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I was reminded this morning, while reading about how to Make Scary Big Stuff Happen by the very informative Men With Pens, of the importance of occasionally just putting your head down and grafting.

I’ve decided to celebrate ten as a an achievement after reading 9 First step Goals for New Bloggers. The time since I started this site has been extremely  busy and I’m very proud of having been able to get through all of it still standing and head high. This is my second incarnation of Monetize and this is a project I am quite sincere about. I would love nothing more than to add value to your lives. With this in Mind I’m taking my time working toward the milestones but most of all I’m having fun. It’s pretty clear when a writer is phoning it in. I started out writing for myself and in a very real way I still am. I write because it is something I love doing. I write because I believe that the power of words can transform lives. Up until now I’ve found that I run out of steam on my blogs at this stage. The help I’ve been getting through twitter and the blogs I’ve subscribed to leave me in awe at the ability the guys out there blogging for love and money and if anything I’m more energised than I was on day one. I feel myself annoyed when I need to tweak my layout and can’t spend time on my content.

Ten posts are only a drop in he ocean but if I’ve learnt anything so far it’s that despite the mental coaxing and the willpower calisthenics that my lazy brain sometimes requires when writing seems like hard work perhaps this is not the work for you. My blog is called Monetize and it’s only partly tongue in cheek. It’s about realizing, how much you earn is secondary to the legacy you create. When you spend the value you build in your life on others you will find the value return ten fold.

My Favourite Posts so far:

Having said all of that I would be no where without the help of my best friends who don’t know my name. The bloggers whose words I feed on daily and whose advice has helped me improve more than I dreamed in such a short time.

So here’s Darren Rowse’s list from www.problogger.net

  • Publish 10 Posts
  • Getting your first comment from someone you don’t know
  • Get your first link from another blog
  • Build your readership up to more than 20 readers a day
  • Hit a level of 20 RSS subscribers
  • Getting your blog indexed in Google
  • Get your blog earning $1 a week (update: only if making money from your blog is one of your goals – it’s not for everyone
  • First guest post on another blog
  • Having someone (not you or your mum) tweet about your blog
  • Critical to the way you use your time is the number of skills at your disposal to process free time into meaningful endeavours. If all you know how to do is play on that shiny console your free time options are pretty limited. So how do we start adding to our skill set? Where to start, where to end?

    What is Know What You Don’t Know?

    Know what you don’t know is a systematic process of working backward from a desired goal or skill detailing the knowledge you need to get from your current level of knowledge.

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    Why use Know What You Don’t Know?

    The frustration caused by how vast a topic can seems when looking at it as a whole is often the reason used for giving up or worse still not trying. I know the first time I tried to teach myself guitar I fell into this trap. I knew what a guitar should sound like, so I went out and bought one along with a song book. For a week I suffered as I sat, for hours whacking at different bits of the book unsuccessfully. A month later a string broke and I never played that guitar again, eventually selling it when I got a good offer for it. I failed. I know now though that it had nothing to do with how hard the guitar is to learn but had everything to do with me not having any clue what I needed to know and in what order I needed to learn it.

    Know What You Don’t Know is for me the simplest way to learn a new skill, it’s simply a matter of at a very high level figuring out what is involved in learning your new skill. This is really important in order to acquire a well rounded study program as well. I often find that I tend to spend more time  on the excercises I enjoy rather than the ones that I need to work on. This well rounded approach has tons of knock on benefits as well. As an example the second time I tried to learn to play the guitar I faired a lot better until I got a stuck with a couple of barre chords. Try as  I might I did not have the dexterity to hold the chord and produce a clear crisp sound.

     

    At first I kept at it trying over and over and it didn’t help. I think it actually got worse as I started to get frustrated and lose my cool. Having knowledge of all the things I needed to learn I kept on practicing in all the areas I knew I had to learn. A week later I could play the barre chords easily. As it happens I just didn’t have the strength when I started. What was critical here was the fact that I knew that that barre chord was the be all and end all of my guitar career and I was able to focus on other areas of my playing which ultimately built my skill and dexterity to the point where I succeeded. I have no doubt that it would have taken me twice as long or longer to master that had I kept at only that.

    Know What You Don’t Know gives you confidence and direction and keeps you working toward your goal.

    If this sounds good to you my next post will be a practical example of how to use Know What You Don’t Know to learn anything.

    How to use know what you don’t know a practical example.

    Useful links:

    Are these three words ruining your life an interesting discussion about the psychology of failure/success by Jonathan Mead on the Zen Habits blog

     

     

    Avatar air battle

    Ok so if you havn’t already watched Avatar go, do it now!! Avatar was pretty much the most visually wow-inducing movie I’ve ever seen. There’s tons of lessons to be learnt from this movie but the ones I’m looking at today are vision and integrity.

    If critics like it, fine. I can’t say I won’t read the reviews, because I may not be able to resist. I spent a couple of decades in the capricious world of being judged by those not knowledgeable about the depth and history of film and with whom I would not want to have a conversation – with a few notable exceptions. Why would I want to be judged by them? For me, this past decade has been about retreating to the great fundamentals, things that aren’t passing fads or subject to the whims of some idiot critic. You can’t write a review of the laws of thermodynamics. James Cameron

    Continue reading »

    “We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” Alan Watts

    Meditation is...

    In my previous post Meditation in 60 seconds. Meditation in 60 seconds spoke to “how” to meditate; today I’m going to give you insight into the “why” behind meditation. Meditation is a foreign and badly understood concept for most people I encounter. Meditation dovetails with religion a lot in popular culture and in many practical ways however this is only one form of meditation.
    So what is meditation?What is involved in meditation?What happens physically in my body while I meditate?{Is all meditation religious,Can meditation exist seperately from religion,Can meditation and religion exist separate from each other??How does meditation benefit you?So what is meditation? What does meditation entail?Meditation is the quietening of the mind. It is a process wherein the meditator takes time to be present in their lives. Ok so I hear you asking yourself “but surely I’m present in my life now? If not where am I?” No you’re probably not present in your life now. As you read this your mind is stretching into the past to compare what you’re reading to the knowledge you’ve already built up over the years and at some point it will stretch off into the future and try to predict the success of this meditation business. Meditation is about banishing the past and the future. Meditation banishes thoughts of ego, we forget our physical selves or the outward existence of our physical selves. We become aware of our inner selves. We forget about time. Our inner self exists without time. It lives and feels now. When we stop thinking, the past and the future dissolve and we are left with the present. Once we enter the meditative state, we become at once more peaceful. While meditating our bodies relax. Amazingly most people find this relaxed state quite uncomfortable at first. We’ve become that accustomed to our stressed state. Meditation is about allowing our bodies to experience our natural state of relaxation. Meditation is, letting go of the need to think and realizing that we are so much more than the sum of our thoughts.
    “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee
    What happens physically in my body while I meditate?Our brain chiefly operates at 2 frequencies while we are awake Alpha and Beta. When our brain operates at the Beta frequency it is awake and alert. Some of the lower Beta frequencies are great for creativity and focused thought concentration. The higher beta frequencies is where we spend most of our time. This is where our conscious mind is in almost complete control. Our brain is going great guns jumping from one thought to another.
    As our stress levels increase our brain moves into higher beta frequencies this results in:We hunch our shoulders constricting our lungs and as a result our breathing becomes shallowerOur jaw clenchesWe struggle to focus on one thing, our mind jumping from one thought to the nextOur heart rate increasesWe start feeling ill at ease, our mind is warning us that we’re heading down a dangerous pathAlpha is the other state that our mind commonly resides in while awake. The higher alpha states are often attributed with creativity and problems solving. Lower alpha states are where your mind resides just before you fall asleep, when you just wake up and when you meditate. Meditation captures the moments before you fall asleep.
    This is when your body is:RelaxedYour breathing is deep and easyYour muscles are loose and at easeYour heart rate normal and often lowered as your body begins to work more efficientlyYou start feeling more at peace as you feel your real inner life come into focus“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity. Swami Sivananda

    Can meditation and religion exist separate from each other?Yes they can there is nothing inherently “religious” about meditation. What you choose to focus on while you meditate is your personal choice. Whether you choose to clear your mind and simply experience the joy of being alive or whether you would like to meditate on some higher being of your choosing is entirely your choice. Meditation is a personal matter. Meditation neither adds nor takes away from you as a person. All meditation does is focus you inward on what is already there.
    What are the benefits of meditation?The effects of meditation are instantaneous. Even as you take your first steps on the road to the practice of meditation, you will find that you will begin to feel these benefits. There are no contra-indication to meditation. There is quite literally nothing in your life that will not benefit from your practice of meditation, as you begin to feel energised and refreshed. I personally find that meditation kickstarts my creativity. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, it quite literally feels like my brain has been rebooted. It feels as if I have cleared the cluttered workspace of my mind and am beginning anew with a clean and clear workspace. Besides creativity meditation refreshes the mind during periods of mental exertion, like during exam time. I find despite getting older and older my powers of concentration have actually grown considerably since I’ve started meditation.

    Image Credits

    The past week has been a reminder to me on the price to be paid when we retreat to the safety net of our minds. Any form of success can easily make us forget the reason we took part. I spent the last two weeks not doing what I love, writing, teaching and learning, allowing myself to be controlled by expectations. Having had a few good weeks on myDL I’m struggling to write. Even though the success has been very moderate I’m suddenly finding myself quitting in the middle of posts and shooting down more ideas than ever paying the price for pursuing perfection. It’s not enough to find your passion! you need to find a way to keep it yours too!

    Re-connect with your passion

    Connect to the original reason you found your passion often. Go back to the reason you started. Whether your passion makes you $1 a year or $100 a day you when you started you started because you connected deeply with it. Connect with that feeling often. Remember all the reasons why you’d gladly do what you’re doing for free. Remember that some time good enough is good enough, the price of perfection is high when you let it stop you producing.

    Study how the professionals progressed

    Research heroes of your field and look how they progressed. Even the most gifted of gifted athletes and writers knocked their head once or twice. They didn’t start out perfect but they always had passion. No one is born able to do it all. Read about how they did it. Study their mindset. Model their strategies. Use their tactics. Have a good old laugh at the mistakes that they made. When you’re done, have a quick chuckle at your own expense 10 years from now someone will be laughing at how you knocked your head and you won’t care when you’ve made it. Passion will fuel you when you know that you won’t be perfect, but that you’re doing the right things. The price of perfection is less time spent learning.

    Change your mindset about failure

    Change your mind about failure. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make plenty. Live with it. This is not permission for you to fail! This is permission to make mistakes. Put together a system and incorporate an element of quality checking before you complete. Systems are often passion killers, use your system to channel your energy to the parts of this blogging lark you’re most passionate about. When I write I now complete my outline, knock out my first draft. I then revise the piece while also checking for glaring spelling and punctuation mistakes then I revise again at least 12 hours later. When I just started out I found I still missed a glut of errors. I should have been checking more until my error margin was acceptable. At the moment I still miss the odd mistake but if I do I fix it and move on I still trust my system. You should do the same set up a system and stick to it as long your success rate is within acceptable limits. The price of perfection is going to be a heart attack if you don’t have  trusted system to handle the areas of your blogging which you struggle most with.

     

     

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