Radio Shack and Mortal Kombat Taught me How to Choose Yourself

I used to work at Radio Shack.

Each morning, another male coworker and I would show up early in the morning to open the store.

The first thing we would do each day is to put that song (from the video above) on the big speaker system in the store and blast it as loud as possible.

Then we would grab these Frisbees in the back room (why were there Frisbees in a Radio Shack store?) and then we would run around the store and try to whip the Frisbees at each other while the song was jamming. We were ducking behind various displays and trying to dodge the flying Frisbees while also looking for an opening to attack the other person by throwing our weapon of Kombat.

Inevitably, something would break in the store as the Frisbees were flying around like crazy. At that point we would stop the epic battle and clean up the wreckage. We would feel bad about whatever had broken, hide it in the back room, and get back to our real job at that point (By the way, what in the heck does a Radio Shack employee even do all day? I mean, really?).

I think we even got the store manager to battle with us one time.

Pretty immature, right?

However…..

I think we all do this.

You do this too. You have your own version of “Frisbee Kombat.”

Years later, I was working in an office job, and instead of running around and chucking Frisbees at each other to cheesy techno music, we were gathered around the break room eating a box of donuts. Or we were gathered around a computer and looking at funny pictures of cats.

Or whatever. Avoiding work.

It’s all the same thing.

You’re at work, you are stuck in a day job. You need an outlet.

You need some way to feel alive.

Most day jobs don’t give you that feeling of being alive. Instead they are slowly killing your spirit.

And so we invent Frisbee Kombat. Something to distract us. To get us through the day.

Frisbee Kombat was keeping me stuck.

And since then I have had various jobs in my life, and I have always found different ways to try and cope and deal with the monotony of working (some more than mature than others, but nothing was as epic as those frisbee battles).

Fast forward to today, roughly two decades post-Kombat.

Today I am lucky enough to be “choosing myself,” in the style of James Altucher.

How am I doing this? I created a job for myself, basically. Which involved quite a bit of luck, I admit.

But I can also remember being stuck in a day job that I hated, and I can remember the exact moment when I made this decision for myself. It was an EPIC decision that was worthy of true Kombat.

And the decision was this:

“I am going to keep building businesses until I find one that creates enough income for me to kill my day job. PERIOD. I will never stop until I succeed at this. I don’t care what it takes. I don’t care if it kills me.” (Insert shot of me with fist raised, screaming “Mortal Kombat!”)

I really had those exact thoughts one day in my past and I remember my level of conviction. It was fierce determination.

At the time, I had a video game system. I have always liked to play video games. I grew up playing video games.

And do you know what I did when I had that fierce moment of conviction?

I went and sold my video games on eBay. All of them.

Because I had no need for them any more, until I was free from my day job.

My path was clear to me. FOCUS.

I had to create my own business, something that could sustain me so that I would not have to go to work and comply with a boss and an HR department and state guidelines and so on and so forth.

I wanted OUT.

If you suddenly realize that you are living in chains, you don’t want to do anything else until your chains are removed and you are finally free.

Therefore I made freedom my priority.

This was focus. It was how I chose myself.

And I realized that Kombat Frisbee and all of the other things like it (eating donuts at work, watching funny cat videos with coworkers, etc.) were part of the complacency. They were keeping me stuck. They made it OK for me to keep showing up to a job that I hated.

And that day job was slowly killing my spirit.

How did I get unstuck?

How did I choose myself?

Extreme focus. Seriously hard work. Yesterday I actually wrote over 12,000 words online, and that was just a faint echo of the real work that I did when I was gearing up to quit my day job. During that time I cranked out over 25,000 words online in a single day. That is some serious focus. Serious intensity.

That is someone who really, really wants to quit their day job.

Call me a fan boy, but I don’t care…..no one says it better than James Altucher. You might read his book if you are looking to escape from your own Kombat zone. It will cost you all of .99 cents on Kindle.

So go ahead, click on the video, turn up your speakers as loud as you can, and grab a Frisbee.

Time to break free from this madness.

Time to escape the day job.

Time to choose yourself.

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!!

How to Write Blog Posts FAST

So every year I pump out another 1 million + words online.

Every month I crank out at least 90K words in just blog posts. I do a bit of writing above and beyond this as well but not enough to really measure or anything. That 1 million words per year is pretty much it.

But you know what is really amazing? That one million words only takes me about 6 weeks.

What do I mean by that?

In six weeks, and working 40 hours per week, I can crank out over 1 million words on the keyboard.

That is 70 words per minute. I suppose I type faster than this, but that is how fast (70 wpm) I compose articles and publish them. I write, edit, and publish at a rate of 70 words per minute.

I imagine that I can actually type a little bit faster than that. Sometimes I pause for a second and think before I pound the keys again (but not very often). I should fire up the old Mavis Beacon typing test and find out some time.

I played around with Dragon Naturally Speaking and I cannot really beat this 70 wpm composing speed. I mean, if I just talk about anything I can do better than 70 wpm with dictation. But I cannot really think that fast. When I am typing I can think about what I am going to write in the next sentence while my fingers are cranking out the current sentence. When I am dictating verbally my brain is distracted and it cannot think ahead as well to the next sentence. Therefore when it comes to real world results I can actually type faster than I can dictate.

So my normal routine is to write for 45 minutes per day and do 3,000 words. Then it’s quitting time. That is my routine.

When I first started I was not this fast.

If you want to learn how to write blog posts this fast then I have a few tips for you.

Let’s not waste time here.

This is the stuff that increased my speed like crazy:

1) Outline post the day before. I always do 5 subheadings plus the article title. That’s it. Usually I set up 7 of these every Sunday for the week. Takes me maybe a half hour to set these up for a full week of blog posts. I suppose this is “cheating” a bit but who cares….it is a wonderful process and it helps a TON.

2) Routine. I write at the same time every day, no questions asked. The idea of “writer’s block” is non existent for me. I sit down and pound the keys. No excuses. Writing at the same interval every day helps a lot with this. Do it for long enough and you are well trained.

3) Timer. Get an egg timer, like the kind in your kitchen. I used to set mine for 60 minutes and I would crank out a 3,000 word post. What happened though is that I kept going over, doing like 3,200 words or even more. So I reduced the time, minute by minute. Right now I am down to 45 minutes and I am still hitting 3,000 words every single session. I don’t think I will push it much more but honestly I bet I could. And I think anyone can. Just set that timer, hide your real time word counter (it will distract you) and then stop writing when the timer goes off.

Quality control issue: The main complaint about this strategy is that it produces lousy quality. I don’t see it that way at all, and I don’t think that “quality” or deeper thinking is necessarily rewarded a great deal on the web at this point. Or perhaps it is? Either way you can easily judge the quality of this “speed writing” technique by what you are reading here. In fact the quality of this article is probably a bit low because I did not outline it beforehand and I am just shooting from the hip.

Ultimately I just wanted to pass on the egg timer tip. It is golden if you want to increase speed. I was not even trying to increase my speed really, I just wanted a way to stop glancing at my word count and agonizing over how much longer I had to write for. So I incorporated the egg timer. Now it just flies by like nothing.

Get an egg timer.

Set it and write.

Stop when it goes off.

Do this every single day and YOU WILL GET FASTER.

I guarantee it.

You will learn to push yourself to focus more, to type faster, to organize and outline posts better beforehand.

The One Year of Gratitude Project Rolls on

So over at the other site I have written a bit about my “one year of gratitude project.”

Sort of lost some steam there though. Need to refocus my efforts.

Not that I have been walking around being a totally ungrateful jerk or anything. Far from it. But I still want to try to focus in a little more on that whole abundance thing again.

You see, there was a time when I was really getting into the whole “abundance vibe” thing. And I was drinking the “law of attraction kool-aid.” And I really believe that if I focused on abundance that I could create good things in my life.

And then it happened.

So since then I have been like…..wha?!??

I sort of need to refocus. The abundance thing was working so well, and then it sort of fell apart I guess. You lose focus. You take things for granted. Maybe you achieve some success, or something that you thought was success, and so you stop pushing a bit. Maybe even stop appreciating what you achieved.

So I want to get that feeling back. That hunger. That vibe that says “I have energy and I am going to create something amazing and the universe is going to help me do it, dang it!”

Maybe most entrepreneurs go through this in one form or another. James Altucher certainly did so when he crashed and burned in his life, not once but several times. Dude has made over a million and then lost it all. More than once! And lived to tell about it. What a powerful teacher. Mistakes were made, yes. But do we learn from them?

One of the keys is definitely gratitude. If you appreciate everything, really appreciate it, then you create this sort of positive energy that will help you to achieve and get more of the good stuff that you want in your life. I am not talking about the hippy dippy Law of Attraction stuff (though if that works for you, go with it). I am merely talking about genuine gratitude. Walking out onto the good earth and looking up and thanking the stars that you are alive and breathing. That sort of gratitude.

And it is so easy to lose that. So I want to focus on it again. I want to get it back. Because just achieving something is not enough. We have to keep reinventing ourselves. And we have to appreciate all of it, all the time, and never forget how lucky we are. I mean, you are either this random mass of swirling molecules that just happened to occur, or you are this blessed soul that was anointed on the head by angels or something. Either way it is a miracle. You’re freaking here, in the universe, right now. Amazing! And so who am I to prattle on about my first world problems every day? I need to be grateful.

If you achieve success and then you screw it all up (like James Altucher did by losing millions of dollars several times over) then obviously you lacked gratitude. He must not have appreciated what he had, when he had it. And he learned this! I am not knocking the guy. He was smart enough to figure out how to hang on. He had to bang his head into the wall a few times, but he finally figured it out.

And now I am figuring it out as well. Not how to hang on to success….because you are always a success, whether you acknowledge it or not (the miracle of you, remember? Your very existence is a freaking miracle!). No, not figuring out how to hang on to success, but figuring out how to appreciate every day that you are given. Every challenge. Every encounter. Can you find the gratitude in it? Can you find the gratitude in brushing your teeth?

I’m probably not there yet. But I’m on the journey. Hence, the gratitude project. Happening recently over at TFB.

And, I had to get something up here to push that free Kindle book promo off the front of the blog. You know how it goes.

5 Signs a Website Isn’t Worth Your Outreach

Having a strong outreach strategy for blogs can represent an excellent way to boost your SEO, and can help to build strong relationships with high profile sites; a consistent outreach approach can, then, lead to guest posts and blogger promotions that can generate significant leads and inbound links for clients, and can also create new opportunities for collaboration with other bloggers. However, there are some warning signs that should be looked out for when deciding whether or not a site is worth contacting and developing a relationship with.

1 – No Social Toolbar or Social Optimisation

You want a site to be able to generate discussion and social links – the more times that a guest post or article is shared, the more chance there’ll be of you receiving click throughs and links. Sites that have an inconsistent social media policy, and that don’t include a social toolbar for consolidating different networks should be viewed with some caution; moreover, do comment sections on a blog regularly produce useful comments and discussion that can lead to shares, or does the site mostly attract spam responses?

2 – Lack of Post Frequency

This is crucial to look out for on sites – while there may be some good posts on a blog, and it may be in the niche that you’re trying to hit, you might see that posts aren’t appearing that regularly; there may be a lot of posts at a certain time of the year, but these might then drop off. Look at what other content is on a page, and see whether or not the webmaster is producing their own, high quality posts, or whether they’re soliciting a lot of low quality guest posts.

3 – Not Indexed on Google

Any page that’s not indexed by Google should be viewed with some suspicion – this may be due to it being a relatively new blog, or to URLs changing; however, a webmaster that hasn’t taken the necessary steps to get their site indexed may not be updating it very often, or might not be able to provide the crawlability and site optimisation that can deliver a larger audience. Pages with poor HTML headers and no sitemaps should also be approached with caution if possible. If the homepage or worse the entire site is not index, this can be sign of a Google penalty caused by black hat linking practices.

4 – Overly Complex Guest Posting Rules

You may have found a great site, but it may have overly complicated guest posting rules that will drain a lot of time from the writing and editing process; in this context, it’s worth weighing up the amount of time and value that a site deserves. Quantity versus quality is always going to be a key challenge for outreach, and unless the site or blog has a large readership and social value, it may not be worth spending a lot of time trying to please the rules of a webmaster.

5 – Weak Content on a Site

A site that has a lot of ‘thin’ posts and guest posts should be fairly easy to spot; check for repurposed or spun content, as well as posts that seem to be have been copied and pasted from elsewhere; pages that deal in this kind of content are gradually being phased out from PageRank by Google, and should be avoided if you don’t want to create a negative association with your link, even if the webmaster is happy to post or accept guest posts.

Rob James is a outreach specialist, currently working to increase awareness of creative digital agency boxmodel. Rob can be found online blogging about various SEO related topics from a healthy backlink profile to avoiding onsite duplication.

Are You Financially Brainwashed or Manipulated? Take this Quick Quiz

nissanJuke
Someone gives you a million dollars. You are now happier than you have ever been before in your life. True or false?

You have a friend who essentially lives on welfare. They complain about being poor and they spend their money on lottery tickets, cigarettes, and unhealthy fast food. You decide that living on that much money would make for a miserable life, no matter who you were or what your situation was. True or false?

Having money is nice. Having more money is always nicer though, and would make you happier. True or false?

The more money you spend on yourself, the happier you will be. True or false?

Owning a house or a new car will make you happier. True or false?

Getting a college education and a better job will result in increased happiness. True or false?

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Every time you said “true” in this little quiz (or even wanted to say true) then that is a red flag that you are being manipulated by the powers that be.

The problem with our own happiness is that we are too close to it most times to accurately measure it.

Rarely do we take a step back and examine our lives to really see if we have been effective. We may be working hard and spending plenty of money, but is this translating into happiness for us?

Frivolous spending is seductive because it actually works in the short run. We do get a temporary boost of happiness when we splurge. But the sugar high of a new car purchase is gone in less than a month typically. Smaller purchases than a new car are gone even faster. True happiness remains elusive if you are trying to get it through your spending.

A brand new car (with average purchase price of over 20K) is just money down the drain. You may need transportation, but you do not need a 20K+ vehicle that smells brand new.

I am single and live in a one bedroom apartment. My car is ten years old.

I am happy.

Now I could easily go take out a mortgage and buy a nice house. Then I could go to the car dealer and buy a brand new Nissan Juke.

And what would I get for this $50,000? A used house and a very shiny car. Property taxes for the rest of my life that cost nearly what I pay in apartment rent right now. Plus the added headaches of maintenance and upkeep on the home. Oh, and I would have to go get full coverage insurance on the new car.

The sugar high of these two purchases (new car, new house) would last for a little while. But for how long? How long before hedonic adaptation would kick in and bring me back to my regular level of happiness? That “regular level of happiness” being defined as “just happy” and not “ecstatic from the sugar high of a major purchase.”

No one is immune to hedonic adaptation. You may need a new car. And you may need a new house. I don’t know, I’m not you. But I can tell you that I don’t really need to own a home today. I am quite happy to be renting a nice little apartment for dirt cheap. And I definitely know today that I don’t NEED a shiny new car for 20K+ dollars. At some point my existing car may have some problems, and I will need new transportation. But at that time (which is definitely not here yet) I will not NEED to run out and buy a 20K+ vehicle. That is just extravagant.

Most people in our modern world have pressure on them to go produce a living, to earn income, to punch a time clock. That pressure is like a disease to me. I hate it.

Gratefully, I have freedom today. I don’t have to work if I choose not to. There is no pressure on me to accomplish something or to go punch a time clock. I have removed that pressure through a combination of:

1) Practical frugality.
2) Alternative income.

I am not really retired in the strictest sense of the word. Instead I am self employed. I write freelance. Even without my investment income, I would still be living quite well on only a few hours of work per week. As it is now I have multiple streams of income, but could get by with just one.

The reason I can get by with just a few hours of work each week is due to frugality. I am not depriving myself and living a life of misery or anything. I am happy and excited to be doing the things that I get to do. Each day is a gift, and an adventure. You don’t have to spend lots of money for that opportunity.

Some people are perfectly happy being trapped in the work-spend cycle. They like having to work 40+ hours each week just to make ends meet. Maybe that describes you. If so then I can assure you that you are reading the wrong website!

Let me leave you with a quote from one of our founding fathers. I think it speaks of ambition as well as frugality:

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. – Benjamin Franklin