Monday, March 1, 2010
I started to feel everything was taking a turn for the chaotic earlier this week. I even thought a good first sentence to a novel could be something like The world spiraled into chaos when it struck me that the world couldn't spiral into chaos if it's always been into chaos.
Why else do tables and floors have magnetic powers, invisible to scientists, which attract milk, sauce, dust and wine? Why else does laundry hanging on the washing line have magnetic powers, invisible to scientists, which can cause rain to start pouring from the sky?
Then I accidentally watched a documentary on the Kung Fu Masters. These are the genuine Kung Fu Masters living in temples in Tibet. At least I assumed it's Tibet I missed the part where they mentioned the location.
Kung Fu Masters know how to take control of chaos. While watching them I listed some items that I think are essential for taking control. From the first you notice: absolute discipline, concentration, dedication, repetition, excellent coaching, focus and meditation.
The world may spiral into chaos quite often but, like the Kung Fu Masters, there are things we can do to make it spiral slower. Let your mind first consider the results you want before you drag it down with a hundred activities. For example I want to write a best selling book by the end of 2012 does not yet involve the extreme discipline and dedicated writing you will have to apply to finish the book or sell it.
Meditate, visualize, play with the idea and find exciting angles to the challenges facing you. Having faith and fun is essential when it comes to taking charge of chaos even if it does involve discipline and dedication.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Don't let the fact that Power Shift was published twenty years ago, in 1990, make you think it's not relevant. Toffler's writing in 1990 is a spot on prediction for the world we are living in and the world still to come.
Take the monetary system. Where before we measured the value of money by figures printed on paper now we measure the value of money by symbols printed on a computer screen or information stored on smartcards. Where before money use to represent a specific amount of gold, today money represents only the fact that who ever takes it from you believes it's got value. It’s a matter of faith.
Plastic money is another leap of faith. You never actually see your money except when printed on a computer screen. This has its advantages since you don't have to crawl around the floor looking for coins after turning your pants upside down for the zillionth time without checking the pockets first.
What's strange is that even if plastic money seems to be the cheaper option compared to paper money, banks have figured out ways to make it look as if it's the most expensive option ever considered when you gawk at your bank charges. This is my opinion not Toffler's.
When money changes banks change. What do banks keep if they do not keep paper money in vaults but only blimps on computers? Could other companies do that just as well as banks? What power will banks have if they loose the power they have over the current monetary system? Toffler makes the point that our entire perception of what power involves and means is changing.
Work has changed and will change fundamentally. Work use to be measured by the time you labored, in future work will be measured by how hard you think and how easily you can transform information and knowledge into more useful information and knowledge. Where you could in the past teach someone a job in an hour or less new jobs require skills and it takes a long time to train employees. Therefore companies will want to hang on to those employees who they've spent some time to train.
When work changes power structures change. Governments who don't realize that knowledge is the basis of current and future development will be left behind.
Individuals and corporations who harness the power of technology in providing quality information, knowledge and services will be the ones who thrive and will have the power to influence the world.
Monday, February 15, 2010
This week I read Adrift by Steven Callahan, first published in 1986 and printed by Ballantine Books, New York. This is the incredible story of how Callahan spent longer than two months adrift in an emergency raft he named Rubber Ducky III. Callahan's triumph will give you a broad glimpse into what it means to keep going when nearly all hope is lost.
The story begins when Callahan's small cruiser the Napoleon Solo sinks while he attempts to sail to the Caribbean. Every minute becomes a matter of life and death as he fights hunger, thirst, shark attacks and blisters that cover his entire body.
Callahan refuses to face defeat under unbearable circumstances. He is ingenious in finding solutions to every problem the sea and his mind throws at him.
The story draws you in. You can taste the brine splattering over Rubber Ducky III. You share his frustration as a fish gets away, his equipment fails, his raft starts to leak and his mind starts to wobble.
This is no dry reflection, the writing is often poetic:
'The ocean persists, monotonously bombarding us. Please don't knock us over; I can't survive a capsize. If I am thrown into the sea I will shiver until the earth quakes. My lips will turn blue, my skin white. My grasp will loosen. The sea will fold her blanket over me for one last time, and I will sleep forever.'
The book is an excellent account of survival at sea and includes Callahan's psychological reactions and philosophical musings as he drifts on and on through a world that has turned blue all around. So blue in fact that when he finally sets foot on solid ground again his senses real when he is confronted by the variety of colors.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This makes much more sense to me than the notion of the fittest surviving. It also reminded me of how difficult it can be to deal with change when what changes is not to your advantage. Even if you are human and therefore, according to Darwin, extremely well equipped to deal with change.
We have come a long way since we were mostly living in the wild or on farms and had to register every detail of relevant change if we wanted to survive. There was constant change. You either understood the signs and adapted to change or got jumped by a giant panda intent on ripping your head off. Tracking footprints had its uses.
Today change has got so weird and is such a big issue that we actually need 'change management'. As if dealing with change is no longer a natural thing forming part of our inborn talent for survival.
Organizational change is orchestrated behind the scenes where mere mortals don't often get to venture into discussions unsupervised. They only watch the signs of nature to see if they will have to face the traffic home in a deluge. Therefore change hits suddenly like a spitting Cobra.
I am reading The Devil Wears Prada the nightmarish, hilarious novel by Lauren Weisberger on her year of hell working as an editorial assistant at a fashion magazine in New York. I find it amazing that she survived to tell the tale. The Panda still lurks waiting for unsuspecting humans who are today fashionably dressed in stilettos and pencil skirts wherein they can hide but not run. Camouflage had its uses.
The organization is a blitzkrieg in change management for those poor students picturing a career filled with fun and never a dull moment, glamorous to the point of . . . of throwing up in case anything goes glamorously wrong. As they soon find out. Change happens.
I am not saying organizational change is a conspiracy. Only that if you don't notice and adapt to change your predictions and reactions become less effective. Soon you won't know how the stock market will react to the discovery of a butterfly beating its wings somewhere on Mars. Then what will you do?
This is quite confusing. I will clear it up a bit as soon as I've read what Darwin had to say on change management. Watch this space . . .
Thursday, January 21, 2010
As mentioned in one of my previous posts I am also writing articles for Triond. Here is the most recent one. Triond only allows originally published articles so I publish it at Triond first and then provide the link on my blog. Triond placed this article on the Socyberty website in the politics category.
Remember to click the 'I liked it' icon once you've read the article! Send me an email with your physical address if you hated it.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Ever feel as if smoke is going to start bubbling from your head? In our times you probably feel as if you're suffering from information overload quite often. It's amazing how you can do so much reading you forget that at some stage you'll have to write it all into a blog post without making it look like some kind of volcanic mind explosion.
So, after much searching, I still have no real answers to how your amazing talents and abilities can lead to overnight riches writing for the web. I can only make some suggestions of things you can try.
If you write short stories, search the web for sites that compile anthologies. Some of these sites pay you for your contribution on acceptance. I can recommend bridgehousepublishing for the fact that their requirements are written in a considerate way without the usual clever, sarcastic, witty and highbrow wording often found under publisher requirements.
Sites that compile anthologies can show you what the latest trends are in writing. The trend at the moment seems to be of the horror/demon/devil variety. Don't despair, there are thousands of sites out there compiling anthologies and one of them will surely want what you write.
I am not sure if this is still relevant but an anthology like Chicken Soup for the Soul paid something like $200 a few years ago on acceptance. I found this information on absolutewrite a site I can recommend.
Another site worth mentioning is theshortstory .
See the excellent article Principles of a Story written by Raymond Carver at
They also have a list of about 79 British magazines you can investigate for writing opportunities.
I have a list as long as my arm of other writing sites I'm investigating. Have patience. There are so many items that can be researched when looking for writing opportunities that it's easy to get side tracked.
Other sites I picked up during my reading include:
Writing product reviews
Have a look at the site sponsoredreviews . Joining is free.
Increasing traffic to your blog
Here I found a site called blog-connection that lists all the networks you can submit your URL to and hopefully increase traffic to your site.
Writing for publishers
I am trying out triond . It's still going to take a while before anything happens . . . I've only managed four articles so far.
About.com is also looking for writers. You will need to work very closely with editors so you will need a lot of time to write and probably have to be some kind of expert. about.com is one of my favorite sites. They have the Investment for Beginners section that is filled to the brim with advice and information.
Researching the internet
If you want to do internet research and write about it I can recommend
internetworldstats as a good place to start.
Leave a comment and let me know what's working for you when it comes to writing for the web!
Monday, January 4, 2010
Some nights I wake up in a cold sweat after a recurring nightmare. In this dream Robert Kiyosaki first publishes his books on money, saving and investment in 2030, five years before I retire.
I feel like Allison DuBois in Medium when I wake up and realize I still have a year or two to get what he's saying. My only wish is that he said it when I was twenty and not forty. Not that I would have cared one dot about what he was saying then. I felt, as a writer, that money is not what it is about. Little did I know that, even if you are some kind of artist, money is still what makes the world go round. Like someone once said show business is one part business.
Like most twenty year olds I never imagined I would make it to forty. Like the majority I am just as surprised. Frankly, during that time my life was about pursuing experiences as a writer. These experiences often centered on going to dozens of parties in the tradition of The Great Gatsby. Don't let me go there . . .
No matter, even if you are 80 years old you can learn from Robert. However, it would help if you can start reading Robert's books when you are 6 years old. This will provide you with a priceless foundation to start off your investment career and your life in general.
Writers of genius make their readers adjust their focus. Robert's magic is that he turns how average people think about money on its head. He bluntly reveals that the average salary earner has many reasons to panic. He forces you to take a reality check on what you think of as a safe and secure monthly income.
He will inspire you if you had a hard time at school. He had a worse time. If you lost money, he lost more. Don't be fooled, no matter how easy he makes it look it's hard, hard work that takes extreme discipline.
His books are not textbooks. You won't need a degree in Economy or at least an MBA to understand them. His sophistication and knowledge is of such a quality that he can share his life experiences in simple terms. You have to concentrate or you will miss what he's saying.
Which is basically don't buy crap. Rather save or invest your money until you find something worthwhile buying. Something worthwhile is something that will provide you with an income in the long term something that will not depreciate in value.
Furthermore, learn about money, know how it works. Not knowing anything about money, savings and investments is the root of all evil. Ever heard of the guy who won a million in the lottery and was bankrupt three years later? That explains why having money does not mean you know what to do with it.
Don't go overboard with Robert's advice. Once you get what he's saying in Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant and Rich Dad Poor Dad don't hand in your resignation and start your own business or buy three houses with your nest egg. First read Before you Quit Your Job and The ABC's of Real Estate Investing.
The minute you think you know it all read Rich Dad's Guide to Investing.
We can't all be Robert Kiyosaki but we can at least find out how and why the minds of the rich and wealthy work.