Friday, January 17, 2014

Fun Ways With Math - Find Your Perfect Match!

This is a great video and occurs to me that this same analysis works not just for online dating but for identifying your ideal business prospect too.

The takeaway?
  1. Optimize your profile
  2. Be really clear on your data points and weighting
  3. Be more picky - but around the right metrics.


So here is a guy having a go with mathematics - who has a better system?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Two Lessons On Dealing With Disappointment

"It wasn't supposed to be like this!"

You worked out a good strategy and you did the work to make it happen but it just didn't.

The people you chose were all wrong and the grand plan just stalled and went nowhere.

It could have been a plan for business or for your personal life but the result is the same. Not the one you want.

You did all the things you could think of to make it happen.

You had the expertise to do what you wanted to accomplish once the plan was in action.

It just didn't work.

There is a lesson for us that we sometimes can fail to learn.  Several really.

Lesson One is this. 

We can't make someone want the things that we want. 

Even if those things would improve their life dramatically, by wanting the same things. It sucks, but there you go.  Identify the right people. Have a way to identify the wrong people.

Lesson: Find people who value the same things you do. 

The second thing we need to learn is this:

Good results don't follow according to logic. 

People buy the crappy thing instead of the fantastic one you have for them.  They make the decisions they make and they live with those decisions.  If they make the decisions that don't include what you offer, then you live with that.

If they buy the crappy product instead of yours then maybe they like that crappy approach. Did they like that crappy approach best?

Or was it the only one presented to them? 

We get results by what we did. Not what we 'could do'.

No matter how much better it would be...

Identify the actions that the competition is taking that you are not. Own it. Get smarter and take action of your own.

Lesson: If you don't ask, you can't get. 

Keep Cool And Hydrated In The Heatwave

Sassy Water

Cinnamon Spiced Iced Tea

Iced Coffee The Italian Way

Non Alcoholic Coffee Mojito

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just Sitting Back To Breathe

Many people seem to live their life at the beck and call and demands of others.
The children, the partner that insists...

Our ability to say 'no' to such demands, affected by our sense of self and what we "should" do in response, rather than what we would prefer to do.

What is it that sometimes leads us to work on life as though the choices of others are more important than the choices we would make for how we spend our time? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Closing The Book of Longing

"So I closed the Book of Longing ..."

It's a great line.

The Book of Longing of course is the title of a poetry book by Leonard Cohen. So too goes a line in the  song "That Don't Make It Junk".  Beyond that the phrase reminds us of something that we may all be familiar with.  That longing that will and can never be satisfied.

We can drive ourselves crazy wanting for things that can't be ours, are not possible or are just forever beyond our reach.

Our attachment to the longing we feel can  eat at us. It can blind us to the beauty that is around us right now, and make tasteless the best that our life has to offer us.

What we long for can become like an addiction.  Not having what we long for can become a nagging kind of suffering that we bring into our own life and we can fall into the trap of thinking that the intensity of the longing can make it more likely to come to us.

That of course is not so.

The intensity of the longing only gives us intensity of longing.

And intensity of pain at not having that object of our longing.

Closing our own book of longing could be just the thing to let us see those other things in life that are so good that we have been overlooking.

Carrots - The Ulitmate Branding Example

Orange carrots - a branding exercise of success! 

We all know carrots right? Those orange things that you buy from the green grocer or supermarket. 
But that's not it at all. 

Carrots were not always orange in colour and making this the default colour was a deliberate tactic to associate the colour with a family and it is unlikely that orange carrots even existed prior to the 16th century. Before this time carrots were white or yellow or purple. 

So why are carrots Orange? According to Susan Broomhall Winthrop Professor of Early Modern History at University of Western Australia  the story ...

They were bred orange in The Netherlands during the 17th century from the older white and purple stock (that are now back in fashion as “heritage” varieties) to show support for the Orange-Nassau dynasty.
The Orange-Nassau were the leading family of The Netherlands from the mid-16th century (and are now its royal family).

The Dutch royal family on the balcony after the abdication of Queen Beatrix, April 2013.Wikimedia Commons

As the northern provinces of the Low Countries sought to break away from the Catholic Habsburg Philip II, who ruled from distant Spain,William of Orange-Nassau emerged as the only aristocrat with the power, influence and finances to lead them.
William and his family were to number among the leading Protestant families of Western Europe – although this didn’t stop a number of them from converting to Lutheranism or even Catholicism along the way.

William of Orange and his sons might have been successful military and political leaders and the prominent faces of the dynasty – but its women were doing plenty to increase the family’s hold on power in other, equally visible, ways during the period.
After a 12-year truce had been signed with Spain in 1609, the Orange-Nassau dynasty entered a new phase of influence.  See more
The Orange component was named after a town in southern France and it was this part, which identified their particular branch, which became a key tool in the dynasty’s strategic public relations.
The four daughters of Frederick Henry and Amalia, for example, all created new palaces and castles named after their family: Oranjewoud, Oranienstein, Oranienburg, and Oranienbaum. They even painted the buildings orange and planted orange trees in their gardens.

Fruit and veg brand marketing

So provocative were orange carrots seen to be in the early modern period that, at various points, they were banned from sale in Dutch markets as the fortunes of the dynasty waxed and waned politically.
Abraham Van den Tempel, Albertina Agnes of Orange-Nassau and her children (1668). Her daughter Amalia prominently holds a sprig of orange blossom. Wikimedia Commons

If eating humble carrots was the way that the general public could show support for the family, exotic oranges were the dynasty’s own particular fruit for brand marketing.
Politics and intrigue! A very good outcome and example of branding that has stood the test of time - and become the default association for this humble vegetable. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goal Setting For A Better Life

There is no faster way to a better life - whatever that may be for each of us, than to formally review where we are at and look for areas we can improve.  A formal process of setting goals can help, but before that there is other stuff to know - like beliefs, how to set goals you can achieve, all of that stuff.

Here are some articles on some of these goals topics.

Goal Checker - Make The Right Goals
Goals Setting - Cheat Sheet

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Racism And Stereotyping Lessons From The Garden

I love that I have a garden perhaps more than I love gardening. Most of my garden is dedicated to plantings of Japanese maples and such along with sections for vegetables and herbs. But in one section on the hottest side I have container plants of succulents and cactus varieties.

Now this came about as much as anything as a nod to my more recently developing interest in all things Mexican, the culture, the colours, the food and the design influence of the Spanish Missions in California and vegetation and landscape of the Baja California peninsula. 

In the course of acquiring these plants I ended up throwing in a memento from the nursery of a Mexican having a siesta. This sat out in the pot mostly and never come to mind at all very often but when I noticed it, it began to bother me in a strange way.  Finally I took it out and thought about it some and wondered what it was that was causing the cognitive dissonance. 

In a way it seems obvious but it wasn't for quite a while. I bought this little memento as a fun reminder of a visit to Mexico and to bring a bit of that memory to live in my garden. In Australia we don't really know much about Mexican culture as a general rule, most Australians perhaps, thinking that hard shell tacos and Tex Mex is representative of Mexico. But the best intentions in the world don't alter the fact of the damage that stereotyping can do. 

In Australia we may typically not be aware of the way that Mexicans are reviled in the US. Having spent quite a bit of time there I know too well the low regard that is sometimes accorded to the culture and the ignorant notions that some American citizens have towards them. Notwithstanding the economic benefits the country derives from exploiting their workers in menial low paying jobs. Picking lettuce and working as field hands as one example. 

Of course Mexicans are proud of their culture and their customs and are much more than the stereotype of sleeping in the day, in the field wearing a sombrero. 

Mexicans are no more represented by this than the now thankfully unPC 'lawn aboriginal' ornaments that once decorated the Aussie front yard of some homes. Just as the fake stone pagodas at the garden store do not represent the Japanese people and do not turn your pansies and grevillieas into a Japanese garden. No not even that ugly concrete pond is going to do it. 

So my succulents will just have to stand on their merits. 

Mature succulents in the wild in Baja Mexico

I will just have to let them get big enough to take on the characteristics of the plants as they exist in their natural habitat. 

We all grow best in a natural environment. 


In the US the fight goes on to change the names of some sports teams to be more culturally sensitive. Here's one advertisement they won't be showing at Superbowl. It illustrates this point clearly.

Keep Your Visitors Safe With These Tips For Better Food Handling

Can't stress enough the importance of understanding how to handle food safely. This article from the ABC gives some good background.

In summary:

Break up big batches

Feeding hungry hordes over the holidays often means making large batches of food in advance.If you are preparing large batches of food in advance, store them in smaller amounts in a number of separate shallow containers with lids.

Two, four, out...

When it comes to leftovers, it's important to remember that the temperature danger zone in which food poisoning micro-organisms thrive is 5°C to 60°C. A good rule of thumb is "two-four-out".

Don't wash the bird

Washing your chicken before you cook it is one family Christmas tradition you need to break.

Raw-egg roulette

If mayonnaise, tiramisu, mousse, eggnog and other dishes are holiday favourites for you and yours, then you should know foods made with raw or minimally cooked eggs are now the most common cause of food-borne salmonella outbreaks in Australia.

Watch out for the rice salad

Rice can be contaminated with the Bacillus cereus bacteria, which are found in the soil and plants grown close to the ground – including legumes, grains and spices, says Cathy Moir, CSIRO food microbiologist. When these plant foods are dried and stored, the Bacillus bacteria remain present as spores, which stay dormant until you add water – then presto, they germinate and grow. Unfortunately the cooking process doesn't kill the heat-resistant spores and once the cooked rice starts to cool, the bacteria thrive, and produce toxins that can make you very sick in a very short period of time.

  Wash your salad vegetables

Soaking your fruit or vegetables for hours before you eat them is probably overkill, but a thorough rinse in fresh water is a good idea.
Moir says rinsing does two things: it reduces your exposure to microorganisms that can make you sick, and may wash away chemical and pesticide residues.

Which mouldy cheese should you ditch?

If it's a hard cheese, then it will have a low moisture content and its dense structure means mould will usually survive only on the surface, rather than spreading invisibly into the cheese. So it should be safe to cut around the affected area and eat the rest of block.

Spread love, not germs

You already know this, but most of us don't do it frequently enough or properly – wash your hands.As well as your hands, you should also keep your kitchen surfaces and equipment clean – especially after using them for raw foods. Be sure to use a clean cloth and hot soapy water to wipe down surfaces.
See the full article for the rest of the information that you want to commit to memory for your #betterlife and good food handling skills.