Thoreau on the Neccessity of Selling Your Work

I’ve been listening to a downloaded copy of Thoreau’s Walden during my commute and this story stuck. If you can see past the 1840s cultural insensitivity, the story asks a powerful question.

Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. “Do you wish to buy any baskets?” he asked. “No, we do not want any,” was the reply. “What!” exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate, “do you mean to starve us?” Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off — that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and, by some magic, wealth and standing followed — he had said to himself: I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man’s to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other’s while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one’s while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men’s while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?

So I have to ask… how does one study to avoid the necessity of selling baskets? What do you think? What did Thoreau mean?

6 Methods for Building Exceptional Character and Integrity

Last weekend, Christine and I had the opportunity to talk with an exceptional achiever. This person has excelled to levels of achievement that make him one in a million. But that isn’t what makes this person truly exceptional. What makes him truly exceptional is his achievement combined with his tremendous character and integrity.

This got me thinking…

So how can one develop exceptional character and integrity? What produces these traits? I believe it must be hard for a professional athlete, an American Idol winner, or an A-List Blogger to maintain character and integrity in the face of wealth, ego, fame, and obsequious praise. To retain the power that comes with such a position requires a clear understanding of personal responsibility. We consistently see hubris take down athletes, rock stars, writers, and actors. But what can we learn from the folks in the spotlight who avoid the trap of arrogance and ego?

· Become other person centric – The path to exceptional and remarkable character is found by creating value for other people. Remember, Wayne Gretzky assisted his teammates twice as much as he himself scored (1963 Assists vs. 894 Goals), and still smashed every individual scoring record in history. If you focus on other people, on their needs and what makes them special, you will find yourself naturally acting with character and integrity because your selfishness will fade. How can you be selfish when you see so much greatness in others? How can you fail once you open your eyes to the sea of talent and unique abilities which surrounds you? Many people talk of character traits such as honesty, fairness, compassion, generosity, and courage. These traits become natural and effortless when you become other person centric.

· Contribute first – Never start by focusing on what you can get; focus on what you can give. Winners give 100%; they don’t get 100%. Never say, “I’m not going to help until I know what is in it for me.” Instead say, “give it everything, this is what I want to do, and the results will take care of themselves. “ Your positive actions produce the fruits of existence. Contribute first and the rewards will take care of themselves.

· Develop mental toughness – Build defenses in your mind against negative influences. Quit watching the news. Quit listening to fear mongers. Quit listening to the voice in your head that says you can’t succeed. Kill the idea that some obstacles are too large to overcome. Smash the idea that success is pure luck and you aren’t one of the lucky ones. I know this is easier said than done. But you can begin to shutdown the negative voices in your life and replace them with positive voices. You can start right now. If you hang out with a habitually negative influence, find a new friend. I mean it. There is no point in consistently being fed negative thoughts and images. You can’t change other people; you can only change yourself. And if enough of us change ourselves, we will change the world. When you can’t avoid the negative voice, learn to actively counter negative words and images by consciously forcing positive replacements into your mind. If you do this frequently enough over time, you will develop a habit of mentally replacing negatives with positives, and this habit is the essence of mental toughness. Mental toughness is the ability to maintain positive focus, action, and thought in the midst of all appearances to the contrary.

· Encourage everyone around you to be the best they can be – Try to surround yourself with people who want to be the best they can be. But not everyone is trying to be the best they can be, so what can you do? The next best thing… encourage everyone around you to be the best they can be. Don’t do it directly. Do it through positive reinforcement. When you see someone begin to move in a positive direction, encourage them, tell them you think they’ve made a great decision, the kind of bold move that is right for them. When they succeed, tell them you knew they could do it. When they experience a setback, remind them it is only temporary and that things will work out if they learn from the setback, make changes, and persist. One setback does not rule a lifetime. Help them up, push them forward, if they don’t know where to go, lead the way and let them follow until they are ready to lead. Before you know it, everyone around you will be pushing themselves to be their best.

· Praise effort, progress, and success – Never use fear, anger, or shame to motivate. Use constructive criticism, but use it sparingly and only after maintaining considerable patience. Never give false praise or phony complements, people will see right through your lack of authenticity. But when you see strenuous effort, real progress, and outstanding achievement, notice it, recognize it, and celebrate it.

· Do the right thing even when it is unpopular – Doing this as a young person may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. Many of us have failed this test. But that doesn’t mean you have to. When the group is bulling someone, defend the victim. Your heart knows what is right; listen to it and follow it. Listen to your conscience and it will give you the right answer in every difficult situation. You’ll know when this situation appears, your heart will pull you one way and the herd will pull you in another, follow your heart, the herd is headed off a cliff.

Character and Integrity belong to all of us. They aren’t simply traits for other people; they are traits worthy of you and me. The future is yours and it begins right now. The secret to change is within you. Change yourself and change the world.

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7 Ways to Help Yourself Recognize Opportunity

One of most powerful ways to change your life and the lives of others is by spotting opportunities for improvement. Opportunity is in front of your eyes – right now – and you don’t see it. So how do you open your eyes wider? How do you see the hidden opportunity that exists everywhere in your environment?

· Develop relationships with highly creative people – Creative people see opportunity everywhere and their insight will rub off on you. The best way to learn to see a world of possibilities is to hang out with people that spend most of their time actively creating things. People who create art, literature, businesses, graphics, websites, ideas, music, markets, products, or anything else constructive. Find ways to spend your days and nights talking about creative ideas and thinking about possibilities. With Web 2.0 and social media your opportunity to meet other creative people and share ideas is greater than ever before in human history. No matter where you are, if you can connect to the internet, you can meet and hobnob with creative people from every corner of the globe. What an amazing possibility this is. Think of the endless opportunity our connectedness provides.

· Write down everything that surprises you – Many great opportunities are fueled by surprises. Surprises are usually funny, amazing, and insightful. Carry a small notebook and digital camera everywhere and document everything that surprises you. You will find endless opportunity to create things from your surprises.

· Journal about problems – Some people say there is no such thing as a problem; there are only opportunities. I concede they may be right. For every problem there is a solution and that solution will have value to others. Documenting obstacles and problems and the solutions you use to overcome them is an opportunity for you to bring value to others.

· Journal about possibilities – Imagine grand possibilities and write them down. Imagine inexpensive limitless clean energy. What would it look like? How would we use it? Imagine yourself being the greatest possible person you can be. What would you be? Imagine your dream business. Imagine the future you would create if you could create any possible future. What would it look like? Write it down. Find the opportunities hidden inside your imagination.

· Be open to unorthodox ideas – If your first reaction to an idea is defensive, stop yourself and think “Wait, listen, let them finish. Listen to the entire idea and then imagine the possibility of the idea.” Don’t shoot down an idea just because it sounds far out or strange. Give it a moment, wait for your defensiveness to pass and then look at it again. Sleep on it or wait several days to get your prejudices out of the way. It has taken years of persistence for me to accept several unorthodox ideas that have proven valuable.

· Eliminate limiting beliefs and mindsets – Are you one of those people that say “I’m just not that creative.” Do you think playing with gadgets is frivolous? Are you a bit too serious? Are you easily offended? Are you willing to indulge your curiosity or are you afraid of looking foolish? Do feel a need to follow the rules without question? All these things come from limiting beliefs and mindsets which will limit your ability to sense opportunities. Identify and smash your limiting beliefs.

· Be grateful –Being grateful is the antidote to resentment and complacency. Resentment and complacency block your ability to see clearly. The best way to clear resentment and complacency from your mind is to be grateful for where you are right now. Be grateful for your gifts and your weaknesses. Be grateful for your success and your setbacks. If you are grateful for all things, including those that appear to go wrong, you will be able to see them for the opportunities they are.

The Best of the Internet 7-22-07

John over at the Business Owners Blog gives us an inspirational quote from Paul Orfalea. I love Paul and his entrepreneurial spirit. Thanks John!

Now I don’t know Mr. Taylor, but performances like this are one of the reasons my kids will never step foot in a public school. It frightens me the way he speaks of his dominating power over parents and children. Notice the way he seems to enjoy using fear and anger to control others. If his behavior here is indicative of his behavior in the classroom, this man shouldn’t be allowed near children. It actually appears from his language that he believes he creates children. Sorry Mr. Taylor… you’re wrong… you aren’t God. We are all granted unalienable rights from our creator… and you are not our creator.

Update: I just watched this video again… I have to admire his passion and his righteous indignation about someone questioning his salary. But bragging about stopping kids from using the toilet? Pride in keeping complete silence in study hall for 40 minutes? Pride in keeping them from working together? Making kids show their work in math is the single biggest reason why kids become disgusted with mathematics. How about giving a little credit to the kid when they learn?

Mashable offers up an incredible list of productivity tools.

Jonathan at Smart Wealthy Rich tells us what playing in a rock band taught him about running a business. Having played in several bands myself, I concur with him on each point. Playing in rock band will make you better business owner or manager.

Snap2objects presents a great list of Freeware Design tools. I need a design renovation, so I’ll be looking closely at this list over the next few weeks.

Adventure Dad blogs about how too many parents fail to take responsibility for their poor parenting and the effects it has on their children. They point the finger of blame. AD is right, we all must take responsibility for our own actions. No matter what we believe influenced us, we own our actions.

John Wesley wrote a blockbuster post this week. 78 Timeless Wealth Building Tips from Benjamin Franklin. Keep it up John!

Henrik at the Positivity Blog gives sound advice on conversation topics to embrace and topics to avoid.

Seeing the World Through Entrepreneurial Eyes

I believe I was born with the entrepreneurial mindset. I see opportunity in everything I look at. Sometimes it drives me crazy. I can’t have hobbies because I always turn them into businesses. After I had my first son I tried to be a full time stay-at-home mom. I thought it would be nice to start a hobby so I pulled out my childhood dollhouse and started working on it. Soon, I had a stack of wholesale catalogs. Then I started placing small orders. 1 item for myself, 2 to sell on eBay to pay for the one I kept. Counter space started filling up with miniature dollhouse items. I had to step back and think “Is this really what I want to do?” I just wanted a hobby but it turned into a business. I wanted to do scrapbooking or stamping like friends but I knew it would be dangerous. I have already attended trade shows in Las Vegas pursuing craft vendors. I have finally succumbed to the idea that my hobby is selling books. This confuses some people. “Isn’t that your business?” they ask. Yes, but it is also my passion and my hobby.

It is easy to spot people who don’t have Entrepreneurial Eyes. They have beliefs that hold them back:

Us vs. Them

When I first met Steve we butted heads about jobs and business, because he did not have entrepreneurial eyes. He had an Us vs. Them mentality. He considered “Us” as people who he thought worked hard for their paycheck. “Them” were managers and business owners. I would get angry. I never saw an Us or a Them, we were all Us. We are all capable of doing great things. It’s all a matter of how hard you want to try and what you are willing to let go of in the process.

Retirement Thinking

Worker Bees have this idea of retirement – it’s the day you quit your job and everything changes. It’s something they dream about for 20+ years. You hear comments like “When I Retire I Will ______” (fill in the blank) Play Golf? Travel? Volunteer? Hang Out with the Grandkids? It’s a well documented fact that depression can hit hard after retirement. It’s rarely the freewheelin’ lifestyle they thought it would be.

Someone once asked me “When will your dad retire?” I was surprised by the question. My dad is a serial entrepreneur. In his twenties, he started a highly successful driving school which he sold and then later bought a small bookstore to run during his retirement years. His small bookstore turned into 7 bookstores and 6 Christmastime calendar kiosks. Today, he’s back to one bookstore which he plans to close because he’s tired of dealing with the public. He will continue selling books online and try to grow his business in different directions. Isn’t he already retired? Isn’t retirement when you don’t have a boss anymore and are free to do as you please whether it’s running your own business or knitting sweaters? He told me, when his largest business, his driving school was at its peak, he worked the fewest hours of his life.


Don’t listen to naysayers. They will tell you all the negatives about every idea you have. How much work it will be, how much money it’s going to cost, how much time it will take. Those are all legitimate things to think about, but not at the idea stage. Entrepreneurs love talking about ideas, nothing kills forward motion like a naysayer.

I used to take my son to a toddler group and we would have “mommy time” to talk about our concerns and issues. I said I had an opportunity to open a bookstore but I was concerned about putting my kids in full time daycare. The negative feedback was instantaneous, “Do you think you could really run something like that?” “Have you done your research?” “Do you know that bookstores are failing everywhere?” But there was one woman with a big smile on her face who said “Wow! What a great opportunity, how exciting.” I knew she was the only one in the room with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Money and Jobs

Everyone has different ideas about what money is and what it can do. Most people believe you need a job to get a paycheck so you have money to pay bills and maybe buy yourself something nice. They believe the harder you work the more money you will have.

Someone very wise once told me a great piece of advice– the only reason to have a job is to learn something that you can take with you. Once you stop learning it’s time to move on and learn something else. You should never work for the money. What a great piece of advice, especially for young people before they get caught up in the paycheck merry-go-round. Make more, spend more, keep up with the Joneses.

Entrepreneurs don’t start businesses for the money. Money is the result of the game. The game is creating businesses. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the fun is seeing what works.

Entrepreneurial Eyes

Once you have Entrepreneurial Eyes they never go away. You think about how to make everything you see better. When you see a weakness with a gadget you think about how to produce a better one. When you see people struggling, you think about how to help them. You listen to others ideas you become inspired and excited about their opportunities. You encourage them and give them positive feedback. Once you have Entrepreneurial Eyes, you’ll never see the world the same… you’ll see a world filled with endless opportunity.

To find out more about how you can start your own internet based business check out Skip McGrath’s site.

A Sure-Fire Way to Turn your Kids into Tax Free Millionaires

This advice applies to US law only.

I’ve discovered a formula that you can use to teach your children about business, selling, marketing, finance, responsibility, and commitment. But you know what’s even better? In the process, they will become millionaires without ever paying a single dollar in taxes! No it isn’t some cockeyed tax protestor scheme. This is absolutely legal and legit.

What is it? It’s a simple formula, and I’ll give to you free.

  1. Start a small home based business. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. It can be as simple as a website or an eBay based business. Any home based business will do as long as it can generate a moderate amount of cash flow. I would shoot for 10-20K of cash flow in the first year at a minimum. It doesn’t need to be profitable; it only needs to generate enough cash flow to pay a very small payroll.
  2. Employ your children. You can start as young as is reasonable. There is nothing illegal about employing your children. There is certainly nothing immoral about it. It will be one of the best educational experiences of their young lives and they’ll learn things they’ll never learn in school.
  3. Create a Roth IRA for each of your children. The payoff will be huge in the long run. I’ll explain later.

Three requirements for employing your children in your home business:

  1. You need a written job description of their duties and it must be reasonable. Examples: Your 8-year-old could help package and ship products. A 12-year-old could help you write blog posts and do site design. Your 16-year-old could help you transport and purchase product. Your 19-year-old could help with bookkeeping.
  2. Keep detailed records of the hours they work. The IRS may ask for them and you may need to prove it was legitimate work.
  3. Pay them a reasonable wage. Paying your 8-year-old $200 an hour for sweeping out the warehouse will get you in trouble, but paying him minimum wage will not. You can pay older children significantly more, but remember the wage you pay them must be a fair market wage.

This formula only works if your child has earned income from your business. It does not apply to unearned income.

· Earned income is money they earn by working for your business.

· Unearned income is money they earn by being part owners of the company.

Make your kids employees not owners.

Now Show Me The Money

You can pay each child up to $4850 per year tax free. If you pay them more, they will be required to declare and pay tax on their income. If you employ three of your children, that’s nearly $15,000 per year completely tax free.

The Big Payoff

We all know how compound interest works, right? The earlier in life you start investing the bigger the payoff. So start as early as you can.

You don’t have to pay taxes on the first $4850 your child earns.

Of the $4850, invest the maximum of $4,000 per year in your child’s Roth IRA so you won’t pay taxes on investment earnings or later withdrawals.

Now, if you employed your child from 8 to 18 years-old, depositing $4,000 annually in her Roth IRA …

Using a Retirement Planning Spreadsheet

Assuming a 10% return (you could easily beat that)…

Without ever saving another dollar after the age of 17…

Without making another investment… ever…

Without paying $1 in taxes…

She will be a millionaire by age 45…
And worth over six million dollars by age 65!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start a damn business already!

The Best of the Internet 7-15-07

I recall Steve Pavlina calling people that post pictures of cats – post monkeys. Well, this post monkey is making 4K a week!

Blog Grrl tells a great tale. What kind of a pig are you?

Mark over at Unconventional Thinking asks, Are you willing to think so far through accepted reality that you can cross into another dimension? Anything less is mental chopsticks.

I enjoy Littlemummy immensely. If you have a toddler you’ll be able to relate to her posts.

I just wanted to do a name drop. A friend (I’ve had since I was 14) and former singer in my band, is pals with Big Mick – the soundman for Metallica. I first partied with Big Mick after the Master of Puppets tour at the Minneapolis Orpheum in ‘86 where he introduced me to James Hetfield and Cliff Burton (RIP – I still miss you man). I partied again with Big Mick in early 2002 when he was in Minneapolis running the board for Slipknot. Big Mick is a fantastic man who lives life to its fullest. If you met him, you’d know what I mean. Like Tony Clark, he lives life on his terms… and ya gotta respect that. This week, I stumbled across this by Big Mick.

Will Wheaton asks us not be afraid. I love Will’s blog, his retro pics and his free mindset.

Writing for Reddit

This entry is part of the Group Research Project sponsored by Wendy Piersall at emomsathome28 Internet Marketing and Home Business How To’s.

Writing blog posts that do well on Reddit can be a powerful tool for marketing your blog. From the beginning, Reddit has been an integral part of this blog’s audience and is one of my top three social media sites – Delicious and Stumble Upon being the others.

This is some of what I’ve learned about Reddit over the past 10 months:


  • Predominantly Male
  • Highly Intelligent – however this seems to be changing (sorry guys, but there seems to be more trolls and inane comments than a year ago)
  • A large number of users are on college campuses – many of them Ivy League
  • Large numbers of activist Atheists
  • Libertarian or Socialist leaning audience – little conservative presence. Posting something positive about GWB or Christianity will go nowhere – even if it is well written.

Topics that do well:

  • GTD – Productivity
  • Writing Tips
  • Financial Advice – “How to save money on X”
  • Psychology
  • Intelligence
  • Education
  • Sex
  • Science
  • Programming
  • Drug Policy
  • Anti-Corporate – “How I got screwed by Circuit City”
  • Anti-War
  • Libertarian Politics
  • Socialist Politics
  • Conservative Bashing
  • Religion Bashing

Topics which rarely fly:

  • Blogging
  • Family/Parenting: one exception – 10 Things I Learned from my 4-Year-Old did well – not sure why.
  • Marketing – SEO
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Advice
  • The Law of Attraction
  • Spirituality
  • Pro-Religion
  • Conservatism

Read the Dos and Donts on Reddiquette. Here are a couple of items that make Reddit unique among social media sites.

  • sometimes bad timing, a bad title, or just plain bad luck can cause an interesting story to fail to get noticed. Feel free to post something again if you feel that the earlier posting didn’t get the attention it deserved and you think you can do better.
  • Old content and self-promotion are okay, because Reddit is a meritocracy

From Reddiquette discussion:

davidmccabe: Just so it’s clear, is it alright to resubmit one’s own submissions with an improved title? If so, how long should one wait before doing that?

akkartik: Just don’t flood the new queue. If the old one doesn’t have any comments consider deleting it before resubmitting. Aside from that I think anything is fine.

If one of your posts makes the front page of Reddit (especially if it climbs above #10) it will likely result in dozens of link backs, possibly hundreds of delicious bookmarks, and often is a catalyst to landing on Digg’s homepage. Popular and powerful social media users monitor Reddit for material and submit it to other social media sites.

Once a post moves from the new category into the main content area, making it to the front page requires getting past the first round of downmodders. No matter how good your content, bots or trolls will downmod everything that makes the main content area. It appears some users think that downmodding everything except their stories will result in better odds of hitting the front page. I have no idea if the downmodding strategy works. In any case, it violates the spirit of the community, so don’t do it. Most posts are downvoted immediately, which means they can disappear quickly. Luckily, I have some fans in the community that usually help me past those first few downmods so the bulk of redditors get to see the post. From there it lives or dies.

Reddit is a meritocracy so your post cannot be buried by a minority of voters like it can on Digg. A post can still do well even if 40% of voters hate it.

Remember if you use Reddit to promote yourself, please support the community by submitting stories other than your own, leaving meaningful comments, and voting for others submissions. Use your presence to contribute to the quality of the Reddit community.

6 Ways to Sharpen Your Intuition

The primary force is intuition. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their origin – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Practical Intuition

Your intuition is a shortcut to productivity, insight, knowledge, innovation, and decision-making. So how do you harness your intuition?

You Have The Ability To Solve Problems Instantly

Have you ever looked at a problem and known the root cause and the solution – instantly – without research? You’ve been taught to distrust that inner voice, right? So you test your intuition with empirical trial and your intuition is usually right, isn’t it?

You have the ability to solve problems instantly if you trust yourself. We all do. So how do we harness the power of our inner creator – the voice that cuts through all the bullshit and tells us the truth?

Six Ways to Strengthen Your Intuition:

1. Use your natural empathy – Imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Better yet go experience what they’re experiencing. If you are working a helpdesk and someone calls from the factory floor complaining about the speed of the printer, don’t sit at your monitor looking at graphs and metrics. Get off your ass and go down to floor and see what’s going on. Go feel their pain! Get your whole self involved it will strengthen your intuition. Great battlefield generals know this. Get out of your bunker and ride up to the front line and see it, feel it, and act on it. Experience what others are experiencing.

2. Allow yourself to feel your fear and flow past it – You don’t like fear do you? I don’t either. But most of us will have to live with it and find a way to make it our friend instead of our enemy. Unless you are superman and have transcended fear, you’ll have to find a way to harness it for good intent. Fear blocks intuition and is strengthened when we resist it. Allow yourself to feel your fear. Don’t resist any part of it. Don’t bury it. Focus directly upon it and ride it through to the end. You will come out the other side stronger with more clarity. Allowing yourself to feel your fear strengthens your intuition because it teaches you to listen to you inner world and accept it for what it is instead of fighting it.

3. Connect with others on an emotional level – When you engage with another person, face to face, on the phone, or online, try to read their emotions. Name their emotions. Does the person sound angry, happy, hopeful, joyous, depressed, or sad? The more you connect with others emotions, the deeper your understanding of social situations and the better your intuition will function. Intuitive hunches and abstract ideas come from the same place inside you that form your emotions, so the better you are able to read and identify emotions in others the better you will be able to create and communicate via intuition. Identifying and naming emotions within yourself and others is a powerful exercise.

4. Shut down internal judgments – When you find yourself judging someone or something – including yourself – that isn’t intuition, its negative energy that blocks your intuition. When you hear the critic in your mind saying, “he’s stupid”, “she’s ugly”, “I’m fat”, or “I’m gonna lose.” Stop and think – Why did I say that? What part of me is out of alignment? When you hear your inner judge, shut him down – not by burying him, that won’t work, he’ll surface somewhere else – but by forcing a positive question into your consciousness. When I catch myself thinking, “I’ll never get this done.” I consciously change the thought to, “How can I this done?” If I am patient and I listen to my inner voice, it will tell me how I can get it done. When my inner judge says, “it’ll never work”, I ask myself “what part of this idea will work?” or “what is a better idea?” Once you start asking positive questions your sub-conscious mind will start handing over solutions in the form of intuition.

5. Find Solitude – The best way is meditation. Find at least thirty minutes a day to spend alone with your thoughts. Leo at Zen Habits has some great tips for finding time for solitude. Take time to sit alone with your thoughts, feelings, and visualizations. I’ve spent most of my life nearly unaware of all the stuff going on inside me. By taking the time to listen to your inner world, you’ll find out what an amazing magical being you really are. Learning to listen to yourself in solitude will train you to listen to your inner voice when you aren’t alone and will lead to catching powerful intuitive ideas right when you need them.

6. Ask questions – lots of them – This is what I call intuitive bodybuilding. Questioning is the best way to create stronger intuitions. The most powerful creative intuitions will come to you after long question and answer sessions. Get together with a group of curious people and discuss complex issues – philosophical, scientific, sociological, medical, or literary topics. The most power comes not from the answers but from the questions, bringing you down paths you hadn’t considered, spurring further questions and more answers. There is no better way to exercise your intuition than lively question and answer sessions.

Some say intuition isn’t scientific and isn’t reasonable. They are right and wrong. The creative intuitive idea isn’t scientific unless you can prove it. However, all science starts with hypothesis. And a hypothesis comes from where? Good ones, creative ones, original ones, come from your intuition – a mental flash – the Eureka.

All things find their origin in intuition – Emerson

Garage Sales Are an Economic Wasteland – I Have Proof.

This year I kept track of the economic output of my garage sale as compared to other opportunities available and the results were sobering.

Here are the financial results of this year’s big multi-family garage sale:

Total: $174.00 / 30 hours labor = $5.80 per hour.

I sell books online through eBay, Amazon and various other bookselling sites from the comfort of my basement. Occasionally, during the garage sale, I’d sneak out of my duties to look at my orders. I sell around 30 books a day and it takes some work, but when I was sitting at the garage sale all I could think about was, “Wow, I could be working on my book inventory but here I am haggling over the price of a nick-knack priced at $1.50. How does this add up? The fact is; it doesn’t. In the world of economics it’s called Opportunity Cost. When you are doing one thing, it means you may be forgoing something else which will make you much wealthier and happier. In this case, working a garage sale meant I wasn’t working my book business or having a good time with my kids.

Average day of book sales:

Total: $300.00 / 3 Hours Labor = $100.00 per hour.

The garage sale was a complete financial flop compared to the measurable opportunity of selling books online. So in the future, instead of garage sales, I will sell anything worth over $10.00 on eBay, put larger items on Craigslist, and donate the remainder to charity. Almost anything will sell on eBay or Craigslist if the price is right. I took all the kids clothes that didn’t sell at the garage sale and put them in two lots for sale on eBay starting at $9.95. It took me 20 minutes to photograph and list each lot.

Results of Selling Garage Sale Leftover Items on eBay:

Total: $73.00 / .66 (40 minutes) hours labor = $110.60 per hour

Much more efficient than a garage sale.

Opportunity Cost of working the garage sale:

$110.60 – $5.80 = $104.80 per hour * 30 hours = $3144.00

So in textbook economics my garage sale cost me $3144.00 in opportunity cost!

Steve warned me… again. I pooh-poohed him…again. I did it…again. But no more! I am through with garage sales. Anyway you look at it; a garage sale is not a good economic decision. There are those out there that will say “I made $2000.00 on my garage sale this year.” I have a friend who insists it is a great money maker for her. She even takes a 10% cut if you want to put anything in her monstrous suburbanite sale. But, for the average American, a garage sale is not the best way to get rid of your stuff. Today, there are betters ways. Namely, Craigslaist and eBay. When you have a garage sale you usually have a small amount of items that are worth something and a whole lot of junk that’s worth nothing.

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