Some people maintain their childlike spirit and spontaneity, but their creative energy is dissipated in a thousand directions, and they never have the patience and discipline to endure an extended apprenticeship. Others have the discipline to accumulate vast amounts of knowledge and become experts in their field, but they have no flexibility of spirit, so their ideas never stray beyond the conventional and they never become truly creative.
Masters manage to blend the two—discipline and a childlike spirit—together into what we shall call the Dimensional Mind. Such mind is not constricted by limited experience or habits. It can branch out into all directions and make deep contact with reality. It can explore more dimensions of the world. The Conventional Mind is passive—it consumes information and regurgitates it in familiar forms. The Dimensional Mind is active, transforming everything it digests into something new and original, creating instead of consuming,
We all possess an inborn creative force that wants to become active. This is the gift of our Original Mind, which reveals such potential. The human mind is naturally creative, constantly looking to make associations and connections between things and ideas. It wants to explore, to discover new aspects of the world, and to invent. To express this creative force is our greatest desire, and the stifling of it the source of our misery.
What kills the creative force is not age or a lack of talent, but our own spirit, our own attitude. We become too comfortable with the knowledge we have gained in our apprenticeships. We grow afraid of entertaining new ideas and the effort that this requires. To think more flexibly entails a risk—we could fail and be ridiculed. We prefer to live with familiar ideas and habits of thinking, but we pay a steep price for this: our minds go dead from the lack of challenge and novelty; we reach a limit in our field and lose control over our fate because we become replaceable.
The Dimensional Mind has two essential requirements: one, a high level of knowledge about a field or subject; and two, the openness and flexibility to use this knowledge in new and original ways.
To awaken the Dimensional Mind and move through the creative process requires three essential steps: first, choosing the proper Creative Task, the kind of activity that will maximize our skills and knowledge; second, loosening and opening up the mind through certain Creative Strategies; and third, creating the optimal mental conditions for a Breakthrough or Insight. Finally, throughout the process we must also be aware of the Emotional Pitfalls—complacency, boredom, grandiosity, and the like—that continually threaten to derail or block our progress.
You must engrave deeply in your mind and never forget: that your emotional commitment to what you are doing will be translated directly into your work. If you go at your work with half a heart, it will show in the lackluster results and in the laggard way in which you reach the end. If you are doing something primarily for money and without a real emotional commitment, it will translate into something that lacks a soul and that has no connection to you. You may not see this, but you can be sure that the public will feel it and that they will receive your work in the same lackluster spirit it was created in. If you are excited and obsessive in the hunt, it will show in the details. If your work comes from a place deep within, its authenticity will be communicated. This applies equally to science and business as to the arts.
Mastery by Robert Greene
Typewriter from the movie The Shining from the Stanley Kubrick exhibit
Stephen King writes every day of the year, including his birthday and holidays, and he almost never lets himself quit before he reaches his daily quota of two thousand words. He works in the mornings, starting around 8:00 or 8:30. Some days he finishes up as early as 11:30, but more often it takes him until about 1:30 to meet his goal. Then he has the afternoons and evenings free for naps, letters, reading, family, and Red Sox games on TV. In his memoir On Writing, King compares fiction writing to “creative sleep,” and his writing routine to getting ready for bed each night: Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream.
Your schedule—in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk—exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go. In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.
And as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night—six hours, seven, maybe the recommended eight—so can you train your waking mind to sleep creatively and work out the vividly imagined waking dreams which are successful works of fiction.Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
by Mason Currey
Forget about blending in.
When you run a blog, you want to stand out from the crowd. To become one-of-a-kind as opposed to one-of-many, get comfortable with taking a stand and having people line up on either side of you. Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) said it best: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Once your blog is operational, meaningful content has been added, and you’ve begun cultivating traffic, Pat (Flynn) offers three powerful rules for creating momentum and generating income:
find partners, sell products and/or services, and spread your wings.
One of the most effective strategies for building major traffic is to contact top bloggers in your niche. First, tell them you’re an up-and-coming blogger who respects their work and enjoys their content. Then, add you’re writing an article and would love to get quotes from industry experts like them. The vast majority will take time out of their schedule to answer your questions. Once the article is published, send each contributor a follow-up thank you note with a link to the article. Most will post the link on their site and/or offer a link to your homepage, thereby introducing their audience to your work.
This provides you with free exposure and credibility as these top bloggers are effectively endorsing your content. Few things establish brand recognition faster than endorsements from renowned peers. With significant effort and patience it is certainly possible that your blog may become so popular that other bloggers will get in touch to obtain quotes from you.Offer Products And Services For Sale
To profit from your blog traffic, you can create products and/or services that best serve your tribe. Examples of content-based products include books, interviews (in video, audio, and/or transcript form), white papers, and research studies. Alternatively, you can become an affiliate by offering products and services created by others for sale and receive a percentage of each transaction. A growing trend is to create a membership program. Some memberships require a one-time fee and provide access for life. Others, known as continuity programs, provide ongoing content and require subscribers to pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee.
The membership model works great for certain industries—e.g., finance, in which many customers will gladly pay for ongoing news and analysis.
One of the great things about a blog is its flexibility. For example, it’s simple to update text and photos so information remains current without the need for relying on an expensive programmer to update the site. It’s also easy to modify on the fly to adapt to the changing needs of your audience. You can even run A/B Split tests, in which you post two versions of the blog to determine which strategies are most effective for achieving higher conversion rates. Remember, online, no one builds monuments.
Be willing to periodically play around with layout, content, and structure in order to keep attracting the largest number of potential customers for your message.
You should also consider including advertising to generate additional passive income and/or to capture your audience’s contact information.
• Google AdSense (and other ad networks)
• Banner ads • Ads for training or certification programs related to your field
• Paid guest posts • Ads for teleseminars and webinars that compliment your offerings
• Advertorials which feature beneficial products and services
• Ads for personal and group coaching • Ads for on-and off-site consulting
• Ads for newsletters (often free in exchange for a visitor’s contact information)Internet Prophets: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online
e by Steve Olsher
Study your reader first—your product second.
Thousands of articles have been written about the way to use letters to bring you what you want, but the meat of them all can be compressed into two sentences: "What is the bait that will tempt your reader? How can you tie up the thing you have to offer with that bait?" For the ultimate purpose of every business letter simmers down to this: The reader of this letter wants certain things. The desire for them is, consciously or unconsciously, the dominant idea in his mind all the time. You want him to do a certain definite thing for you. How can you tie this up to the thing he wants, in such a way that the doing of it will bring him a step nearer to his goal?
In each case, you want him to do something for you. Why should he? Only because of the hope that the doing of it will bring him nearer his heart's desire, or the fear that his failure to do it will remove that heart's desire farther from him.
Every mail brings your reader letters urging him to buy this or that, to pay a bill, to get behind some movement or to try a new device. Time was when the mere fact that an envelope looked like a personal letter addressed to him would have intrigued his interest. But that time has long since passed. Letters as letters are no longer objects of intense interest. They are bait neither more nor less—and to tempt him, they must look a bit different from bait he has nibbled at and been fooled by before. They must have something about them that stands out from the mass—that catches his eye and arouses his interest—or away they go into the wastebasket. Your problem, then, is to find a point of contact with his interests, his desires, some feature that will flag his attention and make your letter stand out from all others the moment he reads the first line. But it won't do to yell "Fire!" That will get you attention, yes of a kind but as far as your prospects of doing business are concerned, it will be of the kind a drunken miner got in the days when the West wore guns and used them on the slightest provocation. He stuck his head in the window of a crowded saloon and yelled "Fire!"
Study your reader. Find out what interests him. Then study your proposition to see how it can be made to tie in with that interest.The Robert Collier Letter Book
by Robert Collier
It was a brilliant strategy.
Instead of learning how to survive in just one or two ecological niches, we took on the entire globe. Those unable to rapidly solve new problems or learn from mistakes didn’t survive long enough to pass on their genes. The net effect of this evolution was that we didn’t become stronger; we became smarter. We learned to grow our fangs not in the mouth but in the head. This turned out to be a pretty savvy strategy. We went on to conquer the small rift valleys in Eastern Africa. Then we took over the world.
Variability Selection Theory predicts some fairly simple things about human learning. It predicts there will be interactions between two powerful features of the brain: a database in which to store a fund of knowledge, and the ability to improvise off of that database. One allows us to know when we’ve made mistakes. The other allows us to learn from them. Both give us the ability to add new information under rapidly changing conditions. Both may be relevant to the way we design classrooms and cubicles.
Any learning environment that deals with only the database instincts or only the improvisatory instincts ignores one half of our ability. It is doomed to fail. It makes me think of jazz guitarists: They’re not going to make it if they know a lot about music theory but don’t know how to jam in a live concert. Some schools and workplaces emphasize a stable, rote-learned database. They ignore the improvisatory instincts drilled into us for millions of years. Creativity suffers. Others emphasize creative usage of a database, without installing a fund of knowledge in the first place. They ignore our need to obtain a deep understanding of a subject, which includes memorizing and storing a richly structured database. You get people who are great improvisers but don’t have depth of knowledge. You may know someone like this where you work. They may look like jazz musicians and have the appearance of jamming, but in the end they know nothing. They’re playing intellectual air guitar.Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
by John Medina
The brain represents only about 2 percent of most people’s body weight, yet it accounts for about 20 percent of the body’s total energy usage—about 10 times more than would be expected. When the brain is fully working, it uses more energy per unit of tissue weight than a fully exercising quadricep. In fact, the human brain cannot simultaneously activate more than 2 percent of its neurons at any one time. More than this, and the glucose supply becomes so quickly exhausted that you will faint.
Consider the following statistics. The three requirements for human life are food, drink, and fresh air. But their effects on survival have very different timelines. You can live for 30 days or so without food, and you can go for a week or so without drinking water. Your brain, however, is so active that it cannot go without oxygen for more than 5 minutes without risking serious and permanent damage. Toxic electrons over-accumulate because the blood can’t deliver enough oxygen sponges.Exercise does not provide the oxygen and the food. It provides your body greater access to the oxygen and the food.
How this works is easy to understand.Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
The more you exercise, the more tissues you can feed and the more toxic waste you can remove. This happens all over the body. That’s why exercise improves the performance of most human functions.
The same happens in the human brain. Imaging studies have shown that exercise literally increases blood volume in a region of the brain called the dentate gyrus. That’s a big deal. The dentate gyrus is a vital constituent of the hippocampus, a region deeply involved in memory formation.
At the molecular level, early studies indicate that exercise also stimulates one of the brain’s most powerful growth factors, BDNF. That stands for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, and it aids in the development of healthy tissue. BDNF exerts a fertilizer-like growth effect on certain neurons in the brain. The protein keeps existing neurons young and healthy, rendering them much more willing to connect with one another. It also encourages neurogenesis, the formation of new cells in the brain. The cells most sensitive to this are in the hippocampus, inside the very regions deeply involved in human cognition. Exercise increases the level of usable BDNF inside those cells. The more you exercise, the more fertilizer you create—at least, if you are a laboratory animal.Recall that our evolutionary ancestors were used to walking up to 12 miles per day. This means that our brains were supported for most of our evolutionary history by Olympic-caliber bodies.
Exercise makes your muscles and bones stronger, for example, and improves your strength and balance. It helps regulate your appetite, changes your blood lipid profile, reduces your risk for more than a dozen types of cancer, improves the immune system, and buffers against the toxic effects of stress (see Chapter 8). By enriching your cardiovascular system, exercise decreases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.The idea of integrating exercise into the workday may sound foreign, but it’s not difficult
. I put a treadmill in my own office, and I now take regular breaks filled not with coffee but with exercise. I even constructed a small structure upon which my laptop fits so I can write email while I exercise. At first, it was difficult to adapt to such a strange hybrid activity. It took a whopping 15 minutes to become fully functional typing on my laptop while walking 1.8 miles per hour.Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
by John Medina
There are many factors involved with creating a successful website. Most can be easily and quickly learned so long as one critical ingredient is present: traffic. No matter how ugly or poorly designed a website is, if traffic exists, product will be sold.
On the other hand, one might have the world’s best site with copy so compelling it could sell gym memberships to your bed-ridden grandparents, but without visitors, not a dime’s worth of product will sell.
Today, link text and PageRank remain the two most important factors in achieving top rankings. Let’s cut through the clutter and examine why these two elements are so important. Relevancy And Link Text A page that’s highly relevant for a given search has three elements:
• Search keywords that appear in the page title.
• Content that’s pertinent to the query.
• Inbound links pointing to the page.Internet Prophets: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online
by Steve Olsher
Many of the links pointing to a page will stem from other websites. However, links from a site’s own pages count as well. That’s in part why larger sites tend to do far better in search results than smaller sites. Some refer to the latter as “the Wikipedia effect.” Wikipedia is one of the most authoritative sites on the web because it has
1) an enormous number of pages, and
2) thousands of links from other sites. With this in mind, let’s examine one of the most powerful SEO “secrets.”
Attaining the highest ranking shouldn’t be your primary goal. A top-ranked page that receives few clicks or fails to convert traffic into leads and sales is a site that requires major modification. Your first goal should be to create products and services that customers want to buy. Only after this core objective is accomplished should you focus on ranking high for the search terms relevant to your target market. Ranking that converts to leads or paying customers is the only sustainable strategy.
While there may be a select few who are indeed, looking for a Bikram yoga studio in Chicago, 99.999% are not. They could be searching for yoga apparel, yoga poses, a yoga studio in Tokyo, or one of millions of other possibilities and simply need to be more specific with their query. As a result, your page will receive minimal traffic regardless of its prominent position. Now suppose you narrowed your focus and searched for the term “Bikram Yoga in Chicago.” This returns around one million pages, of which 105f.com is number one. While the odds have dramatically shifted in your favor for achieving page one status (one million pages versus 400 million), major competition for traffic remains, as does the possibility that a great deal of those entering the query may still be seeking something other than what you offer. So, what to do? Identify what makes your business unique. Looking closer at your studio, you recognize that you offer classes for beginners, classes for advanced practitioners, daytime classes for moms and tots, senior classes, and a kids-only class on Saturday. Related search queries for these might include:
• Bikram yoga classes for beginners in Chicago
• Advanced Bikram yoga training in Chicago
• Daytime Bikram yoga classes for moms and tots in Chicago
• Senior citizen Bikram yoga classes in Chicago• Saturday kids only Bikram yoga classes in ChicagoInternet Prophets: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online
by Steve OlsherCreating content requires time, of course, but nothing achieves higher rankings faster. There’s a direct correlation between the number of pages your site has and the amount of traffic it receives. Driving traffic through SEO requires you to be in the publishing business.
While this may not be what you had in mind when you opened shop, there’s no way around it. Every time you publish a new webpage, you increase your site’s authority and the chances of a web user finding your business. And if your content is engaging, that visitor may become a long-term paying customer.You now possess the modern-day recipe for search:
• Target search queries directly relating to your specific business.
• Create pages that provide detailed answers to popular queries.
• Include the search query for which you’d like to rank high in every page’s title.
• Create attractive, engaging pages with pertinent content.
• Use links between pages to help visitors find what they need. •
Create link text that includes targeted keywords and phrases.
• More webpages on your site will result in greater authority.
• Secure inbound links from related sites to increase authority.• Cultivating traffic is mandatory for online success—SEO-generated traffic is ideal.
• Well designed SEO strategies lead to higher rankings.
• Good page titles, accurate link text, and establishing PageRank are key factors for achieving top ranking.
• Search is a “conversation.” Therefore, think about your prospect’s queries and create pages that answer their questions.
• Short-tail queries may have a higher volume, however, they convert poorly and require high authority to attain prominent ranking.
• Long-tail queries are significantly more targeted, easier to rank well for, generate less traffic, but convert exceptionally well.Internet Prophets: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online
by Steve Olsher
When reviewing a new business opportunity, there are six crucial questions. These apply to any industry and almost any type of business.
• Is the market large enough? Is there money in it, are there competitors making money, can you?
• Is there an existing customer base? If people are buying, then you know it can be sold, creating a new market means you have to teach the customer why to buy from you. You want a market that knows what you are selling and knows they need it..
• Is there an opportunity to dominate the market?What is your unique advantage or selling proposition? Is there something you have that gives you an edge over your competitors?
• Can existing technology be used to rapidly grow the business?Taking new technology into a an old market can give an advantage, and can you business scale?
• Can the company be profitable and will investors participate?Can you make money at this, how?
• Is there a meaningful exit opportunity?You will want to set up be able to sell your business one day; either to exit and move on, retire, or just doing that so your business systems are stable.Internet Prophets: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online
by Steve Olsher
Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
According to a childhood friend, Schubert “used to sit down at his writing desk every morning at 6 o’clock and compose straight through until 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Meanwhile many a pipe was smoked.” The Austrian composer’s afternoons were less rigorous; his friend noted, “Schubert never composed in the afternoon; after the midday meal he went to a coffee-house, drank a small portion of black coffee, smoked for an hour or two and read the newspapers at the same time.” On summer afternoons, he often went for long walks in the countryside surrounding Vienna, then enjoyed a glass of beer or wine with friends. He avoided giving piano lessons, even though he always needed the money and frequently had to rely on friends for financial support. As one member of his circle remembered, “Schubert was extraordinarily fertile and industrious in composing. For everything else that goes by the name of work he had no use.”
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
If a competitor can outexecute a startup once the idea is known, the startup is doomed anyway.
The reason to build a new team to pursue an idea is that you believe you can accelerate through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop faster than anyone else can. If that’s true, it makes no difference what the competition knows. If it’s not true, a startup has much bigger problems, and secrecy won’t fix them. Sooner or later, a successful startup will face competition from fast followers. A head start is rarely large enough to matter, and time spent in stealth mode—away from customers—is unlikely to provide a head start.
The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries