway, making us obligated to repay anyone who presents us with gifts and good fortune. Although the obligations to repay constitutes the essence of the reciprocity rule, it’s the obligation to receive and which reduces our ability to choose who we become indebted to, putting the power in the hands of other that creates reciprocation so powerful.

Learning this allowed me to realize the tremendous amounts of free value such as ebooks often given away by many websites, asking in exchange for an email which can be used to benefit them further in the future starting from such a small investment on their end.

3. Consistency is Key

Once a stand has been taken, we act in ways to be stubbornly consistent with our stand. We work against ourselves when our desire to be consistent traps us in compliance with the pressure to remain consistent. Once we have a belief in ourselves, our self-image is pressured from two-sides. On one side, we feel pressure to remain internally consistent with our belief and externally in ways to have other people see us in this way. Known as a foot-in-the-door, the idea is to start small and build to get compliance, leading to further compliance requests in the face of anyone looking to exploit our natural tendency to remain compliant.

4. Like Attracts Like

We’re more likely to follow in the footsteps of those who seem to be similar and things that are familiar to us. We tend to favor people of similar opinions, backgrounds, life-styles, personalities, even such traits that’s not even justified. We are susceptible to compliments, which increases our likeability for someone and takes use of reciprocity.

5. Scarcity

It’s not a secret we tend to go in the direction of things that don’t appear as available then those things that easier to obtain. Most sales people and sales tactics use this principle when the advertisement announcing a product being in short supply, hoping to have a rush of customers in their favor. In many instances the loss of availability suddenly becomes more attractive, the less available it is, the more of an increased desire we experience for it.

Something as simple as someone not returning our phone call, suddenly that event increased our desire for that person to return our call. Not being aware of such things can create us to become needy and weak, often an undesirable in unsuspecting circumstances.

There were ton of other references throughout the book that explains our vulnerability to such persuasion tactics if granted amongst untrusting suspects. It was certainly an eye-opening to see how simple it is to fall in unconscious thought patterns with presented with such natural hardwired tendencies we poses.

The UltraMind Solution – Mark Hyman, M.D.


UltraMind Solution

Switching it up a bit – On our way to an optimal lifestyle, what would we do if we didn’t get the proper nutrients we needed to fuel ourselves for the necessities to energize ourselves in an effective manner. For this, we turn to The UltraMind Solution-

1. Say Goodbye to Afternoon Slumps

Simply put, this book taught me about food allergies, something I never even considered. Before this book, I ate without thinking about what I was eating or the effects it was having on my body, let along my energy. Learning the difference between simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates was simply the price of the book alone. Eliminating simple carbs didn’t leave me so drained of energy after eating anymore. I would usually lie around after a mean that contained enriched floured food and just be completely worthless for a good hour or so after.

2. Your Doctor Doesn’t Know What’s Going On

How true this is or not, I’m not a Doctor, but Mark Hyman MD is. Dr Hyman claims most Doctors just aren’t up to date with different ways to prevent some of the leading causes of deficiencies and imbalances that people suffer with. He shows throughout the book how a variety of different supplements can simply help put you back on track, even with the most crippling illnesses such as the common Autism. He goes into explaining how Autism which leads children to have behavioral problems is actually a cause of gastrointestinal dysfunction and immune system abnormalities. For years, the common theme of Autism has been thought of a brain disorder, but Dr Hayman argues with a few changes in diet, we can reduce and eve eliminate Autism altogether.

3. The Four Horsemen – Neurotransmitters

From Dopamine, to Serotonin, GABA and Acetylcholine; each neurotransmitter receptor responsible for communicating throughout our brain and body helping to determine how we feel, learn and remember. Neurotransmitters allow a range of being energized, excited and stimulated, while helping to learn, remember and focus, to relaxed and peaceful state of well being. Learning to balance these, while emphasizing the effects of some, allows you to use your brain and regulates your emotions at your disposal.

I’ve explored with what are referred to as Brain Cognition Enhancements to boost my Acetylcholine levels when devoting to long periods of work and learning. I’ve noticed positive effects with these and little side effects. I’ve noticed enhanced levels of concentration where the time seems to drift; for hours what seemed like 2 minutes turned into a 4 hour gap without looking at the clock.

4. McDonalds Was My Killer

Insulin Resistant! Didn’t know what it was and how it affected me up until 2 years ago. I’m 30 years old, relatively healthy, or at least I thought until I started paying attention to my diet and what I was putting in my body. For years I never paid attention to labels, breads or sugars, let alone the large amounts of Vodka I would consume on the regular. Since the advent of the Agricultural era, food has become easy for us to acquire and allows us to be lazy about not having to “hunt and gather” our food. Our bodies can’t process the contents of what’s contained in majority of our foods.

5. Real, Clean, Organic and Local

It comes down to clean food, free of pesticides and hormones, without having to be shipped across the state. The struggle I deal with is the late night outings when the hunger bug kicks in without anything around but your typical fast-food restaurants; a guarantee for diarrhea when your body simply isn’t use to it anymore.

Nutrition is a process of refining and eliminating the sensitivity to the different foods you have. It’s a long term process of designing and redesigning as we progress throughout our lives.

How To Get Rich – Felix Dennis


How To Get Rich

“A committee is a group of the unwilling, chose from the unfit to do the unnecessary” – Felix Dennis

Wanted to change it up a bit and talk about a subject most of us doing the contest is ultimately here for – How to Get Rich By Felix Dennis

Felix wrote an amazing book that I took too much away from. I say that because I felt I should have paid more for the book then what I got it off the used section in Amazon for. I believe it was only 56cents, with shipping, a little over $5 dollars. Let’s look into so key points –

1. The Search

Our search can be found according to Felix by 3 factors which are: Inclination, Aptitude, and Fate. Fate, chance, luck, serendipity, or just plain hard work will lead you to the road of what you desire. Combine the above with sales and marketing and effective management and we’re well onto our millions. Whatever your inclinations, aptitude, abilities or preferences, you must strike when opportunity arises. Dennis gives analogies of being the Predator, getting ready to cease your prey and pounce at the opportunity.

2. Ideas Are Not Original

Having a great idea is simply not enough to make you rich. How ideas our implemented which is vastly more important and what counts in the long run. You can’t patent your idea, but you can patent your execution for implementing an idea.

3. Greatest Capital on Earth

Human capital Dennis goes onto explain is by far the most important element of your environment. Human capital vastly increases your chances of becoming rich, while choosing amongst them is an art form. A little bit of wit, multiplied by an extreme amount of determination, combine that with the right human capital and it’s a recipe for success in any endeavor. Someone with a desire to shine is worth more then a university degree- Felix Dennis

4. Follow the Wealth

Where is the wealth? Dennis advises if you want to be rich, look at what are the prevailing industries where wealth appears to be gravitating. When you find the industry that money seems to be a source of opportunity, focus your efforts there.

He mentions to avoid the trap of going into what you think will make you money if you have no empathy or feeling for what you’re doing. Don’t do anything because you feel you have to, but go for what attracts you and exploits your natural talents.

5. Only a Fool Chases Money

If you chase money desperately in the earnest belief that you can never be happy without it and seriously think that the chase is a meaningful occupation, I doubt very much you will succeed. You have to be fiercely determined, true. But an appreciation of the absurdity of the chase helps enormously – Felix Dennis

This goes back to the whole idea of letting go of the outcome. Simmons talked about this, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. Being too focused on the results seems to get you in a reactive state, which clouds your judgment, and doesn’t allow you to think clearly and see the other potential opportunities. one where your not thinking clearly, and more importantly not aware of the other opportunities that could possibly arise that you might not recognize if you keep yourself to closed off and only focusing on that particular outcome. A focused, relaxed, flexible attitude seems to be the common prescription amongst the book out there and common theme that is thought of as a good approach.

Too many great ideas in this book, and we barely scratched the surface. There are probably few books I would recommend highly enough, this would definitely be on the list.

Super Rich/Do You! – Russell Simmons


Do You! Super Rich

Let’s take a peak into Russell Simmons 2 books, Super Rich/Do You!
I’m combing the review for both Russell Simmons Do You! And Super Rich. I felt a lot of the concepts were a bit redundant and thought they could best be explained in one summary. I wasn’t to familiarity with Simmons before reading this book other then he was linked to exclusivity and jeans.

He had some good wisdom said in a different ways. A few good concepts from these books-

1. Don’t Medicate, Meditate!

Incorporating daily meditation and yoga practices you are essentially sharpening the blade. I remember a Zen Story that went something along the lines of a tree cutter going out into the forest without coming home and sharpening his blade for the next mornings job. After awhile the blade got dull and eventually took longer to cut the tress. Cutting took more effort and left the tree cutter more exhausted then normal after a day of cutting trees. In essence, practicing yoga and meditation keeps you more effective and sharper. Both traits that are super effective for the aspiring entrepreneur. Take time to sharpen your blade!

The stillness found upon daily meditation practice will grant you access to most things that are rarely seen due to such cluttered minds we seem to posses. Meditation helps you find the answers very quickly when you allow yourself to calm your “monkey mind” down and develop the skills to FOCUS on your abilities.

2. Give

Give it (till they can’t live without)- He gave an awesome story about the rapper 50cent and how he harnessed the power of attraction through giving away his music. Whatever he might have initially lost in earnings from giving, he would get back more then enough by creating loyal fans.

Now I’m not a firm believer in any way about the law of attraction, but I do feel you get what you put out. By learning to give first, we align with a greater force then we would have if we were waiting to take without first putting anything out. When you can combine that with what Simmons and Ellsberg in his book Education of Millionaires; Giving unconditionally, give without expectations in return.

Give, Give, Give!

3. Unoriginal into Original

If you’re struggling to come up with a truly unique idea, it’s OK. You can start by building off someone else’s foundation and adding your own flavor and twists, until it eventually becomes something that’s uniquely yours – Russell Simmons Do You!

This was a huge takeaway for me considering I never thought of myself as all that original. I think a limiting belief like this could probably hinder a lot of people when they think about going out on their own. You can’t help but think “What do I have that I could possibly contribute to the world?” But starting off in the initial stages and maybe using someone as a main source of motivation, adding to it, and then going from there. This can have the potential for magnificent formula to uniqueness.

4. One thing at a Time

Single Pointed Focus- A concept that was talked about a little in both books by Simmons, but a concept worth repeating. Learning to focus on one thing at a time before moving on to the next is simple, but often forgotten. Despite our good intentions of trying to do the best we can, we constantly are having our ability to really focus compromised and in a highly distracted state. He advises to zero in on what’s in front of you today and stay I that zone.

I find that where my attention is, that’s where my success is too. – Russell Simons

Too many times I find myself jumping from one project to the next, or one new book without finishing what I started. I find resisting temptation, focusing on the task at hand without projecting too far into the future leads for the best results.

5. Acceptance

While pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. A big section on Acceptance is the answer. Simmons had a story of Rotting Fish in Do You! “Your purpose is to act on the resources God gives you. If God gives you a bucket of fish, you have to distribute those fish. If you don’t they’re going to rot, attract a bunch of lies, and start stinking up your soul.”

When we burden ourselves with worry, anxiety and guilt, we create resistance and ultimately leads to less then optimal results. Learning to function without the resistance and allowing for acceptance, and working with whatever that particular presents itself, we align ourselves with greater possibilities.

Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi



A good follow up to after learning how our brains work I felt was to then learn about the concept of “flow,” and how it works in our lives. For that, I picked up Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It had so many little bits of wisdom, so hard to narrow it down to just a few, but the main ones that stuck out for me:

1. Happiness Revisited

What I “discovered” was that happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It is not something that money can buy or power command. It does not depend on outside events, but rather, on how we interpret them. Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy. – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Our consciousness is ours to control. The idea of conscious thought is our responsibility to direct it in a manner of efficiency and for good use, or for destruction and negativity.  We struggle with consciously controlling our conscious decisions because the universe was not designed with the comfort of human beings in mind. It’s up to us to organize the contents of our consciousness to be in a flow state consistently.

It goes back to what David Rock talked about with Cognitive Reappraisal – It looks as though reappraisal is one of the most important skills needed for success in life. It’s your responsibility to interpret the meaning of events in a way that best fits what you want. – David Rock

2. Flow in Action

Flow is broken down in a simple concept of an action you’re taking and you could be described to someone as: “I felt as if I was floating,” “I was being carried on by the flow, without any concept of time and purely submerged into what I was doing.” “A strong relaxation and calmness comes over me.”

There is no havoc going on in ones mind and body. There is nothing opposing a threat to you or your sense of self. The battle isn’t against “the self,” where it’s more a battle of struggling to establish control over our attention. We can think about it as a battle for the self.

3. The Quality of Consciousness

The ultimate test for the ability to control the quality of experience is what a person does in solitude, with no external demands to give structure to. It is relatively easy to become involved with a job, to enjoy the company of friends, to be entertained in a theater or at a concert. But what happens when we are left ot our own devices? Alone, when the dark night of the soul descends, are we forced into frantic attempts to distract the mind from its coming? Or are we able to take on activites that are not only enjoyable, but make the self grow? – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

This was a huge one when I read the above quote. How often when we’re done with the distractions of everyday living do we feel a sense of emptiness. Our obligations our done for the day, so no what? How do we use “our” time? Do we use it for growth, or for more distractions such as drinking, television?

Csikszentmihalyi emphasized focusing on activities that lead to the development of self. Use your time to separate yourself from the external distractions and invest in things that require you to exert effort on things that require concentration. He emphasizes creating harmony based on reason and choice.

4. The Flow of Nihilism

Life has no meaning. There is no supreme goal built into the fabric of nature and human experience that is valid for every individual. As individuals we create our own, purely subjective meaning. We create our own meaning by bringing order to our conscious thought and integrating out action in the flow experience. Csikszentmihalyi talks about over and over; unified purpose is the main goal, to focus on an achievable and enjoyable activity. Purpose gives direction to one’s efforts, but it does not necessarily make life easier due to the many natural problems that arise.

We’ve become separated with one another as we progress in life and rely on the use of sciences and technologies. To learn to integrate into our environment and the people that are apart of it without discriminating; we can recognize the limitation of humans, but without the loss of our own individuality.

5. Simple

Simply put how we feel about ourselves and about what happens to us determine the level of enjoyment we experience in our life. We must work on improving the quality of experience by controlling our focus and making sure our concentration is on purpose. By finding ways to make life more harmonious and more satisfying external situations will resolve themselves.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gives a simple formula of establishing flow:

  1. Setting goals
  2. Becoming immersed in the activity
  3. Paying attention to what is happening
  4. Learning to enjoy the immediate experience