Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why quizzes are better than most study strategies

In the New York Times article, How Tests Make Us Smarter, author and professor Henry L. Roediger III discusses the idea that the best way to ensure learning occurs is by utilizing the principle of spaced repetition. 

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition is the term used when you allow a period of time to lapse before reviewing new information.  For example, if you have to learn a new procedure at work, study the provided materials.  Wait a couple of days and study the materials again.  The next day, study it one more time.  Spacing out the input of information allows yours brain to integrate the information.

Quizzes better than highlighting

However, what this author discovered in his research, is that just reviewing material does not have the same effectiveness as being quizzed or tested on the material.  What he discovered is that "low-stakes" quizzes where students are quizzed but their grade is not affected, significantly impacted the students' recall of the information, even months later.

Surprisingly, researchers have also found that the most common study strategies - like underlining, highlighting, and rereading - create illusions of mastery but are largely wasted effort, because they do not involve practice in accessing or applying what the students know.

See One, Do One, Teach One

Quizzes and simulations require the recall of information differently than simply studying the materials.  An effective learning model is "see one, do one, teach one" where you first observe (learn) a concept, you apply the concept, and then you teach someone else how to do it.

[Testing] shouldn't be a white-knuckle finale to a semester's work, but the means by which students progress from the start of a semester to its finish ....

If you are a parent or a teacher, I encourage you to read this article and consider applying this principle of quizzed space repetition into your classroom or learning environment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mental Jogging Book Review

After the reading the book My Voice Will Go With You, I became interested in one of the techniques - that of identifying multiple solutions to a problem.  Finding new ways or variations on old ways can be a challenge as many people get stuck in a rut.  It is easy to take the same route to work or follow the same set of activities in the morning.

Mental Jogging

Another book I learned about is Mental Jogging by Reid J. Daitzman.  The full title of the book is Mental Jogging:  365 Games to Enjoy, to Stimulate the Imagination, to Increase Ability to Solve Problems and Puzzles.  This book, published in 1980, is no longer in print.  However, it is available from booksellers via

As the title clearly states, the book features several exercises (one per day) to think about as you're commuting to work or taking a break.  The exercises could also be adapted for the group activities. 


I selected one exercise from each month for this list.

  1. Six or more ways to avoid spilling coffee while driving.
  2. Eight or more things you could do if you weren't watching television.
  3. Seven or more important news events of your parents' lifetime.
  4. Six or more non-dietary uses of cheese.
  5. Eight or more things we couldn't do if we didn't have fingernails.
  6. Six or more reasons why blind people ski.
  7. Six or more ways to look at yourself in the mirror.
  8. Eight or more words in any language spelled the same backwards as forwards.
  9. Seven or more characteristics of your ideal space monster.
  10. Six or more reasons why it should be legal to be married to more than one person at a time.
  11. Six or more new rules of basketball if there were two balls in play simultaneously.
  12. Eight or more reasons why some doctors charge more for the same services than other doctors.

Possible Answers

In addition to the exercise prompts, the author provided answers from groups that he interviewed.  For example, for the exercise "Seven or more reasons for not brushing your teeth," some answers given were:

  • It's boring.
  • May cause tennis elbow.
  • Someone told you false teeth are sexy.
  • You need the dime the tooth fairy will bring you.
  • You're allergic to water.

As you can see, possible answers can include those that are nonsensical or from the fantasy realm.  The idea is to stimulate your creative thinking.  In brainstorming, coming up any possible solution is the first step in refining the list to only include realistic, reasonable solutions.

Mental Calisthenics

Mental Jogging also includes twelve mental calisthenics (one for each month) that are more complex mental tasks.  The one below is from January.

Sit in a comfortable position, take three deep breaths, and exhale very slowly from you nostrils.  Close your eyes and imagine the color RED, then ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, VIOLET.  Arrange the colors alphabetically, from left to right, in your mind.  Make them disappear one at a time.  Open your eyes.  Process with a Mental Jogging exercise.

If you are looking for ways to increase your speed of thinking or the volume of ideas as solutions or creative approaches, I encourage to buy Mental Jogging and try some of these exercises. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Create Storyboards Using Post-it sticky notes

In my post on becoming a sticky note ninja, I shared different ways that you can brainstorm either individually or in groups using Post-it notes.  You can also use Post-it notes to create a storyboard for a video, story, or presentation.  A storyboard is a series of still images that depict the different scenes of a story.

Origin of Storyboards

Traditionally, storyboards have been used in the film industry to plan the different events in a plot, decide how best to film each scene, and plan what is required for each aspect of creating the movie.

Walt Disney is attributed as the creator of the use of storyboards.  Even before he created the Disney company, Walt used storyboards to rough out his animated, short cartoons.  By the time he created Snow White, his company was using storyboards to represent the complete, full-length movie.  By 1939, storyboards made the transition from animate to live action, and Gone With The Wind was the first live action film to utilize this technique.  Since then, most movies have relied on the storyboarding technique as a pre-production tool.

Business Presentations

More recently, storyboards have been used in the planning process for business presentations. The idea of using a visual space to plan presentations is extremely productive as it helps ensure that the presentation flows well.

The process is easy to integrate into your current workflow as it relates to presentation design.
  1. Print whatever slides you already have as 9 slides per page (PowerPoint) or 16 slides per page (Keynote).  This will print your slides at a size that is the same as a 1.5x2.0 inch Post-it note.  Thus, you can add extra notes to represent additional slides that may be needed.
  2. Tape all of the slides onto a whiteboard or other smooth surface (like a back of a door or a window).
  3. Re-arrange slides as needed while inserting Post-it notes.  
  4. Capture the new arrangement using your smart phone camera.
  5. Carefully pull-off the slides in order so that you can use the stack as a reference when working on your computer.  If you did the planning in your office, you may be able to view the whiteboard from your computer.

Below is the capture of my presentation which is available at and embedded below.

Apps for Storyboards

Should you choose to stay in the electronic realm for your planning, these apps will be helpful.  Both Keynote and PowerPoint are presentation apps that can let you rearrange slides in a slide sorter view.  This is not a comprehensive list of apps or online sites to create storyboards, but it does represent apps that I have experimented with.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pixar Storytelling Prompts

Pixar is an entertainment company that focuses on high quality, full length animated movies using computer generated characters.  Pixar has a successful track record with hits such as Up, Toy Story, Cars, and Brave.

A quick search of "pixar storytelling rules" will return many pages that feature the 22 rules Pixar uses to create a story. 

My favorite of these rules is one that focuses on the basic structure of the story.  The Pixar story formula is designed to quickly generate a story which can then be developed into a full length movie full of details and subplots.

The Pixar storytelling formula:

  1. Once upon a time there was ____. (character is introduced)
  2. Every day, ____. (the everyday, normal world is explored)
  3. One day, ____. (something happens to interrupt normality)
  4. Because of that, ____. (the character takes steps to restore normality)
  5. Because of that, ____. (instead, the character is drawn into more complexity)
  6. Until finally, ____. (the character conquers whatever he is battling and achieves success)

Star Wars

  1. Once upon a time there was a teenager living on a desert planet.
  2. Every day, he dreamed of adventure, but couldn't find this on the planet.
  3. One day, he discovered that a droid contained a secret message for someone else who lived on the planet.
  4. Because of that, he searched for the person whom he also discovered was of interest to the evil rulers of the empire.
  5. Because of that, the boy's aunt and uncle (with whom he lived) were killed and he was forced to leave the planet in order to save the empire.
  6. Until finally, he successfully destroyed the death star and saved the princess.

The Godfather

  1. Once upon a time there was a son of a mobster.
  2. Every day he dreamed of leaving the "family business" and becoming a successful businessman and politician.  This was his father's dream too.
  3. One day, the father was seriously injured as the result of an attempted assassination.  
  4. Because of that, the son felt compelled to retaliate on behalf of his father.
  5. Because of that, he was drawn in to the family business.
  6. Until finally, in order to assure the family's position within the mafia families, he eliminated all of his enemies and replaced his father as the godfather.

You can also use this technique for a nonfiction story.


  1. Once upon a time there was a group of people who were forced to become slaves for the ruling class.
  2. Every day, they dreamed of freedom, which was prophesied by a patriarch in the past.
  3. One day, to avoid being killed by soldiers who were ordered to kill all newborn males, a mother hid her baby in a small basket in the river.
  4. Because of that, the princess of the country found the boy, fell in love with him, and adopted him as her own son.  Even though he was now a prince, he still remembered the pain felt by his own people.
  5. Because of that, he killed a man who was attacking one of his own people.  He had to leave the country and stayed away for 40 years.  It was here that he received divine instruction to return to the country.
  6. Until finally, he oversaw several supernatural events and freed his people from oppression.

Finally, this storytelling formula can also be used when making the case for a business process change.

What Happens When You Assume

  1. Once upon a time there was a company where all the employees worked on computers.
  2. Every day, they confidently stored their files on network (cloud) drives so that their files would be protected in the event their computers crashed.
  3. One day, a computer in the server room experienced an electrical failure which generated sufficient smoke to trigger the sprinkler system, which effectively put out the fire, but also damaged the equipment.
  4. Because of that, the information technology (IT) professionals discovered that that the automatic backup routines had been failing mid-way through all of the employee data.  They always assumed that the routines were working.
  5. Because of that, several employees lost business data that could not be recovered, because it was never actually backed up.
  6. Until finally, IT redesigned its server configuration to provide offsite storage and verification that backup routines were actually running.

Whether you are telling a bedtime story, writing a novel, or developing a business presentation, I encourage you to try this storytelling formula.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unpacking my Android tablet

A couple of posts ago I discussed the differences between the Google Android and Apple iOS models.  One of the advantages of Google's model is that the software can be used by a number of manufacturers, resulting in inexpensive products.

I purchased a Q8 7-inch tablet with 8GB of memory and 800x480 pixels.  The price was $39.95, but I discovered that I had a PayPal credit for $9.95, thus my total out-of-pocket price was $30.00.  As a bonus I received a stylus (valued at $3.00).

There was no name brand on the box - anywhere!  However, the tablet was packaged well.  The battery was only partially charged, so the first step was allowing the battery to charge to 100%.  The battery charges fast on this particular tablet.  One feature I like about Android is that you can see which apps are contributing to battery usage.  I discovered, for example, that Facebook was continually updated and utilizing 40% of the battery since the previous charge.

My Q8 is about the size of the iPad Mini (approximately 5x7 inches).  I don't have an iPad Mini, but will sneak my Q8 into an Apple store and try to get a picture comparing the sizes.

If you are looking for an inexpensive tablet, either as a second screen or as a starter tablet for your children, definitely consider this one.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review - How To Be Like Walt

Walt Disney is the famous name behind Mickey Mouse, Disney Land, Disney World, and namesake of the Disney company, which includes the ABC and ESPN networks, movie studios, and real estate throughout the world.  When people win a professional sporting event, they often exclaim, "I'm going to Disney World!"

How To Be Like Walt was written by Pat Williams with Jim Denney.  The authors interviewed a variety of people who knew and worked with Walt Disney.  Additionally, the authors reviewed a significant amount of archival material.  While the book is a biography of Walt Disney, the authors gleaned lessons from each of the major milestones in Walt Disney's life.  

Walt was an incredibly driven and creative individual.  He pioneered animation techniques still used today.  Beyond simple animation, he envisioned a time when people would watch full-length animated movies, not just a short cartoon.  This was completely unheard of when Walt started in the animation business.

Early Disney Animated Shorts

Below are two animated shorts created by Walt Disney.  Although known as the creator of Mickey Mouse, Walt created Oswald the Rabbit at an earlier time in his career.

The Disney Approach

Like all of us, his approach and decisions were often based - at least in part - on his personal life experiences. Born in a family with a father who frequently tried and failed at various jobs, Walt was not afraid to start again when a business venture failed.  When Walt was animating Oswald the Rabbit, he became mired in a bad financial deal.  As a result, he vowed to never work for someone else again.  Hence the Disney company was born.

Walt's creativity expanded beyond simple animation and entertainment.  He sought to use entertainment as a vehicle for knowledge.  Thus, early on he envisioned the Epcot City of Tomorrow and used his influence and creativity for educational purposes.

Man in Space

In 1955, after discussing space travel with Wernher Von Braun, one of the architects of Hitler's and subsequently the United States' missile programs, Walt created a movie entitled Man in Space.  This presentation of space travel to the moon was influential in President John F. Kennedy's declared mission to put a man on the moon by 1970. 

Lessons from the book

The authors of How To Be Like Walt devote the end of each chapter to a life lesson drawn from the chapter.  Unlike many books that simply state an obvious lesson at the end of the narrative, these lessons are illustrated by numerous additional examples from Walt's life.  Additionally, there are usually several specific character traits listed to support each lesson.  The lessons are:

  1. Live the adventure.
  2. Be a salesman.
  3. Dare to do the impossible.
  4. Unleash your imagination.
  5. Become an animated leader.
  6. Take a risk!
  7. Deal with loss.
  8. Plus every experience ("plus" was Walt's word for continual quality improvement).
  9. Be a person of stick-to-it-ivity.
  10. Become a sponge for ideas.
  11. Ask yourself "How about tomorrow?"
  12. Live for the next generation.
  13. Build complimentary partnerships.
  14. Stay focused!
  15. Accept your mortality.
  16. Make family your top priority.
  17. Be the person God made you to be.

If you are interested in examples of creativity, inspiration for life, motivation for success, or simply enjoy a good story, I encourage you to read How To Be Like Walt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Cheap Android Tablet

When I was in 8th grade I took a computer class.  The nature of topics covered in elementary computer classes varies from generation to generation as technological innovation keeps advancing.  My computer class was in 1984, so we had limited technology - compared to today - and used BASIC programming language.

Recently I met one of my classmates from 8th grade.  He told me that back in 8th grade, I pointed to all the computers and said, "One day, you'll have a device in your pocket that is able to do a lot more than these computers."  I wish I had pursued that dream, because I'd be a billionaire today. 

The tablet - between the laptop and the phone

The best working definition of a tablet that I've seen is from Walmart:
Tablet PCs are compact, ultra-portable entertainment devices that let you read email, surf the internet, read eBooks, view photos, play games, listen to music and watch video files. Most tablets are based on a smaller operating system, which allows you to purchase and download additional applications from supported stores. 

 The vast majority of tablet computers, or tablets, either use the Apple's iOS operating software or Google's Android software.  The approaches of the two companies is completely different and the result has been a transformation of how we approach portable computing.

Apple only uses the iOS operating system in its own devices.  At the time of this writing those include the various models of iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, and iPad Mini tablets.  The advantage of this closed system is that the quality of software is more consistent and higher.  Additionally, because Apple manufactures its own products, the products are usually more technologically advanced with better cameras, touch surfaces, and so on.

Google has licensed Android so that anyone can use it with a device.  While the standard software works the same on any Android Device, the price can vary based on the quality of materials used to manufacture the tablet products.  Lower-priced tablets can be expected to have fewer features such as a high-resolution camera, storage space, or stronger case.

Cheap tablets

Not too long ago I received an e-mail from Walmart listing a variety of tablets in the $70 range.  I was intrigued and performed some online searches for Android tablets.  I was surprised to find tablets as low as $30.  I purchased one, which I will be describing in a future post.  Below are the results from two companies, T-mart (where I purchased my tablet) and Amazon.

For the price of dinner out for a family, you can own a tablet.  This has a lot of potential because now this technology can be available to almost anyone. 

I will be sharing my experience with my $30 tablet and comparing it with my higher-functioning iPad tablet.  For me, learning about the Android tablet is new, and each software approaches tasks differently.  Additionally, I expect that there will be a difference in the capabilities of my new tablet when compared to the iPad. 

Note:  I am an affiliate for Tmart, so if you purchase from there, I will earn a small commission. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We are the music makers

Not too long ago, I watched the 40th anniversary edition of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As a child, I attended a summer camp, and this movie was the Saturday night feature at the end of a week filled with activity.

The basic plot of the movie is that a candy maker, Willy Wonka, has offered a free tour for five children and their chaperones. One by one the children are forced to exit the tour prematurely because they make some blunder inside the chocolate factory, largely because they don't listen to instructions. Inside the factory are outrageously fantastic designs such as a chocolate river, candies that last forever, and other treats beyond imagination.

In one scene, the remaining children are taken into a special room where Mr. Wonka has developed the technology to take a massive bar of chocolate, teleport it across the room while reducing the size, and have it be available for eating at the opposite side of the room. He calls it "WonkaVision." One of the parent chaperones asks, "Why would you want to do that?"

Mr. Wonka's answer is the source of today's post: "We are the music makers and we are the dreams of dreams."

In yesterday's post, I shared some techniques for brainstorming using self-adhesive notes and an app to brainstorm on your computer. I hope you will check it out or look for your own resources on how to be more creative in your life, both personally and professionally. Modern Mind Mapping by Tony Buzan is another excellent resource, as it introduces mind mapping concepts within the concept of enhancing creativity.

A key ingredient of creativity is more flexibility. You can start today by taking a different route home or to the store or to somewhere. Do things differently and you just may become one of the "dreamers of dreams."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Video review of StickyBoard2 app

A few posts ago I summarized a great resource, How to Become a StickyNote Ninja.  Using Post-it notes (also generically known as "self-adhesive notes") are an incredibly useful tool for brainstorming, planning, creative thinking, and storyboarding.


A search of Apple's app store will yield several possible apps designed to replicate Post-it notes.  In my video review below, you will see the highlights of StickyBoard2, which comes the closest the experience of organizing notes on a whiteboard.

StickyBoard2 is what I use to plan this blog as well as my food blog,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Posting stats for Personal Change

As I have written about before, collecting and analyzing information about yourself can be helpful in determining future strategic directions both personally and professionally.

This is my fourth year of writing posts for this site.  While I love the idea of posting every day, it has not worked out that way for me in the past as you can see from this set of sparklines, one for each year, and a longer sparkline showing all four years.

Blogging inspiration

In March, I wrote a post about a webinar on blogging.  The featured presenter was master blogger Ray Higdon, who posts regularly on network marketing related topics.  His webinar inspired to reorganize my blog and develop a plan for posting.  Another avid blogger that I follow is Sacha Chua.  She has been writing her "Living An Awesome Life" blog since 2003 and has almost 7,000 posts. 

Future direction

In thinking about the future of Personal Change, I have identified the following goals for the remainder of 2014.
  • Post four times per week - Monday to Thursday
  • Maintain a posting schedule for planning
  • Balance the post categories

Whether you write one post a month, once a week, every day, or more, I encourage you to start a blog and experiment with capturing your thoughts and ideas. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Stradivarius was a manufacturer of stringed instruments during the 17th and 18th centuries.  A few of his instruments are still in existence, and typically sell at auctions for a few million dollars.  These violins, violas, and cellos are prized possessions for the owners.

In contrast, the music instruments used in a particular orchestra in Cateura, Paraguay, are created from trash.  Rather than owned by the world's elite professional musicians, these instruments are played by children who live in a landfill.  These children learn to play the instruments, read music, and perform as an orchestra.  Their successes there lead, for some at least, out of the landfill and to success elsewhere.

 You will be inspired as you watch this video as you see children use what is around them to achieve something more.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Become a StickyNote Ninja - Review

A short history of Post-it notes

Post-it notes, the self-adhesive notes that come in a variety of sizes and colors, were developed by 3M over the course of two decades.  Originally designed to be a strong adhesive, the resulting solution was one that worked as a pressure-sensitive, temporary adhesive.  Serendipitously, one of the research engineers applied the adhesive to the bookmarks for his church hymnal.  Thus, the Post-it note was born, and marketed to the public starting in 1980.

Since then, Post-it notes and off-brand copies have made their way into almost every business and home.  The self-adhesive notes are convenient because they can serve as temporary reminders and bookmarks.  The need has been met, the note can simply be discarded.

StickyNote Ninja

In 2007 Kate Rutter presented at a design conference (UX) on using self-adhesive notes as part of  brainstorming and creative problem solving.  At some point in my browsing around the Internet I came across her website and presentation (links below).  This post is a summary of her presentation, which I encourage you to download and review.

Why use self-adhesive notes for brainstorming?
Self-adhesive notes are designed to stick to almost any smooth surface, they are generally available in any business setting.  People are accustomed to using self-adhesive notes.  While the 3M brand can still be a little pricey, off-brands are less expensive.  The size of these notes (typically 1.5x2.0 inch and 3x3 inch are the right size for one idea or concept per note.  Because of temporary sticking nature, self-adhesive notes are easy to re-arrange and simple to use.

Two ideas underlie the use of self-adhesive notes for brainstorming.
  1. Create information by generating new ideas, exploring problems in more detail, and exploring attributes of some topic.
  2. Consolidate information by identifying patterns, prioritizing, making decisions, and creating plans.

Basic layouts
There are four basic layouts for brainstorming with self-adhesive notes.

Work space
Self-adhesive notes can be applied to almost any surface.  As such, they will work with whiteboards, windows, doors (watch out for people using the door), and flip charts.  Standing while working on a vertical surface seems to lend itself to the brainstorming process, but you could also use these techniques on a flat surface, such as a table.

Tips for capturing
When writing ideas on self-adhesive notes, legibility is a key consideration as the notes need to be readable later.  Using a chisel-point marker provides the right amount of thickness and font size for reading from further away.  Additionally, when a brainstorming session has been completed, the work can be captured with a smart phone camera, edited, and shared with others as a PDF or image.

Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes by David Straker

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Focus on the Basics

A morning of scales

Recently, someone related a story to me about his recent hotel stay.  He got up early to get ready for the day.  As he was dressing and drinking his coffee, he kept hearing scales being played on a cello from the room next door.  For an hour he heard nothing but scales:  up and down, up and down.  About the same time he opened the door and stepped out into the hallway, so did the scale-practicing cellist.  It was the famous cellist Yo Yo Ma.

When he asked Yo Yo Ma why he needed to practice scales for an hour, Yo Yo Ma replied, "You have to keep the basics mastered."

This is the same advice that I received when I was in 8th.  As a budding pianist, I was enlisted to accompany the congregation during church services.  An elderly lady, Ms. Foote, was my mentor, and frequently reminded to focus on the rhythm, especially the first beat of the measure to keep the song moving, regardless of extra or missed notes.  When accompanying others, keeping the song rhythmically on track will make it easy to get the notes right.

This is a football

This is similar to the classic football story about Vince Lombardi.  Faced with coaching a team with a terrible record of games lost, he gathered the team together, held up a football, and said, "Gentleman, this is a football."  He coached the team to victory by initiating an intensive training program that focused on the fundamentals of football.

A great place to start

The reason that the military places a premium on physical fitness is because military leaders know that physically fit soldiers will have a solid foundation of endurance that will prepare them for missions.

In the movie, The Karate Kid, the lead character desires to learn karate to defend himself.  Rather than teach innovative karate moves, the instructor has the lead character perform mundane tasks like polishing the car and painting fences.  When asked about this, the instructor shows that the physical skills learned by non-karate tasks provided a basic training for karate.

When you're in an unfamiliar or pressure situation, focusing on the basics can help you reorient and focus.  Frequently for me, when writing a post, I'll jot "5WH" on a notepad.  This acronym stands for who, what, when, where, why, and how - the very basics of writing.  On a larger scale, you can always remind yourself of your personal mission or goals when you feel overwhelmed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stay Close to the Goal to Score

Every four years the countries of the world come together in the competitive sport of soccer, known outside of the United States as "football" or "futbol."  The Fédération Internationale de Football Association's (FIFA) 20th World Cup series is held in Brazil this year, and started June 12.

World Cup PreGame in Miami

In the week preceding the start of the World Cup, several teams played pregames in Miami, Florida.  This was convenient for my family because we were vacationing that same week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, about 20 miles from Miami.  We decided to attend the game featuring Korea vs. Ghana.   

Although I have watched soccer on television, this was my first live game.  In the continuum of competitive team sports, I think basketball is the fastest pace and highest scoring.  On the other end of the continuum is baseball which has a slow pace and is typically low scoring.  Soccer falls in the middle.  While it is extremely fast paced, many games end with scores of 0:1 or 1:2.

Ghana 4 - Korea 0

Unfortunately for the Korean team, the final score was little more lopsided.  The team from Ghana focused more on offense, and as a result, spent more time closer to their goal.  More time spent at the goal increases the likelihood of a score, and the Ghana team made four goals while Korea did not make any.  The final score:  Ghana, 4 - Korea, 0.

Life Goals

All of this got me thinking about goals in life.  Are you making offensive plays that continually move you closer to your goals, or are you far from where you need to be?

When I was in college, there was a fellow student from Nepal.  For me, at the time, that seemed like the most remote place on earth and about as far from Chattanooga, Tennessee, as one could get. 

The primary land feature in Nepal is Mt. Everest.  Let's say that I wanted to climb Mt. Everest.  From a practical standpoint that will never happen because I don't have $100,000 to pay for the opportunity to climb. 

If climbing Mt. Everest is my goal, what am I doing to work towards that?  What kinds I activities should I be involved in?  A lot of physical stamina training, losing weight, and building muscle for, what many climbers have described, the most intensive physical effort.  It's likely that sitting in the relaxed setting of Starbucks writing a blog post will not advance that goal.

Well, I actually don't have the goal of climbing Mt. Everest.  But I do have a goal of publishing a book, and writing a blog is moving in that direction. 

Living the Dream

For several years I lived in Nashville, Tennessee.  Nashville, known world-wide as the home of country music, draws people from all over the United States who aspire to a successful singing or songwriting career.  Nashville actually has a much more diverse music scene than just country music.  People come to Nashville to live their dreams, and while most don't make it the level they imagine, they put forth an effort while working as servers in restaurants.

Recently, I relocated to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Hot Springs is a resort town with a variety of attractions including actual hot springs (the oldest US National Park), several lakes, and a horse racing track established in 1904.  There's something for everyone.

However, when I describe Hot Springs compared to Nashville, there's one big difference.  No one comes to Hot Springs to live out their dreams as they do in Nashville.

Stay Close to the Goal

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to position yourself mentally and possibly physically to be closer to what defines success.  Sometimes this will mean making significant, life-changing decisions.  Sometimes it will mean foregoing a few small extravagances in order to save up for the vacation of a life time.  Wherever you need to be, start thinking - and doing - now to get there.