Saturday, February 26, 2011

March stargazing: Celestial twins ride high

The Eskimo Nebula

Talk about double trouble.

Celestial twins Castor and Pollux - one a boxer, the other a horseman - were apparently quite the rowdies in their day.

They sailed with Jason and the Argonauts and once, at a wedding party, stole their own cousins' brides.

(One of those cousins later killed Castor, but not for that. It seems Castor also was rustling the cousin's cattle, which was just too much.)

Together, of course, the twins form the constellation Gemini, which floats high in the March sky. Although it's slightly overshadowed by some of the bigger and brighter constellations of the season, Gemini is easy to locate.

Go outside an hour or two after sunset, face south and look almost overhead for two fairly bright stars about 4.5 degrees apart. (Your thumb at arm's length is about 2 degrees wide.) Those stars - Castor and Pollux - represent the heads of the twins. A couple of strings of much fainter stars, which stretch down toward Orion, represent their bodies.

If you're not sure you've found Gemini, look first for the constellation Orion, slightly to the south-southwest. Castor and Pollux are far above and to Orion's left, as you face south. Print a star chart at for more guidance.

Castor, the northernmost of the two stars, is about 50 light-years away. Through a telescope, it appears as two stars that astronomers say orbit each other once every 470 years or so. Each of those stars is itself a double, but you won't be able to see that with a backyard telescope.

In addition, a faint red star - also a double - circles the others, making Castor an amazing sextuple system: six stars that orbit one another in an intricate celestial ballet.

Pollux, slightly brighter than Castor, is an orange giant star about 34 light-years away.

Gemini contains several fine double stars, as well as some interesting star clusters and nebulae.

The star cluster known as M35, about 2,800 light-years away, is just visible to the naked eye. Binoculars and telescopes reveal a lovely spangle of glittering stars.

The nebula known as NGC 2392 appears as a small, ghostly patch of light in backyard telescopes. It is informally known as either the Clown Nebula or the Eskimo Nebula, as it is vaguely suggestive of a face surrounded by a faint fringe.

Long-exposure photographs reveal its full glory.

Spring arrives

The vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of spring for those of us in the northern hemisphere, occurs at 4:21 p.m. March 20.


Jupiter continues to drop toward the western horizon after sunset throughout March, finally disappearing from view by the end of the month.

On March 15 it slides just two degrees past Mercury, which is making one of its better appearances of the year.

Look for the pair low in the western sky about 45 minutes after sunset on the 15th. Jupiter, the brighter of the two, is left of Mercury.


Look for the crescent moon to the left of Venus before sunrise on March 1 in the east-southeast.

An even thinner crescent hangs to the right of Jupiter in the western sky after sunset on March 6.

Spaceflight anniversary

On March 22, 2001, the Mir spacecraft plunged back to Earth over the Pacific Ocean, marking the end of a remarkable 15 years in space.

More than 100 astronauts from 12 countries flew aboard the space station from shortly after its launch in February 1986 until its final evacuation in April 2000.

It was occupied continuously from September 1989 to August 1999, establishing a record that stood until astronauts aboard the International Space Station surpassed it last October.

by John Stanley The Arizona Republic Feb. 25, 2011 11:08 AM

March stargazing: Celestial twins ride high

Calif. emporium is a medical-pot superstore

SACRAMENTO - The Walmart of weed has arrived here.

At least that's the moniker embraced by weGrow, a cavernous hydroponics store enthusiastically marketing itself as a retail outlet for people cultivating marijuana for personal medicinal use.

The 10,000-square-foot weGrow store, which opens today, is the first national franchise for a company that bills itself as a supply-and-training destination for legal-pot growers.

The enterprise started in Oakland last year as a warehouse store called iGrow and didn't sell any marijuana.

Yet the gardening emporium attracted national attention for its unbridled embrace of the marijuana culture. It featured an on-site doctor offering medical-pot recommendations and sales staff eagerly pitching grow lights and nutrients while teaching people how to raise bountiful cannabis buds.

The Oakland location is being reorganized as a non-retail distribution hub for a network of retail hydroponics outlets. The Sacramento store, billed as "the first honest hydro store," is to be followed by weGrow stores in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Oregon in coming months.

"I just thought it was a statement to have something close to the state Capitol," said Dhar Mann, who founded the original iGrow in January 2010. "It's a statement of how progressive the industry has become. We're all about coming out of the shadows."

With California, 14 other states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for medical use, the hydroponics industry is exploding. But, unlike weGrow, most hydroponics outlets avoid any mention of marijuana, billing themselves only as generic suppliers for people growing anything from peppers to rosemary.

Hydroponics stores traditionally are leery of any mention of marijuana because pot cultivation remains illegal under federal law.

The M-word is also avoided by some growing-equipment and nutrient suppliers that either operate in states where medical marijuana is illegal or don't want to offend organic farmers or other customers growing non-medicinal products.

"We're very strict. We don't sell equipment for the purpose of growing marijuana," said Chris Corsello, manager of J Street HydroGarden in midtown Sacramento. He said if anyone asks for tips on growing pot, "We say, 'Sorry, we can't tell you anything.' "

Michael Garcia, operator of the Sacramento weGrow franchise, said employees will talk about marijuana once customers show proof of a physician's recommendation for medical use. "If you do not have a script, we're not willing to discuss cannabis with you," he said.

For those who do, weGrow will offer on-site classes in marijuana cultivation. It also promotes its online "University of Cannabis."

Today, the store will celebrate its place in the medicinal-pot industry with a noon-to-4 p.m. expo featuring medical-marijuana suppliers and support businesses.

"We want to bring awareness to this community," Garcia said. "It's already there. We're just bringing it to the forefront."

by Peter Hecht McClatchy Newspapers Feb. 26, 2011 12:00 AM

Calif. emporium is a medical-pot superstore

YouTube - Hot Chocolate (I Believe in Miracles)

YouTube - Hot Chocolate (I Believe in Miracles)

YouTube - Love Fool

YouTube - Love Fool

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Temp work can lead to permanent position

As the economy begins to recover, more employers are hiring only contract or temporary workers as a way to keep costs under control.

That's because most companies don't offer temporary workers benefits, helping to greatly reduce their costs.

So what does that mean for someone seeking permanent employment? Will a temporary job be the only route to bringing home a paycheck?

No, says Tim Ozier, director of contract staffing at MRINetwork in Philadelphia, because only 1.5 percent of the workforce is considered contract or contingent workers. And even though he expects that number to rise to 5 percent, in line with the temporary-employment figures in Europe, contract workers won't dominate the employment landscape.

The days of temp workers being qualified for only low-paying, entry-level jobs is past, and workers who embrace the work may find they appreciate the flexibility and experience they gain, Ozier says. While information technology and engineering have a great demand for contract workers, other workers being hired on an as-needed basis include human resources, advertising and marketing.

"Companies are opening up all kinds of work in these areas," he says. "We've placed CIOs and COOs for eight months or longer with one company."

For those considering temp work, Ozier recommends:

- Staying connected. Online-networking sites such as LinkedIn are critical steps in letting others know of your availability for contract work and the skills you bring to the table. Attend industry events to let employers know of your expertise.

- Seeing temporary work as a logical step. Not only can temporary work keep a paycheck coming, but it also can lead to permanent employment. Ozier says employers may use a contract gig as a way to try out an employee. When employers hire a temp for a full-time position, they often offer a higher salary than if making an outside hire.

- Being vocal. Just as if you were applying for a full-time, permanent position, be specific about what you offer an employer as a contract worker. Cite cases where you helped an employer's bottom line.

- Looking forward. Some employers may hire you with a contract that can be extended or ended as planned. If you've worked with a recruiter to land the temporary gig, check in with the recruiter about a month before the end date to begin looking for another assignment, Ozier says.

- Knowing your worth. It's not unheard of for temporary workers to ask for a pay raise from the employer.

by Anita Bruzzese Gannett Feb. 22, 2011 12:15 PM

Temp work can lead to permanent position

Talent is Important, But Winning is the Goal : Lifestyle :: American Express OPEN Forum

The easiest way to be a successful coach is to have the best talent -- it beats all the other ways. And how do I know this, you ask? I tried several ways in successive years teaching little league.

One year I was lucky in the blind draft and got several of the best athletes (and one who was clearly the most talented player in the league). He could pitch superbly, hit the ball hard and far, and when not pitching, he was a great shortstop. Better yet, he had a great attitude and work ethic, and loved learning how to get better. Thanks to him, and several other talented boys, we easily won our league and the area championship. I looked like a masterful coach with great game plans because the kids could execute them well.

The next year, I wasn’t so lucky. The blind draft went poorly and the talent we had was much weaker. Our draft choices left us with fewer of the large, well-coordinated kids and more of the smaller and less-talented ones on our team. Needless to say, the season was not easy. I had to be a much better coach that year, using more intelligent game plans, and juggling players constantly to keep key positions covered with talented players while getting playing time for all the boys.

First, I had to convince the kids that they could win, which was no small task. Then I had to help them to learn how: hustle, hard work, attention to the basics of the game, and have an opportunistic attitude about finding ways to score. When you run a lot in little league and get the other team throwing the ball around, you often get to keep running, and therefore, scoring runs. That was something my smaller, less coordinated kids could still do: run. And they did.

Fortunately, they learned well, followed our plan, and in the end we won the league again -- just barely. But a league championship is still a big win, and the trophy didn’t say “just barely” on it. It said champions!

Lesson learned: Having the best talent makes winning a lot easier. With less than the best talent, it is still possible to win, but it requires a much more carefully crafted strategy, using the talent you have in the best ways, constant attention to good execution, and lots of hard work and hustle.

The second lesson from this experience, and one that is exhibited time and time again in college and professional sports, is that blending the talent with strategy is critical. The same is true in organizations of all kinds. This integration of talent, strategy and execution manifests itself in any setting where a small number of “players” are interacting at once.

In basketball, when one player is seriously deficient, 20 percent of the five-person team creates a weakness that competitors can exploit. This is often the ratio in business where management teams of five to six people are common. One weak player is a challenge; two or more is a real problem.

A wise coach makes plans to compensate for a weaker player. A wise manager or executive does likewise. In both cases, the truly successful leader quickly decides whether the weakness can be overcome by learning, or whether the person must be replaced. Note that I said by learning.

People’s basic behavior cannot be changed much once they are well into their mature adulthood (age 30, more or less). The only way their performance can be altered is if they learn new behaviors and unlearn the older, less effective ones. This idea of learning and unlearning is important since it presents a great opportunity to save a loyal, experienced person from imminent failure. It can also be a dangerous trap because of relapses into old behaviors.

The conclusion of my little league learning can be summarized in a few points:

1. Having the best talent is the best way to win and it gives the leader a chance to excel. Choosing, finding and keeping the best talent and maximizing success is a special skill-set for leaders.

2. Winning is possible without the best talent if the strategy and execution is designed to take advantage of the talent available and capitalize on opportunities -- but winning this way is lots harder.

3. A leader will almost always have a weak performer in a group. Maybe even more than one. The wise leader learns to compensate for the weakness and help the weak performer improve through learning/unlearning. Or, if that doesn’t work fairly quickly, they replace that person.

4. Winning is important, but the margin of the win is not as important. Whether you get the big job, the big order, etc. by a little or a lot, the “trophy” seldom says, “just barely” on it.

by American Express Open Forum February 18, 2011

Talent is Important, But Winning is the Goal : Lifestyle :: American Express OPEN Forum

The Benefits of Hiring Tier-One Talent

The Power of Talent

I recently read a blog post on all the reasons not to hire “superstars” and I could not have disagreed more with what I read. I have always subscribed to the philosophy that the quality of an organization’s talent will have a direct correlation to their success…In other words the better a company’s talent the more successful the enterprise will be. In today’s blog post I will discuss the benefits of hiring Tier-One talent.

I so vehemently disagreed with the blog post I noted above that I decided to put forth a point-by-point rebuttal below for your consideration in hope that you won’t fall prey to the flawed logic espoused by who for sake of this post shall remain a nameless blogger (I’m feeling kind today):

Point: “Superstars = Expensive. Seek a superstar, and expect to pay a bundle. Financially, and the other stuff: feelings of entitlement, benefits, environment necessities, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

Myatt’s Counterpoint: To put it bluntly, you get what you pay for…Real talent produces real results and is worth the investment. I’ll take a proven performer over a want-a-be performer eleven times out of ten.

Point: “You demotivate your current crop of talent. Jimmy’s been working his butt off for your company. Instead of promoting him, you bring in a superstar — give him power, authority, extra resources and benefits. What does that signal to Jimmy? Importantly, what does that signal to your other employees?”

Myatt’s Counterpoint: I have absolutely nothing against promoting from within, however if you have the ability to attract a “superstar” and you don’t do it, shame on you…Inserting a bona fide superstar into your business makes the statement that your company values talent and will raise the chinning bar for all employees. There is an old saying: “Talent Begets Talent” and I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. Moreover, my definition of a superstar does not mean primadonna, rather it means team player. I expect our top talent to mentor our up-and-coming superstars.

Point: “The people became superstars elsewhere because they thrived in the right environment; they became superstars because they had fit the mold, the structure, and the culture of their organization. Since your company won’t have the same environment, superstars probably won’t achieve the same results in your company.”

Myatt’s Counterpoint: The issue described above has nothing to do with talent, but rather it describes a lack of discernment on the part of the leadership and/or management doing the hiring. A superstar by definition is a proven performer and it is up to the leadership and/or management doing the recruiting to determine if the company can create an environment that will allow the proven performer to flourish prior to making the hire. If you properly support great talent you’ll receive great rewards…Moreover, the point noted above would also hold true for a junior hire as anyone regardless of talent will fail if not supported. That being said, superstars have a better chance of successfully navigating a challenging environment than someone less talented.

The following quote is something taken from an article I authored some time ago on the topic of talent and I believe it accurately summarizes my feelings on the subject at hand: “Quality human capital is a catalytic asset that can be effectively leveraged across the enterprise to generate creativity, collaboration, momentum, velocity, client loyalty, a dynamic corporate culture and virtually every other positive influencing force in the corporate universe. It is quality talent that designs best practices, understands the value of innovation, overcomes obstacles, breaks down barriers, creates growth and builds a lasting brand.”

The bottom line is that if you follow the advice of the unknown blogger quoted above with regard to talent you will have a mediocre company doomed for failure. My advice…Hire the best talent you can find!

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

The Benefits of Hiring Tier-One Talent

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mackay: 'Impossible' is simply a frame of mind

A college student arrived a few minutes late for his final exam in mathematics. The room was quiet, with everyone working hard, and the professor silently handed him the test. It consisted of five math problems on the first page and two on the second. The student sat down and began to work. He solved the first five problems in half the time, but the two on the second page were tougher. Everyone else finished the exam and left, so the student was alone by the end of the time period. He finished the final problem at the last second.

The next day he got a phone call in his dorm room from the professor.

"I don't believe it. You solved the final two problems?" he said.

"Uh, yeah," the student said. "What's the big deal?"

"Those were brain teasers," the professor said. "I announced before the exam that they wouldn't count toward your final grade, but you missed that because you were late. But hardly anyone solves those problems in so short a time. You must be a genius!"

"Genius" is sometimes just not realizing that something is impossible.

Truly, some feats are impossible. I don't expect to ever see a person fly without some mechanical help. I'm not betting on anyone outrunning a high-speed locomotive. But then, I probably wouldn't have put money on Antonio Albertondo, who swam the English Channel in 1961.

The Channel waters are cold and unpredictable. Only a tiny percentage of those who have attempted to swim across have reached the other side. But Albertondo, who was 42 years old at the time, swam from England to France, where his waiting friends congratulated him for accomplishing what they thought was impossible for a man his age.

Albertondo stopped long enough for a hot drink and told his friends they hadn't seen the impossible yet. Then he dove back into the water, swam 22 more hours and made it back to England. Did he accomplish the impossible? I vote yes.

I do believe that there are limits to our physical abilities. But I absolutely accept that our minds have capabilities that we cannot begin to comprehend. Albertondo's physical accomplishment also had a major mental component. He put his mind to accomplishing the seemingly impossible.

"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable," said the late actor Christopher Reeve. Reeve's dream of walking after a catastrophic horseback-riding accident was never realized, but because of his activism and fundraising activities, major research breakthroughs for spinal injuries have given hope to many.

Although most of us will be asked to perform difficult assignments, not many will be actually expected to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Some days we may wonder how we'll get all our work done, or catch up or be successful in the next project. Those days pass, usually leaving us with a sense of pride that we have greater capacity for achievement than we realized.

What we call progress was once called impossible. If necessity is the mother of invention, then a positive attitude is the master of the impossible.

A positive attitude leads you to ask, "What's possible?" and then follows that question with "What else is possible?"

The Walt Disney Co. employs "imagineers" to explore the possibilities and push the limits of reality. We can do this in our businesses too, and we must if we intend to survive. A positive attitude, creativity and determination combine to create genius.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan recounts a story about the genius of the Greatest Generation.

"Once, at the University of California, a student got up to say that it was impossible for people of Ronald Reagan's generation to understand the next generation of young people."

"You grew up in a different world," the student said. "Today we have television, jet planes, space travel, nuclear energy, computers . . . "

"When the student paused for breath, Ronnie said, 'You're right. We didn't have those things when we were young. We invented them.' "

Mackay's Moral: What could you accomplish if no one told you it was impossible?

by Harvey Mackay February 21, 2011

Mackay: 'Impossible' is simply a frame of mind

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Speaking 2 languages could delay Alzheimer's

WASHINGTON - Mastering a second language can pump up your brain in ways that seem to delay getting Alzheimer's disease later on, scientists said Friday.

Never learned to habla or parlez? Although the new research focuses mostly on the truly long-term bilingual, scientists say that even people who tackle a new language later in life stand to gain.

The more proficient you become, the better, but "every little bit helps," said Ellen Bialystok, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto.

Much of the study of bilingualism has centered on babies, as scientists wondered why simply speaking to infants in two languages allows them to learn both in the time it takes most babies to learn one. Their brains seem to become more flexible, better able to multitask. As they grow up, their brains show better "executive control," a system key to higher functioning - as Bialystok puts it, "the most important part of your mind."

But does that mental juggling while you're young translate into protection against cognitive decline when you're old?

Bialystok studied 450 Alzheimer's patients, all of whom showed the same degree of impairment at the time of diagnosis. Half are bilingual - they've spoken two languages regularly for most of their lives. The rest are monolingual.

The bilingual patients had Alzheimer's symptoms and were diagnosed between four and five years later than the patients who spoke only one language, she told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Being bilingual does nothing to prevent Alzheimer's disease from striking. But once the disease does begin its silent attack, those years of robust executive control provide a buffer so that symptoms don't become apparent as quickly, Bialystok said.

"They've been able to cope with the disease," she said.

Her work supports an earlier study from other researchers that also found a protective effect.

What is it about being bilingual that enhances that all-important executive-control system?

Both languages are essentially turned on all the time, but the brain learns to inhibit the one you don't need, said psychology professor Teresa Bajo of the University of Granada in Spain. That's pretty constant activity.

That's not the only area. Janet Werker, a University of British Columbia psychologist, studies infants exposed to two languages from birth to see why they don't confuse the two. She says bilingual babies learn early to pay attention better.

But what if you weren't lucky enough to be raised bilingual? Scientists and educators know that it becomes far harder to learn a new language after puberty.

That is partly because adults' brains are so bombarded with other demands that we don't give learning a new language the same attention that a young child does, Bialystok said.

But people don't have to master a new language to benefit some, Bialystok said.

Exercising your brain throughout life contributes to what's called cognitive reserve, the overall ability to withstand the declines of aging and disease.

by Lauran Neergaard Associated Press Feb. 19, 2011 12:00 AM

Speaking 2 languages could delay Alzheimer's

3 doctors submit plans for upscale marijuana dispensary

Three doctors have submitted plans for Scottsdale's first medical-marijuana dispensary, which could be one of nine in the Northeast Valley.

The Virtue Center, at 7301 E. Evans Road in the Scottsdale Airpark, is seeking a use permit from the city.

It is expected to compete with other potential operators interested in opening a dispensary in northern Scottsdale.

The dispensary applicants are Drs. Richard Strand, Frank Tindall and Joel Colley and businessman Norman March, operating under a non-profit entity known as OF&C Corp., based in Scottsdale.

The Virtue Center's permit request could be reviewed by the Scottsdale Planning Commission on March 23 and then would go to the Scottsdale City Council, said Rich Court, a Rose Law Group attorney representing the applicants.

"Whether you're for or against the medical-marijuana initiative, these are the kind of guys that you want to do this," Court said. "They are established doctors who are in it for all the right reasons."

The principals have agreed to donate all profits to qualified charities, according to their use-permit application.

The Arizona Department of Health Services will not award medical-marijuana dispensary licenses until this summer, and Rich expects competition for the 126 licenses statewide.

Arizona voters approved Proposition 203 in November allowing medical-marijuana use.

ADHS has created 126 areas for medical-marijuana dispensaries - pot spots if you will - including two in Scottsdale. One would be permitted south of Doubletree Ranch Road and the other would serve northern Scottsdale, Carefree and Cave Creek.

9 pot spots in NE Valley

Overall, there could be as many as nine marijuana dispensaries in the Northeast Valley under the state rules, including one each in Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, the Salt River and Fort McDowell reservations and three areas of northeast Phoenix.

Operators must get zoning for their dispensaries and submit applications to the state by May 1. The state health department will have 30 days to review the applications.

If there is more than one qualified applicant in an area, ADHS will award the dispensary through a lottery.

The selected operators will have up to 10 months to make the required building improvements to their dispensaries, which include monitoring cameras, smoke detectors and other security precautions.

"The earliest you're going to see any dispensaries open is the fall," Rich said.

The Virtue Center, described as an upscale medical-marijuana dispensary, would operate in leased space in the Cornwell Business Center, a complex of office suites northeast of Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads.

Neighboring businesses include QuickStart, which provides ignition-interlocking devices for convicted drunken-drivers, as well as Parker Foods and the Scottsdale League for the Arts, which operates the Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

The applicants say they will operate the Virtue Center like any medical office with patients setting appointments to pick up their marijuana or food infused with marijuana.

Virtue Center's proposed location is more than 500 feet from any schools or residential zoning, which is a city requirement for dispensaries.

by Peter Corbett The Arizona Republic Feb. 18, 2011 08:30 AM

3 doctors submit plans for upscale marijuana dispensary

Secrets to climbing the ladder faster

Sometimes getting from where you are to where you'd like to be careerwise can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be.

Here are some tips to help you move up the corporate ladder:

1Accumulate knowledge.

Knowledge is power, so read about your industry, know what people are doing and keep an eye on innovations. This will help you become an asset to your company - one with promotion potential.

2Know how to ask questions.

Workers who gain attention know how to ask appropriate questions. But asking questions is an art. Don't talk over your boss trying to show them how much you know.

3Think outside yourself.

People who move up quickly are often ones who are good at examining the needs and goals of the company as a whole, not just in their own particular niche. At the end of the day, it's not about you.

4Give it your all.

Be a solid performer who goes the extra mile. Performing tasks beyond your routine job description is the way to impress and build a stellar reputation.

5Let your passion shine through.

View everything with enthusiasm, which shows you truly have a passion for your field. These are the people who move up in the world.

CareerBuilder Feb. 15, 2011 08:55 AM

Secrets to climbing the ladder faster

Don't blame boss; take control of your happiness

You may think that your complaining boss or whining co-workers - or even the gloomy cubicle where you labor - are the reasons why you're not happy at work.

But according to leadership and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, individuals have more control over their happiness than they might believe. If you're miserable at work or in your job search, you can do something about it, and it doesn't matter who else is whining or complaining.

He said one of the easiest ways to be instantly happy when you're having a bad day at work or finding a job is helping someone else.

"Get outside yourself," said Chopra, author of more than 55 books. "Ask someone, 'How are you feeling?' Give them appreciation."

He advises that we take more responsibility for having good thoughts instead of negative ones. He said that when you have a stressful thought, such as thinking you'll never get the promotion or a new job, try to assess how that thought makes you feel. Then, think about how you would feel and how different your life might be if you let go of that negative thought. In his latest book, "The Soul of Leadership," (Harmony Books, $19.99), Chopra suggests taking responsibility for how you view the world. You can work to "reverse" beliefs that "block your future," he said:

1. When you think you're not good enough and deserve less than others, tell yourself: "The more I evolve, the more I deserve. Since evolution is unlimited, so is my deserving."

2. If you think avoidance is a good way to put off difficult decisions, think: "Postponement is never a solution. It simply freezes the problem in place. If I solve the problem now, I have my whole future to enjoy the solution."

3. If you believe that it doesn't help to focus on the things that are wrong about you, tell yourself: "Problems aren't bad. They are indications of where I need to grow. Beneath the difficulty lies a hidden ally. If I don't focus on my problems, I will miss the path of my own evolution."

4. When you tell yourself that change is hard, reverse that thinking to: "Life is nothing but change . . . change can be conscious or unconscious. Simply by becoming more aware, I have become a powerful agent of change. There is no need to force anything, only to expand my awareness."

5. If you believe that you're a prisoner of random events outside your control, change that to a belief that being controlled by anything - including randomness - makes you a victim. Tell yourself: "I have a choice to make the unknown either my friend or my enemy. As a friend, the unknown brings new life, new ideas and new possibilities. I will focus on that and let go of the rest."

6. If you believe you'd rather avoid confrontation so you can avoid making more enemies, think of an enemy as simply being another name for an obstacle: "Whenever I meet an obstacle, my soul has put it there for a purpose and has provided a solution at the same time. I don't need to focus on what another person feels about me. My aim isn't to make friends of everyone. Instead, I am here to evolve and follow the path my soul is unfolding day by day."

by Anita Bruzzese Gannett Feb. 15, 2011 08:57 AM

Don't blame boss; take control of your happiness

Mackay: Self-esteem drives us to succeed

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Mackay: Self-esteem drives us to succeed

1 comment by Harvey Mackay - Feb. 14, 2011 12:00 AM

The next time someone calls you an egotistical jerk, you should thank him or her for the opinion. They have just provided a strong endorsement of your mental health.

Self-esteem is a lightning-rod buzzword these days, mostly because it can be perceived as being a personality flaw. But the real flaw is false self-esteem: the result of heaping praise on people for accomplishing routine and simple tasks.

What management and employees need is legitimately earned high self-esteem, the kind that comes from performing well because you have worked so hard to reach the top. It means you have developed your natural talents to their optimal point. The kind that Will Rogers was talking about when he said, "If you done it, it ain't bragging."

Genuinely deserved self-esteem provides a competitive edge in our competitive world. Like it or not, life is a series of competitions. You may be competing for a grade, a spot on a team, a job or the largest account in town. The higher your self-esteem is, the better you get along with yourself and with others and the more you'll accomplish.

Psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden found another benefit to high self-esteem: "There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness and generosity."

What's the matter with being proud of what we have done or think we can do? When we're young, we're full of the sense that we can and should be able to do almost anything. That enthusiasm shouldn't change as we get older and more experienced. Our accomplishments should reinforce our sense of self-worth.

Dr. Anthony Greenwald, a psychologist at the University of Washington, calls it the "egocentricity bias." This is the reinterpretation of events to put ourselves in a favorable light and the belief we have more control over events than we actually do. He says it is a sign of mental well-being.

That makes perfect sense to me. Dr. Greenwald can call it the "egocentricity bias," but I call it optimism. And I believe optimism is a quality that consistently delivers results. Did you ever get a good performance out of a pessimist? (By the way, few people ever call themselves pessimists. Pessimists usually call themselves realists.)

Optimism involves self-delusion, a belief that our own abilities are superior to the obstacles that logically should overcome us. But that's exactly what's needed to perform any heavy-duty assignment.

How can you be any good unless you think you can accomplish what you're not supposed to be able to accomplish?

Olympic skating star Scott Hamilton observed, "Adversity, and perseverance and all these things can shape you. They can give you a value and a self-esteem that is priceless."

There is no better example of the power of positive self-esteem than Muhammad Ali.

He called himself "The Greatest" - actually, "The Greatest of All Time." He never doubted his ability to compete at the highest level, and his record proves it.

Top performers in athletics or business are always convinced they can be heroes, even if they don't shout it from the rooftops. And it shows. In fact, baseball scouts call that look "the good face," the sense of self-confidence that radiates from winners.

A little boy was talking to himself as he entered through his backyard, baseball cap in place and carrying a baseball and bat. "I'm the greatest baseball player in the world," he said proudly. Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung and missed.

Undismayed, he picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself again, "I'm the greatest player ever!" As the ball descended, he swung at it again, and again he missed.

He paused a moment to examine the bat and ball carefully. Then once again he threw the ball into the air and said, "I'm the greatest baseball player who ever lived." As the ball came down, he gave another mighty swing and missed the ball again.

"Wow!" he exclaimed. "What a pitcher!"

Mackay's Moral: If you've got what it takes, take it to the top.

by Harvey Mackay February 19, 2011

Mackay: Self-esteem drives us to succeed

Yeaahh, Business Cat Needs You to Come In On Caturday

Cyberculture has given cats a bum rap. Our feline friends aren’t always LOLing or playing the keyboard. Some of them have regular lives and work nine-to-fives.

Like Business Cat. He means business. Also, he’s a cat.

Yeaahh, Business Cat Needs You to Come In On Caturday

Friday, February 18, 2011

Black Swan Fan Art

Black Swan continues to give ballet a much needed boost, with reports of increased box office demand for Swan Lake performances around the globe (we can almost hear the sound of artistic directors who have not scheduled the ballet this season kicking themselves) and stories of audience members calling the Royal Opera House to see when Natalie Portman will be making a stage appearance as Swan Queen.

Over here our site stats indicate a number of visitors via the keywords “Is Black Swan a Real Story?” which is amusing considering professional dancers’ opinions about the movie. So while we wait for the real Nina Sayers to (please) stand up, we’ve scouted the web for the best Black Swan fan art; we think a few of them give the movie’s Soviet propaganda-style posters some competition, what do you think?

Illustration by Jorge Macías de Nazareth (via Facebook)

Illustration by Hannes Beer (via Flickr)

Illustration by MumblingIdiot (via Deviant art)

Illustration by Ninjatic (via Deviant art)

Illustration by Toughtink (via Deviant art)

Digital art by Owel (via Deviant art)

Illustration by Boum (via Deviant art)

Source Ambuurs (Tumblr)

Illustration by *Rotarr (via Deviant art)

Illustration by Brontinox (via Deviant art)

by EMILIA & LINDA on JANUARY 31, 2011

Black Swan Fan Art

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