Sunday, February 11, 2018

Conflict of the Ages

Since October I have been using sketch notes as a study aid while reading Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen G. White. Chapters 1-40 are available at a dedicated blog, Conflict of the Ages.

I decided recently to combine blog efforts, and I will be placing the remaining sketch notes on this Personal Change blog.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Seven Personal Questions

Questions have been used for thousands of years to elicit thought. These seven personal questions to change your life are from a weekly e-mail I receive from Mike Murdock, who publishes the Wisdom Keys.

What are you passionate about?

Whose world have you tenaciously determined to improve?

Whose disrespect will you decide to ignore?

Whose attention/approval matters the most to you, and what are you willing to do to keep it?

Who has chosen to reject your influence?

Who has made (willingly) the most impactful investment in your immediate success, and what has been your reaction?

What single goal is worth one hour a day for the rest of your life?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Presentations Made Easy

These are my notes from a webinar on creating presentations that are memorable. This was sponsored by the Training Magazine Network. I attended in May, 2017.

Avoid TEGO
It is essential to avoid the common situation where “Their Eyes Glazed Over,” abbreviated as TEGO. This occurs too frequently. It is even more of a challenge when presenting virtually because you cannot see your audience.

Why do we fail to remember?
  • Not aware
  • Not focusing/concentrating
  • Not memorable
  • No filing/retrieval system

Principles of visual memory
  • Visual
  • Rare
  • Linked to something
  • Movement
  • Emotional

4 steps to add memory techniques to learning
  1. Add one or more principles to make a more memorable presentation.
  2. Use link method to retrieve items.
  3. Add unusual elements.
  4. Turn information into a list, and then link with unusual characteristics or a story.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Personal PR

One of the blogs I listen to regularly is “On the Page” with Pilar Alessandra. It is designed for screenwriters, but much of the content focuses on story.

In May 2017, Carole Kirschner was the featured guest. She spoke about creating your own personal public relations branding or messaging. 

Be ready at all times with the following.

Create a one-minute logline about who you are, what you do, and how you stand out (differentiate yourself) from others.

Write a three-minute chronological narrative with successes and colorful experiences from your life.

Make a list of several personal anecdotes which you can incorporate as appropriate into any situation.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Lincoln’s Fundamental Principles

Lincoln Reconsidered was written by David Herbert Donald. It is a book of essays on Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s perspective of politics was unique, and though he often appeared naive, he was an adroit political thinker. These are his fundamental principles.

Rejected tests of doctrinal purity.

Faced political reality as it was, not as it could become.

Refused to force reality into a formula. Recognized each problem as unique.

Willingness to change or adapt with events.

Did not make irredeemable promises against the future.

“I think it is enough if the man does no wrong hereafter.”—Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Seven Basic Plots

Seven Basic Plots - Why We Tell Stories is a book written by Chrisopher Booker. Entrepreneur magazine summarized the book from the perspective of adapting these basic plots to the business presentation. I read a blog post about this topic in Dec., 2017.

Learns about monster
Trains for battle
Monster revealed
Losing the battle
Tries different approach
Defeats monster

Unadventurous life
Transported to other world
Explores new surroundings
Feel uncomfortable
Confronted with darkness
Escapes/Defeats evil
Returns home wiser

Hero/Heroine destined for each other
Outside forces keep them apart
Confusion, uncertainly, frustration
Everyone entangled in unresolvable conflict
Truth uncovered
Hero & heroine get together

Terrible early life
Receives call to leave
Minor struggles, small successes
Hits rock bottom
Defeats the crisis
Wins and gets reward

Team receives mission
Small obstacles presented and overcome
Final dangerous test revealed
Final test accomplished
Team wins prize and travels home

REBIRTH (Redemption of a villain)
Falls under shadow of dark power
Things go well
Imprisoned by darkness
Dark power seemingly has triumphed
Redemption figure resolves situation
Hero is reborn as a better person

Monday, January 22, 2018

RGB Colors for the Rainbow

The rainbow has millions of colors which cover the visual spectrum. However, most people see a smaller number of colors. I learned seven colors in school, and they are easily remembered using the acronym ROY G BIV. There are probably other ways to remember the colors, but this works for me.

Below are the colors of the rainbow with the RGB - red/green/blue - color values. Some of these are included on the RGB color wheel, but indigo and violet are included here.

The colors are:

  • Red - 200, 0, 0
  • Orange - 255, 127, 0
  • Yellow - 255, 255, 0
  • Green - 0, 255, 0
  • Blue - 0, 0, 255
  • Indigo - 75, 0, 130
  • Violet - 148, 0, 211

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Biblical Principles of Conservation

A tenant of the Christian faith is that Jesus will return to earth to usher in the next age, where the earth in its current state will be destroyed an re-created as a new earth. A well-known text in both Christian theology and popular culture is Revelation 21:1, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”

Some Christians believe that because of the end of the world is near, there is no need for conservation. It is permissible, in their minds, to rob the earth of natural resources without any thought to the preservation the environment for future generations.

However, this paradigm is not supported by the Bible. I believe the Bible lays out a clear case for why we need to conserve resources, even if the world ends soon. Below are four principles which advocate for an environmentally friendly, conservation approach to taking care of our home, the earth.

Principle 1: The Earth is the Lord’s

Numerous texts state the true ownership of the earth: it belongs to God.

  • Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord's, with its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein.
  • Colossians 1:16-17 For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things are held together.
  • Leviticus 25:23 The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and live as foreigners with me.

Principle 2: We are God’s Stewards/Caretakers

Logical follows that if the earth and everything in it belongs to God, our position is to care for what has been entrusted to us.
  • Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.
  • Genesis 1:26 God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
  • Jeremiah 2:7 I brought you into a plentiful land, to eat its fruit and its goodness; but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.

Principle 3: Learn From Nature

Several verses specifically call on us to learn from nature. How can we learn from the natural world if it is destroyed?
  • Job 12:7-10 But ask the animals, now, and they shall teach you; the birds of the sky, and they shall tell you. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach you. The fish of the sea shall declare to you. Who doesn't know that in all these, the Lord's hand has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?
  • 1 Chronicles 16:33 Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
  • Matthew 6:26, 28 See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin.

Principle 4: Use Only What You Need

Perhaps a more controversial principle, do not use resources to excess. In the mid nineteenth century, the buffalo was almost hunted to extinction in the United States. Thousand of pelts were shipped to the eastern, more industrialized part of the United States for use as belts in machinery, clothes, and decoration.
  • Numbers 35:33-34 So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land. No atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, but by the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land which you inhabit, in the middle of which I dwell; for I, the Lord, dwell in the middle of the children of Israel.
  • Ezekiel 34:18 Does it seem a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet?
  • Deuteronomy 20:19 When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them; for you may eat of them. You shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged by you?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tips for Writing an Email

Throughout 2017 I attended several webinars on a variety of subjects. For all of these, I wrote notes in my planner.

In today's post you will find several tips for writing a sales email. Even if you are not selling products, often when you write an e-mail, you are trying to persuade recipients to take some action. These tips apply to any email where you want a result.

Tips for Writing an Email

  1. Craft a compelling subject line, but do not include the word "free."
  2. Identify the sender, for example, "Personal Change."
  3. Lead with a big benefit.
  4. Summarize the message in the first paragraph.
  5. Follow the first paragraph with detailed information.
  6. Repeat the offer and call to action.
  7. Make the first two response links the strongest.
  8. Use wide margins.
  9. Minimize use of ALL CAPS and extreme highlighting.
  10. Watch the length - short and concise is preferred.
  11. Get to the point quickly.
  12. Use a friendly, conversational tone.
  13. Include opt-out options.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

RGB Basic Color Wheel

From time to time I find that I need the specific RGB - red, green, blue - codes for colors. This is useful in graphic design, presentations, and any situation where color coordination is needed.

The colors are ordered Red, Green, Blue.

From the top (clockwise)

  • Red - 255, 0, 0
  • Orange - 255, 127, 0
  • Yellow - 255, 255, 0
  • Green Yellow - 127, 255, 0
  • Green - 0, 255, 0
  • Green Cyan - 0, 255, 127
  • Cyan - 0, 255, 255
  • Blue Cyan - 0, 127, 255
  • Blue - 0, 0, 255
  • Blue Magenta - 127, 0, 255
  • Magenta - 255, 0, 255
  • Red Magenta - 255, 0, 127

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I Shall Go To Texas

In 2016 I kept a journal on a daily basis. Below is part of my introduction and some information on my printing process.

When I was in elementary school, my parents gave me a small diary, complete with a little lock and key. I made some entries, but my older brother made fun of my keeping a diary, and I quit writing. I don’t think my entries were in the style of “Dear Diary,” but even with straightforward writing, I stopped. 

For the past ten years I have been maintaining a planning journal with events and notes. These are a great record, and I have frequently referred back to these journals for information. Last year I wrote a memoir of my life as part of a writing challenge and used my planners to create timelines that, otherwise, I would not have been able to recall. 

In the fall of 2015 I found myself interested in developing another writing challenge. I decided to write 1,000 words per day for a total of 365,000 words written by the end of 2016. At first I planned to base the entire writing plan on creating an e-book every week, and developed several possible topics and seven part outlines (for 1,000 words each day). However, as 2015 counted down, I decided instead to focus my writing in four categories: e-books, devotional thoughts, blog posts, and a journal. Initially my goal was to write 250 words per day in each of the four categories. Writing 250 words per day for 365 days translates into 91,250 words, approximately 350 pages. Thus, starting with January 1, 2016,  I faithfully wrote a journal entry every night. I skipped a handful of entries, but wrote about most days. 

Davy Crockett was an earlier frontiersman in the United States and represented the state of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives for several terms between 1827 and 1835. When he lost in 1835, Crockett famously quipped, "I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas." This state has been rewritten as a pithier, “You can go to hell; I shall go to Texas,” and adorns a variety to items in Texas-based airport gift shops.

I titled my journal “I Shall Go To Texas,” because I only lived in Texas during 2016. For a handful of years I needed to live in the Arkansas and Texas area for family reasons.

The result is the book you see pictured below. The total number of words was 143,193, which worked out to be 583 pages. 

I wanted a paper version of my journal, and because it was meant only as my own record, I printed it at Lulu is a publishing platform which allows you to print a small number of books, or you can utilize Lulu’s publishing services to maximize revenue and distribution.

I set up the pages in Microsoft Word, converted them to PDF, and uploaded the files to Lulu. A few weeks later,  I received the printed version of my journal in book form. 

I encourage you to write on a daily basis. Journals are excellent records of activities through the years.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Top 10 Coaching Tips from Hilton Johnson

Every day I receive coaching tips from Hilton Johnson Productions. At the time of this writing, the company’s website appears to be down. However, I still receive tips daily.

I have a folder in my email where I save any tips that I like. From my saved tips, the ones below are my favorites for 2016.


Giving a presentation without having a new sales recruit watch or hear you do it is a waste of energy, talent and valuable training time.

I love the idea of always being in training mode. What can you learn from a given situation, and what can you teach others?


What's 80 times more effective than cold calls?

A study by Selling Power Magazine states that...

  • 1% of all cold calls turn into sales
  • 15% of all leads turn into sales
  • 55% of all referrals turn into sales
  • 80% of all introductions turn into sales

I’ve heard a similar statistic for bringing to members in a church. Mailing out invitations to an evangelistic meeting is not nearly as effective as “friendship evangelism.” Personal connections make a difference in the effectiveness of your presentation.


People who spend their time multi-tasking are not as creative, productive, or happy as someone who is totally focused on just one task at a time.

Studies have shown that multi-tasking consists of rapid switching back and forth between activities. It seems simultaneous, but it is not.


One of the best ways to learn a good presentation is to write the language down on 3x5 cards, take a few of them with you wherever you go, and memorize them one at a time.

A 3x5 card is the ultimate paper app. You can write and draw on cards, easily rearrange them, and access them without technology. Using 3x5 cards is effective when learning a new presentation as well as for any type of information that needs to be learned.


The most powerful thing you can do to get people to take action is to create emotion within them. You do that by asking questions that get them thinking and talking.


Create multiple income streams by speaking, training, making online programs, coaching, publishing and providing tools for others to succeed.

This is an inspirational goal for me. This is similar to the idea of transmedia, but with more structure in a way that can be monetized.


You can ask all the questions you want (even personal ones) in your presentation by simply asking permission to do so before you begin. Here's what you say: "It would be helpful for me to understand more about your situation. May I ask you a few questions?"

Teachers have used questions for thousands of years. Socrates introduced this concept into the Greek philosophy. In the book of Genesis in the Bible, older than Socrates, God used questions when speaking with Adam and Eve, and again when addressing Cain after he murdered his brother. Jesus frequently used questions to engage his listeners.


Learn to be a good speaker. You'll get to make multiple sales with a single presentation.


Before offering the benefits of your products or services find out if your potential prospect has problems that your products or service will solve. That way you'll only give presentations to people who are interested and qualified.


Create a "Keepers File". When you read articles, find quotes and discover ideas you like, put them in the file for reference. They are a great resource for writing articles, training classes and stimulating your imagination.

I have read this same suggestion in the writings of Jim Rohn, John Maxwell, and others. For a few years I pasted articles or rewrote article summaries into a spiral bound notebook. Now I save many articles electronically or make a note in my planner. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some Questions from Jesus

Jesus asked many questions to engage his listeners and test the understanding of his followers? He also used questions as a way to introduce a topic of conversation or solicit specific information.

Please read each passage where these verses are located for the context, but by simply reading through this list of questions, I believe you will see several different applications you may also be able to apply as you teach, present, and talk to others.

Questions Jesus Asked
  • Matthew 5:46, 47 - If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
  • Matthew 6:25 - Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
  • Matthew 6:26 - Are you not of more value than they?
  • Matthew 6:27 - Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
  • Matthew 6:28 - Why do you worry about clothing?
  • Matthew 6:30 - Will He not much more clothe you?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Update for Writing 365

In my previous post, I described how my effort to blog consistently in 2016 did not work out.

I am happy to report, however, that not all of my writing efforts were a fail. At the end of 2015 I set a goal for 2016 to write 1,000 words per day every day for the entire year, 365 days.

I tracked my process, and provided updates on a monthly basis. My July update was the last official entry on the status of the project. By July I had already written over 320,000 words.

By the end of the year I wrote 483,790 words in primarily four categories: daily journal, blog posts, Christian essays (I wanted to write a devotional), and ebooks.

Initially I had hoped to write 250 words per day in each of the categories, but somewhere along the way I decided to focus on writing ebook content. I also discovered that my daily journal entries gradually increased in length. As a result, I exceed my writing goal.

This chart shows my journey to 365,000 words and beyond.
For me, while writing 1,000 words or more per day was exciting, I found that the experience burned me out a bit for writing. I spent 2017 working on editing and publishing tasks, but wrote very little.

In future posts I will be sharing the tangible result of my Writing 365 project.

If you do not have writing goals, I encourage you to start with a small overall goal, like 10,000 words, or a daily goal of 250 words. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Starting Again

This is a new year, and an opportunity to begin again. 

Previously I wrote a few posts on various topics related to generating ideas for blog posts.
With all of this knowledge, you might think that I would be a faithful blogger. However, in 2016 I was consistent until September. You can see the decrease in the number of posts by month in the chart below. 

Now, after a lengthy break, I have again decided to start blogging. One primary difference for this new effort is that I am going to have simple posts. I am not going to worry about writing at least 500 words to optimize the Google search. I am going to write the posts I want to write, drawn from a variety of sources, including the suggestions found in the two posts above.