One Week In: I’m Learning & Having Fun

Just a little over a week ago I set off on the journey of setting up a blog and website.  There have been a few frustrations along the way but for the most part I have to say it has been a very rewarding experience.

For an analytical guy like myself it has been fun to see the website stats.  The page views. What posts did better than others.  What links people click to get here. Fascinating stuff.

To get the notification that someone left the first comment was really cool.  Finding out it was from a best selling author was even better.  The fact he tweeted a link to my blog was icing on the cake.

More than the stats and comments I am most excited about the process.  Researching, trying things, making mistakes, and then learning from them.  Not letting the mistakes stop me from my goal.

Early on I had the site all set up and ready to go.  One wrong keystroke and it was gone. That didn’t deter me.  A few calls to customer service and setting it up again in half the time and it was on the internet.

WordPress?  Yeah, I’m learning it.  Same thing when it comes to promoting this blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Tumbler.  Before, I hadn’t given SEO much thought.  Now, I want to learn more about it.

If you don’t have a goal… dream until you get one.  When you have it.  Don’t wait.  Go after it.  I really appreciate the advice a friend gave me when I told him I wanted to start a blog. His advice?  Just go for it.  Start writing and post.  He shared his experience of getting so bogged down in the aesthetics of his site that he wasn’t creating content.

This blog has given me a new energy and focus.  A reason to get up earlier.  A reason to think in a way that I haven’t in quite some time.  A reason to learn.  My wish is that you can find something that does the same for you.

Can’t wait to see what week two brings.

 

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Forums: Learn, Help & Make Friends

Have a hobby?  Something that interests you?   Something you are passionate about?   Chances are there’s a forum out there for you.

Forums are online communities of like-minded individuals.  They are a place to  discuss and learn.   You don’t have to worry about your sex, race, economic status, or anything else.  The only thing that matters is your willingness to join in and your contributions to the conversion

I am a member of several forums.   Each one with their own distinct identity and rules.   Some I am more apt to hang back and just take in what others have to offer.   Others I am an active participant.   One even made me member of the month one time which eventually led to me helping to moderate it.

Through forum participation I have learned so much about one of my hobbies;  Android smart phones and tablets.  I’ve been able to use that knowledge to help others.

Probably the most important thing I have realized through forum participation is that people from every corner of the globe are all essentially the same.  When you strip away stereotypes and preconceived notions you can really get to know someone and appreciate what they have to offer.

I now consider a fun loving, airplane flying, race car driving Frenchman my friend.   I enjoy the pictures of orchids from a forum friend in Denmark.   I  share a love of coffee and exchange K-cup recommendations with a friend from the U.S. who met his wife in a forum.   I’m happy to say she’s a friend too.  I am amazed at the bravery and pictures a friend who climbs and works on cell towers for a living has shared.   I prayed for those affected by Hurricane Sandy after hearing firsthand accounts from forum friends.  I could go on and on about the people I’ve met and the things I have learned.

There’s an app available for both android and i devices that makes forums fun wherever you go.   It’s called Tapatalk.  It’s not hard to set up and I actually prefer to use it to interact with forums instead of using a PC.  You can find the Android version in Google Play and the iOS one in iTunes.

My advice would be to use Google to find a forum of a  topic that interests you.   Spend some time reading what others have posted.   If it seems like an informative and fun place to be, read up on the forum rules,  introduce yourself, and start participating.

Do you participate in online forums?

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Stop Wasting Your Commute

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average commute time in America is 25.5 minutes.  Mine is higher than that coming in at 40 minutes each way.  That’s an hour and twenty minutes of my day spent sitting and accomplishing nothing more than listening to the radio or podcasts and making the occasional phone call.

Tom Corely’s “20 Things The Rich Do Everyday” got me to rethink my commute. As part of the list Corely notes “63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people”.  This simple statement got me thinking about how I could better use my commute.

I haven’t started listening to audiobooks yet but I have used the time to work on another of the habits that Corely shared: “80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this”.

My goal of creating this website and blog was realized after quietly thinking about it while commuting.  Now I spend some of this daily time thinking about blog topics.

So, how can you stop wasting your commute?  Turn off the radio.  I know that might sound shocking coming from a guy who makes his living in the radio industry but seriously, turn off the radio for part of your commute.

We have become a society of content consumers (radio, television, internet, etc.) but are lacking in creating our own content or thoughts.

The first thing I’d suggest you do during your now quiet commute time is pray.  Spend some time talking to God.  Don’t worry about saying the words out loud and looking crazy to the person stopped next to you at the stop light.  God knows what’s on your heart and mind.  Simply collecting your thoughts and lifting them up to God silently is all you need to do.

Another thing to do with your quiet time is to form your own opinions on current events.  We are bombarded with the opinions of other people (talk show hosts & talking heads) on a constant basis.

Many times we take those opinions on as our own without really giving them much thought as to how they relate to our lives and our faith.

My final suggestion would be to use the silence to reflect on your goals and how you can achieve them.

Don’t have any goals?  Now would be a really good time to think about what you’d like to accomplish in the next week, month, and year.

I’m starting to rediscover just how much you can get done if you have a goal in mind. From my own experience I can tell you that spending a little quiet time each day where you can just let your mind wander is very calming.  It’ll take your stress down a notch.

So go ahead.  Try it.  Turn off the radio for part of your commute.  Just remember to turn it back on.  I still have to support my family.

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