Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Early To Rise - The Ultimate Customer Formula

(By Noah St. John)

Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without customers -- people who buy your product or service -- you really don't have a business, do you? Duh!

Ask any business owner, and he'll tell you he wants more customers. Yet I say that you DON'T want more customers. What you want are more Evangelists.

What's an Evangelist? In this sense of the word, I mean someone who not only buys from you but tells everyone within earshot (and e-mailshot) how great you are.

There are three kinds of people who buy from you:
  1. Customer = someone who simply buys from you
  2. Referrer = someone who tells one or two people about you
  3. Evangelist = someone who tells everyone about you
So how do we move people from Customer to Referrer to Evangelist?

By using The Ultimate Customer Formula:

Want + Trust = Customer
Want x Trust = Referrer
Want x Love = Evangelist

Let's start with why someone becomes a Customer in the first place.

First, a person has a Want -- something they desire. It could be to alleviate a PAIN or to increase their PLEASURE. That pretty much covers human Want.

Then they find out about you (through something called marketing). And something they read, hear, see, or experience in your marketing makes them Trust that you will deliver to them the fulfillment of their Want.

If you do what you said you would do -- help fulfill their Want -- they are satisfied with their purchase. They are now your Customer because they Trust you.

So what do you do now?

That's where most businesses fail. They go, "Whew, we got another one. Okay, where do we get the next one?"

But don't you get it? You can get your next Customer -- or dozen Customers -- from that first satisfied Customer!

How? Simple: Make them feel good about their purchase. Ask if there's anything else you can do. See what else they need or want -- that they may not even have thought of. Ask questions that no one else is asking.

Or just be so much better than the other guys that your Customers have no choice but to choose you to fulfill their Want.

Let me give you an example...

I love Southwest Airlines. Why? There are dozens of reasons, but the most important one for me is that when I need to change a flight, I simply call their toll-free number and an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING picks up the phone and says, "Southwest, how can I help you?"

Then I change the flight and there is NO service fee! What do you know? Southwest treats my money as MY money!

I've flown other airlines, and paid as much as $450 for CHANGE FEES. Ridiculous!

Do you see what I just did? I just told everyone who's reading this newsletter how awesome Southwest Airlines is. I went from Customer right to Evangelist.

If I felt so-so about Southwest, I might tell one or two friends. That would make me a Referrer.

But because I love Southwest, I tell everyone about them -- even when I'm flying on other airlines!

How did it happen? I have a Want -- affordable, reliable airline service to take me where I need to go, AND actual human beings who answer the phone, AND no fees when I need to change a flight.

From the very first time I flew Southwest, they not only delivered the fulfillment of my Want -- they OVER-delivered by thinking of ways I hadn't even thought of to make my travel better and easier, and by being a company of real live human beings.

So I emotionally moved from I Trust Southwest to I LOVE Southwest.

How fitting that their stock ticker symbol is LUV.

So here's The Ultimate Customer Formula again -- this time with the thoughts that go behind it:

Want + Trust = Customer

I want something and trust that you will deliver it to me.

Want x Trust = Referrer

I want something and trust that you will not only deliver it to me but that if I were to send a friend to you, you'd deliver it to them too.

Want x Love = Evangelist

I want something and not only trust that you will deliver it to me, you will over-deliver, take care of me in ways I hadn't even thought of, and you are a company of actual human beings.

That last part is particularly vital today. The word we see everywhere in marketing is transparency.

In the old days, you could hide behind a corporate shield and be immune to criticism. Those days are long gone.

People are amazed when I pick up the phone and call them to see if they're happy with their purchase, or personally respond to an e-mail they wrote me, or write back to them on my Facebook fan page.

My feeling is, why wouldn't I?

But the beauty is, very few of my competitors will ever pick up the phone and call people to connect with them.

Sure, it's more work for me. But it's work that I really enjoy doing. Plus, it cements me as the guy who actually CARES about how they're doing (which, as it happens, I do).

So, use The Ultimate Customer Formula and see what you can do today, this week, this month, and this year to move people from Customer to Referrer to Evangelist.

And isn't it amazing that the ultimate secret to success, yet again, is Love.

P.S. Noah St. John, Ph.D., is a lifestyle expert and #1 bestselling author of The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness. Stephen Covey says, "Noah's Secret Code of Success is about discovering within ourselves what we should have known all along -- we are truly powerful beings with unlimited potential." For a limited time, get the first 3 chapters of Noah's new bestseller, The Secret Code of Success, FREE at (

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Gratitude & Abundance!

(By Aine Belton)

Certain states of consciousness hold a resonance field that accelerates the manifestation of your desires.

Gratitude is certainly one of them!

Gratitude is a generating energy that will serve to attract more of anything you feel grateful for into your life.

In that sense it is a powerful abundance ally!

Gratitude aligns you to, and subsequently attracts, that which is for your highest good, and opens you to more of the love, joy, gifts and blessings the universe wishes to bestow.

Along with appreciation, gratitude opens your heart, raises your energy, and elevates you from even the darkest of states.

In feeling grateful for something or someone, you essentially 'receive' it, as well as give to it from your heart, which effectively aligns your vibration to it, and directs your focus, attention and energy towards it, attuning your heart and mind to that which is positive.

Whatever you focus on grows, so when you appreciate someone, see their value and beauty and feel grateful for it, those qualities will expand and grow in your life.

When you focus on everything in your life you have to feel grateful for, and all the wonderful things, experiences and people you appreciate, the universe hands you more of the same!

It's a wonderful abundance expanding experience!

Gratitude is the sweet song of appreciation. It turns an experience, person or event into a gift that is received, for when you appreciate and feel grateful, you literally let the experience/quality in, and you also give to it. It is a wonderful exchange of positive energies.

When you feel grateful you experience more of your love, which enhances your state in a beautiful magical way.

You also get to experience all the beautiful qualities of that which you feel grateful for all over again! "Gratitude is a powerful tool. If you will allow yourself to feel grateful, your processing and programming can work immeasurably better... As you feel grateful for what you have, you start having more things about which to feel that gratitude."
- Lazaris

Keep a gratitude journal and write down at the end of each day 10 things you feel grateful for over the last 24 hours to assist you in experiencing more of this wondrous, generative, heart-opening energy.

When you do so, be sure to connect to the heart-felt feelings of gratitude, i.e. don't just make it a mental box-ticking process - really engage your emotions.

Add to that list a few things you are grateful to YOURSELF for, positive qualities, actions, traits and demeanours, how you've handled your day or any situations, how you've taken care of yourself or been kind to others, etc.

And lastly, be grateful to the FUTURE you're creating. You are a powerful manifesting being and when you begin to feel grateful for the dreams you are creating and person you are becoming, you begin to attract them more powerfully into your life, for you give the message to your subconscious mind they have already manifested.

P.S. Enclosed below is a message from the author:

Hi! I'm Aine! (That's 'Onya'- an Irish name!)

My 20 year journey into the realms of intuition has led to remarkable
rewards in all areas of my life; success, abundance, excellent health,
right-livelihood, the most amazing connections, opportunities, people,
magic moments and experiences, as well as profound states of being,
divine inspiration, vision, confidence and an oasis of love (and so much
more I wish I could squeeze into this sentence!!).

As importantly, my intuition has helped me to navigate obstacles, transform problems and challenges, and find the gifts in crises. It has offered the invaluable solutions of soul-level insight and the enhanced acuity of my inner senses with which to powerfully craft my world from the inside out.

Aine Belton

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Early To Rise - Six Messages You Never Want to Send

(By John Forde)

Does your marketing copy send prospects a message you never meant to send? Let me clarify...
In selling -- particularly in face-to-face sales -- there's a lot of talk about body language and how it can mean all the world to a sale.

A chin rub means one thing. Steepled hands, another.

Crossed arms, something else yet again.

Bottom line: In the face-to-face setting, different gestures can betray messages you don't intend to send, but send anyway.

We, of course, are marketers and copyWRITERS.

Hence, not too much selling face-to-face. And not much opportunity to read the body language of our prospects. Once on the page... well, there it is.

Still, there are different things copywriters do that can also send accidental messages. And if you're not careful, these little slips can derail the message of your whole campaign.

For instance...


Your testimonials are eloquent and effusive. ("I'm entranced by your product. I laughed, I cried. Sublime, utterly sublime.")

To convey a personal touch, or perhaps protect your customers' privacy, the names underneath your testimonials are signed only with a first name. ("Loved It, Chuck")

And the photos are gauzy professional shots, with people wearing pressed T-shirts and laughing like God just showed up at their picnic.

What You MEAN to Say:

"Our customers are smart. They're good looking.

They're overjoyed. And we're on a first-name basis with them (not to mention discreet)."

What It ACTUALLY Sounds Like:

"We couldn't really get good testimonials. So we wrote our own. Chuck is my cousin in Des Moines."

A Better Approach:

Give full names whenever you can. Used real photos of customers, even the ugly ones. And most of the time, resist the temptation to edit away poor writing in testimonial quotes.


You start your sales letter, "Dear Reader, let's be honest..." or pepper paragraphs with "To tell the truth" and "I really mean that." In your guarantee, you write, "You can trust me... I'm a gentleman."

What You Mean to Say:

"I mean what I say. And when I make a promise, you can bet I'll stand by it. I'm not like that other guy who sold you the bike with square wheels."

What It Actually Sounds Like:

"I'm worried you think I'm like that guy who sold you a bike with square wheels. My pitch sounds deceptive, so I subconsciously want to reassure you that it isn't. You do trust me, don't you?"

A Better Approach:

Root out whatever it is in your pitch or product that makes you leery. Good products make it easy to write truthfully and confidently. Whatever you do, cut the weasel warm-ups and just make the promises.


Your words are hefty and profound. You've never seen four syllables you didn't love. Not to mention what you'll do given five minutes in a dark room with a word processor and witty puns and word play.

What You Mean to Say:

"Aren't I smart?"

What It Actually Sounds Like:

"Aren't I pretentious?"

A Better Approach:

You've heard it often. But not often enough. Always, always use simple words. You're trying to call attention to the ideas, not to the words you've used to express them. Big difference.


Your newest promo is printed on silk paper. With hand-etched four-color graphics. You've hired Japanese geisha girls to fold the letters and Peruvian mountain cats to lick each envelope closed. No expense was spared.

What You Mean to Say:

"I care about you, which is why I care about how this promo looks. If it looks professional, we'll look professional to you too. Or at least we'll look pretty damn hip."

What It Actually Sounds Like:

"I care more about how you'll think of me and my promo than I care about how what I'm selling can serve your interests. Look at me, look at me, look at me!"

A Better Approach:

Okay. First off, sometimes elegant DOES work. It depends on what you're selling. Membership in an exclusive club might call for high-ticket design. But imagine if you're writing a donation letter for a non-profit... or a pamphlet to sell a low-budget vacation to college students. Sometimes LESS really is more.


"XYZ's Water-Matic might make a better cup of tea," says your pitch letter, "of course, there's no guarantee." The rest of the copy is littered with "coulds"... "cans"... and "shoulds."

What You Mean to Say:

"We don't over-promise to our customers. We're conservative, not rash like those hucksters down the road."

What It Actually Sounds Like:

"I'm not sure we can deliver on what I'm saying. And I don't want to look stupid if we fail. So I'm not going to commit to any of the promises you're reading here. In fact, don't call. I'm just going to go sit in the corner now and shiver."

A Better Approach:

True again, sometimes you have to be conditional in your speech. Lawyers recommend it. Nervous CEOs prefer it. But those reasons aside, wherever you can, use as many bold and confident words as you can. ("XYZ product tested as tops on the tea-maker market, 9 years in a row.") Write confidently and with conviction. It can only improve your results.


Your copy bubbles over with enthusiasm and lots of really, really... really... awesome adjectives.

What You Mean to Say:

"I LOVE my product! It's the absolute BEST on the market. You couldn't find a BETTER product than mine even with a JILLION bloodhounds sniffin' the trail!"

What It Actually Sounds Like:

"I'm not sure WHY my product is good! I'm not even sure IF my product is good! I just want you to BUY my product -- is that so wrong?"

A Better Approach:

It's not your exuberance that's at fault. It's the lack of substance. Add case studies and stats to back up your claims. Plus customer stories and testimonials and a track record. The fluff will fade away.

The point is clear.

Be careful HOW you say what you want to say. Be especially on your guard when you're subconsciously writing copy under one of these two conditions:

(a) you're trying to hide your own opinion from the reader, or
(b) you're trying to get the reader to think something about YOU, as well as the product, that might not be true or easy to believe.

In both scenarios, you're writing lines fraught with hidden meaning. Usually, the meaning you were trying to suppress. This is when your guard is dropped. This is when you'll make the mistakes that undermine your message.

And that's not good.

Be aware of them, root them out, avoid them altogether. The more simple and direct your message, the more successful you'll be, in the end.

P.S. To get more of John Forde's wisdom and insights into copywriting (and much more), sign up for his free e-letter, Copywriter's Roundtable. If you sign up today, you'll get $78 worth of free gifts -- including John's special "Power Brainstorming Toolkit" and his e-book "15 Deadly Copy Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid"... plus a third secret bonus. For details, see John's sign-up page at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Early To Rise - Respect at Work: If You Want It... Be Prepared to Give It!

(By Peter Fogel)

Remember the Tom Cruise movie Jerry McGuire? One of the great taglines in that film -- besides "You had me at hello" -- was when one of Jerry's clients kept saying, "Show me the money!"

But what did he do for that money?

He complained. That's right! All he did was bitch and moan about his teammates, his leaky roof, and other personal and financial problems.

Meanwhile, his coach thought he was too small for a wide receiver, and no one could stand his egotistical attitude when he was out on the field, blaming others for his poor performance during games.

He was excellent at the "blame game." If he missed the ball, it was because another player threw it wrong or because his fellow players and fans weren't giving him "love." So let me be so blunt as to ask:

Are You a Prima Donna?

Does this sound like anyone you know? Most every industry and company has its prima donnas. Don't take this the wrong way, but are you that person for your company?
Do you constantly gripe about your duties? Your hours? Your low pay?

"Why don't I move to India? On what they are paying me here, I could live like a king there."

Do you turn red in the face when someone else gets a promotion?

"Frank? FRANK GOT MORE MONEY for doing what?! I was hired two days before he was, for crying out loud!"

Be honest. All of us at, one time or another, have come unglued when things didn't go our way at the office. (It is, in fact, a good thing to vent on occasion.)

In my former life, before I reinvented myself, I LIVED to complain.

But you know what? In the long run, it never made me happier -- and it certainly NEVER got me what I wanted (more opportunities to advance, more money, etc.). It all boils down to this:

If you want to reinvent yourself in the workplace, you have to have respect for your company, your boss, your co-workers, and your job.

Never let on that you do NOT like what you are doing or that performing certain tasks are beneath you.

Common sense dictates that you should always be a team player.

That being said, people still shoot themselves in the foot when their bosses make requests of them.

According to Karen Burn, author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, there are seven things you should never say at work:

1. "This is easy! Anyone could do it!" A statement like this could be taken the wrong way. Perhaps your boss had the responsibility to do the exact same task before he was promoted. See where I am going with this? If it's easy, just say, "Hey, no problem. I'll get on it right now!"

2. "That's not my job." That might have gotten a big laugh for Freddie Prinze on the old "Chico and the Man" show. But it won't cut in today's workplace. If you don't understand why you've been asked to do a certain task, do a little investigating to find out why your boss wants you to do it. Chances are, he has a good reason.

3. "It's not my fault." If there's a problem, fix it -- no matter whose fault it is. If you did, in fact, screw up... own up to it and then come up with a solution as quickly as you can.

4. "It's not my problem." If a crisis is brewing, pitch in and help. If you don't have anything constructive to say, silence is golden at a time like this.

5. "I can only do one thing at a time." Yes, sometimes we all get overwhelmed at work -- so learn to multi-task. Snapping that you "can't handle the pressure" says to all within earshot that you can't handle your job.

6. "It can't be done." I worked for a company where the IT guy was like Scotty in Star Trek, always lamenting, "It just can't be done." Maybe what he was asked to do really couldn't be done... or maybe this guy just didn't want to be bothered. But one thing's for sure: He hardly ever came up with a solution to a problem.

Even if what you're asked to do seems impossible, search for ways to make it happen... and then boldly go where no man has gone before. (No more Star Trek references, I promise!)

7. "I am way overqualified for this job." Hey, maybe you are. Good for you. But the fact is, this is the job you have. You agreed to take it on. And while you may now regret that decision, it's still your job. Complaining that you're too good for it only makes you look bad. And guess what? You're not going to make your boss think, "Oh, this is a superior person. I need to promote him." Nope. He'll think, "What a jerk!"

It's easy to come up with excuses for why you are not moving up the food chain at your job.

But no one is going to promote you to get you to do what you are supposed to be doing in the first place. It makes no sense to think you should wait until you get a raise... and then become a top performer.

In other words, if want to be a superstar, start acting like one!

Peter "The Reinvention Guy" Fogel delivers presentations on humor, reinvention, copywriting, and marketing to corporations and associations across America. He helps entreprenuers reinvent themselves and unleash their "inner public speaker" for higher visibility and bigger profits.
To sign up for his 4-in-1 Total Success Reinvention Package, visit
And to sign up for his FREE 7 Days to More Effective Public Speaking e-course, please go to

Monday, November 15, 2010

Medical Journals - Spontaneous Remission from Disease Through Epigenetics

(By the Underground Health Reporter)

Did You Know that spontaneous remission from disease (including cancer) is now possible through the science of epigenetics?

A new field of science called epigenetics has changed the way we think about our genes. The prefix "epi" literally means "above," as in above the genes, in the same way that epidermis means the layer above the skin.

Ever since Darwin released his scientific literature titled "On the Origin of Species" 150 years ago, science and medicine have been grounded in the belief that we are "programmed" by our DNA and that our genes cannot be changed.

But new discoveries have found a major flaw in what was once considered dogmatic principle. Dr. Bruce Lipton, a world-renowned leader in cellular biology and quantum physics research, proved that our environment -- not our DNA -- shapes the development of our cells.

Dr. Lipton discovered that we have "epigenes" that attach to our cells and have control over and above the regular genes (DNA) inside our cells. These epigenes change how our genes are expressed, which then changes our cells.

Dr. Lipton's experiments revealed that DNA responds to signals from outside the cells. Electromagnetic signals that are produced by our senses, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions as we experience the world send "messages" that reach the cells. As we constantly adjust to our environment in our mind, so do our cells.

These discoveries are being hailed worldwide as a major breakthrough that proves that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking. These findings fundamentally alter our understanding of life. Since we can change our cells by changing our minds, we absolutely can change our biology ... and our lives.

Though our DNA is still considered the "blueprint" that we start with, it can be altered throughout our lives by epigenetics. Think of your genes as the hardware and your epigenes as the software that tells the genes what to do.

Being able to change our genes offers a life-changing opportunity to the human race when applying epigenetics to the treatment of disease. No longer do we have to be a "victim" of inheriting or developing abnormal genes because now, we can change them to eradicate disease and pass on normal genes to the next generation.

In one of Dr. Lipton's most important experiments, he proved that when he took a "sick" cancer cell from a "sick" body, and transferred it to a healthy environment, the cell recovered quickly and behaved normally.

While working at Stanford University's School of Medicine between 1987 and 1992, he found that changing the environment of cells made certain genes "turn on or off." This then altered the cell's composition, its health, and the traits determined by that cell. These new constructions spread as the cell divided.

From his most recent work with cancer, Dr. Lipton has confirmed that, "Genes are not controlling the life of your cells, your mind is. The mind and the beliefs that it holds -- not defective genes -- create a ripple effect that 'turns on or off' cancer cells."

Randy Jirtle, a geneticist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Duke University, further explains that, "as our genes change, cells can become abnormal, triggering diseases like cancer. It's scary to think that a few changed genes can kill you. But it's also good news because we've traditionally viewed cancer as a disease solely stemming from broken genes. It's a lot harder to fix damaged genes than to rearrange your epigenetics."

Through epigenetics, you can "rewrite" your genetic expression through your mind. You could have normal genes, for instance, and then express genes like cancer and other diseases. Or if you had mutated (diseased) genes, you can rewrite their expression to normal.

Disease treatment through epigenetics changes the structure of the cancer cell by rewriting the genes to act like normal human cells. In ongoing epigenetic trials, half the patients are in complete remission.

However, epigenetics works both ways: your thoughts influence genetic expressions that can cure disease or cause disease -- depending on whether you have positive or negative thoughts. And, your positive thoughts and your negative thoughts are equally powerful.

We see this in the "placebo effect." A patient suffering from a disease is given a sugar pill, but they believe the "medicine" will be effective, and therefore, they heal. Likewise, there is the "nocebo effect" which suggests that negative thoughts can not only make you sick, but can even kill you.

What's even more interesting, or disturbing for others, is that the thoughts and beliefs of other people, philosophies, cultures, and religions influence your perceptions, which then become part of your thoughts. Therefore, who and what you surround yourself with can have a direct effect on your health!

Dr. Lipton says that, "you are innately able to heal yourself unless your perception says you can't. Since perception controls biology, then whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."

Monday, November 08, 2010

Medical Journals - Powerful New 3-Minute Exercise Improves Memory and Brain Power

(By Paul Fassa - Natural News)

An unusual exercise to improve mental health and acuity has been going viral on the internet lately. It was featured in a Los Angeles CBS News report that has an MD, a Yale neurobiologist, an occupational therapist, educators, and parents endorsing it.

It is a simple routine, and it has created positive results for learning disabled and autistic children as well as older Alzheimer's victims.

And it's useful for any kind of brain fog or dullness, even emotional instability. It can improve memory and focus, and it's even made some a little smarter. It seems to work for everyone regardless of mental condition.

How to Do This Simple Exercise

  1. With your feet pointing straight ahead, spread them apart about shoulder width.
  2. Grab your right earlobe with the thumb and finger of your left hand.
  3. Cross over your left arm and do the same using your right hand on the left earlobe.
  4. Then squat as fully as you can, breathing in. That's a little counter intuitive, but that's what you do.
  5. Breathe in as you squat.
  6. Then breathe out as you stand.
  7. So the breathing needs to be synchronized with the squats.
  8. Continue this motion repetitively while holding both earlobes for three minutes. That may be too much at first, so start with one minute.
  9. One can go up to five minutes, but three is good enough. This can be done by anyone at any age and should be done on a daily basis until the fog lifts!
How It Works

Los Angeles physician Dr. Eric Robins says that the brain cells and neurons are energized with this simple exercise. He prescribes it to his patients and has had excellent results. One example of his is a youngster doing poorly in school. After being introduced to the exercise, that child went on to become an A student.

According to Yale neurobiologist Dr. Eugenius Ang, the earlobes grabbed are acupuncture points that stimulate neural pathways in the brain. The brain's hemispheres are in opposite sides of the earlobes. Using opposite hands for pinching the earlobes may have something to do with the way our subtle energies are arranged.

Ang showed that the results from EEG (electroencephalography) readings after doing this exercise indicate the right and left hemispheres of the brain had become synchronized. EEG readings measure the neuron firings in the brain via electrodes on the scalp, and are used to determine brain wave normalcies and abnormalities.

As Dr. Ang states, "... in modern terms, the brain is actually lateralized. This is an ideal hemispheric arrangement, which is unusual these days. It is something that pricey brain technology CDs attempt to do by producing subliminal sounds to the brain attached to audible sounds through a headset. Dr. Ang also does this exercise daily.

How It Started

The exercise was introduced by pranic healing Master Koa Chok Sui's book SuperBrain Yoga and taught by him personally on lecture tours. Of course, there are many other aspects of pranic healing that Master Sui taught.

Prana is another word for Chi, the subtle life force energy that surrounds and permeates the body. It is the stuff of acupuncture and Qi (Chi) Gong. In addition to the subtle energy aspects of prana or Chi, it seems that combining a mildly aerobic exercise also helps flood the brain cells with oxygen.

At any rate, it's an easy and inexpensive way to improve memory, mental clarity and focus, as well as assist those with debilitating mental disorders. There are those who call it quackery. But you'd be smart to do it daily!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Early To Rise - Beneath The Mango Tree

(By Charlie Byrne)
- Reproduced from an article entitled: "Fruitful" Marketing Lessons From an Overabundant Tree, first published in Early to Rise on 15 July 2010

My hometown "Paradise by the Sea" of Delray Beach, Florida is not only blessed with miles of gorgeous sandy beaches... lined with dozens of casual, eclectic, and gourmet restaurants... and overflowing with hip clubs and art galleries...

It's also home to a huge number of... drum roll, please.

Mango trees.

I mean, really. It's almost ridiculous!

The trees rise to the sky on practically every street -- in front yards, vacant lots, village parks, and any number of other accessible, public spaces.

Hundreds upon hundreds of mangos hang off every tree. Branches bend down from the weight, putting the succulent fruit within the grasp of any man, woman, or child who cares to enjoy it.
And it was on one of my morning runs last week that I realized there was something terribly wrong with this picture!

All this wonderful fruit right there for the taking, but none of it had been picked! I examined no less than seven trees, and couldn't find a single stem missing its mango.

Why? Why, for example, hadn't I taken one myself?

The answer, of course, was simple. It's the same reason folks don't take the coconuts that are falling off trees all over town.

And the same reason why I never went to the top of the Empire State Building when I worked in New York City... and walked past it every day.

Because I could do it whenever I wanted!

And that's why Delray Beach's overloaded mango trees are an ideal illustration of two closely related marketing principles...

Urgency and Scarcity

In marketing terms, urgency means that the supply of a product is limited by time.

Ever get involved in an eBay auction when the clock was running out? How about getting up at 5:00 a.m. to be one of the first customers in line for a day-after-Thanksgiving "Black Friday" sale? If so, you know the power of urgency.

Scarcity means that the supply of a product is limited by quantity.

Both urgency and scarcity arouse the human desire to want that which we can't have.

Right now in Delray Beach, we have an unlimited supply of mangos, and they're going to be around for a long time. So there's no scarcity... no urgency. As a result, you literally can't give them away.

If you're not tickling your prospects' emotional impulses to buy NOW, I'm willing to bet your products are suffering from a similar fate.

When you apply the principles of scarcity and urgency to bring your marketing alive, your sales can increase dramatically. I've seen it many times -- and I'm talking about increases of 100 percent to 1,000 percent. In fact, this is probably the simplest, cheapest way to multiply your revenues instantly.

Our colleague, "Product Launch" guru Jeff Walker, knows all about it. He's brought in, and helped others bring in, more than $53 million in the past five years in all kinds of markets. Virtually all of Jeff's success is built around the mastery of scarcity and urgency.

According to Jeff, "Scarcity is probably the single biggest mental trigger there is. No matter how many times I've seen it used, it's always breathtaking to see how it moves people to action. I've seen WAY too many people underestimate the power of adding a scarcity component to their marketing. If you fall into that trap, you will be leaving a huge amount of money on the table."
So how can you pick up all that cash you've been leaving on the table?

There are plenty of ways, even if you are selling a product that is in infinite supply -- an e-book, for example:
  1. Urgency: Add a bonus for a limited length of time.
  2. Urgency: Reduce the price for a special holiday sale.
  3. Scarcity: Add a bonus -- but only for the first 150 buyers.
  4. Scarcity plus Urgency: With this "launch and retreat" approach, you sell a specific quantity of the product during a specific period of time, and then take it off the market. ("This Memorial Day weekend only, I'm offering just 100 of these information-packed e-books. Sale ends Midnight Monday or when the 100 are gone -- whichever comes first.")
Taking your product "off the market" at a specified date and time might sound scary. What if a bunch of prospects show up at your website the following week looking to buy what you just stopped selling? Wouldn't you be kicking yourself over that lost opportunity?

Perhaps. But I can pretty much guarantee one thing. The overwhelming number of sales you'll make during a scarcity/urgency campaign will make the number you might lose utterly insignificant. In addition, when you "re-open" your next campaign, you'll already have a certain amount of "pent-up" customer demand providing fuel for your fire.

One Important Caveat to Keep in Mind...

You want to add scarcity and urgency to your marketing, but you want it to be genuine.

As Michael Masterson told me, "There has to be a legitimate reason for the scarcity. If you're faking it, customers will see through it and it loses its power."

He suggested a few ways to "make it real" for them: Explain that you had only 100 of the special reports printed up. (Why not show the actual invoice?) Or that the fire code limits the conference room to 75 people. (Why not take a photo of the actual sign in the room?) If you're selling personal coaching services, explain that you have only so much time. If you're selling an investment advisory service, explain that if too many people get the same recommendation, they can initiate a buying frenzy that artificially pushes up the price.

I'm just touching the surface here -- but you get the idea.

P.S. This article is a follow-up to another previous article entitled "Early To Rise - The Empty Restaurant". The underlying messages in these 2 articles are similar to each other, but it is worthwhile to re-emphasise the concepts once in while again in another interesting setting. The key message behind these articles have really to do more with the fundamental human psyche involved, for all brilliant marketing strategies seek merely to appeal to that human psyche.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Early To Rise - What Jim Brown Knows

(By Alexander Green)
- Reproduced from an article entitled: If You Knew What Jim Brown Knows, first published in Early to Rise on 27 July 2010

Jim Brown is arguably the best all-around athlete ever.

He was a track star, one of the nation's finest lacrosse players, averaged 38 points per game on his high school basketball team, and broke NFL records as a running back for the Cleveland Browns. In 2002, The Sporting News named him the greatest football player of all time.

He was pretty handy with a tennis racquet, too. And he liked to wager on his matches.
At a Las Vegas tennis club in 1979, Brown was frustrated when his opponent cancelled a money match at the last minute.

A stranger approached him with a young boy. His proposal -- delivered in a thick foreign accent -- was preposterous. He bet Brown that his nine-year-old son -- short and scrawny even for his age -- could beat him in tennis.

And he was cocky about it. He offered to put up his house.

We can only imagine what ran through Brown's mind as he sized up the half-pint. After all, this wasn't a bet. It was an insult.

The stranger had chosen the wrong man to outrage. Brown wasn't just an athletic phenom. His NFL career could be summed up in his oft-quoted remark, "Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts."

He countered that they should make the bet an even $10,000.

The club owner tried to warn Brown. And while he did reduce his wager, he wouldn't be talked out of the match, insisting, "The man needs to be taught a lesson."

And so Jim Brown strode off to the courts. With Mike Agassi and his young son Andre in tow.

It didn't take Brown long to recognize his error. He had been hustled.

We seldom deliver lessons in humility. More often than not, we wind up on the receiving end. This is especially true in my bailiwick, the investment arena, where high confidence and big egos are routinely taken down like the Berlin Wall.

Every successful investor develops an abiding sense of humility, a deep respect for the unknowable. What will happen tomorrow or next week is always an open question.

And if you don't know who you are, the stock market is an expensive place to find out. Just ask Victor Niederhoffer.

A professional trader and former finance professor, Neiderhoffer established his reputation as hedge fund great George Soros's partner, managing his fixed income and foreign exchange investments from 1982-1990.

Niederhoffer is a smart guy and an unorthodox thinker, drawing on many disciplines -- including psychology, philosophy, and advanced mathematics -- to make his trading decisions. His 1997 book, The Education of a Speculator, was a New York Times bestseller.

But in the fall of that same year, he got his post-graduate degree. Viewing the Asian market meltdown as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Neiderhoffer invested his hedge fund in Thai bank stocks, confident the government would never let them fail. He was wrong. His fund quickly lost more than three-quarters of its value and he was forced to close its doors.

Niederhoffer is an experienced, insightful guy. But I wish he'd written The Education of a Speculator after his hedge fund collapsed, not before. That would have been a book worth reading.

Niederhoffer is hardly alone, of course. History has not been particularly kind to all manner of experts and their definitive pronouncements:
  1. Anglican Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) researched the dates of Biblical events and painstakingly subtracted all the Old Testament generations. When he finished his calculations, he proclaimed that the earth was created on October 23, 4004 B.C. at nine o'clock in the morning. (We now know he missed his mark by 4.6 billion years or so.)
  2. In 1899, Charles H. Duell, commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, proposed shuttering the office. "Everything that can be invented," he said, "has been invented."
  3. In 1927, The New York Times heralded Philo T. Farnsworth's new creation, the television, with a front-page article and this subhead: "Few Commercial Possibilities Seen."
  4. Walter Lippman, one of the 20th century's most respected journalists and thinkers, wrote in a column dated April 27, 1948, "Among the really difficult problems of the world, the Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the simplest and most manageable."
  5. In 1962, a little-known Liverpool group called The Beatles auditioned for Tony Meehan of Decca Records. They performed 15 songs in just under an hour. Decca sent them packing, saying "Guitar groups are on the way out" and "The Beatles have no future in show business."
It's not just the "experts" who flounder, of course. Life is one long lesson in humility. Our perceptions can deceive us. Trust gets misplaced. Knowledge grows and opinions change. Even when the truth is with us, there are often exceptions.

It's natural to seek out experts who can guide us. But outside of physics and chemistry, predictions about the future are best taken with a whole shaker of salt.

We are all swimming in a vast sea of the unknown. The sooner we recognize this -- and embrace it in our personal and business lives -- the better our chances of staying afloat.

P.S. Alexander Green, Investment Director of The Oxford Club, has more than 20 years of experience as a research analyst, investment advisor, financial writer, and portfolio manager. He is the author of The Secret of Shelter Island: Money and What Matters, as well as the editor of "Spiritual Wealth," a free e-letter about the pursuit of the good life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Medical Journals - Acts of Kindness

(By the Underground Health Reporter)

Did you know that whether you are the giver, the receiver or the observer of an act of kindness -- you reap tremendous benefits to your health?

Yes, this is a phenomenon that has been discovered not too long ago. Numerous scientific studies have shown that kindness has a positive effect on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurochemical that has a calming, mood regulating, and anti-anxiety effect ... and it's regarded as a "feel good" substance because it serves as a pathway for pleasure in the brain.

The mechanism of action in most anti-depressant drugs is that they stimulate the production of serotonin chemically, which helps alleviate depression.

One of the most fascinating research findings to come out in recent years is that whenever a simple act of kindness is extended by a human being towards another, it results in a significant improvement in the functioning of the immune system and increased production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness as well as in the person extending the kindness.

What's even more amazing is that person observing the act of kindness also experience a similar strengthening of the immune system and increased production of serotonin!

Kindness is a win-win-win scenario which produces beneficial effects in the giver, the recipient and the observer.

People naturally feel good when they give, help or serve others because they experience something called "helper's high," which authors Allan Luks and Peggy Payne (The Healing Power of Doing Good) describe as a feeling of exhilaration and burst of energy similar to the endorphin-based euphoria experienced after intense exercise ... followed by a period of calmness and serenity.

The benefits of kindness are not limited to immune system strengthening and serotonin production. Research has shown that those who routinely engage in acts of kindness, such as volunteers, experience alleviation of stress, chronic pain, and even insomnia.

An article in Psychology Today titled "What We Get When We Give" (by Christine Carter, Ph.D., 2/18/10) states: "People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying -- and that's after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church."

A study conducted at Harvard University, called this phenomenon the "Mother Teresa Effect." Researchers showed a film to 132 Harvard students about Mother Teresa's work among the poor people of Calcutta. They then measured the level of Immunoglobin A present in their saliva.

[Note: Immunoglobin A is an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity.]

The test revealed markedly increased levels of Immunoglobin A in all the test subjects -- this, after simply witnessing somebody else involved in charity work.

Considering the abundance of proof that acts of kindness increase one's sense of self-worth ... enhance feelings of joyfulness ... boost one's sense of physical and emotional well-being ... increase sense of happiness, optimism and self-worth ... decrease feelings of depression ... and diminish the effect of diseases and disorders ... one of the best things we can do is find opportunities to extend kindness, and teach children to do the same.

Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Smile at strangers ... especially those who are having a bad day
  2. Volunteer your time to do charity work or help wherever there's need
  3. Watch movies that display kindness
  4. Write a note to let someone know they are loved
  5. Give compliments often
  6. Give up your place in line to another person
  7. Donate blood
  8. Write a thank-you note, especially to someone who's not expecting thanks
© Copyright 2010 Think-Outside-the-Book Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

P.S This reminds me of what Portia said in one of William Shakespeare's works, "The Merchant of Venice". Disguised as a doctor of law, Portia has come to rescue Antonio, the merchant of Venice. Antonio had foolishly signed a bond granting the usurer Shylock a "pound of flesh" if he defaulted on the loan he was forced to seek - ironically, in order to help a friend court Portia. Portia said:

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this—
That in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer, doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much,
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Financial Journals - US Dollars (Part 2)

(By Porter Stansberry)
- Reproduced from The Daily Crux: First published on 29 June 2010

Porter Stansberry: U.S. is headed for one of the worst inflations in history

"It could never happen here"... That's the refrain we hear from our friends and colleagues. They say it after we've gone over all of the numbers involved in the government's financial position and explained our out-of-consensus view that the U.S. is not only heading toward a period of massive inflation, but such an outcome has long since ceased to be avoidable. People respond – "Oh, that could never happen here." – in the same way they repeat a catechism.

We don't think our view is shocking or even surprising. Much like with our GM analysis (we predicted bankruptcy as early as 2005), when you simply look at the numbers, the outcome is unavoidable.

And then there's history. Not a single brand of paper money has ever lasted. Or you might say, in all of recorded human history, gold remains undefeated. We expect that trend to continue. Likewise, we can't recall any nation that ever repaid its debts (in sound money) once they'd grown to 100% of GDP. And watching our neighbors "strategically" defaulting on their mortgages in record numbers, we see no reason to expect Americans will prove to be any more honest about their government's obligations.

Since America isn't the first powerful democracy to default through inflation, it may pay for investors to be familiar with the most famous such event...

In 1915, just after World War I began, you could exchange 4.2 German marks for one U.S. dollar – and that was when the U.S. dollar was still backed by gold. As you know, Germany lost the war. Its people were literally starving by the end, thanks to the British blockade. With no alternative except starvation and annihilation, Germany accepted an armistice that demanded $12.5 billion in reparations. The debt was equal to 100% of Germany's GDP prior to the war. At the time, the exchange rate stood at 65 marks to the dollar, a devaluation of roughly 95%. Most people believe Germany's hyperinflation was caused by this war debt. Not exactly.

After the war, Germany was broke... That's true. But the mark was cheap. It seemed like a terrific investment opportunity. Most people believed Germany would find a way to finance its debts. We imagine foreign investors at the time said, "Oh, hyperinflation could never happen in Germany..." And so speculators pumped another $2 billion of additional credit into Germany. Then came trouble. Germany's main creditor (France) refused to renegotiate the terms of the armistice. And the German people lost confidence in their own government. The people didn't want to pay the debts. Assassinations began to occur, most notably the murder of Walther Rathenau – the foreign minister. Investors lost confidence in the country. They abandoned the mark.

German prices rose forty fold in 1922. The mark fell from 190 to 7,600 to the dollar. When Germany failed to make a foreign debt payment in 1923, 40,000 French and Belgian troops invaded. To appease its creditors, the German government printed more money. It issued 17 trillion marks in 1923 (compared to 1 trillion in 1922). By August 1923, a dollar was worth 620,000 marks. By early November 1923, the exchange rate hit 630 billion to one.

Could something like this happen in the U.S.? Not exactly. We doubt, for example, China will ever attempt to invade the U.S. to force debt repayment. But we think what will likely happen could easily be worse than Weimar Germany. You see, the mark wasn't the foundation of the world's economy. Today, more than 60% of all bank reserves around the world are U.S. Treasury obligations. As the U.S. continues to run massive annual deficits and as the Fed engages in "quantitative easing," the world's supply of money is growing, by large amounts. Sooner or later, people holding paper money of every variety, not just Uncle Sam's, will come to doubt its most important quality – the stability of its exchange value. The resulting massive inflation will not merely strike the U.S., but the entire world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Financial Journals - US Dollars (Part 1)

(By Porter Stansberry)
- Reproduced from The Daily Crux: First published on 11 May 2010

Porter Stansberry: The U.S. dollar is about to implode

Dear subscribers... we hope you pay special attention to today's Digest. The world has officially entered what we believe will be the final chapter of the U.S. dollar's reign as the world's reserve currency. The dollars in your wallet now not only back bankrupt U.S. money center banks and subprime home "owners"... they are also officially backing all of the economies of Europe. The world's monetary system has evolved into a new kind of global socialism. We don't think that can be bullish for long.

Here are the facts we've been told so far... The European Central Bank (the ECB) will spend $1 trillion (750 billion euro) bailing out Europe's sovereign borrowers (like Greece, Spain, and Portugal). It will also purchase billions of troubled assets from Europe's largest banks – like UniCredit. The mechanisms for these purchases will likely be convoluted. The EU treaties contain a no-bailout clause, forbidding any member to "be liable for or assume the commitments of" another EU country. And the European Central Bank cannot lend to countries or buy their debt directly. To get around the technicalities, the EU created an off-balance-sheet entity that will "borrow" the money and lend it to countries in trouble. Whether this matters to the EU's creditors or not, we can't say... but we certainly wouldn't lend to an off-balance-sheet entity of a central bank that's not represente d by any country. Buying euros used to be a game of "who owes me nothing." Now, it will be a game of "whose off-sheet entity owes me nothing." We doubt that will make Europe more creditworthy in the long term.

What does any of this have to do with the U.S. dollar? More than you'll ever hear anywhere else. On paper, the money is supposed to come from Europe's biggest governments and the IMF. But in reality, most of the money will be borrowed from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which just happened to re-open its trillion-dollar swap account with the ECB this weekend. Ironically, the Federal Reserve says these loans are risk-free because the counterparty is a central bank (or at least the off-balance-sheet entity of a central bank). But if the ECB is truly creditworthy, why couldn't Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, or Ireland raise the money for themselves?

At the beginning of the year, we declared rising interest rates in the U.S. as "the single most important trend in finance." We believe interest rates on long-term U.S. government bonds will rise to compensate investors for the increased risk of owning paper-backed sovereign debt. Our logic is simple: The more money the U.S. prints to bail out banks and other sovereign borrowers, the riskier the U.S. balance sheet becomes. By the first half of 2010, the Fed had already spent $2 trillion to bail out Wall Street's banks and the U.S. mortgage market. And as we reminded subscribers just last Friday, because the world's banking system uses the U.S. dollar as its reserve currency, the Fed would eventually be forced to bail out Europe's economy. Indeed, that's exactly what happened over the weekend. The U.S. Federal Reserve has officially become the world's lender of last resort. We would humbly suggest these policies will likely lead to a permanent loss of value for holders of U.S. dollars.

Why are we so concerned? Printing money to bail out borrowers around the world will not solve the problems of over-leveraged governments or debt-ridden economies. It simply shifts the risks from private balance sheets to the U.S. government's. The U.S. dollar has assumed all of these risks. Our currency has become a ticking time bomb.

You can watch the dollar die, one day at a time, by keeping your eye on the growing spread between the value of long-term U.S. bonds and the price of gold. Over the last year – even as the U.S. economy apparently improved – the spread widened by about 35%.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Medical Journals - Rubbing Away Your Stomach Fats

(By the Underground Health Reporter)

Did you know that you can rub your stomach away effortlessly using nothing but your hand -- for only 2 minutes a day?

This may sound hard to believe, but Dr. Stephen Chang, an M.D. and Ph.D. who's trained in both Western and Chinese medicine, states that this simple 2-minute internal exercise, which does not come from Western medicine, but rather from the wisdom of ancient Chinese sages -- has been used successfully as a self-healing mechanism for over 6,000 years.

Whatever you do, don't confuse this internal exercise with the external exercises of the Western world, such as sit-ups, crunches and other movements that only firm up the underlying stomach muscles ... but do nothing to melt the fat surrounding those muscles.

According to Dr. Chang, losing weight is a simple matter of increasing the efficiency of the digestive system. If you've ever wondered why you fail to shed pounds even when you reduce your food and/or caloric intake -- the reason is because your digestive and eliminatory systems are not functioning efficiently.

The following 2-minute exercise works like a gentle colonic irrigation that helps speed up a sluggish digestive system (which usually carries at least 5 pounds of fecal matter within it), and this elimination of useless sludge has the effect of burning off excess fat. The exercise effectively metabolizes the fatty tissues around the stomach and intestines, and flushes them out of your body through blood, sweat, urine, and feces.

Here's how to do the stomach-rubbing exercise:
  1. Lie flat on your back on your bed or on the floor. Take your top off or pull it up so that your abdominal area is bare.
  2. Rub your hands together vigorously for about 15 seconds, or until they feel hot.
  3. Place one of your hands directly on your belly button and begin to rub in small circles around your belly button, and gradually make the circles larger.
  4. Use fairly firm but comfortable pressure and rub at a slow, even pace, approximately 1 circle per second.
  5. Concentrate on the heat building up in, around and throughout your stomach.
  6. Do about 40 to 50 circles, or for an approximate duration of 2 minutes or more.
Note: It is important to keep the abdominal area warm while doing the exercise, especially during winter months when even heated indoor air tends to be cool.

For best results, do this routine twice a day for 2 minutes -- first thing in the morning (before breakfast) and just before you go to bed. Most people see noticeable results within 1 week of consistent practice.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the stomach is the center of energy. Massaging the stomach in the manner described above therefore accomplishes more than just melting away adipose tissue (fat). It also ...
  1. stimulates the abdominal organs
  2. helps speed up slow digestion and remedies constipation
  3. increases blood circulation in the abdominal area
  4. helps heal indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and the adverse
  5. effects of overeating
Caution: The stomach massage should not be practiced immediately after a heavy meal. Neither is it advisable for women who are pregnant, or have inflammation of the uterus, bladder, ovaries and fallopian tubes; and individuals who have the following conditions: hypertension; stones in the gall bladder, kidneys or bladder; general, femoral, inguinal and umbilical hernia; bleeding of the stomach, lungs or brain; or ulcers of the intestines and stomach.

© Copyright 2010 Think-Outside-the-Book Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Early To Rise - Rewarding Yourself

(By Micheal Masterson)

When I was first getting into the business of selling educational programs, a famous zero-down real estate guru asked me, "Do you know the thing people who take my courses want most?"

I had a sneaking suspicion I was about to get it wrong, but I gamely answered, "To be successful real estate investors?"

He laughed. "You've got a lot to learn, my friend."

I took the bait. "So what do your customers want?"

"They want to avoid taking action."

I told him I wasn't sure I understood. He was kind enough to clarify. "Most of the people who take my courses and who will be buying your programs want to feel like they are on the road to success. But they don't want that road to end. They like the journey. They fear the destination."

"And why would that be?" I asked.

"To tell you the truth," he said. "I don't know. But I can tell you this. After our real estate students have gotten the knowledge they need to succeed, few of them get out there and get to work. Most of them just buy more programs. If they don't buy them from us, they will buy them from someone else. So we sell them extra programs."

"That's sort of depressing," I said.

"If you give one of my customers – someone who has completed his real estate education and is fully prepared to start investing profitably – a choice between actually getting to work and buying another course to learn more, he will buy the course."

"Are they afraid of failing?"

"Could be that," he said. "Could be they're afraid of success. As I said, I don't know."

Since then I've thought a lot about this failure-to-get-started problem. I've read dozens of books and talked to many of my colleagues and posed the question to hundreds of my customers. The theories as to why people don't take action are many and varied. The three that make most sense to me are:
  1. Lack of Confidence: People who haven't yet been successful in life don't believe they can be, even if they are fully prepared to succeed.
  2. Fear of Pain: Some people see taking action as work and work as a form of pain. These are usually people who have never experienced the pleasure of working on something they value.
  3. Laziness: Besides the fear of work, human beings are programmed to be lazy. Being lazy means trying to get what you want with the least amount of effort. Some people don't take action because they want to find an easier way.
If these are the main reasons why so many people don't take action when they are ready, what is the solution?

There's no mystery to that. Behavioral scientists know that the way to change a person's behavior is by motivating them through positive reinforcement. This is what B.F. Skinner had to say about it in A Brief Survey of Operant Behavior:

"It has long been known that behavior is affected by its consequences. We reward and punish people, for example, so that they will behave in different ways. ...

Operant reinforcement not only shapes the topography of behavior, it maintains it in strength long after an operant has been formed. Schedules of reinforcement are important in maintaining behavior.

If a response has been reinforced for some time only once every five minutes, for example, the rat soon stops responding immediately after reinforcement but responds more and more rapidly as the time for the next reinforcement approaches. ...

Reinforcers may be positive or negative. A positive reinforcer reinforces when it is presented; a negative reinforcer reinforces when it is withdrawn. Negative reinforcement is not punishment. Reinforcers always strengthen behavior; that is what ‘reinforced' means."

Positive reinforcement is a big part of my life. I reward myself constantly and for almost any sort of accomplishment, big and small. By attaching rewards to my desired behavior, I increase the likelihood that I will repeat that behavior in the future.

When I "master planned" my life for the first time, I had to spend some time thinking about how to reward myself. I gave myself all sorts of incentives for all sorts of objectives. Some of them worked. Some of them didn't.

Some success coaches suggest big rewards for big accomplishments. You might, for example, reward yourself with a sports car when you make your first million dollars. Big goals like that never worked for me, because they were too far off in the future. What motivates me are short-term goals. And I have a feeling that short-term goals will be better for you, too.

Over the years, I developed a reward system that works very well for me. Here it is:
  1. As I mentioned earlier, when I complete a task on my daily task list, I cross it out (or change its color on my screen) to "signal" that I have accomplished it. This little gesture is like a tiny shot of adrenaline. It picks me up and gives me energy to attack my next objective.
  2. While working at the office, when my egg timer goes off, I get up from my chair, walk outside, and spend a minute or two stretching out my back. I've found that 30 to 60 minutes flies by – especially when I'm writing – and so these half-hour or hour-long periods seem very short.
  3. After I sprint in the morning, I reward myself with 10 to 15 minutes of yoga. Doing yoga might seem like more exercise to some, but to me it feels like a reward since it is so much more relaxing than sprinting.
  4. After training in Jiu Jitsu at noon, I treat myself with a tasty protein shake.
  5. At 6:30, I take my laptop to the cigar bar down the street, and work on my writing there for another hour or so. When I walk in, they have an espresso and water waiting for me. I look forward to this. I'm still doing work, but it's a reward because I'm doing it in a new place.
  6. After an hour of writing at the cigar bar, I reward myself by going home, breaking open a good bottle of wine, and having dinner with K.
  7. If I do any work in the evening, I reward myself afterward by reading a good book or watching a movie.
  8. I reward myself every evening by climbing into a great bed with silky sheets and a pillow that fits my head perfectly.
These rewards, as you can see, are pretty mundane. But that's the thing about rewards. They don't have to be big or even special. They need only be enjoyable.

It would be easy for me to consider these little things – the stretching, the protein shake, reading a good book – as simply an ordinary part of my ordinary day. But by looking at them differently, by seeing them as pleasurable rewards for specific, desired behavior, they motivate me.

I think that is the key – identifying little pleasures you already have in your life and using them as behavior-changing rewards. It's very easy to do once you recognize that these little pleasures are blessed gifts. Truly speaking, you are lucky to be able to enjoy them. Be happy about that. Use them pragmatically.

P.S. [Note from the original Editor: This essay is an excerpt from Michael Masterson's new book, The Pledge: Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life. The book, to be published by John Wiley and Sons, won't be released until November. But you can get an early look. And sign up to get first chance at buying The Pledge. Just go here, give us your e-mail address (so we can give you exclusive book updates and a special deal when the book is officially released), and you'll download an excerpt from The Pledge instantly.]

Monday, August 09, 2010

Random Thoughts - Indifference

(By Elie Wiesel)

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.

P.S. Elie Wiesel was a Romanian born American writer who was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind", noting that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel had delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Early To Rise - The Empty Restaurant

(By Michael Masterson)

Entering the piazza, we saw that we had the choice of four restaurants: one that was very busy, two that were moderately busy, and one that had just one couple sitting at a table in the back.

Which do you think we picked?

Here was our thought process:

We couldn't bring ourselves to consider the nearly empty restaurant. If it were any good, more than two people would have been eating there. We scratched that one.
Then there were the two that were half-filled. One had plastic chairs. That one was out. The other one was cute -- a contender.

So it was between that one and the crowded restaurant.

They both had attractive table settings. They had similar menus and pricing. There was no significant difference between the two except that one was crowded and the other wasn't.

In the less-crowded restaurant, the waiters would be less rushed, the kitchen less pressured. That being the case, we figured we would probably get better service.

But we also assumed that the crowded restaurant must have been crowded for a reason.

There was now only one table left. We grabbed it and felt lucky to be there.

How did we decide?

On the face of it, you might say we made a logical decision. But I don't think that's what we did. Our logic, such as it was, was more a rationalization of deep-seated impulses. Neurobiologists say that such impulses were implanted in the human brain millions of years ago.

If you want to be a master marketer, you must become an expert at understanding those impulses. Because when it comes to decision making, they are just as important as logic. Maybe more important.

In his classic work Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini showed how successful marketers play on these impulses to persuade prospects to buy.

When K and I made our decision, it involved some rational thought. But that rational thought supported what we knew, deep down inside, we already wanted to do.

Cialdini would say that our decision was based on a combination of "urgency" and conforming to "social proof."

And that's what I want to talk about today: why you need to include adequate urgency and social proof in your advertising efforts.

When we mention that Early to Rise has 400,000+ subscribers... or when McDonald's says they serve 52 million people around the world every day -- that's social proof.

Urgency you've seen during one-day sales or when a supermarket offers a specially priced item "as long as supplies last."

I have written about these concepts before. And I have coached a hundred writers about them. But I find that in many of the promotions I review, they are inadequately presented or absent entirely.

What's more disturbing to me, I have noticed that I sometimes neglect them myself when I write sales copy.

I'm taking the time to discuss them again today because I am guessing that you, too, may give social proof and urgency short shrift. If you do, your copy is not as strong as it could be. And I'm hoping to convince you to make it a habit to emphasize them in your marketing.

I'm also hoping that by writing this essay something will click in my calcified brain and I'll remember to employ them in all the marketing campaigns I work on in the future. That will be good for my clients... and it will beef up my consulting fees.

When K and walked into that plaza, we had only one piece of prior knowledge about those four restaurants. K had read that one of them was excellent. And so that was the one we meant to go to.

But guess what?

That was the restaurant that was nearly empty. Seeing it so -- surrounded by three restaurants that were doing good business -- gave us serious doubts.

The review K read had said the food was excellent but the pricing was a bit high. So why didn't they have more customers -- people like us who were willing to pay a little more for good food?

Since there was no one there but two people at a back table, we were scared to try it. Perhaps the management had changed since the review was written. Perhaps someone had died of ptomaine poisoning the night before. Who knew?

We had reliable evidence (the review) that the restaurant was good. But we ignored it because our instincts made us fearful.

Cialdini would have said that was the effect of social proof -- in this case, the negative social proof of its being nearly empty.

In his chapter on social proof, Cialdini says:

"The principle of social proof states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. The principle applies especially to the way we decide what constitutes correct behavior. We view behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it. Whether the question is what to do with an empty popcorn box in a movie theater, how fast to drive on a certain stretch of highway, or how to eat chicken at a dinner party, the actions of those around us will be important in defining the answer."

Cialdini cites a psychological study in which children with an extreme fear of dogs were cured of their phobia by watching a video of other children playing happily with dogs. After watching the video for just four days, for just 20 minutes each day, 67 percent of the children were able to interact comfortably with dogs. And the results didn't dissipate over time.

As examples of social proof in action, Cialdini also mentions canned laughter on TV sitcoms and the incessant naming of donors during public radio pledge drives.

Now consider how social proof might play out in an advertising campaign.

You are selling a product that happens to be very good. When you create the promotion for it, you say that it is good and you talk about its benefits for your prospects. But you provide no social proof.

Reading your promotion, the prospect is initially intrigued. But because there's a lack of social proof to back up your promises and claims, he doubts what you're telling him. He begins to read everything you have written as potential fluff. He wants to believe you (as all prospect do) but his inner brain (the part of the brain that controls emotional intelligence) is skeptical.

What does he conclude?

My guess: that you have given him no proof of your promises and claims because you have none. And if you have none, that must mean the product is unsatisfactory. So he decides not to buy from you. He has plenty of other similar offers to choose from.
Back to our restaurant experience...

We had eliminated the one restaurant that already had us sold because of a lack of social proof.

Now there were three to choose from. We eliminated the first one because of the plastic chairs. This, too, I would argue, was a decision based on emotional not rational intelligence. It's been our experience that a restaurateur who thinks a plastic chair is adequate is likely to be one who thinks mediocre food is adequate.

So then it was down to two: one half-filled and the other nearly full.

Both could have had great food. We could have asked people dining there what they thought of it -- thus gathering social proof ourselves. But the restaurant that was nearly full was filling up fast. There were a half dozen other couples milling around. If we took too long to make our decision, we wouldn't have the option of choosing the busiest one. So we opted for that and took the one remaining table.

What, then, was behind our final choice?

It was "scarcity" -- one of the factors that creates a feeling of urgency. The fact that there was only one table left made us worry that we would miss out. So we yielded not to logic but to an instinct we had that scarcity equals value.

Again, from Cialdini:

"The idea of potential loss plays a larger role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. For instance, homeowners told how much money they could lose from inadequate insulation are more likely to insulate their homes than those told how much money they could save.

Collectors of everything from baseball cards to antiques are keenly aware of the influence of the scarcity principle in determining the worth of an item. As a rule, if it is rare or becoming rare, it is more valuable."

To illustrate the impact of scarcity, Cialdini cites a study in which the owner of a beef-importing business uses one of three prepared sales pitches with his regular customers, wholesale buyers for supermarkets: (1) his standard sales pitch; (2) his standard sales pitch with a bit of information about an upcoming shortage of imported beef in the next few months; or (3) both of the above, as well as an aside that this information about the shortage was not well-known.

The buyers given the second version of the sales pitch bought twice as much as those given the standard spiel. And the third group bought six times as much.

After ordering our meal, we asked our waitress why our first-choice restaurant was empty. (It was now completely empty.) We expected to have our suspicions confirmed -- that since that glowing review was published, something had changed. But that is not what she told us.

She said, "I don't know. But that's the way it goes here. One night we are very busy and the next night it is someplace else."

"What do you think accounts for it?" I asked.

"The one that gets the earliest customers usually is the one that fills up," she said.

So there it was.

Our first choice probably had the best food, but it was now empty because everybody but one couple had come to the same conclusion we had. Like us, they probably made a decision based first on a lack of social proof and second on a feeling of urgency created by scarcity.

If I were the proprietor of any of those four competing restaurants I'd make sure that my place was always full by doing three things. First I would rope off all of the back tables and leave them unset.
  1. Then I'd let my regular customers know that if they came by early in the evening, they could eat for half price.
  2. And then, as the tables started to fill up, I'd gradually open up more by moving back the rope.
By taking advantage of the principles of social proof and scarcity, I would ensure that my restaurant would attract a continuous stream of customers.

As expert marketers we have an obligation to do the same with our advertisements.

We must, of course, make sure that every promise and claim we make is backed up with factual proof -- the results of scientific studies, statistics, that sort of thing.

But we must provide social proof as well. That would include endorsements by trusted authorities and testimonials from satisfied users.

And don't forget urgency. Urgency can be created in many ways in an ad -- but the strongest way is based on scarcity. You must let the prospect know that if he wants the product you are offering at the price you are offering, he must act now.

So there you have it: two extremely important advertising principles. Make yourself a promise that you will pay them heed. I am making that promise to myself as I write this.

P.S. Additional Notes from the Editor: Social proof, urgency, and scarcity are key psychological motivators that every marketer must understand. But you can't fake them in your advertising. They must be real or they won't be believed. And they won't work if you don't "back them up" with: Quality products desired by the market
  1. A way to build your customer list
  2. Procedures for testing products, marketing channels, and advertising messages
  3. Good copy that stirs buyer emotions
And the list goes on...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Healing with Gratitude

(By Norma Gentile)

It is very hard to project Gratitude or send Gratitude. When you are in a state of feeling Gratitude, it is simply a way of being. Part of that state of Gratitude is not projecting your own or any other energies outwardly, but rather feeling your own world inwardly.

It very difficult to give away or force upon someone the energy of Gratitude. The true sensation of Gratitude brings you to rest. It brings you into your body, and so into the center of your world.

Having Gratitude for something or someone requires that you first be in relationship to yourself. When we are more deeply in relationship to ourselves we are much less apt to try to extinguish what we perceive as external fires with our own personal energies.

Within a state of Gratitude, we are more able to sustain neutrality towards the buffeting winds of change and the incessant demands of external voices for our attention. And within our personal state of Gratitude, the simple solutions provided by the consciousnesses with whom we share our world become more audible to us. Problem solving becomes a group process, not an individual undertaking.

We see the larger picture provided by Spirit only when we cease focusing solely on the problem.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inner-Ease™ Technique

(By Doc Childre)

(1) If you are stressed, acknowledge your feelings as soon as you sense that you are out of sync or engaged in common stressors— feelings such as frustration, impatience, anxiety, overload, anger, being judgmental, mentally gridlocked, etc.

(2) Take a short time out and do heart-focused breathing: breathe a little slower than usual; pretend you are breathing through your heart or chest area.

(This is proven to help create coherent wave patterns in your heart rhythm—which helps restore balance and calm in your mental and emotional nature while activating the affirming power of your heart.)

(3) During the heart-focused breathing, imagine with each breath that you are drawing in a feeling of inner-ease and infusing your mental and emotional nature with balance and self-care from your heart.

It’s scientifically proven that radiating love and self-care through your system activates beneficial hormones and boosts your immunity. Practicing will increase your awareness of when the stressful emotion has calmed into a state of ease. The mind and emotions operate on a vibrational level. Slowing down the stressful vibration helps re-establish the cooperation and balance between heart, mind and emotions.

(Like an old electric fan that rattles until you turn it to a slower speed, which often quiets and restores the unbalanced vibration.)

(4) When the stressful feelings have calmed, affirm with a heartfelt commitment that you want to anchor and maintain the state of ease as you re-engage in your projects, challenges or daily interactions.

P.S. Doc Childre is the Chairman of the Global Coherence Initiative ("GCI") Steering Committee and founder of the Institute of HeartMath®, a nonprofit research and education organization which is a recognized global leader in researching emotional physiology, heart-brain interactions and the physiology of optimal health and performance. Doc Childre is the global authority on optimizing human performance and personal effectiveness as well as the originator of the HeartMath System® of practical, heart-based tools and technologies designed to help people of all ages and walks of life to reduce stress, improve performance and enhance health and well-being.

The GCI in turn is a science-based initiative uniting millions of people in heart-focused care and intention, to shift global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace. This project has been launched by the Institute of HeartMath® and is designed to help individuals and groups work together, synchronistically and strategically to increase the impact of their efforts to create positive global change.

The Inner-Ease™ Technique can be found in "State Of Ease", which is a freely distributed article in pdf form at the following site:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Random Thoughts: Propaganda

(By Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany)

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

N.B. I am posting a topic which is rather negative for once. But regardless of how much we dislike acknowledging the truth behind this, the reality of the case is that as, Joseph Goebbels said, "the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over". Have you ever had the experience of totally disliking a song the very first time you heard it over radio, but gradually began to accept and even like the song as it was played incessantly over and over again? How many other times have we begun to accept mere opinions and suggestions as truths which are then ingrained into our value and belief systems by virtue of the fact that they were drummed constantly into our consciousness?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

EARTH: Grounding Yourself through Joy and Creativity

(Earth as channeled by Pamela Kribbe)

Dear friends,

I am the voice of the earth. I salute you all in joy. It warms my heart to experience your presence and openness towards me. I long to connect with you. We are meant to develop together and jointly walk the road to a different, new world.

I would like to take you back to the very origin of our mutual connection and cooperation. I am a living creature. I am a conscious being who has received you here on the planet in very ancient times. I was receptive to your arrival here on earth and wanted to learn and grow through your presence. You are not from the earth, you come from the stars. You carry a light within that is new and inspiring to earth and all the realms of nature here. Let me explain.

As a planet I absorb light from the outside. The light of the sun warms me and helps me bring forth life on the planet. I am inspired by the great force of the sun and I need it to create and sustain physical life on my skin. The sun is a star. You are representatives of the sun. You carry star light within your soul and bring this light to earth as you are born here.

What was the meaning of this light descending on earth? What was the intention behind your coming? You are here to bring the light of consciousness to me and all of the realms of nature. You are here to awaken us to inner life. Whereas the physical sun helps me to create and sustain physical life on earth, your star light helps me to evolve at an inner level, to grow in consciousness.

To offer a simple illustration of this principle, think of what happens when you hold a flower in your hand and look at it in awe and admiration. You see the exquisite beauty of the flower; you sense its purity, marvel at the colours and enjoy the scent. The flower itself is not aware of its beauty; the flower is simply being itself. But because of your admiration, your presence, your consciousness enveloping the flower, something awakens inside it. She will start to experience itself as something beautiful and valuable. She enjoys your attention and a spark of soul light is awakened in her.

You will see that plants and flowers you give conscious attention to, simply by enjoying them and caring for them, will grow more abundantly, have more life force and develop stronger roots into the earth. You are creators. By your thoughts, intentions and self-consciousness you are able to add life force and creative power to living nature on earth. This is exactly what nature longs to receive from you. All the realms of nature seek to grow in self-awareness, to reach out to the stars, make the connection and absorb star light within.

Think of the animals you keep in and around your house, your pets. So many of you have a special bond with them. Whenever you enter into an intimate relationship with an animal, you receive their unconditional love and loyalty. The animal however also receives something back from you. The animal is touched by your human presence, and the particular type of consciousness that belongs to humans. Your presence lights a spark of consciousness in their being and it helps them evolve in their evolution towards greater self-consciousness.

Everything in the universe is growing and evolving towards self-consciousness. Self-consciousness brings one closer to awareness of one’s own divinity, one’s indestructible light and creative power. Everything in the universe gradually grows towards a state of consciousness in which it realizes: I am part of God. I am Creator myself. To celebrate your divine creatorship and handle it with responsibility is the purpose of creation.

You are creators, and you as souls have come to earth to learn to deal with your creative powers in a conscious and responsible way. As creators, you are meant to contribute to my evolution, and to inspire the realms of nature which in turn provide you with many services and blessings on the material and ethereal levels. When you look at the current condition of the planet, it is hard to perceive there was once an original intention for a mutual cooperation between you and the planet.

Things have not worked out as planned and many would say things have gone wrong. In this moment however, I ask you to remember your original excitement to embark upon our mutual adventure. Your loving intention is still alive within your heart, even if you notice all around that humanity has used her creative powers unwisely and has damaged earth because of it. Humanity has veered off its course, taken a detour, one might say.

Originally, you came down to earth from a great source of Light, like angel-children. You were innocent and pure, but as your journey progressed, you were led astray. Humanity came to a point at which it refused to cooperate with the forces of nature, and instead placed itself in opposition to nature. Humanity then lost its connection and roots into the greater whole. Out of fear, people sought to gain power over others and over nature, in order to secure a place for themselves on earth. One could say a fall from Paradise took place. Where you had originally intended to serve life on earth, to nurture and inspire it with your creative powers, you now experienced the opposite. In the present, you see what happens when nature is not recognised anymore as a living partner in creation.

Humanity’s lack of respect for nature and the planet deeply saddens many of you reading this. There is sadness in me too about all that has happened. The realms of nature, both animal, plant and rock, have absorbed part of the darkness and negativity spread by humanity. They have experienced in their own way a sense of abandonment, a crack in the all-pervading sense of oneness that once was.

Yet, in the very heart of me, there is lasting love and compassion for all of you, and I ask you to also feel compassion for yourself and the whole of humanity. You are involved in a grand learning process. In any such process it is inevitable that mistakes are made. It is part of growing and learning that you embark on detours and dead-ends.

In this age, the collective consciousness of humanity is changing. There are more and more people nowadays, who carry in their heart a remembrance of the original bond between man and nature. They have a silent awareness of the true and blessed relationship that humans are meant to enter into with me, their home planet. Feel again, how deeply you are connected with my being.

I love you so. You are my angels of light, and still my faith in you has not withered. I ask you to acknowledge me and allow my energy to pour through you again. I am a living partner walking right beside you on your path of incarnation on earth. By connecting yourself more intimately with me, by grounding yourself more, you bring your star light deep into the material realm. You let it shine and radiate and that will bring the changes on earth so direly needed right now. By connecting to me from the heart, your true self will come out. Every human being has a unique contribution to make to this grand adventure. Your unique gift inspires me, adds life force to nature and inspires other people as well.

What is grounding about?

I would like to say some more on the meaning of grounding. What does it mean to be connected to earth, to be grounded? Being grounded means: being present in your body, being able to feel your body from the inside out, feeling the flow of life in every part, from your head to your toes to your fingertips. Check for yourself if you can experience this flow. Can you simply feel your fingertips at this moment? Your toes? Can you feel the life inside of it?

Being grounded means that you anchor your star light, your soul light, deep into matter. The part of the material world closest to you is your body. The cells and molecules of your body are open to receive your light, your soul. You are the sun for your own body. Your consciousness makes your body alive and endows it with healing power, life force and vitality. The anchoring of your soul into your body gives you the strength to fulfil your truest desires in life. Be aware of your creative power. The more you anchor it into your body, the more you truly incarnate on earth and create the changes in your life that you long for.

When you are grounded, you feel clear and quiet. You are open to your soul’s inspiration and at the same time you are connected to all that happens around you in everyday life. Making the bridge between cosmos and earth, feeling that connection, is what it means to be grounded.

Many of you carry your soul light in the upper half of your body, around your heart and head. You find it difficult to let it truly descend into the lower part of your body, your belly, legs and feet. One reason why this is hard for you is fear of your own greatness. You have fear of being the radiant angel and star that you are and to make a difference in the world. This fear is old and its roots extend further than only this lifetime. In the past, you have incarnated on earth many times and you have often felt unwelcome. You are all in the process of healing this old pain.

I will suggest two ways of grounding yourself and feeling that you are indeed welcome on earth, in your greatness, your creative power and your divinity.

Grounding yourself through joy

The first way is through enjoyment. You are really not used to enjoying. Enjoying what? Everything you can experience on earth. Your body offers many possibilities for enjoyment, but many of these have been deemed sinful or inferior in your culture. Enjoying the movements of the body, the sunshine on your skin, eating and drinking, the warm touch of another. Being able to enjoy this has to do with being able to truly receive. Why is this difficult for you?

Many of you feel there is something wrong with you, that you are somehow not right the way you are. You feel you have to achieve and work hard in order to receive acknowledgement and appraisal. This is a silly idea, seen from the perspective of nature. Have you ever seen a wild animal work hard to gain recognition? Well no, the animal simply is and takes its right to be for granted, not as something it must deserve. The animal is able to enjoy without reserve the sun, the food, a water bath, the seasons and natural rhythms of life.

You are all invited to receive and to experience yourself as a divine being who is allowed to receive simply because of who you are. You are invited to enjoy the simple things life in a body has to offer you. Receiving seems to be easy, but it is not. It requires a deep level of self love, a deep recognition and appreciation of who you are. Dare to reach out to that level of self love. Choose one moment every day, in which you ask yourself what you can do for yourself now that truly pleasures and fulfills you. What do you really feel like having or doing? Then do it. Do it for you, because you honour yourself and because you are here on earth to enjoy yourself.

When you truly enjoy, whatever it is, without guilt or shame, you are grounded. You are completely present in the now moment and all is well. There are no thoughts of the past or the future. Enjoying is being in the now, fully grounded.

Grounding yourself through creativity

There is a second way of becoming more firmly connected to earth, more grounded. It is the way of creativity. This is what you are made for. Every human has a natural longing to express themselves, to manifest themselves in the world. This has nothing to do with achieving fame or success in society. Rather, it has to do with finding a way of expressing yourself that gives you real satisfaction. It may be the case that raising a family deeply fulfills you, or that leading a company inspires you. Perhaps caring for animals in some way is your heart’s desire, or it may be a type of artistic expression that feels natural to you. Every soul longs to express itself in some manner. The moment you answer to that longing, you feel fulfilled. The moment you allow the natural creativity inside to unfold, you feel “yes, this is me, this is how my energy wants to flow”.

In that moment, your soul connects to the heart of earth, the heart of this reality. It is important to find out what you truly long for in your life and to make room for the creative flow inside you. This is where your divine essence touches earth and finds material form.

Now, I would like to impress on you that you should really stand up for yourselves a bit more in this respect. Many of you suppress your impulses to do what your heart desires. So often you think of ‘how you should behave’, what is expected of you, your duties and responsibilities. In that way you will not find the key to the unfolding of your creative power. Your creative power speaks to you from your belly, from your gut. It is not concerned with all the limiting rules and obligations that you have internalized. Break free from this! Feel the fountain of fire and passion springing from your belly, and let it flow freely. Sparkles of light will find their way from your belly, to your heart, from the inside to the outside, and you will express yourself in your own original way on earth. You will see that your creativity will touch other people and that it will make them joyful and inspired. Following your passion and desire has a much more positive effect on the world than virtuously doing what you’ve been told and forcing yourself to comply with limiting rules and structures.

This is a time of change. It is a time to be brave and take risks, to hear the voice of your heart and act according to it in all areas of your life. By truly surrendering yourself to your heart’s guidance, you dig your roots deep into earth, and you start to feel that life here is truly worth living.

Full circle

The first way of grounding yourself was to enjoy and receive. This is an ingoing flow. The second way is about an outgoing flow: creating and giving. By creating from the heart, you give yourself to the world. Receiving and giving, enjoying and creating, together make a full circle. It is a healing circle.

The more you dare to enjoy and find yourself worthy to receive, the more you connect with your natural inspiration, the energy you are meant to share with this world. And as this flow of inspiration becomes stronger and finds a creative form in the world, the more you enjoy the love and joy that will befall you on your path. The flows of giving and receiving, creating and enjoying, mutually reinforce each other.

I, the earth, benefit from this healing circle of receiving and giving. In this flowing, dynamic circle, I am working with you. It is my desire to nurture and stimulate your divine creative power, this unique sparkle in you. Human beings who have developed the capacity to enjoy and create, will naturally enter into a different connection with earth. They will be aware of their greatness, their divine nature, and for that very reason understand also that they are held and carried by a force of Life that connects all beings together. Experiencing your own greatness goes hand in hand with a sense of smallness, the realisation of your embeddedness in the great web of life that sustains you. Humans who honour and respect themselves, naturally cooperate with their living environment, other humans, animals, plants, all of nature. Knowing your greatness goes together with recognising your place in the larger whole, and deriving joy from the part you play in it.

A journey to the New Earth

In closing, I would like to ask you to travel with me to the future, to a new earth. Imagine that the evolution we are now in together has progressed a few steps further. I am myself evolving towards a more expanded self-awareness. This new awareness has been awakened inside me, urged by both the good and the bad times on earth. I am becoming more self-conscious and creative in my being. There’s a longing in my heart for a reality in which humanity and earth reinstate their original bond of love and companionship. A new earth on which we joyfully cooperate and I am again inspired by your love and thoughtful attention, while I provide you with all that you need, living in a physical body and attuned to the rhythm of nature.

Imagine this new earth that you all so long for, present in the now moment. In our hearts it is already alive, as a seed. Let us nurture this seed with consciousness and have it sprout in our imagination. See yourself living on this new earth. What is the first thing you notice? Humans are living in harmony with nature here. Technology is used to support nature rather than manipulate it. See whether you can find yourself a house on this new earth. There is a place and a community there in which you feel like you belong. Let your imagination guide you, and feel no restrictions. Where do you live on this new earth? Can you find a natural surrounding in which you feel comfortable? Feel the climate, feel the ease and simplicity of life there. Life is pure and simple there, as it is meant to be.

Now take a look at what kind of work you do. Work means anything that inspires you and gives you a sense of fulfilment. What are you doing? You probably live in a small community of kindred spirits and you do exactly what your soul inspires you to do. What form does your creativity take?

When you see or feel this, know that your soul is speaking to you in the present. What you are seeing is something that you long to do right now, and something you can do right now, if only you trust and dare to be who you are. This is the work of your heart.

Now in this imagination of the new earth, feel also what it is you truly enjoy. Let your inner eye provide you with a situation in which you truly enjoy yourself and receive something from what earth has to offer you. Let an image of what that is spontaneously well up in your mind. What is it that truly makes you feel: all is well and I am content.

Feel the flow of giving and receiving in this place, this new reality. And hold on to it when we go back to the present.

Earth is in a transition stage and the more people remember what their inspiration is, what they are here to give and to receive, the sooner the new earth will become a reality. It is you who will give birth to this reality. I thank you for this and I find joy in your presence.

© Pamela Kribbe 2010