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Open Your Mind and Thrive Fable

A story about the benefits of an open mind

Melvin Marsh Wren argued against new ideas until his friends found great success by embracing a satisfying new adventure while he just went hungry

Bonnie and Benny, Blue Herons, liked to explore new things and places. They recently heard about how cattail plants were growing in Mellow Marsh. They decided to invite their friends, Molly and Melvin—both Marsh Wrens—to accompany them to the Marsh.

Molly squealed, “I’d love to go, especially when cattails are in bloom!”

Melvin looked suspiciously at his friends. “It’s great right here at Paradise Pond. Why go all the way over to the Marsh? We’ve got plenty of mosquitos to eat in our own backyard.”

“It’ll be fun and I want to enjoy the weather and chat along the way. I’m sure we’ll find something to eat at the Marsh,” explained Molly encouragingly.

“I agree,” Benny replied. “Who knows what we’ll find on such an adventure?”

Molly said, “Come on, Melvin. It’ll be fantastic!”

Melvin harrumphed. “No thanks, I’m staying here where the water’s nice and lunch is nearby.” Bonnie, Benny, and Molly headed for Mellow Marsh. Upon arrival, they couldn’t believe their eyes! The mosquitoes swarmed everywhere and marsh grasses clumped perfectly for perching. They stuffed themselves and then perched to watch the world go by. They made several new friends, too. It was heavenly!

When they got home, Melvin asked, “What took so long?”

“Oh, Melvin, Mellow Marsh was wonderful!” Molly gasped. “We ate and watched the Marsh activity and then we ate again. Millions of tender mosquitos surrounded us! We made new friends, too!”

Melvin sighed. “I only caught 3 mosquitoes the whole time! I’m going on the next adventure,” Melvin said as his stomach growled.

Reflection

Melvin the Marsh Wren wasn’t open to new places and things. He wasn’t interested in visiting Mellow Marsh. But his friends, Bonnie and Bennie, the Blue Herons, loved to explore. Melvin’s friend, Molly the Marsh Wren was excited to experience an adventure to Mellow Marsh.

Bonnie, Benny, and Molly delighted in the unknown possibilities of a trip to the Marsh. They were open-minded and looked forward excitedly to the prospects the Marsh might offer. As expected, they found an adventure that lived up to its possibilities.

Even when his friends encouraged him, Melvin refused to accompany them. Melvin believed that what he had at home was better than what he would find at Mellow Marsh. He thought it was a hassle to travel to the Marsh. Melvin’s mind was closed to new adventures. 

Melvin was quite disappointed when he heard Molly’s stories of plentiful food at the Marsh. He saw their full bellies and heard interesting tales about their adventure.

Maybe you’re like Melvin and aren’t comfortable with new situations. You may typically choose not to venture out of your comfort zone. However, such a closed mind drastically limits your possibilities!

Perhaps you’re more like Molly, and easily embrace the opportunities in life that come along. You have an open mind. And because you’re willing to try new things, you find that your life is thriving. When your mind is open to novel experiences, you’re more likely to enjoy a thriving, fascinating life full of adventure!

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you have an open mind?
  2. How do you feel when a new opportunity comes along?
  3. What more can you do to take full advantage of all that life offers?

Developing a Vision for Your Life

Do you struggle to design and carry out a vision for your life? Do you find yourself living day to day without a plan and feeling like you’ve lost your focus?

Read on to discover some inspiring tips on how to develop a vision for your future:

  1. Allow some time in your schedule to do nothing but reflect on your life. Having time to ponder how far you’ve come and where you’re headed is integral to proceeding to develop your life vision.

  2. Open your mind. Surveying your life so far might be a rather daunting process. You have to acknowledge fully what’s happened to you and determine whether you’re on the track you want to be on at this time.
    • This process might be a challenge, but the end result could produce one amazing life that’s tailor-made for you.
  1. Feel free to jot down some notes. Think about what you’ve accomplished thus far in your journey. What goals have you established? Write them out. Doing so will cultivate more thoughts of what you’ve experienced in life and why. Are you still working toward those goals? Why or why not?
  1. Be honest with yourself about any choices you’ve made that were diversions. When did you make a choice that prevented you from continuing with your plans at the time?
    • Looking back now, what do you see as your biggest mistakes?
    • Did some of those choices turn out to be wise? Why? Did they lead you down a path that you now see as more in tune with what you really want?
  1. Set goals now. Make a new list of your current goals and wishes for the future.
    • Maybe you want a promotion at work. What has to happen in order for it to occur? Create the mini-goals necessary to help you meet your main goal of getting that promotion. Leave nothing out. For example, if you need to complete two college classes, include those as goals.
    • Check off each smaller goal you accomplish as you work toward the larger, overall goal. It will feel great when you do.
  1. Post your life aspirations where you can see them. Put them on your mirror, refrigerator, Smartphone, electronic pad, and bulletin board. Put a copy by your favorite chair in the living room where you can re-read them often. In short, ensure your vision is right in front of you much of the time.

  2. Create a vision board. Use photos from magazines and write inspiring words related to the photos you choose to place on your board. Your vision board is a graphic reminder of what you’re working toward every day.
  1. Decide whether you’re living in “the right place.” Does your current home location meet your employment, personal, and financial needs? Is it possible to achieve your goals there? If not, consider your options.
    • Are you willing to move away? If so, include on your goal list everything you must do to get ready to move.
  1. Make your life vision a priority. In order to live out the vision you’ve developed, you must keep your vision at the top of your priorities. When making decisions in the future, consider options that will support your life vision.

Developing your life vision will take time, reflection, and work, but the rewards will be great. Your life will be filled with passion and optimism once you develop your vision. Why wait? Start creating your vision today!

Want to be Wealthy? Stop Swapping Your Time for Money

Many of us were taught to do well in school, get a great job, work hard, and you’ll eventually make a lot of money. This may be true, but there is a great limitation to working for someone else. Time. There are only so many hours in a week. No one can buy or create more.

Even doctors suffer from this limitation. The average physician makes a large salary, but there aren’t many that make a million dollars a year. Even a physician is swapping his time for money. He only gets paid while he’s seeing patients. He can’t see more than one at a time and he can’t see them while he’s asleep. The clock ultimately limits his income.

This is also true for consultants, dentists, lawyers, and CEOs.

If you want the opportunity to make a tremendous amount of money, it’s important to find ways to earn without your presence being necessary. Free yourself from the clock and your ability to earn is unlimited.

There are better ways:

  1. Get paid more than once for the same work. Think about artists, authors, and musicians. In their respective businesses, they’re able to get paid repeatedly for the same work.
    • An author can write a book and then sell a million copies over the next 10 years. During that time, she may have written 20 more books. What could be better than getting paid multiple times for the same work?
    • What are some other businesses that can utilize this same strategy?
  1. Do something that allows you to receive recurring payments. Leasing office space or other real estate to others keeps money coming in while you do other things. Building a website and leasing it is a similar strategy.

  2. Be an investor. The great thing about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and similar investments is the ability to make money with little work on your part. You’re essentially making money while you sleep. You could also loan money to others.

  3. Outsource / arbitrage. Many people set up businesses and then outsource all the work. This is especially true online. For example, there are people that sell website building services. These same people then hire someone else at a reduced rate to do all the work.
    • Ghostwriters write many of the e-books sold on sites like Amazon.com. The listed author paid someone else to write the book. If you can successfully buy something for $X and sell it for $X+Y, you can potentially make money with little work.
    • Can you think of ways to make money from the work of others?
  1. Create passive income. A website that sells an affiliate product can make money while you sleep and is a form of passive income. It’s not difficult to build a website that makes a mere $5/day, but keep in mind that’s over $1,800/yr.
    • Make a list of other ways you can make money passively.

Time is limitation for all of us. So far, no one has lived forever. But time doesn’t have to limit your income.Doctors, lawyers, and CEOs are paid well, but you have even great financial potential if you can break free from swapping your time for money.

Uncertainty stops many people. If you write a book or create a website, you’re not guaranteed to make any money at all. If you go to your job, you can expect to get paid on a regular basis. Courage and persistence are required.

Get started today and build an income stream that isn’t dependent on your time or presence. You’ll enjoy getting paid while you’re not at work!

What Is The Meaning of Life? A Guide to Discovering Your Purpose

The meaning of life is one of those sought after quests that can never truly be answered. There are just too many opinions and personal definitions for any one meaning to be true for everyone.

Also, there are certain topics in life that can simply never be fully described with mere words, such as true love and true self.

Some will say that discovering the meaning behind true love and your true self is the meaning of life. What do you think?

Discovering Your Purpose

While you might feel a bit confused, you can start to find meaning in your life by discovering your true purpose. For some, this comes easily but for others it may take some deep soul searching. Your true purpose is not necessarily a job or something concrete, although it could be. There are no rules to follow, just the rules set out by your heart.

Try some of the following activities when searching for your true purpose:

  1. Brainstorm. Find a time and place where you can have some quiet self-reflection. Just start writing down ideas on what you think your true purpose might be. You may not arrive at it at first, but you’ll eventually come across something that hits the nail on the head.
  1. Activities and hobbies. Reflect on your favorite activities and hobbies. Can you turn any of them into a life’s purpose? Some people feel that if they take their hobbies further it’ll start to feel like any old job. This won’t be the case if you’ve truly found your purpose.
  1. Skills and intelligence. If there are certain skills and abilities that you’re good at, perhaps you should try pursuing those, even if you didn’t think you wanted to before.
    • Also, you might want to look into a theory called Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner. Gardner describes how everyone has a type of intelligence and it might not always be what is typically accepted as intelligence, such as a high IQ.
  1. Happiness. Ask yourself whether or not you’re happy in your current life situation. If you are, perhaps you’ve already found your life’s purpose or you’re on the correct path to it. If you’re unhappy, see if you can isolate the reasons why. Once you know why, you can take action to correct the imbalance.
  1. Regrets. Make an effort to let go of your regrets. These never serve a positive purpose in your life. However, if you identify your regrets, perhaps you can use them to help you discover your purpose. Perhaps there’s something you regret that you can correct. Often times, it’s not too late to make a positive change!
    • For example, if you’re in your 50s and you always wanted to go to college, you shouldn’t let anything stand in the way between you and your dream.
  1. Religion. If you’re a religious person, it’s likely that your religion discusses life and meaning. Search through religious books or seek out a spiritual advisor to learn more about the meaning of life.

Follow Your Bliss

To put it quite simply, if you’re following your bliss, you’re on the road to discovering your true purpose. You’ll also be discovering your personal definition for the meaning of life.

Remember, you’ll always have outside influences when it comes to finding life’s meaning, but following your heart is the only true answer.

Self Employed? How to Effectively Increase Your Hourly Rate

If you work for yourself, your income naturally depends on your hourly rate. Of course, you’d love to make a better hourly wage. But how do you know if you’re being fairly paid?

Here are some tips on when you should (and shouldn’t!) raise your rate.

When You Should Raise Your Rates

  1. Your skills or service have improved. If you can provide more value, raising your rates to reflect that is reasonable.
  2. Supply and demand have changed for your service. If you’re booking yourself solid and turning away new clients, then you’re in an excellent position to charge more. Simply raise your rate until you’re getting the number of clients you want without having to decline new business.
  3. You’re testing a new rate to gain information. Just be sure you have a plan if the higher fees don’t pan out.
  4. If you want to reposition yourself. There’s nothing wrong with positioning yourself as a high-end consultant, but be sure you can deliver that type of service. You won’t last long if the quality of your work doesn’t match the prices you’re charging.

When Not to Raise Your Rates

There should always be a legitimate business reason for raising your rates. You might just want to earn more money, but that’s usually not justification for charging your clients more. Before making any rate changes, always look at your skills as well as supply and demand.

Frequently Made Mistakes

  1. Never raising your rates. If you never raise your rates, then you’ll eventually be undercharging. Over time, that’s a lot of money that’s not making its way into your pocket.

  2. Not testing. New clients are the best place to try out new rates. Keep your old clients at the old rates while you’re testing; you can always bump them up later. If the new hourly charge doesn’t work out, you’ll still have your old clients to fall back on.

  3. Raising rates beyond what’s reasonable. If you’re just starting out, you can’t expect to charge the same as an expert. You’ll generally be more effective if you start at the lower end with your price until your client base is sufficient. Then you can start testing higher rates.

  4. Changing too frequently. Your clients can’t plan your services into their budget if you’re always changing your rates around.

How to Increase Your Rates

  1. Improve your services. You should constantly be trying to add value without significantly increasing your costs. The better your service, the more you should be able to charge.

  2. Always over-deliver. Not only do you get great word-of-mouth advertising, you’ll have a much easier time raising your rates when the time comes.

  3. Get testimonials. Anytime a client is obviously happy, ask for a testimonial. Put those testimonials on your marketing materials.

  4. Truly care about your clients. When your clients can tell how much you care, you’re much more likely to keep their business and get referrals. Their referrals can bring plenty of new clients to test out your new rates.

Ultimately, rates are determined by the marketplace. Your job is to position yourself appropriately within that marketplace and then test higher rates when the time is right.

However, within what the marketplace will bear, the sky is the limit when setting your own rates. This is one of the best parts about working for yourself. Use these tips to raise your income as your expertise becomes more valuable. You deserve it!

Letting Go Of The Past Opens My Eyes To New Possibilities

The past is gone, so I focus on what is to come. I see my road map clearly when I shift my view to the road ahead of me.

When relationships end, it is sometimes sad, but I know that everything happens for a reason. Instead of sulking about the loss, I reassure myself that goodness is to come.

I believe that letting go of someone from the past makes room for a new relationship that is nurturing and fulfilling. Knowing this enables me to peacefully lay the past to rest. Anything that is meant for me is already on its way.

Changing jobs is difficult when I share a bond with my former employers. Part of me feels inclined to hold onto that bond, but I push myself to let go.

By choosing to close one chapter of my life, I open myself to new bonds with great potential. I see new opportunities clearly when I commit to wiping the slate clean and looking forward.

Although there are lessons to learn from past experiences, I avoid using them as the standard with which to measure future prospects. I keep an open mind.

Today, I believe that letting go of the past is the answer to finding something newer and more fulfilling. I release the familiar and bravely reach out for new experiences ahead.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What are some of the lessons that I take from past professional opportunities?
  2. How do I know when something in front of me is worth my time?
  3. How do I know when it is time to move on from a current situation?

10 Ideas for Boosting Your Income

There are plenty of opportunities to boost your income if you’re willing to hustle. A few hours each week can add significantly to your discretionary income. You’ll find a few ideas listed below, but come up with a list of your own ideas. With enough creativity, you might discover an untapped source of secondary income.

Boost your income starting tomorrow:

  1. Be a part-time personal assistant. You can make phone calls, run errands, mow the grass, have the car washed, or pick up the kids. Think of all the things you wish you had help with. You can provide that to someone else. While there aren’t too many people that can use an assistant full-time, there are many people that could use and hour or two of help.

  2. Rent your car. How much time do you actually spend driving it? The rest of the time it’s just sitting in the driveway dripping oil and serving as a target for birds. There are apps that will allow you to list and rent your car. Parkingspotter and Relayrides are two examples.

  3. Knock on doors. A variety of organizations are looking for people to canvas neighborhoods and solicit donations or spread information. You can brush up on your social skills, too.

  4. Bartender. With the right position, you can make a lot of money quickly. Take a class and learn how to mix your favorite drinks.

  5. Clean houses. Some people actually like to clean. If you’re one of them, you’re in luck! Some people are too busy to clean and have the financial resources to pay someone else to do it. All you have to do is find each other. A few basic cleaning supplies are enough to get started.
  6. Housesit. If you spend your evenings in front of the TV or playing on your computer anyway, do it at someone else’s house and get paid for it. There’s not much to do besides getting the mail.

  7. Teach. Do you know yoga, algebra, or how to play the violin? Share your knowledge for a price. Use online classifieds or hand out a few fliers. Just a couple of students can provide a nice boost to your income.

  8. Get a roommate. Split the rent and utilities. That can easily be upwards of $1,000 per month. All you have to do is give up some privacy and half the refrigerator. Be sure to take a shower before the hot water is gone.

  9. Pet-sitter or dog walker. Pet sitters make around $25 per day. If you’re lucky enough to get a good dog, it’s an easy job. Dog walkers earn around $15 per 30-minute walk. A few clients can add to your income nicely. Look at rover.com.

  10. Buy and sell things on Craigslist. People have traded their way from a used cell phone to a Porsche without spending a dime. Look for things selling at a low price. Purchase it and resell at a higher, more reasonable price.
  • There are always good deals to be found. You must be knowledgeable of the item, however. Do you know the typical price for a 1988 USA Peavey Predator guitar? Know the market value of what you’re buying and look for someone willing to do something silly.

A little extra income never hurt anyone. Think of other ways to boost your income. If you’re willing to work, you can create a second income that makes a big difference in your life. Find something that interests you and you’ll enjoy yourself more. Many of these tips can be put into action immediately.

Making Money in Your Spare Time

Making money can be very difficult for some people. Even if you have a good job, you may not have enough to pay all of your bills and still have money left over. There’s a way around that, though. You can make some extra money in your spare time.

You don’t need to dedicate all your leisure time to making money, either. Just a few hours a week would be enough. You could use your evenings after dinner or a day on the weekend. It’s not about getting rich or replacing your day job – it’s just about having a little extra. Even fifty or a hundred dollars a week might make the difference between paying a bill or not.

Where Do Your Talents Lie?

Everyone is good at something. Even if you aren’t sure what kinds of talents you have, think about what you like to do. Do people compliment you on your singing voice? Your cooking? Your handy work? The compassion that you have for children or the elderly? You have the potential to make money from your passions, interests, and skills! It’s not as hard as a lot of people make it out to be.

What kinds of hobbies do you have? Do you write? Take pictures? Paint or draw? Can you teach or tutor others? Are you handy? Make a list of what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing sometimes, these aren’t the same things.

Choose an activity from your list and then try these strategies to use this talent to produce income:

  • Advertise your services in the newspaper so you can find people who need help.
  • Post your information on Craigslist, Kijiji, and online classified ad sites where people hire others.
  • Start a website or blog where you can offer your talents and services.
  • Network with others who do the same things, so you can get ideas and advice.
  • Attend community events and hand out business cards.
  • Create a portfolio of your work and start showing it to others.

You never know when you might be able to make a connection that leads to something great. If you’re not prepared, that chance could slip away. Rather than wait for that moment, be ready in advance.

Start preparing now, knowing that making money in your spare time could take a little while. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen when you remain committed to it.

Yes, Attitude Does Matter

Remember that how you act can make a huge difference in whether someone hires you to do something. Even if you’re the best in the business, a bad attitude won’t get you very far. Stay positive, even when you get turned down for work.

Keep your head up and continue to improve. When people see that you’re committed to making money in your spare time and you’re actively looking for work, you’ll find people who will buy from you or hire you to do something. Get letters of reference from people who hire you and use them in your portfolio to show future customers.

Word of mouth is also vital, so do your best job every time. If you make a mistake, admit it, and then work to make it right. People appreciate honesty, and you’ll get more work from those who see that you’re a quality person with the right mindset. These attributes can actually help you go farther than the actual level of talent you have.

So let your talents inspire you, rev up your can-do attitude, and you may be surprised how easy it really is to bring in some extra money in your spare time!

The Fastest Way to Get Started in Multi Level Marketing

Being successful in MLM is challenging, but the great thing about it is that it doesn’t take any special talent. It does take some hard work and an intelligent approach to growing your business. Once you have those in place, you can look forward to an exciting experience!

Follow these steps to get off to a fast start:

  1. Make a decision. Nothing significant can happen until you make the decision to do something. Making a decision means that you cut yourself off from all other possibilities. So decide that you’re going to be successful and that no challenge can stop you from moving forward in your business.

  2. Schedule your time. Most folks decide to fit their MLM activities around everything else. That is, they do it whenever they have time. This is the wrong approach. You should schedule this work just like you would anything else that’s important to you. Make a schedule and stick to it.

    • Consider spending about 80% of your time growing your business and 20% learning more. Most people tend to do it just the opposite and are never successful because of it. Track how much time you’re actually spending on activities that can make you money.

  3. Get a success team. Surround yourself with like-minded people that are successful at what you’re trying to do. Find some people locally if you can; use an online community if you must. It keeps the motivation high, and you have a source to turn to for answers. Remember that this is part of the 20% and not the 80%.

  4. Limit your prospecting. After you tell your friends, family, and neighbors what you’re up to, give most of the prospecting a rest. There are better ways to spend your time.

  5. Market. One of the M’s in MLM is for marketing. This is where you should spend a lot of your 80%. Marketing is the ultimate source of your success. Whether you’re looking for downline members or customers, it’s a lot easier to convert leads to dollars when the leads are contacting you. Trying to turn a cold call / cold approach into a payday is tough!

    • Utilize technology. The great thing about the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and other technology is the tremendous leverage. They’re essentially free and allow you to reach a large number of people.

  6. Find a successful mentor. A successful mentor is someone that started where you are and has reached where you want to be. Don’t get a mentor that makes $1,000 a month if you want to make $10,000 a month. Spend some time and find the right person.

    • Keep in mind that the most successful MLM-ers don’t waste a lot of time. You might want to offer them something besides the benefit of a warm fuzzy feeling. Maybe you could do some work for them. Maybe you can give them a percentage. Be prepared to reciprocate your time.

MLM is a great business for those that are determined and take intelligent action. While there are no shortcuts, there are plenty of less than direct routes to get to where you want to go. Follow these tips and you can get off to a fast start. That first check is closer than you think.

The Structure of Personal Change

Personal change starts internally with a shift in mindset. The resulting external changes grow from this internal foundation. So now that you know where to start, how do you go about making these adjustments in your approach to life?

To really achieve personal transformation, several major stages must be crossed. Now, this doesn’t mean that change must always take place slowly, only that all significant shifts will follow this sequence, regardless of how long the process takes.

The 6 Stages of Personal Transformation

  1. Awareness. Nothing will change until you’re aware that something needs to shift. This stage can occur over time. Perhaps you become aware of some nagging feeling that things aren’t as well as you’d like them to be. Maybe you notice a long held belief that no longer serves you.
  • This stage could also happen suddenly. If you recently suffered a heart attack, you’re probably very aware of necessary dietary or lifestyle changes.
  • Also, keep tabs on your negative emotions. They’re often your subconscious attempting to provide you with awareness of needed changes.
  1. Examination. After becoming conscious that something isn’t quite right, some thought needs to take place. You might start by asking yourself these questions: “What’s wrong? Why do I feel this way? What needs to change? Does anything really need to change? Can I live with this the way it is?”

  2. Intention. If the process passes the examination phase, we then may enter into intentionality. A decision has been made to change and the intention is there to remove a belief or behavior and replace it with a more appropriate alternative.
    • In many ways, this is the most powerful step. At this point you’ve truly decided to change and to replace something old with something new. With enough intention, nearly anything is possible.
  1. Action. However, only with action do you actually begin to experience change. At this point, you’ve already come a long way. You’ve taken what may have started as a dull sense of discomfort and given it a name and a face.
    • You might even feel more uncomfortable now than you did in Step 1; now you’re more aware of what’s going on. If you’re feeling helpless about a situation, bear in mind that this is frequently the result of reaching Stage 4 but then failing to take any action.
  1. Improvement. As you discover what works for you, your initial actions may be inadequate or incorrect. When changing yourself, a fine-tuning process occurs until a sufficient solution is found. This is largely trial and error. You simply keep making adjustments to your approach until you hit on an effective solution.

  2. Integration. This stage may take some time; new habits can require some effort before they take hold. At the completion of this step, you’ve fully adopted the new belief or behavior. The initial discomfort that started the whole process should be gone now, since the cause of that uneasiness has been alleviated.

Having a fundamental awareness of these steps will help you go from experiencing emotional discomfort to feeling whole and satisfied. The next time you get a nagging feeling that something isn’t right, take the time to examine your emotions. Do this every time you feel something negative, and you’ll grow into the person you always dreamed of being.