This is Guaranteed to Make You More Creative!

I ran across the above video and just had to share it. Produced by PBS, it is an awesome look at creativity, where it comes from, what it looks like, and how you can be more creative.

If you have 9 minutes to spare, you won’t be let down.

If you don’t have time to watch it now, the following bullet points highlight a few of the many topics covered in the video. I hope these are enough to get you to come back and watch the video when you have free time.

  • Creativity is a process
  • Be open.
  • Creative ideas don’t have to be unique.
  • You must expand you capacity for uncertainty.
  • Don’t be afraid to mind wander.
  • You can find creativity anywhere.
  • Anyone can be creative.
  • You can get beyond what you think is possible.
  • You have to sit down an do the work!

Thankful For 1/3 of The Day

You know how there are some parts of your day that you just dread?

It could be an upcoming test in school or maybe it is that long hour you have to spend in traffic on the way to the office.

There are certain times on many days that we just don’t look forward to.

It is not always easy to be thankful for all the parts of the day.

But recently I realized that any given day, I know I can be thankful for 1/3 of my day no matter what.

What 8 hours per day can I be thankful, you ask?

My time spent sleeping.

I’ve heard the stat that we spend 33% of our lives asleep. That made me realize that I will ace 1/3 of every single day.

I can fall asleep faster than you can say insomniac and once I am asleep, every night is the chance for a new adventure given my propensity to sleepwalk. So not only do I sleep well, I also sleep fun.

That makes 1/3 of my life a success. If this were baseball, an average like that would make me an All-Star.

Any time I feel down about myself, I need to remember that I am very good at 1/3 of my life.

The other 2/3 of my life may be out of control, or at least out of my control, but it is reassuring to know that I can always count on that faithful 1/3.

It is a very encouraging feeling to know that every single day I can be an All-Star at 1/3 of the day.

And for that I am very thankful!

Thankful ThursdayClick the image above for more Thankful Thursday posts

 

Most Expensive Domain Names

In my chat last week with Aaron Thuringer, we discussed the future of domain names.

Aaron talked about how there soon will be a flood of new domain extensions entering the market. Instead of going to cnn.com, maybe you will visit cnn.news in the future.

I’ve always been fascinated by domain names because they are so singular. There are hundreds of companies that sell pizza, but there is only one Pizza.com.

How someone obtains a domain name has a much to do with the company’s name as it does with timing.

You have to be the first to a domain or you are out of luck.

If I had a time machine, one thing I would do is go back to when the Internet was in its infancy and purchase dozens of domain names. That would be quite the investment.

Domains that sold for $10 two decades ago are now worth millions of dollars.

That brings me to today’s Wonder Why Wednesday. I am always curious what domain names cost. Through GoDaddy.com they can range from $1 to $100,000 (and more). Today I am wondering what have been the most expensive domain names ever sold?

Thanks to Wikipedia I didn’t have to look far for a list of the 20 most expensive domain names. Here are the top 3:

$35 million – VacationRentals.com in 2007

$16 million – Insure.com in 2009

$14 million – Sex.com in 2010

Click here for the complete list.

Those are crazy prices.

Makes me wonder if VacationRentals.com has made it’s owner enough money to justify that outrageous cost. Not sure that answer is on Wikipedia.

Now that we have seen the list, I ask the following question:

How many of these sites have you actually visited?

I don’t think I have been to any of them. I guess I don’t spend enough time looking online for toys, candy and beer. But apparently somebody does.

Wonder Why Wednesday copyClick the image above for more Wonder Why Wednesday posts.

13 Things That Are Not Time Wasters

Yesterday I gave you a list of ways to tell if you are wasting your time.

Now that we know how not to spend our time, the next question becomes, ‘What should we do with our time?’

The answer to that question can vary depending on our family situations and our daily commitments, but following yesterday’s post I thought it was only fair to put together a list of how to best use our free time.

The following are 13 things that we all can do to make the most out of our time.

13 Things That Are Not Time Wasters

1. Volunteer

One of the most underrated and rewarding things we can do with our time is to give it to others. There are hundreds of terrific organizations out there that can always use a hand. If you don’t know where to look, there are many great sites like VolunteerMatch.org & CatholicVolunteerNetwork.org that can help point you in the right direction!

2. Read a new book

Step away from the TV and give your brain some good stimulation. Need a new book to read? I’d recommend a very fun new one about a Moose!

3. Write in a journal

In one of my first blog posts I wrote about the power of writing. Check out this blog post by Adam Grant that talks about how journaling can help you focus on your goals and achieve success.

4. Create a budget

Do you know where your money is going? You should! Creating a budget is a simple task that can make a huge impact on your financial well being. Here’s a link to a free budget resource from money managing master Dave Ramsey.

5. Go outside

Go for a jog, ride a bike ride, or just take a stroll around the block. You’ll be surprised what a bit of fresh air can do for you.

6. Try a new recipe 

Bust out one of those cookbooks that are sitting on your shelf collecting dust. Try your hand at a new home-cooked meal.

7. Write a thank you letter 

When was the last time you mailed someone a thank you letter? Not an email, an actual letter. I bet there is someone out there that you need to thank.

8. Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to for months

Texting is easier, but an actual phone call just to say hi is more meaningful.

9. Clean up your house

Why wait until spring. Give your home a good cleaning (like with a vacuum and dust rag) and you will be surprised how refreshed you feel.

10. Catch up on work

Working outside of the office is one of the last things we want to do. But spending a few minutes catching up on work can make us less stressed come Monday morning.

11. Exercise

By this time, our New Year’s Resolutions are nowhere to be found, same with our gym membership cards. Maybe it is time to take a trip to the treadmill. Don’t belong to a gym, here’s a link to some great exercises you can do from home.

12. Donate clothes you no longer use

Clean out your closet and give away all of the clothes you haven’t worn in years. I know there is someone out there that would be thrilled to have them.

13. Take a stroll down memory lane

Find those old photo albums and relive the good ol’ days. A blast from the past can be a fun way to help you remember how lucky you’ve been to be able to collect some awesome memories.

BONUS 14. Read Blog by Bake 

Just kidding, but not really!

 

I know this list could be 10 times as long. Let me know in the comments section below if there is anything I left out that you really enjoy doing.

13 Signs That You Are Wasting Time

If wasting time was an Olympic event, how many of you think you might be able to win a gold medal?

Often I think I could.

We don’t do it on purpose. It just happens.

One minute we are sitting at our desk ready to conquer the world, and the next minute it is 10pm and we can’t stop yawning.

We all want to be productive, don’t we?

We buy organizers and apps that keep us on task, yet every so often we feel like the day has gotten away from us and we haven’t accomplished anything.

How does that happen? Where does the time go?

We know the answers to those questions, but we hate to admit them. For those of you who wonder where the time goes, I have put together a list of 13 signs that your time is being wasted.

13 Signs That You Are Wasting Time copy(Not that I have done any of these or anything…)

1. You’ve eaten all of your Thin Mints and you are sitting on the couch waiting for Girl Scouts to knock on your door.

2. You are watching the same SportsCenter for the 3rd straight time.

3. You are using your To-Do-List as a coaster.

4. It is noon & you are still in your pajamas (and you are older than 12 years old).

5. You catch yourself wondering, “Is this a waste of time?”

6. You’ve already seen all of the videos YouTube has recommended for you.

7. You’ve refreshed Twitter so frequently that there has not been a single new tweet.

8. You are speaking into your desk fan, trying to do the Darth Vader voice.

9.  You’ve Googled “1985-1992 World Series box scores.”

10. You are “multitasking” so much that you can’t remember your initial task.

11. You’ve already seen the current episode of The Price is Right (but you are watching it anyway).

12. You are throwing M&M’s into the air and catching them in your mouth, trying to break your record of 11 in a row.

13. WiiSports is telling you to go outside.

Wii copy

Thuringer vs. Baker

If you are a fan of Grantland.com, you are probably aware that they will occasionally share an email exchange between Bill Simmons & Malcolm Gladwell. Their long-winded emails show that somewhat ordinary conversations make for great blog material.

With that spirit in mind, the following is an actual email thread between Aaron Thuringer (author of Thuringer.me) and myself. The conversation took place over the last couple of weeks. We cover a wide range of topics including: the Super Bowl, the future of domain names & a re-cast of the movie The Expendables. Enjoy!

THURINGER – I have a question about the upcoming Super Bowl and I’m 90% sure you could probably guess the topic. Yup, it’s Richard Sherman. Now, I greatly dislike overblown media topics during Super Bowl week (and don’t get me started on radio row!) but I have to ask:

Was Richard Sherman’s now infamous post game interview wrong? Was it a bad thing to do?

BAKER – Is it ironic that the self proclaimed best cover corner in the NFL is the most covered player at the Super Bowl?

If I were Nike or Beats Headphones I would absolutely say that Richard Sherman’s post game rant was not bad at all. Just today I saw numerous website ads for products endorsed by Sherman. Would I have noticed them if Sherman wasn’t everywhere in the news right now? Not sure.

As for the question of was the interview wrong or bad for Sherman personally, that’s a tough one. Sure he is benefiting financially from being in the spotlight, but is his reputation taking a hit? From what I’ve read, he is actually a very bright person who does great things in the Seattle community. But most people don’t know that because all they see is the post game interview. I read a great article where a young boy compares Sherman to Wreck it Ralph. The boy’s point was that both are seen as bad guys but they are really just misunderstood. I thought this was both adorable and insightful.

In your email you said don’t get you started on radio row. I would like to get you started. As someone who worked in sports radio for a bit (mainly in setting up remote broadcasts) I appreciate all the effort and technology that goes into pulling off something like radio row. That being said, I don’t get it. Why do places like AZ have to send local radio shows across the country to cover something that doesn’t involve any local teams? Is it just to make it seem like the station is a big deal and to take advantage of the many interview possibilities? Would we think any less of a station if they did not cover the Super Bowl on site?

THURINGER – I 100% agree with you on the benefit Richard Sherman is getting from his rant. It made him a household name. That, in itself, is excellent marketing. He is currently in the top 10 in the league in jersey sales. To be a CB and be in the top 10 in jersey sales, well you must have done something extra-curricular to improve your brand. Do we think Deion Sanders would be as popular as he was today if he hadn’t branded himself as “PrimeTime” and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way? Richard Sherman’s rant guaranteed him two things: 1) a 99 overall rating in Madden 15 through 20 and 2) When he is 35 and a shell of his former self, he will still be a name you can sell for fans. Sherman is set for life because of one short rant after making the biggest play of his career.

I also think it’s important because sports need a heel (for you non wrestling fans, that means a villain). This Super Bowl gets a boost because we are now talking about America’s favorite son, Peyton Manning (note, he’s not my favorite son) against its biggest thug, Richard Sherman. This only amplifies what was already a historic offense against a historic defense. I bet his rant alone added a few million viewers to the Super Bowl. I think that’s fantastic.

Without going too far off the deep end, I don’t necessarily agree with Richard Sherman being labeled as a thug. Part of me thinks he deserves it after that rant, but part of me cringes at that term. Thug is a racial term. Can you name me a white guy who has been called a “thug”? I can’t defend Richard Sherman too much, however. One could chalk up his infamous interview to emotion, but in the hours and days after that interview he is still repeating the same talking points, albeit without the amazing, wrestling like theatrics. I don’t know if what he did was “wrong” but I do think he deserves the backlash he is getting.

As much as I love the Wreck it Ralph comparison, I have a better one for you: Bane. They’re both villainous, super smart, theatrical and were made famous on a football field.

I’m fascinated to hear your thoughts on Radio Row. I just don’t like the end product. It’s countless hours of the same interviews and the same people regurgitating the same talking points and then trying to sell a product or idea (even if it’s noble, like a charitable cause). I agree with your point, why does a radio station from AZ have to be there? I do think it’s a status issue. Maybe it’s because being there almost guarantees you high-profile guests – even if they have nothing to say. I’m just really not all that interested in hearing Jerry Rice give his 15th interview of the day about his Super Bowl pick then pitching www.jerryricecares.com or whatever he might be pitching.

BAKER – To answer your question, no I cannot think of one white guy who has been labeled a thug. My first thought was Miami Heat forward Chris Birdman Anderson, but maybe he would be just be called crazy. To your point of thug being a racial term, here is a Bleacher Report story from 2010 that is titled “NBA All-Thug Team” and only one of the 17 guys they list is white (Birdman). Granted there aren’t a ton of white guys in the NBA, but still.

Side note, I googled “White guy thug” just to see what came up and Google auto-corrected me to say “white guy thug life tattoo”. Just thought that was funny.

Not only is www.jerryricecares.com available but it is only $12.99. I just assumed that any domain with Jerry Rice in it would be taken or cost thousands of dollars. Not that I didn’t believe you, but I looked up jerryricecares.com to see what came up. Go Daddy said it was available and that I also might be interested in www.JerryTownsend.com. Why would they assume that I would even be remotely interested in JerryTownsend.com.

Let’s play a game called “guess how much the domain costs.” First up… www.JerryTownsend.com. I’ll give you a hint; it is more than www.jerryricecares.com ($12.99) but less than www.JoinJerry.com ($2,895.00).

THURINGER – I could have sworn Jerry Townsend was someone famous, but according to Google he isn’t. There is a JerryTownsendFoundation.com, so I’m going to imagine JerryTownsend.com was pretty pricey if the JT Foundation settled on a longer domain. $500?

I wonder if Richard Sherman will be a popular Halloween costume in 2014. Did his infamous rant happen too early in the year to remain in our national consciousness 9 months later? Hell, I can’t even tell you what the world events were from last week.

Speaking of domain names, have you heard about how there are going to be a flood of new domain extensions? We’re all used to .com, .org or .edu, but there’s going to be a lot more entering the market. Some of the current cool ones that exist are: .jobs, .museum, .name. Soon, there will be a whole lot of unique domain extensions. Think of going to cnn.news, food.food or jerry.rice. Being a digital marketing professional, I’m excited for the combinations. As you clearly know, it’s hard finding specific .com names anymore. That’s the reason you don’t own AdamBaker.com, but what if you owned Adam.Baker, AdamBaker.author or Maury.Moose. A little easier for your branding?

Will it really matter, however? I look for new websites via Google – I never type random web address. When do type in a web address, it’s something I’ve already visited and I am relying on auto-complete to do the actual work of remembering the address.

BAKER – Great deductive reasoning to guess at how much JerryTownsend.com costs. You almost got it exactly right, it is $588.

I am the wrong guy to ask about Halloween costumes. My idea of a costume is to wait until the last minute, realize you don’t have any costumes and then just throw on an old basketball jersey. I’ve probably set a record for number of times dressed up as a player on the Phoenix Suns.

I did not know that about the new wave of domain extensions. That is cool. Who determines what can or can’t be an extension? And how do they program it into the World Wide Web so that it is recognized?

You are right about hardly ever typing full domain names anymore. With Google and auto-correct it seems like all you need to know is the first couple of letters and the internet takes care of the rest.

With the new extensions, will you be allowed to have a specific category of extension if your site has nothing to do with that category? For instance, will you be allowed to have a .food domain if your site is not about food?

I am taking on online class taught by author and marketing guru Seth Godin and I just got to a part where he talks about the important of a name. He says that your company’s name gets people in the mood to hear what you have to say before you say it. I think this directly applies to the new extensions. It now seems as if the extensions will set the mood for you. If I see a domain for something.movies I can get in the mood for reading info about movies. It connects me to an environment of movies before I even show up to their site. I wonder if that is entirely good or if it will limit some creativity of names like Google or iBalooza.

THURINGER – As for who decides domain extensions, that would be the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Their name sounds like something from an Orwellian fantasy, but they are a non-profit based in California that has been handling this stuff since 1998.

You’re not going to believe this, but ICANN owns icann.com and icann.org. I would hope so.

I like Seth’s theory on a name setting the mood. To bring this back to sports, do you think it has any correlation with teams? Are you more ready for football if your team is named the “Broncos” as opposed to “Cardinals” or are team nicknames so synonymous with their sport that they set the mood regardless of their name? The New Orleans Pelicans is a relatively new name, and I definitely don’t think about basketball when I think “Pelican.” This could be the reason why so many sports teams are named after something fierce, like “hawks”, “warriors” or “generals” etc. When I hear a name like 49ers, however, I don’t think fierce but I instantaneously start thinking about Joe Montana, Steve Young, Patrick Willis and JerryRiceCares.com. I guess if the Pelicans started winning NBA titles, their name would get me in the mood for basketball.

A great name can take you a long way, but in the end you do need to deliver. Maybe that’s the moral of the story.

BAKER – I won’t ask too much more about ICANN, but I saw that their vision is “One world, one Internet.” Are they concerned that someone will start a 2nd Internet? Sounds like the makings of a great movie. Who would star in 2nd Internet, the movie? What would be the plot? And what would its tagline be?

Here are my suggestions:
Stars: Sylvester Stallone and James Franco
Plot: The internet has gone bad and Stallone & Franco are fighting to create a new one.
Tagline: 2nd Internet: World Lied Web

THURINGER – I’d watch. Did you pick Stallone because he is a classic action star? What do you think of his quest to continue to make classic, 80s style action movies well into the 21st century? I read somewhere that he made the Expendables franchise because he didn’t like the state of action movies in the 2000s.

If you were going to recast the Expendables today, who would you choose? Let’s play by these rules: 5 actors (or actresses) who are considered “action” stars today to be the heroes, and 1 villain. Can you do it without choosing more than one person who has been in a Fast and the Furious movie?

BAKER – Here are my 5 heroes for the Expendables: The Rock (used up my FATF actor with my first pick), Jason Statham (does he count as FATF?) Liam Neeson, Nic Cage & Chris Tucker (for comedic relief).

And my villain would be Tom Hardy (preferably as something similar to Bane).

Who would be your choices?

THURINGER – Statham is in the current Expendables movies, therefore I don’t think you could use him again.

The Rock is my number one choice as well. He is our biggest action star. I think Channing Tatum would play well with him. Let’s throw Gerard Butler into the mix too.

Now I feel like I’m running out of action stars. Liam Neeson is a great pick, but I’m going to leave him off this list. I’m still scarred by how bad Taken 2 was. Also, kudos to you for not casting Kevin Hart. I didn’t know it was legal to leave him out of a movie right now.

Speaking of Kevin Hart, I’ll take Ice Cube as my 4th pick. He might not be an action star, but few look tougher than him. He can be the heavy artillery guy. Johnny Knoxville is my comedic relief, plus he seems to work well as the goofy sidekick to action stars.

My villain? Kiefer Sutherland. Let’s turn Jack Bauer bad. That would be fantastic theater.

I’m totally in on this movie idea. Is it too soon for a remake?

BAKER – I will remove Statham and move Tom Hardy to the heroes. Then I would replace him as the villain with Abed from Community. For some reason I think he could play a funny bad guy.

THURINGER – Abed from Community as a bad guy? I would have never pegged that. Although, I remember thinking Heath Ledger was a terrible choice to be the Joker, so who knows.

Here’s another movie-related question for you: what unlikely actors/actresses would make the best villain? Abed is a good example. Let’s take another one: Paul Dano.

I first saw Paul Dano in The Girl Next Door (very underrated movie). He played Kiltz, an awkward high school senior that was comic relief. I never would have pegged him to be a villain in a movie, but he has shown he has the chops based on recent performances.

BAKER – I thought Abed did a good job as evil Abed in one of the Community episodes, so I think he could pull off creepy bad guy.

I had to look up Paul Dano, but I think that is a good call. I just watched Looper and he was in it and did a good job playing a darker character.

What about Jason Lee? Has My Name is Earl ever been a bad guy?

Another one could be Adam Scott. He played a jerk in Walter Mitty, but it was still humorous. I think he could step it up a notch and be a slick talking villain.

As I type this I am watching SNL’s Sports Spectacular where they are showing the best SNL sports skits. Which current athlete could make the smoothest transition into full time actor/actress? I think Peyton Manning would be great in a comedy. But maybe I am only saying that because I just watched a skit with him in it.

THURINGER – All your villains are stars of NBC sitcoms. Is that on purpose?

Peyton Manning is the obvious choice, although I think I’d pass on a Peyton Manning led sitcom because he’s more sports funny than actually funny. He’d have to be paired with someone who is actually funny, so he could play off of him. I could see him succeeding in a sitcom opposite of someone like Andy Samberg, who is currently crushing it on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where the joke is Peyton is Peyton and Andy is a nerdish guy who clearly isn’t.

The key for a sports star making the transition is to be on a show whose main hook isn’t that he is an ex-athlete. Going back to my Peyton Manning example, people would stop caring that Peyton Manning is in a comedy after about four episodes. After that, you need substance. A non-sports example of this is “That 70s Show.” The 70s novelty wore off, but the show had good writing and a great cast, so it lasted for years. At the height of its popularity, they spun it off to “That 80s Show” which had bad characters and writing, and couldn’t survive when the nostalgia wore off.

So, perhaps this is another question: What athlete do you pick to star in a comedy and who do you pair him with?

I’ll take a comedy about Andy Roddick, loosely playing himself during his tennis career. His manager or agent can be Adam Scott, the master straight man. I’m going to bring Michael Richards (aka Kramer) out of retirement to play a way-to-into it member of the tennis media, and maybe former tennis star. I’m going to peg Adrianne Palicki (of Friday Night Lights fame) as the top woman’s tennis player in the world and ex of Roddick. Then I’m going to bring Richard Ayoade over from the IT crowd to play Roddick’s eccentric British tennis rival.

Would you watch? Or did I completely contradict my point about the show’s main hook can’t be that he is an ex-athlete?

BAKER – Haha, I didn’t purposely name only NBC characters, but I was watching SNL at the time, so I think NBC was sending me subliminal messages.

WOW, your show idea is brilliant! I would definitely watch that. I especially love adding Richard Ayoade.

I don’t know how I can follow that up.

I’ll take Grant Hill and star him in a comedy alongside comedian Hannibal Buress. Not sure the entire storyline, but I picture Hill as a dad and Buress as his brother in law. I’ll cast John Witherspoon (The Wayans Brothers) as his father in law. The rest of the show needs some work. Any suggestions?

THURINGER – I think I tapped myself out on my show idea. I have no idea how people work on multiple TV shows at once.

Now that the Super Bowl has passed, maybe we should bring this back to where we started, Richard Sherman. How does his trash talk look after his team’s performance on Sunday? Sherman may not have had the gaudy stats that Malcolm Smith or Kam Chancellor had in the game, but the overall team performance went a long way towards validating his rant. Now, people will talk about the Seattle secondary (and their defense overall) as being one of the best ever. They already have legendary swagger, they’ve set Seattle up to have a mini-dynasty and have given us fans a world-class heel to root against for years. I think history will look back kindly on this stretch from Sherman.

Thoughts on the Super Bowl? Do you consider Seattle one of the best defenses ever? Do you factor in the fact that they shut down Peyton Manning and the greatest statistical offense in NFL history, when teams like the 85 Bears and 00 Ravens beat average to above average offenses?

BAKER – More than anything I caught myself feeling bad for Richard Sherman once he got injured. For 2 weeks he was painted as a bad guy and you’d think I would be happy when the bad guy goes down with an injury. But I felt just the opposite. Maybe it was because the Seahawks were clearly going to win and I felt he deserved to be on the field celebrating with his teammates. I bet the Fox executives were sad too, because they probably wanted to get an interview with him as time expired, to see what he might say (or yell).

Overall I thought that the Super Bowl was pretty boring. Once I realized that Denver wasn’t going to do much against Seattle’s defense, I lost most of my interest in the game. I guess that speaks to just how good the Seahawks’ defense was. It was clear that they just weren’t going to be beaten. With the Sherman rant and the ability to shut down Peyton Manning, I think the legend of the Seahawks defense will only continue to grow throughout the years.

Thankful For The Olympics

My brother and I have an ongoing debate over which Olympics is better, Summer or Winter.

He argues that the Winter Games contain more events that he looks forward to watching.

I contest that the Summer Olympics have all the best sports, thus making them the better Olympics.

Either way, both the Summer & Winter Olympics are very fun to watch. And I can’t be the only one to think that given the fact that NBC pays billions of dollars to broadcast the Games.

With the Winter Olympics starting tomorrow in Sochi, I thought I would spend this Thankful Thursday listing the reasons that I am thankful for the Winter Olympics.

Here they are in out first ever Thankful Thursday Top Ten…

Top 10 reasons I am thankful for the Winter Olympics

10. Morgan Freeman-voiced Visa commercials

9. They make me want to build a snowman

8. Curling

7. We get to see the “Miracle On Ice” clip any time USA Hockey plays

6. Cool opening ceremonies

5. There is always an event to watch on TV, no matter what time of day

4. Living in Arizona, it is the closest I will get to snow

3. We get to learn about a new sport like Freestyle Skiing

2. After a week, I feel I am qualified to be a judge for Freestyle Skiing

1. Makes me proud to be an American!

Thankful ThursdayClick the image above for more Thankful Thursday posts

Why Do Groundhogs Get To Decide The Weather?

Once a year our weather is not predicted by a weatherman or a Doppler Radar. Once a year we throw out hundreds of years of weather patterns and advanced technology and allow the weather to be predicted by a groundhog named Phil.

Makes you Wonder Why.

Since Groundhogs Day was on Sunday, today I am wondering where that tradition comes from and if Phil he is so great at predicting the weather, why doesn’t he get to decide the weather all year round?

According to Wikipedia, the legend of Groundhogs Day and Punxsutawney Phil dates back to 1887.

That is understandable. I’m guessing the only weather predicting technology that existed back then was kinda like how your dad can sense a storm coming based on the soreness he feels in his knees.

So it made sense to let an animal predict the weather back then.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that the Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in a Celtic tradition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on February 2, the Pagan holiday of Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend says spring would come early.

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil, after making the prediction, speaks to the Club President in “Groundhogese”, which only the current president can understand, and then his prediction is translated for the entire world.

Wait what??

There is a Punxsutawney Groundhog Club? What do they do for the other 364 days of the year? I guess maybe they practice their Groundhogese.

The article also mentions that there is a select group within the Groundhog Club, called the Inner Circle. This group takes care of Phil year-round and is recognizable by their top hats and tuxedos.

Sounds like some crazy secret society that Sherlock Holmes would have to infiltrate to solve a mystery.

(Feel free to use that idea, Benedict Cumberbatch)

This year Punxsutawney Phil predicted that there will be six more weeks of winter.

The way he predicted the next six weeks makes me think that Phil might be a fan of Blog By Bake. He issued his prediction in the form of a rhyme (according to Yahoo).

“A Super Bowl winner I will not predict,

But my weather forecast, you cannot contradict,

That’s not a football lying beside me

It’s my shadow you see

So, six more weeks of winter it shall be!”

That’s fun!

According to the Inner Circle, Phil has now seen his shadow 101 times while failing to see it 17 times.

Apparently, the National Climatic Data Center tracks Phil’s forecasts and found them to be “sorely lacking,” declaring the groundhog has “no predictive skill.”

“It really isn’t a ‘bright’ idea to take a measure such as a groundhog’s shadow and use it as a predictive meteorological tool for the entire United States,” the data center says on its website.

But who are we to question the Inner Circle.

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Top 10 Lessons to Learn From ‘What About Bob?’

A few months ago I wrote that taking small, comfortably active steps can lead to change.

If you have seen the movie What About Bob?, you know that this can also be called “Baby Steps.” In the movie, taking “baby steps” is a big theme for Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murray) who is a highly manipulative obsessive-compulsive patient of psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss).

The movie revolves around Bob taking baby steps to conquering his many fears.

What About Bob? is such a goofy comedy movie but there are actually many good things to learn from it. Here’s what I found…top 10 style.

Top 10 Lessons to Learn From ‘What About Bob?’

10. Acknowledge What You Are Truly Afraid Of

In their first meeting, Dr. Leo Marvin asks Bob the following question, “What is it you’re truly afraid of?” Dr. Marvin can’t begin to help Bob until he knows what he is dealing with. And Bob can begin to get help until he acknowledges his fears. Same goes for you and me.

9. “If I fake it, then I don’t have it”

As a hypochondriac, Bob always thinks that he is susceptible to disease. One way he learns to deal with this is to fake many diseases. Bob fakes having Tourettes Syndrome because he says that if he has to fake it, then he knows that he doesn’t have it. The scene where he fakes Tourettes is hilarious, but on a serious note, I think it shows that there are many different ways to deal with fear. Find yours. Even it is includes yelling obscenities.

8. Don’t Talk With Hand Puppets

The more we learn about Dr. Marvin, the more we see that he is odd guy who doesn’t deal with his kids very well. Instead of talking to them like humans, he tries to speak to them via hand puppets. This doesn’t work and his kids hate it. Don’t deal with your problems by using hand puppets. Take off the gloves and deal with your issues first hand.

7. “Take A Vacation From Your Problems”

Dr. Marvin suggests that Bob take a vacation from his problems. Every time Bob thinks a problem arises, Dr. Marvin says he needs to tell the problem that he is on vacation and he won’t be bothered while on vacation. Don’t let your fears bother you. Be on vacation.

6. You Are Your Best Psychiatrist

Bob starts to get withdrawals when Dr. Marvin goes on vacation. Bob feels that missing a few weeks of appointments will cause him to take a step back in his progress. Dr. Marvin tells Bob, “The best psychiatrist in the world is the one right inside of you.” Whether is a doctor or a self help book, so often we look for others for help. We need to remember that we can help ourselves.

5. Your Bladder Won’t Explode

Bob is afraid of everything. He even fears that his bladder will explode. He has no reason to think that it really will explode, but he has convinced himself that is it something to fear. Just like that fear, many of our fears seem silly when we take a step back and really look at them.

4. Find Something Else To Fear

Dr. Marvin’s son Siggy is very afraid of death. To help him get over this fear, Bob tells Siggy that he should fear Tourettes instead. He turns it into a joke and they both start yelling curse words. Siggy has a great quote when he tells his dad that “Bob gave me a great thing to be afraid of instead of death.” If you feel the need to fear something, give yourself another (funnier) fear and choose to be afraid of that instead.

3. Keep Sailing

Bob goes sailing with Dr. Marvin’s daughter Anna. Since Bob is afraid of sailing, Anna ties him to the sail. Bob considers this a win over his fear and is thrilled to tell everyone that he is now a sailor. Seeing this, Dr. Marvin sarcastically says, “keep sailing.” While Dr. Marvin didn’t mean it, “keep sailing” was actually great advice. Next time Bob thinks he can’t do something, he should remember to keep sailing.

2. Treat People Like They Are Telephones

Bob says that he treats people like they are telephones. He says, “if I meet somebody who I don’t think likes me I say to myself, ‘Bob, this one is temporarily out of order.’ Don’t break the connection just hang up and try again.” The movie was made in 1991 when phones would be out of order. In today’s world, you won’t often find an out of order phone. Instead the line might read, “if someone doesn’t answer, all I can do is leave a message and try again.” Give someone your message. Try again and they might just come around/call you back.

1. Take One Little Step At A Time

“All I have to do is take one little step at a time and I can do anything!” That is what Dr. Marvin teaches Bob to say. What great advice! Nothing else needs to be said.

 

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Brilliant In Tiny Bursts

How often are you brilliant?

How frequently do you have groundbreaking ideas?

If you are like me, the answer is not very often. And that can be discouraging.

We look at very successful people and assume they are brilliant every hour of every day. How can we possibly keep up with them when we only have a great idea once in a blue moon (and we aren’t even smart enough to know how often a blue moon occurs)?

What if I told you that even the most successful people aren’t coming up with fantastic ideas every single minute? And that is coming from someone who has been called brilliant (No, not me).

In this book Linchpin, author Seth Godin explains what he calls, “The Law of Linchpin Leverage.”

“Most of the time you are not being brilliant,” Godin says. “Most of the time you are doing stuff that ordinary people could do. We are brilliant only in tiny bursts.”

That is a comforting thought.

I often feel lousy if I am not constantly coming up with fantastic ideas.

It is refreshing to hear from someone who is considered one of the best writers in the world that being ordinary is okay. Godin is one of the people I assumed was overflowing with brilliance. If he is doing ordinary things most of the time, then it must be okay for the rest of us to do the same.

We can’t get down on ourselves when we aren’t coming up with brilliant ideas.

We can’t let our feelings of inadequacy get in the way of finding our next brilliant burst.

So the question you are asking is probably, “how do I find my next brilliant burst?”

Godin sheds some light on this as well by saying, “People who tell you, ‘I could paint a painting like that’ are missing the point. The craft of painting or the craft of writing that book, those are the easy parts. It’s the art, and the incite, and bravery of value creation that are rewarded.”

The majority of your life you won’t be brilliant. And you don’t have to be.

But to be brilliant and create value, you do have to be brave.

It is brave to ask questions, especially when you are afraid you might get an answer.

It is brave to speak up in a meeting, particularly when everyone else has their head down.

It is brave to share an idea, even if you might not consider it brilliant.

You won’t create amazing things 24/7. And that’s okay.

But be brave and you will recognize your brilliance. Even though it only comes in tiny bursts.