Attitude of Gratitude Leads to Happiness in Life

Attitude of Gratitude

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Many of use go through life believing that we’re “self-made.” We don’t think enough about the others who have listened to us, given freely of their time, money and help. We don’t have an “attitude of gratitude.”

That point was driven home this morning when I heard a woman (let’s call her Jennifer) speak about her life. Her father abused her, her mother and siblings. She went through a life of homelessness, abuse and trauma until in her late teens. She spoke candidly about how she became grateful for things in her life despite her anger at her father and others who mistreated her.

Jennifer now helps others who have experienced similar lives develop a positive mindset.

Attitude of Gratitude Journal 

Jennifer found help in her daily life by keeping an “attitude of gratitude” journal.

  • Keep a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal can give you perspective about the great things in your life. Take some time every day to write down five things you are grateful for today.
  • Remember and be grateful for challenges and “negative experiences because they’ve taught you valuable lessons in patience, understanding, humility and strength.
  • Focus on the gifts. Be thankful for the gifts we receive from others such as a smile or kind word, as well as the gifts we off to others.
  • Be grateful for your health. The human body is an amazing machine. Be thankful for all that yours can do.Keep a visual reminder to be grateful, such as a picture frame with your favorite gratitude quote, and surround yourself with grateful people.
  • Commit to practicing gratitude. Make a concerted effort to practice gratitude every single day. Let other know you appreciate them.
  • Maintain a positive, grateful attitude. Replace a negative internal monologue with positive thoughts.
  • If you must, fake it till you make it. If you’re having trouble being grateful, fake it until you are. Smile, say thank you and write a thank you note to someone who’s helped you recently. Soon, all of this gratitude will overtake any negativity.

Jennifer, despite her challenging life, now works for a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit. She delights helping others get jobs, find housing and, best of all,  keep an “attitude of gratitude.”

Brian Prows Dot Com Has a New Look

Brian Prows Dot Com Blog New Look

Blogs–especially personal ones–need  re-varnishing occasionally. So, this being the day before the Christmas Eve, I’m sprucing Brian Prows Dot Com.

“Blog” sounds like “grog,” a drink once relished by those with money in the 1800′s and those “down under.” A short quote from Wikipedia explains it well:

“The word grog refers to a variety of alcoholic beverages. The word originally referred to a drink made with water or “small beer” (a weak beer) and rum, which British Vice Admiral Edward Vernon introduced into the Royal Navy on 21 August 1740. Vernon wore a coat of grogram cloth and was nicknamed Old Grogram or Old Grog. Modern versions of the drink are often made with hot or boiling water, and sometimes include lemon juice, lime juice, cinnamon or sugar to improve the taste. Rum with water, sugar, and nutmeg was known as bumbo and was more popular with pirates and merchantmen…By contrast, in Australia and New Zealand the word has come to mean any alcoholic drink.”

Now that I’m  writing about alcohol, I’ll have to create a new category.  I’m not sure yet which category to use–maybe “society” or ”drugs.”

Well, I didn’t want this post to impress anyone with my lack of brilliance. I’ll only thank readers who’ve written me with unfounded praise or a raking over the coals.

Brian Prows Dot Com will probably get more of my attention in the coming year. It’s fun to write about sharks invading the Golden Gate Bridge, Congress folks who nearly bankrupt the Federal Government or days when they’re isn’t any news.

It’s a nice alternative to writing about technology and mobile. Have a nice Christmas and great New Year. And….hmm…don’t forget the grog.

 

 

Monkey Orchid Pair

Monkey Orchids From Ecuador and Peru Ain’t No Chimps

From the wilds of Ecuador and Peru come Monkey Orchids, beautiful flowers with monkey faces (when you squeeze them the right way)

If you don’t  see why this orchid gets its name,  move back from your screen a few feet and take another look. Close up,  the similarity is good. From a distance it’s incredible.

Monkey Orchid from Equador and Peru

Monkey Orchids in Ecuadorian and Peruvian Cloud Forests

These wonderful monkey orchids thrive in the south-eastern Ecuadorian and Peruvian cloud forests. Most people have never seen them before since they live 3,500 to 7,000 feet in cloud forests.

 Monkey Orchid from Peru and Equaqdor

Monkey Orchids’ genus is Dracula Simia, in part because of their monkey-like faces.

And Dracula? That’s because the two long sepal spurs resemble Dracula’s fangs.

Monkey Orchid Pair

The orchid was only named in 1978 by the botanist Luer but is in a family containing over 120 species mostly found in Ecuador.

Up in the cloud mountains the monkey orchid can flower at any time – it is not season specific.

Its scent resembles that of a ripe orange. But it’s probably wise not to eat one.

Monkey Orchids

The examples seen here are all cultivated – though it remains very rare in ‘captivity’.

For that reason don’t make a dash down to your local horticulturalist.

Yet for those lucky enough to have one, it can thrive and flower if kept cool in partial shade,

Like all orchids, however, it needs a lot of care and patience – so you may want to consider planting tulips instead.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user Jose X and  Sr. Carol of the Dominican Sisters at Mission San Jose. Video courtesy of National Geographic’s “Cloud Forest Project.”

Employment Sales Strategy Helps You Get a Job

Finding an Effective Employment Sales Strategy

Over ten years ago, when I was managing call centers and sales departments, I developed a solution sales and marketing strategy called PBFA. The strategy was universal in that it could be used to better understand people’s needs and help them find solutions. While I implemented the strategy primarily for sales sand marketing campaigns, I believe that it’s also an excellent tool as an employment sales strategy. So I launched another blog called ProCareerSearch using the PBFA model. Professional Career Search in 16 Steps is the main outline of the strategy.

Identifying Latent Pain Leads to Success

Briefly, the PBFA employment sales strategy model is similar to other selling models with a greater emphasis on pain. I use the word pain, rather than need, want or desire, because you’re more likely to engage a potential employer if you dig deeply to reveal underlying latent pains.

Employers in interviews rarely reveal latent pains. The employer, in fact, may not even know that they’re latent pains secretly lurking beneath the revealed pains. She thinks  they’re only  problems, needs, issues, wants and desires. Latent pains, on the other hand, are frequently  intermixed with underlying mental distress. Bringing latent pains to an employer or prospect’s mind therefore enhances selling, getting a job and  making decisions easier. For a greater understanding of pain in sales, see:

The New Solution Selling: The Revolutionary Sales Process That is Changing the Way People Sell

Employment Sales Strategy

I want to share the strategy with you in an 18 minute screen video with examples. If you object to the word “sales” or “selling,” substitute the word with persuading or negotiating or interviewing. Our new age of selling is intertwined with psychology, social media and networking. What you should try to get out of the model is a better understanding of the hiring process. The model should also help you choose companies, jobs and people that will make you most happy.

Sales people in other fields, whether mobile, retail  or manufacturing, you’ll find the PBFA model equally useful.

Please make sure you download Quicktime Player for Windows or Mac  to view the video above.

Mitigators Dominate Google Plus Social Circles

Mitigator and Google Plus Member

Mitigator and Google Plus Member

Mitigators Invading Google Plus Circles

Mitigators, a growing breed of socially active people are joining Google Plus in droves.  After a thorough study of social networking Americans, I’ve concluded that the elite in Google Plus circles and elsewhere are the greatest users of the words mitigating, mitigated and mitigate.

No pie reciples online here; these folks take their careers seriously.

 Mitigate – Mitigated – Mitigating

Dictionary.com defines them this way:

“mit·i·gate [mit-i-geyt] -  mit·i·gat·ed, mit·i·gat·ing. 1. to lessen in force or intensity, as wrath, grief, harshness, or pain; moderate. 2. to make less severe: to mitigate a punishment. 3. to make a person’s state of mind or disposition milder or more gentle; mollify; appease. 4. to become milder; lessen in severity.”

Monthly Google searches for variations of this powerful word and profession have climbed above 500,000. And Indeed.com lists nearly 15,000 mitigation jobs open in most industries, especially the mortgage sector.

Mitigators in Circles

People who collaborate in circles, unlike the linear Facebook, Friendster and MySpace crowd, have no time discussing rock climbing. Mitigators seek out other brilliant minds, people unknown to them, to talk about important issues of the day, such as link injection in WordPress security.

Richard Baxter, for instance, guest-writing in SEO Gadget Blog, comments: “…at the dark art of SQL Link Injection, how to test to see if your WordPress installation suffered this ill fate and ways to mitigate the risk.”

Ryan Paul also filmed a short video on “Recent improvements mitigate Android emulator performance woes.” Watch carefully,  as the video lasts less than 30 seconds without sound:

 

 

Dan North, a “home loss mitigation specialist” and a Google Plus member, describes mortgages: “Mortgage loss mitigation works to renegotiate loan terms between the lender and homeowner to avoid the mortgage foreclosure process.”

So if you’re a mitigator or like talking about the subject, join Google Plus Circles. On the other hand, if you’re not…head on over to Facebook.

Weather Unknown Says Sprint Smartphone: Know What You Need to Know

Too Many Unknowns–Including the Weather

Tonight, while playing with my Nexus S, three words appeared at the top of the screen: “Weather is unknown.” I have  a mobile app that spits out insignificant news stories and the weather. When it launches, the weather forecast pops up for a second. Usually, it’s “45 cool overnight, 66 tomorrow.” But, tonight, no one knew or bothered to check tomorrow’s weather. So…..”weather unknown.”

Not surprising. Unlike Iowa, where unknown weather can kill a crop, most Californians don’t pay much attention to weather forecasts. In the Bay Area, we have lots of “microclimates.” Drive ten minutes under cloudy skys. Drink your Starbucks in 15 minutes and the Sun shines. Of course, the coffee’s caffeine could make you feel the Sun is shining. I’ll leave that for another article

But tonight, without caffeine at 9:30 p.m., a technological glitch happened. My phone or Sprint or The National Weather service–maybe even God–claimed  that weather is unknown. Kinda scary when you think about it. We don’t like unknown things. We’d rather deny or repress them unless knowing  (stock tips, pork belly futures and, oh yes, weather brings us wealth. Can you imagine how much money 99% accurate weather predictor could make in the Midwest? Might even turn it into an iPhone app and make more.

But face it.  Most weather predictors in their hearts know that  forecasting is flawed, although it’s a respectable job. People listen to their radios, watch TV and stare at a mobile phone expecting semi-accurate weather forecasts. Most weather experts, though, wouldn’t keep their job long by repeating the “weather is unknown” on the 6 p.m. news. I touched on this in “On The Day that Nothing Happened.”

Living in an Unknown World

After discovering tonight on my phone that the weather is unknown, I thought about smartphones, computers, missile launchers, nuclear power plans. My mind went “bizang” as I thought about all the unknown things in our world. If we thought all day about things we don’t know vs. those we do, we’d never do our jobs, learn anything in school or drive a car. Can you imagine a firefighter thinking “well, if I go into that burning building, a concrete slab might fall on me.” On the other hand, maybe not. It’s the uncertainty principle at work.

Or how about the little unknown things in life?. Do you know how toilet tissue is made? How does a a diesel engine work? Can you explain the difference between Cumulus and Nimbus clouds? What about “cloud computing”? Unless you thirst for knowledge or you’re naturally inquisitive, who cares?

Know What You Need to Know

Most of us find other unknowns in our lives far more unsetting than the weather. After all, what’s the worst that could happen if it was raining cats and dogs?. (Funny expression. See “Raining Cats and Dogs.)

Many people say that getting a college education is learning as much as possible about things you don’t know. Sadly, when students leave college with a degree, the ratio of known-to-unknown doesn’t  change much.

But don’t worry if you don’t know a lot of things. When asked a similar question about his lack of education, Henry Ford proudly proclaimed he hired bright people to tell him what he didn’t know. He spent most his thinking time building a car company.

 

Selling Gold Memories in Hard Times to Pay the Bills

Sell Scrap Gold to Pay Bills

Men’s Wrist Gold Chain – Selling Scrap Gold

Selling Gold Scrap to Pay Bills?

As the U.S. economy staggers along, many people are selling gold jewelry to pay their bills. In bad times, precious metals rise in value, especially gold, now selling at over $1,700 per troy ounce worldwide. Google’s index for “sellling gold scrap” now numbers over 14  million.

The elderly get hit the worst. Selling cherished memories, found in gold and silver jewelry, cameos, old rosaries and music boxes to profiteers, are melted down for cash. Famous or not, those who lack the basics in life finally give in to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

Selling Gold Memories to Pay the Bills

Thankfully, precious metal firms like  Tyre, Bailey, Roberts & Associates take your gold and silver jewelry for a percentage of the market price. Online and local store  retailers and wholesalers also take your gold scrap. Selling gold memories is a profitable business.

Saturday’s paper had a three page ad by Tyre Associates,  costing tens of thousands, announcing its “7 Days Only Instant Cash for All” event at a few local hotels. Tyre had a similar event earlier this year in Orange County California.

Todd Tyre, the guy behind the events, springs from Ohio. He claims people who sell their memories at his events are not desperate. They only trying to get rid of things they and their kids don’t want. In his ad, he also claims Tyre’s buyers offer sellers more than competitors for their wedding bands, trophies and gold glass rings because they’re experts in the world-wide market for precious metals.

Most people who sell off their jewelry and coins are 65-70 years old, many in their 80′s, hoping to take home some pocket change, pay utility and other bills stacking up. Tyre even offers a 2% bonus on gold jewelry for senior citizens. (“Please present this coupon to the receptionist, the ad says.”)

“Tyre admits to riding a wave, gathering precious trinkets from those who need the money, paying a little, then ditching them on the open market. What he’s really doing is turning family treasures into cash. One lady sold “a little jewelry” for $129 to Tyre and Associates but declined their offer of $500 for some sterling silver. “‘The sentimental value of that silver set is greater than that,” she said.’”

Hard Times Increase Selling Gold Memories

What happens to your memories? If they’re made of gold and silver, they’re melted down. Since the recession hit and economies collapsed, gold has risen to over $1,700 an ounce. Some experts predict gold and silver prices will double in 2012.

Do you need that gold wedding band? Will your life become any worse without the icons in your lives–old birthday cards, family photos, gold trinkets? I suppose not. Keeping the furnace running is probably more important than memories of our past. But after the bills are paid, as we sit on the couch with the heat on, there’s one less memory to clutter our minds. It’s already melted down.

(Updated 3/28/2012)

David Foster Shines Again with Jackie Evancho

Time passes and I had forgotten about Jackie Evancho, a young woman with an angelic voice, who has on PBS specials with David Foster.  The producer and musician who brought us Josh Groban, Foster has helped dozens of young musicians launch successful entertainment careers.

Not any type of career. But music–an art form that brings joy and happiness–and occasionally tears–when our hearts are touched deeply. That’s what great music and musicians do. Especially singers, who raise feelings that are inexpressible in speech. Musical expression that can’t be faked.

Enjoy Jackie Evancho, who turns 12 in April, 2012.

 


 

Future Hope – Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa Sings to Life

Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa

Future Hope Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa

In these pages, I’ve written about the power of singing. Several thousand miles away in South Africa sings out a Future Hope–the Soweto Gospel Choir, kicking off their North American tour this month.

Different styles, countries away. But both St. Victor’s Catholic Church in San Jose, CA and the Soweto Gospel Choir sing in their own styles, expressing Future Hope.

When you think about it, hope and the future are tied together. Some hopes are trivial in the larger sense (“I hope the Giants this Saturday.”) Other hopes are serious (“Sure hope the river in Fargo doesn’t rise above the sandbags.”) But true Future Hope about the important things in life, are often expressed in affirmations: “My Future Hope is for peace on Earth.”

We say things like this during Christmas, New Years, weddings and other life-changing events: “I wish you hope and happiness in the future of your marriage. May you always carry hope in your hearts.”

Future Hope Gives Meaning to Our Lives

Can you imagine a life without Future Hope? Nothing positive and joyous today, tomorrow, next year. That’s why we like associating with hopeful, positive people. They share their Future Hopes with us. They help us define the meaning of life. Despite their own troubles in life, they’re beacons of light leading us in the darkness of an unknown future. They help us deal with doubt.

Singing and Future Hope

Having sung in a couple of church choirs, I know the joy of hope and hopelessness. To sing well, you must breathe. Your lungs fill you with life-giving oxygen. The anxiety and stress of the day somehow fade when singing. You feel more alive. For just a moment, hopelessness fades into Future Hope.

I remember the doctor on Voyager, one of the Star Trek TV series. Although the doctor was a hologram, incapable of emotions, he built a sub-routine in his program that let him sing. One day, when a Voyager crew member stopped by and heard him sing, he was asked: “Doctor, why are your singing?” He responded with “I don’t know; it just makes me feel better.”

Since Voyager was 70,000 light years from Earth, the doc’s comments brought hope. He became an icon of Future Hope–a being who could never die, but could bring hope and solace to the crew.

Surely, we all take pleasures that bring us momentary hope and joy. But the truly great things that happen to us in life are due to our built-in desire for Future Hope. And that’s what I feel about the Soweto Choir of South Africa.

Parents Parenting & Children – A Tribute To Families

Parents Parenting and Love of Childrren

During our lives, we meet many people. Some we admire, others not. Some bring us joy; others, sorrow.

But no people form us more as human beings than our parents parenting. I’m fortunate to have had two caring, loving parents who helped me and my sister grow up with integrity.

In March, 2009, I produced a short slide show video on YouTube about our Mom and Dad–Ken and Sally Prows,  dedicated to all parents everywhere who care deeply about their kids. So far, over 6,000 people have watched it.

Photos are magical. They capture moments in time we want to remember. In our age of video, it’s comforting to know that pictures remain forever in our memories–especially of the good things that happen to us.

A while back, my sister and I found the words to a song Dad wrote over 30 years ago. We weren’t sure whether he ever wrote a song and played it on the piano (he played by ear). So I decided to write my version of “Sometime,” which tells of his love for Mom and his desire to have Mom equally love him. It’s the first piece in the video. Parents parenting.

Also included are two other songs I wrote–one instrumental and another vocal–called “Go Out and Sing” and “Love and Forgive,” a recent song so appropriate in these troubled times.

The ten minute video is really a tribute to all loving parents, who give everything to make sure their kids grow up happy and live lives of integrity, love and compassion.

Enjoy the video about your parents parenting.

 Parents Parenting & Children – A Tribute to Families

Social Issues and Debatable Topics