Tag Archives: Writing

A Common Error Indie Authors Make

 

 

 

 

 

Firstly, one of the most common. This error is everywhere when people write.

  1. Lay Lady Lay.

A few words from Face-book the other day, “ … instead of laying on the lounge I laid on the beach.”

The word lay is a verb that requires an object. You have to lay something or someone. Like an egg.

It has NOTHING to do with being supine on a bed or lounge. Used that way, it is an error.

Now he/she may have been talking about sex. ‘Cause that works. The verb lay can sometimes have an object that is understood, ie not actually stated but there nevertheless.

Because lay can also mean ‘have sex with’, the understood object would be ‘my partner’, or some-such variation thereof.

The sentence quoted above, if it read, “...instead of laying my friend Bill/Betty on the lounge; I laid him/her on the beach” then it would not be an error. My friend Bill/Betty and him/her – being the object(s). Strange, maybe, but grammatically accurate.

To help avoid this error, try this.

Write these words — “lie, lay, lain” (to recline);
then below them — “lay, laid, laid” (to place or put down).

We call this the Michiko Sato rule after the Japanese lady who invented it. A great and easy way to avoid this error.

Check this list each time you need to use one of these words. You will be amazed how it helps you get the grammar correct.

  1. She jumped off of the train.”

The compound preposition off of is generally regarded as informal and is best avoided in formal speech and writing. So not really an error? Perhaps.

What is a preposition? Prepositions are usually used in front of nouns (things) or pro

nouns and they show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence.

The construction is “much inferior” to the form without the “of” according to Garner’s Modern American Usage (3d ed.).

There is nothing linguistically or grammatically wrong, it has been said with off of. It’s non-standard in some dialects (mainly American) and informal in most, so you should probably avoid it if you’re concerned about your writing seeming formal, or accurate from a grammar perspective. OK. Not an error, but to be avoided.

Cambridge Grammar notes that the combination “off” followed by an “of” phrase occurs only in American English.

The Oxford English Dictionary calls it “only colloq. (non-standard) and regional” in current use. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage says it’s “primarily a form used in speech”.

So what’s supposedly wrong with off of? The main problem seems to be that the of is unnecessary. In the case above, why not use just off or perhaps from the train, for example? The “of” adds NOTHING to the exchange.

'Off of' has become idiomatic in the USA, although it has “faded into the past” in Britain.

I still think it’s non-standard, an error, in fact, and doesn’t belong in the best written English.

Conversation and informal writing? Not sure. Perhaps!

It has been said, that one day “off of” will undoubtedly be accepted as standard American English, but not yet. I hope not ever. I hate it.

But then I’m not American.

  1. I took the knife off her

There are a couple of strings to this particular bow. Off is a preposition as defined above. It shows relationship between two things. Here the knife (noun) and her (pronoun – substituting for a female person).

As such the usage above is correct - on the surface.

However, off is usually considered an opposite (antonym) of on. Therefore if the knife is on (top of) the woman, off is the correct usage. But, as is probably the case, the knife is more likely in her hand or pocket or handbag. So “from” would be a better preposition to use. Even “away from”, but not “off”.

Then you have the ‘One Word One Meaning’ argument. If off means not on, it can’t mean anything else? But ...

This would seem to prevent anything from being ….. off topic, off in the distance, off like a shot, on and off, straight off, a little bit off etc. Quiet. I'm thinking!!

Once again (see above) this might be considered colloquial/regional American English.

It seems to me that where the preposition FROM could be used, then it should be. This will avoid all of the above discussion.

None of my sources suggest, on the other hand, that from and off are synonyms. (having the same meaning). Therefore if we are taking something away from a person, animal, object or place; then the preposition FROM should be used in all instances, unless one of the ‘things’ is actually on top of the other, and off is then appropriate.

I’m not even sure American English is a thing. I guess I hope not.

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What’s it all about? We are in Control of our lives!

I had my leg over the edge. 22nd floor. St Kilda Rd.

Up and Over

I was going to do it this time. Jump off the building. After the bankruptcy, the retrenchment and the Government taking almost all my payout, there was nothing left. It was hopeless. I had even lost the $1M insurance policy I had been contributing to for the last 48 years to leave my children a nest egg. I started this 13 years before they were even born. My very existence was a washout. 64 years of living - down the tubes. Or down to St Kilda Rd, at least. My life sucked. Big time. And it was not my fault!

The beginning of the Comeback

Not sure why. But I climbed down from that railing.

I went to the Doctor, and the Doctor said – "Take these drugs, See a Healer of the Head.” (You can sing this one to yourself if you like! And dance a bit too. It works!)

And I did.

AND Then: someone showed me a video of this man. (No Arms No Legs - No Worries

Nicholas Vujicic (Voya chic) An Australian Preacher and Motivational speaker born without any limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Who would have guessed?

But he eventually came to terms with his disability.

Did You Get That? “He eventually came to terms with his disability.” How inspiring is that?

What was thinking. My issues were NOTHING in comparison to that. Yeah, of course it's real allright. To me. But Gee wizz. Where do you go from here?

If he could do that – handle that, who could deal with the relatively insignificant issues that I was facing?

ANYBODY!

Inspiration To Go On

Since then. I have walked on hot coals. Twice.  Really.

And as if I needed further inspiration, these 9 people kept cropping up in my reading.

Nine People

Albert Ellis, Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Dr Phil, Dr Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn, Shakespeare, Susan Jeffers and Zig Ziglar.

What do they all have in common I hear you ask? Let me explain.

They all believed in one simple truth. One that I had failed to understand Up until THEN!!

Let's read their own words so we can understand what this truth might be shall we?

Albert Ellis: In 1955 he developed REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy) the main principle of which was – A person is rarely affected emotionally by outside things, but rather by 'perceptions, attitudes or internalised sentences' about outside things and events.

Anthony Robbins: Whom the NY times calls 'The High Priest of Human Potential' says – There are two worlds. The EXTERNAL world which we can INFLUENCE, (We cannot control the external world) and the INTERNAL world which we do control. Therefore our ultimate significance in life comes not from something external but something internal.

Dale Carnegie: Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

Dr Phil: Unlike the external factors that we have no control over, our internal factors are made up of our own reactions to the events in our lives.

Dr. Wayne Dyer: (Oh this one is really good!!!) Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

Are you getting where this is going? I certainly was.

Jim Rohn: You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind. But you can change the set of your sail. The same wind blows on us all, whether we win or lose depends on the set of our sail.

Shakespeare: (Hamlet, Act II, Scene II) … there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Susan Jeffers: (in her best-selling book  'Feel the Fear, and Do it Anyway') says  - Don't be deceived into thinking that by changing the external, the internal will be changed. It works the other way around.

And Finally

Zig Ziglar: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

What's it all about? What does it all Mean?

Seems to me that they are all saying exactly the same thing. And it is all about the simple truth I alluded to earlier. And that truth is:

We Are The Boss of Us”.

YEP

We Are The Boss of Us”.

Nick and Blame.

Nick Vujicic could have blamed his extrinsic situation. He had more reason than most. But he didn't. He dreamed of a bigger and better future for him and his family. Yes. That's right. He has a wife and children.

Serenity Prayer:

I am reminded here of the Serenity Prayer. I guess you have all heard of it? (Not from Alcoholics Anonymous - I hope).

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The Courage to change the things I can, and The Wisdom to know the difference.”

The Victim and the Blame (Victim) Game - Work, Weather, Relationships etc:

Speaking of that, How many times have you heard people play the victim game?

Complaining that they can't be happy because of their

  1. Terrible job,

  2. horrible boss,

  3. bills,

  4. childhood experiences,

  5. Their Parents

  6. the bad weather,

  7. Unhappy marriage or a strained relationship?

There's always someone or something else in charge of their lives. Someone else who is to blame. "It's not my fault." is their constant refrain.

"What is it with this stupid phone? Or that driver is an idiot? "

I think you know what I mean.

How many times have you said this kind of thing yourself? I know I used to. A lot. Still do - far too much.

But - I am getting better.  I am aware of it now - and that is the first step.

FINALLY:

Here I am. It's Approximately 2 years later and I am still here. Getting better every day.

1. I'm taking back control.

2. I'm not sitting around lamenting how bad my life is.

3. I'm not accepting the idea that things just happen to me.

That's being a victim.

I remember Susan Jeffers - “Don't be deceived  .... she said. 

Don't be deceived into thinking that by changing the external, the internal will be changed. It works the other way around.

This is clever stuff!!

I bought an AWESOME plaque while I was in Bali recently.

Live Like you will Die Tomorrow.

Dream like you will live forever!!

I plan to live my life from now on based on these simple thoughts, and I am going to think of Nick Vujicic, and just get on with it.

CAUSE - Being in Control

I will be the cause of what happens to me, not the victim of the circumstances in which I find myself.

I will be the CAUSE of what happens to me, not the VICTIM of the circumstances in which I find myself.

I am doing it!!!!!  And IF I CAN DO IT!!!  Who else do you think can do it?

ANYBODY!!!!!!!!!

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Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift is used to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events. A radical change in underlying beliefs or theory. A changed attitude, or way of doing things.

Dig Deep

What this means is that if the way we are doing things is not working, we must stop just piddling about at the edges making small, usually ineffectual alterations, and dig in and turn the whole thinking process upside down; we need to look at a problem or issue from a completely different angle.

Examples

What has changed in recent times that proves this rule?

The Sharing Economy

AirBnB is now one of the biggest accommodation providers in the world. It owns no hotels or any other properties and is entirely accessible on line. This is customer to customer business. A whole new way of finding and securing a place to stay.

Uber is now one of the biggest taxi providers in the world. It owns no cars or any other vehicles and is entirely accessed on line via an a computer browser or an 'app' on your smart phone or tablet.

Netflix and other movie sharing and streaming services have completely swamped Blockbuster and other bricks and mortar video stores. They no longer exist.

Travel. There is now a disruptive travel company that owns no aeroplanes, hotels, rental cars or offices in the high street. But it provides 5* travel experiences for members at 2* prices. And this is growing at an exponential rate overseas and now in Australia.

Even Skype deserves a mention. Paradigm shifts.

EBooks

People are not reading traditional books as much now as 10 years ago. Cheaper publishing techniques, cheaper purchase prices, cafés and other community/social areas in bookshops and libraries, more book tours and launches, reading and writing festivals were tried, but still the reading public stopped buying paper based books.

Enter eBooks. Electronic books. A paradigm shift. Along came Kindle and other electronic reading devices; and programs for reading eBooks on your smart phone and tablet.

Upside Down

That's turning the issue upside down. Using a different way of doing things.

What might this paradigm shift business be able to offer a person living in the here and now in Australia? Someone not in the industrial revolution, or involved in the advent of printing, or the creating of The Internet? How does that work?

Change and The Paradigm

Author Earnie Larson is credited with the droll maxim "Nothing changes if nothing changes".

Let's look at this.

Australia is an island state far away from the 2 hubs of human life. USA and Europe.

As I write, the news is breaking that the Electrolux factory here in Orange in Central Western New South Wales, Australia is closing down with the associated loss of jobs, self esteem, and regular wages. Of course there will also be the domino effect rippling through the NSW economy as ancillary production diminishes and finally stops. Not to mention the probable decrease in the spending of the more than 500 people affected by this change.

Is this just the greed of an overseas parent company or is there something else at play here?

We, in Australia, are facing constant rises in prices for everything. Wages, Infrastructure, repairs & maintenance, equipment, raw materials to name a few.

Our manufacturing sector then has shipping and transport to take into account. Even if product is sold here in the big brown land; most towns and cities are many hours apart. Even by air. And this is expensive. Export is almost completely prohibitive.

Equilibrium

If we look at a version of the economic equilibrium curve, (not supply V's Demand, but COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) V's Sales) we note, as mentioned earlier, that costs are rising sharply. On the other hand income derived from sales is falling due to among other things cheaper imports, online purchasing and changes in consumer demand. The crossover (equilibrium point shall we say) is racing towards zero faster than any time in our history.

Ostriches we are not. This can't continue. It is not greed to want to stay in business. If a limb is dying or dead we need to cut it off. Has to happen.

Supply V's Demand

Perhaps we can look, now, at the traditional Supply V's Demand curve but note that while demand is quite possibly still high for most manufactured goods although in a different model perhaps - our ability, in Australia, to produce / supply these goods at the required level and the necessary price is becoming less and less. So the equilibrium is unstable. Unpredictable. Other than the realisation that it is getting closer to zero here too.

Life Has Moved On

So, of course we complain. We tweak the edges of the problem, demand that Governments help, or that Parent Companies lose their investors' money or any number of completely ineffectual and traditional remedies. Nothing works. Funny that. The situation has changed. We have to change too. Yep. No longer much point in making large quantities of horse shoes or hansom cabs. Life has moved on. We need to catch-up.

Next

While we cannot (nor should we) completely resile from a need for a manufacturing sector as such; we MUST reduce our reliance on it. We need a paradigm change.

Our Governments, of whatever persuasion, do not seem to be able to tax massive profits at the correct level, nor do they seem to be able to resist calls for assistance from companies making billions who figure a small handout of a few hundred million will help the country as a whole.

We need to look at how we can CHANGE things so our people can be strong again.

Yeah, But What?

Obviously, we will still need cars, fridges, washing machines, TV's and the like. Not to mention furniture and all the other major pieces of equipment required for a modern lifestyle. But is it possible that we can shift our way of living in a way that reduces our demand for such goods? Perhaps? In ways we have not thought of yet? With products that may not have been invented yet?

And with greater numbers of people arriving in our country from overseas and by the normal processes, we have, in my opinion, a huge and ever increasing need for enhanced service industries. See sharing services mentioned above.

Take for example the rise of restaurant food and grocery delivery systems in some of our bigger cities. Just one instance.

We could develop products that do not need to be mass produced, perhaps; nor transported by traditional means. Old ideas can be re-visited or new ideas generated. Stuff that is locally made, even Cottage Industries might be the way to go. (We moved away from these many decades ago, but perhaps we could revisit this kind of commerce). I believe there is now again a huge potential here.

What about Sport, Music and Theater? Performance and Static or Fine Art. Movies, Electronica and esoterica. All of these things can be ramped up and with the right marketing (another service industry) might be a new employment area for displaced manufacturers. Most of us have more leisure time now with a need to fill in the spaces. And everyone has untapped talent just waiting to be unleashed. Hidden gems. Think about it.

Change is inevitable. It is happening all around us. Now.

Life coaching as a service might pick up to the level of acceptance here, that it has in America.

And, of course there is the whole digital economy. Phone and tablet 'apps'. Computer coding. Commodities that can be transported free over the air so to speak. This market, largely untapped even now, is bigger than anything that has gone before.

Summary

The change is here. We have to stop bitching and get on with it. Embrace it. The same wind blows on us all. If we act like a child who says, “I'll turn my back, and if I can't see you – you can't see me,” the wind will still blow on us and likely blow us over. We cannot escape. We must deal with the consequences. We have to change ourselves. We have to adapt to what is happening around us. A paradigm shift is long overdue.

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Jillian 33 – Some Writing Notes

Writing tips from Our Jillian

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Writing has been on my mind. Lately I have been reading a lot of free books on my kindle. They are promotions mostly by newer authors and some of them are fantastic.

Some of them fail the very first test of writing – not even good writing – just writing in general. They are just not interesting and do not hold a reader enthralled for any-time at all. Some are also diatribes by people with an axe to grind and these ??writers?? use their stories like the basis for a lecture. Not fun at all.

I mentioned this to Jillian as I know she writes and wants to be a full time author some day.

She said that there were two things a writer, of fiction anyway, needs to be aware of. Obviously there are more than two things or anyone could be a writer, but two elements that are more important than any others.

“OK.” I said. “I'll bite. But don't they say there is a book in everyone, you just need to find the gumption to let it out?”

“True.” she replied, “but you still have to have some idea about the process or the technique. Why do you think there are some very famous writers whose books are read by huge numbers of people, and prolific authors with very large lists and very few readers. And I am not just talking esoteric and less accessable subjects here. I am talking your basic novel that no-one wants to read.”

“Oh, I know what you are going to say,” Jillian butted in “It is just practice, and if you write 500 words per day everyday you will get into a habit and your book will suddenly appear out of apparently nowhere.”

Now that is a good idea (there is a web site that has a 31 day writing challenge based around this very idea) and you should do this if you want to develop your muscle, but, as you know, the wrong exercise will not help a muscle, it may even be a bad thing. So you do need SOME technique.” Jillian was rising to the challenge. I could visualise her in her school marm garb with chalk in her hand and white dust floating about her head like a miasma of cigarette smoke. It was pretty awesome to see her in action this way.

I had a thought. “Well, it's true I have seen some pretty poor examples where people have just taken their lives and some stuff that they'd like to do put it together and let their imagination, as they say, run wild.”

“If that's what they mean when they say there is a novel in everyone' – I reckon in many cases it should stay where it is.”

“True again,” Jillian said, “but the addition of a tad of actual knowledge, (there are after all University courses on writing and journalism and stuff like that,) might be just a little beneficial don't you think? So, perhaps, it is something you can and need to learn.

“OK.” I said. “The first thing is a good plot. The action must be awesome? Right?”

“Nup.” She dismissed me with a flourish. “A very famous author once asked us at a seminar given as part of the Writers Festival in whatever city I was in at the time, 'What was the plot of the latest Harry Bosch or Alex Cross novel that you read?' No one remembered. But they all knew Harry Bosch or Alex Cross, a lot about his life, wife and or kids if he had any, what car he drove and many other things he had got up to, but the latest adventure (The Plot) no one could immediately call to mind.

“So.” she said majestically, “plot is secondary to fabulous characters. Your novel needs to be full of personas that will grab the readers by the nose and lead them places they would love to go but are scared, or show them things they have dreamed about, or make them part of a reality that is impossible but

wonderful at the same time. Readers will identify with the folk in the story. They will live their lives with them. A vicarious existence they had only imagined. The characters need to be real and LIVE in the minds of the readers. All else is secondary.”

Hating to interrupt this flow of erudition I took my life in my hands and said, “Plot – which I naively thought of as the story – is not that important, then?”

“Of course it's important you moron,” she blustered. “but if the characters are not engaging then no one cares. If you don't mind whether the detective, for example, lives or dies. becomes corrupted or sleeps with the suspected killer, or any other plot twist or turn, then none of it matters to you as the reader.”

“OK.” I think I’ve got it.” I say a tad chastened, “but exactly where does the plot fit in?”

“Good question,” Jillian winks. “It is the glue that holds all the characters together. Why is there a detective, why a jilted lover, who is hiding in the shrubbery, what is the point of this discussion and where is the money? All of these plot or story elements are connections between the characters and are the twists and turns that make their lives (and by extension – yours) fascinating. The plot is like a roadmap to your character's final destination.”

“I remember,” I thought out loud, “when someone in a story I was reading acted in a way that seemed to be completely opposite to how I expected them to respond (out of character if you will), that I lost interest in this person and figured I really don't care what you do. Yes. I reckon that this character had been set up with beliefs and values that wouldn't have generally allowed her to do whatever it was she did and so was unbelievable. Therefore I lost empathy and all my other feelings for this person and what they did or didn't do or what happened to them was not something I wanted to know about. I put the book down and never returned to it.”

“Something like that,” said Jillian. “you have to be aware of being overly judgemental, though, they are characters in a story remember, so not everything can be explained. And sometimes timeline and other literary devices may mask possible major changes in a person's character attributes. But yes. You might find things like that.”

“Okaaaay. Let me think on that for a while”, I said thoughtfully.

By the way, There are a huge number of websites that are focussed on this topic. Here is ONE I found. It is not necessarily the best; it is one of many, but it has some good stuff including a downloadable cheat sheet to help with character development.

Character Development

“What is the second element of which you spoke?”

“I reckon we've had enough for one time. Don't you? What say we talk about the next bit later? Besides it is hard to explain and even harder to do consistently.”#ourjillian

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Auras And Kirlian Photography – Energy

Can We See Force / Energy Fields?

I have written about energy and force fields and stuff like that. But do they actually exist? Or are they just figments of the imaginations of film-makers, old Asian mystics and martial arts masters?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

There has been much research on these topics. Let's have a look at Auras for example.

Auras

Perhaps we can start with Wikipedia.

An aura is a supposed field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object like the halo or aureola in religious art. The depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of particular power or holiness. It is said that all objects and all living things manifest such an aura. Often it is held to be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with practice: such perception is at times linked with the third eye of Indian spirituality. Various writers associate various personality traits with the colors of different layers of the aura. It has also been described as a map of the thoughts and feelings surrounding a person.” Wikipedia

Hmmm? That sounds a bit like some of the stuff we discussed in a previous article.

Not Proved

However Wikipedia goes on to say: Attempts to prove the existence of auras scientifically have repeatedly met with failure; for example people are unable to see auras in the dark, and auras have never been successfully used to identify people when their identifying features are otherwise obscured in controlled tests.”

Kirlian Photography

OK. So does Kirlian photography link into this in any way?

Wikipedia.

Kirlian believed that images created by Kirlian photography might depict a conjectural energy field, or aura, thought, by some, to surround living things. Kirlian and his wife were convinced that their images showed a life force or energy field that reflected the physical and emotional states of their living subjects.”

Again with the life force.

But then, also from Wikipedia:

Not Proved

Scientists such as Beverly Rubik have explored the idea of a human biofield using Kirlian photography research, attempting to explain the Chinese discipline of Qigong. Qigong teaches that there is a vitalistic energy called qi (or chi) that permeates all living things. The idea of qi as its own sort of field, not simply a creature's electromagnetic field, has been mostly disregarded by the scientific community.”

We have already talked a little about this qi. Seems we need to go deeper. The initial idea behind these pieces I have been writing was to be more of an entertaining rather than educational kind of thing, but we must follow the story.

Pseudoscience

It would seem, then that qi, ki, auras, kirlian photography and all the other forms of life energy have been characterised as pseudoscience along with any number of other paranormal events, hoaxes and conspiracy theories.

But this, I feel, rather glib debunking of any and all energy forces related to human life, needs further discussion. So why not join me again soon and let's have a further, deeper look at this with particular emphasis, in the next issue, on martial arts and the concept of Sen no sen, Sen Sen no sen, Go no sen. #CareerChangeStrategies

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May The Energy Force Be With You

What is this energy force of which we speak?

As a follow-up from the helping others post of the other day, I thought I'd have a look at this whole scenario from a helicopter viewpoint.

Energy Forces

OK. Let's start with Star Wars. I don't want it to be said that I have dissed the movies; considered them to be not real; so not considered them at all. In fact movies are as real as anything else in our world.

Map Is Not The Territory

In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) we say: “The Map is Not The Territory”. By this we mean literally that if you were to draw a map – you should understand that it is only a representation of the reality of the terrain. A picture. A rendition, a translation in two dimensions of the real hills and valleys that exist in nature. It is a best effort to show what this particular piece of nature actually looks like according to the maker of the map. A second map-maker may not see it all (especially where exact measurements are not available) in the same way as the first . And as nature changes the map stays the same. So neither map would be real. They are all just impressions. So is the so-called REALITY of our lives. It is filtered through our senses first; and our brain second. If we are sad - reality may seem less colourful. If we are happy, well .

Movies Are Reality

Hell, where did all that come from? What I was trying to say before I was rudely interrupted, is:  movies are reality. As much as anything else. Our lives are just a movie created by our minds. Wow!

Shakespeare said something similar in Hamlet Act II Scene II For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Therefore what is this force of which they speak. Remember? Star Wars? Stay with the program here.

According to Wookiepedia The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. It is a metaphysical, spiritual, binding, and ubiquitous power.

Hmmmmm.

Japanese

I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so. (Apologies to The Vapours for their 'one hit wonder') And when I do I come across the concept of ki. The word means air; atmosphere; flavor; heart; mind; spirit; feelings; humor; an intention; mind; will. The concept – which actually originates in the Chinese culture - is all about the human “emotional state”, about “energy”. ki is variously translated as energy, mind-power, spirit and cosmic breath, and is now most commonly associated with martial arts.

Chinese

I like Chinese. (The literary references abound. This one from Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album.) So let's look at that.

In traditional Chinese culture, or ch'i forms part of any living thing. Qi literally translates as "breath", "air", or "gas", and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow”. Wikipedia

And even more.

Energy In Other Belief Systems

Prana in the Hindu religion, pneuma in ancient Greece, mana in Hawaiian culture, lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, ruah in Hebrew culture, and vital energy in Western philosophy all say the same thing. Some elements of qi can be understood in the term “energy” when used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine. Wikipedia

All these apparently mean energy. All seem to have a basis in the concept of a flow of energy, of a kind of force, of something about you, or any human being, that you can feel.

Sounds like ZEN to me. Funny you should say that. ki was originally taught as a concept by Zen monks.

Zen

As noted in the book by Boyé Lafayette De Mente, “Japan’s Cultural Code Words”, Asians, particularly practitioners of Zen in China and Japan, have long held that there is a force that infuses the cosmos and all things in it, including human beings, and that this force can be developed and directed toward specific tasks and targets. An energy field around us all?

OK. Excellent. But what about auras and kirlian photography? Are these fish of a different kettle? More later. #CareerChangeStrategies

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The 500 Words A Day Challenge

Some of you may have seen the Facebook notification when I signed up for this 500 words per day writing challenge.

It is awesome You go for the passion. You ignore the other stuff. The guy who runs this challenge says the power is in the process. You show up. You write 500 words a day. EVERY day.

Don't edit, don't second guess, don't do anything other than getting 500 words minimum (can be more but only if you just can't stop yourself) on the page EVERY day. Set a goal. Just do it.

If you miss a day DO NOT attempt to catch-up. Just leave the day (call it a holiday) and continue from there.

If you don't have the passion, then you probably don't really want to be a writer.

'But you do. You really do. It has been on your wish list since you were just a kid.'

Yeah, but if it is too hard to just DO IT, then it is not something you have a massive desire for.

I hear you. You don't know what to write about. BULLSHIT. Of course you do. Just let the mind go free. You see no-one needs to read it NOT EVEN YOU. Just write 500 words today, tomorrow and the next day. Print it out and throw it away; delete it from your computer. Record the process on a spreadsheet somewhere.

There. 3 days you have done it. Now do 3 days more. Rinse and repeat. Soon you might even read it yourself. You might like it. You might show it to someone else. You might destroy it again. And again. But if the passion is there. You just keep doing it.

You know it doesn't really matter. It is the PROCESS.

It's like walking for exercise. The destination is not even slightly important. You often go round in a circle or round the block. It is the walking that matters. Same thing. It is the writing that matters.

But, I hear you say, “I still don't know what to write about.”

OK. What about this?

Write about: (Thanks Jeff Goins for the following suggestions)

  • A screw up that you have made.

  • Highlight a personal flaw

  • Apologise for mistake nobody noticed

  • Tell the story of your biggest failure

  • Share a fear or a challenge you still haven't overcome

The other day I wrote an article in the Jillian series. I just let it flow.

On reading it a bit later I decided to let it go through to the keeper.

While it was just free writing – coming straight off the top of my head, I seemed to have captured some stuff which may have been information I had been given in confidence. Not to be shared. It was possibly going to be hurtful. While there were no actual identifiable snippets - some people may have thought it was about one of my friends. It wasn't really, but the resemblance was there.

I didn't do anything with it, other than record it as my 500 words for the day.

Gee. Will you look at that - 525 words so far. So that's it for today. Done and dusted. #500wordscolin, #500WED

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Ego – A Book Review: A New Earth: Create a Better Life – Eckhart Tolle

I have been reading this book the last few hours.

I have to say it is probably the best book of its kind, I have read for a long time.

Why?

I have not even finished Chapter 3 and am completely blown away by the content. Mr Tolle has taken me and given me the biggest shake.

There is soooo much here already that explains a lot about my life and why I am like I am.

Believe me I am going to change. I am not going to be ruled by ego any-more.

Need to know what this is all about – then get this book.

Example?

One very small example that stuck with me.

When he was a counsellor, Eckhart was working with a woman who had cancer and was told she had only 2 months to live.

She was raving, this particular day, about a belief that her carer had stolen her grandmother's engagement ring. “It has so much sentimental value,” she wailed.

Eckhart asked her what was she going to remember about this ring in 10 weeks time? She thought for a moment and then said, “They think I'll be dead by then.”

“Yep,” he said.

“And while it is not right that it might have been stolen, why are you wasting the little time you have left getting so excited about it? This is your ego talking. Someone has to be wrong. You are the one in the right. It is YOUR ring. 'Oh My God,' you are crying, 'what have they done to me?'

But it won't matter to you in two months. So let it go now. Live today. Enjoy. Don't fret. Be happy. All that good stuff.”

Think about it:

How many times have we all worried about something like this? Something where we complain and fret just to make a silly point? To be right? To be better than someone else? To be richer, happier, more moral, more beautiful? Ego. I am.

Let it go.

More soon. I am going to finish this wonderful book and take as much of it on board as I possibly can.

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Battles V’s Challenges

Battles

The best battle, Sun Tzu says, is the battle that is won without being fought.

One dictionary definition is: An encounter between opposing forces.

Therefore; we assume - if we use the word battle, that there will be opposing forces and one of these will be a winner.

By definition this pretty much always means one of the forces will lose, even if according to Sun Tzu an actual battle has not been fought in the traditional sense. We still have an assumed winner and a loser. Let us call that a “pre-supposition.” And definitely one with negative results for one of the parties.

Challenges

A challenge on the other hand is something that puts you to the test. It can often be used in the sense of questioning whether something is true or right. And it can be a demanding or stimulating situation as in questioning a statement and looking for an explanation. This doesn't, by definition, require either a winner or a loser. It assumes (pre-supposes) an outcome, but not necessarily one that means any party will be vanquished.

A challenge is often thought of as something you have to face and deal with as you see fit. Not necessarily involving another in direct conflict. It can – but usually doesn't.

If a challenge seems like a battle, it can nearly always be reduced to a win/win situation. The sort of thing that can be dealt with by finding and exploiting alternatives to any head-on confrontation.

A challenge can therefore, pre-suppose (or assume) a solution that is not necessarily competitive to the point where protagonists on opposite sides become engaged in a fight or a battle. This is likely a more positive outlook is it not?

This is not to say a situation remains uncompetitive and lacking in any desire (even STRONG desire) for a satisfactory outcome - just that win/lose is not the primary aim of the interaction as it is in a battle.

It suggests that YOU will find an outcome that is satisfactory to YOU without destroying, decimating or even sidelining others who might also have an interest in the outcome.

What we have here is a stance that involves the taking of individual or group responsibility for a particular situation along with the actions undertaken; and accepting the results obtained.

Not a fight to the death.

Conclusion

Therefore, let us not look for battles to win, but challenges to face.

And let us use words that help us to see outcomes in a positive win/win light and not conjure up adversarial elements where they do not need to exist. #CareerChangeStrategies

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Bringing up Children V’s Being a Good Salesperson?

Have you ever thought of the similarities between these two? Between children and customers?

Just as an example:

Try shouting at a baby/child to make him/her do something.

Try shouting at a customer to get him/her to buy your goods/services.

Same result?

Why's that?

Your comments please.

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