Archive for April, 2014

Harvey Mackay: Here’s why you should welcome adversity

Hank Aaron in 2013.

Hank Aaron in 2013.

To understand adversity, take two acorns from the same tree, as nearly alike as possible and plant them in two separate locations. Plant one on a hill by itself and the other in a dense forest. The oak standing alone is exposed to every storm. Its roots grow deep in every direction, grasping every rock to support itself from the threatening elements.

The acorn planted in the dense forest grows up a weak, willowy sapling. Since it was shielded by its neighboring oak trees, it feels no need to spread its roots far and wide for support.

Don’t be afraid of adversity. Welcome it! Adversity makes you stronger. It helps you grow.

I recently returned from the annual Horatio Alger Awards in Washington, D.C. These awards are named after Horatio Alger Jr., whose tales of overcoming adversity through unyielding perseverance and basic moral principles captivated the public in the late 19 th century.

Each year the Horatio Alger Association selects and honors approximately 10 individuals who have triumphed over adversity with the virtues of hard work, honesty, individual initiative, adherence to goals, and community leadership. I am honored to have been inducted into this prestigious organization in 2004.

The mission of the association is about promoting success and extending a helping hand to others. This year we awarded scholarships to 106 students, who, in the face of great adversity, have exhibited an admirable commitment to continuing their education and serving their communities.

I am proud that the Horatio Alger Association has become one of the nation’s largest providers of privately-funded, need-based scholarships. 2014 marked the 30 th anniversary of the scholarship program, which has awarded more than $100 million to more than 21,000 students.

My good friend Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame college football coach, always says, “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”

Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. Problems and people can’t stop you. The only thing that can stop you is YOU. Only you can control how you react to adversity. When faced with adversity, do you buckle beneath the weight of it all? Ask “Why me?”

Dolly Parton said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

Here is a sampling of Horatio Alger Award recipients who turned adversity into an advantage.

  • Author and poet Maya Angelou was 3 years old when her parents separated. She was raped at age of 7 and as a result became a mute for nearly six years. She has published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, plus many plays, movies and television shows.
  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his family were forced to leave Germany in the 1930s due to the Nazi movement. He ended up in New York City and couldn’t speak English. He entered the U.S. Army and returned to earn his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D from Harvard.
  • Carol Burnett, actress, comedian, singer and writer, had a difficult childhood with alcoholic parents and was raised by her grandmother in an impoverished area of Hollywood.
  • Hank Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s Major League Baseball homerun record, grew up in a poor family, picking cotton. His family couldn’t afford baseball equipment, so he practiced by hitting bottle caps with sticks.
  • TV business commentator Lou Dobbs started working in the potato fields of Idaho when he was 9 years old. His mother taught him to read before he even started school and his parents taught him to keep up on current events, which led to his news career.
  • Mark Victor Hansen along with his writing partner Jack Canfield was rejected 140 times before they hit it big with their “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series of books. There are now more than 200 titles, and 500 million books sold internationally in 37 different languages.
  • Actor James Earl Jones stuttered so badly as an elementary student that he communicated with friends and teachers using written notes. Today he is known for the richness and power of his voice.
  • It’s hard to find a bigger celebrity today than Oprah Winfrey. Yet she was born into poverty and raised by a single teen mom. She was repeatedly molested by a cousin, uncle and family.

Mackay’s Moral: A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.

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Why “Green Fashion?”

A green wardrobe has many benefits unlike a traditional wardrobe. Choosing sustainable fabrics can help in decreasing the amount of carbon you give off, as well as the amount of chemicals that you bring into your own life! What are some other benefits of a “green” wardrobe? I’ll tell ya!


1)   It’s better for all of us! Buying clothes that are labeled under the Fair Trade Act creates sustainability for many reasons. Fair Trade promises that all products are produced in safe working conditions and the person who created it earned a fair wage.


2)   Better for Animals! Many people today put no thought into exactly what went into make their fur jacket or leather boots. But in reality it’s harming hundreds of animals. Having a closet with clothing that is cruelty-free means that you don’t need to think about where your clothes came from or what animal was harmed when making them!


3)    “Green” clothing lasts for a longer period of time than regular! Who wouldn’t want to buy sustainable/eco-friendly clothing after hearing that! Invest in clothing that you will have for more than just one season. When you have clothes for a longer period of time then you are cutting back on your consumerism, which will benefit the earth because we won’t be using as many resources. Oh yea… it was also help your bank account!


4)   The Earth will love you! A big environmental footprint is left by the fashion world on the earth. This footprint comes from the pesticides that are used in the growing of cotton, as well as other chemicals from the toxic dyes that make up the color of a piece of clothing. Try looking for products that are made with organic fibers and know that you’re benefiting the earth in a positive way!


5)    It doesn’t have to be expensive! Shop with us and find affordable, eco-friendly clothing!


Choose green. Wear green. Love green.


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Here’s How Technology Is Ruining Your Sleep

Our addiction to technology can be affecting us in ways we might not have previously realized.

Many people watch TV as they fall asleep or text while they lie in bed at night, but these habits could prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

And most people already feel sleep-deprived. In a National Sleep Foundation study, 63% of those surveyed said they didn’t get enough sleep.

Check out this infographic, which explains how tech affects your sleep:

How Technology Affects Sleep — an infographic by the team at Big Brand Beds.

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Life Lessons for Turbulent Times

Memoirs of a Crisis Manager by Steven R. Gerbsman
1. Have Ethics & Integrity

2. Be Responsible & Accountable for your actions

3. the More Things Change – the More they Remain the Same

4. In order to Lead, you must Do – make a sales call, do a business plan, pencil out go forward financials, communicate with a creditor, make something, negotiate a deal, etc.

5. Your WORD is your BOND – Your BOND is your WORD

6. ATTITUDE – always be positive and constructive

7. Have the DESIRE to do the best you can

8. Be CONSISTENT in good times and challenging times

9. Continue to LEARN & LISTEN & LISTEN – and its ok to say “I don’t know” and “I need help”

10. Take RISKS – don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that is how you learn and grow

11. Live Life for the Integrity of your Name, the Love of your Family and Hope for the Future

12. Always focus on #1 above, nothing else matters.

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Want To Become A Billionaire? Just Solve One Of These 10 Problems

We recently gave you a list of 25 trends that would be making people billionsMost of the phenomena will end up benefiting everyone.

But if you fancied yourself as someone who could be turned into a billionaire, you were arguably cheating — these were things everyone has already figured out.

The real challenge, and the greater value and more lucrative pursuit, would be to come up with the solutions to problems that have befuddled engineers for decades or more.

We thought of 10 of them:

1. Wireless Power

Digital devices have become so small that it can be cumbersome to plug them into a power source. Longer-lasting batteries? Nope — Apple iPod God Tony Fadell says pursuing greater efficiency in batteries is a trap. The key is to find ways of squeezing more efficiency out of the devices’ other parts — and stealing power from what’s around you. University of Washington engineers, among others, are at work on harvesting existing TV and cellular transmissions and turning them into a power source. “This novel technique enables ubiquitous communication where devices can communicate among themselves at unprecedented scales and in locations that were previously inaccessible,” they say.

2. Rural, Remote Internet

Everyone agrees this is a priority. But there appear to be a hard way and an easier way to achieve it. The former involves lots of expensive regulatory clearance and installations. The latter, currently spearheaded by Google, is called Project Loon. The company plans to send renewables-powered balloons to the edge of space to create an Internet network in remote parts of the world. “We believe it’s possible to create a ring of balloons that fly around the globe on the stratospheric winds and provide Internet access to the earth below,” they say. Whoa.



3. Cheap, Scalable Solar

There are two ways to reduce the cost of raw solar power. One is to have a super-cheap photovoltaic cell, with the tradeoff off that it’s inefficient. Of course, more efficient cells cost more to make. So everyone is racing to find a material or process that eliminates the tradeoffs. We may be close: Australian researchers say they’ve achieved commercial-scale efficiency with a set of dirt-cheap materials first experimented with a century ago but never considered for this use: perovskites. The scientists say they could help cut solar costs by 75% to as low as 10 cents a watt.

4. Clean Coal

The technology was recently the subject of a cover story in Wired, which said carbon capture and storage “may be more important — though much less publicized — than any renewable-energy technology for decades to come,” since it would allow the world to keep burning its most abundant fuel source. But it goes on to note that “developing reliable, large-scale CCS facilities will be time-consuming, unglamorous, and breathtakingly costly.”

5. Super-Low-Cost International Payments

While this isn’t a problem that touches the average consumer directly, the fees paid by financial institutions to wire funds overseas can eventually filter down. Remittances, too, while not over burdensome, would be much cheaper if they were sent over a decentralized or distributed network free from network, acquiring or interchange fees (see the chart below). This, of course, is the problem Bitcoin and Bitcoin-like technologies, like Ripple, are looking to address.

goldman bitcoin

Goldman Sachs


6. A Pill That Really Makes You Lose Weight

The holy grail of modern society, and another that may prove impossible. But there may yet be a way: In 2012, scientists at UCLA say they’d genetically engineered mice brains to a key compound that craves fats. The results, according to The Week, “These mice lived in a ‘hypermetabolic state,’ burning fat calories far more efficiently than normal mice, study researcher Daniele Piomelli said in a statement. They were ‘resistant to obesity,’ staying thin despite a high-fat diet without exercise. They even had normal blood pressure, and showed no increased risk of heart disease or diabetes.”

7. Cheap Desalination

Water shortages continue to make the list of the world’s most pressing issues. This year’s crippling drought in California further drove the point home. But desalination plants have proved way too expensive and inefficient to build. But earlier this year, Business Insider’s Dina Spector profiled the company behind a kind of solar-powered desalination process that uses one-fifth the electricity of methods that use fossil fuels. If something like this doesn’t pan out, we’ll have to keep relying on massive conservation efforts — which basically means we’ve already lost.




A parabolic trough collects energy from the sun. The heat is used to evaporate clean water from the salty agricultural drainage water of irrigated crops.



8. Detecting Or Predicting Major Weather Or Natural Events

A new book about the San Andreas Fault frames the issue like this: “the world community of seismologists remains divided — at times, vehemently — over the issue of whether it will ever be possible to predict earthquakes. It’s a question that’s been raised again as the network of faults in Southern California has awakened with seismic activity in recent months. It is a complex problem. And, to date, no one has yet predicted an earthquake.” Meanwhile the number of billion-dollar meteorological events climbs inexorably higher.



9. Unhackable Passwords

Wired has said 2012 was the year passwords broke. Hackers have, through brute force, so far been able to break through practically every firewall ever invented. There must be a better way. And engineers are working on them. Google, for instance, continues to search for ways to turn your smartphone or some other device into a computer “car key,” Another involves what was once thought the holy grail of cryptography, called obfuscation, which masks the inner workings of a computer program.

10. Death

It’s happening. Google — yes, it has appeared several times on this list, but that’s because it’s interested, and it can — just hired biophysicist Cynthia Kenyon from UCSF to join its Project Calico antiaging team. Her experiments have produced roundworm as old as the equivalent of 80 human years but looks and acts the equivalent of 40. Google admits it’s a moonshot, but it’s proved pretty decent at those.

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