4 Powerful Ways To Fire Up Your Motivation

It’s so difficult to go on when everything seems to fail, isn’t
it?  Are there times in your life when you really want to call
it “quits” because you just can’t see any good results from all
the hard work you’ve done?

Hold your horses!

Never ever think of giving up.  Winners never quit and quitters
never win.  Take all negative words out of your mental dictionary
and focus on the solutions with utmost conviction and patience.
The battle is never lost until you’ve abandon your vision.

But what if you’re really exhausted physically, mentally, and
most of all emotionally?  Here are some sources of motivation
to prompt you in reaching the peak of accomplishment.

1)  The Overwhelming Feeling of Attaining your Desired End

How would you feel after accomplishing your mission?  Of course
you will feel ecstatic.  You might be shedding tears of joy.  Let
this tremendous feeling sink in and encourage you to persist
despite all odds.

When I was studying for the Board Exams, I used this technique
to motivate me.  I would envision the sweetness of folks calling
me a CPA.  It would command respect.  People will look up to
me as a higher level of authority.  And I would have better
chances of finding a good job.  I absorbed all these great
perceptions into my inner being in order to achieve my ultimate
goal.

2)  The Reward System

How would you feel if you’ve entered a contest, but there are no
prizes for the winners?  It’s not very encouraging, isn’t it?

The same principles apply to your vision.  Reward yourself after
accomplishing a goal.  Set a particular incentive for every
objective.

Let’s say if you’ve achieved a particular task, you’ll treat
yourself to your favorite restaurant.  When you’ve finished
a bigger task, you’ll go on a vacation.

Got the idea?

Just set something gratifying to indulge in after completing
a certain undertaking.

3)  The Powerful Force of Humanity

If you want to succeed, surround yourself with the right
kind of people who will support and encourage you all the
way.

Be with people who have the same beliefs and aspirations as
yours.  Positive aura is generated by this fusion of
collective energy from people of “like minds.”

On the contrary, being with people who oppose your ways of
thinking may trigger a negative, yet very powerful, kind of
motivation.

Has anyone ever said to you that “You’ll never get anywhere”
or “You’re wasting your time with what you’re doing?”

Didn’t it made you furious and determined enough to prove to
them how wrong they were?  This is what I’m talking about.

When aggravated, you will do anything to make those who are
against you swallow their words.  But of course, your main
focus should be on the acccomplishment of your goal and not
for the purpose of revenge.  Never let your emotions toward
others alter your main objective.

4)  Take Care Of Your Health

Exercise regularly.  Fill your brains with enough oxygen to
allow you to do your daily tasks with more vigor and energy.

Take regular breaks if time allows.  Having the will power
to continue despite all hardships is extremely important, but
you should still know your limits.

If you don’t take enough rest, you will not be able to think
clearly and you will not be able to do your tasks properly.
In the process, you will just get more frustrated.

Take sufficient sleep and recharge yourself after a hard day’s
work.  Never, ever ignore your health.  I’ve learned my lesson
when I sacrificed my health for the sake of success.   I’ve
worked very long hours everyday and just got minimal sleep.
As a result, I became ill.

It’s not worth it.  Success won’t matter if you don’t have
good health to enjoy it.

Fire up your motivation and live life to the fullest


Cappuccino Secrets: Creating the Perfect Foam

Here is an article that tells the secret of creating the perfect foam with steamed milk for making a wonderful cappuccino. As you’ll see creating the perfect foam isn’t as easy as it may seem …

Most places that serve cappuccinos in the United States have not trained their baristas in the art of properly frothing milk. The foam that they create is usually a dry, tasteless, large celled collection of bubbles that sit on top of the espresso like a meringue.

With a little care, you can create steamed milk that is velvety smooth like the texture of wet shaving cream. The bubbles will be so small that you can barely see them! This is the way it’s supposed to be, because this way, it will blend with the espresso, creating a harmony of the flavors instead of a dry, tasteless cap floating on top. Let’s Begin.

First off, it’s important to start with cold milk that’s just out of the fridge. Pour the milk into the steaming pitcher until it is just about 1/3 of the way full. Milk will double to triple in volume after the frothing process. A stainless steel pitcher works best. It will dissipate some of the heat, allowing more time to infuse air into the milk before the milk gets too hot.

For a home made cappuccino, you’ll have to learn the art of creating a perfect foam.

Also use a thermometer to get the milk to the correct temperature of 145 degrees. There are many thermometers made for this purpose that will clip onto the side of the pitcher for convenience.

The Technique:

Purge the steam wand onto a damp towel by releasing the valve for a few seconds. Be very careful not to burn yourself, the steam will be extremely hot. This purging will get all of the water out so you don’t get it in your milk.

Next, submerge the wand into the milk and quickly turn the steam on full power. Avoid letting the tip of the wand come out of the milk. This will cause splattering and create large, tasteless bubbles.

Adjust the wand so that it is pointing off center in order to get the milk to flowing in a rapid, circular motion. Maintaining this fast, circulating vortex is vital.

Then, slowly lower the pitcher until the tip of the wand is just below the surface of the milk (keeping the circulation going). When you can hear a hissing noise, similar to bacon frying, you have reached the perfect position for the wand to inject air into the milk.

Try to maintain this hissing noise while keeping the milk rotating. You will have to slowly lower the pitcher as the milk volume rises in order to keep the wand tip just under the surface.

By keeping the milk flowing in a rapid circle, any large bubbles that are accidentally created will be rolled into the milk and eliminated. Continue steaming until the milk reaches 145 degrees. Be careful not to get the milk too hot, it will scald giving it a bad taste.

That’s pretty much it! If you have a few large bubbles, you can try to get rid of them by tapping the bottom of the pitcher lightly on the counter. Serve immediately and enjoy some of the silkiest frothed milk you have ever tasted!

One more thing, now that you know how to properly steam the milk, notice how few coffee houses have baristas that take care in this process. Very few use thermometers and end up scalding the milk, or leaving it too cold.

Most will just leave the pitcher sitting there while the wand blows into the milk. Some will use an up and down motion, but this does absolutely nothing for creating tiny, velvety bubbles. It’s the rolling action of the milk that’s needed.

If you find a barista that shows this skill of frothing milk, then stay with him! He’s been trained and probably takes pride in what he does.


Helping Happiness Along

The benefits of being a happy person are huge. We live longer, live healthier, and live more lively lives.

Unfortunately, all but the most highly-evolved among us have our less-than-happy moments. Fortunately, we can do simple things to recapture a happy mood if we find ourselves lacking one.

I found an article that starts, “Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness is more than pasting a smile on your face.”

True, but that is a great start.

Pasting a smile on your face, even if forced, gets the happiness engine started. If you are from the North, a forced smile is like a jump start on a frigid morning.

Even though you are still freezing, you got started.

Another strategy is to force yourself to take a few deep breaths.

Something about our internal hardwiring will not allow us be negative and well-oxygenated at the same time.

A few deep breaths clears the head, relieves tension, and relaxes the posture. After some deep breathing, we hold our bodies in a way more conducive to a happy state of mind.

Another trick is to laugh.

We can do this the sane way or the insane way.

The sane way is to find something to laugh about. In my experience, this is the option most people choose.

This could be as simple as going to a joke website or watching a stand-up show on Comedy Central.

The insane option is the funniest, most self-reliant, and the most private. We can start laughing for no apparent reason, except to recapture the state of happiness.

I’ve done this and it works. However, for obvious reasons, don’t try this at home, unless you are alone.

However you do it, help happiness along.

It’s closer that you think.


What is Science?

Students often ask; “What exactly is science?” Professors explain by discussing theories, proofs, laws of physics, observations, duplication of results, etc.. Professors often pull rank on students when they argue a point with the professor on extending the professors definition of science. When this occurs the professor indicates to the student; “You obviously do not know what science is” they quickly tell the student.

Having had this scenario play over and over again, it would appear that those professors want to keep science for themselves. If they cannot answer a question or do not know the answer they will simply say; “that is not science” or “that is pseudo science” thus alleviating them the responsibility of answering the question. This is interesting indeed.

I have often thought; “science does not know what science is!” Science is not condemning another who caries a different perspective, science is not character assonating another in a primate political way to put forth their ideas or concepts over another. Since is not attacking someone’s concept because it does not match with what another was taught, science is not publish or perish over real breakthroughs. Science is not who publishes first or whose name is attached. Science is not engineering. Science is not denying a theory until you can prove it is not possible. Science is not rhetoric, that is politics.

Although in observing all the above discussion about what science is not and it appears that in the “real” world of science one observing these behaviors might perceive it to be just that. But such social interaction which actually occurs in science is not science at all, unless you call it “social science” but most scientists claim that is not a real science and if so why don’t they practice what they preach and dump the rhetoric? What all these scientists and professor’s are doing is not science, it is disgusting.

I think I enjoy the comments on this subject by Bill Bryson, Matt Ridley, Stephen Wolfram and recently Michael Crieghton in his book “Fear.” In any case all you scientists out there need to dump the BS and get busy propelling the human race and forwarding the progression of the species, you are not fooling me and many are simply getting quite tired of games. Think on that why don’t you?


Yoga for Relaxation

Discover the true meaning of yoga?

In taking any modern yoga class, you will find parallels to ballet. Like ballet, the promise of poise, grace and flexibility encourages much interest. Yet if yoga is like any other exercise, it is only at first glance. Underneath the coveted health and fitness benefits of modern yoga practice are the roots of a great spiritual tradition blending cultures and religions.

Unfortunately, through the westernization of yoga, we have lost an essential component of this peaceful practice. Though the ritual remains intact the meaning has gone astray. Where previously the postures of yoga practice were merely a branch of a tree; today they are viewed by western society as the tree itself. How do we bring meaning to our poses?

Modern Yoga’s Roots and Benefits

Though the development of yoga cannot be pinned to an exact year, the discovery of the Indus seals, which show figures in the classic yoga asana (posture) of lotus pose, trace yoga back to at least 3000 BCE. At this time the Vedas were being written, which today’s yoga postures are derived from. These gave birth to Vedic yoga, which accommodated the ancient Indians fixation on ritual and sacrifice. We see evidence of the importance of sacrifice in the yogic corpse posture. Lying as though we were placed in a coffin, this represents the ultimate sacrifice-that of death. Though seemingly morbid, corpse posture is one of hope when we understand that according to the Vedanta sutras, death results in liberation

Sacrifice was meant to join the material and the physical, and create the longed-for “union” that defines the word Yoga. The Vedanta sutras (vs.4:4,13-14) declare that the liberated soul is not materially motivated.. By asking us to free ourselves from the bondage of material motivation, compassion requires us to be selfless. Surely, this giving is an exercise in compassion. Even still, the modern practice of yoga facilitates this. Through postures and stillness, we alter our consciousness and therefore change our perspective. In our new realization of others as being part of the cosmic whole, we feel that in giving to them we are also giving to ourselves.

The ancient philosophy of yoga saw its postures as part of a greater whole. Thousands of years ago during the time of Astanga yoga, posture practice was one piece of a more important whole. Astanga yoga, which originated during Vedic India, was derived of eight branches; yama (control and discipline), niyama (rules, methods and principle), asana (posture), pranayama (focused breathing), prathyahara(avoidance of undesirable action),dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (contemplation). In contrast, most contemporary yoga focuses on postures and uses breath work as a small component or an afterthought. Though admittedly, the current vision of yoga over-emphasizes asana, it is extremely important and has enormous benefits. The medically studied benefits of yoga include the following: Stress reduction, improved muscle strength and tone, increased energy and flexibility, improved balance and coordination and a reduction in depression. . Moving with Compassion

Through most of asana practice, we are unconsciously engaging in physical metaphor. Many yoga postures are named after and imitate the living world; tree pose, eagle pose, frog pose, cat pose. By developing postures that imitate the stance of animals, the vedic seers may have been seeking not only to embrace the qualities of these animals, but to formulate compassion for them.The way that compassion serves as a partner to yoga’s goal of liberation can be understood through reading the ancient yogic texts. Understand these vedas; whether they be the Rig Veda (knowledge of praise),Yajur-Veda (knowledge of sacrifice), Sama Veda (knowledge of chants), and Atharva-Veda(knowledge of atharvan), is likelier while deep in meditation. Understanding the vedic sutras, we are permitted to experience a bliss unknown through material grasping.

In this state everyday experiences fade away and a greater perspective unfolds. Over time, meditation also allows us to become more intuitive and receptive. This opens us up to others, enhancing our compassionate nature. This experience has been discussed by Eastern sacred-text expert “H.P. Blavatsky’s in “The Voice of the Silence.” Blavatsky writes: “Compassion is no attribute. IT is the LAW of LAWS-eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.”

In order to experience compassion for others we must first extend it to ourselves. Straining too forcefully in a pose is counter to compassion. Why? Yoga teaches us that we are all connected, so when we hurt ourselves this pain eventually reaches others. Instead we must strive for gentle self-acceptance, competing with nobody-not even ourselves. This is essential to a rewarding experience of yoga.

Postures for Peace

By the time of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, which were written near the beginning of the common era, we begin to see a discussion of the more practical aspects of yoga. Posture is discussed (be it mainly for meditative purposes), as is concentration of the mind during this exercise. In the Yoga-Sutra, Patanjali presents relaxation as the very essence of yoga practice. He teaches us that posture should be steady and comfortable .This sentiment is reflected in the postures (asanas) of today’s practice. The physical dimension of yogic exercise requires us to have compassion for our limits. We are never asked to push, instead only to release. Mercifully, our small efforts are graced with us connecting to a life-force that is divine and encompassing.

Asanas urge us to see our body as divine, and to nurture health in this mortal temple. Yogic adepts understand that their body is flawed, however slender and toned it may look externally. This acknowledgement leads to less judgement of other’s bodies. However pleasing to the eye a yogis shape may be, the same vedic texts that encourage the practice of yoga for health, also remind us that true “liberation” comes from being free of the cycle of rebirth-free of the physical form.

Yogic postures work in contrast to the western notion of exercise. Here we see exercise as an end, such as an end to overweight and fatigue. Yoga is different. While in most forms of exercise the physical results are the sole goal, in yoga the soul is the goal. The ancient tradition of yoga exercise stands apart in its doctrines. The ancient yoga texts insist that the mind and spirit are more important than the physical body. While many other eastern forms of mind-body fitness also encourage this awareness, no other physical practice has the ultimate goal of union with the divine. In yoga, the process of attaining this union is as important as the actual attainment.

Yoga practice is not a means to an end. It is an end in of itself. Even distinguished from vedas and sutras, the modern practice of yoga posture is a beautiful and calming pursuit. Though modern yoga practice makes little mention of the scriptures that it is based on, the experience of union and compassion can be woven into each pose. In doing this we are enhancing more than our practice, we are improving our life.


Understanding Credit Card Penalties

Because most of us have one or two credit cards and we use them every day, understanding credit card penalties and fees is a significant issue since one time or another we have paid a penalty for some reason. Every user of a credit card must first understand that every charge on the credit card represent a loan which must be repaid. It’s like the loan for buying a house or a car; the same way these loans should be repaid, the credit card debt should also be repaid and even more it should be paid in time and at least the minimum amount or else you’ll end up paying more interest fees and penalties than the actual borrowed amount. So, we can say it is important that reading and understanding credit card penalties and fees to be done before you apply for a credit card and start using it. A credit card user should read, before signing, the agreement and especially what is written with small letters because those small written lines sometimes are the most important. The agreement of the credit card usually contains rules on how and when the credit card issuer can apply penalties and fees, but you should also look for the lines where it is clearly stated how and when the payments should be done. You, as the future user of the credit card need to have complete and accurate information in order to be able to take a correct decision.

In the past few years, credit card companies and banks are set to make as much profit as they can, in any way they can. They have introduced all sorts of penalties and fees, and have come up with various strategies on how to get more people to pay more money. So, understanding credit card penalties and fees policy is a must for every credit card user, as he must always know how and when to pay his debts in order not to be charged penalties of higher interest rates. Nowadays, you can pay penalties for a lot of situations. If you miss a payment deadline, you’ll pay a penalty that very much depends on the balance you have: for a small balance a small penalty and for a big balance another penalty. Other banks or credit card companies charge you the same penalty regardless of the balance you have, but this penalty tends to increase as the time passes. There is also another system: for late payment you’ll have to pay a penalty and a penalty interest rate. And you should know that card issuers don’t have a limit on how high the interest rate can go, it all depends on your cardholder agreement. In fact, credit card issuers don’t look at the late penalty payment as a punishment. For them penalties are a way of training you to keep your commitments, in other words to train you paying in time. A credit card is a line of credit, and when you accepted to take this credit both of you and the credit card company made commitments: the company to lend you the money and you to pay the money back. The company has already shown her good faith and gave you the money, but you you’re late with the payments the credit card company starts wondering whether you’re still committed to pay the money back. So, the penalty is the way to remind you that you have to make the payments in time.

We can ask ourselves why credit card companies are more and more interested in penalties and fees. The answer is: because of the increased competition on the credit cards market the companies are making less and less money from finance charges compared to the past years, So, the credit card companies are finding other ways to make more people pay more money. That is why is important that reading and understanding credit card penalties and fees policy to be done before applying for a card and not after when you are already piled under a lot of debts accumulated for paying various penalties and higher interest rates. For not getting into such a situation, the most important advice is to know from the beginning the real cost of the money you’re borrowing, not only the interest rate but also the penalties and other fees. Also, it is essential not to be fooled about the great offers of the big credit card that you receive in your mail box. Shop around for other credit cards and decide only after seeing more than one offer.


Investor Guide to Financial Health

Step 1: Spend less than you earn

Perhaps the simplest financial concept is the toughest for us to conquer- spend less than you earn. After paying your living expenses (bills, loan and mortgage payments, cost of food, charitable contributions, taxes, etc), you can begin to save and invest toward your future. If you are spending more than you earn, you must find a way to change this. You may even need to change your lifestyle- drive a more efficient car, eat out less, live in a smaller home, cancel your cell phone, etc. Make a commitment to your financial success to spend less than you earn. This may take a lot of discipline, but is an essential first step towards your financial wellbeing. Once you spend less than you earn, you will be on your way to reaching all of your goals.

Step 2: Prepare for an emergency

Before doing any actual investing, you need to establish an Emergency Fund (cash held in an account for emergencies). This fund can be used for various emergencies, but, its main purpose is to pay your living expenses in the event of a sudden loss of income. That is, if you lose your job, you will still be able to pay your bills without having to abruptly withdraw money from your investment accounts. A relatively conservative amount to keep in your Emergency Fund is that equal to 6 months of living expenses.

Step 3: Determine your goals

Would you take a road trip without an ultimate destination? How long will the trip take? What should you pack? In what direction would you drive? These questions are easily answered once you know where you are going. The same is true for investing. Before any investments are actually purchased, you must know your ultimate destination- you must create a list of your goals.

Determining your goals and writing them down will serve as the foundation for a proper investment plan, allowing you to customize your investments to each specific goal. Some examples of “goals” are: retirement, college, buying a house, taking a vacation, and buying a car.

In writing down your goals there are a few pieces of information you must identify. You must know the following about each goal: name (NAME), time until realization (TIME), cost in today’s prices (COST), planned contributions (PAYMENT), and current money saved for this goal (PV). Below is an example of a goals list:

NAME – TIME – COST – PAYMENT – PV – RATE

Retirement – 30 years – $2,500,000 – $1,000 mo.- $350,000 – ???

College Kid 1 – 12 years – $100,000 – $500 mo.- $20,000 – ???

College Kid 2 – 10 years – $100,000 – $500 mo.- $22,000 – ???

Buying a Boat – 6 years – $30,000 – $150 mo.- $0 – ???

Step 4: Invest

After determining your goals, you can begin to invest toward achieving them. Doing so means calculating the annual rate of return (RATE) needed to achieve each individual goal. For example, you may need a 7% rate of return to achieve your retirement goal, while only a 5% rate of return to attain your college goals. Thus, your actual investments may be significantly different for each goal, but will be tailored to each individually. (There are online resources and calculators that offer assistance computing your required rates of return.)

When purchasing investments, you need to buy those that will collectively earn the annual rates of return necessary to reach your goals. You may choose to invest on your own, use an investment advisor, or search for a broker/dealer to assist you with your investments. No matter how or where you invest, there are a few things to remember:

? Put it in writing: Writing down your goals and how you will invest to achieve them is very important and will serve as a framework for decision making during uncertain times in the future.

? Use Index Funds: There are thousands of different investments to choose from (for example: mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and annuities). Index Funds give the greatest advantages for reasons of cost, performance, simplicity, transparency, and diversification.

? Get some advice: Paying a little for the advice of an investment professional can be very wise. There are even investment advisor firms online that will tailor your investments directly toward your goals for you.

? Be unemotional: The financial markets fluctuate up and down- so will your investments. If you have any goals that are less than 5+ years away, you may want to invest these funds into something very conservative (such as a money market or certificate of deposit).

? Rebalance periodically: Accounts should be rebalanced annually to keep in balance with your goals.

Final thoughts

When investing toward your goals, you need to make sure that no unforeseen circumstance prevents you from reaching them. Insurance is a very useful tool to assure your goals are realized regardless of what situation may arise. Through analysis, you can determine which goals are at risk for not being achieved should you get sick, become disabled, or pass away. Having enough money to pay for your goals regardless of death, disability, health problems, or any other unforeseen circumstance is an essential part of a solid financial plan.

In addition, estate planning serves an important role when planning your finances. A will, trust, or power of attorney can enable you to keep your plan in motion far beyond your living reach. (Please consult an attorney to discuss your estate plan.)

Having a solid, well-designed plan for your finances is something you can accomplish. With a little time and effort, you can be on your way to spending less than you make, establishing an Emergency Fund, and tailoring your investments to each of your specific goals. Plan your finances wisely, and then commit yourself to your plan.


Acne Solution

Million of people suffer from acne breakouts young and old. If your doctor has you on topical or oral treatment and it is not working try other ways to cure the breakouts.

For example: Topical retinoids (Retin-A, Differin and Tazorac, for example)are helpful for mild to severe acne especially when they are used early on combining with hormonal antibiotics,or benzoyl peroxide treatments. When you discontinue the antibiotics you can maintain clear skin with retinoids. Another way to treat your acne is with laser light. The doctor applies a chemical called aminole-v-vulinic acid and then exposed to a sunlump called Clearlight. You need two to four treatments to kill bacteria and keep skin clear for 5 months or up to 2 years.

Over the counter products aren’t strong enough to treat severe acne. Try using a product with 10% benzoyl peroxide plus another product with 2% percent salicylic acid. Keep a daily routine faithfully and if your skin doesn’t improve see your dermatologist.


Performance and Gigs

“For optimum amp tone onstage, plug your amp into your own AC outlet..” – Eric Johnson

DOING GIGS

In my opinion, there are two kinds of performers:

1 – Concert performers — who do well in front of a sit-down audience

2 – Club performers — who do well in a noisy atmosphere

Knowing which kind of performer you tend to be can help you a lot in deciding where to play. For a lot of people, it’s easy to be both types of performers but some people truly prefer playing in one atmosphere over another. If you want to be at your best, it’s smart to be comfortable. So if this is an issue for you, take the time to think about it.

Next you have to consider if you are going to be performing your own material or covers or both. If you decide to do covers, here are some good tips:

1) The song should really move you.

2) Make the song your own, otherwise after awhile you’ll just feel like “parrot” for someone else’s material (and to me there’s far less creativity in that – just my opinion mind you).

3) Cover Songs are great ice-breakers and shouldn’t be overlooked as great tools for any songwriter to use. Do covers, from artists who lend to your style in one way or another. Opening with a recognizable cover song really helps an audience relate to you and get an idea of where you’re coming from as an artist … and also helps them relate more to your originals, too.

Of course, to play at most venues, you’ve got to be prepared to sell yourself. Here are some tips on this subject:

Get your Bio / Demo ready for the Concert Promoters & Club Owners.

I’ve read a bunch of stuff about preparing demo submissions for venues, with bio’s and clippings and stuff like that – but I’m sure there’s more to it than that?

You don’t need much. No club owner or manager is going to want a twenty-page book on you, nor will he/she be impressed with elaborate artwork and/or printing. Just a single sheet of paper that briefly and concisely states what type of artist you are, what kind of songs you play, how you interact with an audience and where you’ve played or are playing … and a CD with either three or four whole songs, or six to eight songs that each fade after a minute. That, along with a congenial introduction and follow-up calls will be enough.

Performance anxiety can be an issue. Fortunately, most musicians overcome this in a short period of time – I’ve found that going to open mics, just getting up there and doing it has helped immensely. Find a supportive group of people in your genres’ scene.

Here are some more tips to help you…

1 – Know your material and your performances upside down and backwards. You have to be able to play your songs and not mess up under any situation, and the way to do that is to KNOW them well … memorization … playing a song and working out each and every measure of it until you know it blind-folded. Then, if something bizarre happens while you’re in the middle of a performance, muscle-memory and instinct will take over and you won’t be thrown.

2 – Know your strengths … know which songs are “yours” and which songs aren’t. In effect, build a really strong set list. When someone like Bruce Springsteen cuts a new album, he’ll record 50 songs … 12 of those wind up on the album we hear and the other 38 go to other artists to do.

3 – LOOK unique . Dress yourself in a way that makes a statement. You know from my previous posts that I believe in dressing the way you always dress; to not be pretentious or something you’re not … but that doesn’t mean that you want to look like the guy next door. You want to create an “image” … just make it an honest one. So you usually wear jeans and a t-shirt? Fine. Just add some accents that make it all yours. A unique pair of glasses (if you wear them), a very special vest, a wardrobe of scarves, purple boots or hand painted sneakers … whatever separates you from the average guy walking down the street and doesn’t make you look like you’re trying to be someone who lacks sincerity or who has lost all sense of reality.

“With the above going on, you’re going to FEEL confident, because you ARE … and THAT sells.”


Understanding Internet Banner Advertising

Banner advertising is an effective way of getting your advertising message seen on the Internet. Banner ads should not be your only online form of advertising, but they are an essential part of your online advertising mix.

This article assumes that the reader knows what a banner ad looks like, but do you know how they work, and how you can derive benefit from them? Let’s define a few terms before answering these questions.

1. “Page views” or “page impressions.” These terms are interchangeable and they refer to the number of times that a page within a website has been displayed on a website.

2. “Banner view.” Like a page view, a banner view is the number of times that a banner has been displayed on website.

3. “Click through.” A click through is the number of times a website visitor has “clicked” on a particular banner ad and was transferred to the website of the banner advertiser.

4. “CTR.” CTR is the acronym for “click through rate,” which is the ratio of the number of banner view versus the number of times visitors have “clicked through” to your website. CTR is expressed as a percentage, so a click through rate of 1% means that for every 1,000 banner views, 10 visitors have clicked through to your site.

5. “CPM.” CPM is an acronym for “cost per M,” where “M” is the ancient Roman numeral for 1,000. Translation: CPM is the price your business will pay to have its banner advertisement displayed 1,000 times on a website, e.g, the cost of 1,000 banner views. So, for example, if the CPM to advertise on a site is $80.00 your business will pay $80.00 for every 1,000 banner views.

6. “ROS.” ROS is the acronym for “run of site,” which simply means that a banner ad is displayed on every page in a website, as opposed to being displayed only in a particular category of a website or only when a particular keyword is entered into a search engine.

Everyone who is in charge of a advertising or marketing department (that’s you if you’re the sole shareholder of the company) knows that advertising is, in large part, a numbers game. The more frequently your message is seen or heard, the more likely the consumer is to purchase your service or product. Take Mattress Mac with Gallery Furniture , for example. If you live in the Houston area, or if your radio can pick up the signal of almost any Houston area radio station, you cannot go a single day without hearing or seeing an advertisement for Gallery Furniture. Peppering your senses with constant reminders that “Gallery Furniture Saves You Money!” has enabled Mr. McIngvale to build his single location furniture store into an empire. (Of course, advertising alone won’t do it; you still must have a quality product or service). I have no scientific data to support this assertion, but I’ll make it anyway: I’m willing to bet that Gallery Furniture is known to more people in the greater Houston area than any other single business. How did that come to be? Mattress Mac understands the advertising numbers game and plays it better than anybody else.

Banner ads are a numbers game. The industry standard click through rate for online advertising in general is around .5%. Not 5%, but .5%. Doesn’t sound very encouraging for your banner ad campaign, eh? Well, there are ways to significantly increase the CTR of any given banner. The best way is by targeting a particular banner ad to a narrow audience, an audience that is looking specific for a product or service just like yours. Highly-targeted can boost your CTR to as much as 2%-3% or higher and significantly increase the traffic to your website.

Another valuable purpose of the banner ad is branding. Intertwined with the messages Gallery Furniture delivers about particular sales events or types of furniture is the company’s consistent and recognizable logo, color scheme, and tag lines. Your banner advertisements can, and should, perform the same function; they should be designed using your company’s logo and colors, at a minimum. Sometimes incorporating the tag line is the way to go, but other times you may want to advertise a particular special offer, product, etc. The important thing is that you take advantage of the numbers game by continually displaying your name, logo, and colors. The more visitors that see you, the more they will come to associate your name with your type of product or service, and the more likely they will be in the future to buy from you.