Thursday, 30 September 2010

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 4 of 6)


[4] Protecting yourself and your possessions: the principle applies to physical and digital protection. For instance, if your house is located in an isolated area, you should invest in a state-of-the-art security system. If you are going to place your savings on a bank account, you should select a financial institution that offers a high level of internet security.

Do not assume that someone else has your protection as first priority. If you can benefit from security provided by third parties, be thankful for it, but stay alert nonetheless. Saving money in the field of personal protection can be counter-productive. If necessary, be ready to overpay in this area.

[5] Accelerated learning of new skills: specialized expertise is expensive, in particular if you need to acquire it quickly. However, if you have the possibility to get your dream job on the condition that you learn a new language, you should be willing to invest a good part of your savings in accelerated learning.

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ricardo.martins under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 4 of 6)


[4] Protecting yourself and your possessions: the principle applies to physical and digital protection. For instance, if your house is located in an isolated area, you should invest in a state-of-the-art security system. If you are going to place your savings on a bank account, you should select a financial institution that offers a high level of internet security.

Do not assume that someone else has your protection as first priority. If you can benefit from security provided by third parties, be thankful for it, but stay alert nonetheless. Saving money in the field of personal protection can be counter-productive. If necessary, be ready to overpay in this area.

[5] Accelerated learning of new skills: specialized expertise is expensive, in particular if you need to acquire it quickly. However, if you have the possibility to get your dream job on the condition that you learn a new language, you should be willing to invest a good part of your savings in accelerated learning.

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ricardo.martins under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 3 of 6)


If your insurance does not cover a vital treatment, figure out how you can pay for it yourself. If necessary, liquidate your investments and sell your house. Even if you have to cross the ocean, you should go to see the best doctors. The purpose of frugality in trivial purchases is to allow you to overspend when the need arises.

[3] Correcting critical mistakes: if you are in business or professional practice, a time will come when you will commit an important error. Those who take initiative inevitably make mistakes, since those constitute an essential ingredient of success.

Having committed a serious error represents the type of situation for which you want to keep sufficient financial reserves. Acknowledge the problem and find out how you can fix it. Be willing to overpay for a quick solution that puts an end to the story. That will be money well spent. Learn your lesson and move on to the next project.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Rene Ehrhardt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 3 of 6)


If your insurance does not cover a vital treatment, figure out how you can pay for it yourself. If necessary, liquidate your investments and sell your house. Even if you have to cross the ocean, you should go to see the best doctors. The purpose of frugality in trivial purchases is to allow you to overspend when the need arises.

[3] Correcting critical mistakes: if you are in business or professional practice, a time will come when you will commit an important error. Those who take initiative inevitably make mistakes, since those constitute an essential ingredient of success.

Having committed a serious error represents the type of situation for which you want to keep sufficient financial reserves. Acknowledge the problem and find out how you can fix it. Be willing to overpay for a quick solution that puts an end to the story. That will be money well spent. Learn your lesson and move on to the next project.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Rene Ehrhardt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 2 of 6)


[1] Acquiring long-term assets that generate revenue: the principle applies equally to real estate, company shares, or annuities. Choose high quality even if you have to pay more. In the long-term, prime properties will earn you more money and spare you preoccupations.

When buying a house, be willing to increase your budget in exchange for a better location. When investing in the stock market, select shares of well-managed companies with a long history of profitable operations. In those cases, you will eventually be glad that you agreed to pay more initially.

[2] Solving serious health problems: any doctor can help you cure a common cold. You do not need to pay extra money to address a minor sickness whose treatment offers little difficulty. On the other hand, if you are severely ill, you should be willing to spend as much as necessary to recover your health.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by dalbera under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 2 of 6)


[1] Acquiring long-term assets that generate revenue: the principle applies equally to real estate, company shares, or annuities. Choose high quality even if you have to pay more. In the long-term, prime properties will earn you more money and spare you preoccupations.

When buying a house, be willing to increase your budget in exchange for a better location. When investing in the stock market, select shares of well-managed companies with a long history of profitable operations. In those cases, you will eventually be glad that you agreed to pay more initially.

[2] Solving serious health problems: any doctor can help you cure a common cold. You do not need to pay extra money to address a minor sickness whose treatment offers little difficulty. On the other hand, if you are severely ill, you should be willing to spend as much as necessary to recover your health.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by dalbera under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 27 September 2010

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 1 of 6)


Frugality enables a better life by allowing you to choose. Instead of spending your resources on everyday consumption, you can decide when it is opportune to make extra expenditures. Normality seldom justifies extra expense, but sooner or later, everybody faces a difficult period that demands extraordinary exertions.

If you acquire sensible financial habits, you will be able to accumulate savings to cushion adversity and misfortune. However, a judicious management of your resources should not entail counter-productive economies. What you want is to apply your financial reserves to those areas where they are most needed.

In general terms, there are six situations where you should gladly overpay, namely, to acquire long-term assets that generate revenue, to solve serious health problems, to correct critical mistakes, to protect yourself and your possessions, to learn new skills at great speed, and to obtain performance guarantees. Let us review these points one by one.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Tony the Misfit under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Six situations where you should gladly overpay (Part 1 of 6)


Frugality enables a better life by allowing you to choose. Instead of spending your resources on everyday consumption, you can decide when it is opportune to make extra expenditures. Normality seldom justifies extra expense, but sooner or later, everybody faces a difficult period that demands extraordinary exertions.

If you acquire sensible financial habits, you will be able to accumulate savings to cushion adversity and misfortune. However, a judicious management of your resources should not entail counter-productive economies. What you want is to apply your financial reserves to those areas where they are most needed.

In general terms, there are six situations where you should gladly overpay, namely, to acquire long-term assets that generate revenue, to solve serious health problems, to correct critical mistakes, to protect yourself and your possessions, to learn new skills at great speed, and to obtain performance guarantees. Let us review these points one by one.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Tony the Misfit under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The only type of motivation you need


Most business books revolve around a single idea that is presented from different angles. The same goes for many scientific essays, which tend to be longer, but contain few new ideas. Occasionally, hundreds of pages will be devoted to justifying points which readers might find self-evident.

Darwin's volume on the origin of species was the result of ten years of study and reflection. He actually wrote several outlines before he got down to drafting the book itself. The text, which you will need hours to read, contains dozens of elaborate descriptions and examples. Nonetheless, the message of the book can be summarized on a single page.

My message is not a call for brevity, but for realism. There is a reason why apparently simple ideas require a long exposition. Authors of those books are, for the most part, neither foolish nor focused on selling overblown banalities. Certainly, that was not the case of Charles Darwin.

A high dose of realism is the rationale for the extensive treatment of subjects. On the same grounds, engineers take safety margins when they design a new bridge, a ship, or an aeroplane. The truth known by every conscientious professional is that failure lurks around every corner. For sculptors, poets, and performers of all sorts, failure is called rejection.

Romantic movies paint situations where chance aligns all factors for success. A happy end ensues as protagonists collect their dues without effort and against all odds. Fiction of the worst kind renders credibility to fantasy, leading readers to feel dejected by reality and disappointed by life. This is something that you want to avoid.

You will much better off if you face obstacles using reason and experience as your allies. This is what skilled entrepreneurs do. Whether you take up playing golf or acting, you'd better prepare yourself for strenuous practice and open criticism.

In difficult undertakings, your efforts might remain only moderately effective for an extended period of time and rightly so. Lengthy expositions acknowledge the fact that even simple ideas will be misunderstood by many people. TV advertisers address their commercials to millions, knowing that the great majority won't buy their products.

The rule of the world is that most things won't work and that most attempts won't result in success. Rejection and miscommunication are not exceptions, but everyday events. Face negative results and use wisdom to deal with them. Great ambitions are never easily accomplished. Achieving them requires effort and patience. Those two are the elements you need. Take both and move on.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Per Ola Wiberg under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The only type of motivation you need


Most business books revolve around a single idea that is presented from different angles. The same goes for many scientific essays, which tend to be longer, but contain few new ideas. Occasionally, hundreds of pages will be devoted to justifying points which readers might find self-evident.

Darwin's volume on the origin of species was the result of ten years of study and reflection. He actually wrote several outlines before he got down to drafting the book itself. The text, which you will need hours to read, contains dozens of elaborate descriptions and examples. Nonetheless, the message of the book can be summarized on a single page.

My message is not a call for brevity, but for realism. There is a reason why apparently simple ideas require a long exposition. Authors of those books are, for the most part, neither foolish nor focused on selling overblown banalities. Certainly, that was not the case of Charles Darwin.

A high dose of realism is the rationale for the extensive treatment of subjects. On the same grounds, engineers take safety margins when they design a new bridge, a ship, or an aeroplane. The truth known by every conscientious professional is that failure lurks around every corner. For sculptors, poets, and performers of all sorts, failure is called rejection.

Romantic movies paint situations where chance aligns all factors for success. A happy end ensues as protagonists collect their dues without effort and against all odds. Fiction of the worst kind renders credibility to fantasy, leading readers to feel dejected by reality and disappointed by life. This is something that you want to avoid.

You will much better off if you face obstacles using reason and experience as your allies. This is what skilled entrepreneurs do. Whether you take up playing golf or acting, you'd better prepare yourself for strenuous practice and open criticism.

In difficult undertakings, your efforts might remain only moderately effective for an extended period of time and rightly so. Lengthy expositions acknowledge the fact that even simple ideas will be misunderstood by many people. TV advertisers address their commercials to millions, knowing that the great majority won't buy their products.

The rule of the world is that most things won't work and that most attempts won't result in success. Rejection and miscommunication are not exceptions, but everyday events. Face negative results and use wisdom to deal with them. Great ambitions are never easily accomplished. Achieving them requires effort and patience. Those two are the elements you need. Take both and move on.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Per Ola Wiberg under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The link between consistency and psychological well-being


Energy is used most effectively when applied to a specific goal. Gasoline engines propel cars, but little is achieved by pouring fuel on the ground and setting it on fire. When coal stoves were around, most preferred to heat one room in the house well rather than all rooms badly.

Nature demands neither concentration nor disaggregation of resources. Rivers that run in the same direction might merge their flows, but frequently, they don't. During a fire in the savannah, animals perfectly capable of running alone, join elephants in a stampede and get crushed every bone.

The capacity to determine goals and assess alternatives is uniquely human. Everyday, we make choices, hour by hour, selecting on each occasion the most advantageous option amongst the countless offered by life.

In order to reduce complexity, we try to automatize as many decisions as possible. When we drive to work, we usually take the same road. When we go out for dinner with friends, we often go to the same restaurant.

Routine works fine to get repetitive tasks done, but it cannot be trusted for life's fundamental choices. A woman seldom falls in love with a man just because he happens to be her neighbour. Students rarely decide to study medicine just because their dorm lies next to a hospital.

Making the right choices and following them through leads to happiness, barring cases of extreme bad luck and catastrophes. Who knows what he wants from life, has no difficulty making decisions. If consequences prove disappointing, he will simply rectify his mistake and move on.

On the other hand, deciding on fundamental matters is hard for those who lack a clear vision of the future. Confronted with a multiplicity of paths, pilgrims always know what to ask, which is, for random walkers, an impossible task.

Unmade choices have devastating results. Anxiety and diffuse fear reign in the realm where all things are relative. Energy is consumed by doubt and half-hearted actions, wasted throughout. Without goals, there is no focus; without consistency, no resiliency to withstand even minor adversities.

Man needs stable convictions and non-contradictory personal objectives in order to live his days to the fullest. Otherwise, psychological disintegration will soon put an end to his every aspiration.

Sound design and dependable workmanship keep buildings in good shape for decades. Consistency of purpose provides the structure for a lifetime of happiness. Against tornadoes, wise men put up concrete walls; against indecision, long-term goals.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Shadowgate under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The link between consistency and psychological well-being


Energy is used most effectively when applied to a specific goal. Gasoline engines propel cars, but little is achieved by pouring fuel on the ground and setting it on fire. When coal stoves were around, most preferred to heat one room in the house well rather than all rooms badly.

Nature demands neither concentration nor disaggregation of resources. Rivers that run in the same direction might merge their flows, but frequently, they don't. During a fire in the savannah, animals perfectly capable of running alone, join elephants in a stampede and get crushed every bone.

The capacity to determine goals and assess alternatives is uniquely human. Everyday, we make choices, hour by hour, selecting on each occasion the most advantageous option amongst the countless offered by life.

In order to reduce complexity, we try to automatize as many decisions as possible. When we drive to work, we usually take the same road. When we go out for dinner with friends, we often go to the same restaurant.

Routine works fine to get repetitive tasks done, but it cannot be trusted for life's fundamental choices. A woman seldom falls in love with a man just because he happens to be her neighbour. Students rarely decide to study medicine just because their dorm lies next to a hospital.

Making the right choices and following them through leads to happiness, barring cases of extreme bad luck and catastrophes. Who knows what he wants from life, has no difficulty making decisions. If consequences prove disappointing, he will simply rectify his mistake and move on.

On the other hand, deciding on fundamental matters is hard for those who lack a clear vision of the future. Confronted with a multiplicity of paths, pilgrims always know what to ask, which is, for random walkers, an impossible task.

Unmade choices have devastating results. Anxiety and diffuse fear reign in the realm where all things are relative. Energy is consumed by doubt and half-hearted actions, wasted throughout. Without goals, there is no focus; without consistency, no resiliency to withstand even minor adversities.

Man needs stable convictions and non-contradictory personal objectives in order to live his days to the fullest. Otherwise, psychological disintegration will soon put an end to his every aspiration.

Sound design and dependable workmanship keep buildings in good shape for decades. Consistency of purpose provides the structure for a lifetime of happiness. Against tornadoes, wise men put up concrete walls; against indecision, long-term goals.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Shadowgate under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 24 September 2010

The most frequent mistake in dating and how to avoid it


We can learn a great deal from History. The details in old stories awake our curiosity. Knowing what has happened in the past gives us perspective. Trying to figure out explanations renders us thoughtful; comparing sources, insightful. Theories unconfirmed by facts prompt a man to stop, not to move. Doubts make us reflect and yearn for proof.

Giacomo Casanova's autobiography is an outstanding literary achievement that has elevated its author to the prototype of perfect seducer. Few novels or essays have equalled his vivid depiction of the best and worst in human nature. His portrayal of vanity and foolishness has remained fresh through the centuries, providing evidence of how little the world has changed.

Does Casanova's romantic advice still apply in the age of instant messaging and on-line dating? Are there practical lessons that we can draw from his experience? Would Casanova (1725-1798) have proven an effective seducer also in the era of mobile phones and blogs?

My answer might surprise you, but I am convinced that on-line dating would have not modified Casanova's results. His story would have been repeated, sequence by sequence, only faster. He would have become extremely successful in the short term, but eventually, as it did happen, he would have ended up in loneliness and financial ruin.

Despite the fact that Casanova was not particularly handsome, we can be sure that, if he lived today, he would have placed a fantastic photo on his internet dating profile. Through clever grooming, lighting, and composition, he would have managed to portray himself as irresistible.

Most people who date on-line don't take the trouble to do that, since they prefer to be themselves. They opt for looking as they usually do even if that makes them less popular.

The text of Casanova's internet dating profile would have been well crafted. Most likely, he would not have mentioned many details about himself. Instead, he would have written what potential romantic partners want to hear. His internet chatting would have consisted of witty and flattering remarks. Empty words are as effective with the foolish today as they were two centuries ago.

We can also be sure that, in his internet dating, Casanova would have remained a relentless liar driven by short-term benefits. In the 18th century, he was a manipulator bent on immediate action. His tactics consisted of assailing preys with flowers and jewellery until the battle was won.

Would he have found contemporary romantic films too slow? Possibly. The real Casanova was as fast in charging as he was in retreating. His objective was to win and deplete the confidence of his victims. His effectiveness was measured in days. His purpose would not accept any delays. Even in the worst of times, few men possess Casanova's callousness.

Finally, we can also assume that Casanova's house of cards would have inevitably collapsed in a contemporary context. Romantic attraction without substance can never be sustained for long. If we trust literature and History, human nature has not fundamentally changed in this respect.

Extreme short-term orientation involves high psychological costs and deprives man of the possibility of attaining real affection. Being focused only on immediate benefits starves the spirit and destroys the soul.

Looking for a life's partner is an exercise in self-knowledge which needs just the time it takes. Remain true to your rational nature and learn from Casanova's mistakes. Discard a short-term approach to human relationships. It generates disproportionate costs and inevitably results in failure.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by cliff1066 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The most frequent mistake in dating and how to avoid it


We can learn a great deal from History. The details in old stories awake our curiosity. Knowing what has happened in the past gives us perspective. Trying to figure out explanations renders us thoughtful; comparing sources, insightful. Theories unconfirmed by facts prompt a man to stop, not to move. Doubts make us reflect and yearn for proof.

Giacomo Casanova's autobiography is an outstanding literary achievement that has elevated its author to the prototype of perfect seducer. Few novels or essays have equalled his vivid depiction of the best and worst in human nature. His portrayal of vanity and foolishness has remained fresh through the centuries, providing evidence of how little the world has changed.

Does Casanova's romantic advice still apply in the age of instant messaging and on-line dating? Are there practical lessons that we can draw from his experience? Would Casanova (1725-1798) have proven an effective seducer also in the era of mobile phones and blogs?

My answer might surprise you, but I am convinced that on-line dating would have not modified Casanova's results. His story would have been repeated, sequence by sequence, only faster. He would have become extremely successful in the short term, but eventually, as it did happen, he would have ended up in loneliness and financial ruin.

Despite the fact that Casanova was not particularly handsome, we can be sure that, if he lived today, he would have placed a fantastic photo on his internet dating profile. Through clever grooming, lighting, and composition, he would have managed to portray himself as irresistible.

Most people who date on-line don't take the trouble to do that, since they prefer to be themselves. They opt for looking as they usually do even if that makes them less popular.

The text of Casanova's internet dating profile would have been well crafted. Most likely, he would not have mentioned many details about himself. Instead, he would have written what potential romantic partners want to hear. His internet chatting would have consisted of witty and flattering remarks. Empty words are as effective with the foolish today as they were two centuries ago.

We can also be sure that, in his internet dating, Casanova would have remained a relentless liar driven by short-term benefits. In the 18th century, he was a manipulator bent on immediate action. His tactics consisted of assailing preys with flowers and jewellery until the battle was won.

Would he have found contemporary romantic films too slow? Possibly. The real Casanova was as fast in charging as he was in retreating. His objective was to win and deplete the confidence of his victims. His effectiveness was measured in days. His purpose would not accept any delays. Even in the worst of times, few men possess Casanova's callousness.

Finally, we can also assume that Casanova's house of cards would have inevitably collapsed in a contemporary context. Romantic attraction without substance can never be sustained for long. If we trust literature and History, human nature has not fundamentally changed in this respect.

Extreme short-term orientation involves high psychological costs and deprives man of the possibility of attaining real affection. Being focused only on immediate benefits starves the spirit and destroys the soul.

Looking for a life's partner is an exercise in self-knowledge which needs just the time it takes. Remain true to your rational nature and learn from Casanova's mistakes. Discard a short-term approach to human relationships. It generates disproportionate costs and inevitably results in failure.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by cliff1066 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 7 of 7)


If you need to buy groceries, can you find a supermarket on your route to work? If you are planning to visit a computer store, can you run some errands on the same trip? If the location of your home allows it, you may even be able to ride your bicycle instead of using the car, a practice that would be also advantageous for your health.

Stake your claim for a better future and redefine what is essential. Declare yourself willing to exchange short-term benefits for permanent advantages, and ignore the words of those who preach passivity. The world is more open to personal initiative today than ever before. If you reduce your lifestyle to the essentials, you will increase your ability to seize the next opportunity.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by mape_s under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 7 of 7)


If you need to buy groceries, can you find a supermarket on your route to work? If you are planning to visit a computer store, can you run some errands on the same trip? If the location of your home allows it, you may even be able to ride your bicycle instead of using the car, a practice that would be also advantageous for your health.

Stake your claim for a better future and redefine what is essential. Declare yourself willing to exchange short-term benefits for permanent advantages, and ignore the words of those who preach passivity. The world is more open to personal initiative today than ever before. If you reduce your lifestyle to the essentials, you will increase your ability to seize the next opportunity.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by mape_s under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 6 of 7)


[2] Extend the lifetime of your possessions: Clothes constitute a good example, in particular business suits. If you handle your wardrobe with care, it can serve its purpose for a long time without need of additional purchases.

For office work, it is usually a good idea to choose conservative designs and colours. They are less subject to the vagaries of fashion and you can wear them for many seasons. White shirts are particularly easy to match with dark clothing. Frugality can also apply to items such as mobile phones. If the old one is still working fine, do you really need to purchase the latest model?

[3] Reduce detours and unnecessary travel: Avoid the come-and-go that accompanies indecision. Thinking ahead is as important on the road as in other areas of life. If you plan your journeys carefully and drive smoothly, you can make substantial savings in motoring expenses. Make the effort to programme your trips for maximum efficiency.

To be continued in Part 7

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Walter Watzpatzkowski under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 6 of 7)


[2] Extend the lifetime of your possessions: Clothes constitute a good example, in particular business suits. If you handle your wardrobe with care, it can serve its purpose for a long time without need of additional purchases.

For office work, it is usually a good idea to choose conservative designs and colours. They are less subject to the vagaries of fashion and you can wear them for many seasons. White shirts are particularly easy to match with dark clothing. Frugality can also apply to items such as mobile phones. If the old one is still working fine, do you really need to purchase the latest model?

[3] Reduce detours and unnecessary travel: Avoid the come-and-go that accompanies indecision. Thinking ahead is as important on the road as in other areas of life. If you plan your journeys carefully and drive smoothly, you can make substantial savings in motoring expenses. Make the effort to programme your trips for maximum efficiency.

To be continued in Part 7

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Walter Watzpatzkowski under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 5 of 7)


Usually, saving some money is going to be the first step for making improvements in your life. You are going to have to let go of your impulse to spend money today and focus instead on the opportunities down the road. Time will reward your efforts if you define your objectives and carry out a plan to attain them.

Living frugally will allow you to save the funds that you need to take advantage of the next opportunity. In the Middle Ages, there was no way to move forward, but in the present world, real possibilities exist. Here are three ideas to help you gather that initial capital:

[1] Redefine what is essential: You can make important savings if you acquire frugal habits. Your utilities bill can often be reduced. You can cut down your energy consumption, for instance, by turning off the heating in rooms that you are not using all the time and by improving the isolation of windows and doors.

To be continued in Part 6

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Jim Linwood under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 5 of 7)


Usually, saving some money is going to be the first step for making improvements in your life. You are going to have to let go of your impulse to spend money today and focus instead on the opportunities down the road. Time will reward your efforts if you define your objectives and carry out a plan to attain them.

Living frugally will allow you to save the funds that you need to take advantage of the next opportunity. In the Middle Ages, there was no way to move forward, but in the present world, real possibilities exist. Here are three ideas to help you gather that initial capital:

[1] Redefine what is essential: You can make important savings if you acquire frugal habits. Your utilities bill can often be reduced. You can cut down your energy consumption, for instance, by turning off the heating in rooms that you are not using all the time and by improving the isolation of windows and doors.

To be continued in Part 6

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Jim Linwood under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 20 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 4 of 7)


Aquinas' understanding of the existence of different prices in various markets put an end to the medieval mentality and introduced the world we know, where each man determines his own destiny.

Nowadays, if you ask people about what is blocking their progress, you might hear the same answers that were given in the 13th century: insufficient resources, limited opportunities, excessive competition, and lack of contacts. Even though the world has drastically changed, not everybody is conscious of the opportunities.

Unlike peasants living in the Middle Ages, we no longer inhabit an immobile world that limits our ambitions. Is it your goal to further your education and accelerate your career? Do you dream of starting your own business?

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Shawn Allen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 4 of 7)


Aquinas' understanding of the existence of different prices in various markets put an end to the medieval mentality and introduced the world we know, where each man determines his own destiny.

Nowadays, if you ask people about what is blocking their progress, you might hear the same answers that were given in the 13th century: insufficient resources, limited opportunities, excessive competition, and lack of contacts. Even though the world has drastically changed, not everybody is conscious of the opportunities.

Unlike peasants living in the Middle Ages, we no longer inhabit an immobile world that limits our ambitions. Is it your goal to further your education and accelerate your career? Do you dream of starting your own business?

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Shawn Allen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 3 of 7)


Our world offers numerous opportunities to individuals who want to exercise their creativity and entrepreneurship. Businesses can be started with little capital, digital technology can be used to enhance productivity, and the internet allows everyone to sell his products around the globe. If you want to improve your situation, there are no limits to what you can do.

No excuse can justify renouncing this immense array of possibilities. The barriers to change are mostly psychological. Irrespective of your current situation, you can embrace transformation. If you take action, you can improve your life.

The transition from the Middle Ages to modern thinking began in the 13th century, when Thomas of Aquinas wrote down his observations on the nature of individual initiative. His views about risk represented a major advancement vis-à-vis medieval beliefs.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by David Paul Ohmer under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 3 of 7)


Our world offers numerous opportunities to individuals who want to exercise their creativity and entrepreneurship. Businesses can be started with little capital, digital technology can be used to enhance productivity, and the internet allows everyone to sell his products around the globe. If you want to improve your situation, there are no limits to what you can do.

No excuse can justify renouncing this immense array of possibilities. The barriers to change are mostly psychological. Irrespective of your current situation, you can embrace transformation. If you take action, you can improve your life.

The transition from the Middle Ages to modern thinking began in the 13th century, when Thomas of Aquinas wrote down his observations on the nature of individual initiative. His views about risk represented a major advancement vis-à-vis medieval beliefs.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by David Paul Ohmer under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 2 of 7)


People in the Middle Ages focused on immediate advantages and lacked long-term plans. A peasant in the 12th century would not have viewed a good harvest as an opportunity to save money, move to the city, and start his own business. In his mind, a good year was just a temporary escape from misery, not a step towards a better situation.

Our age offers almost unlimited opportunities to those who possess ambition and initiative, but it demands a radically different philosophy. Unless you acquire sound financial habits, chances are that you won't be able to seize those opportunities.

Unfortunately, not everybody makes the effort to pursue improvement. If you doubt my words, ask yourself the following questions: How many people save regularly in order to achieve financial independence? How many make to-do lists regularly? Material growth is linked to psychological development. Wealth is the consequence of vision and persistence.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by R.Duran under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 2 of 7)


People in the Middle Ages focused on immediate advantages and lacked long-term plans. A peasant in the 12th century would not have viewed a good harvest as an opportunity to save money, move to the city, and start his own business. In his mind, a good year was just a temporary escape from misery, not a step towards a better situation.

Our age offers almost unlimited opportunities to those who possess ambition and initiative, but it demands a radically different philosophy. Unless you acquire sound financial habits, chances are that you won't be able to seize those opportunities.

Unfortunately, not everybody makes the effort to pursue improvement. If you doubt my words, ask yourself the following questions: How many people save regularly in order to achieve financial independence? How many make to-do lists regularly? Material growth is linked to psychological development. Wealth is the consequence of vision and persistence.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by R.Duran under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 17 September 2010

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 1 of 7)


In the 12th century, philosophy was simple and inflexible. A man was born into a certain family and inherited his father's trade. A peasant raised his children to follow into his footsteps. Perspectives were narrow and improvement unthinkable.

The fate of each person was to accomplish certain prescribed tasks and preserve tradition. A good part of a person's earnings was spent to maintain his position: to keep housing, attire, and diet according to his condition. Those who succeeded in improving their social status represented a very small minority.

The medieval mentality encompassed a mixture of short-term frenzy and long-term resignation. On feast days, banquets were held and wine consumed, but during the rest of the year, passive acceptance was the rule. Silent suffering was viewed as a sign of wisdom.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Samuel Negredo under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Farewell to the medieval mentality (Part 1 of 7)


In the 12th century, philosophy was simple and inflexible. A man was born into a certain family and inherited his father's trade. A peasant raised his children to follow into his footsteps. Perspectives were narrow and improvement unthinkable.

The fate of each person was to accomplish certain prescribed tasks and preserve tradition. A good part of a person's earnings was spent to maintain his position: to keep housing, attire, and diet according to his condition. Those who succeeded in improving their social status represented a very small minority.

The medieval mentality encompassed a mixture of short-term frenzy and long-term resignation. On feast days, banquets were held and wine consumed, but during the rest of the year, passive acceptance was the rule. Silent suffering was viewed as a sign of wisdom.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Samuel Negredo under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 16 September 2010

How to increase your ability to detect opportunities


Learning karate has many advantages. The exercises build your muscles and improve your general health. The practice makes your body fit and your movements precise. Those benefits are indisputable and
martial arts schools seldom forget to mention them in their advertisements.

However, if you ask experienced judo practitioners about the reason behind their enthusiasm for the sport, you will get a completely different answer. "The best thing about martial arts," they will tell you, "is that you learn to defend yourself in case of an attack."

Nothing could be further from the truth. People with no karate training are often better skilled at detecting trouble before it appears on the scene. Since they know that they are not trained for combat, they avoid physical confrontation. When they experience threats, they retreat. When they see danger, they keep away from it.

On the other hand, how often have you heard stories about some karate expert shot by a criminal in the street for refusing to surrender his wallet? In most cases, if the victim had tried to run away, he might have easily escaped. Realizing that few things are as lethal as a false sense of security has tremendous implications:

1.- WRONG PERCEPTIONS. Strong belief in nonsense leads men to disregard the evidence of their own perceptions. When that happens, thinking becomes pointless, since it is no longer based on reality. Ignoring our own pain or physical discomfort is a recipe for disaster. When sensations contradict conclusions, it is high time to re-examine the latter.

2.- MISTAKEN DECISIONS. Relying on something that is not true is worse that confessing ignorance. Make-believe prevents individuals from acknowledging problems and looking for the right answer. Self-inflicted blindness destroys man's sense of direction and invalidates his ambitions.

Keeping your eyes open is the most effective method to avoid getting into deep trouble in life. When meeting new people, trusting what you see is the only way to form an accurate opinion about their qualities and ethical standards. Judging strangers by what they say or by their appearance is a losing proposition.

The most egregious errors are not committed out of ignorance, but by relying on false stories that we tell to ourselves. Accidents that tear apart families and companies could have been frequently prevented by reading the writing on the wall.

Being brave enough to acknowledge a gap between belief and fact is the foundation of personal integrity. There can be no honesty without courage, no serenity without consistency. Entrepreneurs trust their own perceptions and experience more than anything else. A man's ability to detect opportunities equals his willingness to focus on reality.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by adamsofen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How to increase your ability to detect opportunities


Learning karate has many advantages. The exercises build your muscles and improve your general health. The practice makes your body fit and your movements precise. Those benefits are indisputable and
martial arts schools seldom forget to mention them in their advertisements.

However, if you ask experienced judo practitioners about the reason behind their enthusiasm for the sport, you will get a completely different answer. "The best thing about martial arts," they will tell you, "is that you learn to defend yourself in case of an attack."

Nothing could be further from the truth. People with no karate training are often better skilled at detecting trouble before it appears on the scene. Since they know that they are not trained for combat, they avoid physical confrontation. When they experience threats, they retreat. When they see danger, they keep away from it.

On the other hand, how often have you heard stories about some karate expert shot by a criminal in the street for refusing to surrender his wallet? In most cases, if the victim had tried to run away, he might have easily escaped. Realizing that few things are as lethal as a false sense of security has tremendous implications:

1.- WRONG PERCEPTIONS. Strong belief in nonsense leads men to disregard the evidence of their own perceptions. When that happens, thinking becomes pointless, since it is no longer based on reality. Ignoring our own pain or physical discomfort is a recipe for disaster. When sensations contradict conclusions, it is high time to re-examine the latter.

2.- MISTAKEN DECISIONS. Relying on something that is not true is worse that confessing ignorance. Make-believe prevents individuals from acknowledging problems and looking for the right answer. Self-inflicted blindness destroys man's sense of direction and invalidates his ambitions.

Keeping your eyes open is the most effective method to avoid getting into deep trouble in life. When meeting new people, trusting what you see is the only way to form an accurate opinion about their qualities and ethical standards. Judging strangers by what they say or by their appearance is a losing proposition.

The most egregious errors are not committed out of ignorance, but by relying on false stories that we tell to ourselves. Accidents that tear apart families and companies could have been frequently prevented by reading the writing on the wall.

Being brave enough to acknowledge a gap between belief and fact is the foundation of personal integrity. There can be no honesty without courage, no serenity without consistency. Entrepreneurs trust their own perceptions and experience more than anything else. A man's ability to detect opportunities equals his willingness to focus on reality.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by adamsofen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The art of avoiding dead-end projects


Do not waste your time trying to impress people who do not care for you. Most of the career advice that you will hear comes from ancient times that, actually, never existed. Make a commitment to discard what makes little sense. It is time to reshape your strategy according to reality.

Pick up a pen and piece of paper and write down the names of unsuccessful persons you know. Chances are that your list will be quite long. Look at the names and ask yourself some hard questions. Recall their individual circumstances, assess their challenges, and question their excuses.

Some men and women in your list will be intelligent and educated. From those, a few might deserve being recognized as brilliant. Others will be highly motivated and enthusiastic. How come that they are not progressing in life? The primary reason of their failure might be their belief in false ideas, such as overwork and career planning.

Let me put forward some controversial truths. These are the kind of statements that you might have heard before but that you were too quick to discard. Reality can be disrupting, but you will benefit from acknowledging facts as they are. You might want to sit down before you read this:

1.- MANY MARKETS ARE CLOSED. Ignore the propaganda and examine the facts with a cool head. If you are trying to enter a market dominated by highly entrenched players, the undertaking might require too much effort to be worth it. People might preach openness and fairness to the gallery, while their actions show that outsiders are not welcome. Stay away from those markets. You have better things to do with your life.

2.- SOME PROFESSIONS OFFER LITTLE OPPORTUNITY. College counsellors usually possess good statistics about the employment market. On that basis, they can tell students about the earnings that they can expect on their initial job should they choose, for instance, to become embalmers. The problem with this sort of advice lies in its short-term focus. Instead, go and talk to someone who works in your field of interest and ask how fast people can move upwards from their initial position. If the answer is unconvincing, stay away. There are plenty of professions whose markets are growing. Why on earth would you want to enlist in a losing legion?

3.- THINKING LOCAL IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. National economies and international trade are likely to transform the face of our cities in the next twenty years. Currencies fluctuate and importers might become exporters. Present territories of immigration might give rise to waves of emigration. Things are going to change massively in the next decades and nobody is quite sure how cards will be reshuffled. In this environment, thinking locally might bury your professional chances. Spread your risks and boost your career. Learn a foreign language and stay mobile.

Advertisements for jobs and training programmes always fail to tell you the ultimate truth: nobody cares about your career as much as yourself. Those who cheer you up with motivational talk frequently turn out to be exploitative. When it comes to your professional future, as for everything else, you will be much better off if you remain sceptic and think for yourself.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kevindooley under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The art of avoiding dead-end projects


Do not waste your time trying to impress people who do not care for you. Most of the career advice that you will hear comes from ancient times that, actually, never existed. Make a commitment to discard what makes little sense. It is time to reshape your strategy according to reality.

Pick up a pen and piece of paper and write down the names of unsuccessful persons you know. Chances are that your list will be quite long. Look at the names and ask yourself some hard questions. Recall their individual circumstances, assess their challenges, and question their excuses.

Some men and women in your list will be intelligent and educated. From those, a few might deserve being recognized as brilliant. Others will be highly motivated and enthusiastic. How come that they are not progressing in life? The primary reason of their failure might be their belief in false ideas, such as overwork and career planning.

Let me put forward some controversial truths. These are the kind of statements that you might have heard before but that you were too quick to discard. Reality can be disrupting, but you will benefit from acknowledging facts as they are. You might want to sit down before you read this:

1.- MANY MARKETS ARE CLOSED. Ignore the propaganda and examine the facts with a cool head. If you are trying to enter a market dominated by highly entrenched players, the undertaking might require too much effort to be worth it. People might preach openness and fairness to the gallery, while their actions show that outsiders are not welcome. Stay away from those markets. You have better things to do with your life.

2.- SOME PROFESSIONS OFFER LITTLE OPPORTUNITY. College counsellors usually possess good statistics about the employment market. On that basis, they can tell students about the earnings that they can expect on their initial job should they choose, for instance, to become embalmers. The problem with this sort of advice lies in its short-term focus. Instead, go and talk to someone who works in your field of interest and ask how fast people can move upwards from their initial position. If the answer is unconvincing, stay away. There are plenty of professions whose markets are growing. Why on earth would you want to enlist in a losing legion?

3.- THINKING LOCAL IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. National economies and international trade are likely to transform the face of our cities in the next twenty years. Currencies fluctuate and importers might become exporters. Present territories of immigration might give rise to waves of emigration. Things are going to change massively in the next decades and nobody is quite sure how cards will be reshuffled. In this environment, thinking locally might bury your professional chances. Spread your risks and boost your career. Learn a foreign language and stay mobile.

Advertisements for jobs and training programmes always fail to tell you the ultimate truth: nobody cares about your career as much as yourself. Those who cheer you up with motivational talk frequently turn out to be exploitative. When it comes to your professional future, as for everything else, you will be much better off if you remain sceptic and think for yourself.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kevindooley under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Learning to profit from the asymmetry of markets


Aristotle was a great philosopher, but the one thing that he never managed to understand was entrepreneurship. In the "Nicomachean Ethics," his essay on justice and morality, he saw society as a market where human desires are stable and each product possesses a fair price.

One does not need to look long at the world to realize that Aristotle's view of work and commerce was highly unrealistic. The truth is that prices vary incessantly and new products appear daily on the market. Jobs are created by growing ventures and lost by dying industries. Things change, markets move, and money circulates.

Start-up entrepreneurs are deeply conscious of the fact that the driving factor of business success is not money, but time. Any financial advisor will tell you that, for a solid undertaking, money can always be raised or borrowed. Bankers rarely refuse a loan to a company that produces positive cash-flow.

What entrepreneurs do, essentially, is to shift resources through time. They borrow from the slow at 6% interest in order to invest with the fast at a 10% rate. If you learn how to do that repeatedly, with growing sums of money, chances are that you will become very wealthy.

Since Aristotle never grasped the impact of time on resources, he was never able to explain why people pay interest when they borrow money. The different personal needs are what, already a thousand years ago, prompted farmers to exchange cheese for meat and wool for wheat.

Entrepreneurs trade present resources, which are used slowly or not at all, for future results, which are to be produced as fast and efficiently as possible. A company should encounter few obstacles to issue bonds at 7% interest if it can achieve a 20% profit margin in its operations.

A flow of money is, fundamentally, a flow of time. The essence of business activity is to shift resources from slowness to velocity. At school or during their apprenticeship, entrepreneurial minds can be spotted by their extreme impatience and disdain for slow motion. Speed is seen as a synonym of efficiency, progress as a continuous forward movement.

How can one acquire entrepreneurial reflexes? Is it wise to let our irritation run free when we face slowness? Does annoyance automatically make us more alert to opportunity? Here is some practical advice:
  1. THE WORLD IS ASYMMETRIC. Commit to seeing the world as a playing ground of time and resources that can be shifted by personal initiative.
  2. TARGETS MOVE. Realize that opportunities are continuously created and destroyed by markets.
  3. PERSPECTIVE CHANGES PERCEPTION. Your decision to enter a market or profession will immediately affect your attitude towards that field.
  4. ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS WIDER THAN BUSINESS. As soon as you start to shift time and resources, you have already become an entrepreneur. In this sense, a medical student is one. The same goes for someone who takes up a modest job in order to learn a trade that will allow him later to set up his own company.
The ability to link present slowness to future speed can be cultivated like any other skill. Taking notes and asking questions are excellent methods to focus your thoughts on what can be done, changed, or contested. At some point, when your impatience begins to drive your imagination, you will be on your way.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by sektordua under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 13 September 2010

Three workable methods to promote your blog


Blogging is taking over the world in terms of activity and influence. Starting up a blog is easy and anyone can get it running in about half an hour. Nobody knows exactly how many active blogs are on the internet. My guess is that today, in June 2009, there must be around 20 million that post new material daily.

Writing original material everyday is a different game. Many are able to begin a blog and publish text during the initial weeks, but taking the venture further is not for the faint of heart. Focused writing requires tremendous discipline and generating fresh ideas everyday is tough.

Six months later, the 20 million blogs that were started get reduced, I estimate, to about 1 million. Of course, in the meantime, another 19 million blogs have made their appearance on the web. This new influx of players re-establishes the market to its former size until the the next round of pruning takes place.

Promoting a blog is not much different from other forms of internet marketing. What is difficult is choosing the way of promotion that matches best your objectives. Are you writing about a popular subject or is it highly specialized? Will you be addressing controversial issues? Here are some ideas:

* GOOGLE ADS: You can purchase ads from Google by bidding for a certain word or group of words. People who search for those words, will click on them, and be directed to your blog. Your cost per click will vary according to the word you choose and how many people are bidding for it at a given time. If you sell high-margin items, this is an alternative that you should definitely explore.

* PURSUING THIRD-PARTY LINKS: If you are a writer, you will most likely be using your blog to promote your current and future books. In that case, you might wish to devote part of your time to pursue third-party links. If you are featured by a major website in your field, the number of visitors to your blog is sure to increase. Introduce yourself and inquire if that website publishes articles by guest writers. Usually, the answer will be negative. Don't be discouraged, move to the next site, and keep trying.

* USING RSS FEEDERS: This approach needs lots of patience, but in the long-term, is by far the most solid. RSS feeders are automatic distribution systems that disseminate the content of your blog to those who wish to receive it. Install one in your blog, so that your audience can subscribe to your posts. Some readers will try it only for a while and that is perfectly fine. Those who really like what you write will stay and allow you to grow.

Your expectations for your blog should be in line with your long-term goals. By posting shocking material, you might attract hundreds of one-time readers, but those are not worth much. What you want is to attract people who move in the same direction as you do.

Typing your name on Google and Yahoo remains the best way to measure how fast your influence is spreading. If you begin your blog from scratch, from absolutely zero, what sort of expectations should you have? How do you know if you are progressing at a good speed?

If you do not have an advertising budget and are not building on previous celebrity status, you would be doing well if you manage to accumulate a few hundred readers or third-party links after six months. If that is the case, congratulations, you are doing great. Your blog belongs to those who stay.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by twoblueday under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Three workable methods to promote your blog


Blogging is taking over the world in terms of activity and influence. Starting up a blog is easy and anyone can get it running in about half an hour. Nobody knows exactly how many active blogs are on the internet. My guess is that today, in June 2009, there must be around 20 million that post new material daily.

Writing original material everyday is a different game. Many are able to begin a blog and publish text during the initial weeks, but taking the venture further is not for the faint of heart. Focused writing requires tremendous discipline and generating fresh ideas everyday is tough.

Six months later, the 20 million blogs that were started get reduced, I estimate, to about 1 million. Of course, in the meantime, another 19 million blogs have made their appearance on the web. This new influx of players re-establishes the market to its former size until the the next round of pruning takes place.

Promoting a blog is not much different from other forms of internet marketing. What is difficult is choosing the way of promotion that matches best your objectives. Are you writing about a popular subject or is it highly specialized? Will you be addressing controversial issues? Here are some ideas:

* GOOGLE ADS: You can purchase ads from Google by bidding for a certain word or group of words. People who search for those words, will click on them, and be directed to your blog. Your cost per click will vary according to the word you choose and how many people are bidding for it at a given time. If you sell high-margin items, this is an alternative that you should definitely explore.

* PURSUING THIRD-PARTY LINKS: If you are a writer, you will most likely be using your blog to promote your current and future books. In that case, you might wish to devote part of your time to pursue third-party links. If you are featured by a major website in your field, the number of visitors to your blog is sure to increase. Introduce yourself and inquire if that website publishes articles by guest writers. Usually, the answer will be negative. Don't be discouraged, move to the next site, and keep trying.

* USING RSS FEEDERS: This approach needs lots of patience, but in the long-term, is by far the most solid. RSS feeders are automatic distribution systems that disseminate the content of your blog to those who wish to receive it. Install one in your blog, so that your audience can subscribe to your posts. Some readers will try it only for a while and that is perfectly fine. Those who really like what you write will stay and allow you to grow.

Your expectations for your blog should be in line with your long-term goals. By posting shocking material, you might attract hundreds of one-time readers, but those are not worth much. What you want is to attract people who move in the same direction as you do.

Typing your name on Google and Yahoo remains the best way to measure how fast your influence is spreading. If you begin your blog from scratch, from absolutely zero, what sort of expectations should you have? How do you know if you are progressing at a good speed?

If you do not have an advertising budget and are not building on previous celebrity status, you would be doing well if you manage to accumulate a few hundred readers or third-party links after six months. If that is the case, congratulations, you are doing great. Your blog belongs to those who stay.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by twoblueday under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Which sectors of the economy look the most promising?


You have known this all the way, but perhaps, you have never dared to verbalize the thought. Your company and your economic future are up for grabs. The safety you have worked to build all these years might not withstand the strong winds of change. Global competition is lurking around the street corner.

Now comes the good news. If the currency of your country is losing value by the day, take heart, shift your paradigm, and join the export trade. If businessmen are no longer filling the rooms of your Florida hotel, take a step back and refocus your marketing on more promising clients, such as Norwegian and Swedish pensioners.

While the economy in some parts of the world is falling apart, there are high-growth markets out there. While many traditional professions are disappearing, new jobs are being created for which proper titles are still being sought.

The seeds of major change are all around us these days, together with the indicators of which markets are posed for massive growth.
Statistics and surveys can be helpful to identify long-term trends, but they are too slow for entrepreneurs.

When it comes to identifying opportunities as commercially viable, do not rely on traces of past desires. Instead, choose the proven method validated by
venture capitalists. Focus on markets where there is maximum pain, extreme discomfort, or unbearable annoyance.

Opportunities are the largest where problems are the deepest. The high-growth markets of the
21st century are being carved out of the troubles inherited from the previous century. If you open any newspaper, you will face the afflictions of the world, each of them crying for entrepreneurial solutions. These are just four examples:

1.- CHINESE AS FOREIGN LANGUAGE. The upcoming value gain of the Chinese currency will create massive changes in global trade flows. Teaching Chinese as foreign language should experience sustained growth in the coming decades.

2.- PROTECTION OF INDIVIDUALS. For different reasons, public safety is deteriorating in many cities of the world. The market for personal protection, in all its different facets, is bound to pick up. The precise shape of that growth will depend on what is allowed by
national laws.

3.-
GLOBAL CREDIT INSURANCE. During the last decades, global financial markets have expanded faster than the reliability of credit information. There are tremendous opportunities for insurers to step in and offer cost-efficient coverage of global credit risks, both for individuals and corporations.

4.- FAST READY-MADE HABITATION. Compared to the astounding efficiency of car manufacturers, the building trade offers immense opportunities for improvement. Millions of people around the world can still not afford apartments or houses at present construction prices. The adoption of continuous-flow techniques by real estate developers should change radically the way we build and sell houses.

Massive change is coming, but there is nothing to fear. Global competition is making companies and workers amend their ways in all fields of activity. The only safety you can trust is innovation, the only market signal you can rely on, irritation. When you listen to people complain about this or that, realize that they are only waiting for the next entrepreneur to take the plunge.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by stevecon under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Which sectors of the economy look the most promising?


You have known this all the way, but perhaps, you have never dared to verbalize the thought. Your company and your economic future are up for grabs. The safety you have worked to build all these years might not withstand the strong winds of change. Global competition is lurking around the street corner.

Now comes the good news. If the currency of your country is losing value by the day, take heart, shift your paradigm, and join the export trade. If businessmen are no longer filling the rooms of your Florida hotel, take a step back and refocus your marketing on more promising clients, such as Norwegian and Swedish pensioners.

While the economy in some parts of the world is falling apart, there are high-growth markets out there. While many traditional professions are disappearing, new jobs are being created for which proper titles are still being sought.

The seeds of major change are all around us these days, together with the indicators of which markets are posed for massive growth.
Statistics and surveys can be helpful to identify long-term trends, but they are too slow for entrepreneurs.

When it comes to identifying opportunities as commercially viable, do not rely on traces of past desires. Instead, choose the proven method validated by
venture capitalists. Focus on markets where there is maximum pain, extreme discomfort, or unbearable annoyance.

Opportunities are the largest where problems are the deepest. The high-growth markets of the
21st century are being carved out of the troubles inherited from the previous century. If you open any newspaper, you will face the afflictions of the world, each of them crying for entrepreneurial solutions. These are just four examples:

1.- CHINESE AS FOREIGN LANGUAGE. The upcoming value gain of the Chinese currency will create massive changes in global trade flows. Teaching Chinese as foreign language should experience sustained growth in the coming decades.

2.- PROTECTION OF INDIVIDUALS. For different reasons, public safety is deteriorating in many cities of the world. The market for personal protection, in all its different facets, is bound to pick up. The precise shape of that growth will depend on what is allowed by
national laws.

3.-
GLOBAL CREDIT INSURANCE. During the last decades, global financial markets have expanded faster than the reliability of credit information. There are tremendous opportunities for insurers to step in and offer cost-efficient coverage of global credit risks, both for individuals and corporations.

4.- FAST READY-MADE HABITATION. Compared to the astounding efficiency of car manufacturers, the building trade offers immense opportunities for improvement. Millions of people around the world can still not afford apartments or houses at present construction prices. The adoption of continuous-flow techniques by real estate developers should change radically the way we build and sell houses.

Massive change is coming, but there is nothing to fear. Global competition is making companies and workers amend their ways in all fields of activity. The only safety you can trust is innovation, the only market signal you can rely on, irritation. When you listen to people complain about this or that, realize that they are only waiting for the next entrepreneur to take the plunge.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by stevecon under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The three pillars of a great education


Newspapers and other media often paint a dark picture of contemporary education. Studies that compare the knowledge of mathematics of children in different countries add little to the discussion, since many question if teaching algebra to seven-year-old kids makes any sense at all.

The modern school curriculum contains a wide range of subjects and attempts to develop children's talents in all directions. From music to History, from drawing to sports, everything is there to fascinate and entertain the minds of the young.

Since the variety of subjects that are addressed in today's classrooms is mind-boggling, how does one explain that many youths experience boredom at school? Does the number of subjects correspond to a real learning need or is it rather a fashion? Do we really want such complexity? What are the essential elements of a good education?

History gives perspective and, in this particular case, it teaches us a precious lesson. You might be surprised to learn that, for almost two thousand years, since the times of Aristotle until the Renaissance, a good education consisted only of three subjects.

In ancient times and during the Middle Ages, there was no radio, no television, and no internet. Books were expensive and difficult to reproduce. The thoughts of the past were carefully compiled and copied by hand. Education represented a considerable investment and was held in high regard.

Pupils travelled hundreds of kilometres in order to enrol in schools that featured famous speakers. The subjects that students were taught equipped them with the most crucial skills that a man needs in life, whatever his later choice of profession. If you mastered those three subjects, chances were that you would do well in life:

1.- LOGIC. Even during periods of intense religiosity, such as medieval times, the study of Aristotle's essays on logic was considered indispensable. The mark of an educated man was his ability to think consistently, find patterns, and draw conclusions from events. Even though this subject has disappeared from the school curriculum in many countries, anyone can afford to buy a copy of Aristotle's works. When it comes to learning logic, the only barriers to acquiring knowledge are self-inflicted.

2.- GRAMMAR. Communicating your thoughts orally and in writing is the basis of most commercial activities. Without proper syntax, men cannot make themselves understood. Language allows individuals to formulate complex connections between facts. Creativity without grammar frequently turns out to be meaningless. The simple practice of reading good authors will boost your ability to communicate in any field. Access to public libraries is free in most countries. Are you using that possibility to your full advantage?

3.- ETHICS. The science of human choices played a central role in education since the times of the Ancient Greeks. Aristotle himself recognized the importance of learning moral values as milestones in the path to individual happiness. Another benefit of studying ethics is learning from other people's mistakes. Making your own errors will teach you unforgettable lessons, but learning from publications and good speakers is less expensive. In our days, books are cheap and internet access is widespread. If you want to learn, you will find many doors open.

Do not pay attention to those who criticize schools and teachers. Complaining is not going to solve any problem. Realize that you are responsible for your own education. Identify which knowledge you are missing and go for it. The world is full of opportunities for those who want to learn. Make sure that you have your educational basis covered, move on, and pursue your growth.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by JerzyW under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]