Me hiking the Inca Trail
Here’s something you might not know about my work as a writer: 30-40% of my time is spent asking people if I can write for them, while the remaining 60-70% is spent on actually writing.
In other words, I’m either a writer who knows how to sell or a salesman who knows how to write. Consequently, I would’t have survived the past 15 years if I hadn’t asked thousands of people each year to let me write for them. I would have wilted long ago had I listened to the few rouge naysayers that rudely tell me to get lost sometimes.
Case in point: of the hundreds of emails I send on a monthly basis, the vast majority are ignored. Continue reading…
Does .99 cent pricing really work? Wouldn’t it be easier to round everything to the nearest dollar?
The answer to both those questions is a resounding “yes.” Although it would be easier to round up, stores use so-called psychological pricing because it demonstrably boosts sales by 8%, according to one study of 60,000 mail-order catalogs.
In short, the 30,000 customers that received rounded up pricing spent 8% less than the 30,000 catalog recipients of 99 cent pricing. (Note: The two catalogs were identical except for pricing.)
Granted, this study was performed 20 years ago. But with those kind of gains, the trend is sure to stick around for a long time.
The world is full of qualitative statements. Exaggerations. Subjectiveness that cannot be measured. The people that make such statements are easily forgotten.
Quantitative statements, on the other hand, leave an impression. They measure your place in life. My father taught me this at an early age.
When I was nine years old, I ran a fast 400 meter dash, which is no easy feat. The thing about the 400 is not a lot of people run it. It’s difficult, because it’s not quite a sprint and not quite a distance race. As such, few amateurs compete in it. At least that was the case when I ran it.
So my father encouraged me to run the 400. I did. All the way to the ’88 state finals. Here’s how it happened: Continue reading…
Here’s some scientifically tabulated advice. They’re called the top five regrets of the dying. In short, a nurse that took care of lots of people on their deathbeds asked and recorded their most common regrets. They are as follows, along with my pithy commentary: Continue reading…
I, Blake Snow, wrote this for my children, but figured you might enjoy it too. According to science, the following habits lead to a healthy, happy, and sustainable lifestyle: Continue reading…
20th Century Fox
Dan Waldschmidt thinks “faking it til you make it” is horrible advice.
But the catchphrase doesn’t mean what Waldshmidt thinks it means (spoken in my best Inigo Montoya accent). A quick Wikipedia search would have informed him that “faking it til you make it” means imitating confidence until you find real confidence—not stretching truth, bending rules, or denying reality, like the columnist mistakenly believes it means.
The first commenter on his syndicated post said it best: “‘Faking’ doesn’t mean “lying.’ It means faking that you are confident, self-assured,
knowledgeable—when you, in fact, you’re not. It is excellent advice and helped me overcome many fears and doubts.” Or as Amy Cuddy says, “Fake it ’till you become it.”
Hear, hear! I, too, have faked my way to becoming a responsible adult, marketable guy, husband of one, and father of five. For me, the catchphrase is easily one of the top 10 pieces of advice on finding success.
Excepting more embarrassing personal stuff, here are the changes I hope to make next year:
- I’m gonna speak softly to my kids. I’m loud. With my choice of words and opinions as much as my volume. Children don’t need that extra emotion as they’re figuring out the world. Often times I bark at my kids when they make a mistake or disobey. On a whim recently, I tried something different. Instead of scolding my three year old with a mean face and verbal outburst, I kneeled down, leveled my eyes with hers, softly expressed my disappointment, and encouraged her to change. She lovingly accepted and immediately improved her behavior. After overhearing the exchange, her older sister said, “Dad, I like when you talk to us like that. I feel a warm spirit in the room when you do that.” Then this happened. Then I resolved to speak kindly when disciplining my children from that day forward. Continue reading…
I admire stories like this. Large or small, it takes guts to recompense someone.
I few years ago, I discovered hand clocks. I had seen them before, but digital clocks far out number them because the latter are easier to read and can do a lot more. In any case, I buy and prefer hand clocks now, because they tell time without making it the focal point of my day. Since you have to look directly at them to read, hand clocks are there when you need them, without starring you down.
Digital clocks, on the other hand, are always looking at you. Whether illuminated in bright green, blue, or red light, it’s impossible to walk past them without getting an update—down to the latest minute even. As a result, digital clock perpetrators have a tendency to count time, as opposed to using it to stay on schedule. At least that was the case for me.
Since making the switch to hand clocks, however, I’m just as on time as I was before. Plus, it’s easier to live in the moment.
I have found, as many before me, that with age comes added responsibility and a much larger to-do list. I’m arguably busier than I’ve ever been in my life with managing a marriage, a new baby, a company, and working on several other projects. Opportunity surrounds us, and I want to take it all in. I hope to learn, experience, and do as much as I can (or even can’t sometimes) throughout my life. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, learning new things, and finding other ways of applying the little that I know.
While pondering all of this on my way to Salt Lake City this morning and after catching myself saying “I’m so busy,” to those around me, I couldn’t help but think how this claim might sound to the receiver. Does that phrase add any value to the person listening? Does that make them feel important? If it doesn’t, then do away with it. Continue reading…
I teach Sunday School once a month to a small group of boys. Last week, I taught a subject that is dear to my heart: using time wisely. Spiritual advice aside, the lesson also included some excellent secular counsel, in the form of the following short story: Continue reading…
Lindsey and I have been blessed with many genuine friends — ones that make us laugh, can celebrate our accomplishments, and extend considerate help.
This week, while visiting one such family, we discovered that they’ve been dealing with some “friends” that reputedly became envious and judgmental of our friends’ recent good fortune. For shame — time is too precious to waste on such superficial friends.
With that in mind, here’s my proven guide to ditching and avoiding fake friends, so you can better enjoy your days in the sun. Continue reading…