Tag Archives: ideas

How I Do My Research: Is “Despite” Actually “Because?”

5000710747_39c62f3242_zPeople often ask me, “How do you do your research?”

I’m a kind of street scientist. I don’t have a lab full of undergrads eating marshmallows to study; I rely on my own observations.

Really, I feel more like Samuel Johnson or William Hazlitt or George Orwell, in the way that I analyze human nature. I love reading the science, and I think about the science all the time, but in the end, I pay the most attention to what I see around me. And what I read — not just science, but memoirs, biographies, novels.

I tell people this, and they say, “But how do you draw any conclusions?”

I can never think of a good answer. I just read a lot, talk to people a lot, take gigantic amounts of notes, and ponder. I look for patterns. Certain actions or remarks strike my attention, often for reasons that take me months to identify.

But it did occur to me that I’ve hit on one very useful analytic technique, without quite realizing it.

If I’m stumped by something I see, I substitute “because” for “despite,” and see if a proposition makes sense. Continue reading

Dreaming of a Green Christmas : 3 Ways to Make Your Holiday Environmentally Friendly

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.10.28 AMBy: Elizabeth Eckhart

The holidays are a time of family celebrations, reconnecting with old friends, and celebrating all that we’re thankful for. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time of stress, busy schedules, and worse of all, excess. No matter how frugal you may be, chances are you’re finding that extra cold weather and party hosting costs are eating into your budget. And perhaps, if you’re like many other Intent Blog readers, the idea of so much waste, with food and energy, may bother you quite a bit. In order to both keep our habits clean and green, and save some costs, we’ve put together a list of energy saving holiday tricks to get you through the season.

Decorating Tips

If you haven’t already, consider replacing all your holiday lights with energy efficient LEDs, which actually perform better in cold weather. For larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, and place all your lights on a timer or just unplug, ensuring that they won’t be left on during the day when no one can enjoy them. When shopping for outdoor decorations for yourself or others, keep in mind the wide availability of solar powered options.

If you’re really feeling green, you can also decorate with candles. Many families already use luminaries along outdoor walkways on special nights. Consider holiday scented candles, which are a beautiful addition to any home. You can also turn off the lights inside when your brightly decorated tree is on and lit. This will not only save energy; it will immediately make your home feel full of holiday spirit.

Hosting Tips

It may go against holiday tradition, but you can cook some party dishes in the microwave. The typical microwave uses 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven, so even one dish can make a large difference. Using the same reasoning, look up recipes you can create using a slow cooker. Since you’ll still be using the oven for trickier dishes, check progress through the window instead of cracking open the door (which can make the temperature drop 25 degrees in less than a minute!), and feel free to turn the oven off before the food is fully cooked. As long as the door stays shut, your food will finish perfectly and on time. Using glass or ceramic pans also means your dish will cook more quickly, so turn the oven down 20 degrees to save costs.

To keep your fridge running efficiently no matter the number of guests, keep it as stocked as possible — an easy task if feeding a large group of people! You can also defrost items in the fridge instead of a watery sink. Both tips will result in the fridge keeping cooler with less energy.

If you do happen to find your fridge is full, hold off from hauling out the spare fridge, and instead keep extra beverages and holiday leftovers cold by storing them in the garage or in the backyard. And as much as you’d like to clean up quickly following a large holiday meal, your fridge will thank you if you wait until all the food has cooled to room temperature before storing it away.

On the day of your party, turn down the thermostat to 66 degrees. Most people will find this is a comfortable range in a holiday sweater, and the increased body heat should take care of the rest. Keep a few blankets handy for older guests and chronically cold friends. If you plan on setting the mood by using the fireplace, install a tight-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a window nearby. Open-hearth fireplaces actually draw in the heated air from your home and send it straight up the chimney — a problem glass doors can stop. With increased holiday lights on top of heat usage, your bills may still come out higher than expected. If you haven’t already, start monitoring your light usage and reevaluate your energy plan using sites like Energize Connecticut and TexasElectricityProviders.com. Not only can you switch to less expensive plans, you can also choose to have most or all of your energy generated from green sources such as wind or solar.

Gift Giving and Shopping

Although many of us enjoy wandering around decorated stores during the holidays, perhaps even stopping to see Santa, before the perfect gift emerges on its own, you can save time and costs by planning out the gifts necessary for each person. Make use of outlets and strip malls, which mean you have less driving to do from store to store. You can also shop for products made locally or buy materials to craft gifts on your own, which not only supports local businesses but detracts overall from the amount of overseas transit costs and pollution that trucks, boats, and planes cause. The same goes for shopping online  — if you buy your gifts from one store instead of three, you’ll have lower costs associated with packaging and transit.

Regarding the actual gift, aim to buy fewer gifts that use electricity and batteries. An amazing 40 percent of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season, which means a lot of energy is used. If you must buy electronic gifts, definitely opt for the energy efficient versions, and maybe even throw in rechargeable batteries instead of singular usage batteries.

The holidays are the perfect time to show appreciation for those around you. Whether it be through gifts, parties, or decorations, the holidays can be exciting, albeit expensive. But, if you plan accordingly and shop wisely, you’ll find the damage to your wallet and the earth can be greatly reduced.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

What Cold Batteries Are You Holding Onto?

The Chief Innovation Officer of a large financial services company was interviewing me for an article when she poised an unexpected question: "What do you learn from your children about innovation?"

After stalling with "umm," it hit me: warm batteries. My son has taught me to look out for warm batteries. That lesson, I believe, is the fundamental key to unlocking breakthrough ideas.

You see, we keep our batteries in the freezer because someone once told me that cold batteries last longer. So when my son’s electric train stops working, we replace its batteries with cold ones. When the flashlight is dead, cold batteries bring it back to life. When our baby’s rocker no longer rocks, you guessed it, cold batteries.

My son has figured it out. If something doesn’t work, check if it has batteries, and if the batteries are warm, replace them with cold ones.

Now, we may giggle and call it cute. The things a 4-year-old believes! But the same is true for the way the world works around us. Isn’t the process by which my son "realizes" cold batteries make the train run identical to the one we use to make sense of the world?

  1. We have a problem (get my train to run)
  2. We notice a correlation (replacing warm batteries with cold ones makes the train run)
  3. We believe a cause-effect law (cold makes batteries work)

The scientific process is simply this process formalized: state a problem, develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis until it becomes a theory or law. And just like my son reaching for cold batteries, this process leads us to accept any number of false beliefs.

Outthinkers, great innovators, are willing to test these beliefs and challenge what everyone else has accepted. Nearly every breakthrough company begins with challenging a false belief.

Consider: IBM: challenged the belief that there would only be demand for a few computers in the world
Dell: challenged the belief that PC buyers needed their hands held by a retailer Southwest Airlines: challenged the belief that hubs and spokes were better than point-to-point networks
Apple: challenges the belief that the designer works for the technologist (rather than the other way around)

How many times a day do YOU reach for cold batteries in your business? What have you accepted as just the way things are? Pick one accepted belief a day that your company or industry holds, and ask, "Is this really true?" I am willing to bet in a month you will have come up with at least three industry-transforming ideas.

This blog was originally posted on FastCompany.com: http://www.fastcompany.com/1703728/what-cold-batteries-are-you-holding-onto

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / snacktime2007

Kid-Friendly Breakfasts

  Healthy Breakfast = protein + fruits or vegetables + whole grains + calcium

• Peanut butter and fruit spread on whole wheat toast, ½ an orange and a glass of milk
• Peanut butter spread on apple slices and a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk
• Toasted whole wheat bagel spread with peanut butter and honey, topped with slices of bananas and a glass of milk
• Bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, peanut butter and milk and a glass of orange juice
• Breakfast burrito: scrambled egg, black beans, and salsa wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and a glass of orange juice
• Breakfast Pizza: Toasted English muffin spread with marinara sauce, topped with a scrambled egg, sprinkled with cheese and toasted. Served with a glass of fruit juice
• Toasted English muffin, a hardboiled egg, a glass of milk and a bowl of strawberries
• Morning Classic: Scrambled egg, a slice of American cheese on a toasted bagel with fresh apple slices
• Yogurt, whole wheat toast, buttered, a handful of raisins and a glass of water
• Fruit smoothie with toasted whole wheat bagel with butter
• Toasted whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, topped with sliced mango and a glass of milk
• Slice of cheese melted on whole-wheat toast with orange slices and a glass of milk
• A bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk, a banana and a glass of water
• Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup, a bowl of melon and a glass of milk
• Carrot Cake Muffin, a handful of cashews, grapes and a glass of milk
• French Toast with maple syrup, cinnamon apples and a glass of milk.
• Grilled ham with fresh pineapple, toast and a glass of milk
• Melt a slice of cheese on top of White Bean dip (or refried beans) spread on a toasted English Muffin. Serve with a glass of fruit juice
• Smoked salmon, tomato slice and cream cheese on a toasted bagel with a glass of orange juice
• Breakfast BLT: Turkey Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and cream cheese on toast, with a glass of apple juice
French Toast with Cinnamon Apples
French toast does not have to be a weekend treat.  Make 8-10 pieces and freeze the slices (separate the slices with wax paper) in a freezer storage bag. When a French Toast morning arrives, take the French Toast slices out of the freezer, pop them into the toaster oven and get the syrup and apples ready!
  3-4 eggs
  1/4 cup milk
  8-10 pieces whole wheat bread
  Cooking spray or 1 tsp butter
  Maple Syrup
Cinnamon Apples (recipe below)
Heat a flat, non-stick pan over medium heat.  Spray the pan with cooking spray or melt the butter and swirl around to cost the bottom of the pan. In a flat-bottomed bowl or rimmed dish whisk together egg, milk and cinnamon.  Working one slice at a time, dip both sides of the bread slice in the egg mixture and place in the warm pan.  Brown both sides of the bread using a spatula to flip the bread slice over (about 2 minutes on each side).  Place on plate. Serve with cinnamon apples and maple syrup.
Cinnamon Apples
  2 Golden Delicious apples
  Dash of cinnamon
Wash, peel, and core the apples. Cut the apples into ½ inch pieces. Place the apple pieces in a plastic bag and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over them. Close the bag and shake it so the cinnamon is distributed evenly over all of the slices. Place the apples in a microwave-safe dish and cook them in the microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Let them stand for 5 minutes. They are done if a fork slides into them easily.  Can be frozen.
Carrot Cake Muffins
A store-bought cake mix makes this recipe a snap!  Freezing these delicious muffins can make breakfast better (and easier) than ever!  Simply defrost and eat. 
  1 Package Spice Cake Mix (plus the ingredients listed on the box to make it)
  2 cups carrots shredded
  1 can crushed pineapple, drained
  ¾ cup pecans, chopped
  Paper Baking Cups for the muffin pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the muffin pans with baking cups. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions.  Stir in the carrots, pineapple and pecans. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes.  Check for doneness by sliding a toothpick into the center of a muffin.  If it comes out clean, they are done. If not, bake another 5 minutes and check again.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Spinach Quiche
Quiche is quick to make, and makes a healthy breakfast for children and adults. Make it ahead of time, cut it into single serving pieces, wrap the individual pieces in foil or plastic wrap and freeze them. In the morning just defrost and reheat in the microwave. Simple and very tasty.
¾ cup of shredded Swiss cheese
¾ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup of finely chopped onion
1 (10oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
4 eggs
1 cup of half & half or milk
1 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 prepared 9 inch pie crust
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Sprinkle spinach and onion in prepared pie crust. Toss cheese with flour and sprinkle in the pie crust. In a large bowl gently whisk together eggs, half & half (or milk), salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over all of the other ingredients in the pie crust. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Let stand 10 to 12 minutes before serving. If you are cutting it into single servings and freezing it, let the quiche cool completely.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com  to sign up for her newsletter and her blog feed.


8 Retro Date Ideas To Get Out Of Routine

Everyone who dates eventually does the whole "dinner & a movie" thing. If the courtship goes well, you’ve probably had more than a couple "dinner & a movie"s. The fact of the matter is it gets boring. So does getting coffee or hanging out at your favorite bar. Relationships thrive on partners experiencing things together and having fun! Don’t let things go stale with the same ole’ same ole’. Next time you’re going to suggest a long walk on the beach or another night of beer pong at Brad’s, impress your partner with a "retro" date.

While on your retro date, take things back to a simpler time. Turn off your cell phones and wear a nicely pressed shirt or a flowy skirt. Practice what used to be commonplace chivalry (I still hold that it is not dead!) and do not mention Twitter once. 

Okayyy, maybe that guideline is just for yours truly.

But still! No talk of Twitter or Kim Kardashian’s new fragrance while on your retro date!

And after you try out these fun ideas, maybe you can squeeze in a game of Twister!

Go Roller Skating – Find your local rink and throw on some four wheelers! In between loops around hand in hand, order a pizza and play arcade games.

Plan a Picnic – Have an all American afternoon in the park (think Mad Men minus the absolute mess thoseDrapers leave)! Pack your favorite blanket with a basket full of delicious homestyle treats like potato salad, fresh fruit and sandwiches. If you feel like really going all out, take some fried chicken or your grill and fire it up for hot dogs and burgers! And if you really want to next level, bring croquet! 

Park It – Find a scenic spot to park your car for nighttime views and spend the evening listening to homemade music mixes full of dreamy 1950’s slow jams. Who knows, you may even get some necking out of it! 

Visit a Carnival – Find a local carnival or county fair going on. Ride everything you could possibly sneak a kiss on- think ferris wheels and haunted houses- as well as anything that can make you guys laugh your butts off together (I’m personally a big fan of the oversized slides). Take photos in the photobooth, split them in half and put them in your wallets.

Drive In – Do a little research and see if there are any drive-in movie theaters still operating in your area! Take your favorite candy and soda to share. If there isn’t, also check out what your community is doing- during the warmer seasons there are more outdoor events like movie screenings in parks or if you’re near LA, check out the Hollywood Forever Cemetery! You can bring a cooler and camp out on the lawn (not on any graves don’t worry) and enjoy some of your favorite flicks.

Find Soda Shops – This one may take a little hunting down as well but I’m sure the experience will be enough to knock someone’s bobby socks right off! Choose sodas you’ve never heard of and drink them with two straws at the bar. You can also replace "soda shop" with "local diner" and just split your favorite milkshake. But don’t forget the two straws!!!

Dance The Night Away – Take a swing dancing class and learn the basics together then find a local spot that has featured swing dancing nights!  If classes are out of the question, still go check out that local spot; show off your busch league moves (I’m sure it’ll have your partner smiling) and have fun people watching.

Bike Together – Rent tandem bikes and sight-see around town together. Stop to take pictures with disposable cameras of one another in front of your favorite hidden treasures around the city. 

All these are bound to make for memories as pretty as old polaroids! 

Photo: Flicker // CurlsDiva

Contributing to humanity is our sacred concern


In this info ageit’s much easier to be committed to lifelong learning. I stared my interesting
self-taught learning in the late fifties, continued all the sixties, seventies
and eighties. In those years you had to have a library card so you could take
some books home in order to study them. The great advantage I had is that I
finished my studying of English in 1957. 
Across my hometown there is Brownsville
Texas, so I was a frequent
visitor to the public library. Here in Monterrey,
where I currently live there is an American public library named BENJAMIN
FRANKLIN. Since 1965 I became a member from this library until about five years
ago. In 2004 a
former student gave me a computer. I have just a little experience using it.


  This article is not about myself is about
all self-educated people around our Global Village, and all their very useful
contributions. My inquietude is the following: WOULDN’T IT BE A GREAT IDEA TO

  Cold facts have convinced our society that
every self-taught person posses the ability to combine in a very harmonious
manner symbols, rituals, knowledge, and values in their minds and souls. He or
she is able to go through the different layers of culture extracting LA
CRÈME. We can imitate some of their
practical and very useful techniques with a big amount of self-discipline.
There is a wall on their path to make their contributions to society. They lack
the necessary credentials. Nowadays our society is less reluctant to appreciate
their contributions. In spite of this main obstacle we need much less quantity
of prejudice from people in high spheres.


  All self-educated people have a very
reliable mental programming plus the know how, about the skill to reproduce in


  I’d love that some of these readers came
with some useful ideas to be shared with us at PPT. Improving education at all
levels is everybody’s concern. Dare to participate! The technique of the master

Best regards





At this precise moment, there are many people around the globe immerse in deep thinking in order to develop great ideas about progress without sacrificing our environment.

Most of these creative people, in spite of finding desirable practical solutions, won’t do anything to be able to accomplish their important dreams.
The good news is that, just a few of them will be correctly driven by their strong and positive convictions facing many hardships.

It has become essential that, in order to obtain true progress, we must do our best to find practical applications of great ideas and thoughts. Historical facts are constantly telling us, in many different ways that ideas are agents possessing tremendous power.

Great ideas are the ones which thank to them has our current civilization has first arisen, and then given life to Nations, institutions and great world leaders.

OUR HUGE TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS IS VERY HIGH. So now mankind, thanks to this divine and creative capacity, is capable of developing, and imagining a much better place to live in.
True green progress will be guaranteed by people fully convinced and committed to conquer all the difficult obstacles and hardships.

These special and brave people only need some opportunities of institutions, or sponsors to get their support with their pilot plans which take into account different alternatives to develop at its best human resources at all levels.

Knowledge becomes part of ourselves when by special mental exercises, and first hand experiences we’re able to create desirable and very reliable solutions. By doing so, each lesson learned will be recorded in our conscious.
To be absolutely straight, conventional current educational programs are very far away to accomplish the above described.

Important facts and information, most of the times don’t go beyond the students’ comprehension. Why? Teachers and schools instruct their students in a very abstract way. They fail to supply the extra push needed to make the difference. This extra push make the students get really motivated. This motivation accomplishes a lot. There won’t be a lack of passion. These students will surely love knowledge.

Let’s keep something in mind. In order to obtain a trustable knowledge, both our emotions in hand, with our minds have to be 100% involved!

Normally, the lack of crystal clear objectives avoids our brains to absorb important facts. My conviction is that our main problem is that, our schools have, is that they teach just a little bit about today’s issues. They are almost totally focused in the past without making a relationship with our present, much less the future.
We feel our own minds grow and expand, when we, not only learn both, the old and the new, but we can apply it right here and now knowing beforehand, what it can become in a near future.

To me the greatest potential to make changes and adjustments don’t depend on our skills and gifts. It mainly depends on the attitude we feel about ourselves!

Considering all the explanations above described was the reason why, with God’s inspiration, I was able to create the APPLIKOM PROJECT.

What are the main project’s goals?
It seeks a much, and harmonious placement regarding people’s jobs and fields, specially young people in those areas, where they will find much better equipped, so they’ll be able to have many growing golden opportunities. Getting this, they obviously will succeed with no frustration at all!

A progressive society is always dynamic! It concerns everybody to do the best about it. The maturity of our human race must be raised.

This is an invitation to participate as a student of the APPLIKOM PROJECT for at least a year, and because a lot of feedback is needed to improve it your full commitment will be a must.
Worldwide, we will be the first to have these tremendous advantages. Read this article, then study it and last ponder on its ideas, please!

Best regards, and as always with tons of Divine love, understanding and comprehension. Ezequiel Rodríguez Saldívar




   Some thoughts regarding this wonderful experience.At this wonderful site I’ve met wonderful people.Not only intelligent people, but loving human beings really interested in our planet, education, animals, craetivity and most of all seekers of truthful spirituality.

  When we’ve been lucky enough to have access to reliable sources regarding self-development instructions our goal is already half way accomplished. Why do I consider this a fact? Because by initiating this personal growing project, we unconsciously start a chain reaction. It is by getting deeply committed to this action that is logical to see very palpable results, in obtaining many positive relationships with first, our true self, then with the eternal Nature’s laws and finally with our fellow men. And really feeling this harmonious relationship we will surely feel God manifesting through our thoughts, words and actions. Our lives will be 100% worth living without any doubt. 

  Seeking a self-improvement we will find ourselves manifesting important self-control, the necessary self-discipline, our will power self-determined to reach our objectives, our self-esteem greatly increased, and last but not least the advantage of possessing a good quantity of self-assertiveness. 

  As you have just appreciated our journey through life is quite a beautiful experience! We must imitate a sea captain journal to keep track not only of our advancements but, because of our trials and errors. This action means having both feet on solid ground due to that we human beings like to sometimes minimize our achievements, and other times we love to maximize our efforts. 

  After over fifty years of keeping track of my own experiences I discovered that the moon phases have a lot to do with both our successes and our failures. I strongly suggest finding out on which moon day you were born. By doing this you will know the astrological zodiac sign on which you were born. Studying a lot of people through the years these experiences have confirmed what I explained above. There will be a minimum of wasted efforts and much less frustration. Becoming a book worm at ten years old and now being sixty-six I’m fully aware that I still have a lot to learn. Deep down I’m sure that there won’t be a tiny bit of wasted effort. All these readings, have had the main purpose of to make very contagious the practical application of knowledge, both human and Divine. 

  As I always do. I wish very intensely that all the cosmic love from my brave and loving heart flow to your also brave, bold and loving hearts.

The candyman.



Ideas Are Tools

So often people will ask me after I’ve shared a leadership concept with them: "Great. Now can you give me some tools to apply that idea?" I’ll most certainly agree that tactics that create results are ever so important. But may I equally suggest that sometimes, the very idea is the tool. A single big idea is often all you need to make the change you want to make. An example:

Last week I saw a billboard that said: "Stop using plastic. Drink tap water." Fortunately, I live in a place where the water from the tap is more than safe to drink. So the idea was a sticky one. I wondered why I buy bottled water. It’s not only expensive. A package of 12 means 12 plastic bottles to dispose of. Pure waste.

The idea itself drove the change. It shifted something within me. No tactics nor tools were needed. I just stopped buying water. Cold. Started drinking tap water.

I guess what I’m suggesting is that let’s not be so focused on practical applications around rich ideas that we forget the transformational power of rich ideas.


Read more from Robin Sharma at www.RobinSharma.com.

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