Guilty

April 29, 2009

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.

– Voltaire –

Wise words from François-Marie Arouet, also known as Voltaire. Initially this quote was about how ministers should rule France. Today, I use it to inspire friends and clients to contribute to good causes. Being honest, I also apply it to myself. What can we do today to do good for someone else? It may be something big or small. What good did you do lately? What’s your excuse for not doing it everyday?

I am dedicating a percentage of my time to charities, like “Go Bananas“. On top of that I am giving away a percentage of my profit to local charities of the countries I visit to deliver speeches, trainings or seminars. For my trip to New Zealand, I am talking to volunteers of a Maori village. I’ll visit them and besides providing resources will discuss with my team what we can do to help them even more.  Get in touch if you want to contribute too 🙂

Of course, it’s easy to give away when you have plenty, but even when you have little it’s important to do good and help others too, even if that means sharing with others. A lot of people have excuses for not sharing with the needed. This is where my quote fits in : “By letting go and through effective giving, we get whatever we want”.

The thing is, can you afford not to give to others? What happens if you don’t do your part? What impact does it have on their lives? Did I tell you not to take yourself so seriously?

So, instead of focusing on myself, I now look at what it is I can do to help others. Not just by giving absurdly, but also by always looking for doing things better, so there is more to give away. If I settle for mediocracy, I am guilty of not creating enough wealth and good for others, denying them of a better life. By stepping up and playing my game at a higher level, the world becomes a better place. Everyone can make a difference! The question is: are you up for it? Or are you guilty?

Give absurdly, start today,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach


Twitter Time

April 24, 2009

Twitter is truly going global these days. If we look at the rate they are growing. Amazing! What’s happening?Twitter

Many startups, like StockTwits, are basing their entire company on Twitter’s infrastructure. StockTwits is an open, community-powered investment idea and information service. Just eavesdrop on what other traders and investors are talking about in real time.

Recently Twitter grew at an incredible rate. As the graph of comScore shows, Twitter increased 95 percent in the month of March from 9.8 million to 19.1 million.

Twitter Growth March 2009 (TechCruch)

You also probably heard of Ashton Kutcher’s stunt on getting 1 million followers on Twitter? If you want to follow him too, he’s now at 1.3 million followers 🙂 By the way, mrs Kutcher (Demi Moore) is attracting people herself with 750K followers! Also a must read is Simon Dumenco’s article. He’s putting things in the right perspective.

What probably made the biggest difference is the appearance of Oprah (@Oprah) on Twitter (16th April). Read Heather Hopkins’ article on the Oprah Effect on Hitwise. Or is it coincidence that Twitter made it in the Top 40 most visited websites by Australians, according to Alan Long.

And then there is the Cisco Fatty or how to ruin a “Fatty Cisco Job” with 1 tweet. You must of heard of it by now, right?

Anyway, let’s share a great comic byNitrozac & Snaggy (Joyof Tech)

Twitter Etiquette

Oh, if you were still wondering where to find me, I am also on Twitter : http://twitter.com/bertverdonck

I know, I don’t have Ashton’s number of followers (yet), but fun in progress 🙂

Enjoy your weekend,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach


Mozart Effect

April 23, 2009

MozartHave you ever heard about the Mozart Effect?

Without sounding too technical “spatial-temporal reasoning” is a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks. Now, an elaborated set of research results indicate that listening to Mozart’s music may induce this improvement. Some people simply put it this way “Listening to Mozart makes you smarter”, or that early childhood exposure to classical music has a beneficial effect on mental development.

The Mozart Effect started really going, back in the 90’s, with Rauscher and Shaw, who investigated the effect of listening to music by Mozart on spatial reasoning. These authors found that the mean standard age scores converted into IQ scores were 8 to 9 points higher after the participants had listened to the music than after either of the other two conditions: repetitive relaxation music and silence. Rauscher and Shaw also concluded that the enhancing effect of the music condition is only temporary (15 minutes?).

A popular book by Don Campbell arose wide spread interest. Some politicians even made budgets available for playing classical music in pre-schools.

Now other research show not all music creates the Mozart Effect. A German study even concluded that passively listening to Mozart — or indeed any other music you enjoy — does not make you smarter. Other studies prove there is no impact at all.

So, is this made up? Does the Mozart Effect really exist? What’s your opinion?

I personally am convinced that music you enjoy brings you in an other (mental, physical) state, making it more likely to perform outstanding, compared to no music or no change of state and consequently moderate results.  I use music to “pump” myself up before going on stage and I know there is a significant difference when I don’t do that. But does this mean I raise my IQ after doing that? Of does it improve my “spatial-temporal reasoning”? I am not convinced, but hey, I am probably too old to measure this. Most research was done with children. Maybe an idea for researchers to fund a new project on the Mozart Effect with adults? Or do we no longer have beneficial effects on mental development? 🙂

Anyway, I am curious to hear your feedback on the Mozart Effect!

Enjoy the music,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach


RELAX!

April 21, 2009

RELAX!

What is it? What does it mean?

When asking people these simple questions, I get fluffy answers. In some cases people tell me it’s something they will do later or when they are on vacation or when they retire or … Does this mean that the majority of the people are NOT taking any time to RELAX? Right!

Too many think that working hard and making money is the only way to achieve their goals. If that is not enough, they’ll work even harder. How do I know? I’ve been there…working 115 hours/week on average. But no more! I take time to relax now. Every day? Yes, of course. Does that mean I can’t be a super achiever any more? Nope, in fact I get more things done in less time and with more results.

Why? Well, relaxation and creativity go hand in hand. Let me use Roger Hamilton‘s comparison to rowing. Contrary to popular belief, the most important part of rowing is NOT when your oars are hitting the water or are in the water, but when they are in the air! Same thing with relaxation. It’s because you relax, you get more clarity and can become more efficient. And that’s what I learned…the hard way 🙂

So, when I feel stressed, I take some time out to relax. It also helps me to reflect on the issue at hand and diminish its importance by looking at its relativity. We often forget that whatever hurdle is on our path, we ALWAYS have a choice in how to respond to it. And I must say, getting in a relax state of mind always helps me! When relaxing, I look at it from different angles and often get new insights. This relaxes me even more and the practice translates in a happier life where the initial stress disappears magically 🙂

And now the Relax Shortcut: Breathing works best for me. A couple of deep breaths. Deep breathing provides you with extra relaxation and energy. On top of that, deep breathing ensures that the blood is fully oxygenated, powering up your brains, so you can think more clearly. The easiest way to achieve this is my 2-8-4 exercise. If you inhale for 2 seconds, you should hold your breath for 8 seconds, and then exhaling to the count of four. Of course, you can also double (4-16-8) or tripple the amount (6-24-12) when your hartbeat is slowing down and you automatically become more relaxed. Enjoy 🙂

Relax to the max,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach


Secrets of Yoga

April 17, 2009

I am a real fan of Yoga. It helps me in various ways, but one of the many things I have been wondering about is how do they do the levitation?

Here is a short video of an Indian Yogi who shows you how he mastered this secret skill.

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach
Create, Connect & Contribute


100 Most Iconic Videos

April 14, 2009

Urlesque : Top 100 Most Iconic Internet VideosUrlesque brings you the 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos.

An amazing list of the top 100 viral videos that inspired a lot of people or wasted time for a lot of others! 🙂

Anyway, if you are looking for great viral videos Urlesque is a great place to start from. Some of them I already posted about earlier on this blog and elsewhere.

Urlesque : Top 100 Most Iconic Videos

What strikes me is that several videos in this top 100 Most Iconic Videos are from the pre-Internet era. Of course, when uploaded they took their own viral route…

And yes, I know you are curious, so I give you the shortcut to see who’s at nr. 1?

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach


Paul Meert

April 12, 2009

Paul Meert Infotainment, Change in NO TIMEPaul Meert is the founder of Infotainment, Change in NO TIME and also important: a personal friend of mine 🙂

Now, here is an interesting story on how small the world can be…

Paul was asked to write an article for a Belgian think-thank organisation VKW Metena (Dutch). He was doing some research and thought about creating a link with Dale Carnegie. Dale lost everything during the crisis of 1929, before building a new empire, becoming the expert on “positive motivation” and interpersonal skills.

Why do I tell you this? Well, while using Google to find background info on Dale Carnegie, he saw an interesting link to Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book. Although Paul has read most (if not all) of his books, he did not recall this particular one. So, he clicked on it and to his surprise arrived at my blog! Yes, last year I wrote an article on this Golden Book sharing Dale Carnegie’s insights.

Now, isn’t it mindblowing to find my blog on the 3rd place in Google, while researching Dale Carnegie? At least that’s what Paul was thinking (in fact, me too!) 🙂 As a lifehacker, I confirm that I use several Genius Shortcuts to improve not only my life, but also my Google ranking.

Everyone has his specialty and for those who haven’t seen Paul live yet, he is an outstanding public speaker! I’ve seen him already on several occasions and every time I am blown away by how good he really is! So, your next chance to see Paul is on the 12th May in Ghent. Next to Tomas Vieira and Ben Decock, he is hosting a seminar on “Managing without Ego”. In fact this seminar is not only about “Managing without Ego” (Tomas), but also about “Managing without Time” (Paul) and “Managing without Worries” (Ben).  I was told that they bring inspired ideas for unlearning the past and revealing an abundant future! Laughing is a genuine part of this seminar, so bring your smile 🙂

Enjoy Easter,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach
Create, Connect & Contribute