Personal Growth and Leadership Archives - 500 Ways

How To Become a Wizard

How to Become a Wizard

Copyright 2013 – 2022 by Jeff Napier


Table of Contents




Introduction

A wizard is a person of any age or gender who uses seemingly ‘magical’ powers. Once known, these powers can be used by anyone, but until now, they have been revealed to only a few. The wizard can apply these powers for anything from entertaining friends, to attaining wealth, to positively changing the world.

Whereas a wizard can use the magical powers for negative purposes, not many do. The wizards from the dark side typically come to an early and unfortunate end – dying of embarrassment, poverty – or worse. Furthermore, attempting to use the magic for unsavory purposes usually has no effect or can backfire.

This book will reveal the ways of the wizards, so you can use the powers as you wish – simply for amusement, or so that you, too, can create a positive outcome for yourself, your family and friends, or for everyone.


The Law of Attraction in Action

Much has been written about the Law of Attraction, but oddly, the most important parts have been left out. This has unfortunately frustrated millions of people. They tried some of the techniques. The techniques did not work. They moved on. So now it is time to revisit the Law of Attraction, learn what it really is, and how it really works.

The simple explanation:

The law of attraction = what you think is what you get.

In general, if you think affirmative thoughts, you’ll get wonderful results. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes you can make in your life when you employ the law of attraction through some specific, yet, simple techniques. It has failed for many people only because they don’t really know how the mechanisms under the hood work. Knowing that will give you the assurance and patience to take the right steps. This chapter is dedicated to helping you put the law of attraction into action.

Some people will refuse to believe something so simple can actually work until they know how it works. OK, I understand. Here are a couple of ways it works. You’ll find others later on.

1. When you’re in a negative loop, such as “I’m in debt, I’m in debt,” your mind is preoccupied with that thought. It’s as if your neurons have burned a path of least resistance – making it just about impossible to not worry about your debt. You’re also far too occupied with your loop to be creative.

If, you start to look at what you already do have, a nice pair of shoes, a dog who adores you, a warm home, your negative loop is interrupted, and you can start thinking of ways out of the debt. (By the way, if you are looking for ways out of debt – that are fairly easy to implement and actually work – you’ll find some later in this book.) You may also become depressed when you focus on the negative, and people who are depressed can make ineffective decisions. Worst of all, you can go to ‘default’ which is what’s left when you don’t exercise your most potent power – the power to choose.

2. When you stay focused on what you want, not on what you don’t want, you start making small, but important decisions that will move you in the right direction.

3. You may wonder what would happen if everyone got what they wanted. What if lots of people became rich? Would that mean that everyone else would get poorer? No, in fact the opposite happens. When you’re rich, you buy things. The salespeople get commissions, the stores and factories make money, and are able to pay their workers more.

Let’s say you want a new convertible. People familiar with the law of attraction may suggest you put a picture of that convertible on your bathroom mirror, and start wishing for it. I know that seems rather simplistic, and for this example it is, but it actually helps it to work to a degree. Some people create an entire ‘vision board’ filled with photos reminiscent of what they want. It’s known to be more effective when just one wish is focused on at a time.

Here’s how it once worked for me: In my early cash-poor twenties, when I certainly couldn’t qualify for a car loan, I wanted a Land Rover. Back then, a brand new one was $5,000. I went to several car dealers anyway, just to look and wish some more. Poking around in a dealer’s back lot, I discovered a dusty used one that actually still ran, for $400. Quite a surprise! It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was a Land Rover I could afford. On the drive home, it overheated. It set me back $90 for a new radiator. That took a week to save up for, and another week to order. Then I had a Land Rover that actually ran fairly well, but it looked terrible. Although I was quite happy with mine, what I really wanted was a good-looking Land Rover. I had a friend who worked in a body shop who could give me a paint job for $200. A couple of months later, I had the car painted a deep metal-flake green with black trim. In my opinion, it actually looked better than the new Land Rovers, since you couldn’t get them in that color. Thinking others may feel the same way, I put an ad in the newspaper, and sold my $400 Land Rover for $2,800! It didn’t take long to come up with another $2200, and I got my brand new Land Rover, paid for in cash!

OK, you’re probably wondering where that last $2200 came from. Here’s what happened: One day the transmission in my $400 Land Rover broke down. Back then, Land Rovers were rare and I couldn’t buy the parts anywhere, so I bought a used Land Rover, one that was crashed, and took the transmission out for my car. I then sold the windshield, the wheels, the seats, axles, engine, all sorts of other parts. After paying to dispose of the remains, I had well over $2,000.

Now I realize you may not be able to do what I did, you may not even know exactly what an axle is, let alone how to sell one, but I’ll bet you have marketable skills, also. You probably have skills that you don’t yet realize can bring big positive changes to your life. This book will help you leverage what you already have.

Just in case you’re still not understanding how I do things, and how you can too, let me cite one more example. This one happened just a few years ago: I started a bookstore in an era when people simply don’t do that. Independent bookstores have been badly hurt by online book venues such as Amazon.com and of course Kindle. But, I felt like it would be a fun project to set up a small store, where I could greet the public, and sell books. So I did it. I did a few things differently, including having a back-room operation where I sold used books online.

After four months, I lost interest. I used to think losing interest in good projects was one of my bigger flaws, but now I’m realizing it has always been an advantage. Can you understand ways in which that may be true? What flaws might you have that are really advantages, if considered differently?

Having lost interest, I sold the store. Initially, I listed it for a price that was three times higher than what I had invested, but my wife stopped me. She advised that since the bookstore was already making enough money to interest a lot of possible buyers, that I could easily quadruple my asking price price. Just four days after placing the ad, the business sold for twelve times the original investment!

In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to teach you how to use the law of attraction (and other techniques) to truly get what you want.

Follow These Three Steps, And You Can Have Most Anything!

1. The first trick is to figure out exactly what you want. Oddly, almost everyone thinks they can answer that question without hesitation, but upon deeper reflection, it can be quite confusing. In time, you may discover things about yourself that you never knew.

A woman with a degree in psychology was looking for something more meaningful than her current job of writing employee psych evaluations for an insurance company. She couldn’t really get a handle on it, until one day she discovered she’d like to work with children. She burst into tears upon making that discovery. She had never given any thought to the idea of working with people other than adults until then.

So, how do you figure out what you really want? Try this trick: Ask a friend to ask you these specific questions:

What do you want (or what would you like)?

Where, when, and with whom would you like to have it?

What will having that do for you?

And what will having that do for you?

How will you know when you have it?

How will it affect your friends and family?

What will you lose that you value when you have it?

Have your friend repeat these questions in any sequence several times over the course of an hour or so, and you may be surprised how much your answers change.

Repeat this technique with a few friends over the course of a week or two.

2. Work out a plan of action. Pretty much anything you want to do can be attained in a succession of little tiny steps. Nothing needs to be difficult. Even designing an action plan can be easy. Especially when you know you don’t have to follow it exactly. Let the universe help guide you. If you make a plan that’s about right, with adjustments as things happen, you’ll get to where you’re going. An example:

I know a couple who were struggling to make their organic bakery profitable. One night their house burned down. You might think: Surely that’s a setback. But they knew about the law of attraction. They knew that what seems like a negative event can often be perceived as positive, and in fact becomes a positive event. They basically had a party in the street as the firemen were putting out the pile of rubble that had been their home. They moved into a teepee on a friend’s farm for the summer, paying no rent, and before winter they had found a better, furnished home that was closer to their bakery and lower rent than what they were paying before.

A couple of months later, the merchant next door made a little mistake and burned their bakery down! They did not have proper insurance. Do you think they worried? No, they didn’t! Within another month or so, they rented a new commercial building, bought a bunch of second-hand bakery equipment, and were back in business. But, this time they picked up a better location. This time, there was room for their customers to park, and their sign could be seen on the main thoroughfare. Their financial worries were over!

3. Be open to receiving. One of the best things you can do is to appreciate what you already have. That puts you in a feeling and position in which new things can come to you. Without that, you may not recognize the opportunities when they come up. Like the joke:

A man was caught in a flood, and had to climb up on the roof of his house. But, he knew God would take care of him. A helicopter came by, and lowered a harness. The man refused it, saying, “No, God will rescue me.” Another helicopter came by, and again he refused it. So he drowned and went to heaven. One of the first things he did when he got to Heaven was ask God, “Why didn’t you rescue me?” And God said, “I tried. What do you think those helicopters were?”

And, it helps to be patient. There’s a story about a gold mine in California. The owners dug and dug, but came up with no gold. So, they sold the mine for nearly nothing. The new owners dug three more feet, and hit the biggest vein of gold yet discovered.

And, it helps to have some supportive people around you that will bring you back to your goal. For instance, if you tell your plan to all your friends, and then you get a bit lazy, they’ll remind you, and get you back on track. And, your friends will tell their friends, and benefits can come seemingly out of nowhere. This is a very big part of the effectiveness of the law of attraction.

Many years ago, I owned a bicycle shop. I really wanted a metal lathe for the shop which is a very expensive tool. I told people, and one day, a 12-year-old boy came in the shop and said, “My grandmother has one.” I figured it was probably a wood lathe, a much less expensive tool that I couldn’t use, but I called her anyway. Her husband had passed, and she just wanted to be rid of it, so she gave it to me – wouldn’t hear of accepting any cash. It was a metal lathe in perfect condition with a wide array of attachments.

4. Be willing to accept variations. I once went through the exercise in step one with a client who initially told me he wanted to be a millionaire. I asked, “What would having that do for you?” He told me that as a millionaire he could afford a large home. Then I asked “And what would having a large home do for you?” He told me that then he could have a cat. And I asked, “And what would having a cat do for you?” He said, “Well, I would love to pet the cat for hours. I could slow down. I could think. I’d be happy!”

With his new understanding, it wasn’t long before he moved into an apartment where pets were allowed, and got his cat. And he was able to slow down and think. Starting to feel the law of attraction in action, he then turned his focus on having his own business. He started selling fishing equipment at the local flea market. His business grew, and in time he was able to quit his job. Today, he is well on his way to becoming a millionaire, but that’s not so important anymore, since he has his cat.

Exploring new possibilities, and being willing to flex, change, adjust, is the best way to make sure you get what you want. Julia Child, the late famous French chef, tried making hats. That didn’t work out, so she took a class in cooking.

I knew a woman who wanted to be a biochemist from a young age. She worked her way through college and got a masters degree. Her first job as a biochemist involved force-feeding 100 mice. This is a process where you put a tube down their throats and inject liquified food directly into their stomachs. She cried herself to sleep for two weeks. Then she quit her biochemist job. She learned to juggle, tell silly jokes, and make balloon animals. Today, she is very happy. She earns her living as a clown, entertaining at children’s parties. That may not be what you want to do, but it is exactly what she wants to do.

“Long ago I learned that to those who mean right and try to do right, there are no such things as real misfortunes. On the other hand, to such persons, all apparent evils are blessings in disguise.” – P. T. Barnum

Trust, be patient, relax, have fun – live a good life! – Jeff


Overcoming Physical Pain

Pain makes it difficult to concentrate, to have energy to do new things, to be creative. Let’s take care of any pain you, or your friends or family may have, right away!

Here’s a two-part system for dealing with physical pain that works most of the time. This is written as if you want to use it on yourself, but it works great when you use it on others, too. You don’t have to do it exactly right. Just get it approximately right, and do it with the right spirit. It will still work fine.

Part 1: It helps to understand that pain is not bad. It is a message system. It’s your body’s way of telling your conscious mind, “Hey, we’ve got to take care of something,” that your conscious mind might otherwise disregard.

Using the parts of yourself that know how to do it, let your body tell you all about the pain. Really listen to the message. You may be surprised by what your body wants you to know. In some cases, such as a sprained ankle, the message may be simple and obvious, “You’ve got to keep your weight off that ankle so it can heal.”

A message like that can’t be argued with. And, you wouldn’t want that pain to go away, because you probably would walk on it, which would indeed interfere with the healing.

The message may be something like, “Get medical help.” OK, that’s the way to take care of this pain. If you get that message, skip the rest of this chapter for now and get that help, you can come back to this later.

Once you have listened to your pain message, you can work out a solution that your body can accept. For instance, “How about if the pain can be gone as long as I don’t walk on it?” Or, ‘How about if the pain can be gone while I’m sleeping, reading, eating, and only comes back when I need to pay attention?’

Be ready for really interesting messages. And, you may have to be inventive to come up with an acceptable deal.

Part 2: Did you know you can change pain? If the pain is sharp, like a knife, try noticing that it can be duller. Or if it is dull, sharpen it a bit.

So, if you can change that, what else can you change? Go ahead and experiment. How about the size of the painful area? The depth? Does it have a frequency? A color? A temperature or texture? If you’ve never tried adjusting these pain attributes, you might be quite surprised how easy and effective it is, once you get the knack of it.

If you are working with someone else, and they aren’t able to change the attributes of their pain, you might take a break for a minute, and let them discover that they can learn new things of this sort.

Try this: Have them learn to inhale deeply, by asking them to exhale forcefully and fully. To their delight, the deep inhalation then comes automatically. Then go back to adjusting the pain.

Oh, and an aside: Referring to it as their pain, gives them ownership of it. I don’t think they really want to own ‘their’ pain.

The most interesting attribute of pain is location. Can you move the pain one inch higher? To the left? So, if you can move it an inch, how about further? How about moving it to another part of your body? How about somewhere outside your body? Isn’t that a nice solution? When it’s outside your body, you can still have the safety of the awareness that it exists, but it doesn’t have to bother you any more.


Object Manipulation

Picking Things Up

Unlike muggles (non-wizards), you’ll never have to stoop down to pick things up again after reading this chapter and practicing a bit.

For spherical objects such as oranges and tennis balls, you can trap the item between your heels and kick it over your head. Jump up and kick your heels behind you as if you were trying to kick yourself in the butt. The item will go up over your head to be easily caught in front of your body. If this doesn’t work at first, make sure the item is far back between your heels, not between the arches of your feet.

Another way to kick up a spherical object is to scrape the item onto the top of your
dominant foot with your other foot, and then lift your knee and kick forward, causing the item to come straight up. Because it is difficult to balance round objects on the top of your foot, the entire operation is combined into a quick, smooth movement so you kick up as soon as the object rolls on top of your foot. This rapid action also makes it look like a very nifty trick. This takes more practice than the heel kick.

A one-foot variation that’s slightly harder to master is to place the front of your foot on top of the object, then slide your foot backward rapidly and stop as your foot hits the ground. The object will spin backward, onto your foot, at which point you can quickly lift your foot up, causing the object to fly into the air.

Tennis players pick up tennis balls by trapping a ball between the tennis racket and the outside of a foot. The ball is swept up while trapped between the racket and foot, to where it can be easily caught in the hand. Again, fast movement is the key. In this case, the fast sweep gives the ball upward momentum so you don’t have to put much stroke into the sweeping movement.

If your object is a bouncy ball and you are near a wall, you can also kick the ball against the wall so that it bounces back, right to your hand.

But what if the tennis racket is on the ground?

Linear objects can be kicked up even more easily than spherical ones. Scrape one end of the linear object onto your dominant foot with your other foot. Your weight should be primarily on the non-dominant foot, but what weight is on the dominant foot, should be on the heel, and the toe should be tipped up off the ground slightly. A point a couple of inches from end of the object should rest against the bottom of your shin or the top of your ankle. Then, kick upwards in a sweeping movement. The sweep should be outside and backward, as if you were planning to kick yourself in the butt, not forward as you would think. This will hook the item between the bottom of your shin and the top of your foot, lift it up, and cause it to spin in the air, where after a single revolution, it can be easily caught in your hand. This works best for objects between 18 and 30 inches long (43 – 76cm), such as umbrellas, yardsticks, firewood, and of course, tennis rackets. If this does not work for you at first, think about kicking out and back, not up. Once you have practiced this, it is a very impressive trick. You want more impressive? Kick it harder, so it goes high into the air and spins two or even three turns before you catch it. With practice, you can kick up shorter objects such as a rolled up newspaper, or longer ones such as a baseball bat.

Tossing and Flourishing

You may have seen a chef who has mastered some visual display techniques. Sometimes people will crack crabs with two small hammers, throwing the hammers in the air between hits, even alternating hands. Perhaps you have seen some amazing pizza spinners. Have you seen This Drummer is at the Wrong Gig on YouTube?

You don’t have to be as proficient in manipulating objects. In fact, you can be a wizard with no object manipulation skill at all. But, whenever you handle a tool or object with a little flourish, it gives the illusion of confidence and control. If you are in any sort of public display, a musical performance, a lecture, a little kinetic art goes a long way. I knew a math professor who would occasionally teach his class on stilts. The material that he taught was the same, but the students really paid attention and remembered it. The head of the National Cash Register Company felt his salesmen weren’t listening to a speech he was giving, so he grabbed a sledgehammer and smashed up a cash register on stage. That got their attention.

If object manipulation interests you, you might start with a simple flip. The ideal object to practice with would be straight, 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) long, have a diameter of an inch (2.5 cm) or less, weigh about five to ten ounces (1/4 to 1/2 kg), have no sharp edges, and be easy to see. You can make a practice object by cutting a wooden dowel, rounding the edges, and painting or covering one end with tape. The colored end is so you can easily tell the difference between half and full spins.

Start with single spins. With practice, you’ll find you can do double, and eventually triple spins, which are progressively more impressive than single spins. Use both hands, so you can learn to easily flip from hand to hand. Then you might want to fool around with flourishes. Try rolling the object around among your fingers, or moving it in a figure eight pattern while held loosely, using a lot of wrist movement. More accomplished object manipulators can spin objects on their head, manipulate one object in each hand, put together complex patterns combining tosses and flourishes, and of course, manipulate the actual things they work with. A mechanic may manipulate wrenches, a carpenter may throw and catch a hammer, a tennis playing wizard might do all sorts of fun things with tennis rackets, balls, and tennis ball cans.

To give you an idea of what’s possible, and not even all that hard to learn, here’s a nifty tennis serve: At the same time you throw the ball high in the air, you throw the tennis racket up for two spins. You catch the racket just before the ball returns. As the ball falls where it would for a normal serve, you serve the ball, using your normal swing.

Perhaps you’re more into baseball than tennis. Take a look at any accomplished baton twirler. Which baton tricks could you learn with a baseball bat?

Juggling

Kind of reminds you of juggling, doesn’t it? Here’s a shortcut for learning juggling. The trick is to understand the pattern. Start with three balls, two in your dominant hand, one in your other. Throw one of the balls in your dominant hand to the other. The throw should be about two to three feet (60 to 90 cm) high. Now, just before the ball arrives to your non-dominant hand, throw the ball that the non-dominant hand is holding back to the dominant hand. Before that ball arrives, throw the last ball to the non-dominant hand. And you are juggling. Do you see the pattern yet? You are really throwing only one ball at a time. Just before it arrives, you throw the one that occupies the hand that’s going to catch it, so that the catching hand is free. Every time you throw a ball, it goes to the opposite hand.

Three points to remember when learning to juggle:

For many people, you need to overcome a habit of handing the second ball to the other hand. The second, and every subsequent throw must be as high as the first – about two to three feet (60 – 90 cm).

Don’t try to do everything at the same time. Each throw follows the other after a small delay.

You will tend to move forward as the pattern starts to develop. This is a natural tendency. All your life, you have learned to protect your face, so you naturally tend to avoid throwing things near your face. You throw forward. You may even find yourself running forward by your ninth or tenth throw. Do not worry about this habit, it will diminish with time. If you are concerned with breaking the forward habit, practice in front of a wall.

One reason juggling – or a similar object manipulation technique of your choice – is important to wizards is that it teaches patience. Amazing things can be accomplished by allowing your body to learn fine motor skills over time. This is also true of mental pursuits. Learning an object manipulation skill teaches on a deeper level. You learn that you can trust yourself to learn in a way that merely reading about it never really imparts.

Other Skills

Isn’t it interesting that parents love to have a child take an interest in music, but then they are horrified if the child announces that s/he wants to become a professional musician?

The reason they (used to) teach music in schools is that what they are really teaching is a can-do attitude. So, yes, if object manipulation is not your thing, learning to play music is a good way to expand as a wizard.

Skills such as music, ballet, basketball, ice skating, or anything that you enjoy, will help in all your wizardly pursuits. Going a step further, you can investigate less common pursuits – such as Irish step dancing, unicycling, speed chess, or kung fu, which are easier to become recognized in because there are fewer people doing it. Therefore, you are more likely to go the top, to become a recognized expert, for a powerful ego boost. Yes, a bit of ego can be a good thing. It reminds you, it guides you, into doing, performing – being better. So, if you spend two years trying to be the best basketball player you can be, at the end of that time, it is quite likely you won’t have a video like “This Drummer is at the Wrong Gig” made of you, since your skill may not be particularly noticeable, and you may not feel as accomplished as if you had spent the same time doing something fairly unique. Still, you will experience a great deal of pride and the joy of doing something you love – whatever that may be.


Creative Listening

A wizard using Creative Listening asks carefully designed questions to help people think about things in new ways. The results can be fantastic, resulting in inventive solutions to problems, overcoming frustration, worry and mild depression, or for learning new ways to relate with friends, family, and co-workers.

A creative listener does not have to be an expert in anything except asking questions. You can use creative listening not only in general ways, but can also help those who are in very specialized fields. You can use CL with a neighbor in your local coffee shop, in a professional session, or anything in-between. You can use it with friends, family, clients, customers, associates – anyone young or old.

The wizard using creative listening does not tell you what to do. The purpose is to help you sort things, make sure nothing is overlooked, take mental leaps, help you see and really feel the lighter side when necessary, and come away with a new perspective and hopefully with a renewed sense of purpose.

Creative listening is free and unrestricted, takes about ten minutes to learn, and can be super-effective in so many ways:

* Helps others understand things they’ve been thinking about in entirely new ways, often resulting in perceptions shifted, problems solved, attitudes adjusted, and progress made.

* Understand things you’ve been thinking about in entirely new ways.

* Quickly establish rapport with clients, customers, teenagers, parents, etc.

* Express criticism in a constructive way without offending, and elicit changed behaviors.

* Help people feel better about themselves and their lives.

In just a few minutes, you can learn enough to communicate more effectively with family, friends, and yourself. In just a few hours of practice, you can use it professionally, adding your skill as a creative listener to your set of wizardry tools.


Easy Steps to Creative Listening

Step 1

Respectfully challenge ambiguities.

You’d be amazed at what people leave out of conversations. Interestingly, many of these details have never really been analyzed by the speaker. So, when you ask for more detail, very interesting new thoughts can develop.

For instance:

If the person you’re listening to says, “Everyone says.” – You might ask: “Who specifically says that?

It can’t be done. – What exactly prevents it from being done?

She hates me. – In what specific way does she let you know that she hates you?

The relationship is in trouble. – How is it in trouble?

The situation is hopeless. – What is the situation, exactly? Or, What lets you know it’s hopeless?

You might think this rude or offensive, but in most cases, when you respectfully ask for more detail, the speaker is honored – knowing that someone truly wants to know what they are thinking.

Step 2

Ask questions that cause people to think about things in new ways. For example:

What would you like? This is a good place to start in many cases. Variations can include: What’s on your mind? What do you want?

What would having that do for you? This will often cause the speaker to zoom out and see the bigger picture – often for the first time.

And what would having that do for you? Sometimes the degree of zoom isn’t enough – even when you think it is. You’d be surprised what comes up when you zoom out twice.

How will you know when you have it? A surprising way to zoom in for a closer look.

When you have it, what will you lose that you value? This will typically bring the speaker to a dead stop for a minute, and can bring up all sorts of useful objections. Knowing those objections will reveal reasons for procrastination, hesitation, and de-focusing activities.

What’s the opposite of that? Another viewpoint that many people have never considered in ideas they may have thought about often. This can get them out of a loop.

How will your friends, family, or significant others react when you have it? Another way to find hidden blocks.

What stops you? This can bring a new perspective.

If your _____ was a bathtub to fill with something, what would you put in it? This is just an example, you could use all sorts of similar questions here – ones that the listener doesn’t expect, which will jump them off their typical track – often with spectacular results. It can often help them to do something more useful or more productive.

Now that we’ve discussed it a bit, what would you like? Don’t be surprised if the answer is quite different from the original answer the first time you asked this question.

What good things come to someone who _____? Generally, this is a twist that opens new channels of consideration. The blank is often filled with what the person is doing now. For instance: What good things come to someone who does not start a camera store?

What would someone have to believe _____? Much like the question above, you can twist it backward, and be ready to hear some very interesting results.

What’s the first step to getting _____? This is a good way to zoom in, and see the first and most immediate objection.

What needs to be written in my notes? This often elicits a more honest self- appraisal.

In asking all these questions, leave plenty of time for answers. Although at first awkward, you can wait even 15 seconds without saying another word. The person with whom you are speaking will feel the need to fill the silence, and may come up with something very interesting indeed, if given enough silent time.

You can ask these, and other questions, in any sequence that seems right. Indulge your curiosity. Don’t be afraid of questions that seem too personal or prying. If you ask these well, and follow the steps below, not only will you get the answers you seek, but the person with whom you are speaking will feel quite honored that you care enough to ask such deep things.

If the conversation veers off-track, you can steer it back by saying something like, “Thank you,” or “Yes, I can see how that would happen,” but then ask for specific information to get the conversation back on track. For instance, if the person starts talking about exactly how he built a bookshelf, you might say, “I see you really enjoyed that project. So, what would you…?”

You can guide the conversation to what’s called a ‘well-formed outcome.’ Ultimately, you’d like the person you’re conversing with to state a desire in the positive, and have it be something s/he can realistically initiate and maintain.

For instance, “I’d like my mother to stop nagging me,” is not a well-formed outcome, because it is stated in the negative, and it depends on the mother changing.

A better outcome might be something like, “I’d like to start creating harmony between my mother and myself.”

Step 3

It has been said that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. You have experienced that. For instance, someone may say that their neighbor is ‘alright,’ but as they say it, you see their shoulders rise up, their facial features tighten, their respiration becomes shallow. In this situation, do you learn more from their words (‘alright’), or from their physiology? You can do a lot with this 93 percent.

You can build tremendous unconscious rapport by mirroring posture, gestures and audio tonality. If you wait approximately seven seconds and then position yourself the same way, if you moderate your speed, volume and pitch to sound somewhat similar, if you play back gestures, your listener will become more trusting, more willing to share deeper thoughts and emotions, and more willing to listen carefully to what you have to say. Don’t take my word for it – try it out. Surprisingly, you won’t be ‘busted’ unless you do it very blatantly. In most cases, you can mirror people very completely, and they never suspect a thing. So, as your person sits in the chair with her left arm forward, you can sit in your chair with your right arm forward. A very primitive part of the human brain sees the mirroring, and says, “That person is like me. I can feel comfortable with that person.” The same is true for matching speaking speed, volume, and tonality.

Backtracking is a valuable technique. This means that you repeat certain key phrases back to the person you are conversing with, generally several seconds or even minutes later. For instance, if your user states that something good is ‘tubular,’ and if you use that same word in a similar context, this will raise their comfort level – they’ll feel honored and heard. Backtracking is actually the opposite of a technique known as ‘active listening’ in which you rephrase what you’ve heard to prove that you understood it. Backtracking has the rather surprising effect of causing the listener believe that you really understood what was said. Whereas active listening is a powerful technique, you’ll find backtracking has an even more profound effect. Try it for yourself!

Noticing physiology can let you know when it is time to shift gears. You can read when you’ve lost someone’s attention, when you have asked for too much detail, gone into an area that brings sadness, and so on. With practice, you can read where to focus more attention. For instance, as the conversation shifts to parents, you may see physiology changes that indicate something more needs to be discussed about a mother or father. You may see a slight sheen of sweat, tightened lips, or a change in eyebrows. You may see breathing become shallow or even stop temporarily. Or, you may see a deep, calming breath, closing of the eyes longer than a blink, a more relaxing shift in sitting position, indicating you’ve come back to ‘safe’ territory in the conversation.

Step 4

Remember what you are trying to accomplish. Quite often, your story, your attitude, your concerns creep into the conversation. In many cases, that’s counter-productive. The moment you start coaching or telling your story, your effectiveness as a creative listener
weakens.

Depending on what you wish to accomplish, you may not have to tell the person you’re talking with anything specific. Simply giving them the opportunity to talk freely can help them feel better, see things in new ways, and arrive at a more satisfactory conclusion, especially if you use steps 1 and 2. You may have heard women tell men ‘not to fix them.’ This is what they’re talking about. A typical man in modern society will look for suggestions to offer. A typical woman will more often refrain from offering anything other than a good ear. Have you ever offered unsolicited suggestions? How well did the recipient respond to your advice?

So how do you make money with Creative Listening?

There may be more ways than one can count.

The first, probably most obvious way, is to offer your services in person or by phone as a creative listening wizard. You might consider charging $1 per minute to start. As you gain a reputation, and as more and more of your early clients call you back, I believe it would be quite realistic to charge $2/minute ($120/hour).

Reputation would be the best way to spread the word, but that takes time. To kick it off, you can do all the usual things: post flyers on local bulletin boards, attend meetings around where you live and hand out business cards to anyone and everyone along with an ‘elevator speech’ – a 20 second friendly introduction about what you can do for them with creative listening.

Or, you may prefer to work strictly by phone. This gives you a national, or even international pool of potential customers. You can advertise what you do in all the usual Internet ways: Via Google AdWords, create a blog, add it to your website, pay for space on other websites, and so on.

You can offer discounts to local or phone people. I’d like to recommend something like this: Tell them to tell the truth about what you do, as they see it. Give them a certain number of business cards in trade for a certain amount of service, and tell them that via the honor system, they are expected to distribute the cards in meaningful ways. As you are just starting your business, any client at all is valuable. Even if they pay you nothing. You get to practice, and you’ve got someone who will naturally tell others about what you can do. But, if they have been given ten cards in trade for 20 free minutes from you, they’ll be even more inclined to spread the word.

As I mentioned, there are other ways to make money with creative listening. How many can you think of? For instance, you could teach it independently or via a community education system. You could ‘street perform’ creative listening. You’d bring two chairs or stools and perhaps an easel-mounted sign to a public place, and just get a volunteer and start a conversation. At the same time, you build and acknowledge a crowd, and eventually pass the hat. After your ‘performance’, pass your cards out to encourage people to call on you professionally – now that they’ve seen what you can do.

You can also mix creative listening in with your with your other activities. You may be a coach, teacher, or perhaps a computer repair technician, and find that creative listening helps your business in all the ways where good communication makes a difference – which is everywhere!


Metaphorically Speaking

Speaking metaphorically is one of the hallmarks of a wizard. Many wizards do it often.

Sometimes, you may feel a need to actively create change, but know the person who you want to change may be resistant. So how do you go about helping the resistant person change?

You can talk about a person in a similar situation, real or imagined, and what that person did. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re speaking with a neighbor about his brown lawn. It may be bothering you like crazy, since everyone else on the block has nice green lawns.

You could tell him: “Hey, I don’t like looking at your brown lawn! Please water it.”

I think you can imagine the effect that would have.

Or, after spending a few minutes with steps 1 through 4 in the Creative Listening chapter, you could tell him a brief story about a fellow who collected plaster lawn gnomes, enjoyed his riding mower, and felt great satisfaction in having a green lawn. And say nothing more. Wait a week and see what happens.

Another example: Let’s say you’re talking with your teenage son about being too loud in public places. You might say, ‘Have you ever noticed how everyone cringes when my friend Fred shows up? I guess that’s just because he’s so loud.”

Metaphors don’t work every time, but neither does a direct statement. You can try a few different metaphors in a few different conversations, and eventually you’re more likely to be effective than with direct statement, especially with repeated direct statements, which turn all too easily into nagging.

A wizard often has three other speaking techniques worth practicing.

The wizard might develop the habit of speaking slowly. One can start by counting silently to three before answering or responding. Going a step further, speak clearly and spread the words through time, sometimes even eccentrically so, can make what the wizard has to say stand out in comparison to the same thing spoken normally. It can also give the impression that the wizard is particularly knowledgeable or intelligent.

The wizard who consistently speaks quietly, even to the point where people have to struggle to hear the wizard, also gains presentation points.

The third technique is waiting silently and patiently for someone to come up with an answer. The muggle rushes to fill silences, sometimes even putting words into the mouths of the people with whom they are conversing. The wizard who waits even up to 15 seconds, not only gets a more honest, and sometimes totally unexpected response, but also adds aura of mistery to the wizard’s countenance.


A Metaphor for Persistence

One of the most common wizardry techniques is speaking metaphorically. Telling someone they ‘ought’ to do something, even if it is in answer to a specific plea for coaching, tends to be less effective than spinning a metaphor. This kind of metaphor is typically a short story about someone who is similar but different, facing a similar but different situation. The person in the story just happens to take whatever the wizard thinks is the ‘right’ action, and the story ends in success.

Metaphors don’t always work. You need to watch your recipient’s physiology to see if the metaphor ‘went in’ or not. And, it will often bump against the long-held memories of childhood traumas, and other subconscious resistance, but sometimes a metaphor is just the right medicine.

So, here’s a metaphor promoting long-term persistence. This is for the person who needs some coaching to follow through on a project. To keep going when it seems to the person like there is no hope. This is also good for someone who keeps doing the same thing, and expecting different results.

You can use this for yourself just by reading and absorbing it. You can use it with your own friends, family or clients. You can even spin your own custom version of this story.

This particular story happens to be true. I won’t mention the name of the person who is involved, because even though it happened a long time ago, he may or may not want to be associated with it. He told it to me in front of some other people, and it wasn’t in a wizardry session, so I think it is OK to tell you.

It seems this fellow really, really wanted to be a successful science fiction author. Somehow, he figured he had to co-write. He contacted some of the best names in the business with his ideas, and ended up co-writing books with Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein and many the biggest sci-fi authors of the day.

Each book he co-wrote died in the market. They never made any significant royalties beyond the initial small advances. He kept trying to co-write these books for 18 years, while he supported himself as an English professor at a community college.

After all these non-successes, none of the big names would co-write with him anymore. His name became poison in the science fiction business. They figured, “Write with him, and your book will die for sure.”

So, in desperation, he wrote a book independently, and submitted it to editors at the various publishers. One of the publishing houses picked it up, and it became an international best-seller.


The Nature of Animals

Understanding a bit about the nature of animals makes a world of difference.

I was once walking into a store and noticed a big German Shepherd tied to a bike rack out front. I walked confidently near the dog, and held out my hand for the dog to sniff. After a few seconds of sniffing, I petted the dog and he enjoyed it, as did I. Then, I started walking into the store, but stopped when I heard the same dog barking loudly, and people yelling behind me. It seems a fellow walking behind me wanted to impress his girlfriend who was walking along with him. He just reached out, and tried to pet the dog, even though he was afraid of him. He wanted her to know that he was brave, just like that older fellow who had just petted the dog a moment ago. But things didn’t turn out right. The dog bit the poor guy.

What happened there? Well, I knew something of a dog’s nature. The dog depends heavily on the sense of smell. To a dog, that’s as important to seeing or hearing is to a human. The dog is not going to trust someone he can’t smell, just like you wouldn’t trust someone you can’t see. The dog is also very good at reading body language. He did not sense or smell any fear or concern on me, even though I was cautious. I didn’t present my hand until I was certain the dog was OK with me.

What would you do if you are riding your bike and a dog starts chasing you? The most effective response is to be a pack leader. The dog respects that – it is part of the dog’s nature. If you firmly say, “Go Home” – or anything at all, but in a commanding tone, the dog, instantly knows who is boss – and who is not! Taking command won’t always work, especially if the dog senses that you are fearful. So what else is going on in the dog’s nature that you can leverage? Dog’s love to chase. That’s how they eat. Until domestication, dogs always had to chase something to catch and eat it. They still enjoy the process of chasing. So, you stop riding your bike. You can dismount on the side of the bike opposite the dog. In a worst case scenario, you could mash the bike against the dog as protection, but if you have firmly commanded the dog, and have stopped providing something to chase, you won’t need to do anything more.

Cats, like dogs, like people, enjoy being petted, but only if all other needs are taken care of. The temperature has to be right, the cat has to be well-fed, in no pain, and not annoyed by an overly-busy environment. Cats, also like dogs, are scent oriented. They like to smell you first. They also like to see your approach. Many people will try to pet a cat without letting the cat see the hand approaching the back of the cat’s head, ears or neck.

You might not say that a cat is proud of its claws, but they are a very important tool for a cat. They like to use their claws. They are used to using their claws. They will tend to use them unless there is a good reason not to.

Punishing a cat pretty much doesn’t work. Instead of the desired effect, the cat will just avoid the situation entirely in the long run. They may not have the sophistication to differentiate between being hit or yelled at because they stuck their claws in your leg, and because they came near you. So, instead of teaching the cat not to claw you, you have inadvertently taught the cat to stay away from you. While a dog is a pack animal, and is quite sensitive to commands, whether verbal or expressed as body language from the leader, the cat is a more solitary animal, so they don’t understand that when you call, you want h/she to come to you. They can learn, however, that when you call, there is usually something nice to eat.

That’s not to say cats are not intelligent. They may be remarkably intelligent. I was once learning to do single-spin jumps on rollerblades. I was in the house, in socks, jumping into the air, spinning around one turn, and landing on one foot. My cat saw this, and turned around in almost exact 360-degree circles, twice. Do you suppose she was pretending she was me?

Sometimes, right after I took a shower, this cat would walk into the wet shower stall, and stand and look up at the shower head for one or two whole minutes. What was she thinking?

There was a time when horses had to be concerned about being attacked by wolves, lions and other predators. They evolved to have eyes on the sides of their head, so they could watch for enemies in almost all directions. If you approach a horse straight on, they are confused, because they don’t see you clearly. If you approach from behind, they see you, but not clearly, and it looks like trouble, so you might get kicked.

A horse’s eyes do not focus like our eyes. In order to see at a distance, their heads must be held up high. To see close, their heads must be low. That’s why they bob up and down when you approach. They’re trying to see you clearly.

Horses, too, are probably more intelligent than is generally believed. They have a highly developed sense of curiosity. If you can interest a horse in what you are doing, the horse will come close to check it out. Some horse whisperers use this to ‘break’ a new horse. They’ll turn their back to the horse while tying and untying a rope knot. The wild horse just has to come close to see what’s going on.

Horses, like dogs are pack animals. Actually herd animals, which is similar in that they are most comfortable with other familiar beings nearby. That’s why a horse will be so accommodating – doing heavy work for you. Once they get used to you, once you become their ‘herd,’ they will seek comfort in your company.

Carrot Vs. Stick

Punishing a horse,besides being cruel, is not as effective as offering it carrots. That’s because in the natural world, there isn’t much punishment. Oh, a member of the herd may nip at a misbehaving horse, but real punishment is doled out in nature rarely to a horse. Something like being bit by a rattlesnake can happen. The horse’s natural reaction is to run away in fear from any such situation. So, they really don’t understand being hit, yelled at, or deprived of food. That’s just not in their background to understand, and the only response they can think of is to try to run away. It would be a shame to punish a horse, or any animal, when the gentler ways of training them are so much easier and more effective.

A rattlesnake wants to be at the right temperature. Sometimes it means coiling under a rock. Sometimes that means laying in the sun right in the middle of the trail. It is a solitary animal and wants to be left alone. You do not want to step on a snake. That’s bad for everyone. The snake can strike within a distance of only 1/3 of its length. The snake’s teeth have a difficult time penetrating leather boots, denim jeans or two pairs of socks. Its top crawling speed is three miles per hour (4 kph). You can safely walk among snakes if you know these things.

In summary, understanding the nature of animals makes working with them so much more effective. Study the animals you’re working with. Try to understand how they evolved. If you understand their natural problems and triumphs, you can replicate or avoid those situations as needed. For instance, knowing that a skunk will pat the ground with its front paws as warning before spraying is very useful in working with skunks. If you ignore that, the skunk will turn around. If you’re still not gone – too bad!


Four Crazy Words

Four very common words do not usually have the effect you’d expect.

When you say don’t you are setting up a situation that is the opposite of what you literally say. For instance, if I tell you, “Don’t think about dragons,” what happens? Right, you immediately think about dragons. It seems that on some level, the mind
understands that whatever follows “don’t” is important, but the “don’t” part itself is not emphasized. It’s as if parents who tell their children, “Don’t put your milk so close to the edge of the table,” are asking for trouble. Teachers who tell their students, “Don’t run” are almost commanding them to run.

In wizardry, you can use this aspect of “don’t” to help people focus on new thoughts or behaviors. One of the most powerful uses is at the end of a session when you can offer a hypnotic suggestion such as this: “And, don’t be surprised if in the next few days, you’ll have wonderful revelations born out of our conversation today.”

But is a word that also has a special effect. Any part of a sentence before the word “but” is pretty much wiped out by whatever follows. For instance, if I tell someone, “I like what you wrote, but the last paragraph confuses me,” guess what happens? Right again! All the person hears is the critique. The entire complimentary part of the sentence is lost.

Another such word is why. When you ask “why” you get ‘story.’ Asking “why” is like an invitation or a challenge to defense – it puts the person who is asked in a space where they have to try to tell you why on a conscious level, and this is often counter-productive. A better question is “How,” or something like, “What let you know to. . .” or “When. . .”

Try is another problematic or powerful word. It really implies making an effort, but has nothing to do with success. Most of the time, when someone says “try” an unsuccessful outcome is expected. You can learn to notice “try” in conversation, and understand the underlying implication. The person speaking may be indicating that lack of success is expected. How might you use, or not use “try” effectively when you’re speaking?


Perceptual Positions

How to Deal With an Undesirable Person

“When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us; Power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness.” – Dale Carnegie

This little procedure takes just a few minutes, and can change your situation with a family member, acquaintance, client, or just about anyone, in spectacular ways. It is not necessary to do this thing exactly ‘right.’ If you mix up a step or have something out of position, it is likely to work well anyway.

This chapter is written as if you are using the technique for yourself, but you can just as easily guide someone else through this little procedure.

1. If your most vivid memories of this undesirable person involve sitting, arrange three empty chairs approximately as shown. If it was a standing situation, chairs are not needed.

2. Sit in chair A. Try to imagine your ‘undesirable’ person sitting in chair B. With the parts of you that know how to do it, move yourself into your co-worker in chair B, and see the world through the other person’s eyes, hear the world through that person’s ears, and so on. For the next few minutes, you are the other person.

3. As that other person, you are looking at yourself in chair A. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel about the person in chair A? What do you think about that person in chair A?

4. Whenever you are ready, get up, and do something to break your state. Spell a word backward, walk in a circle, just anything to free your mind for a moment.
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5. Sit in chair C and become an independent observer. You are not yourself or the other person. As the observer, what do you see, hear, think, feel about the interaction between yourself in chair A, and the person in B?

5a. Imagine/sense that your chair is very far removed from chairs A and B, and see if anything changes. How about if your chair becomes very close?

6. Break your state. Sit again in chair A, be yourself, and notice if anything has changed in your thoughts about the other person.

7. As necessary, feel free to repeat the steps of this procedure.

Perceptual positions as a tool for wizards


Nuts, Bolts, Tools and Inertia

For a wizard, everything can come easy. A wizard has no need to struggle like a muggle. Understanding materials, fasteners, tools, leverage and inertia makes you a true wizard of the real world. Whereas a ‘regular’ person may pull, push, and make a big production out of something like a stuck bolt, the wizard just takes care of it. You may never be a mechanic, carpenter, or the kind of person who regularly handles tools, but you’ll still find plenty of occasions where understanding the things our man-made world is composed of will be greatly useful.

Materials

The common understanding of aluminum, steel, and other metals is that they are strong, rock-hard, more-or-less unchangeable.

From now on, perhaps you can think of steel as more like modeling clay. Just really cold modeling clay, so it is mostly solid. But with enough force, or heat, it is very much like clay indeed. You can bend and form steel quite a bit, if you can apply enough strength. The only exception is springy steel, which acts more like rubber than clay, unless you push it past its limits.

Steel is mostly iron with carbon and other elements mixed in. Depending on the recipe, steel can be soft or hard, springy or not, and prone to rusting or not. But in the big picture, it’s all modeling clay.

Can you imagine rubbing two pieces of modeling clay against each other? They’ll stick and deform, won’t they? Guess what? So will steel. That’s why a bit of oil or grease makes steel parts in contact run so much smoother and last longer.

Imagine that you have two pieces of clay, one a bit softer than the other, and the soft one is shaped like a knife. If you try to cut through the hard clay with the soft knife, what’s going to happen? Right! So you can only cut steel with a harder grade of steel. If you use a soft steel knife to slice butter, no problem. If you use a soft steel knife to slice glass – well, you get the idea.

Aluminum is like steel, but tends to have a slightly more whitish tint, and seldom polishes to a shine. It weighs less than steel and is generally softer. It too, is a bit like modeling clay, but when you apply enough force, it tends to tear. It is a sort of junky clay.

Plastic comes in many forms. The two natural divisions are plastics that can melt, and those that will not melt. The ones that melt are usually more flexible at room temperature. Plastics, like steel, can come from recipes with varying properties.

Glass, too, is modeling clay. Just imagine a sheet of very, very cold clay. If you hit a sheet of frozen clay, it will break, just like glass. If you hit a very hot sheet of glass, just like clay, it will merely bend.

An aside: Did you know that if you break a window, the cracks progress outward at 3,000 miles per hour (4,000 kph)?

Wood is not modeling clay. It has a grain. If you look at wood, you’ll see lines. It is ten times stronger against the grain than with it. If you look at a wooden baseball bat, you’ll see the grain runs the long way. Try to imagine a bat made with the grain running in concentric circles from one end to the other, as if the bat was carved from a core drilled horizontally through a tree. Can you picture that? Imagine hitting a baseball with that bat? What would happen? Right. The bat would break instantly.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because the wizard develops a feel for materials and so knows a lot about handling them.

Let’s say you have a thin stick of wood laying across two chairs placed a short distance apart. If you were to hit that stick with a hammer, using lots of little strokes, it probably wouldn’t break. Yet if you take a big swing, it will break. That’s because you have built up inertia in the head of the hammer. When you get some weight in motion, it wants to stay in motion. The wood can’t stop it. That’s why an experienced carpenter grips the hammer by the end of the handle, and takes a few big strokes rather than lots of little ones. It is much easier to get things done.

Where else can you build up inertia? How about in your body? You’ve probably seen movies where someone is trying to break open a door and bumps into it from a foot (30 cm) away. Nothing happens, except the person’s shoulder may get hurt. The next person takes a running start at the door, and hits it from ten feet away. Then the door is blown off its hinges and falls to the floor, yet the person who broke it down is unhurt.

Putting inertia and understanding of materials together, you can understand how a Karate wizard breaks a board. First, he arranges it so the angle of the grain is at its weakest. In fact, he has purchased boards made from a type of wood that is known to have weak grain. Then, he doesn’t just tap it with his hand. He takes a great swing, and breaks the board effortlessly.

Things that are stationary want to remain stationary. Things that are in motion want to stay in motion. Furthermore, they want to keep going in the same direction they are already moving.

When you think about it, it is obvious. That’s why it is so much work to get your bike going, and why your car tires screech when you go around a turn too fast.

You can start applying your new awareness of inertia in all sorts of everyday situations.

For instance: A car with a flat tire. One of the lug nuts is stuck, and no matter how hard a non-wizard might push on the wrench, it won’t turn. You can kick or jump on the wrench with your foot, employing the inertia of your leg, foot and shoe.

Once you get a heavy refrigerator moving, it ought to be easy to keep it moving, until you have taken it all the way to the far side of the kitchen. If you start and stop several times, it will be much more work. With a refrigerator you may need some lubrication, however. You can imagine that the ‘clay’ feet of the refrigerator want to stick to the ‘clay’ of the floor. Remember, “everything is modeling clay.” So, you can put a few drops of water and dish soap on the floor at the refrigerator’s feet, and voila, it slides easily.

In a baseball game, the non-wizard hits the ball out to third base with a typical swing of the bat. The wizard winds up further, grips the bat a bit closer to the knob, and takes a mighty swing utilizing not just arms, but putting the wizard’s whole body into the swing. One of two things is going to happen. The wizard might strike out, just like anyone else. But if the wizard hits that ball, it’s going out of the stadium!

Fractures and Holes

We live in an imperfect world. Many things have fractures and holes. No doubt you already realize how much a fracture weakens an item. You can use this to your advantage. If you want to divide an item, you might as well expand the fracture, rather than trying to create a new one from scratch. Furthermore, you can apply inertia. The other day, I saw a muggle (non-wizard) try to separate a garden hose that was cut almost all the way through. He pulled on the ends, but it didn’t break. Then a wizard grabbed the hose, pulled fast and hard, using the inertia of his arms. The hose snapped easily in two. This is how phone books are torn in two by people demonstrating strength. They realize that the outer edge of a page is a bit rough, essentially a line of fractures. The phone book is always torn toward the spine, taking advantage of the edge fractures.

The muggle struggles with putting a wood screw into a board. The wizard drills a hole, or pounds a nail just a short way into the board first, creating a hole, puts a little oil on the screw, and has no problem at all.

Tools

Even if a wizard doesn’t know much, hasn’t acquired many skills, that wizard can be quite helpful by carrying a little pack containing a roll of tape, a bit of wire, some glue (5-minute Epoxy), an adjustable wrench, a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, a pair of scissors, a magnifying glass, a smartphone, a pen, some paper, a little flashlight, and a few other items.

Planning

The muggle looks at the situation at hand and takes action. The wizard, looks at the situation at hand, takes time to imagine possible outcomes, then takes action. The wizard is not opposed to looking things up. There are service manuals for just about everything on the web, and most are free. Wikipedia is a great place to find out about materials, tools, repair procedures and more.

I found the following in a book published in 1858: “An English gentleman, traveling some years ago in Ireland, took a hammer and tacks with him, because he found dog’s-eared carpets at all the inns where he rested. At one of these inns he tacked down the carpet which, as usual, was loose near the door, and soon afterward, rang for his dinner. While the carpet was loose the door could not be opened without a hard push: so when the waiter came up, he just unlatched the door, and then going back a couple of yards, he rushed against it, as his habit was, with a sudden spring to force it open. But the wrinkles of the carpet were no longer there to stop it, and not meeting with the expected resistance, the unfortunate waiter fell full sprawl into the room. It had never entered his head that so much trouble might be saved by means of a hammer and half-a-dozen tacks, until his fall taught him that make-shift is a very unprofitable kind of shift.”


You Do What You Eat

How many times have you heard, “You are what you eat?”

I’m going to propose that, “You do what you eat.”

What I’m getting at here is that you can control a big aspect of your life by changing your eating habits. When I was 16 years old, I spent a lot of time sitting on the lawn, challenging my friends to do what I would have done if I had the energy. Oh, there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, sometimes I did have the energy, but when I did, it was often too much. Like most 16-year-olds, I was addicted to sugar. It is easy to do in our society. Our well-meaning parents introduce it to us from a very early age. Processed sugar is in most baby foods. In everything we see, everything we’re told, we are taught that ‘sweet’ is good, and that sugary foods are a reward. Having eaten more sugar than can fit in the trunk of a car by our teens, it is no surprise that we expect sugar in every meal, and for all the snacks in-between. We even learn that to eat a candy bar before an athletic event gives us more energy for a little while. We want sugar in our morning coffee to wake us up properly.

Don’t you wonder what would happen if we quit using sugar for a while? Would we die? No. Would we crave it for a while? Most likely. But while we are craving the missing sugar, somehow, oddly, our energy would even out. Once the body learns to regulate its own sugar again, we seem to have more energy, consistently, throughout the day. And, doesn’t a good wizard deserve the energy to think clearly, and take the actions that the wizard wants to take? Of course!

But what about that addition situation? It was our first addition, so it is the one we’ve had the longest. Good news, if you can remember the reason, it is not so hard to give up. Even though it is a long addition, it is not a particularly strong addiction. You see there is natural sugar in fruit, meat, even a little bit in salads. We don’t need more. We’ve just come to believe we do. The sugar that’s added is more processed than what’s naturally in our foods. It’s digestion is dealt with immediately, causing a quick, steep increase in blood sugar levels – taxing the body. So, after consuming white sugar, we can get all crazy-hyper for a while, then our energy crashes and then we can get sleepy. And what good is a sleepy wizard?

There are five good tricks a wizard can utilize to overcome any addiction, including sugar:

1. Remember the reason you want to quit. I mean, really feel it. In the case of sugar, it might be because you want more stable and consistent energy. Or it might be about weight reduction. Or longer, healthier life, or to prevent diabetes or tooth decay. Or maybe just to be free of an addiction. I’m sure you have your reasons.

2. Find a substitute. If you were trying to give up smoking, you might learn to play a flute, saxophone, recorder or trumpet. When the urge comes to put something in your mouth, why not put something creative in your mouth? Oddly, with only a couple minutes of substitution, you usually forget the original craving. In the case of sugar, you might find that apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, carrots, or other foods make an adequate substitute.

3. Change your environment. Get into a situation where sugar isn’t constantly invading your consciousness. If you have a friend who is always offering you ice cream, stay away from that friend for a while, or ask the friend to please stop offering ice cream.

4. Give it 30 days. Overcoming an addiction is hardest in the first 30 days. If you can get past those first four and a half weeks, what you have learned to do instead becomes the norm. The day comes when an apple is much more appealing than a Three Musketeers bar. To prevent a relapse, go back to Step 1 from time to time. If you do have a relapse, have no concern. Most of the time you’re doing great. Relapses will be fewer and farther between.

5. Revel in what you have done! You can start bringing apples to your friends. Tell them what you’ve done, and why. They can be proud of you – or they may be jealous. They may feel your presence compels them to quit also, and they may not be ready for that. Are you a truly strong wizard? Must be you are, because you are able to easily give up sugar. So, who is going to influence who? Are your friends going to sabotage your sugar recovery, or are you going to help them become wizard-like, as you have done?

Knowing this about chocolate might help: The FDA considers chocolate acceptable for public consumption as long as there are less than 60 microscopic insect fragments per 100 grams (four ounces, or approximately one candy bar).

Charles Darwin, the evolutionary theorist, cured his snuff habit by keeping his snuffbox in the basement and the key for the snuffbox in the attic.


Six-Step Reframing

This is a technique borrowed for wizards from the world of NLP,
to help a friend or client (who we’ll call the ‘recipient’ here) eliminate an unwanted feeling, behavior, or response.

This is a cognitive technique, meaning there is no need to specifically elicit beliefs established in early childhood, and so is safe and easy to perform. It is not essential to get everything just right. If you do it with the positive intention to be helpful, it will most often work out just fine.

Step 1. Clearly identify the unwanted behavior. For instance, “when I get off work, the first thing I do is reach for a beer. I can’t seem to stop doing that.” It is not necessary for the recipient to tell the wizard the exact details, as long as the wizard can discover by the recipient’s physiology – the way the recipient holds the body, facial expressions, breathing, an so on, that an understanding of what’s unwanted is clear.

Step 2. Establish a context in which the recipient can communicate with the ‘part’ of the subconscious that is creating the unwanted behavior. It can be very useful to allow the recipient to build a metaphorical environment. For example, you may have your recipient imagine being in a meeting hall or auditorium. The recipient is onstage, behind a podium with a microphone, with big, slightly musty-smelling curtains to the sides, and calls to order a meeting of all the recipient’s parts. The recipient may imagine the parts having a certain look, they may all be the same, or all different. They may like anatomical items, or animals, or delegates at a convention. They may be sitting neatly in rows, or all over the place, maybe even hanging from the light fixtures, and so on. The recipient is often instructed to address all the parts with great deference, since the recipient will be asking for some changes that the parts may not initially want. Such change is much easier to bring about in a calm, respectful atmosphere, even and especially if among the parts of one’s own subconscious. By making a rather big point of this politeness, the recipient is much more likely to stay in the metaphor.

Step 3. After establishing communication with the part that’s causing the unwanted behavior, discover that part’s positive intention. Remember, that behind every behavior is a positive intention. It may not be a behavior that is currently useful in the big picture, but for that part, at one time, the behavior had a positive value.

Step 4. Assure the recipient that s/he has creative parts, and ask those parts to help out by coming up with three alternative ways to accomplish the intended outcome.

Step 5. Set up a discussion in which the part that created the unwanted behavior can find one of these solutions acceptable. You might have the recipient tell the part that it’s not being demoted, fired, or eliminated. It’s just being given an opportunity to try something different that might be a delightful new way to maintain participation, with options besides the one that caused the unwanted behavior.

Step 6. Bring the recipient out of the metaphorical trance. Ask the recipient to imagine a time in the near future – to really step into the the time with feeling, seeing, hearing, maybe even smelling and tasting, and determine how it seems. Watch the recipient’s physiology. This may complete the process. Or, you may need to creatively repeat steps 2 through 5 until the recipient’s outcome is resolved.

Much has been written on the Internet about Six Step Reframing. You might enjoy reading:

The Six Step Reframe Technique

6 (Six) Step Reframe

NLP Six Step Reframe

Wikipedia- Cognitive Reframing

NLP Technique – Six Step Reframing


Wizards’ Vision

Many pictures of wizards show them wearing glasses. Professor Dumbledore wore glasses, as did Harry Potter. For many wizards however, glasses, or contacts, will no longer be necessary. I believe Harry liked wearing glasses, because he could probably overcome his vision limitation easily, whenever he chose to.

Almost everyone believes that corrective lenses are the only way to deal with poor vision. People who buy into this often wear clunky apparatus on their faces for years. Others put up with contacts or scary procedures performed on their corneas. Let’s see where this belief comes from, then consider a new way to look at it. Maybe there’s a better option.

For more than a century, doctors have been telling us that the little ring of material that holds the lens is a muscle. See #15 in the first picture. They tell us that we focus by using this ring to pull on the lens, stretching it, Imagine that! That little ring does all the work!

Now, consider the large group of muscles behind the eye, as shown in a simplified view in the second picture. It doesn’t show the entire mass of muscle that’s there. Those muscles are what turns the eye from side to side and up and down. What if they could work in unison to squeeze the eye? That would be a much better way to change focus, wouldn’t it?



 

If that turns out to be how we focus, then it would also make sense that we could
exercise those muscles, just like any other muscles, and refine our ability. That’s what I have done. All four of my grandparents wore glasses. Both of my parents wore glasses all their lives. My sister wears glasses. Yet, I don’t.

About 20 years ago, I started to have trouble seeing clearly at a distance. ‘Time for
glasses,’ I thought. Then I happened across a book by a Dr. William Bates, called “The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses,” written in 1929. His book was rather complex, nebulous, generally hard to understand. But I did get the general idea, and started doing some exercises. And guess what? My vision improved entirely! Ten years later, my vision started to fail for seeing up close. I did more exercises, and it has come back almost entirely. My vision is really quite good, and I am far from needing glasses. Do I have scientific studies to back up my claim? No, all I can claim is that my vision improved. Actually, I do have a little more anecdotal evidence. I published a freeware program way back in the pre-Windows (DOS) days that contained some eye exercises. I received a few dozen letters (before email) from people telling me that the exercises worked. There wasn’t one letter saying they didn’t work.

So. I leave it up to you. You can play with these exercises and see if they’ll work for you. I would recommend that you first check with an eye care professional, to make sure that you are not one of those rare individuals who needs medical attention for a serious vision problem. So…

If you have trouble seeing up close, do these exercises with close objects. The right distance is where things are just hard to see clearly. No so far away that they are clear, and not so close that they are way out of focus.

If you have trouble seeing at a distance, you’ll want to get as far away from the exercise object as you can, without being so far away that you can’t see it just because it is too small. The good news is that anything from about ten feet away is pretty much the same as infinite distance, so if you are in a small room, it will still be useful even if all you can do is stand across the room.

#1. Rub your hands together vigorously until the palms are quite warm, then press them gently over your eyes as they cool. Do this two or three times. This has a calming effect, You have probably already noticed that you can see more clearly when you are calm than otherwise.

#2. Look at something distant for perhaps five seconds, then something close for five seconds. Do this two or three times. It doesn’t matter if you see them clearly or not. You’re just stretching your ability to change focus. Do this with both eyes together, then with one eye gently covered, then the other.

#3. For those who would like to improve distant vision, look at a distant object that has a clean vertical line such as a telephone pole. For those who want to improve close vision, look at something with a clearly defined vertical edge, such as the letter I or the edge of a sheet of paper. Do not strain to see this vertical edge, Just let it be as clear as it will, nothing more is required. Do this for just a few seconds, first with both eyes, then with one eye gently covered, then the other covered.

That’s all there is to it!

Here’s where the magic comes in: For this to really work, you’ve got to do it ten times a day. They can be random times – whenever you think of it. Since these exercises take only a few minutes, ten times a day should be easy. But, if you do it ten times a day, you’ll probably discover, as I did, that the improvement comes quickly. Sometimes within just a week or two.

About your specs: You’ve come to depend on your glasses or contacts. You really, truly don’t want to do these exercises while wearing your glasses. In fact, you’ll probably do best to start removing your glasses as much as you can – all day, every day, to the extent that you can. Of course, you’ll want to wear them for driving and any time safety is an issue. And, if you need to read, or do continuous work that would give you a headache or other symptoms without glasses, then by all means, wear them. However, as much as you can, if you just let yourself see as clearly as you can without your glasses – without straining, this can help your vision improve tremendously.

So where am I now? My distant vision is perfect. I can read easily, and see close work well, without glasses, of course. However my left eye is a bit weaker. And, for close work like threading a needle, I do want a lot of light. I will admit that I haven’t been doing the exercises lately, and am rather convinced that if I start doing them again, my left eye strength will come back entirely, and with either eye, I’ll be able to see very close, even in darker conditions.

What are the limits? I’ve seen young children studying bugs from four inches away. I’ve heard that a teenage girl in South America was able to look at Jupiter without any sort of equipment, and draw an accurate picture of the locations of the four largest moons.

I have created some super-simple interactive, enjoyable and free eye exercises at www.odd50.com/eyes.php.


The 32 to 1 Ratio

Emile Coue (1857-1926) of France told people to say to themselves 20 times in a row, twice a day: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” This has actually cured thousands of people of an assortment of minor and major ills.

In French if you prefer, “Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux.”

Try it, it can’t hurt you (unless somebody overhears, but then you can do it silently), and it might just work to get you over the flu, a toothache, minor depression, whatever is bothering you.

This is a serious suggestion. Scientists have proven beyond doubt that people can improve their health with a positive mental attitude. In hospitals across the globe, cancer patients are now being taught to mentally picture (or actually draw pictures of) their cells surrounding and eating tumors.

So much of our language expresses negative experiences. What would happen if we started using positive words to describe things?

Going a step further:

It has been studied and documented that we hear thirty-two items of criticism for each item of praise! It starts when we are babies, “Oooh, your diapers stink!” or “Can’t you keep out of trouble for even one minute?” Sure, we may not have known what the words meant, but even as babies, we felt the emotions behind those words. We grew up with much more negative input than positive. It is no surprise that we do the same thing to our friends, associates, and children.

What if it were reversed? What if you started offering genuine praise to anyone and everyone, every time you see something praiseworthy?

At first, people would probably think you flipped. But they would also enjoy the compliments. Eventually, they may catch on, or maybe they’d just start following your example, because people do tend to emulate what surrounds them.

The big picture results are obvious. Eventually we’d have a world in which everyone hears how well they do things, how nice they look, how their presence is so enjoyable, and so on. And, these people would have more confidence in themselves.

>Would they? Of course. If from a young age, you were told that you we’re of value, and that you can accomplish what you like, you’d make the effort. You’d know that you can make a difference, that you can have what you want, that you deserve a good life, that it is worth your time to practice your skills. In such a world, you’d have a much more successful and happier life. So would everyone, and at no cost, other than the energy to open your mouth and say kind things to everyone, and hold your tongue when what you have to say is not so positive.

>Such is not the world we live in now. But you can change it yourself. Not all by yourself, but you can start it in your sphere of influence, and people will catch on. You can influence your associates, friends, and family. They will influence their associates, friends and families. Perhaps sooner than you think, everyone will start doing it. We’ve seen it happen with slang. Remember when “bad” meant bad? That transition happened fairly quickly. And so can this, because this too, is simply a matter of spoken words.

You may gain from this sooner than you’d think. Before the whole world changes to this new thirty-two-to-one praise to criticism ratio, it will help you in your life. As an example, if you start praising your mate much more than you scold, what will happen? Will your mate become lax? Perhaps dinner will be late, the library books will be overdue, the kitty pan won’t get changed when it should? Maybe, a little bit, at first. Can you stand it? More important, can you keep quiet, and let it happen, while you go on practicing your 32-to-1 game?

I think so, especially when you know that soon your mate will start copying you, consciously or not. Then, you’ll start feeling good when your loved one tells you that your hair looks nice, or that you are such a great cook, rather than telling you that the lawn needs mowing really bad. Imagine a peaceful home life, where you know your mate likes the way you look, the way you cook, where you feel no pressure to mow the lawn right now. Why, you’d probably want to mow that lawn, just because you’ll get praise for it.

Let’s look at the bigger picture. It is a smaller world than you think. Within seven levels of acquaintance, almost everyone knows everyone else. This means that you may have a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend, and so on, who knows David Letterman, Miley Cyrus, Barack Obama, and so on. So, you can influence these people, and all people. Practice 32-to-1, and soon your friends will be doing it, and their friends will be doing it, and eventually politicians will be doing it, and we’ll have no more wars.

For best results, make sure your praise is always sincere. Contrived praise is embarrassing for giver and receiver.

Some people have a hard time receiving compliments, after all they don’t get them very often. Therefore, at first, keep your compliments small and simple, using only a few carefully chosen words.

People are more comfortable with compliments about things they are not known for. The professional musician would rather hear that you respect her political views, than that she plays her instrument well.

Another way to comfortably praise people is to offer compliments which they don’t have to work to acknowledge. If you praise someone noisily in a group of people, the recipient then feels he has to offer some sort of thanks, or deny it, equally loudly. On the other hand, if you slip praise into the middle of a paragraph, then the recipient can have the compliment without obligation. Here’s an example:

“John, Sally’s a great cook, look what she did with this potato salad! Sally, is there any more in the kitchen?”

Relayed praise is the best of all, worth ten times as much as direct praise. For instance, if you wrote a song that I liked, but Fred told you that he enjoyed it when I played it for him, you’d be more pleased than if I simply told you I liked the song, right?

Relayed praise can be amplified even further, if it comes from someone noted in the field. If I showed your song to a famous songwriter, who then told you it was really excellent, that would be even better than if plain old Fred said so.

Asking someone for their opinion or experiences is always a great way to let them know your respect their thoughts. And again, if done in the presence of others, the effect is magnified.

Be on the lookout for backhanded compliments. There is a strong temptation to say something like, “I really admire your intelligence. That’s why it surprises me that you have so little understanding of our budget.” This is not a compliment. We know that but we are so used to correcting, offering critique, that if we don’t pay attention, these things slip out.

A good test is to see if you plan to gain anything when you praise someone. If you decide that you have nothing to gain, you aren’t trying to get someone to fix your flat tire, to change into a better looking outfit or to clean up their room, then your compliment is probably a good one.

Gossip currently follows the same thirty-two-to-one ratio. Gossip hurts the people who do it, almost more than the people about whom they talk. The reason is that someone who gossips can’t be trusted. Therefore, as their reputation builds, they are trusted with less and less information. Really severe gossips have few quality friends, because they have a hard time finding people desperate enough to risk spending time with them.

My recommendation with gossip, then, is to reverse its ratio also. Thirty-two times more often than you negatively gossip, look for good things you can tell others about your friends, family and associates.

“I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.” – Benjamin Franklin. If it worked for him, it can work for us.

“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth the greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” – Charles Schwab, who was paid a million dollars per year for his management skills.

When the trucking company PIE renamed their truckers, warehouse men and clerical workers “craftsmen,” they raised their pride and cut a sixty percent rate of shipping mistakes down to ten percent. This simple change in terminology saves the company $250,000 per year.


Working With Mini-Wizards

Children are mini-wizards. They are just like us, but have less experience. With less experience, they don’t have some of the skills we have developed, such as the ability to make sensible decisions. Due to having less experience (and more imagination), they are also more likely to accept as possibilities situations in which us older wizards all too often automatically assume are impossible.

This chapter contains some random thoughts on working with children.

Expect success from children. Treat them with respect and kindness. Do not talk about alternatives, because most children will analyze what you have said. With enough time, alternatives you have presented such as “if you don’t practice your flute, you’ll never make the school band,” start to look attractive.

“Whether a school has or has not a special method for teaching long division is of on significance, for long division is of no importance except to those who want to learn it. And the child who wants to learn long division will learn it no matter how it is taught.” – A. S. Neill, founder of Summerhill, a school with no curriculum.

It is tempting for kids to drop out of school. Who would want to finish school if their plans are only to build race cars or marry somebody rich? But sometimes plans don’t work out as expected. More importantly, school is free, supported by taxpayers. It’s free! You might as well take as much as you can get.

When children throw tantrums, they are truly miserable – it’s not just an act, usually. So it is in everyone’s best interest if you can break the tantrum habit quickly. One of the best ways to prevent tantrums – especially in public places – is to distract the child when the tantrum starts. For instance, lifting the child onto your shoulders, showering the kid with sudden extra hugging, or talking about an upcoming trip to the zoo will sidetrack the attention currently being focused on a frustration.

If possible before the school year starts, let a child play with others who will be in the same class so that the child will have friends on the first days of school.

Do your children have a hard time getting up in the morning? Get them up a half-hour earlier than they are used to. The biggest thing that keeps them in bed is that they are not looking forward to starting the day with the frantic morning rush to get ready for school in time. With this rush eliminated, it will feel nice to get up leisurely. Of course, getting them to bed early helps tremendously, also. By the way, this works well for you too – perhaps go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier and enjoy the morning!

How do you get them to eat enough vegetables? One way is to make the vegetables unavoidable. Finely chopped up broccoli makes a nice addition to hamburgers. Try other vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, etc. You can also ‘hide’ a variety of veggies in your home-made pizza topping by blending them up with tomato sauce. You can mix lots of small bits of spinach with scrambled eggs. Sweet rice with salad bits is still sweet rice.

Is your child attached to a security object such as a teddy bear or blanket that’s getting quite dirty? See if you can get a duplicate. You can alternately clean one and then the other without the child noticing the difference.

Try cutting bits off the blanket from time to time until it gradually shrinks so small that the child looses interest.


Binds

We all know what it is to be in a bind. You want to go to a concert, but your husband wants to go to a basketball game. If you insist on the concert, he will not be happy. But if you go to the game, you will not be happy.

A double-bind is like a bind, but generally has a specific context. The recipient of the double-bind is a child, employee, or someone that for the purposes of this discussion might be considered inferior to the issuer – a parent, teacher, or employer.

A double-bind can have two choices that are both spoken: such as “tell me exactly what happened, and don’t act like a child.”

Or, a part of the bind can be implied by the environment, situation, or even the recipients internal state or imagination.

For example, a parent may be asking a child to tell the truth while looking disgustedly at the child over the top of reading glasses.

A double-bind usually carries an emotional confusion. The recipient finds responding appropriately to the double-bind especially difficult since real or imagined consequences can be strong enough to interrupt logical thinking.

Psychiatrist Milton H Erickson, known as the father of modern hypnotherapy, often used a more positive form of double-bind, in which he might tell a client something like, ‘don’t even begin to imagine. . .’ He was also adept at recognizing implicit double-binds in a client’s life, and reframing the situation so the client had new choices.

The founders of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) were particularly impressed with Milton Erickson’s work. They combined a new understanding of double-binds with several other of Dr. Erickson’s techniques and called it the ‘Milton Model.’

The NLP version is simpler. It is a hypnotic suggestion offering two choices. Each choice includes an implied requirement. In speaking with a child, a parent might say, “Do you want to clean up your room before or after the movie?” In this double-bind, the child’s focus is drawn away from the requirement of cleaning the room, and has only to choose between watching the movie before or after. One could say that this is opposite of Dr. Erickson’s version of double-bind, because it actually makes it easier for the recipient to reach a decision by suppressing the requirement from logical thinking. Another version might involve a salesperson asking a customer, “Would you like that sent by UPS or Fed Ex?” before signing the contract. This subdues the big decision about buying the product, by causing an internal state in which the customer has already assumed the purchase, and has only to make the simple decision about delivery.

In a wizardry session, a double-bind might take a form like this: “So you have the one new detail that you can think about later today, or whenever your mind brings it back to you.”

Would you like to read about triple-binds now, or after you have a minute to digest double-binds?

A triple-bind is a situation recently discovered in research reported by Dan Ariely that is similar to the NLP version of a double-bind, but offers a third choice. The third choice is similar to one of the other two, but has a quality that is less desirable. The effect is to cause the recipient to accept the choice that is most like the undesirable one. For instance, you could have:

A. A new Prius with all options including GPS for $45,000.

B. A new Prius with all options except GPS for $44.995.

C. A new Prius with no options for $32,000.

The salesperson is going to make a much bigger commission if the buyer selects the $45,000 version over the $32,000 version. Without option B, most buyers may select the $32,000 version. But option B makes option A, the $45,000 version, look much more attractive. Statistical research proves that the buyer will most often select option A.


Positive Eccentricity

Dr. David Weeks, a psychologist has studied eccentric people extensively. He has discovered that eccentric people are typically more intelligent and have a better sense of humor than the average population. They are healthier, visiting the doctor only 1/24 as often as typical folks, and live from five to ten years longer than average! When asked about their happiness, eccentrics report that they are quite happy.

But with you being a wizard, I don’t have to tell you about the attributes of eccentricity. There are seven billion people on earth. If they all do what the others are doing, they’ll get the same results the others are getting. That’s all fine and well. No one has to do more. We do not have to do anything more with our time on Earth than to eat, sleep, and watch television. That’s really OK. But those who are wizards might want to do more with their lives. The only way to really stand out is to do things differently. In “Fiddler on the Roof”, Tevye is very caught up in tradition. That movie may cause one to re-think the qualities of tradition.

Now you may be thinking of some people you know who are eccentric. Their attributes may not all be positive. There’s Helen down the street, who has 20 cats. There’s Jeremy, who’s crazy for pickleball – that’s all he can talk about. There’s Monica who goes on, and on, and on, about nutrition.

My kind of eccentric person isn’t born that way. Isn’t compelled by some semi-sane notions. This is a person who makes deliberate choices to do what s/he feels is right, even though much of the public may not agree. The positive eccentric is not disruptive. Doesn’t break the law without very good reason, and doesn’t harm others or self.

The positive eccentric decides to set out as a professional clarinetist even though the ‘sensible’ thing would be to become an accountant. (There’s always room for the accountant gig later, if music doesn’t work out.) The positive eccentric learns all she can about Bushnell’s Turtle, a Revolutionary War submarine, even though everyone around her is anti-war (because she finds it fascinating). The positive eccentric takes up badminton rather than soccer (because it is an interesting, unusual sport). The positive eccentric learns as much of the ways of a wizard as possible (so as to be a genuinely helpful citizen). These are all sane decisions.

Positive eccentricity can also be considered thinking outside the box. It leads to places where ordinary thinking cannot go. For instance, a bookstore in San Francisco was frequently critiqued by the customers because it was rather dark, especially in the back, out of the way shelves. So, the owner took that and ran with it. One night he had a ‘midnight sale’ in which he turned out all the lights and handed out flashlights to the customers. This brought him so much free publicity that people are still talking about it 20 years later.

A local computer repair person decided he likes Apple computers, and that’s that. He did not work on Windows machines. He filmed a commercial in which he dropped a Mac, and a Windows computer off the roof of a 6-story building. Then he showed the results. The Windows computer was smashed to bits. The Mac had a little scratch on a corner. Of course he faked these, but the eccentric commercial won him almost all of the Mac repair business in town.

You might enjoy starting to look for ways to be positively eccentric. Any time anyone does anything, you might ask, “Is there a different way?” In most cases, the way things are done has evolved over time to be the best, the most efficient, or the most appreciated. But every now and then, if you simply ask, “Is there a different way,” surprising answers can appear. Then, if it seems you have come up with something new, you might ask, “Why do people do it the usual old way?” This could shoot down your great idea, but it might also help you discover a variation that is truly new, and worth pursuing.

For instance, you might want to sell something on eBay. Many people list their item at a fixed price, and wait, sometimes for a very long time. Others use the classic auction format. You might wonder if there are any alternatives.
You might ask, “Why do people list items at a low price, and hope that bidders will raise the price?” Then, you might say, “What if that was turned around? What if I list a thing starting at a very high price on eBay, and then lower the price every day or two, until someone buys it?” Using this reverse auction idea, you’ll get the maximum possible value for your item, but within a reasonable amount of time.

Interestingly, positive eccentricity is attractive. When you think of the celebrities that you are truly attracted to, most are eccentric in some positive ways, aren’t they?

Don’t be surprised if instead of being afraid of eccentricity, you find yourself embracing it.


Silly Old Advice

The following comes from a book of advice and trivia written in the mid-nineteenth century. Enjoy the language and concepts:

“Hints on etiquette: There are numberless writers upon this subject, from Chesterfield to Willis, but the great fault with all of them is, that their works are designed exclusively for the bon ton. They are very well for those who spend their whole lives in the fashionable circles; but if a plain unpretending man or woman were to follow their directions, they would only make themselves ridiculous.

In view of this fact, I now present a few plain directions fashioned not after an imaginary model, but upon the world as it is. I address only sensible persons, and expect them to be satisfied with such rules and principles as shall form well-bred men and women, and not coxcombs and dandies. My directions are the result of my own observation and experience, and may be relied upon as being the actual practices of respectable people, both in this country and Europe; for the manners of well-bred people are the same in all parts of the world.

In all your associations, keep constantly in view the adage, “too much freedom breeds contempt.”

Never be guilty of practical jokes; if you accustom yourself to them, it is probable you will become so habituated as to commit them upon persons who will not allow of such liberties: I have known a duel to arise from a slap on the back.

If there be another chair in the room, do not offer a lady that from which you have just risen.

Always suspect the advances of any person who may wish for your acquaintance, and who has had no introduction: circumstances may qualify this remark, but as a general principle, acquaintances made in a public room or place of amusement are not desirable.

Never converse while a person is singing; it is an insult not only to the singer but to the company.

The essential part of good breeding is the practical desire to afford pleasure, and to avoid giving pain. Any man possessing this desire, requires only opportunity and observation to make him a gentleman.

Always take off your hat when handing a lady to her carriage, or the box of a theatre, or a public room.

If, in a public promenade, you pass and re-pass persons of you acquaintance, it is only necessary to salute them on the first occasion.

Do not affect singularity of dress by wearing anything that is so conspicuous as to demand attention; and particularly avoid what I believe I must call the ruffian style.

Never lose your temper at cards, and particularly avoid the exhibition of anxiety or vexation at want of success. If you are playing whist, not only keep your temper, but hold your tongue; any intimation to you partner is decidedly ungentlemanly.

Let presents to a young lady be characterized by taste, not remarkable for intrinsic value.

Except under very decided circumstances, it is both ungentlemanly and dangerous to cut a person: if you wish to rid yourself of any one’s society, a cold bow in the street, and particular ceremony in the circles of your mutual acquaintance, is the best mode of conduct to adopt.

Never introduce your own affairs for the amusement of a company, it shows a sad want of mental cultivation, or excessive weakness of intellect: recollect, also, that such a discussion cannot be interesting to others, and that the probability is that the most patient listener is a complete gossip, laying the foundation for some tale to make you appear ridiculous.

When you meet a gentleman with whom you are acquainted, you bow raising your hat slightly with he left hand, which leaves your right at liberty to shake hands if you stop. If the gentleman is ungloved, you must take off yours, not otherwise.

Meeting a lady, the rule is that she should make the first salute, or at least indicate by her manner that she recognizes you. Your bow must be lower, and your hat carried further from your head; but you never offer to shake hands; that is her privilege.

The right, being the post of honor, is given to superiors and ladies, except in the street, when they take the wall, as farthest from danger from passing carriages, in walking with or meeting them.

In walking with a lady, you are not bound to recognize gentlemen with whom she is not acquainted, nor have they, in such a case, any right to salute, much less to speak to you.

Whenever or wherever you stand, to converse with a lady, or while handing her into or out of a carriage, keep your hat in your hand.

Should her shoe become unlaced, or her dress in any manner disordered, fail not to apprise her of it, respectfully, and offer your assistance. A gentleman may hook a dress or lace a shoe with perfect propriety, and should be able to do so gracefully.

Whether with a lady or gentleman, a street talk should be a short one; and in either case, when you have passed the customary compliments, if you wish to continue the conversation, you must say, “Permit me to accompany you.”

Don’t sing, hum, whistle, or talk to yourself, in walking. Endeavor, besides being well dressed, to have a calm good-natured countenance. A scowl always begets wrinkles. It is best not to smoke at all in public but none but a ruffian in grain will inflict upon society the odor of a bad cigar, or that of any kind, on ladies.

Ladies are not allowed, upon ordinary occasions, to take the arm of any one but a relative or an accepted lover in the street, and in the day time; in the evening – in the fields, or in a crowd wherever she may need protection – she should not refuse it. She should pass her hand over the gentleman’s arm, merely, but should not walk an arm’s length apart, as country girls sometimes do. In walking with a gentleman, the step of the lady must be lengthened, and his shortened, to prevent the hobbling appearance of not keeping step. Of course, the conversation of a stranger, beyond asking a necessary question, must be considered as a gross insult and repelled with proper spirit.

Having dressed yourself, pay no further attention to your clothes. Few things look worse than a continual fussing with your attire.

Never scratch your head, pick you teeth, clean your nails, or worse than all, pick your nose in company; all these things are disgusting. Spit as little as possible, and never upon the floor.

Do not lounge on sofas nor tip back your chair, nor elevate your feet.

If you are going into the company of ladies, beware of onions, spirits and tobacco.

If you can sing or play, do so at once when requested, without requiring to be pressed or make a fuss. On the other hand, let your performance be brief, or, if ever so good it will be tiresome. When a lady sits down to the pianoforte, some gentleman should attend her, arrange the music-stool, and turn over the leaves.

Meeting friends in a public promenade, you salute them the first time in passing, and not every time you meet.

Never tattle, nor repeat in one society any scandal or personal matter you hear in another. Give your own opinion of people, if you please but never repeat that of others.

Meeting an acquaintance among strangers, in the street or a coffee-house, never address him by name. It is vulgar and annoying.”

“The art of being agreeable: The true art of being agreeable is to appear well pleased with all the company, and rather to seem well entertained with them than to bring entertainment to them. A man thus disposed, perhaps, may not have much learning, nor any wit; but if he has common sense, and something friendly in his behavior, it conciliates men’s minds more than the brightest parts without this disposition; and when a man of such a turn comes to old age, he is almost sure to be treated with respect. It is true, indeed, that we should not dissemble and falter in company: but a man may be very agreeable, strictly consistent with truth and sincerity, by a prudent silence where he cannot concur, and a pleasing assent where he can. Now and then you meet with a person so exactly formed to please, that he will gain upon every one that hears of beholds him; this disposition is not merely the gift of nature, but frequently the effect of much knowledge of the world, and a command over the passions.”


Wizards and Money

A wizard is entitled to a lot of money. After all, the wizard is likely to do good things with some of that money, don’t you think?

I have heard people express things like, “Money is the root of all evil,” or “Money maddens the mind.” Wealthy people are often referred to as “filthy rich,” and worse. Actually, the lack of money can be extremely problematic. Sadly, people who don’t have their basic survival needs met, may need to depend on the system to subsidize their food, rent and medical expenses and even feel compelled to resort to crime to get enough money. Unfortunately for them, their minds are constantly occupied with money matters, leaving them little time, energy and resources to help others.

I have known people who have been over-educated in the notion that you have to be magnanimous at all costs. I had a friend who had recently started a custom furniture making business. So far, he had few clients, and he struggled to pay his electric bill. He also had a $1,000 canceled check made out to a charity taped proudly to his filing cabinet.

I tried to explain to him that if he had invested that $1,000 in himself, in his own business, then next year, he could have issued a $10,000 check to the charity. He didn’t get it.

So, if you are a millionaire, you can help people. Guess what? Everyone can become a millionaire!

I’m going to start by tell you that a cup of coffee at Starbucks costs $26. And when you understand that, you can have a million dollars, no matter how much you have right now. As long as you are patient. . .

So what’s the secret? The missing ingredient? Time. Those who understand have found that it is easy. School teachers have done it. Janitors have done it. Fast-food workers have done it. No matter how much or how little you make, you can probably save a bit of your pay. Twenty-five percent is the amount people generally suggest. It’s called
“paying yourself first.”

Of course, for most, it won’t be easy. Somehow, we seem to adjust to our spending to approximately the amount we make – in fact, we often spend just a bit more, driving up an ever-growing credit card debt. And if you already have debt, you can’t save money until you eliminate the debt. Now, if you are in debt, I suggest you can start with an understanding
that it doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. In fact, I believe you can find some information later in this very chapter with which you can eventually pay off that debt. I have been in fairly major debt twice in my life. Once, I owed $76,000 to the credit card companies. Both times, it felt never-ending while it was happening, but both times are history now. So, once you have no debt, and can save 25 percent of your income, you can be a millionaire. It takes 20 years, but works every time. Why not start today?

I met one of the many people who have actually done it. He worked for Sears from the age of 23 until 46, repairing household appliances. That job doesn’t pay very well. Less than a teacher gets, I think. Probably about as much as a supermarket manager gets. He lived in a small apartment. Early on, he had enough cash to buy a 32-inch TV. Instead, he kept his 21-inch tabletop model. It worked just fine. He never bought a car on credit. He paid cash for the best car he could get every ten years. At first, it wasn’t much of a car. Now, every ten years, he treats himself to a brand-new $88,000 Jaguar. About two years into his experiment, he had $20,000 in a savings account. He realized he had to take the time, make the effort to learn about investing. At first, he didn’t like the idea, but he knew he had to overcome the resistance. He decided to avoid the stock market and real estate. (As a coastal California resident, he probably could have done spectacularly with
real estate.) Instead, he focused on municipal bonds because they have traditionally been very safe. It worked for him, although I might recommend a more mixed portfolio with at least some more aggressive investments.

If you look throughout history since money has been handled in an organized fashion, on average, everyone who has stuck it out for 11 years or more, has done well.

So anyway, my friend retired from Sears at age 46. He now has well over a million dollars, and the knowledge and experience to continue developing his investments.

So how do you save 25 percent up front? There are two areas in which you can make all the difference.

The first area is with small expenses. If you buy cigarettes, candy, coffee, books, or anything other habit-like product every day, look what might happen if you give it up: Let’s say that instead of stopping into Starbucks and spending around three dollars for a cup of coffee, you invest it over 20 years. Right. That cup of coffee actually costs more than $26. Do you really want to spend $26 for a cup of coffee?

The other place to watch is overheads. When you sign a one-year lease on a $1,500 a month apartment instead of a $1,200/month apartment, you are losing $3,600 per year. That’s a lot of groceries or clothes. But it’s a much larger amount of money with compound interest over 20 years. Yet, $1,500 a month doesn’t seem that much different than $1,200 when you’re apartment shopping, does it? This is even more so with mortgages. The people who tell you that your mortgage should not be more that 1/4 of
your income really know what they’re talking about. Same with car payments. Same with club memberships, subscriptions, and so on.

Let’s talk for a moment about pride. That’s what has prevented me from doing this myself. For much of my life, I have been too proud to drive a 20-year-old car. It had to be a shiny new car. I had to have the fancy phone, bicycle, TV set, and latest computer, to show my friends. I had to live in the bigger house. So, I have delayed my millionaire potential. But if pride is so important to me, wouldn’t it have been better to have done this plan with the old car and the little TV, and really, really impress my friends 20 years later? Oh, if I only knew that 20 years ago:)

Some Ways to Save Money

Avoid the temptation to buy a top-of-the-line model unless you have money to burn. In almost all categories of merchandise, the difference between the top of the line, and middle is not all that great in terms of features and quality, but very noticeable in price. Lets look at some examples: A digital camera for $250 has the same features as the $600 model. It takes fine pictures and is very reliable. The lens may be a half f-stop smaller, a very insignificant difference. You may get 30 percent less megapixels. But, how many megapixels do you need? How many can you use? The human eyes is equivalent of only 137 megapixels. If you can take an award winning picture with the $600 camera, you can take the same picture just as well with the $250 one.

How about bicycles? The middle of the line models are reasonably lightweight and reliable and cost $400. Top of the line at $3,000 is a pound lighter and actually less reliable. In fact, you may find replacement parts for the less-common top of the line machine are hard to get. Will you notice the reduced weight? Not unless you are a serious bike racer. And even if you are a racer, you may not notice the difference. I know of one racer who screwed toe clips into the rubber pedals of a 40-year-old, 38-pound three-speed bike, and won a ten-mile time trial with it just to prove this point. He also rode the race with his shorts turned inside out. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what kind of wizarding technique that was. (Hint: “Positive Eccentritity.”)

Cars? Same thing. Can a Rolls Royce carry groceries any better than a Toyota? However, for the Toyota it is easier to get parts and service.

Stereo equipment: I have a friend who has millions of dollars. He could afford anything he wants, so his sound system cost $20,000. Interestingly, I thought the treble was a bit mushy. In any case, it didn’t sound any better than my $600 system.

If at all possible, reverse your car payments. Put $300 per month in a savings account until you need to buy a new car. Then pay cash. You’ll save thousands of dollars over the cost of interest on payments.

Some Ways to Make Money

Being a wizard, you have some extra opportunities.

Here is a brief list of some positively eccentric things you can do:

Start a school, after-school program, or summer camp for children. Perhaps it can be a school for wizards and witches, perhaps as much like Hogwart’s as possible.

Teach your wizardry skills, such as Creative Listening in schools, continuing education programs or even in your living room. You can teach individually, much like a piano teacher, or to groups as large as you can imagine. The great public speaker and author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Dale Carnegie, started teaching classes in his local YMCA. He had to talk them into it. The Y was not willing to pay him as an employee, so he offered to teach on a commission basis. I believe his first class was four students. He went on to lecture to stadiums with 20,000 people.

As long as you don’t claim to cure illness, or make any claims you can’t support, you can work with individual clients. You can call yourself a wizard, or an NLP practitioner, or a lay counselor. Much of what many people need is someone who will simply listen to them. Teaching metaphorically is also an option. Not only can you work with local clients, you can also set up a website, perhaps invest a bit in Google AdWords, and get paid to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world. As your reputation grows, you can set up conference calls, being paid to speak to dozens or even hundreds of people at once. $3,000 per hour is not an outer limit.

Become a performer. If you set out to be a guitarist in a rock ‘n roll band, you may find it is a difficult task to accomplish. However, if you do something positively eccentric, you’ll find making a living can be easy, as long as you are patient. Most of these ideas are not get-rich-quick schemes. They are get-rich-slow schemes. If you put together a unicycle, magic, or juggling show, or combine some object manipulation skills with some other performance, and as long as you don’t quit your ‘day job’ until you have ‘made it,’ your income is assured. For instance, you might consider combining your skills in creative listening or metaphorical suggestion with lessons you consider important, mixed with some music, comedy, or object manipulation, and put together a show – the likes of which have never been seen. You can start by simply entertaining friends at parties. You might practice on the streets – called street performing. Be sure to check for local permit requirements, of course. While you are perfecting your act, you can pass the hat. Some street performers make more money than professionals in many other fields. I once made $1,200 in one day doing comedy juggling shows at a festival, just by passing the hat.

In Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana, I saw a man play the flute while walking around on stilts. He was earning a good living. Later that night, back in the square, a fellow had set up a telescope with a tracking mount. It was aimed at the moon. On a little table, he put up a sign that said, “Look in the telescope.” Next to the sign was a hat filled with one, five, ten, and twenty dollar bills. While he just sat there quietly reading a book with a flashlight, he was earning a living with his brilliant, positively eccentric idea. What could you do like that? I can imagine a table set up with little science or mechanical demonstrations of some sort.

For instance, do you know about phenolphthalein? This is an inexpensive chemical that you can dissolve in water. If you a add little bit of alkaline such as baking powder in the water, it turns to bright red. Put in some acid, such as vinegar, and it turns back to clear. By making up some sort of accompanying story, perhaps referring to your process as ‘alchemy’ and the red liquid that appears and as ‘blood,’ you can create a very entertaining effect. You can get phenolphthalein at many drug stores since it is sometimes used as a laxative, or buy it here.. A quick search of the Internet ought to turn up all sorts of kitchen chemistry that you can use for entertainment.

A wizard can get paid to give things away. The idea is you get together a collection of whatever interests you. It might be books, bicycle parts, clothes, you name it. You can start an exchange in the trunk of your car, and in time develop it into an enterprise as big as a large warehouse. The idea is you give these things away, but at the same time, you ask for donations of similar things. You don’t need to require that people donate an equal amount. In fact, it is better if you don’t regulate that. People who have extra, books, bike parts, or whatever will be so enamored with what you’re doing, they’ll donate far more stuff than others carry away. Having set up three free exchanges, I know this for a fact. Here’s the book I wrote a book about it here.

So how do you make money with a free exchange? Some of the things that come in will be out of print, rare, collectible, or particularly valuable to people in specialized pursuits. These can be sold on eBay, Amazon or other online venues to support your good work of recycling merchandise, thereby reducing manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of new items. Even though you can make a tidy profit doing this, the public will love what you’re doing and support you. Interestingly, the very things that sell well online to a national or even international audience are usually the uncommon things that a local clientele won’t want, even for free. For instance, if someone brings a book on underwater welding, or the bottom half of a surveying transit, who would want these uncommon things? These would seem like senseless junk to the local clientele unless the one person in a million who is a surveyor or professional scuba diver comes in. Yet someone online will pay well to get a base for their transit, or to buy the book that will teach them how to weld under water. I once sold a tattered ex-library book about the thread count in various fabrics for $240.

I can imagine a wizard, situated like a fortune teller at a flea market, art festival, in a shop, on a busy street-corner, or elsewhere.

The wizard may have some eccentric costuming and furniture. The wizard’s job is to listen to people, and offer practical advice. In order to maintain the aura, the wizard can also make nebulous predictions, using discernment, of course, the way fortune tellers do. The main thing, is that this wizard could be truly helpful, helping individuals find peace and balance in an imbalanced world. In the guise of a wizard, anyone who is balanced, has common sense, is empathetic, yet not so empathetic that they can’t hear other peoples’ problems, can do it.



The Magical Ending

Often at the end of a session I’ll offer a hypnotic suggestion:

Don’t be surprised if in the next few days something magical comes from our discussion today.

This can be surprisingly powerful. First, it keeps the recipient wondering, or looking back, during the next few days – looking for that magical surprise. So, it keeps it fresh in their minds, giving the session more time to do its work.

This can be especially useful after a weak session, one in which the result seemed to be only mildly effective.

As you may know, the word don’t has the opposite effect. It is as if it is a command to do. So, they’ll be looking for their own metaphors or isomorphic relationships that match the session in some way.

They usually do find that ‘something surprising.’

Have fun! – Jeff


You may enjoy more books like and unlike this one by searching for Jeff Napier in the Kindle Store, and at jeffnapier.com

15 Ways To Make Money with NLP

15 Ways To Make Money with NLP

How To Make Money With NLP

15 Ways to Make Money with Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Copyright 2014 – 2022, Jeff Napier



Table of Contents

Start Here

Practitioner

Creative Listening

Training

Employee

Mediator

Remote Support

Entertainment

Network Marketing Consultant

Sales Consultant

Write Books, Websites, Software

Astrologer / Psychic / Wizard

Coaching

NLP Club

Interviewer

eBay

Advertising and Publicity

Websites That Work

Social Networking

Craigslist

Partnerships

The Sure-Fire Millionaire

Magical Ending

A Little Hypnotic Suggestion

Start Here

Table of Contents

NLP schools generally do a fine job of teaching everything from the basics to very advanced neuro-linguistic programming techniques, but they don’t quite give you what you need to make money with NLP, do they?

So there you are, having taken all the training, and perhaps you’re certified as a practitioner, but you’re not earning money, even though, if you’re like most of us, that was your plan.

The problem has been lack of information. If you knew what is in this book, you would have found it easy to start in any number of ways to earn a living with NLP. Well, you have the book now!

This book will give you what you need to know, on levels from the conscious all the way down, in order to make real money with NLP. Have fun and prosper! – Jeff Napier, certified master NLP practitioner



Jeff Napier, your author

Practitioner

Table of Contents

The most common way to make money with NLP is as a practitioner, and the most normal arrangement is to charge clients for individual 1-hour or 2-hour sessions. However, you may not want to do this!

As you’ll soon discover in this book, there are many other ways to make money with your NLP skills. So, if you aren’t comfortable in one-on-one sessions with people, if you’re afraid you won’t do a good job, if you don’t like to be on time for appointments, if you think it will take too long to establish a clientele, if you have up days and down days, then some other alternatives may be better for you. Yet another common reason people will give for not becoming practitioners is about money. If you can charge $250 for a two-hour session, and if you can do four sessions a day, five days a week, that’s only $250,000 per year. Perhaps you’d like to avoid a ceiling like that.

Or, maybe these excuses are all ecology standing in your way of doing what you really want. You might want to work with another NLP practitioner to explore that.

Good, now that’s out of the way, here’s how you can become a successful NLP practitioner as quickly as possible.

First you’ve got to get your license, right? No, you don’t. Interestingly, no licensing or certification is required in the USA, and probably most other countries as well. I do recommend that you get proper training, which generally ends with a certificate, even though you won’t need that certificate. But the training itself, you’ll probably need that. Oh, I’ll admit there may be some people on this earth who have an intuitive knack for this sort of counseling, and who could become good practitioners by simply studying the book “NLP for Dummies,” but that’s rare. And there are those who have taken all the training, but still don’t have enough natural empathy, or perhaps too much empathy, to be effective NLP practitioners. I think it can be learned, but you might rather try what’s in the later chapters.

So, if you feel you’d be a good NLP practitioner, all you have to do is start! What I mean by that is you don’t need to file paperwork, don’t need to rent an office, don’t need to get signs painted on your car (hey, wait a minute!). All you need is your first client.

The first client may be the hardest to get. If you are lucky, a distant family member, a friend of a friend, or one of your fellow students from NLP training would enjoy a session. If it goes particularly well, your first client may tell others, who tell others, and so on. But this is the real world. What you really need is a hundred first clients. Then a few of them will tell their friends, who will tell their friends, and so on.

So, how do you get a hundred clients?

Here are some ideas. Ignore the ones that would bother you, and run with the ones you like.

Print business cards, and hand them out to everyone within reach at all times. If you have a short, catchy phrase on your card, it will cause people to ask about what you do. As you know, once you start a conversation, you have the opportunity to ‘sell’ a session. Using your NLP skills and your heart, you can be genuinely curious about the person to whom you’ve handed a card, and find out if they would benefit from an NLP session. If not, no worries. Perhaps this person will pass your card on to someone who will call you. But if the person can benefit from a session, you don’t have to sell it at all. Just let the person know about the benefits. Oh, it is certainly helpful to have a close – such as “I have Tuesday at ten available.”

As you hand out business cards, it is most helpful to have an ‘elevator speech’ memorized. This is a one-paragraph description of what you do, so when people ask, you have a smooth, confident reply.

It doesn’t take long to hand out cards to your closest friends and associates. So, you may want to take it to the next level. You can attend business mixers, evening talks, adult education classes and so on, so you have a larger circle of people to become your clients.

How about Internet presence? Most people who are practitioners of anything get a website. Most of these websites get three visitors a year, one of which is the practitioner’s mother. You need to do a bit of search engine optimization and some other tricks. Since an effective website is important to most NLP businesses, I’ve devoted a chapter to websites later in the book.

Social networking – you know Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all that, can work wonders, so I have a chapter about that, also.

Phone book advertising doesn’t work very well these days, takes a long time to become published, and costs too much.

If Craigslist serves you area, you’ll find a category called “Services Offered” which like most of Craigslist is free. The problem is that everyone with services posts there from roofers to car mechanics. So, you need to know some Craigslist tricks, which I have also written about in a later chapter.

A bit of local newspaper, coupon and bulletin board advertising works well, but be very careful about overspending. You won’t earn the cost back right away. More about that will be covered in the advertising and publicity chapter.

The main thing you’ll need is patience. If your situation is typical, at first, you’ll think whatever you’ve done for publicity was all a waste. You may spend $500 for radio advertising (not recommended) and get one client out of the deal. But, that client may tell others. And others who heard your radio ad two months ago may eventually pick up the phone and call you.

Even if you didn’t have the knowledge in this book, you could work a kind of magic. It’s called patience. If you keep publicizing – business cards, your website, telling everyone in sight, renewing your fliers on the bulletin boards, whatever, in a year, you’ll start to earn a bit of a living. In five years, you get to charge a lot of money for each session, and turn down any clients you don’t want to work with.

Example: I knew a fellow who became a licensed real estate agent. He found a broker willing to take him on. That was easy, because agents work on commission only, and the more agents a broker has, the better – within reason. He worked, and worked, and it took him almost exactly one year to close his first sale. That was years ago. Now he is a very successful broker.

But, you have this book. Read on. This book will vastly accelerate the process for you.

One of the problems you may face as a practitioner is that many clients don’t talk much about their sessions. Of course you want them to talk you up to all their friends, but it would be unethical to request it directly.

Another problem you’ll run into is that for most of the general public, the prices you need to charge are seemingly high. Whereas a grocery clerk may make $10 per hour, or a nurse may make $35 per hour, you need to charge $60 per hour or more because you can’t work eight hours a day, five days a week like they do. At least not at first.

You may be tempted to discount your services at the beginning. There are two schools of thought on that.

One school says keep your prices high right from the start. You don’t want the public to get the idea that you are working for very little money for two reasons. One is that they’ll assume you are ‘cheap’ because you aren’t very good. The other reason, one that can come back and bite you years into the future, is that people will remember your early pricing. On the other hand, as many business coaches will tell you, there are plenty of people in the world who can afford much more than nurses and grocery clerks. These are the clients you should pursue.

Now the other school says discount to your heart’s content. Even take clients for free if you have to. You can always raise prices later, after you have filled your schedule. In fact, you can balance your schedule against your prices. As your schedule initially fills with people that are paying nothing, you start charging a little bit of money. As your schedule fills again, you start charging more. At some point in the future, you may still have a full schedule, and won’t believe how much each of your clients is paying.

One downside is that people who pay little or nothing for sessions are the worst possible clients! They show up late or not at all, and they don’t get lasting effects as often. That’s because when someone has invested hard-earned money in a session, you can be they’ll be there on time, they’ll pay attention, and they’ll be sure to get results!

The free and low-paying clients are often in a lower economic strata, and most of their friends are also. So, even when they’ve had wonderful sessions, they can only recommend your services to other people who would be free and low-paying clients.

One thing you can do which seems to work quite well in building a practice is to set a good solid price, perhaps $180 per session. However, if you come across someone who doesn’t want to pay that much, you might offer a sort of trade. You give them some of your business cards, and ask them to tell everyone they know the truth amount your sessions. In my opinion, it would be unethical to tell them to ‘sell’ your session, or tell everyone they think you’re great. You want them to tell the truth. Of course, it is up to you to make sure most sessions are so great they’ll want to tell everyone how effective you are.

So, you might have a client who balks at $180. You tell this client something like, “OK, if you’re willing to pass out six of my business cards, and tell people the truth about our session, I’ll do it for $100.” If they still balk, you can decide whether you might offer it for even less, with more business cards, or not.

In selling a session, one thing you can do is ask someone “How much would a session that will do ____ be worth to you?” Then you can accept that amount, or tell them that you can do it for slightly more. You’d fill in the blank with a specific desired outcome. No one wants a ‘session.’ What they want is to become more confident on the stage, get along better with their spouse, stay focused on their work – whatever it is they said they wanted.

And if they haven’t said what they wanted, you haven’t really learned who they are yet. Isn’t it fun to be curious? As you’ve learned in your NLP training, when you talk with people because you are truly interested, when you mirror them, challenge ambiguities, maybe even backtrack some of their words, they are truly honored. It won’t take much effort to discover what they want that you can help with. Then, simply tell them that you can give them that, a ‘well-formed outcome’ and they’ll be delighted to book a session with you.

Or several sessions. Business coaches often sell packages of sessions. One coach, Christian Mickelsen, is currently charging clients $10,000 per month, with a six-month commitment, and getting it. He trains other coaches in how to get clients, and how to charge a lot of money. He suggests people in coaching charge new clients $997 per month. Then, he suggests offering six months for the price of five, at $4985.

He advocates giving a free intake session of approximately a half-hour.

Finally, he says you’ve gotta be ready to take a credit card right away. Close the sale while the client is hot, not after they’ve had time to let the news of what you can do for them fade away. You guessed it, I have a chapter about how anyone can take payment with credit card numbers later in the book.

It is important to have as many ‘good’ sessions as possible at the beginning. To that end, you might like to use the “magical ending” technique discussed at the end of the book.

Creative Listening

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Let’s say you feel you are not ready to do full NLP sessions with people. Perhaps your training was skimpy. Perhaps you got all the way through certification as a master practitioner, yet you still aren’t feeling fully competent. You aren’t the only one, not by a long shot! So what can you do? One possibility of many is what I call “Creative Listening.”

This is a simple subset of NLP. The idea is that you have conversations with clients using mirroring, outcome frame questions, backtracking, and respectfully challenge deletion, generalization and distortion, so that they can gain new understandings, come up with their own creative solutions, or feel better about themselves or their situations. By limiting yourself to this kind of conversation, you can avoid all the techniques you may consider more difficult such as anchoring, regression and metaphorical suggestion. In other words, creative listening is easy! But I think you can see how it can also be tremendously helpful, especially to people with family issues, those facing decisions, and people in mild depression.

Creative listening can be done in person or by phone or Skype.

You can charge on a per-minute basis. For instance, you might start at fifty cents or a dollar per minute and once your schedule becomes full, perhaps you can charge three dollars per minute.

You can use the same ways to build a practice as a creative listener that you would to become a general NLP practitioner. Pick your favorites: Local business cards or flyers, Craigslist, a website, and social networking.

No matter what you do to start, you can expect that business will probably build somewhat slowly, but if you are patient, you may find it builds exponentially.

Another option is to join a website such as LivePerson.com. This website is free to join. Once you have signed up and entered some basic information about who you are, what you do, and how much you want to charge per minute, people from the general public can phone you through their computers for instant help. Customers can also communicate through instant messaging if you choose to allow that option. They prepay some money to the website, and can talk as long as their money holds out. They can add more as needed. The company charges a fairly hefty percentage, but takes care of all the financial details for you.

Ideally, LivePerson, and other such websites, would do all the publicity for you, so you could just sit back and wait for clients to arrive. In theory, that will happen just because people browsing the site looking for someone to speak with will choose you from your profile. The truth is that there is a lot of competition. Many of the members of the site are psychics, astrologers and others, even technical advisors. There is an option to pay money for higher placement in search results. I don’t think you’ll break even for quite a while, so you may rather advertise your LivePerson presence (or whatever similar site you use) on your own website, through social networking and possibly other ways.

Training

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One of the best ways to make money with NLP is to teach it. You can make more money faster than with most other NLP incomes.

You can teach on any level. It is very easy to start with local community education centers, offering a beginning course or introduction to NLP. Then, if you’re feeling well-educated enough in NLP, you can teach an intermediate course, an advanced course, a practitioner’s course, even a master course.

You can also offer side dishes. For instance, you might present a course on “NLP and Family Relationships,” or “NLP and Conflict Resolution” or “NLP in the Workplace,” or “NLP in Sales.”

A big advantage with the community education centers is they do all the advertising for you. You can sign up to teach a course, wait for the next semester’s course catalog to be distributed, and you’ll have students. Of course, you can supplement their course catalog with your own local advertising.

Many of the community education centers don’t pay very much if at all. For instance, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, known as OLLI, which has branches in many communities catering to the retired generation, expects all their teachers to work as volunteers.

This can be leveraged. What you do is teach introductory NLP in the community education school, then offer advanced courses on your own.

You might simply teach out of your home at first. In time, you can rent space in a building, or even have your own dedicated NLP school building eventually.

Reputation is the best school builder. To get started, you can do all the usual things: local advertising, Craigslist, website and social networking.

Just as with being a practitioner, you don’t have to be certified or licensed in any way. This gives you carte blanche, but it also gives everyone carte blanche, so lack of licensing is good and bad.

So what about the schools that offer certification? It turns out they print their own. You too, if you feel qualified, can offer certification to your graduates.

Running your own school can be as simple as having four or five students meeting in your living room, or can be a full institution. Since you can make reasonable money with just a few students, I recommend starting small, and let it grow organically. However, an option is to start larger. You may consider a partnership. I know of one NLP school that is a three-way partnership. There is one owner who runs the office, never actually teaching. Another is the main teacher, and the third partner is a sort of junior teacher, who fills in whenever the main teacher cannot attend.

One of the best ways to get new students is to offer a two-hour free seminar that explains what NLP is all about, and demonstrates some interesting phenomena, such as eye accessing. You can advertise these free seminars locally, plus invite all your current and former students to attend and to bring their friends.

If you like working with children, you might enjoy setting up a ‘school for wizards and witches.’ This might be somewhat like Hogwarts of Harry Potter fame, except instead of teaching potions and spells, you’d teach the magic of NLP. Oh, you wouldn’t necessarily be turning out little NLP practitioners. Instead, you could let the kids have lots of fun, while subtly teaching them higher-quality social interaction through some NLP techniques such as mirroring, and respectfully challenging ambiguities. This might make a great summer camp.

Employee

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Imagine a factory or large office in which the workers can make an appointment with an NLP practitioner to work out issues like boredom, toxic co-workers, or family problems. This not only benefits the employees, but the company as well, since an unhappy or bothered employee is going to be less productive than one who is happy. You could be that practitioner.

Most such companies don’t post job openings for an in-house NLP practitioner. In fact, I’ve never heard of one that did. They don’t even realize how much they’d benefit. But if you were to approach the right people at these companies with your idea, it shouldn’t take long to create your own job. And, it will most likely be a high-paying job. We’re not talking $10/hour. we’re talking more like a minimum of $60,000 per year ($30/hour).

Example: I know a fellow who took up the odd sport of juggling. He wanted to teach juggling for a living. He approached the athletic director at the college in his hometown, and the best job he could get was to teach juggling to those college students who were interested for one hour per week. He had four students. But he was patient, and had a good style. In time, he had twenty students, then 200. Twenty years later, he is the athletic director at that college.

Mediator

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Wouldn’t it be great if anyone holding a meeting, whether it is to resolve a conflict, such as union vs management, or any meeting that would otherwise be chaotic, could hire a mediator to keep the meeting organized? Your NLP skills may make you perfect for the job. This too, is a specialty you’ll have to create for yourself. You can become a mediator with business cards, website, social networking, patience, all the usual ingredients.

Remote Support

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Whatever version of NLP or combination of NLP and other skills you prefer, you might like to consider working entirely by telephone or Skype. Suddenly, instead of a limited local community, you have the nation or the world at your disposal. One of the biggest advantages is that you can specialize. For instance, you might enjoy doing NLP sessions in Portuguese. Or, you might only work as a coach for musicians. You may find that by sticking to a sub-specialty, you get more, higher-paying clients sooner. If you were a coach for dress designers, for example, wouldn’t any dress designer who finds about you, know immediately that you’re the one – the one person who is best suited to her needs?

You might prefer to do it through a website such as LivePerson.com mentioned in an earlier chapter.

Entertainment

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As an NLP practitioner, you have many opportunities in the world of entertainment. On might not think that NLP and entertainment can mix, or should mix, but you may be surprised at what’s possible.

You might develop a stage show in which you use some of what you learned about human nature to amuse audiences. From local stage work, if your show is sufficiently entertaining, you might end up on national television, in a way similar to what Derren Brown is doing in England.



Derren Brown

If you can’t access the video directly on your device:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTwCMX5sUQU

In the above video, Derren uses a number of NLP tricks to trick an individual into wanting something different than what he thought he wanted.

Then there’s street entertainment. You might assume there’s no way that street performing and NLP would mix. I saw a couple of examples that made sense to me.

One was a fellow who set up a telescope after dark in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a place where street performing goes on until about midnight. This fellow, however, did not have any skill as a musician, juggler, stilt walker or anything like that. He just aimed his telescope at the moon, and set up an equatorial mount, so it would stay aimed at the moon all night long. He had a little card table, and on the table was a hat and a sign. The sign said, “Look through the telescope, put money in the hat.” Just that simple. We’ve all seen the moon before, but somehow I, and everyone around me, could not resist. We all looked in the scope, and dropped ones and fives in the hat. This guy was making good money while just sitting there reading a paperback illuminated with a flashlight!

One mid afternoon in Berkeley, California, I came across another card table. Here, a fellow had set up two chairs, and a sign that said “$5 for psychic reading.”

Are you getting the idea? You could simply do “NLP readings” or whatever you might want to call it, where you talk to people, and get paid.

If you can pick ‘volunteers’ that don’t mind being heard, and if you are somewhat outgoing, perhaps even funny, you could do it more loudly, make a show out of it, thereby stopping a crowd of passers-by, most of which will put some money in your hat at the end of a ‘show.’ The show would be you talking in a humorous NLP sort of way, perhaps going through an outcome frame, or eliciting an eye access, or doing a procedure like Circle of Excellence or Perceptual Positions with a volunteer. In this case, you could bring two or three bar stools to your performing area, so it obvious that something is going on other than a private conversation.

So, you have two types of street entertainment. In the first form, a single person is your ‘client’ who pays you for a brief consultation. This first form would work particularly well at arts and crafts fairs and renaissance fairs where you could set up a full booth with signs, curtains, whatever you want.

In the other form, you have a full street show, in which you are paid by the crowd to entertain them, much the way acrobats or a magician would perform. This kind of show has three parts. In the first part, you gather a crowd. This is often the most challenging part. The idea is to get a large number of people to come in close enough that you can be easily heard. You also want to captivate them to such a degree that they’ll stay around, while even more people crowd in behind them. This crowd gathering part can be done by bantering with the first few people who show up, or demonstrate something such as eye accessing, or mirroring. I can imagine that you can a lot of fun by exaggerating mirroring and backtracking.

The next step is where you do the actual procedure. If you are doing Perceptual Positions, for instance, you would lead your volunteer through the various chairs (or standing positions) while at the same time, entertaining all the people watching. Ethically, you don’t want to let your volunteer go into a full regression or carry on in such a way that might be embarrassing.



The three perceptual positions

Finally, you collect money. The usual arrangement is to let the people know that you’l be passing the hat a few minutes before your show ends. For instance, you might be about to future pace, but first let them know that money will be expected. This is generally done with a joke or two – some sort of humor. It is also ethically important to let them know that payment is not mandatory. You’ll only be collecting from those who want to pay, because after all, they didn’t sign a contract for you to perform for them. But no worries, when people see others putting money in your hat, they’ll almost all follow suit.

I have seen street shows of this sort run for twenty minutes, then bring in $200 in one, five, ten and twenty dollar bills.

You might have noticed that I mentioned ‘hat’ several times. You collection device does not need to be an actual hat. You might use a bag, box, or anything that can hold money. Hats are the traditional device and convey a message to the crowd that is rather unmistakable.

Location is important. In some places, street performing is downright illegal. In others, you simply need to get a permit first. In others, you need to arrange a schedule with other street performers, and finally, in some places, you can do whatever you want. Unfortunately, in these unregulated places, street performing may not work as well. That can be because there are not enough people passing by, there isn’t enough room to form a crowd, or traffic is too loud.

Some street performers handle ambient noise by using wireless microphones and amplifiers.

If you happen to have any other talents, such as a couple of magic tricks, clowning, or juggling, you might consider mixing it into your street show.

An NLP show isn’t necessarily restricted to the stage or the streets. If you can create an entertaining show that teaches something, typically something about improving social interaction, you can perform in schools. There are national organizations that book tours for school performers, or you can book them yourself. You might start with the schools in your own community. Video your performances, so you have promo tapes to show the administrators at other schools, and you’re on your way.

Network Marketing Consultant

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Chances are at some time in your life, you’ve been asked to buy into a multi-level marketing product. Multi-level marketing is also known as network marketing. Perhaps you had a friend or relative who wanted to sell you soap, vitamins or dinnerware and went into a big explanation of how you can make money selling the product also.

You may not have known how big that business is. I mean network marketing in general. A significant number of new millionaires made their money as network marketers. Not just as owners of the companies but the actual people selling the products.

The general idea is that when you sell the product to someone, you get a commission. No surprise there. But when your new customer then sells it to someone else, you get another commission. And this can go on many levels deep. Imagine if each person in the chain introduces it to only six people:

You sell it to six.

They each sell it to six more, so that’s 36 people.

Each of those six sell it to six more, resulting in 216 more sales.

At the next level you have 1,296.

At the fifth level, that becomes 7,776.

And finally, at the sixth level, you have 46,656 people.

So, let’s say each person buys some stuff, resulting in only a $1 commission for you. That’s $46,656 per month for you, and that’s only from the sixth level!

None of these people are trained in sales, unless they coincidentally got their training in some other business.

Imagine how wonderful it would be for any ‘distributor’ of the product line to help his upper level people become better in sales. Right, it would be worth thousands of dollars.

Do you see how you, with your NLP experience could help people in network marketing become more confident, more successful in closing sales, and more effective in general?

In this line of work, you could have literally one client. That would be a network marketer with a large ‘downline’ of representatives. This person would want you to help each person in the upper levels of the downline become more effective in sales, and it would be worth a fortune.

Most network marketing products are excellent. They have to be, or no one would buy them. And that’s the bottom line. People have to buy the stuff. Without an actual good product, network marketing would be illegal – like a chain-letter scheme. Before you get significantly involved with a network marketing group, you’ll want to check out the product for yourself and make sure you believe in it.

You might also like to consider starting your own network marketing product line – perhaps something to do with NLP. It might be that you sell NLP sessions with various practitioners in advance, or books about NLP, or NLP software. Of course it is better if your product is consumable. Food, soap and that sort of thing work better with NLP, because a major component in the success is having people making purchases month after month. So, how about NLP tea or candies? I have no idea what form they may take, but perhaps you do.

There is a lot of work involved in maintaining a network marketing company. For instance, you need software in place to make payments to all your downline people every month. Network marketing is close enough to some illegal activities such as Ponzi schemes, that you want to check legalities carefully to make sure you’re always in compliance.

Sales Consultant

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In the same way that network marketers can benefit from NLP, so can car dealers and realtors.

You could approach some dealerships and real estate offices and offer NLP consultation so their sales people will close more sales. The people to approach, and the ones most likely to pay for your service would be the brokers or the dealership owners, not the actual sales force. But, the people you’ll be working with would be the sales people. You might do one-off conferences in which you impart some techniques, or you might arrange weekly sessions with each salesperson in which you help them overcome blocks, become more confident, and ultimately more effective.

Write Books, Websites, Software

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Just as many medical doctors don’t actually practice medicine, but instead are involved in research and writing, you can do the same with NLP.

You might prefer to write books, websites, blogs, or software having to do with NLP.

I have done that off and on for several years. Come to think of it, this book is that very thing, isn’t it?

Books

There’s lots of room for more books, especially in two niche areas. One would be to discuss specific techniques within NLP, and the other is to find where the edges of NLP blur into other pursuits. If you were to write a book all about hypnotic suggestion, regression, or even TD searches, it would probably be popular. If you can write about NLP and Family Constellations (the work of Bert Hellinger), or maybe a book about using NLP in sales, or all about the history of NLP, I think you’ll find readers.

You might also enjoy writing magazine or website articles. Can you imagine an advice column such as “Dear Abby,” but with NLP knowledge? You can be paid directly by the publishers or webmasters. You might consider it profitable even if you have to write articles for free, as long as you can mention or advertise your NLP services or products in the articles.

As for books, today, the elephant in the library is Kindle, the most popular ebook format. Amazon’s Kindle format is where the money is at. According to Amazon, more Kindle books are being sold than all hardcovers. They predict that in the very near future, Kindle sales will exceed paperbacks, and although Amazon won’t come out and say it, many futurists are saying that ebooks will exceed all paper-based books within just a couple of years.

You might be thinking that there’s little money in Kindle, but in fact, because there are no middlemen involved, and no material or production costs in ebooks, the amount the author gets is much higher than in conventional publishing. In the case of Kindle, you get 35% or 70% depending on some options you choose. In the old days, after you wrote a book, you had to find a publisher that would be willing to take the risk of producing it. You might even need to hire an agent to bring it to the attention of the publishers. You might also have lost some control of your book. Your editor, appointed by the publisher, would tell you to remove this passage and rewrite that one. Then, the cover may or may not come out looking like you’d hope. They might even change the title of your book! After all that, the publisher may give you a small advance against sales, but your profit will seldom be more than 25% of the wholesale price that the bookstores pay, and can be less. Subtract from that whatever you have to pay to your agent.

With Kindle, you do everything. You’re fully in charge. With Kindle, every book you write will be published, unless you go outside Amazon’s reasonable rules of acceptability.

And, it’s easy. Just write your book with Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or even directly in HTML if you wish. If you include images, just zip them up in a file with your text. You upload the file to Amazon and fill in some blanks such as title, and price, create a cover image with Amazon’s free cover creating webpage, and voila, you’re in business.

Not only that, you don’t need to advertise your book. If it covers something new that people are interested in, and if there aren’t many books covering your topic already, people will find it on Amazon, and buy it.

That is, if you’re right on in your guess as to what people are interested in. If you miss the point a bit, just go ahead and adjust the title, description, or maybe the cover image, or write another book, and another, until you get a hit. (That’s what I’m doing).

You can also promote your own book. You can publicize it through your blog, website or social networking. You can buy advertising, although that doesn’t generally work as well as free publicity. The two places that advertising may be cost-effective is with Google AdWords, and with Facebook advertising.

There are some tricks to discovering a Kindle title that will sell. First, use the free Google AdWords Keyword Planner. There, you can enter your proposed title, and see how many people are searching Google for that keyword every month. Google uses the term “keyword” to mean “key phrase,” since most “keywords” are more than a single word. In the case of determining a profitable Kindle title, you want to use the Keyword Planner to check on exactly the exact proposed wording of your title.

Ideally, there will be between 10,000 and 100,000 searches per month for your title. Fewer than that, and your topic may not interest enough buyers. More than that, and you’ll probably find the market is already congested with alternatives.

Once you get a title with the right number of searches, do a search on Amazon for the same title to see how many similar books come up. You may find nothing that addresses the same topic, and if so, you’re in great luck. Or, you may find twenty books. Even that may not be horrible, since people are willing to browse a large number of search results when looking for a Kindle book. They’ll buy yours if your title, description, and cover make it seem appealing. You’d be surprised how many books turn out to be way off topic or simply do not address what the reader wants. The typical Amazon reader is willing to dive quite deep into search results to find a book ‘worth reading.’

A fact about Kindle books that surprised me is how short they can be. When you go to a bookstore, you seldom see a book of less than a hundred pages, unless it is for children. On Kindle, the average book is probably less than a hundred pages. Way less sometimes. In this modern information-rich age, people don’t always want to slog through hundreds of pages to learn something or be entertained. So, you can write a book that gets right to the point. For instance, I wrote a book about eyesight exercises to improve your vision. It is only six or seven pages long. The price is $3.99. Although anyone can get a full refund within a week of buying a Kindle book, just about no one ever does. So, people aren’t concerned about the size of a book. The modern reader is sophisticated enough to know that the information they want may be very concise. On the other hand, a memoir or fiction book ought to be long enough to be satisfying.

With short books, it is important to mention the brevity in the description. You can say something like, “This book covers NLP anchoring in just a few short pages. It gets right to the point, so you can read it in a single session.” This way, people won’t be disappointed after they buy it because they were expecting something larger.

Most NLP topics are not picturesque or easily illustrated, so it is hard to come up with on-topic images. On the other hand, you can puff up a book considerably with generic images of people having picnics, at business meetings, playing chess, or whatever. Even though the pictures have no connection to the topic, they seem to satisfy a primitive part of our brains that wants pictures. You can find pictures through DVD clip art collections that you can buy at office supply stores. Or, you can do a search through creativecommons.org, a website that leads you to images that can be used royalty-free. Many have been released into the public domain (made free without restrictions). Others you can use if you follow the authors’ licensing requirements. These authors usually only want to be mentioned in a caption, possibly with a link to their websites.

With Kindle, you can have a 70% royalty in many countries if your book sells for at least $2.99, and no more than $9.99 in the US. If you choose a lower or higher price, you can have only a 35% royalty.

Research has shown that the most profitable price for a typical book is $3.99. You can sell more books at 99 cents, but you’d have to sell six times as many to make the same profit. You can sell some books at $9.99, but you’ll sell more copies, and end up with more profit at $3.99. In the case of specialized topics that professionals might feel they need to buy, you can charge much more. For instance, I have a book for bicycle shop owners currently priced at $79.

I keep mentioning Kindle, but there are other eBook brands out there such as iBooks, Google Play, and Nook. What’s up with that? It turns out that something like seventy percent of all ebook sales are Kindle. Kindle has free reader software for every platform imaginable, so you don’t need a dedicated Kindle tablet. You can read Kindle books on your iPhone, your Android tablet, your Mac or Windows computer.

Amazon pays a greater royalty through Kindle than the other brands. Kindle also has what they call a ‘lending program’ that is exclusive. If you sign up for that, you cannot sell the same book in the other markets. The lending program is quite effective. Buyers who sign up for a service called Amazon Prime can ‘borrow’ one book per month at no cost. They can keep the book as long as the want – there is no due date. The Kindle lending library works only on a Kindle device, not on a laptop, Android tablet or iPad. The authors get a percentage of the total Amazon Prime membership. Currently, that’s around $2 per book. Right now, about twelve percent of my Kindle income is from borrows.

Like so much in the electronic world, the ebook market is built on shifting sands. Kindle may not rule the world forever. Right now, 4,000 free books are being added to the Kindle collection every day. Eventually, a large number of topics will not only be covered, but they’ll be available for free. How can you compete with that?

First, if you write in a niche, it may be years before anyone else writes a competing book.

But, the day may come. When that happens, you can make your books free, also. What? That’s right. But what you’ll want to do is put advertisements in your books. You can sell anything from T-shirts to NLP sessions in your books, and so even though the books are free, you’ll still make money.

Blogs and Websites

You may prefer to write a blog or website. For those who aren’t clear about the distinction between blogs and websites, you’ll find that a blog is always website but a website is not necessarily a blog. There, that clears it up, doesn’t it? Kidding. A blog is a website that is a sequential list of entries. These entries may contain text, images, sound clips, videos or interactive things such as calculators or places to add commentary. The big distinction is that blogs are arranged in dated order, generally with the newest entries at the top or the home page, and older entries lower down, or on other pages. Many blogs are updated with new additions daily or even more often. Most blogs do not delete older material. It just keeps piling up, so interested new readers can go back as far as they wish.

One way to monetize your website is to make it a subscription site. For instance, you might create a website about NLP and music therapy. You can have some free material on your front pages. But for those practitioners who can benefit from your more valuable content, you offer a subscription. For $8.95 per month or whatever amount you choose, they get access to your hidden pages.

The more typical arrangement is to give everything away for free. But in the margins around your content on every page, you have advertising. That has the advantage that everyone can read what you have written, without having to pay for it. You can advertise anything you want, but you may find that affiliate programs, such as Google AdSense work better. I’ve written about that in the websites chapter. The general idea is that you get paid every time someone clicks on an ad in your margins, even if they don’t buy anything from the site that’s advertising. You might also contact NLP schools. They make thousands of dollars off each student, and may be quite willing to set up affiliate advertising on your pages.

Software

If you are more of a technical person, you may find great opportunities in creating NLP software. I posted a few things at NLP50.com such as an automated outcome frame tool, and a game to learn eye accessing positions, but there is room for so much more NLP software in the world. For instance, I can imagine a full-screen desktop that would be used when in a session with a client. It will give the practitioner a database to keep track of clients, being instantly able to bring up notes about family members and situations from previous sessions, would display a clock to easily know when to wind up a session, would monitor the billing, and contains a list of specific modalities that you can bring up to remind the practitioner how to perform all the steps in the right sequences.

The most universal delivery of software seems to be web-based. If you have live web pages with PHP, Javascript or whatever, then anyone with a tablet, phone or computer of any sort can access your software. Other options include what has now become old-fashioned Windows or Mac software, or you can write an Android or iOS app, making it available through iTunes or Google Play.

Astrologer / Psychic / Wizard

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NLP combines nicely with spiritual pursuits. People believe in wizards, psychics and astrologers to varying degrees. Some take the word of these professionals quite literally. They don’t know how these things work, but they don’t care. They just know that they do seem to help them. Others feel that astrology and other pursuits are just metaphorical wrappers for common-sense advice.

In any case, combined with NLP, these pursuits would be unbeatable.

Perhaps you already are a psychic. By adding your NLP skills, you will become much more flexible and useful to your clients. You don’t even need to mention your NLP skills. Just utilize them along with what you already do.

On the other hand, you may be primarily interested in NLP, but have a passing interest in astrology. You may find that if you bill yourself as an astrologer, it gives you many opportunities to practice your NLP. Your clients may end up knowing nothing about your neuro-linguistic programming. All they know is that after talking with you as their astrologer, their lives seem to get better.

By combining your skills with these other pursuits, more doors are open to you.

You can work at fairs and flea markets. You can rent a building and set up yourself as a wizard or whatever specialty you choose. More people may be willing to come to you as a “palm reader,” than as an “NLP practitioner.”

The same is true if you don’t have a hard workplace. You might prefer to work by phone or Skype, or a service such as LivePerson.com, mentioned earlier.

One of the big advantages of NLP is that it is a large, nebulous field. You can bring in all sorts of methodologies, and your clients are perfectly happy when they get the hoped-for results. You don’t have to tell them that you just used some of the ‘work of Byron Katie,’ or that you had them in a light hypnotic trance.

In the same way, being an astrologer, wizard or tarot reader has the same effect. You can bring in the methodologies you feel are right, and through careful questioning, reframing, metaphorical response, hypnotic suggestion, you get the job done, sometimes in a spectacular way.

In these pursuits you get to do something more than simply mirroring or backtracking to bring your clients into the most workable state. You can effect costuming, decoration, even scents, to really become the wizard, psychic or whatever. By setting up a non-ordinary physical world for your clients, you can have a lot of environmental effect to augment your work.

Coaching

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Life and business coaches help their clients by keeping them focused and inspired. The coach can be a best friend, cheering section, nag, advisor, whatever is needed. You can just imagine how much NLP techniques can help with coaching.

Interestingly, most coaches aren’t trained, at all! They’ve just set out a shingle, and they are good at listening and advising. This in itself can be very helpful to their clients.

Of course some are also experienced in the field in which they coach. There are all sorts of specialty coaches such as appearance coaching, executive coaching, sports coaching, and spiritual coaching. I have heard that figure skaters can even hire a hand coach to help them perfect the movement of their hands during their skating routines.

The typical coaching arrangement is weekly hour-long phone calls. The coach charges anywhere from a hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars per month, with more typical prices ranging from three hundred to a thousand dollars per month. A coach is hard-pressed to handle any more than forty clients. At that number, it is difficult to remember who’s who, who needs what, and what you said to this client or that last week. So it becomes very important to take notes during every session, and to arrange the notes so they are easy to search instantly when you need to remember the client’s website, or the name of a family member. In fact with just one client, good notes is important.

Once you fill your schedule, you can actually take more clients. You can hire coaches to work under you. You can have weekly conference calls with all your clients, and then shorter calls with each individual client. You can offer more online materials, such as a daily bulk email or a blog.

One format that works nicely whether you have a single client or as many as you can handle, is to offer weekly, scheduled half-hour phone calls, plus allow your clients unscheduled calls whenever they need immediate attention. Most clients will not take too much advantage of the unscheduled calls. A typical client may make one unscheduled ten-minute call every other month, even though they know they can call more often as needed. Occasionally, you’ll run into someone who needs something very time consuming – maybe a whole two hours. Unless you are already very successful with your business, you can accommodate that, and your clients will be very appreciative. So much so that they’ll tell their friends and associates about your service.

One of the problems with coaching is that it usually takes several months for the effects to become noticeable. Clients often want to drop out before they’re done. Of course this is one of the fundamentals of coaching – to keep people on track. Because of this tendency, many coaches ask for a six-month or one-year commitment. They often go beyond asking for a commitment. They charge for six months up front.

There are more people who can’t afford coaching than those who can. You’d go broke trying to accommodate people who can’t afford it.

You may want to focus on the people who can afford it. In the United States, one out of every three hundred people is a millionaire.

If you are doing business coaching, you have the advantage that what you do will bring your clients more prosperity, and therefore they’ll be able to pay you more. It is tempting to start them for free or a very low price, promising to charge more when they can afford it. This generally doesn’t work as well as you’d like, because when you don’t charge enough, people will not respect the coaching. If you tell a free client to call you next Tuesday at 2pm, s/he is as likely as not to blow it off or be late. If your client has been paying you $1,000 per month, you can bet the call will come through right on time!

I’m sure you’ve already figured out that business coaching has the big advantage that it can be considered essentially free to the clients. In other words, it doesn’t take much logical thinking to figure out that with your help, they’ll make far more profit than the amount you’ll charge them. So, in a way, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for your business coaching.

Interestingly, many business coaches have little actual business experience. In fact, their only business may be the business of coaching. Ideally, a coach would have all sorts of real hands-on experience. But they can get away with this because the bulk of effective NLP-style coaching is helping people get past blocks, stay focused, and stay inspired. The clients can figure out the specifics on their own.

NLP Club

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Would you enjoy getting together with other NLP enthusiasts in some sort of club or meeting space? How about running an NLP venue?

It might take the form of an evening club where people can hang out, talk NLP shop, maybe over a drink or two or over dinner. Maybe the club would play movies and have other entertainments. The ostensible focus would be NLP, but in reality it might be more of a social club for like-minded individuals.

Taking it a step further, you might host large annual conventions, or set up an NLP hotel. I haven’t fully thought out exactly what that may be, so I’ll leave the details to you.

Another form this notion could take would be a professional environment. Perhaps you could rent a large commercial house or small office building, where NLP professionals are members. Their offices, meeting, and training rooms are in your facility. Your income is from the rent they pay, but of course you can take clients and do trainings out of the facility also.

Interviewer

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With your basic NLP skills, you’d be a great interviewer, wouldn’t you? You can utilize that skill as a researcher, reporter or YouTube video maker.

Taking it a step further, you might be very good at making “living testimonials.” These are video interviews with people who want to be remembered. You ask them questions to get them to talk about themselves, their loves, their accomplishments. The finished product is a DVD that they and their families can keep forever. Well not quite forever. DVDs fade out after 25,000 years. I believe many of the living testimonials would be paid for not by the interviewees, but as gifts to them from their family members.


PayPal

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PayPal has recently made life much easier for NLP practitioners. They have downloadable software and a little attachment for your smart phone so you can take credit cards. And, it’s free, other than a small percentage charged when you use it. This charge is less than the banks used to charge merchants who dealt with credit cards.

In the past, you had to sign a two- or three-year contract, and pay a machine rental in the neighborhood rental of $35 per month to take credit cards. Now, you just swipe the cards with your cell phone. Or, if you’re dealing with a client by phone, you can enter their credit card information manually into your phone.

The money goes instantly into your PayPal account, which you can then transfer to your bank, or spend it any way you want.

PayPal has some other features that you’ll discover in the next chapter.



eBay

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On eBay, you can buy or sell anything from antennae to zithers. Although it is probably not the business you envisioned when you signed up for NLP training, you may find that you enjoy selling NLP-related merchandise on eBay. In addition to things like T-shirts with interesting NLP memes, you could have books and things such as family constellation sets – like chess sets, but with markers representing people.

One product that might work well would be a tablet pre-loaded with NLP material. You can buy new Android tablets starting from around $32 on eBay. You can find a wide variety of links to NLP websites and YouTube videos, and install those links on the tablet. You may also find some free eBooks, NLP software, and other materials you can add. Suddenly, your $32 tablet is a lot more valuable, because it is a dedicated “NLP tablet.”

Imagine the potential for your NLP business if you want to be a practitioner, but most of your clients can’t afford to pay what you need to charge. You can create an eBay business to support reduced price or even free NLP client sessions.

You can also use eBay to bring in new clients. You can sell NLP sessions at full or reduced prices. It is especially effective to sell sessions aimed at specific needs, such as sessions to help people in retail, or supporting people who are related to alcoholics.

One interesting technique is to sell sessions for very little money. For instance, you can auction a session starting at 99 cents. If the session actually sells for 99 cents, the point is to gain a new client, not to make money on that eBay sale. As you know, many clients are repeat clients, but it always starts with a first session.

Yet another way to utilize eBay if you are working by phone so you’re not limited to a local-only clientele, is to list things on eBay that you aren’t necessarily expecting to sell. If they sell, that’s incidental icing on the cake. The main point is to get people to look. While you can’t blatantly link to your website through your eBay listings, you can make people aware of what else you offer through your eBay “About Me” pages. There, you offer your services as an NLP consultant, and can make a link directly to your website. You’d be amazed at the number of people who browse eBay, and who will see your listings.

As a seller, you have a national or even worldwide market, so rare things of interest to only a few people, things that would gather dust on a retail shelf, such as a book signed by Milton Erickson, can sell for a lot of money on eBay. At the same time, the ordinary things such as the book “NLP For Dummies,” sell for the very bottom range of market value. eBay is generally better for items smaller than sewing machines, since shipping charges add so much to the cost of larger items.

Setting up an eBay account is free and easy. You’ll also want to set up an account with PayPal, a money-handling website that is part of the eBay empire and makes life easy for buyers and sellers in well over ninety percent of eBay payment transactions. PayPal takes care of all the credit card processing and payment details. PayPal is also free. All you need to set up eBay and PayPal accounts is about five minutes each, and the usual information, plus a credit card number, and if you have one available, a checking account number.

When an item sells on eBay, the buyer almost always pays through PayPal. The seller gets to keep all the money collected except for an eBay fee, typically around eight percent, and a PayPal fee, typically around three to four percent. The seller then packages the item and sends it to the buyer. If all goes well, and it usually does, the buyer can leave positive feedback for the seller. Feedback is a point that’s positive, neutral, or negative, along with optional ratings on issues such as shipping time and communication, and a comment. The seller too, can offer feedback for the buyer.

So, anyone doing business on eBay can check feedback before committing to a transaction. If a seller has mostly positive feedback, you can feel confident in making the purchase. Therefore, as a seller, you want to treat your buyers well so you’ll get positive feedback.

Feedback isn’t as important as it once was because eBay offers a variety of protections for buyers and sellers. For instance, if you buy a laptop computer, but the seller keeps your money and ships you a box of rocks, you can do more than issue negative feedback. You can contact eBay, and they’ll refund your money – as long as you did everything right. That means to stay within eBay’s normal parameters. If the seller asks you to pay by some means other than PayPal, or if the buyer asks the seller to ship it to a different address than the one listed with eBay, the protection might be circumvented.

Many buyers do not know about the eBay buyer protection, or don’t trust it. For them, the seller’s feedback is very important. As a new seller, you might want to build positive feedback quickly. One way is to buy a few inexpensive things. You get feedback as a buyer. But most sophisticated eBayers know the difference between feedback as a buyer and seller, and will want to see your seller feedback. Therefore, you can also start your eBay business by selling some inexpensive things. Perhaps you have some old CDs or DVDs laying around the house. Sell them quickly, and get your feedback.

From this point forward, let’s pick a sample item, and discuss it as if it is something you really have on hand and will sell on eBay. The item is Frogs Into Princes, a paperback book written by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, published in 1979.

The most important trick to selling on eBay is knowing what to sell, since many items have too little value to sell online. It turns out eBay has a tool for determining value. So let’s look up Frogs Into Princes.

At the top of almost any eBay page is a search field. You can enter “Frogs Into Princes Bandler.” Today, there are nine copies for sale, ranging in price from $15 to $32. The prices and quantities will vary from day to day.

So far, we have learned that it seems to be a somewhat valuable book, but we don’t really know how valuable. These auctions haven’t closed yet. Will anyone actually bid? How high will they bid? Let’s find out.

To the left of the listings, you have a column of refinements you can click, to limit your search based on condition, category and other things. In that column, click More Refinements. . . then Show Only. Check Completed Listings then click the Go button.

Now you’ll see a list of items that closed during the past thirty days with the prices marked in red and green. Items marked in red mean the item never sold. It may have been an auction that ended with no bids, or the seller may have pulled it off the market. Items with the prices in green did sell. Today, I see that six copies sold during the past month, ranging in price from $9 to $45. The $9 copy is is a poor one, all tattered and underlined. So, the Frogs Into Princes book is worth selling, don’t you think?

Grab your camera and take a few pictures. eBay will allow for up to twelve free photos for each item you list. The first one will appear as a thumbnail – the little image to the left of a listing when shown in a group of similar listings. So, it should probably give an overview image of the book. It’s best to photograph items against a solid color background, so they are easy to see. I often use a red background, so if there are many similar listings, mine will stand out. You might also prefer a bright blue, green or yellow background. This is only a small advantage, so a white, even a wood-grained background is fine too. Strive for clear focus, and medium to very slightly higher than normal contrast. In the case of a book, shadows aren’t much of a concern, but with non-flat items, you’ll want to make sure shadows don’t obscure important details or make the thumbnail image hard to figure out. I use ordinary household lamps, with my camera’s color correction set to ‘auto.’ You might also experiment with color settings of ‘incandescent’ or ‘indoor.’ I use two lamps, one on either side, and slightly behind me and my camera,

Next you might take some other pictures, such as of the back cover, and maybe the table of contents pages.

Does your book have any flaws? If the cover is dog-eared or stained, maybe a close-up of the flaw would be a good idea. When selling on eBay it is very important to clearly note flaws both photographically and in the text description. You don’t want negative feedback, and you don’t want to refund someone’s money because they were disappointed.

One common ‘flaw’ with books that’s worth noting is signatures. More often than you’d imagine, there is a signature on one of the first pages, and the signature is from the author. A signed book can be worth a small fortune if the author is well-known. To be fair, some authors sign everything in sight, or aren’t well-known and in that case, their signature doesn’t significantly affect the book’s value.

From the top of the eBay home page, you can click Sell, then Sell Your Item. You are given a field in which you can enter what you have, and eBay will give you matching categories. In the case of this book, it is easy. You can simply enter the ten-digit or 13-digit ISBN number that most published books have. Or you can browse to pick a category. Books | Nonfiction seems the most likely category, since this is a nonfiction book. But an option might be a category such as Everything Else | Weird Stuff, for unusual items.

For DVD movies or music CDs, enter the UPC code found just under the barcode on the back.

If the item’s ISBN or UPC number is in the eBay database, a template listing will come up, with title, number, brand name, model number, and such details already filled in.

Now it is time to edit or enter a title. This is not usually the place to be creative. You want to enter exactly what buyers for your book are searching for. So it would probably be “Frogs Into Princes Grinder & Bandler, 1979.” If there is room left over, you might pitch your book a bit. If it is in excellent condition, you can say so: “Frogs Into Princes Grinder & Bandler, 1979, Excellent Condition.”

Then you get to enter details such as listing the flaws your copy has, the publication year, a condition category, and some other things. Definitely enter the ISBN if you’re not working from a template, or if it isn’t a book that you’re listing, enter a model or part number if one is available.

Then you get to upload your photographs. Below that, you can enter a description. For a book, if you have already entered condition notes, such as “minor yellowing, slightly dog-eared” then a description is not usually required. You could give a synopsis of what’s in the book, but most book buyers already know what they want. If you’re selling something else, like a hat, you can describe it and pitch it to the best of your creative ability, keeping in mind that superlatives can actually hurt sales. So you might say something like this about a hat: “Size 7-3/8, hat in a vibrant purple. The brim measures 14 inches in diameter. The material is felt. Very slight shiny wear along the top edge that can’t be seen from more than five feet away. This hat was worn by people who felt sure of themselves in the fifties, and it still has that effect today. This is just the hat for a confident and stylish resident of the modern world.”

There is no limit to how long your description can be. That doesn’t mean your description has to be long. Getting back to Frogs Into Princes, no description at all is adequate. However, you could state something like, “I found this book fascinating, and so I took a 1/2-hour break to study it. A half-hour doesn’t really do it justice. A couple of full-time days would be more like it. I don’t really want to let it go, but you’ll probably enjoy it even more than I did. You will find this collectible, out of print book from the early days of NLP is quite informative.”

Keep in mind that an overly optimistic pitch like this doesn’t really help most products, so if you value your time, you might limit your descriptions to the basic facts.

As you are working your way down the page, you’ll see options that cost extra money such as sub-title and Gallery Plus. Most of these options have no effect on sales, but do generate extra income for eBay. Don’t worry, they have plenty of money already, so I recommend that you do not select any enhancements that cost money.

Now, you get to choose whether to sell it as an Online Auction item or Fixed Price, also known as “Buy-It-Now.”

If you have an item that’s rare or collectible, and it is possible that two or more people will want it no matter the cost, then Auction is the way to go. You can start the bidding at whatever price you choose, and then decide if you’ll let the auction run for 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 days. If after that time, no one was willing to pay your minimum price, you get to keep it, or try selling it again. If only one person in the world wants it, it will sell for the minimum price that you set. On the other hand, two or more people can get into a bidding war.

I listed an old wooden radio with a starting bid of $50. At the end of the first day, the price had risen to $200. When the seven-day auction closed, the high bidder ended up paying me $1,200 plus shipping. This is a bit unusual in that the price went to $200 on the first day. Many experienced auction buyers wait until the last minute to bid, feeling that if they bid too soon, the higher price will only encourage other bidders. Taking that a step further, there is software that will bid on the buyers’ behalf at the last possible moment.

On the other hand, you might have an item that is common, and many copies are available on eBay. This might be better sold as a Fixed Price item. You can set the price at, or slightly below the other ones currently being offered, unless the condition of yours is better than the others. Fixed price items are more likely to sell because many buyers don’t want to play the auction game. They want an item as soon as possible, and they want to know for sure that they won the transaction. They don’t want to wait a week to see if their bid was sufficient.

Another advantage with Fixed Price is that you can save money. It costs around thirty cents (US) to list an auction item on eBay, but as little as five cents for a fixed price item if you have an eBay store, which I’ll cover in more detail a few paragraphs from now.

To get an idea about which items do best as Auction, and which are most often sold as Fixed Price, you can look again at Completed Listings, and see which were offered as Auction and which as Fixed Price. You can also study how other sellers handled shipping charges, and which categories they listed successful and unsuccessful items in. You can click on any item to drill in and see the pictures and read the description to figure out what the seller did, and whether it worked well – made money – or not. From there, you can even click on statistics on the seller to find out what kind of feedback the seller has, what other items the seller is currently selling, and what items the seller has actually sold during the past 30 days. This last test – seeing what else a seller has dealt with, can be invaluable in figuring out what you might want to sell.

To give you another view on Fixed Price versus Auction, imagine that you have two copies of the book Coaching With NLP For Dummies. One is a regular copy in good condition. The other has been signed by the author,
Kate Burton. There are twelve other copies for sale, but none are signed. So which one will do better sold as fixed price, a which is a better play for an auction?

Another example: You have a Swiss army knife that you’ve seen a hundred times before. There are six of the same model on eBay already. That would be fixed price. On the other hand, what if your knife has an engraved handle with the famous NLP saying, “What stops you?” Right, auction!

After some more choices on the eBay page, you get to decide about shipping options. You can have the buyer pay a shipping fee in any amount you choose, or you can include free shipping. Free shipping may make some items feel less costly to the buyers, but most are sophisticated enough to know that the shipping cost is absorbed in an inflated overall price. So, I generally go with an added shipping charge – charging slightly more than the packaging material and actual shipping cost. If the shipping price is too inflated, you may lose sales and get negative feedback.

You often see things like laptop computers listed for a remarkably low price, but a high shipping price. For instance, a MacBook Pro, that would normally be $2,000, is being sold for $500, but the shipping fee is $2,500. I believe the seller thinks he can trick someone into buying that laptop. But will the hassle and negative feedback be worth the ‘trick?’

You can figure out shipping costs at the major shipper websites. For instance at USPS.com (the United States Post Office), you can enter package weight, dimensions if needed, a specific shipping service such as Priority Mail, and figure out how much an item will cost to ship. Don’t forget that it will cost about a buck on average for a box and packing materials, unless you use the free Priority Mail and other envelopes and boxes supplied by USPS.com. It’s pretty much the same for UPS and Fed Ex. USPS tends to be a bit less costly for items under two pounds (1 kg) in weight. In time, you may want buy a postal scale. Make sure to get a model that goes to at least 20 pounds (10 kg). When I started out, I had a five pound scale, and was constantly frustrated at having to guess the weights of six and seven pound packages. What’s the best source for a scale at a good price? Right, eBay!

Keep in mind that when you just ship an occasional thing on eBay, you can take all the time in the world to develop your own packaging out of old cardboard boxes and junk you have in your garage. But as you start shipping five or ten items a day, you’ll want to spend some money on consistent packaging materials to save valuable time.

Also keep in mind that some things are really hard to ship. A bicycle will be much harder to package than you can imagine, until you’ve tried it once. Not only that, a bicycle usually surpasses the maximum size that the Post Office and UPS will allow. This reduces your shipping options and raises your cost. For fragile items such as glass vases, double-boxing is best. Pack your vase securely in a box, as if it had to survive a run-away conveyor belt, falling off the back of a truck, and an angry delivery person. Then, put that box in a larger box, with at least an inch (3 cm) of padding all around.

If you live near a fairly large population, you can sell large items that are not cost effective to ship. You might have a ‘special NLP chair’ that’s only worth $50, but the shipping cost would be another $100. So, shipping it is not a viable option. Instead, you set the shipping arrangement as No shipping, local pickup only. People in your area may bid on the chair and come by your place to pick it up. This severely reduces the number of people who are likely to want it. Occasionally, for a particularly valuable item, people will drive a thousand miles to come get it. This happens with antique tractors, for instance.

eBay has a program called Global Shipping for US sellers. For most categories of items, you can click a checkbox, and Global Shipping will be allowed on your listing. If someone in one of the qualifying countries (not all countries are supported) buys your item, they pay an amount that’s more than the shipping charge you’re asking. You are reimbursed the same as if you were shipping to a US customer. You are given an address of a building in Kentucky, where your item is packaged with all other packages currently going to the same country and shipped in a big lot. Once it arrives in the receiving country, it is then mailed to the buyer using the best local transportation company. This saves the buyer money, and makes your life much easier. Otherwise, you’d have to figure out a price for the non-USA buyers, and fill out a customs form for each item you send. You’d also be responsible for refunding in the cases of lost packages, which is unfortunately common in overseas shipments. eBay takes care of all those things for you with Global Shipping.

When you list an occasional item on eBay, you pay thirty cents (US) for a fixed price listing, plus closing fees when it sells. If it doesn’t sell in a month, you’ve lost thirty cents. You have the option to keep it listed for another 30 cents. You can imagine that for a thousand items, this would start to add up.

The answer is eBay Stores. A store subscription costs from $20 to $200 per month. You can save a bit with a long-term contract, but it is not required. At the basic store level ($19.95 per month), you can list up to 150 items for free – no insertion fee. At the highest level, you get to list 2,500 items with no insertion fee, and after that, each item is only five cents. So, you can keep thousands of items listed month after month for a few hundred dollars per month. Once you have thousands of items, a mere few hundred dollars in listing fees will seem like an excellent deal. Stores give you some other advantages. Your listings that are similar to what others have can be promoted higher in eBay search results. You can have a ‘presence’ on eBay, with webpages specifically dedicated to your store. You get some special features, such as the ability to run a sale across all, or selected portions of your listings.

Once you have a store, you get to use a section of eBay called Selling Manager Pro. With this, you can change prices of up to 500 items at a time, as well as many other bulk and individual adjustments. Let’s say you want to add Global Shipping to all your items. Just a few clicks, and they are all changed. With a store, you can organize your items into categories, include descriptions and pictures of your place of business, if you wish, build an opt-in email list of buyers and browsers, and some other tricks. With an eBay store in which you sell NLP (or non-NLP) merchandise, you can then advertise your services as a phone-based NLP practitioner, coach, or whatever service you provide. Circling back around, you can even sell pre-paid sessions on eBay.

Having sold over 20,000 items on eBay, I have found that eBay and PayPal are good, responsive, reliable companies. I’ve also heard all sorts of rumors that PayPal does this ‘evil’ thing, and eBay does that horrible thing. None of these rumors have proven to be true for me. If you have a store on eBay, they offer additional options in support, including as much free support by telephone as you’d like.

Reverse Auctions

I have found the best way to get the most profit out of common, non-collectible items, is to use Fixed Price with what I call a reverse auction. I start the prices of everything way too high, then, lower the price by one percent per day using Selling Manager Pro. A few people will buy things at the way too high price, especially if there are no others like mine currently available. Most others will buy them when the price falls to market value. If something just doesn’t interest anyone in the world, the price continues to fall until it hits a chosen minimum and finally someone is willing to buy it. This is not a good thing for items which have good value, but are seldom purchased, but for common merchandise, reverse auctions is a profitable technique.

My minimum price is $9.95. I feel like anything less simply does not pay for the time in photographing, listing, storing, packing and shipping it, as well as handling the occasional emailed questions that might pop up.

So what’s with the people selling things for a dollar or less? Some are depending on the shipping price to make up the difference. Someone may sell a collectible coin for 99 cents, but then charge a $5 shipping fee. Their profit is in the difference between the $5 and the actual cost of shipping, which may be less than a dollar.

Still, that doesn’t explain all the super-cheap stuff out there. Why would someone sell a pack of guitar strings for $1 with free shipping? I don’t know! But I have some theories:

1. To some sellers, it is better to sell items than give them or throw them away. They are seriously interested in recycling to the best of their ability.

2. Some people live rent free in trailers behind their parents’ house. They ship with all recycled materials. Their merchandise came from dumpsters, house cleaning, or other free sources. To them, a dollar is a windfall.

3. Sometimes children may be responsible for the low prices. Under a parent’s supervision, a child may run an eBay account, and be willing to sell an old X-Box game for pennies, just for the instructional thrill of participating in eBay.

4. Sometimes, it is a mistake. The seller didn’t realize that an auction would actually close at the opening bid. The seller may have been dreaming that someone would bid $50 for his fossilized trilobite, but no, the only interested buyer got it for a buck.

5. There is one situation in which you could profit by selling things for a dollar on eBay, and that is if you include a business card or brochure with each item you ship. If you are selling related things, such as books about NLP, then you might be able to book sessions when people who have purchased your books see your brochure in their package. You may have to go a step further in order for this technique to be effective. You may have to offer something such as an intake session for a deep discount or for free. It’s well worth it if you are a coach, since each potential client who contacts you will probably stay on for a year or more and will be worth thousands of dollars.

With certain merchandise, people are less likely to buy something online that they can’t touch, hear, smell or feel. This kind of item is harder to get realistic bids on.

This is especially true of musical instruments, because most people would like to hear their sound quality. One trick if you happen to sell instruments is to link in a sound recording made from the instrument you’re selling. Taking that notion a step further, if you’re selling something like a camera, you might show a picture that was taken with that camera. selling a computer? Show something enticing on the screen of the computer.

Buying on eBay

The experienced eBay buyer often gets fantastic deals. Once the things arrive, you can sell them on Craigslist, through your own retail store, on consignment, or in some cases, you can put them back on eBay at a profit. A good example of that is books about NLP, especially the ones from the late 1970s. Books by Bandler, Grinder, and Erickson, especially, can sell for a lot of money. Sometimes not. It all depends on how many copies are currently available. You can list your collectible NLP books at a high fixed price, and just wait for the market to shift, as it inevitably will. Among collectibles, a book that you bought last month for $10, might bring $46 this month.

There are two good ways to buy on eBay.

The way you’d expect, is to win auctions. When something comes up that you’d like, or more specifically, something that you think you can make a profit on, perhaps a photo of the early days at UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz, where NLP was invented), you can study the listing a bit.

First, you can see whether others like it have sold in the past thirty days on eBay, and how much money people paid. As I mentioned earlier, you can just enter the item in the search field at the top of almost any eBay page, then select “Completed Listings” from the options at the left. Items that have their prices shown in red didn’t sell. Perhaps the auction ended with no bids, or the seller found a local buyer. Items in green did sell. When looking at green completed listings, make sure to factor in the shipping charge. For example, a steamer trunk that sold for $100, really cost the buyer $270, when you add in the $170 shipping charge.

That tells you the eBay price, but eBay prices are often depressed compared to what a person who can actually touch, hear, or smell an item, such as a local craigslist buyer, is willing to pay.

You might check Amazon.com and elsewhere to see if there are current price guides for the kind of items you focus on. I have an acoustic guitar price guide that I have referred to from time to time. Old price guides will mislead you, so make sure to get current ones.

Look at the item’s pictures and read the description carefully. Are there any photos that ought to be there but aren’t? For instance, if you can’t see the corner of a painting, it might be because the seller is hiding a defect in the corner. Descriptions can be deceptively worded, not clearly letting you know that parts are missing, or the item is misbehaving in some way. One thing that is seldom discussed, but can be important, especially for items with cloth or leather components, is the odor of mildew or cigarette smoke. You can contact the seller with questions that the description left unanswered.

In the rare case that the photos and description are clear, yet the item that arrives is unsatisfactory, the seller is responsible. If the seller won’t make good on the deal, eBay has buyer protection – a kind of insurance – to back you up. In the worst case scenario, assuming you played by eBay’s rules, within the permitted time frame, eBay will refund your entire purchase price. Still, you may have to package and ship the item back to the seller at your expense. Let’s quickly examine two examples:

You purchased a Dell Studio 17 laptop, but instead got the smaller and less valuable Dell Studio 15. Nowhere in the listing did it say you’d be getting the 15-inch model. In fact, the listing’s title specifically said “Dell Studio 17.” If the seller won’t cover you, eBay will.

You purchased a beautiful sweater, but it has a serious cigarette smoke oder. The listing doesn’t mention anything about the smell of the sweater, and you didn’t ask. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that due to the ambiguity of the situation, eBay may not cover you.

Feedback can be a good indicator for a buyer. If a seller has almost 100% positive feedback, and a lot of it, you can pretty well trust that all will be well. If there is some neutral or negative feedback, you can drill into it and see what happened. Some negative feedback is just crazy. There is a small percentage of people who are not quite sane, and sometimes this results in inappropriate negative feedback.

In a recent case, I bought a laptop computer that was slow to arrive. I knew that I might expect that, since the seller had three negatives in the past month, all were about having taken more than a month to ship the items. I bought it because I wasn’t in a hurry, and I knew eBay Buyer Protection would cover me if it didn’t arrive at all. It did arrive in a reasonable amount of time.

In another case, a seller had two negatives in the past month. In both cases, he took parts out of the laptops before shipping them. In my opinion, that’s just plain weird, but on eBay, you’re dealing with everyone and anyone, so this kind of thing can happen. Needless to say, I didn’t buy that person’s computer.

There are two best ways to buy things on eBay.

The first is exactly what you would expect: You can bid on items being auctioned, and if your bid is higher than anyone else’s, you’ll win. Auctions can run 1, 3, 5 or 10 days. You can bid any time you want, and you can bid as much as you’re willing to pay. Even though your maximum bid may be quite a bit higher than the current price, your actual bid is only one increment up from the current high price. Increments are generally a dollar in the USA. So, if an item has been bid up to $78, and you enter a maximum bid of $150, your actual bid will be only $79. But, if someone then offers $80, your bid goes up to $81. Because almost everyone offers maximum bids in excess of the current price, the price can suddenly jump as the automated maximum bids duke it out. If the current high bid is $79, and the other person’s maximum is $140, then as soon as you offer $150, your actual bid goes to $141.

Everyone believes it is best to bid at the last possible moment. This way, people won’t see that others are interested, and the casual buyers are less likely to bid. You can watch items’ bids grow during the last minute. It is kind of fun to see, unless you are one of the bidders. You’ll see a porcelain vase go from $20, to $22, to $35, to $91, to $148, all in the last few seconds. Some bidders are actually sitting at their keyboards physically clicking their mice at the last possible moment. Others are using “sniping” software that will bid for them, based on rules they have set minutes or even days before.

Occasionally, items that were set to end in the wee hours of the morning will get fewer bids. Items that are only appealing to a few buyers, none of whom have been watching eBay lately, may close at the minimum bid, or no bids at all. Items that are imperfect in some way that you are willing to accept can be good deals. This is especially true if you can repair things like computers, cameras, clothing, or musical instruments, and know exactly what’s wrong with an item being offered. One of the best ways to get things is to find items that are not properly described, or even misspelled. What if you search for “cammera?” You may find a very good camera that no one has bid on, because when other potential buyers entered “camera” it didn’t show up in their searches. This is especially true if the “cammera” is also listed in the wrong category. I once saw a guitar listed under fountain pens. However, the eBay search engine is very intelligent. When you enter “cammera” it may show you a list of all cameras. Conversely, if a seller has called his thing a gituar it may show up in guitar search results. I believe most searches start with a keyword, not a category search, so again, there’s a bit less power in looking for things that are misspelled.

The other way to buy, and one that’s more consistent, less stressful, but also less exciting, and perhaps less profitable, is to find “Buy It Now” listings that are too low. A seller unloading his old student-day stuff might not realize that a Native American artifact originally owned by Milton Erickson may be worth hundreds of dollars, and list it for $25. This happens more often than you’d guess.

The problem is that there are other dealers also looking for undervalued collectibles. So, the listing may last only fifteen minutes before someone snaps it up. The professional fixed price buyer has bookmarked eBay search results sorted into just the right criteria, and checks the pages several times a day. For instance, the saxophone buyer may be looking in “Musical Instruments | Woodwinds | Saxophones,” with settings for “Fixed Price Only” sorted by “Most Recently Listed First,” and a price range under $200. The same buyer may have another bookmark on “Musical Instruments | Woodwinds | Flutes” and a maximum of $150. She may also have entered “-wood -wooden” in the search field, to exclude all the wooden flutes.

Did I say snapping up Fixed Price offerings is less stressful? Maybe not. When you see something that just came up, you’ve got to quickly read the description, check the pictures, check the shipping charge, check the seller’s feedback, then maybe check a price guide, and see if you already have too many of the item in your inventory, all before someone else buys it. But this can be fun, right?

By specializing in a very narrow niche, you can learn what buyers want, how much they’ll pay, what condition or attributes must be present and so on. I don’t personally know NLP-iana collectors, but I’m guessing there are people out there who would love to buy any reasonable thing you can get your hands on. Better yet, if you can invent something people need, you can sell it over and over again, perhaps hundreds of times per day. How about an NLP board game, something like Monopoly, but entirely different? I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks.



Advertising and Publicity

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It is easy to buy advertising. There are many salespeople who would love to have you advertise in their newspaper, in their phonebook, their website, or on their radio or TV station. If it doesn’t bring the results you expected, they’ll just tell you that you didn’t buy enough advertising yet. They’ll tell you people need to hear the same message over and over. But you do need to buy some advertising, right?

Did I say, “buy” advertising? I meant “get free publicity.” Just about any form of advertising that a practitioner just starting out can afford will be entirely ineffective. Yellow pages ads are the worst. You end up paying a lot of money per month to the phone company, or a phonebook publisher, and get little effect. People don’t use phone books any more. They use the Internet. So you’ll want a website. It can be a simple one-page affair. All people want is your contact information. You can do some search engine optimization (SEO) tricks, discussed in the next chapter, to get people to your webpage. If you’re in a city with a dozen other similar businesses, they’ll all have their own websites, and without search engine optimization, you might be 13th on the list when people google your town name and specialty.

You can do more to boost a website in search results, but you may not have to. Remember that most people using the Internet to find a practitioner will already know your business name, and what you do. They’re just looking for your phone number. You can bring in new clients through a website in a few ways, but it is perhaps more work than non-website ways to bring in clients.

So, when it comes to paid advertising, almost nothing works for a small business. Good free publicity, on the other hand, can change things overnight.

You may be thinking I’m talking about sending press releases to the local newspapers, radio and TV stations announcing that you have a new business or have added something to your business. That can have a small effect. Much greater is to do something newsworthy, meaning, something positively eccentric.

I mentioned this to a bike shop owner, and he said, “Oh, like give away free water bottles printed with the store logo?” He didn’t get it. Better is to sponsor something unique. Sponsoring a compelling but unusual free entertainment event, or offering a half-hour of free consultation is a start. Getting clients to wear your custom printed T-Shirts is a step in the right direction. Then, they will hopefully tell friends to do business with you. That will have a small effect, but it is not newsworthy, and it really isn’t free, because you have to pay for the T-shirts. I’m talking about something newsworthy. Let me give you an example.

Customers of an old bookstore in San Francisco used to complain from time to time because is was sort of dark in there, especially in the deeper shelves. That gave the owner an idea. He held a special sale. All books were 1/2-off. But, the sale ran from midnight to 1am one night. And, he turned all the lights out. At the door, all the customers were handed flashlights. That not only made the news, but it is still talked about today, 20 years later. After reading the story, thousands of new customers visited the store, mostly because they were curious about how dark it really was, that people were complaining.

At another bookstore, some college students created an art project. Their idea was to rearrange all the books, not by subject and title, but by color. Shopping there during that time may have been tedious, but all sorts of people came by to see it, and no doubt many of them came away with books they would never have noticed normally. (After two weeks, the same college students put all the books back in subject and alphabetical order.)

So, what kind of positive eccentricity can you think of for your NLP business?

As I mentioned, having at least a basic website is important for most businesses. Fortunately, a one-page site is sufficient for most, and easy to create. You can do positive eccentricity on a website as well. We’ll talk a lot more about websites in the next chapter.

In the days before YouTube, a guy who’s business was repairing Apple computers uploaded a little video to his website that showed him dropping a PC and a Mac computer off a six-story building. Both crashed to the sidewalk. The Windows computer was smashed to bits, but with the aid of trick photography, the Mac had only a couple of scratches. That was a fun video.

Then there’s the old fashioned way, business cards and flyers. Putting business cards in everyone’s hands who comes your way can build a business slowly, but surely. Of course, giving them something more interesting such as a keyring tape measure, or an interesting hologram will be more effective. A computer tutor can give out business cards that have a chart of the common [Ctrl] (or [Command] on Mac) keyboard shortcuts.
You know:

[Ctrl] + [A] = Select All

[Ctrl] + [C] = Copy

[Ctrl] + [F] = Find

[Ctrl] + [V] = Paste

[Ctrl] + [X] = Cut

[Ctrl] + [Z] = Undo

So what kind of NLP information could you put on the back of your business cards?

For local businesses such as an NLP practitioner or trainer, putting something on all the local bulletin boards can surprise you. You’ll get more business with no cost. Bulletin boards at laundromats work well, because patrons have to spend idle time waiting for the wash. You might think that laundromats attract low-end clientele – those who can’t afford their own appliances. This is true, but they also attract a higher-end clientele. These would be customers who have to wash blankets bigger than their home washer can handle, or people who are waiting for their home machine to be repaired, or – I hate to say it – people who will wash rags in a public machine because they don’t want to mess up their own machine.

Bulletin boards at natural food stores work especially well. I’m not quite sure why. Bulletin boards at diners, quick-change oil places, and elsewhere can work well, too. The best kind of flyer is one that makes only a few quick points, because too much text is hard to read. The best flyers have little pull-off tabs at the bottom with your name and/or what you do, and your contact info, generally your phone number. You might want to have full-page and half-page flyers, since many bulletin boards are too full to accomodate full pages. When space is very limited, you can put several business cards fanned out under a thumb tack, indicating to people it is OK to take a card. For this use, the cards ought to have large text that’s easy to read at a distance. There’s a color called “Solar Yellow,” that’s very bright and sometimes used for cards and flyers. It is a bit loud for sure, but in a jumble of white flyers, it gets noticed.

Sometimes people will tear off a tab on each of the flyers they put up. This is to make the general public think there’s interest in what they flyer advertises.

You may feel that flyers are too primitive, or that putting cards into peoples’ hands is too limited, but the results may surprise you.



Websites That Work

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Just about any business will benefit from a website. In fact, some businesses can be entirely websites, such as my NLP50.com website.

You don’t have to be an HTML master programmer to make effective websites. In fact, you don’t have to know anything at all about HTML, Javascript, or any of that.

There are now several places where you can create your own website by simply cutting and pasting or entering text, dropping in a picture or two, and click an OK button. Blogger.com and Tumblr.com come to mind. However, if you want to take advantage of all the ideas below, you might want to learn some basic HTML, or just hire someone to help you with the optimization parts.

Whenever you hire someone to help you with a website, make sure to maintain all access. You don’t want the site on some guy’s server. You want it on a big national company’s server such as Godaddy.com. Because, what if your webmaster goes broke, leaves town, or has an argument with his wife and shuts down his server?

It is very important to get all passwords associated with the site. You don’t want to have to hire the same webmaster over and over again for each little change that you could eventually make yourself, or pay someone else to make for you. I can’t tell you how many times, I, as a business coach, have had to tell business owners (kindly), “I told you not to trust that webmaster.”

The most important thing websites need is visitors. There are three main ways to get visitors.

1. Buy advertising. That mostly doesn’t work. Or more specifically, with enough money you can buy visitors, but that would be fewer visitors than you would need to pay for the advertising. I think it was Pets.com that was famous for that. Right before the big tech crash of 2000, this company had a popular website. It turned out that the company had spent millions of investors’ dollars on advertising, and their revenue was far below the expenditures.

There is one form of advertising that can work for many businesses, especially local businesses. That’s Google AdWords. You can sign up for an AdWords account for free. Once there, you bid on keywords. They should actually be called “key phrases” because most keywords are more than one word. Let’s say your keyword is “Life Coach San Francisco.” You may find that your closest competitor has bid $4.13 per click on that same keyword. You can bid $4.14. Then, your ad will show up at more websites, and closer to the top of the paid side of Google search results, than your competitor. So, your ad is then shown on random websites. Well, not random. Targeted. This means that if someone has a website that has to do with life coaching in San Francisco, your ad – and your competitors’ ads – will show up on that site. Or if no one has a site about life coaching in San Francisco, then you’ll show up on websites about life coaching, and other sites about San Francisco. When someone clicks your ad to go to your website, Google takes $4.14 from your account. You can adjust maximums, and all sorts of other settings so that if it runs wild, you won’t go broke. You can do things like change your keyword to “Life Coach San Rafael (a small city on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge), which may not cost anywhere near $4.14 per click.

AdWords works particularly well because it is well-targeted. Google’s automated software does a good job of making sure your ad shows up on only the most relevant sites, and with only the most relevant search results.

Think about the results: If you’re charging your clients $500 per month , how much would you pay to get another client? Each client would be worth thousands of dollars, right? So what’s $4.14 compared to that? Not everyone who clicks through to your website will sign up for coaching, but the ads are well-targeted, so a good many will sign up. Especially if your website is well-designed, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

2. SEO – Search Engine Optimization. You can do some simple things to make sure your website shows up near the top of search results in Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. We’ll talk mostly about Google, because it is the elephant in the room. My guess is that at least seventy percent of all searches are done through Google, with the remaining 30 percent handled by Bing, Yahoo and many lesser search engines. Then too, if you make a website that works well with Google, it will work pretty much the same with the other search engines.

Google ‘ranks’ pages based on how closely parts of the page match the keyword people are searching for, and on how many other websites link to a page. The first aspect, matching elements of the page to the keyword is easy. The second is more work and takes longer to achieve, and may be less important.

By the way, don’t let anyone tell you they have a magic formula to get top ranking. There are hundreds of companies out there willing to take your money for search engine optimization that is all smoke and mirrors. What you are going to read in the next few paragraphs is the heart and soul of search engine optimization. Oh, there are some complicated schemes that might bring a marginal increase in results, but these companies that promise the sky do not deliver. That’s guaranteed.

So, if people are searching for “life coach San Francisco,” all you need to do is put that phrase in the page title – between the <title> tags, and in the< It can be helpful to have a page filename that also matches the keyword, such as www.mywebsite.com/lifecoachsanfrancisco.htm. Google says that as of October 2012, having an exact match page name is no longer significant. However, I have noticed that if you have an exact match domain name, such as www.lifecoachsanfrancisco.com, Google seems to index your page – include it in their search engine listings – within a day or two, rather than within two to three weeks.

So how many people are looking for “life coach San Francisco?” It would be important to know that, wouldn’t it?

As of now, 260 people per month are entering that keyword. How do I know? I used the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It’s free when you sign up at adwords.google.com. Signing up for AdWords is also free. It only costs money if you place a bid on a keyword. You can enter any potential keyword, and it will show you how many people are searching for that. It will also tell you how much AdWords bidders are paying for the keyword and some other interesting information. It will then offer a list of related keywords, in case you find there are already too many websites optimized for your keyword.

Once you are on the AdWords home page, select the “Tools and Analysis” tab, and then “Keyword Planner.” Once that’s in front of you, select “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.” Enter a keyword in the “Enter Your Product or Service” field, the scroll down and click the “Get Ideas” button.

You’ll see an interesting list, but that’s not the list you’re looking for. Click the “Keyword Ideas” tab. Now you see information for your specific keyword – data about the people who have entered exactly your keyword into Google, and below that, you’ll see a long list of suggested keywords based on what you entered.

So, the next step is to see how many people have already optimized websites for your keyword. Bad news, sort of: Many people have optimized sites for “Life Coach San Francisco.” When you simply enter that keyword in the Google search engine, several sites come up, some which have the term in their titles, descriptions or <H1> tags, but only a few seem to be doing it in all four.

As you may know, you can see the source code of any web page by right clicking (or [Ctrl] and click on a Mac) and selecting “View Page Source” in FireFox, or from within a context-sensitive menu on other browsers.

So if you are offering life coaching in San Francisco, you could be the top page in Google search results, and most of 260 people a month who are actually looking for a life coach would click through to your website. Gosh, that could bring you 10 or 20 new clients every month! So many that you could raise your rates and pick which clients you want to take on.

If many websites already used your keyword, there are still some things you can do. You can change the keyword a little bit, checking the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and actual search results, until you get something that has enough people looking, and isn’t highly optimized. Maybe “Life Coach Berkeley” (a nearby community) or “life Coaching San Francisco,” or “NLP Coach San Francisco.”

You can optimize for more than one keyword. If you have a local business, you can make a whole bunch of similar web pages each focused on one area, or put several area names in your tags. For instance, “Life Coach San Francisco, Concord, San Mateo, San Rafael, Sausalito.”

If your business is national or international, such as a website designed to make money by itself leveraging Google AdSense, or perhaps offering NLP coaching by phone, then you might use a keyword that addresses a range of similar interests, like “NLP life business coaching coach mentoring.” Of course you wouldn’t put such a non-poetic name in the visible portions of your page, but you get the idea.

Next on the list is backlinks. This thickens the plot a bit. If a thousand websites have added links to your page, Google puts you higher in search results than someone who may actually have better on-page SEO, but fewer backlinks.

This is another place the charlatans go crazy. They tell you they have all sorts of ways to get instant, automatic backlinks, for only $39.95 per month. . . They also tell you that backlinks are essential. However, with a well-selected keyword you can usually ignore backlinks and still end up with lots of hits.

Don’t fall for any of that snake oil. Much of what they do, when they do anything at all, is pure spam, and in the end, may weaken your position with Google. You don’t need to pay money for backlinks, and you don’t need to do spammy things to get them.

Besides asking webmasters to add a link – many will, without cost, just because you asked, you can trade links, as long as you don’t mind adding a reciprocal links list to your site. Better yet, you can post in newsgroups, forums, discussions. You can answer questions, or ask questions. At the end of every single post, you are allowed a tag line in almost all forums. Your tag line can contain a few words about what your site is, plus an actual link to your site.

Not only will these be noticed by Google as backlinks, but some real people will actually click through, bringing up your visitor count organically. The trick to not spamming is simple: Contribute legitimately to the discussions in which you participate. You can answer questions, postulate theories, bring up analogies. If you don’t know much about a subject, it is completely OK to ask questions, as long as you are not selling ‘expert service’ on your site on the very subject of which you’re asking questions.

What’s wrong with spam? Besides the fact that you’re interrupting people, and diluting the value of bonafide discussions, Google has become quite smart about spam, and actually penalizes a website in search results if the backlinks are of low quality.

One of the best sources of good backlinks is social networking, which will be covered in the next chapter. Social networking can work so well that you may not need SEO at all.

Once you’ve built or updated your website, you can let Google know it’s there. This is especially important if no other websites link to it yet, otherwise Google has no way to know you’re out there, because Google finds websites by investigating links from other websites, crawling the entire Internet every two weeks or so, link by link. However, you can expedite the process through “Fetch as Google” a simple, free and easy-to-use part of Google Webmaster Tools.

If all goes well, you can have a hundred visitors within 24 hours of building a new website.

Valuable Content

Once you’ve got at least a handful of visitors coming to your site, you can do some more things to make sure it works.

If you can provide some useful content or positive eccentricity, then people will tell people who will tell people. Your site can go viral. Take a look at hamsterdance.com. Especially take a look at the “Hamster Classics” and then “Interactive Dance.” This one dance page is similar to how the whole site originally looked.

It seems a computer science student made a one-page website as a thesis project. All it did was show lines of cartooney dancing hamsters with some background music. That was in the late 1990s, when it didn’t take much of a website to excite people. There was something about the cuteness of hamsterdance.com that caused everyone to email everyone else, and it went viral almost instantly. Millions of visitors came. The creator saw the potential, and quickly added more pages and advertising to the site.

It will take more than dancing hamsters to impress people these days, but if you can do something sufficiently amusing, or informative, you win the game!

Another example is Crayola.com. There, you’ll find quite a few interesting and interactive things for children. People come to the site because there’s something useful there.

Yet another example is a website where you can buy an antenna for specialized electronics. The site has many charts with just the information that radio designers need, so of course this site is where the radio people go to when it is time to order antennae.

Your author has made several such sites. One of the more interesting sites is www.worlds-worst-website.com. Its sole purpose is to cause people to tell people, who will tell people, and so on. I have never done any SEO with the Worlds Worst Website. This site has functionality and eccentricity.

Once you’ve got a site that gets visitors, you want to direct their time there. It would be a shame to build a large visitor count, then have all your visitors become confused and leave the site without satisfaction. Or more to the point, you want them to do something that satisfies you, also, like buy your product or service. Think of your webpage, or your website, as a funnel. The top is wide. Lots of people spill into your site. The funnel narrows, directing people downward. Or more specifically, it holds their interest. Someone told me the average web page visitor stays one and a half seconds, unless something catches their interest in that time. The funnel eventually directs them all through the spout. The spout is the action step. What do you want people to do? Click the “Buy Now” button? Give you a phone call? Email you? Set up the page to have this effect.

You should have a compelling title, or short bit of text in the upper left corner, since that is where most people look first. The purpose of this top left item is not to sell something, but merely to cause them to feel that your site is worth focusing on. To have them become invested in your site enough to stay on the page and read more, perhaps click through to other pages on your site. Finally, at the bottom of every place they might go within your site, you have your action step – the button to click, the phone number to call – whatever you want them to do. During this process, you may also want to convince them that your site is so excellent they should tell all their friends.

One thing you almost never want is links away from your site. In this book, I can tell you about crayola.com, because you already bought the book. I don’t need to sell you anything. But if I did, I would not risk losing you to Crayola. Besides, I think I’ve got your interest by now. Hopefully, I have you well on your way to starting or improving your own NLP business!



Social Networking

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There’s a super-effective trick with the social networking sites that can bring you hundreds of new clients, but which is oddly left out of most discussions of social networking. I’ll tell you about it after a brief introduction and ‘how-to’ in case you are new to the whole phenomenon.

The Big Three

The big three social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Some may argue that MySpace is one of the big ones also, but I think it was more than it is now. There are hundreds of others. And then, there are sites that you may not think of social networking sites, but have interactive features and can be used for social networking. These include Tumblr, YouTube, and even eBay.

For this discussion, we’ll just focus on the big three. There’d be little sense in putting much effort into ‘lesser’ sites when the same effort on one or more of the big three will yield ten times the results.

Twitter

Let’s start with Twitter. The main concept is that anyone can enter messages at any time of up to 140 characters in length. You can also attach pictures, links and videos. But the core of Twitter is these little messages, called tweets. What in much of the Internet world might be considered spam is perfectly fine on Twitter. In other words, stating tiny little trivia about whatever interests you, as often as you like, is perfectly fine.

Amateurs use Twitter to tell you they hate today’s homework, Jane wore the wrong dress, the boss said something insane, Frank just took a picture of his malamute – you get the idea.

Most communication of this type happens among people who have decided to follow each other. For instance, if you start following Barack Obama, you’ll get his tweets about the things that interest him – health care politics, international relations, and so on. When he writes a tweet, only those who have chosen to follow him see his messages. In his case, millions of people are following. But unless you are the President of the United States, not that many people will follow you.

Here comes a big trick with Twitter: You can incorporate hashtags into your tweets. A hashtag is a word or phrase that starts with a number sign. Phrases consisting of more than one word are compounded, like this: #BillyRayCyrus. When you put a hashtag in your tweet, anyone who has elected to see all messages about that subject will see your message. Now, rather than the three people who are following you, suddenly thousands may see your message.

If you pick something too common, no one will be following because the number of tweets are simply overwhelming. For instance, if you do add a #BillyRayCyrus hashtag, chances are few people will react because there may be thousands of tweets about her every day. On the other hand if you pick something too specialized, there’ll be no one who cares. Something like #BandlerTurtlesAllTheWayDown – just isn’t going to bring results. But if you use a hashtag that some people are going to be following, magic can happen.

As an NLP practitioner you can really leverage tweets because you can write unique and interesting tweets all day long. You can write about NLP techniques – of which there are hundreds, plus thousands of variations. Better yet, if you have clinical experience, or even relying on practices from your NLP training, you can relate specific cases. Of course, you don’t want to mention names or be too specific in order to protect your clients, but you can talk about the person who hated her mom, how your client overcame a suffocating fear of pillows, the piano student who suddenly went from average to brilliant – you get the idea.

First, they’ll get your message, and perhaps go to your website to learn more about what you’re doing. Then, if your tweet is compelling, they may start following you, so you can speak to them even in ways in which you can’t incorporate effective hashtags. Finally, they may tell their friends, mentioning you or your website, or at least your tweets, in their own tweets to their friends (called retweeting).

Facebook

Can you do the same thing in Facebook? You bet. Hashtags work almost the exact same way. You can even link Twitter and FaceBook together (and even several other social networking sites), so that when you post a tweet on Twitter, it also shows up in your Facebook activity.

Facebook has a concept called Groups. There are thousands of groups. These are just what you’d think: People with a similar interest ‘subscribe’ to a group, where the photos, messages, videos, and links are all about the topic of the group. For instance, there are more than 4,000 in a group about juggling. There, you’ll find posts about jugglers who have appeared on television, pictures of people juggling three, four, five and more objects, how-to information, and more.

The magic of Facebook groups is that you can subscribe to a group and post messages that will be seen by everyone in the group. Unlike Twitter, you don’t have to depend on people searching for hashtag terms, and you don’t have to already have made friends with thousands of people. Just post in an appropriate group, and you can have hundreds, even thousands of targeted visitors to your website within hours.

Just like the rest of the world, you don’t want to spam groups. You can’t subscribe to a group about orchids, and post about inexpensive Rolex watches. Well, actually you can, but you’ll probably be banned from the group. Besides, it is just plain not nice. Spam weakens a group. Have you ever seen a group that has lost the spam war? It’s disappointing. You might want to read about a vegetarian diet, but every post is about weight-loss products. As a group is dying, you see nine out of ten spam posts, and have to sort through them to find a little bit of good stuff.

But you can post on-topic material, and leverage your presence in the group. You might find a group about Manchester United. There, you can say whatever you want about the other soccer teams. The Manchester fans in the group will love you for it. Then, at the bottom of your post, you can have a signature line, complete with a link to your website. In fact, you don’t even need a signature line. You can add links to posts – as long as they aren’t wildly off-topic. You don’t even have to do that. Many people will wonder who you are, check your profile, the links you have posted there, and so on.

It is better to stay nearly on-topic, even with your signature and links, if you can. If your specialty is working with musicians, you can find many music groups in which you can participate in a valid way, and receive targeted visitors to your linked websites. For instance, if you post in a guitar group, you’ll get guitar players coming to your musicians NLP website. Many of them will because they are interested in everything ‘guitars.’ If you post a link about playing guitar in a CD collectors website, even if your text is a valid on-topic post, few people will actually click the link.

Let’s say you’ve found the paydirt. Perhaps your business is coaching bodybuilding athletes. You find a bodybuilder’s group, a weight lifter’s group, and a body culture group. You can’t just post over and over again that you’re offering NLP support for bodybuilders. What you do instead is offer bodybuilding trivia, post technical information, state that you just read a biography of The Mighty Atom, that Leonardo da Vinci put on exhibitions as a physically strong man, and so on. You can answer questions that you’re qualified to answer. You can ask questions if you’re not an expert. You can ask controversial questions which will sometimes keep an active discussion going for weeks. With all this stuff on your wall, you can become something of an authority on the subject. By simply participating in a natural and appropriate way, you’ll bring many visitors to your website and end up trading many violins!

LinkedIn

Finally, we have LinkedIn, known for its membership which is mostly entrepreneurs and upwardly mobile corporate professionals such as managers and department heads. This is your clientele! LinkedIn works very much like FaceBook complete with profiles and hashtags.

Google Groups

Google also has something called “Groups” but it is not the same as Facebook groups. This is an extension of Usenet newsgroups.

In the early days of the Internet, before the WorldWide Web took off, there was another division called Usenet, also known as Usenet newsgroups. Usenet still exists, but most modern Internet users are unaware of it. There are more than 100,000 newsgroups, covering a huge variety of topics. A newsgroup is a list of messages by individuals. You can click titles to read messages, answer messages, and post new messages. It is a lot like email, except every message is addressed to the world at large – anyone who wants to subscribe to the groups. Just like email, messages could have files, attached. Most of the time the files were pictures. In the past, you had to download special software, and put up with funky free access, or pay money for a subscription in a ‘newsreader’ service to gain access. Now, Google has made it much easier. Anyone with a Google account can go to groups.google.com and participate. The messages show up in your web browser – no special software required. There are two major differences: Google doesn’t support attached files. With Google, it’s just about text messages. And, there are even more groups, in addition to the Usenet groups.

So, if you want to publicize something, you find appropriate groups, post messages, and add a tag line at the bottom of every post. Or, in some groups, you can blatantly advertise. Of course the ones you can advertise in directly don’t have much valuable content. They are often called “spam traps,” I experimented with some, such as alt.test.test, and alt.announce, misc.forsale, and sure enough, there are a number of people just idling around there who will read pretty much anything interesting, and click through to see what you have.

Let me give you a concrete example of how you can use Google Groups. Actually, you can use this same technique in Facebook groups, on Twitter, and even on YouTube.

I wanted to publicize an idea about bike safety. I found a group called ba.bicycling. After reading a few messages, I figured out that the group is about bicycling in the San Francisco Bay Area, a place I have lived. There is a popular bicycling road that goes out to the rural edge of west Marin County called Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. It is dangerous because it has no shoulders, blind curves, and trees casting mottled sun and shade, making visibility difficult at times, especially since it heads due west into the sunset in the evenings. So I said so. I created a brief post stating that Sir Francis Drake was dangerous, and exactly why. At the bottom was a link to my bicycle safety website. You’ve gotta remember, I just told a bunch of bicycle lovers that the place they like to ride is dangerous. That was very controversial, just as I thought it might be, and so I was able to keep the discussion alive for a week. On the first day, 400 people came to my website. By the time the discussion died out, 1,000 visitors clicked through. And, these were exceedingly targeted customers – the very bicycle advocates I wanted to come to my site. My site was actually of international interest, but I happened across a Bay Area newsgroup, and remembered the problem on Sir Francis Drake, and so was able to make my little splash.

You may be pleased to know there is a group called alt.psychology.nlp.

YouTube

YouTube is another great website that you can use in a social networking sort of way. People love videos, especially ones that explain something or eccentricities. Right in your video, you can include links to any site you want. YouTube even gives you ways to monetize your videos directly. Let’s say you have done something weird enough that it goes viral, like this one:

Steve Moore
Crazy Drummer

For those of you who are reading this on a device that can display web pages, you can click the picture to see the video. Otherwise, you can go to this link to see it on another device: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItZyaOlrb7E.

The drummer is Steve Moore, known as The Crazy Drummer. When this was first uploaded to YouTube, it sat around for two years and got only a few hits. Then the name was changed to “This Drummer Is At The Wrong Gig.” Suddenly, it went viral. As of today, it has been viewed more than 23 million times.

If that were your video, you could have YouTube supply advertising within and around the video. Their advertising is linked to Google AdSense, which is no surprise, since Google owns YouTube. AdSense places context-sensitive ads automatically. Ads will be displayed that are related to the subject matter, (probably “drummer” and “gig”), and also to what the viewers have shown an interest in. For instance, Google must be hip to the fact that I have been interested in Dremel and Foredom tools lately, because these are among the ads I see. Or, you could embed your own links.

Interestingly, the quality of a video is not nearly as important as the content, or the subject it addresses. Many successful YouTube videos were shot with cellphones, and not edited very much, if at all. But what all the successful ones have in common is that they do something people want to see. They are informative or eccentric.

And there are the other websites. You can post photos or artwork on DeviantArt.com, Pintarest.com, PhotoBucket.com, you can make interactive blogs on Tumblr.com or Blogger.com.

Memes

In these websites, or any social networking or similar websites, memes can be effective.

A meme (pronounced ‘meem’) is a unit of information that carries an idea from person to person almost in the way that genes carry physical traits from generation to generation. Shortened from the Greek mimeme, which means “imitated thing,” the term was coined by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, in 1976. Modern memes can be a written phrase, an image, an animation or sound clip.

Bumper stickers might be considered typical memes. Remember the one that had a picture of a golfer and said, “Don’t drink and drive. Use a 7-iron.” Hopefully, this meme made driving a little safer.

It’s easier to create memes these days. You can just upload a little something to Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, you name it. And if your meme is successful, everyone will share it with their friends and associates, and soon, your meme will be seen by millions. A typical image meme would have a photo or drawing, and a bit of text. There are no standards – yet. Your meme can be any size, any of the standard Internet formats – .jpg, .bmp, .gif, or .png), and of course it can contain anything you want. All you do is make your meme, including a link to your website or whatever you want to convey, upload it somewhere, set back, and watch the business roll in. At least that’s the idea.

It would be pretty hard to make a text-only meme. The closest I came is this: “If all the toilet paper used in America was on one giant roll, we’d be unrolling it at 7,600 miles per hour, roughly ten times the speed of sound.” This could be uploaded to some trivia websites, or into various groups on Facebook, along with a link to whatever I’d want to link.

The problem is that text memes will tend to get separated from their links when people spread them around. So, the answer is imbed the text and link in a picture, so it is the picture that gets passed around, not just a line of text. Besides, the picture may enhance the concept of the text.

You can also make video memes, with or without sound. They have the advantage that they more completely involve the viewers. The downsides are that they take a bit more effort to produce, they don’t run consistently in all environments, and people have to sit and watch them before they get the entire message. In this information-rich society, the attention span is said to be one-and-a-half seconds. If your animated meme doesn’t catch people in that amount of time, it isn’t going to be an effective meme.



Craigslist

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I thought you might like to know about a couple of Craigslist tricks that are important to many kinds of NLP businesses.

If you have a practitioner or trainer, or offering any sort of service business, I have a tip for you farther along in this chapter, but let’s start with merchandise business ideas on Craigslist.

If you buy and sell things, great opportunities exist in the space between Craigslist and eBay. You can often buy things for less on eBay than they can go for on Craigslist. That’s because people often will not trust things they can’t personally see and hold before buying. This is especially true of musical instruments, since people want to play them, to hear them, before they commit. Then, you can sell these same things at a profit locally on Craigslist to people who you will let see and hold them. These people are also more likely to buy locally because they can have their items right away. Many folks don’t want to wait a week or more for their purchases to arrive. Others don’t really understand and trust eBay, and would rather pay cash to an actual person.

On the other side, people who are moving out of town, don’t want to pack and ship things, and who want immediate cash will sell things for much less then they would be worth online. They can’t get the full value for these things, because the market is limited to the local community. So of course you can come along, swoop these things up, and list them for a profit to all the national or international buyers on eBay.

First, let’s talk about a couple of tricks for selling things on Craigslist.

When you list an item for sale on Craigslist, it scrolls down the list as other people add the things they have for sale. In a busy community in a busy category, such as Computers in Seattle, your ad can scroll out of sight within a few hours.

So, here’s what you do: Every couple of hours, add a different item. Let’s say you are selling used clothing. You can put up an ad for a sweater at 1pm. Then at 3pm, you can put up an ad for a pair of pants. Then at 5pm, a jacket, and so on. Each one of these ads carries a link to your website, saying something like, “much more clothing available at mywebsite.com.” You might even have thumbnails for your other clothes at the bottom of each ad. This is not spamming, because every ad is for something different.

As you may know, with Craigslist, you are welcome to ‘renew’ an ad every 48 hours. This means that your ad will reappear at the top of the list. So, after you’ve built up a sufficient number of ads, you can start renewing them, one at a time, every couple of hours, so you always have something near the top of the list.

The other trick, which I already alluded to above, is that you can have a website that has a larger list of your inventory. Every one of your Craigslist ads can link to your website. It seems to work well to have a vertical table on your website, with thumbnail images of each item on the left, descriptions to the right, and prices to the far right. I used to do this with bicycles, although you could do it with clothing, musical instruments, computers, furniture, or whatever you want. I kept an inventory of about 18 used bicycles and each was pictured on my website until sold.

I have to admit I didn’t stay up to date with posting on Craigslist. I usually only managed between one and three ads per day, and skipped some days altogether. This was because my bottleneck in the bicycle business was getting bikes, not selling them. Unlike most many other product lines, all except high-end bicycles are too big to buy profitably on eBay – due to the shipping cost, so I had to depend on a local market. And there too, I have to admit, I could have done things to purchase more bikes locally, but had other business interests at the time. Still, I sold 20 bikes per week with an average profit of $75 to $100. So this could work the same way for your business. After doing it for three months, I moved on to other pursuits, but during that time, strictly from craigslist exposure, my bike inventory website had received over 20,000 unique visitors.

When an item sells, it is appropriate to delete it from Craigslist as soon as you can, but I think it is better to leave the listing on your website for a day or two, marked “Sold,” leaving the price visible. When people see that your business is active, an unconscious impulse causes them to want to buy something ‘before it’s too late.’ It also keeps browsers coming back. They want to watch the activity, and eventually when they need an item, or have a friend that does, where do you suppose they’ll look?

One of the best ways I could have increased my purchasing of bicycles at the time would have been to keep an ad active in the “Items Wanted” section telling people that I buy used and broken bicycles. This would have the added advantage that my wanted posting would also link to my website, so people who see that I want bikes, will also see I have bikes, in case they are upgrading, or looking for a bike for any reason.

The impact of such listings grows with time. Several months later when Fred, who doesn’t need a guitar, hears that Jenessa wants a guitar, he’ll remember the ‘guitars wanted’ ad on Craigslist, and direct Jenessa to the linked guitars-for-sale website.

And of course, on your website with your list of items for sale, you can mention that you are also a buyer.

One of the best ways to let people you’re buying things on Craigslist is to let them know you’re selling things. Whereas you could post multiple similar ads such as “Cash paid for sweaters,” “I buy name brand bluejeans,” and “I want your quality used clothing,” this verges on spam, in fact it pretty much is spam, in the “Items Wanted” category. Not only does spamming make a mess out of a good category, and is unethical, and will probably get you a bad name, but Craigslist users will probably get in the habit of flagging and deleting all your ads.

A much better approach is to sell things in the proper “For Sale” category. In each ad, you also happen to mention that you buy things. Of course, you can have a single ad announcing that you’re buying in the “Items Wanted” category at the same time. You might be able to expand in the items wanted category if you are careful. You could run an ad that you are buying upholstered furniture on Monday, an ad that you are buying wooden furniture on Tuesday, and an ad that you are buying office chairs on Wednesday.

If you are offering a service as an NLP practitioner, trainer or coach, there are a couple of problems. First, you can list only in the “Services Offered” category, which fewer people see. Oh, they may be better targeted, but still, few people browse that category. The other problem is that it is difficult to post multiple ads in the Services category.

The only way you can post multiple services without spamming is to break your services down to specifics and advertise each one. For instance, if you a general coach/practitioner, you can post an ad for NLP sessions, another for business coaching, and yet another for life coaching. That’s three ads, isn’t it? But that’s awfully close to spamming, and probably not enough exposure. So here’s the plan:

Now that you’ve read this book, you have a good idea about how to buy and sell things at a profit. I’m going to suggest you dabble a bit in used items, even if that is not your primary business. If you like books, buy a handful of interesting books and put them in your garage or whatever. Now, you can put ads in the Books section of Craigslist, doing the tricks stated above. But your objective isn’t to sell books, although that could be a good income on the side. Your ads are there mostly to present the links to your website where you sell the services that you offer. If you don’t really want to mess around with buying and selling, you can keep your prices too high. The point is that people looking for used items are often the same people who want coaching, sessions, or what you offer. This is where they’ll be, in Items for Sale, not Services Offered.

Finally, on Craigslist, you’ll notice that there are forums at the left side of the home page. You can participate in those forums. You can teach what you know. You can answer questions. You can ask questions about what you don’t know. But at the bottom of every posting, you can have a low-key link to your website. Keep in mind that some of the forums are national, so you’ll want to notice that before you post a link for local service or large items for sale.



Partnerships

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When considering a partnership, you want to look for someone who has what you don’t have. Starting out with a partner who has the same strengths and weaknesses as you, means something won’t be covered. That’s a recipe for disaster. Generally, the three ingredients that a partnership (or an individual) needs are time, experience, and sometimes money. There’s a fourth ingredient – one that all partners need, and that’s enthusiasm. You absolutely don’t want to start something with someone who is not enthusiastic about the idea.

Before forming a partnership, carefully assess your partner’s personality. Will you be able to get along with this person? How about in cloudy weather? Is the person lazy? Does the person have shoddy ethics? Is the person obstinate? I once saw a bicycle shop almost destroy itself because one partner of the three who owned it suddenly decided that they needed new wall-to-wall carpeting just a few months after starting the store. That would have cost $10,000. The store had a painted concrete floor that was just fine. I think any objective person would agree that carpeting was not a top priority in that situation. But, he couldn’t be talked out of it, and the partners nearly came to blows. Finally, the two other partners bought this fellow out, at an inflated price that took them years to recover.

In another retail store, a partner got evicted from his apartment, and decided to live in the inventory storage area, against his partner’s wishes, leaving little room for the business, and violating the local zoning ordinance. This fellow would do things like wake up, and walk out among customers in the showroom at 11am, unshaven and shirtless. Nice partner, eh?

In putting together a performing group, whether it’s a duo, trio or a large band, all the members must have enough interest in the project that you can be absolutely sure they’ll show up at gigs on time. They must also be the sort of person who won’t embarrass the group by showing up drugged or drunk, or say inappropriate things on stage, or when mixing with the audience. You also need entertainers who are in alignment with your group’s philosophies and performance style. Finally, a band member must have ego and emotions sufficiently in check to avoid damaging the band’s potential as a group. All this is necessary, in addition to being an adequately skilled entertainer.

Partnerships can be just the ticket for many NLP businesses. For instance, you may be a great practitioner, but not all that great about bringing in new clients, scheduling and billing. Wouldn’t it be great to have a partner who is good with business but doesn’t want to do the actual sessions? Or maybe it’s you who doesn’t want to do sessions, but are good with running an office and enthusiastic about NLP. Both of you might be quite happy with this arrangement.

Or perhaps you love to do trainings, but don’t want to do all the things necessary to run a school. Or maybe you feel too shy to do the trainings, but love interfacing with students and enjoy bookkeeping and all the background tasks an NLP school requires.

If you’re going to consider a partnership, think about all the things that might go wrong with your perspective partners. Do not mention the idea of a partnership to any of your prospects until you are absolutely certain. It is harder to burst their bubble after you’ve created it, than before they know a partnership is possible.

Family members can be the best, or the worst! I think you know what I’m talking about. A grandfather-grandson (or grandmother-granddaughter) partnership can be wonderful with the right people. I’m sure you can think of several successful family performing groups such as the Trapp Family, Jackson Five, and the Haygoods.




The Haygoods

Click for YouTube Video

In a retail setting, families can get away with some things that normal employee-employer relationships cannot. For instance, an uncle may own a store, and may have a 14-year-old neice operate the cash register for an hour a day after school. As a partner, she can be paid less than an adult would need and expect. At the same time, she is learning business skills and social interaction.

In another example, you may have a brother on disability with multiple sclerosis. During good times, your brother can help in the shipping department, and really enjoys being useful. Your brother can be a limited partner. During bad times, the brother is not required to come to work. During the good times, you can spend your time on inventory management, but during the bad times, you work in the shipping department.

Of course, arrangements like these, are legally fuzzy, so you’ll want to check your local laws first. If you’re working with someone who is receiving government assistance of any kind, you want to carefully check the legalities and limits. For instance, you may discover that a person in a certain situation can earn up to $1,500 per month, but the amount earned must be deducted from disability payments. Or, perhaps someone can earn up to $300 per month without needing to report it. Or, in a more lucrative partnership, your family member, friend – whoever your partner is, may be in a perfect position to blow off government assistance entirely, earning a living from your partnership.

Here’s a look at another common but unfortunate scenario: Let’s say you have a brother who has been in jail twice for drunk driving. He’s unemployed again because he came to work too hung-over. You might think that if you offer this brother of yours a partnership, it will help him. Wrong! You must, absolutely must, consider partners for their strengths, not their weaknesses, if you intend to succeed. And if you don’t succeed, it will not help your brother in the slightest. It will probably make his lack of self-esteem worse.

How many partners should you consider? The minimum number you can get away with. If all you need is someone with repair skill, a good drummer, or someone who can do the trainings, then one partner is sufficient. Additional partners means that the profit is split smaller. It also means it is harder to make decisions. Larry Page and Sergei Brin have been very successful with Google. When it came time to make decisions, they had a brief discussion, came to a consensus, and moved forward.

On the other hand, I knew of an organic restaurant that had 17 partners. One of their specialties was waffles. They had one waffle iron, and so customers had to wait up to 45 minutes for their orders in the morning. The 17 of them had a meeting to decide whether they should buy a second $30 waffle iron. The meeting, argument really, ran until after midnight, and they couldn’t come to a decision. In fact, it was weeks before they could all figure out that $30 was a reasonable price to pay for another waffle iron to satisfy their breakfast customers.

Once you’ve sorted out who your partners are going to be, you need to state some things up front. Is one going to be a silent partner? If so, how silent? How will various kinds of decisions be made? For instance, the person who’s just about sign up a new client probably shouldn’t have to place a phone call to another partner if the client wants a ten percent discount. What happens as the business grows? Do you add more partners? Do you hire employees? How do the partners decide on new employees?

In summary, all the terms of partnership need to be discussed. More than discussed. You want the major points in writing, and a contract signed by all partners.

The very most important clause in that contract will be an escape hatch for each partner. What happens if the business loses money? What happens if a partner becomes sick or dies? What happens if two partners can’t stand the sight of each other after a while? Escape clauses need to be fluid. For instance, if a partner wants to leave early on, his value in the business is worth far less than after five years. These escape clauses must be manageable, so that it is truly possible to make changes in the partnership as needed. For instance, a very bad escape clause would be that if a partner leaves, the others have to immediately pay her $500,000. If a good escape clause and other such situations are all spelled out in writing ahead of time, all will be well in these eventualities – or at least as well as it can be.

Another consideration in partnerships is your own personality. Take me, for example. I can’t stand having to share my decisions with anyone. I have always had to have full control. I’d make a horrible partner unless I was allowed to run the show 100 percent.

There’s also an ego component. I love being able to say, “I own this.” For me, it would be miserable to say, “I own a portion of this.”

So, on the opposite end of the partnership spectrum we have sole proprietorship. The individual doesn’t have to defer to anyone before making major decisions. 100 percent of the profit goes to the individual. That’s huge, even with just two partners. Let’s say that the profit of a business is $60,000 per year. That means that an individual takes home $60,000. But two partners owning the same business would only get $30,000 each.

Getting back to the original question, what if you don’t have the time, experience or money to start a business on your own? There is another
very simple answer. Start something evolutionary. Do you really need a person to run the office, or just an answering machine? Do you really need second coach, or can you just raise the prices and take fewer new clients? Start something that you can manage, and let it build as you gain experience, money, whatever you’ve been needing.



The Sure-Fire Millionaire

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picture of money

As I indicated in the last chapter, partnerships are expensive. I mean really expensive. I’m not saying don’t get partners, I’m just saying you should consider expensive options carefully, weighing them against potential profit.

For instance, you might think the decision to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks is simple – just do it. But what if I tell you that cup of coffee will cost you $42? Would you still buy it?

Let me explain. If instead of that $3 cup of coffee, you put the money in an investment such as a mutual fund, and leave it there for twenty years, it will, on average, turn into $42. I knew a fellow who understood this so well that he made millions of dollars, yet he worked for nearly minimum wage.

When I met him, Brian was 48 years old. He had retired with several million dollars two years earlier at age 46. When he was 26 years old, he got a job for Sears, driving a van, and repairing washing machines and driers in peoples’ homes, which pays just a bit more than minimum wage.

At one home, Brian met a couple who told him that he ought to ‘pay himself first.’ He asked what they meant, and it sounded like a good idea. So every week, he took 25 percent of his paycheck after taxes, and put it in a savings account. Then whatever was left went to rent, food, and fun. That wasn’t very much, but he wasn’t making very much in the first place.

Week after week, Brian kept it up, until he had $10,000 in his savings account. He knew he’d have to learn something about investing. Even though he didn’t feel like learning about that, he went to the library and started studying up – this was before the Internet. He learned about mutual funds, municipal bonds, money market accounts, and even some things that didn’t begin with “m.” He moved the money from the savings account into better investments.

Brian was content with his job at Sears, and not really qualified for anything else. He kept ‘paying himself first’ year after year. In fact, in the first years, his investment fund grew frustratingly slowly. Yet, early on he remained what you might consider painfully careful about spending money. He could certainly have purchased a 35-inch TV, or even a 60-inch TV, but he knew how much that would actually cost. He felt his 21-inch TV was just fine, considering the bigger picture.

He learned to buy only the best car he could buy with cash – no payments. At first, this meant he had to keep his old car a few years longer than he might have.

He couldn’t really impress people with material goods. (He did impress people with his common sense.) He couldn’t buy fancy clothes. It had to be Wal-Mart, and only when necessary. Sometimes he bought clothes at the thrift stores. After twenty years, he retired. He can now have pretty much anything he wants. He dresses well. He travels when he wants. Brian has a new Jaguar that cost $88,000, paid with cash, of course. Now, he can really impress people with material goods!

I think you can see that Brian was patient. Patience is a wonderful attribute in business. Just about any business you start, if you are patient, if you are willing to accept the occasional setback, grow it slowly, stay interested, you’ll be successful. Maybe even beyond your wildest dreams!

The Psychology of Making Money

Here’s another little story about patience in business. Steve was a science-fiction writer. Or, well, he wanted to be. He figured that if he could co-write with the big names in science fiction, he’d succeed. He pitched ideas to Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein and other big names in science fiction, and some of them accepted the idea of co-writing with him. For eighteen years, he wrote with these famous writers. One after another, the books flopped. The publishers would pay a small advance, then no royalties came in. To make ends meet, he taught English at the local college. Eventually, Steve’s name became poison in the industry. No one would co-write with him any more. All these great writers knew that if they wrote a book with Steve, it would fail.

Out of desperation, he wrote a book by himself. It became an international best seller.

Now, eighteen years is extreme. I tell the story only to illustrate patience. For you and I, just a few months can seem like years. But if you can stick it out those months, you’ll probably see some level of success. Even if your success is slow, you can stick with it, and eventually you’ll have your major success.

Also, note that the story didn’t go the way Steve figured. He thought he had to co-write. Turns out, a little adjustment made all the difference. Don’t force your story to go the way you figure. Allow for some flexibility. Look around the edges of things. See what you can experiment with. See what you can change. Have fun. You’ll do fine. Better than fine!

You probably heard about the three gold miners in California. They staked a claim where they were fairly certain they’d hit a big vein, and dug. And dug. And dug some more, but no gold. Finally, they gave up, selling their mine for nearly nothing. The new owners started digging. They went three feet (1 meter), and hit the biggest gold vein yet found in California.

Magical Ending

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Often at the end of a session I’ll offer a hypnotic suggestion:

Don’t be surprised if in the next few days something magical comes from our discussion today.

This can be surprisingly powerful. First, it keeps the client wondering, or looking back, over the next few days – looking for that magical surprise. So, it keeps it fresh in their minds, giving the session more time to do its work.

This can be especially useful after a weak session, in which the client ordinarily would have not expected much.

As you may know, the word don’t has the opposite effect. It is as if it is a command to do. So, they’ll be looking for their own metaphors or isomorphic relationships that match the session in some way.

They usually do find that ‘something surprising.’



A Little Hypnotic Suggestion

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Now you have everything you need to start your own NLP business. If there’s anything I haven’t covered in enough detail for you, you’ll find what you need among the eighteen billion pages of the Internet.

So all you have to do is start.

Ah, but for most most people, that’s the rub, isn’t it? There’s something comforting about procrastination. Being defocused isn’t so comforting, but something wants to keep us defocused, doesn’t it? Yet we know how to stay focused when we really want to. No one can explain the mechanism, but you know how to stay focused. Right? Perhaps you can think back to a time when you were surprisingly focused.

Now, think back to when you first started learning NLP. And look where you are now with NLP! Were there times along the way when it was difficult? Were there times when you considered quitting? But there were also times when you progressed, weren’t there? And looking back, it wasn’t that hard, was it? Where would you be today, if you hadn’t started, and eventually pushed forward?

You may be delighted to discover it is exactly the same with an NLP business. If you can find a way, however you may find that way, to become sufficiently motivated to start, and remember in whatever way you know how to stay motivated and focused, you can become as good in your NLP business as you are in NLP itself. Go ahead. That’s right – one little step at a time. . .

What’s today’s step?

Enjoy and prosper! – Jeff Napier

Weirdly Famous

Weirdly Famous

copyright 2014-2022, Jeff Napier


Table of Contents

Start Here

Jeff Bezos

Nikola Tesla

Aeschylus

Wrong Way Wooten

Barack Obama

David Bushnell

The Wright Brothers

Michael Flatley

Ben Franklin

Sam Patch

Carry Nation

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Jane Lynch

Martha Stewart

Oprah Winfrey

Lea Michele

Richard Branson

Justin Timberlake

Miley Cyrus

Thomas Edison

Emile Coue

Albert Einstein

Chelsea Clinton

Hilary Clinton

P. T. Barnum

Adolf Hitler

Ferdinand Porsche

Henry Ford

Count Von der Wense

Frank Tower

Julian Whitaker

Arne Larsson

Charles Lindbergh

The Goofy Computer

Bob Hail

Alexander Labret

Jack Wurm

Dale Carnegie

Gary Beacom

Start Here

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This book presents the most interesting biographical tidbits as amusement and insights for personal growth. What can you learn from scientists, politicians, philosophers, celebrities, artists and others?

Enjoy, Jeff Napier, author

Jeff Bezos

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Jeff Bezos, via Etech05: Jeff

Jeff Bezos was born in 1954 as Jeffrey Preston Jorensen, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to parents who divorced when he was one year old. When he was four, his mother married Miguel Bezos. Miguel had escaped Cuba on his own at age fifteen, worked his way through college, and became an engineer for Exxon.

Jeff grew up showing an early interest in science and technology. This was evident from the time he was a toddler when he took apart his crib with a screwdriver.

In his high school years, he worked summers on his uncle’s 25,000-acre ranch in Texas, mending fences, herding cattle, and all the things one does on a ranch. He probably picked up a solid work ethic in this activity with his uncle. While in high school, he got good grades, and won a science award.

His first business, created when he was still in high school, was The Dream Institute, an educational summer camp for children in fourth through sixth grade.

It was in high school that he was first exposed to computers. This was about ten years before home computers started appearing in significant numbers. He liked what he saw, and so he went on to Princeton, where in 1986 he earned a summa cum laude degree in computer science and electrical engineering.

From there, he took a number of jobs in New York consistent with his education, starting in computer engineering and within a eight years, he worked up to vice president of Bankers Trust. In the process, he learned a lot about computer networking, and started hearing more and more about this new thing called the World Wide Web.

It started with the US military. They built a web of interconnected computers called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) so that the military could have the information they might need wherever they might need it in the event of an enemy attack. People in academics started finding this network very useful to share research, notes, and also personal messages. People started calling it the Internet. Netscape and other companies designed browsers making a major portion of the Internet useful and fun for ordinary people. This aspect of the Internet, consisting of files using HyperText Mark Up Language (HTML), better known as web pages, became the World Wide Web. Until then, there was no practical way to share pictures, sound, or even link to other articles on the web.

In 1994, hearing that Internet usage was growing by 2,300 percent per year, Jeff was one of the first to see an opportunity for online commerce.

He considered many possibilities for the first online retail products, and decided books suited the opportunity perfectly. So, why not provide a list of all available books, and provide a way for people to buy the books they want, then and there?

Jeff went to a booksellers’ convention in Los Angeles, where he discovered big booksellers already had compiled large databases of book titles. The biggest was a wholesaler called Ingram with a facility in Washington State.

Jeff was not the only person in the early nineties to imagine that this new network might be able to host commerce, but, unlike the others, he was willing to take big action.

In 1994, approximately a year after he married Mackenzie, also a Princeton graduate, he quit his job at a hedge fund, and ventured out as an entrepreneur.

He decided the State of Washington would be a good place to build his new business for three reasons. It was close to Ingram, where he could buy the books. Because of Intel and other high-tech companies, there were hundreds of computer experts that he could hire as needed. And, Washington had a small population. This was important because the Supreme Court had recently passed a ruling that online businesses were only required to collect sales tax from residents of states in which they had a physical presence, so there’d be less sales tax bookkeeping with Washington’s smaller customer base.

So, he and Mackenzie bought a two-bedroom house with a garage in Washington. They loaded up their car, and while she drove to Washington, he rode along typing up plans for Amazon.com on a laptop.

Why did he call it “Amazon?” According to Jeff, the business would be like the Amazon River, with seemingly endless tributaries.

When they arrived at their new home, he ran an extension cord out to the garage and set up three Sun workstations on tables made from doors laid across sawhorses. These workstations were computers somewhat more powerful than home computers of the era, capable of acting as web servers.

Jeff gathered $5 million from investors to start Amazon. These investors were brave souls, since Jeff told each and every one that he figured there was a seventy percent chance of failure. Among the investors were his mother and step-father. Their six percent of the company, which cost them $300,000, a major portion of their life savings, is now worth billions!

Once he completed the software, he asked three hundred friends and acquaintances to test the system. It worked well, so on July 16, 1995, he asked his beta testers to start talking up Amazon.com, and went live. Without doing anything else for publicity, or spending a penny on advertising, Jeff’s new business was already grossing $80,000 per month sixty days later. At the end of 1995, he had taken in $510,000 – just over a half-million dollars. This was not nearly enough to pay back investors yet, but it was a promising start. In fact, it took Amazon five years to make a profit.

Business continued to grow, and by 2011, he was taking in $17 billion per year. Amazon is the largest retailer on the Internet. And, as I’m sure you know, Amazon sells much more than books these days. You can buy anything from T-shirts to parts for industrial machinery at Amazon.com. Jeff says, “Our vision is the world’s most customer-centric company. The place where people come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Jeff has also done with well with his Kindle, originally a tablet-like device to display ebooks. The Kindle has since become more and more tablet-like, utilizing the Android operating system. The latest high-end Kindle Fire tablets claim to have a higher resolution, lighter weight, and are thinner than the Apple iPad, and do everything a tablet can do – plus you can still read books on them, of course. Perhaps you are using one right now.

As you probably know, free Kindle software is available so you can read the same ebooks on pretty much any device from smart phones to Mac and Windows computers.

The sales of Kindle ebooks has gone particularly well. 85 percent of the world’s eBooks are in Kindle format. In 2010, sales exceeded all Amazon hardcover book sales. Soon, Jeff expects ebooks to top softcover sales as well. Even though billions of dollars are being made for authors and for Amazon in Kindle ebook sales, one can get free ebooks from the Kindle store as well. Four thousand new free titles are being added every day.

One would think this will eventually crush the market for paid books. Who would pay money for a book, when there will be something nearly the same for free? But no doubt Jeff sees something on the horizon for his next profitable stage in this rapid evolution.

What kind of manager is Jeff? Obviously, he is astute on business matters. People say that he is generally a happy-go-lucky guy, but can be very interested in details. The term “micro-manager” has been connected with his name more than once.

Jeff’s current net worth is estimated at $29 billion. Still living in Seattle, he, Mackenzie and their four children do not want for groceries. With the change left over, Jeff has done some imaginative things.

He enjoys shopping for toys online and in brick and mortar stores.

He purchased the Washington Post (Washington D.C.) newspaper company.

In 2000, he started Blue Origin, a company dedicated to bringing space travel to the masses. The company bought many acres in Texas as a launching facility. They have a prototype rocket with passenger seats called New Shepard. Jeff visualizes amusement parks, space hotels and colonies of millions orbiting earth. He has had this vision since he was eighteen years old. At one point he imagined an earth in which everyone has moved out to space, leaving the planet free to recover as a pristine park.

He has had conversations with billionaire Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic, and many other companies, to discuss cooperative space business opportunities, since one of Branson’s companies is Virgin Galactic, also dedicated to affordable space flight.

In what might be considered one of his most eccentric enterprises, Jeff Bezos spent $42 million for the construction of the “Clock of the Long Now.” This is a clock that is designed to last 10,000 years. It has some attributes to attempt to guarantee that it will be functioning a very long time from now. For instance, it must be maintainable with bronze age technology, must be fully transparent and understandable, and use a readily renewable energy source. After considering options, the decision was made that the Clock of the Long Now will be powered by a spring, wound by hand. All this will ensure that people of the future can keep it running even if they lose the technology we have today. It must be made from non-valuable materials, to discourage looting, yet keep very accurate time. Two small prototypes have been built. A full-scale prototype is being built on Jeff Bezos’ Texas ranch, and the final clock will be built in a remote location in Nevada.




The Clock of the Long Now

via Pkirlin

In December 2013 he made news again with an idea called Amazon Prime Air. He envisions a fleet of drones that can fly within ten miles (16 km) of an Amazon distribution center, carrying up to 5 pounds (2 kilograms) directly to customers within an hour of purchasing an item. He believes he can have Amazon Prime Air up and running within five years.

Jeff funded a project to find and recover original Apollo rocket engines from the ocean. His team has identified and retrieved an engine from Apollo 11, the first to land humans on the moon.

An interesting bit of Jeff Bozes trivia: He likes to buy four identical pairs of shoes at a time, and rotates them so they don’t wear out too soon.

His favorite books are Remains of the Day, a novel, and Built to Last, a business book.

Most recently, Jeff has been focusing on philanthropy. He tells us, “Giving away money takes as much attention as building a successful company,”

Nikola Tesla

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Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born in On July 10, 1856 to a Serbian Orthodox priest, and the daughter of a piest, in what is now Croatia. His mother was known for an especially strong memory, which she used to recite long poems, and an ability to make inventive household gadgets.

When Nikola was five, he lost his older brother. Some say he fell off a horse. But there is some indication that young Nikola may have pushed him down a set of stairs.

In school, Nikola excelled, especially in math.

At the age of seventeen, he came down with cholera, which is a severe diarrhea that kept him bed bound for nine months, and nearly killed him. His father who originally wanted him to become a priest said he’d send Nikola to engineering school, if only he could recover from the illness. That may have been a motivating factor! As he began to recover, he was faced with being drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army. Instead, he ran away to a small community where he could disappear in the forest for a while. While there, he read many books, including some by Mark Twain. He later said that being close to nature, and Mark Twain’s books, were instrumental in his recovery.

At age nineteen, he was able to enroll in a technical school. He was once again an exceptional student for his first two years. Then, he discovered gambling, rapidly became addicted, and lost his tuition money. In time, he was able to recover his losses, and he then quit gambling once and for all. However, he did drop out of college, and was never able to complete his education.

He took a couple of jobs as a draftsman, then became the chief electrician in the Budapest Telephone Exchange. While there he invented many small improvements in telephone technology. From there, he moved to France, where he became a designer for the Continental Edison Company,

At the age of 24 he emigrated to the United States to take a job working directly under Thomas Edison. During his ocean crossing, his luggage was stolen. Upon arrival, he had a small pack, some poems, a letter of recommendation, and a total of four cents.

He and Thomas Edison didn’t get along well, and soon Tesla was on his own. Their primary disagreement seems to be over whether household electricity should be DC – Direct Current – or AC – Alternating Current. DC is easy to produce, regulate, and transport short distances. AC can be transformed to a high voltage for transporting over greater distances and then stepped back down to a more tame voltage for use. The oscillating nature of AC can be utilized to control speeds, time events and run motors without troublesome commutators and brushes. It is also less dangerous than DC, because the one-way nature of DC causes muscles to tighten and stay tight. So, a person who is accidentally exposed to DC current by holding a wire or device is often unable to let go.

By the time Tesla came along, Edison was heavily invested into DC technology, and was reluctant to change, even though his generators had to be near the items consuming the electricity. Edison even staged fraudulent public demonstrations in which he electrocuted dogs with AC, but they somehow were unharmed by DC.

Tesla was a strong advocate of AC; not only the sixty cycles per second low-frequency, but very high frequencies, in which he could even transport electricity without wires. There is a famous photograph of his friend Mark Twain holding a glowing lightbulb in his bare hands.



Mark Twain holding Tesla’s lightbulb without batteries or wires

With all the interest in AC, electricity flowing through the air and all that, experimenters of the era were very close to figuring out that they could send signals, maybe even emulating the vibrations of human voice, through the air.

According to some, Nikola Tesla invented radio transmission of audio signals. There is no doubt he was awarded a US patent for the invention of radio. However, the patent was later revoked. The story is that several financiers lined up to support Guglielmo Marconi in a fraudulent attempt to claim him as the inventor, and Tesla simply did not have the funds to fight the legal battle.

In the same way that historians are unclear as to whether Nikola Tesla invented radio, or whether it was Marconi, there is doubt about the invention of X-ray technology.

What we do know is that Tesla was very interested in X-rays. In fact, once he got an X-ray machine built, he spent up to 45 minutes a day X-raying his head, figuring that the radiation was actually good for his brain. His X-ray equipment wasn’t the ‘clean’ X-ray machines of modern times. His X-ray tube was not well-tuned, so it threw out a lot of potentially dangerous power, including X-rays and all sorts of other radiation.

We also know that he was a bit imbalanced in certain ways. Today’s diagnosis might be ‘functioning obsessive-compulsive.’ For instance, he could not bear to be in the same room with someone wearing pearls. He was also a step counter. These people have various forms of a need to count their footsteps. In Tesla’s case, he was once observed walking around a restaurant three times, so that upon entering it would be the right number of footsteps. But, these afflictions seemed to have begun many years before his interest in X-rays.

He was the perfect ‘mad scientist’ in many ways. He tended to live by himself in hotels, staying for years in New York’s Waldorf Astoria. Every year, on his birthday, he would hold a press conference announcing and sometimes demonstrating his latest breakthroughs. Being quite a showman, and having invented some rather marvelous although unrefined technologies, he became world famous.

He had a tendency to announce many things that he couldn’t quite pull off, sometimes as if they already existed in functioning prototype stage, such as transmission of mechanical energy over infinite distances, location of underground minerals, and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

One of his unrealized inventions was a “peace ray” or a “death ray,” which he called a “teleforce.” This could destroy aircraft and land-based war machinery at a distance of hundreds of miles by projecting a beam of charged particles. Ayn Rand heard about this and utilized the idea in her book, Atlas Shrugged, calling it “Project X” or the “Thompson Harmonizer,” but based on sound waves.

In a typical Tesla statement about the peace ray, he said thirty-seven years after he announced it,
“But it is not an experiment . . . I have built, demonstrated and used it. Only a little time will pass before I can give it to the world.”

Being interested in high frequencies led him to the study of harmonics. He claimed he could make a device the size of a modern-day digital camera that when attached to the foundation of a building or bridge could shake it at just the right frequency to cause the structure to collapse.

To this day, people are intrigued with what he did, and what he might have done, if he had been given more money, assistance, and time. Many claims are made in the world of pseudo-science that relate back to Tesla in some way.

Some of his work, including his three hundred patents, brought him a big income. However, as much as he was an inventive genius, he was lacking in business skill. When he had money, he used every penny on additional experimentation. For instance, in Colorado Springs, he built a huge transmitter tower in an attempt to bounce radio signals around the world.



Nikola Tesla in his Colarado Springs laboratory



Tesla’s lab and tower in New York

Never completed, this tower was designed to transmit electricity wirelessly.

In 1915, it is said that the Nobel Prize in Physics was to be shared by Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, but at the last moment was awarded to two other scientists. This was because neither Edison or Tesla was willing to accept the prize after the other.

In the end, at age 86, he died penniless in a run down hotel room in New York City. Interestingly, agents of the US government came and confiscated all his notebooks immediately. According to a pbs.org article, one of the agents, after studying Nikola’s property for three days concluded:

“His [Tesla’s] thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

They found one box that was labeled as containing important parts of the “peace ray.” It turned out to contain nothing but a general-purpose variable resistor assembly.

Aeschylus

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Aeschylus, a Greek man born around 525 BC, lived for tragedy, and his death was an unusual tragedy. He is known by many scholars as the father of modern tragedy, having revolutionized the way plays were enacted on stage.

It is hard for us to understand from our modern perspective, but until then, plays were performed by the protagonist and a chorus only. In the case of ancient Greek plays, the chorus was a group representing the general population, and they functioned essentially as singing and dancing narrators. Evidently, the idea of having additional actors portraying antagonists never occurred to anyone until Aeschylus.

Although he came from a wealthy family, in his youth, he worked in a vineyard.

One day he had a vivid dream in which Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest, commanded him to start writing tragedies.

He had two sons, who followed him into the playwriting business.

At approximately 74 years of age, Aeschylus was killed when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his head. The bird was trying to break the shell on a rock. This is how eagles prepare their turtle lunch. The unfortunate guy was bald, and the eagle thought his head was a good turtle-breaking rock.

Wrong Way Wooten

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In the mid 1980s a man from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, became rather famous for riding his bicycle backward. At the age of thirteen, one of his friends said that riding a bike while sitting on the handlebar would be impossible. Tom Wooten proved his friend wrong. When he saw the way people reacted to seeing him ride that way, he decided it would be his career.



Wrong Way Wooten

In his late 20s, evidently after driving a tow truck for a while, and receiving a degree in psychology, he planned his first cross-country bike tour. Originally, he was going to ride with five other people, but they all backed out before he started. He relates, “I learned never to count on anybody for anything.”

he built a custom bike for his purpose. It was based on a Schwinn Varsity, which was a very heavy all-steel bike of the late 1970s. He put padded tape on the handlebar to make sitting more comfortable. He installed two mirrors on long arms so he could see where he was going. He removed the seat, and put a portable television in its place. He then somehow attached another ten-speed bike to the rear of his bike in order to carry more gear. There is no information as to how the bike was attached. There are conflicting reports as to how much the entire contraption weighed. The report that seem most believable says it was 160 lbs (72 kg). Other reports put it at “over 300 pounds” and some say it was 450 lbs.

He converted the bike to 21 speeds, quite rare in the 1980s, but left the shifters in their original position – on the handlebar stem. This meant that he had to reach between his legs to change gears. His bike had toe-clips, which were, of course, installed backward on the pedals.

Before his first trip to traverse the entire United States, he studied maps. Being independently wealthy (according to what little is written – and we don’t know how he attained that wealth) he then hired a small airplane to fly low, examining his route for overly steep hills, road construction and other such potential problems.

Tom, who legally changed his name to “Wrong Way Wooten,” then set out on his journey with a specific self-appointed mission. “The main reason I do what I do is to get people to realize that they have a responsibility to other people.” He represented several major charities including The American Cancer Society, The American Lung Society, The Heart Fund, the Jaycees, United Way, and March of Dimes, taking donations in person and also encouraging people to donate directly to their favorite charities. According to the legend, he criss-crossed the country several times totaling 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) over the next 17 years.

To some, it looked like what he was doing, riding around the country on a bike, would be limitless fun, but he cited some problems, such as flat tires, bad weather and racists who sometimes tried to run him off the road. “I can’t hate them, then I would be just like them.”

He did not recommend that other people should tour backwards. “One mistake, and you’re history.”

He planned on riding for twenty-five years. Unfortunately, in 2004, at age 47, he died of a massive heart attack. His credo was, “Bind yourself to nothing and seek harmony with all things. Only then can you be truly free.” People who remember him say he was a wonderful and very personable ambassador for kindness to others.

Barack Obama

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Barack Obama

In 2006, Barack Obama won a Grammy Award. These are given to people in the entertainment business, not politics. So what is it that President Obama did that could possibly earn him a Grammy Award? It was for an audiobook recording he personally recorded of his memoir.

When running for President of the United States, Barack Obama promised his wife Michelle that he would quit smoking. He didn’t.

He has read all seven of the Harry Potter books. (There were eight movies, but only seven books. The last book was made into two movies.)

President Obama says that if he hadn’t gone into politics, he would have liked to become an architect.

Barack’s mother’s first name is Stanley. She holds a Ph.D in anthropology. Her research has been given much more attention since he became President.

Barack said of his childhood, “That my father looked nothing like the people around me – that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk barely registered in my mind.”

Barack’s election as US President is not the first time he was a first black president. He was also the first black president of The Harvard Law Review.

Like 11.11 percent of the population, Barack Obama is left-handed.

A psychologist in Canada conducted some research that proved left-handed people are more accident-prone than right-handers. After studying 2,300 major-league baseball players who had died, he found that those older than 35 were two percent more likely to die than right-handers. In the group who had made it beyond eighty-five years old, there were very few left-handers.

Another study of Canadian college students found that 44 percent of the left-handers had been hospitalized within the last five years due to an accident, yet only 36 percent of the right-handers had been hospitalized for an accident. One hypothesis that may account for some of this is that the tools and machines of our modern world are designed for right-handers.

The southpaws also had higher incidence of immunological problems and sleep disorders. A hypothesis behind this phenomenon is that babies who would have normally been right-handers become lefties if they have problems at birth such as long labor or low birth weight.

David Bushnell

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In the mid 1770’s David Bushnell, an inventive guy, created the world’s first attack submarine. Using whiskey barrel technology, he made a watertight clamshell-shaped vehicle with barely enough room for one man. The thing, nicknamed the Turtle, was placed in New York Harbor one night containing Sgt. Ezra Lee, a 45-year-old man who was stronger than the frail inventor. He had two hand-operated propeller vanes, one for forward travel, the other for directional control.


Bushnell's Turtle

A museum replica of Bushnell’s Turtle

Sgt. Lee cranked his way toward the British flagship of Admiral Richard Howe, called the Eagle. David Bushnell provided for instrument guidance in the underwater darkness, even though it was 1776 and electric lighting was still 100 years into the future. Inventor Bushnell’s solution was ingenious. He lit the primitive instruments, a compass and a depth gauge, with foxfire, a moss that glows in the dark. Still, navigation was difficult, because it was cold in the Turtle, and therefore the foxfire was dim. Ezra Lee missed the battleship entirely and cranked himself out to sea. Realizing his error just in time, he cranked furiously against the tide and finally arrived under the ship. Now it was time to do his dirty work.

The plan was to turn a crank mounted in the ceiling of the Turtle, which would screw an eye-hook into the underside of the Eagle. Attached to the hook was a bomb. After several attempts at attaching the bomb, Ezra finally realized it couldn’t be done. The ship was probably coated in copper plating to keep barnacles from growing on the ship, and the hook wouldn’t drill into the ship. (Historians are not sure about why the bomb couldn’t be attached, this is their theory.)

Dawn was coming, and Sgt. Lee had to get away quickly before he would be discovered. Again, he cranked furiously, but some sailors on the ship saw him. Realizing he was in trouble, he released the bomb, which floated to the surface and blew up harmlessly. But it saved his life. The ship’s men had never seen anything like the Turtle and weren’t even sure it was a human-invented thing. It might be a monster, or a monster’s creation. After the little explosion, they were truly afraid. And Ezra Lee cranked his way to harbor, his submarine was opened, and he was safe.

This was the first and last submarine voyage of the 18th century. David Bushnell was quite fascinated with inventions and explosive things in particular. He devoted his mental efforts to the war, but his creations never made any serious contributions. Once, some soldiers found a strange barrel floating in the water. They rowed out to it in a little boat and pulled it out of the water. On the contraption they found gears turning. This would be unusual by today’s standards, but truly weird back in 1776. At about the time they made this observation, the time bomb exploded, killing three of the men and injuring some others. It was supposed to have floated up to a place where several enemy ships were docked and blow them up, but the men intercepted it. This was the only one of Mr. Bushnell’s inventions that came anywhere close to working right.

The Wright Brothers

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Before the famous aviation pioneers, the Wright brothers, created a bicycle shop, they started a printing business, featuring their own newspaper. This was quite enterprising for two young men who did not have high school diplomas. Wilbur did complete four years, but the family moved just before he was to receive his diploma. Orville dropped out of school to run the print shop. (This is not recommended for modern kids. School is free. You might as well take as much as you can get!)


Wilbur Wright 
Orville Wright

Wilbur and Orville Wright

Indicative of their engineering ability to come, they built their own printing press from scratch.

They were in the printing business during the time bicycle technology took a radical turn. Until then, in order to gain sufficient speed, bikes tended to have pedals attached directly to large wheels, making them cumbersome, hard to ride, and dangerous. Then the “safety” bike came out. Safeties had smaller wheels with a chain driving a small sprocket from a big one, so they could be geared high enough to go fast. This started a cycling craze, and the Wrights were observant enough to start a bike shop at just the right time. They didn’t buy their bikes from wholesalers. They made their bikes themselves.

Orville was more the hands-on guy, the one who did most of the inventing and building, while Wilbur, older by four years, was more the businessman, although they easily switched roles as needed.

Since the bike shop was doing well, they let their hired mechanic, Charles Edward Taylor, take on the management of the shop, while they spent increasingly more time on their hobby – experimenting to see if they could make a heavier-than-air flying machine. Lighter-than-air flying machines, also known as dirigibles, or blimps, which were filled with hydrogen or helium, had already been invented, but were problematic. They were huge, hard to control, especially in any sort of wind, slow, and not always safe.

The brothers built a wind tunnel and scientifically studied the effects of airflow across various shapes. They had Charlie Taylor build them an engine, since the only ones that could be purchased at that time were ridiculously heavy for their power output. Mr. Taylor used aluminum instead of steel (a fairly new and novel metal in the day), creating an engine weighing under 200 pounds (100 kilos) and generating twelve horsepower. He machined many of the parts himself, but had the crankcase cast by a local foundry.

The number four figures highly in Charlie’s engine. It was a four-stroke design, with four cylinders, each of which had a four-inch bore and a four-inch stroke. Modern engines can easily get a hundred horsepower out of an engine that size.

The brothers also needed propellers, so they designed and carved their own. Their propellers were up to 82% efficient, nearly as good as the best propellers today at 85% efficient.

First Flight

First ever flight

The Wrights were not the first inventors to get a heavier-than-air craft in the air, but they were the first to make one that could be controlled in flight. Studying bird anatomy, sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, and contemporary inventors, they figured that warping the wings was the way to control flight. They invented three-axis control, which is how airplanes are still controlled today, although modern aircraft use flaps at the edges of wings rather than actually warping the wings.

For a few summers, their experiments, and finally their first successful flights were at Kitty Hawk, or more specifically Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Why did they transport all their stuff more than 600 miles from Dayton, Ohio all the way to the east coast? They felt the rather continuous winds were important. Their first flights took off into the wind. They also liked the idea of landing in soft sand when things went wrong, which they did from time to time.

They had to promise their father that they would not both fly in the same plane at the same time. This way, if a plane crashed, at least one would survive to carry on their experimentation. Only once in all their lives did they fly together. It was a six-minute hop. On one occasion, Orville took their 82-year-old father, Milton, on a short flight, which delighted him.

The Wright brothers were two of seven children, two of whom died at birth. They never married.

By 1909, the brothers had become the most famous people in the world.

Michael Flatley

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“I can go back to when I was six years old. I was always getting in trouble for dreaming, and the things I got in trouble for dreaming about are the things I’m doing today.” – Michael Flatley

Michael Flatley

via maxguy

Michael Flatley really evidences the ‘can-do’ attitude. He was the original choreographer and male lead dancer in the world-famous Irish step dancing show Riverdance. He later became the founder of Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames, and Celtic Tiger.

In 1975, at age seventeen, he won the World Championship for Irish dance. Having been born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, this was a particularly unusual win. The championship had never been won by anyone outside of Europe. In 2000, he was listed in Guinness Book for being paid $1,600,000 per week, more than any other dancer has ever made. What this biographer finds particularly fascinating about Michael Flatley is how much he has accomplished in addition to dancing. He has won numerous awards as a flute player, boxer (pugilist), and evidently as a chess master, too.

After high school, most kids go on to additional education or enter the workforce. Right out of high school, Michael Flatley started his own dance studio.

He has an estimated net worth of $650 million and owns homes in Barbados, Ireland, Beverly Hills and France and London.

Well into his fifties (born in 1958), he is still dancing.

Ben Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin was born into a family of 19 in 1706. He
was one of the most amazingly productive people that have ever
lived on this earth. Not only is his list of accomplishments
impressive, but much of his humor in writing lives to this day.
He died in 1790 at the age of 83. He did not waste his time on
this earth.

Most of us have come to think of Benjamin Franklin as a worldly-wise fellow, loved by his associates, and almost super-human in his ability to invent practical solutions. Some of his abilities may have come from his childhood. With 16 brothers and sisters, he probably had to learn to be quick-witted.

When it was time to decide on a national bird for the United States of America, Ben suggested a turkey. An eagle was chosen instead.

His armonica was a very weird musical instrument. After hearing a concert played by rubbing fingers on the rims of wine glasses tuned by filling with various amounts of water, Ben loved the sound so much that he got to thinking. This inspired him to up with a horizontal shaft on which were mounted glass bowls or disks. The musician would turn the shaft with a foot pedal, much like a treadle sewing machine. One could make beautiful haunting music by rubbing wet fingers on the rims of the glass disks. I believe, but don’t know for sure, that the shaft turned in a long pan of water, so the disks remained wet. Armonica means “harmony” in Greek. The Ben Franklin armonica is also called a glass harmonica.

The Franklin stove as we know it today is a fireplace with cast iron doors. This is not the woodstove that Ben invented. His version has disappeared from modern times. It was an airtight, which is more efficient than most of the stoves used at that time. But, his invention was so complex and awkward to light that it never gained much favor in American homes.

It looked somewhat like an egg on a pedestal. The air came in through vents in the top of the egg, passed downward through the wood fire, and was sucked out the bottom, which was connected to a chimney across the room through pipes running under the floor. This design caused almost total combustion of the wood, which most stoves cannot do, and the pipes under the floor warmed the floor, which was pleasant and efficient. The problem was that the system had to be warmed gradually in order to get the necessary draft or suction sufficient to avoid smoking up the whole house.

Ben claimed that the servants were too stupid to manage it. He was reluctant to say that maybe his design was just too cumbersome.

Here are some Franklin quotes: (Most of these were
first published in Poor Richard’s Almanac, which Franklin
produced.)

A little neglect may breed great mischief… for want
of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was
lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.

Necessity never made a good bargain.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut
afterwards.

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for
that’s the stuff life is made of.

Little strokes, Fell great oaks.

Work as if you were to live a hundred years, Pray as
if you were to die tomorrow.

A word to the wise is enough, and many words won’t
fill a bushel.

To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.

Ben Franklin was responsible for the first paved
street in America, and the first department of sanitation, and
the first taxes to pay for sanitation.

Ben Franklin organized the first circulating library.
This club was called the Junto.

The first man-made oil slick on the ocean was created by – you
guessed it – in approximately 1750. Ben was attempting to calm stormy seas for
easier ships’ passage by spreading oil on the ocean. The experiment didn’t
work.

Franklin was the first postmaster to put the US Post
Office into a profitable position. He was the first elected
Postmaster General. He was paid one thousand dollars per year,
which he donated to charity.

Ben Franklin, along with a friend, Thomas Bond, started
the first hospital in America.

When Ben Franklin saw a rotten, sprouting willow
basket in a stream he took it home and planted it, starting the
first willow tree in America.

When plans were required for a new house of
government, Ben Franklin was given a crack at the architect’s
job, but his design was rejected. It was just too offbeat. He had
planned to hook all the seats in the meeting room to the
fireplace chimney. The bottoms of the seats would have many small
holes. The draft from the chimney would create a slight suction
at these holes in the seats, carrying away what he called
“personal odors.”

Ben Franklin noticed that many printers, plumbers,
painters and potters were getting sick the same way. He then
looked for a common habit among them and found that they all
handled lead. He was the first to identify industrial lead
poisoning.

Ben Franklin’s eyesight was diminishing as his age
advanced. He had to carry two pairs of glasses, one for seeing
close and the other for distant viewing. Ben had a lens maker
modify his two pairs of glasses, putting parts of both sets of
lenses in one set of frames, creating the world’s first bifocals.
One of the reasons he was so famous in his own time were these
glasses. Photography had not yet been invented, artists’ drawings
in the newspapers were the only way people had of being
recognized. But Ben Franklin was very obvious with his glasses in
a time when very few people wore any glasses at all, and none
wore bifocals.

Ben Franklin was one of the first people to realize
that the common cold is contagious from one person to another. In
that time viruses were unknown, but at least Franklin refuted the
notion that getting your body cold was the cause.

Ben Franklin discovered the ocean currents. When on
ships he would take sightings and temperature readings and
eventually made valuable charts to help ships’ captains plot more
efficient courses.

One of the few things Ben Franklin didn’t invent was
street lights, but he did improve them. Until he thought of a
better idea, they always had round globes. His improvement was to
use four separate flat panes of glass. This way, if one was
broken, only one inexpensive pane had to be replaced, not the
whole globe. Some gas lamps of this design are still in use
today.

He also didn’t come up with the idea of volunteer fire
fighters, but did organize the fire fighters in Philadelphia into
the best outfit in the world.

On the Choice of a Mistress

by Ben Franklin

[he recommends choosing an older, not necessarily
pretty wife]

1. Because they have more Knowledge of the world, and
their Minds are better stored with Observations; their
Conversation is more improving, and more lastingly agreeable.

2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study
to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the
Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of utility. They learn to
do a thousand Services, small and great, and are the most tender
and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue
amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an
old Woman who is not a good Woman.

3. Because there is no hazard of children, which
irregularly procured may be attended with much inconvenience.

4. Because through more Experience they are more
prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent
Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard
to your reputation; and with regard to theirs, if the Affair
should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather
inclined to excuse an old Woman, who would kindly take care of a
young Man, form his manners by her good Councils, and prevent his
ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.

5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the
Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in
the highest Part. The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then
the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower parts continuing to
the last as plump as ever; so that covering all above with a
Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is
impossible of two Women to know an old one from a young one. And
as in the Dark all Cats are gray, the Pleasure of Corporal
Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal and frequently
superior; every Knack being by Practice capable of improvement.

6. Because the sin is less. The Debouching of a Virgin
may be her Ruin, and make her Life unhappy.

7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a
young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections;
none of which can attend making an old Woman happy.

8th & lastly. They are so grateful!!!”

This was Ben Franklin’s own epitaph:

“The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (like the
cover of an old book, its contents torn out and striped of its
lettering and gilding), lies here, food for worms; but the work
shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more
in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the
Author.”

Sam Patch

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Sam Patch

Don’t drink and dive. Sam Patch was the man known throughout America in the 1820’s for leaping from the tops of bridges and waterfalls. He was a professional. Sam made his money like a street juggler or magician, by passing the hat. He created as much of a show of it as possible, sometimes jumping into the water with his pet bear. He successfully jumped Niagara Falls. Sam became a national sensation, and inspired a jumping craze. Farmers jumped over fences, retailers leaped over their sales counters.

Sam finally disappeared while attempting a second jump into Genesee Falls, a smaller but still spectacular waterfall in Rochester, NY. He jumped from a 100-foot high tower in November, just to make the feat more difficult. Over 6,000 people watched him jump, but none saw him return. Some folks reported that he had been drinking before his fatal dive. Finally, in March of the following year, his body was discovered encased in a block of ice.

Carry Nation

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Carry Nation

After marrying a promising young physician in 1867, Carry Nation was horrified to see her husband destroy his career and his life after only two years. He drank himself to death. Mrs. Nation was so disgusted with alcohol that she smashed up more than thirty drinking establishments. This six-foot-tall woman armed with a hatchet would enter a bar and with such frenzy that all the male patrons ran in fright; she broke all the bottles and much of the furniture with rocks, bricks and hatchets.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs is the author of the Tarzan series, The Land That Time Forgot, and many other books that were extremely popular in their time, and from which movies are still made. He was born in 1875, and lived 74 years. He wanted to be a military man, and attended the Michigan Military Academy. He failed to get into West Point, but served a short time in the 7th U.S. Cavalry (horse-mounted soldiers). He was soon discharged due to a mild heart condition.

Not quite knowing what to do, he became a bit of a drifter, working for a while in his father’s company, and later becoming a wholesale representative for pencil sharpeners. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading pulp fiction. In time, he figured he might try his hand at writing fiction. It wasn’t until he was 37 years old that had any significant success with writing, when he penned Tarzan of the Apes.

His inspiration for writing: “…if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines.”

In total, he wrote eighty novels, mostly in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Jane Lynch

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Jane Lynch, who was born in Dolton, Illinois in 1960, plays Sue Sylvester, an overbearing cheerleading coach who sometimes rises to the position of principal, in Fox Network’s smash hit Glee. She is the nemesis of the glee club, around which the show is centered. Glee is the third show in which she has been cast as a rough-around-the edges schoolteacher. She has an acerbic kind of comedy that in small doses can be funny, but in her huge, overblown way is fall-on-the-floor funny.

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch, photo by vagueonthehow

Jane has been deaf in one ear since infancy.

Martha Stewart

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When Martha Stewart, the world’s first female billionaire, with an empire including books, television shows, housewares, and even complete houses, was ten years old, she used to babysit the children of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and other famous baseball players.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart, photo by Rubenstein

Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey, is a billionaire who is regarded as the most influential woman in the world. She was born to a teenage single mother in poverty in a small town in Mississippi in 1954 when racism was still very active in the southern United States.

When Oprah was 14 years old, facing a life that up until then had consisted of sexual abuse and poverty, she tried to commit suicide by drinking laundry detergent. I think we are all glad that didn’t work out as planned.

Oprah’s real name on her birth certificate is Orpah after a biblical character. People consistently mispronounced her name, so she colloquially became Oprah.

Oprah learned to read at age three, which is somewhat common today because of the ubiquity of books, tablets and computers, but in 1957, reading at that age was quite rare.

Due to her oratory skill, she won a full college scholarship where she majored in communication.

Lea Michele

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Lea Michele plays Rachael Berry, a Jewish singer and actress with two fathers and no mother in the popular TV series, Glee. Her full name is Lea Michele Sarfati which would appear to be Italian, not Jewish. In fact her mother is Italian. Her father, a New York City delicatessen owner, is of Spanish Saphardic Jewish descent. Michele was brought up Catholic.

Lea Michele

via JJ Duncan

Currently, she lives alone in a $1.4 million (US) home in Hollywood with her dog and cat.

Richard Branson

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Richard Branson

Richard Branson, born in 1950, is the founder of over 400 companies, most of which start with the name “Virgin,” such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Blue. Virgin as a business name was suggested by one of his first employees as they built Virgin Records, because they were all new in business.

His first business was a magazine called Student that he created at the age of sixteen.

Richard has dyslexia, a learning disability that made reading and other academic activities much harder for him. His headmaster once said that he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. With an estimated net worth of over 4.6 billion dollars (US), he seems to have learned how to work around the dyslexia quite nicely.

Justin Timberlake

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Justin Timberlake, who owns at least six Harley-Davidson motorcycles, says he is afraid of snakes, spiders, and a little bit scared by the stuffed animals fans throw on stage when he is performing.

Justin was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1981. His performing career started at eleven years of age on the television show Star Search. He then became a member of the Mickey Mouse Club. There, he met his first girlfriend, Britney Spears. Then he dated Cameron Diaz, and finally married Jessica Biel in 2012.

Miley Cyrus

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What would cause a girl who is an inspiration to millions to go from wearing a purity ring to performing a sexualized, raunchy act on television? That would be Miley Ray Cyrus we’re talking about, at the 2013 MTV Music Awards. You probably have seen the performance, but you may not know what a purity ring is. I didn’t, until I looked it up.

Purity Ring

via Rimabie

A purity ring, also known as a virginity ring, chastity ring, or abstinence ring is a reminder of a pledge a girl can take to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. This has become very popular in recent years, especially among Christians. Miley was brought up Christian and did get a purity ring in her high school years. Because of her performing career she didn’t spend much time in conventional school, instead being tutored on movie and TV sets. Her career started in earnest at age eleven when she auditioned for a supporting role in Hannah Montana, The audition went so well that she was cast for the lead role.

It certainly didn’t hurt her career that her father is Billy Ray Cyrus, a very successful country singer and actor, starring in the “Doc” TV series, and her mother is Leticia “Tish” Cyrus, also a successful performer. And, if that isn’t enough to assure her a place in the performing world, her godmother is Dolly Parton.

But she wasn’t provided with social status alone. There is no doubt she was taught, guided, coached, whatever you might like to call it, by her parents and friends of the family, from the earliest age, in the ways of singing and acting.

Plus she has natural talent. Is it genetic? Experts are still arguing whether performers inherit their ability or develop it on their own. Perhaps the way she got the name Miley is a telling trait. As a baby and toddler, she tended to smile more than average, so her parents started calling her “Smiley.” The nickname was eventually shortened to “Miley.”

So what turned her from a conservative teenager into a rebellious twenty-something? One theory is religion. While, as we all know, religion is a wonderful tool for conveying moral values, it can also be perceived as a constraint by some. Some of the wildest rebels in history came from very religious backgrounds. If one is brought up in an overly-formal environment, one might feel a need to test the limits, experience the other side, or try to find a middle ground, which from a limited perspective may look more like the far side.

Another possibility is too much ‘can-do’ attitude. No doubt her parents told her she can become great. After all, they have succeeded handily, and so they’d naturally expect it from their children. I mean, look at her name. As you know, she wasn’t born “Miley.” She was born as Destiny Hope Cyrus.

If a name like that isn’t a first step toward a can-do attitude, I don’t know what is. A ‘can-do’ attitude is also a wonderful thing, within reason. It allows one to excel in so many ways. The child who learns to dance carries that successful experience over into other learning activities. Even math becomes easier with a can-do attitude. That’s why so many great performers seem to be able to dance, sing, play instruments, act, and have remarkable hobbies such as writing or painting. However, Miley states that her favorite hobby is shopping.

So, what happens when one gets too much can-do? Right. The person feels they ‘can-do’ sex, drugs, belligerence, you name it, to excess. Considering her background, I believe she should be praised for her restraint. This biographer believes that after a few years of experimentation, she will settle down to be a great example indeed, just like her parents. These parents, probably exceptionally well-meaning individuals, may have contributed to the current rebellious attitude. Perhaps you can imagine being brought up by two people who realize they are examples to millions and so always do their very best to ‘act right.’ And, of course they’d be constantly imparting to their children that they have to act right also. Imagine the pressure!

Some miscellaneous Miley facts:

In her late teens, she was diagnosed with tachycardia – a non-fatal abnormal racing of the heartbeat which can exceed 100 beats per minute.

Miley was born left-handed. Her dad thought it would be a good idea to have her learn to write right-handed, so now, she does write with her right hand, but her left hand is dominant for everything else.

According to whosdatedwho.com, “When she was very young, Miley used to go onto the stage after her father had performed, and she’d help collect the flowers and homemade bracelets that people threw at him. Then they would go and donate everything to a local hospital.”

Her net worth is reportedly over $120 million.

Thomas Edison

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Thomas Edison

When Thomas Edison was twelve years old, he had a job selling newspapers on a commuter train. He had set up a printing press to make his own newspapers, and thereby increase his profits. He also set up a chemistry lab, to indulge his already well-developed scientific curiosity. One day, as the train went around a particularly tight turn, some of Edison’s phosphorus fell on the floor and started a small fire. As the train came into the station, and the conductor discovered the problem, Tom tried to run away. The conductor pulled him back up into the train by his ears. “I felt something snap inside my head,” Edison said. From that time until his death, he was hard of hearing.

Emile Coue

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Emile Coue

One of the most helpful people mankind has ever seen was Emile Coue (1857-1926) of France.

He told people to say to themselves 20 times in a row, twice a day: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” This actually cured thousands of people of an assortment of minor and major ills.

In French if you prefer, “Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux.”

Try it, it can’t hurt you (unless somebody overhears, but then you can do it silently), and it might just work to get you over the flu, a toothache, aches and pains, whatever is bothering you.

This is a serious suggestion. Scientists have proven beyond doubt that people can improve their health with a positive mental attitude. In many hospitals, cancer patients are now being taught to mentally picture (or actually draw pictures of) their cells surrounding and dissolving tumors.

Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein

In 1905 Albert Einstein wrote his famous Special Theory of Relativity. It was published in a scientific journal that same year, but took many years to gain general acceptance. In fact, it was not proven by actual experiment until 25 years later.

Two years after that paper was published, Einstein wanted a job as assistant professor of mathematics. This job required the applicant to submit a thesis paper, so Einstein submitted his Special Theory of Relativity. The university rejected it.

Dr. Einstein was once taking some notes on some thoughts he was having while attending a lecture. Everyone stood up and started applauding, and so he stood up and started clapping also. Upon looking around to see who was being honored, he discovered it was he who they were all applauding.

He was asked to run for the office of President of Israel, but he declined.

“I have little patience with scientists who take a board of wood, look for its thinnest part, and drill a great number of holes where drilling is easy.” – Albert Einstein

“Knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

Chelsea Clinton

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Chlesea Clinton

Bill and Hilary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea, born in 1980, was named after the Joni Mitchell song “Chelsea Morning.” Chelsea is a vegetarian (“I’m a big health-food freak and a vegetarian devotee.”). Chelsea lives in a neighborhood of Manhattan called Chelsea.

Chelsea Victoria Clinton says her parents were “firm but fair.”

The Secret Service code name for Chelsea was “Energy.” She has also been nicknamed “CC.”

Hilary Clinton

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Hilary Clinton

The first words Hilary Rodham said to her future husband, Bill Clinton, were: “If you’re going to keep staring at me, I might as well introduce myself.”

In what some may say is typical governmental paranoia, the White House asked Wellesley College to suppress Hilary Clinton’s senior thesis about political activist Saul Alinsky who specialized in somewhat left-wing, non-violent, social justice organization in Chicago and elsewhere in the 1930s to the 1960s.

After Hilary left the White House as First Lady, the 92-page document was made public in a limited way – it had to be read in person at the Wellesley library. Turns out it contains nothing subversive, nothing incriminating, nothing shocking.

The name Hilary means cheerful or happy in Latin.

P. T. Barnum

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“This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature. If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need never feel that he has lived in vain.” – P. T. Barnum, Nineteenth Century producer of shows, museums and circuses.

PT Barnum

“Long ago I learned that to those who mean right and try to do right, there are no such things as real misfortunes. On the other hand, to such persons, all apparent evils are blessings in disguise.” – P. T. Barnum

Adolf Hitler

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Adolf Hitler

The German OSS was no more fond of Adolf Hitler than the rest of the world. They cooked up a plan to put huge doses of estrogen (‘the female hormone’) in his food, hoping his characteristics would become more feminine. This might cause his followers to wonder what was happening or who was leading them. The drug seems to have had no effect on his political career. No one knows whether the kitchen help actually managed to sneak the drug into his food.

When Adolf Hitler saw a pile of bricks near the church of St. Matthew in Munich, Germany, he said, “That pile of stones will have to be removed.” Someone misunderstood him, thinking he was referring to the whole church. The church was demolished.

Time Magazine listed Adolf Hitler as “Man of the Year for 1938.”

People often wonder how Hitler, with all his crazy ideas and rough manners could become so popular a leader. A great deal of Hitler’s appeal to the masses was that he decided to control the automobile industry. He promised them Volkswagens, cars that every family could afford at a time when there was only one car for every 211 people in Germany. In America at that time, there was one car for every 5.7 people.

Ferdinand Porsche

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Ferdinand Porsche

As you may know, Ferdinand Porsche designed the Volkswagen, and he considered it his greatest achievement. He rated this car more important than his winning race cars because this was a car every family could afford. It was a masterpiece of economical engineering for its time, as is evidenced by the fact that the basic design survived for over 30 years.


During World War II, Hitler commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to design the biggest, heaviest army tank possible. The thing was watertight and so could traverse water. It could cross a river, not by floating, but by crawling across the floor of the river, underwater. The problem with this tank is that it was so heavy it literally demolished the streets and foundations of nearby buildings as it passed due to its weight and vibration.

Ferdinand Porsche went to trade school to be trained as a factory foreman. He got the lowest grades in his class.

Henry Ford

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Henry Ford

After World War II, Henry Ford was offered the Volkswagen factory for free by the English government, then in charge of Germany’s industries. They were looking for someone who could operate the plant, thereby creating hundreds of jobs. Ernest Breech, Ford’s chairman of the board, looked the plant over and said, “Mr. Ford, I don’t think what we are being offered here is worth a damn!”

He was right in a way. At that time the factory had not yet ever produced more than a few hand-crafted prototypes and the workers could only make cars when it wasn’t raining, because large areas of the roof were missing.

One of Henry Ford’s famous quotes came from this Volkswagen thing. When Ferdinand Porsche showed him the plans for Volkswagens, and Ford was asked about his concern of competition, he said, “If anyone can build a car better or cheaper than I can, that serves me right.”

Seventeen years later, Volkswagen was producing a car every eight eight seconds, and Ford could have owned the company.

That wasn’t Henry’s only mistake. When he was around twelve years old, he spent some time watching pots of boiling water on his mother’s wood cook stove. He noticed lids rattling over pots as the pressure of the steam raised them a bit. He figured that if the steam was raising the lids, and if you could trap the steam in a container, the whole container must rise up in the air, right? So, he found a clay teapot, put some water in it, jammed the spout with paper, securely fastened the lid. and placed it on the stove. Then, he sat back and watched, hoping to see the teapot rise into the air. But that’s not what he saw. The pressure in the teapot blew it up, showering the house with shrapnel. One piece broke a window, another broke a mirror. One hit Henry on the chin, leaving a permanent scar.

Fortunately, that did not put Henry off mechanical explorations. His mother warned his father than the boy ‘has to investigate everything,’ and that for his own safety, he should be kept away from farm machinery. Instead, by the time Henry was in his late teens, he had built engine-powered self-propelled wagons, the forerunners of farm tractors. Several years after becoming an adult, he built an automobile in a shed behind his house.

The rest of the story, you know. Henry did not invent the concept of automobiles, even though he made his first ones from scratch. What he invented was a series of ways to mass-produce automobiles. The most important concept being interchangeable parts. Until then, only guns and a few other items were made with all the parts being so identical that they could be assembled quickly.

Count Von der Wense

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German Count Von der Wense was asked by the Nazis to surrender his land for the government Volkswagen plant. They offered payment, however. He took the money and bought other land, but that land was conquered by Russia. Finally, after the war, he ended up with a low-paying job as tour guide of the Volkswagen facilities, on the very land he used to own.

Frank Tower

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Frank Tower was a ship worker who was on the Titanic when it sank, the Empress of Ireland when it sank, and the Lusitania when it sank. He escaped all three times.

Julian Whitaker

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“I trained as a surgeon. I found that the saying about surgeons is true: ‘If your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.’ That’s why surgeons always recommend surgery – what other tools do they have for making you well?” – Dr. Julian Whitaker

Arne H. W. Larsson

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The guy who got the very first heart pacemaker implant in 1958, Arne H. W. Larsson, lived for 43 more years, until age 86 in 2001. That first one wasn’t his only pacemaker. It was replaced with 25 others, keeping him in good health until his last year.

Charles Lindbergh

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Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh was not the first person to fly non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean. He was the sixty-seventh. He was, however, the first to do it solo.

After his famous flight, he pursued many other interests including environmentalism, with an interest in protecting endangered species. He also put considerable focus into developing an artificial heart. His heart never made it past prototype stage, but was the forerunner of modern heart-lung machines.

The Goofy Computer

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This is a biographical bit not about a person, but about a machine: A computer with the job of issuing traffic citations goofed in September 1989 and sent notices to 41,000 residents of Paris, France informing them that they were charged with murder, prostitution and illegal sale of drugs.

Bob Hail

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Bob Hail jumped out of an airplane. His main chute failed. His backup chute also failed. He smashed into the ground face first. In a moment he got up and walked away with only minor injuries.

Alexander Labret

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A diver, Alexander Labret, found a great shipwreck. He was going to be rich! Every day he went down 162 feet to salvage the valuables. He went down 33 times. Divers are supposed to come up slowly to avoid the bends, a painful and dangerous condition in which bubbles of nitrogen appear in the blood and block circulation because of the rapid decompression of rising quickly from deep, high-pressure water. On his very last dive, Alex was excited and came up more quickly than he should have. He had $350,000, but he was paralyzed for life.

Jack Wurm

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In 1949, Jack Wurm, an unemployed man, was aimlessly walking on a California beach when he came across a bottle that had floated up to the beach containing this message: “To avoid confusion, I leave my entire estate to the lucky person who finds this bottle and to my attorney, Barry Cohen, share and share alike. Daisy Alexander, June 20, 1937.” It was not a hoax. Mr. Wurm received over $6 million from the Alexander estate.

Dale Carnegie

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Dale Carnegie

“Knowledge isn’t power until it’s applied.” – Dale Carnegie

“When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us; Power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness.” – Dale Carnegie

“I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didnĂ­t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish.” – Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnagie was born on November 22, 1888 on a farm in Maryville, Missouri.

One day while jumping over a fence along with his fellow students in the high school cross-country run, a ring on his finger got caught on the top of the fence, resulting in the instant loss of the finger along with about six inches of tendon. He said it was not particularly painful.

He was able to graduate State Teacher’s College while still living on his family’s farm, getting up to milk the cows at 4 a. m. before attending classes. After college he took jobs as a traveling salesman, first selling correspondence courses, then Armour soap and meat products.

In 1911, he quit his sales job to focus on becoming a Chautauqua lecturer. In those days, Chautauqua was a big thing. Started at Chautauqua Lake in New York, it evolved into hundreds of lecture venues throughout the United States, where the public could learn from and be entertained by a wide variety of speakers and performers. It was not unlike today’s TED Talks, but of course with the limited technology of the day, everyone attended these events in person. Chautauqua didn’t quite work out for Dale, and he found himself gravitating to the stage as an actor, rather than a lecturer. And that didn’t really work either. By 1912, he was living at the YMCA in New York City. In those days, many YMCAs were like lower class hotels for men. One could rent a room for very little money.

YMCAs of the era also offered adult education classes, as many still do today. Dale approached the manager of the Y and asked about a job as a teacher. The manager would only let him teach on a commission basis, figuring he may not get many students. In his first classes, he didn’t really know what to teach, and so experimented with some ideas in communication. He noted that when people are emotionally charged about a topic, they lose some of their fear of public speaking. Within two years, he had turned this finding and other discoveries from his sales and acting careers into a full course on public speaking and was making $500 per week, a spectacular sum back then, on a commission basis.

He continued to lecture to ever larger audiences and started writing books.

His last name was spelled Carnagey until he was 34 years old. He changed it to Carnegie in 1922 so his name would seem more like Andrew Carnegie, one of the most respected businessmen in America at the time.

Not long after, he packed Carnegie Hall for one of his lectures.

He wrote the massively popular book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” in 1936, at age 48. He also wrote “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” The books are still popular today. The Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Speaking and Human Relations is still being taught throughout the world with more than eight million graduates.

Dale died at the age of 66 from Hodgkins’ Lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.

Gary Beacom

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Gary Beacom

Gary Beacom on YouTube


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hcQWCca5i8)

Gary Beacom, born in 1960, started ice skating at age six. As an amateur, he placed third in the Canadian Nationals, and eleventh in the 1983-84 Olympics. He then went on to skate professionally for a number of years entertaining audiences around the world. He won the 1988 World Professional Championships.

Gary is known for amusing innovation, having performed things such as headstands on the ice and skating on his hands.

Unusual at his level of success as a skater, he was his own coach and choreographer.

As an income tax protester, he felt he should not have to pay US income tax, since he was a Canadian citizen performing in America. He spent almost two years in federal prison because the US government did not agree with him. After his incarceration, he wrote a book about his experience.

At the age of 41 (when your author last spoke with him), he had never had a skating injury severe enough to require surgery, which is very unusual for skaters. He attributed this to vegetarianism. He has been a vegan all his life. That’s a person who eats no meat, milk, eggs or food made with any kind of animal products. He is also fourth-generation vegetarian. Vegetarianism was started in his family by his great-grandmother.


You may enjoy more books like and unlike this one at 500Ways.com



Jeff Napier

Instantly Improve Your Typing Speed


5 Ways To Instantly Improve Your Typing Speed

If you are like most people, you probably type at around 20 to 30 words per minute on a good day. You may find it frustrating when you make mistakes, and you may find it uncomfortable to type only a little bit at a time, and then look at the screen to see how well you’re doing. If you’re like most people, you’re not very good at taking notes in real time on a computer. And, for most, typing is not relaxing. Let’s change all that! As you are about to discover, there are a number of simple techniques that make a remarkable difference, and most are so easy to learn you can start using them in one or two minutes. You don’t have to buy anything. You already have everything you need.

There are two techniques that are exceptions to the rule. One may require that you buy a new keyboard if your current keyboard doesn’t have what you need. The other may take a year or two to gain full proficiency. But the other techniques are yours to start using just as soon as you read this book. You don’t need to use all the techniques together. You can just pick and choose the ones you like.

I’m using most of these techniques right now, as I am writing this article for you. They work, and they work well. The last time I tested, my typing speed was 57 words per minute.

The first technique in this article can be used for handwriting as well as typing.

Technique #1 – Speed Writing

(tec- 1 sped writ.)



When you are taking notes or creating a first draft, you can speed up your typing considerably with the following simple little tricks. This way, you won’t fall behind, or lose your train of thought, while you’re trying to get everything written down.

* Instead of spelling out common endings or suffixes, just type “.” For instance, “improvement” can become “improve.” It is much faster to type “end.” than “ending.”

* Any long word that you cannot mistake for another in your current context, you can shorten by typ. the first few letters, then using a “-” to represent the rest. For exam-, “computer” becomes “co-.”

* You wont have much trouble read. senten- witho- punctuat- such as apostrophes, but you cant safely omit comas or periods.

* You can leave out double letters in most cases and stil have words that you can understand.

* Consider omit. silent letrs.

* Many smal words such as and, at, a, is, cn b left entir- out.

* U mst b care- avoid tak. so many shortcts u cant mak sens out of what u wrot latr.

Speed typ. taks longr to red but fastr to writ. Usually, yu r mor in hury wen wr-. than wen read.


Here is some very old advice, which is still totally applicable today:

“Composition: If you would write to any purpose, you must be perfectly free from without, in the first place, and yet more free from within. Give yourself the natural rein; think on no pattern, no patron, no paper, no press, no public; think on nothing, but follow your own impulses. Give yourself as you are, what you are, and how you see it. Every man sees with his own eyes, or does not see at all. This is incontrovertibly true. Bring out what you have. If you have nothing, be an honest beggar rather than a respectable thief.”
-Inquire Within, (by Garrett?) published by Dick & Fitzgerald, N.Y. 1858

Technique #2 – Mouse Highlighting Shortcuts

If you already know these three shortcuts, you may be amazed at how many people don’t know them.

1. To highlight a word, double-click it.

2. To highlight the entire line (or paragraph, depending on the program you’re using), triple-click.

3. To select a large area, simply drag over the beginning of the area with the mouse to highlight the first few characters. Or, easier still, just double-click on the first word to highlight it. Then, scroll to the end of the selection, and click while holding down a [Shift] key. This will highlight the entire selection without the annoying need to scroll and highlight at the same time.

Technique #3 – Instant Cursor Movement

Have you noticed how much time and energy goes into moving your hand from the keyboard to the mouse during the course of a day? What if your mouse was so close, that you didn’t have to move your hand at all? Of course that’s impossible, right? No! On a laptop, or a desktop computer or tablet with an external keyboard that has a built-in touchpad, or even with a smartphone and an external keyboard, you can learn to use the side of your thumb, typically the right thumb, on the touchpad, and with practice, it becomes second-nature. No more reaching back and forth for the mouse!

Technique #4 – Touch Typing

Touch typing is the ability to type without having to look at the keyboard. Imagine, no more glancing back and forth from the keyboard to the screen, or worse, from what you’re copying to the keyboard to the screen. That’s tiring! From now on, you’ll be able to simply look at what you want to copy, or watch your words magically appear on the screen. Then, you can see and correct mistakes instantly, on the fly!

You may have never learned touch typing. Believe it or not, most professional programmers don’t know touch typing. Oh, they’ve become reasonably proficient with whatever random way they learned to type. The reason more people haven’t learned touch typing is because they assume it is difficult. They believe it takes a course in school and a year. Not so! You can learn the basics in two minutes, just by reading the next few steps. Then, you can practice a little bit here, and a little bit there. In a few weeks, you’ll have it.

1. Learn to remember that there is a bump on the [F] key and on the [J] key so that you can tell them apart from other keys without having to look, just using your fingertips.

2. Whenever you can, lightly keep your left index finger on the [F] key and your right index finger on the [J] key. In whatever way you type now, just make enough of a change so that your fingers can rest on those two keys whenever you’re not actually pressing another key.

3. Whenever you need to type an [F] or a [J], just press your index finger down, and trust that you’ll get the letter you want. Once you can reliably do this without looking at the keyboard, go on to Step 4. For some people this will take a day, but for most, it may require a week or two.

4. Once you’ve become totally familiar with the F and the J, notice the three keys to the left of the [F] key, and the three keys to the right of the [J] key. These are called the home keys. Memorize them, and then use your fingers that naturally rest on those keys to press them when those letters come up. Once you can use these keys without looking at the keyboard, go on to Step 5.

5. Memorize the keys above, below, and between the home keys. You can just memorize one per day, or one per week. Trying to do it all at once might be a bit overwhelming. It doesn’t matter which fingers you use to press the ambiguous keys such as [T] and [N]. The only thing is whichever fingers you use for those keys, learn to use the same fingers consistently. As those keys are needed in your typing, try to press them without looking at the keyboard.

6. Learn the number and punctuation keys the same way.

7. Anytime you are not in a hurry, try to do more and more typing without looking at the keyboard. Soon your accuracy and speed will increase tremendously.

Technique #5 – Keyboard Shortcuts

Learn the keyboard shortcuts, and you can do a majority of your editing without having to right-click or go to the main menu. These are a combination of the [Ctrl] (“control”) key on Windows and most Linux computers. On a Mac, it’s the same combination but with the [Command] key (the funny four-loop-looking key). If you haven’t used [Ctrl] + [Z], you’ll start how to wonder how you could have ever done without it!

  • [A] Select All
  • [B] Toggle Boldface (in most programs)
  • [C] Copy
  • [D] Create Bookmark (if in a browser)
  • [F] Find (in most programs)
  • [I] Toggle Italics (in some programs)
  • [P] Print (in many programs)
  • [V] Paste
  • [X] Cut
  • [Z] Undo

Dvorak Keyboard Configuration

Learn the pros and cons of the Dvorak Keyboard Layout, how much faster you can enter text, how easy it is to set up in Windows and OS X, some celebrities who use it, and how to start with training and practice.

Dvorak keyboard Map

When you look at the picture above, you’ll see what looks like a computer keyboard, but the keys are laid out strangely. This is the Dvorak keyboard configuration, also known as “simplified keyboard layout” and “Dvorak keyboard layout.’ The purpose is to increase the speed and accuracy of typing the English language.

As you’ll soon discover, setting your Windows, Linux, Apple or Android device to Dvorak is easy to do.

According to a Wikipedia article, it was invented in 1932 and patented in 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak, a psychologist and professor of education at the University of Washington in Seattle, I have also heard that the keyboard was designed by a US Navy committee, headed by Captain Dvorak. I’m not sure which story to believe, but my money’s on the Wikipedia article.

The Dvorak layout helps typists in three ways. The most commonly used consonants are in the home row under the right hand, and the vowels are in the home row under the left hand. This reduces the amount of distance the fingers must travel for all but the least commonly used characters. I have heard that during an 8-hour day, a typical typist’s fingers move a total of 12 miles. The same typist with a Dvorak keyboard would move one mile. The keyboard also helps with sequencing. In many common character combinations, the keys that are pressed alternate between the left and right hand. On the QWERTY keyboard, the left hand does a majority of the work, even though 89 percent of the population is right-handed. In the Dvorak keyboard, it is nearly 50/50.

The standard keyboard that we have all grown up with is called QWERTY, named after the first keys from the left in the row above the home row. The QWERTY layout seems illogical until you understand that it was invented for early typewriters. Those typewriters would jam if the typist moved too quickly, so the keyboard was actually designed to slow them down. Unfortunately as more and more typewriters were built using QWERTY, it became the standard, even though newer typewriters could handle faster typing speeds.

Several famous people have used the Dvorak keyboard layout. Presidential candidate and consumer advocacy lawyer Ralph Nader is one of the most famous and eccentric – in a good way. He has always put social and environmental awareness high on his agenda, and likes to be an example of what he considers better alternatives. So, back in the day when typewriters ruled, he bought a custom-built manual typewriter with Dvorak. He could easily have afforded an electric typewriter, but I believe he figured it would be a waste of electricity.

Piers Anthony wrote his science fiction novels with Dvorak.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, uses Dvorak.

In fact, the world record holder for typing speed uses Dvorak. Barbara Blackburn set a Guinness world record in 2005 with a speed of 150 words per minute for 50 minutes straight. She can hit speeds up to 212 WPM for short bursts. Compare this to the average touch typist who might hit 40 WPM on a very good day.

There’s a downside of Dvorak: It takes a while to learn. If you learn Dvorak, you’ll find a QWERTY keyboard hard to use. And, if another user comes to your computer, they’ll find it impossible to use. It’s almost like password protection. I once had an employee come to work on one of my computers that I had forgotten to reset to QWERTY. The first thing he told me was that he had to remove a virus. I asked for details and he said, “Well, the keyboard is all scrambled up.” That was kind of embarrassing for me.

If you haven’t learned touch-typing, the ability to type without looking at the keyboard, it will take exactly the same amount of time to learn as with QWERTY. However, if you already know QWERTY, then you’ll find the old habit hard to break, and you may be frustrated for a while until your Dvorak speed finally exceeds your old QWERTY speed.

It took me two years to transition, and during that time, I was slower in both layouts. Oh, I probably did it the hard way. I kept switching back to QWERTY when I had to get something done in a hurry. I found the whole process rather frustrating. I don’t know why I stuck with it, but now, I’m glad I did. My typing speed is 57 words per minute, almost as fast as I can think – which is fun. Right now, as I type this page, I’m zooming along, almost as if I was speaking with you directly.

After the two-year transition period (I’ll admit I’m a slow learner), I’d get stuck having to work on a QWERTY computer from time to time. I was ridiculously slow in QWERTY, even though I had been a fairly efficient QWERTY touch-typist before I learned Dvorak. Now, twenty years later, I am able to switch back and forth between QWERTY and Dvorak almost without thinking and without difficulty. Of course, I don’t really like using QWERTY, because it is always slower and less accurate.

On many keyboards you can rearrange the actual keys, by pulling the key caps off and pressing them back down where you want them. But most Dvorak typists don’t do that. They have learned never to look at the keyboard, so there is no need to rearrange the actual keys.

Learning Dvorak

I think the best way to learn is to draw or print out a Dvorak keyboard map, such as the picture farther below, and keep it to one side of your keyboard. Find the home keys, then look entirely at the map as you write anything – stream of consciousness or whatever. Resist the temptation to look at the keyboard – ever. You can find the home key position by feeling the little bumps that are on he keys under your index fingers. These were the [F] key and the [J] key. Now they are the [U] key and the [H] key. Practice typing whatever you want for 20 minutes, twice a day, if possible. If your work demands it, you can switch back to QWERTY. But switching back and forth will probably lengthen the learning time. Switching between QWERTY and Dvorak is easy on all the major operating systems.

Soon, you’ll be able to look at the screen as you type, only glancing at the map occasionally for a forgotten character. Then, you can look at the screen entirely. This is a very enjoyable accomplishment if you have never experienced touch typing. You can now compose easily. You’ll never again have to keep alternating your gaze between the keyboard and the screen as you write. You can see your mistakes right away and correct them on the fly. The final step is being able to copy text from a page without looking at the keyboard or at the screen.

Installing/Configuring Dvorak on Your Computer

It’s easy! If you have a Windows computer, go to the Control Panel, and select Language/Internationalization – or something like that, depending on which version of Windows you have. There you can add the Dvorak configuration, and set up hot keys to switch back and forth.

On a Mac, go to System Preferences, then Keyboard, and then click the Input Sources button.

On an Android device, you need to download a Dvorak driver from Google Play. As of now, there are one or two available, and they’ll work fine. Once downloaded, you can change between QWERTY and Dvorak in the Settings menu under Language & Keyboard. In most Android applications, Dvorak is less important, because touch typing is not really done on tablets and phones. However, you can get an external keyboard. There is only one application in Google Play for switching external keyboard configurations that includes Dvorak. I forget the name of it, but you can just enter “Dvorak” in the Google Play search field. The problem with this driver is that it is a bit quirky. For instance, you cannot enter [q]. When you try, you get a comma instead. You may find Dvorak on an external keyboard connected to an Android device unacceptable at this time, but no doubt someone will improve upon it soon.

Almost all Linux versions also support Dvorak, but the way it is configured varies.

In general, you go to the settings, control panel, or configuration menus, where you’ll most likely have a GUI interface for setting up the keyboard layout you want to use. Almost all Linux flavors come with a Dvorak option.

Have fun and prosper! – Jeff

Dvorak keyboard Map


Colorblindness Test and Exercise

Instructions:

You can run this program to find out whether you are colorblind. Approximately 12% of males are colorblind. Although fewer, millions of women are also. And if you are colorblind, you can play with this a few minutes a day as an exercise to discern colors better.

The colors Continue reading “Colorblindness Test and Exercise”

Naturalist – Naturist

These two similar words can have vastly different meanings. A naturalist is one who studies or appreciates nature. A naturist can be nearly the same thing: One who appreciates beauty in nature. However a naturist can also be one who enjoys going without clothes whenever proper opportunities come up. There can be a sexual side to naturism, but more often it is practiced as a way to be more ‘natural.’ Naturism can be a very freeing experiece for one who has spent most of life covered in cloth. Many claim health benefits, feeling a reaonable amount of sunshine over one’s entire body is more beneficial than exposing only some portions of the body to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. A growing body of evidence suggests most of us don’t get enough vitamin D. However, some scientists are now saying as much exposure as one can get to sunlight will not give us optimum vitamin D. On the other hand, too much tanning can be bad for one’s health also. Go figure!

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons