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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lessons From A Canadian Motorcycle Ride in JANUARY

This weekend has been absolutely gorgeous. I know that overall Global warming is a bad thing, but sometimes it's hard to keep that in perspective when it's January in Ontario! Yesterday as I was driving home from a friends house, I rolled down my window and the fresh "spring" air called to me. I HAD to ride. 

The ride with Candy (my motorcycle) was amazing, but this post isn't about the ride itself. This post is about what I learned about life during my ride. With that, I will jump right into it.

1- Preparation is important, but it can only take you so far. I brought everything I needed- battery, seat, tools to install the battery/seat, warm gloves, full face helmet... I had it all planned out. However, about 20 minutes into the ride I realized I needed one more thing... CHAPS (I've put them on the list). The life lesson here is that you can and should prepare for your challenges in life, but you will never be able to plan for it all. Be OK with that.
The tools of the trade
2- A different perspective can change the game. I took my usual route- the one I have taken maybe 50 times before. The amazing part is how many new things I saw this time. With all of the trees bare, I was able to see landscapes, estates, and buildings I never knew existed. The life lesson here is that when something is boring or you are stuck on a project, go away, come back at a different time and reevaluate. You may see something that you never saw before.
In the Summer, this picture looks far different.
3- Roadblocks are temporary. Early in the spring the city installed speed bumps on the Forks of the Credit road, near Belfountain, Ontario. I had assumed that they were a permanent fixture. Turns out- they have to be removed in the Winter so that the snow plow can get by. Life lesson; Nothing is permanent- If you are experiencing a roadblock be persistent. Conditions can change and the roadblock can go away.
Smooth Sailing
3- It's not about avoiding mistakes, it's about how you act after they occur. I pulled into a lot on my route where I often stop to have a break or take pictures. I cruised right in and then as I went to stop I realized the whole lot was a sheet of wet ice... lovely. At this point, I could either worry about getting the bike out of the lot, or keep with my original plan of taking a break and some pictures. I did the latter. Afterall, I was already there and no matter what I would have to struggle to get the bike off the ice without wiping out... might as well get some pics! The life lesson here is that you WILL make mistakes (some smart and others not so much), but the important part is about figuring out how to deal with these mistakes. 
Traction? They only have that in the movies!
4- Helping people drives true satisfaction and happiness. As I was struggling to recover from my mistakes, a nice old couple pulled into the lot. They were trying to find the Caledon Ski Club, to which I gave them detailed directions (it was right around the corner). Despite my happiness about being able to take Candy for a spin, this was the most rewarding part of my day. They were so grateful for the help. Life Lesson here- Take time to help people. Even small acts will make you feel good and make the world a better place.

5- Getting dirty is required- Might as well enjoy it. Although it was warm, the roads were wet, sandy, and conditions were far from ideal. My jacket, helmet, boots, pants, and bike were all FILTHY by the time I was done. It didn't matter. The life lesson here is that to have any fun or get any of your goals accomplished you will have to get dirty. Don't worry about it, as you can always take a shower and start fresh anytime you like.
Anyone have a blow dryer?
6- Action is all that matters. There were so many reasons NOT to go for a ride, but it was worth the trouble. The life lesson is that many people can talk about their ideas and what could be true, but those who take action get ahead and reach their goals. Start something today.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

YouTube Style: Is There A Secret Sauce?

I know I'm late to the game (I must be showing my age), but I'm a little obsessed with the following music video:

It's a little ridiculous to be sure, but at the same time it's catchy as all hell. I've also developed a crush on Hyuna.. but that's probably a subject for a whole other post. :)

As I watched this video a few times, it really made me think about one of my other favorite videos by LMFAO.

I mused at my observation, but then I read this article today and I decided to take a closer look. If you don't want to read it, the short version is that Gangnam Style is the most "liked" video on YouTube, and Party Rock is #2. There is a wide margin here, but still- it got me thinking: Is there a secret formula to making a viral music video?

For this comparison, I will list a theme and then list the time code in each video where it's exhibited. Let's take a look at the similarities:

Overall ridiculousness of clothing and dance moves: Throughout both videos
Treble reduced, Deep Bass Introduction: PR-0:50, GS-:04
Loud, synthesized  bridge: PR-1:38, GS-0:17 (To be fair, PR crescendos into the volume)
Really cool break dancing by featured performer: PR-2:02 (Boxhead), GS-0:22 (Little Kid)
Crescendo of music followed by a lower, smoother verse: PR-2:38, GS-1:43
Addition of featured female artist: PR- 4:12 (Laura Bennet), GS-2:12 (Hyuna)
Featured female does sexually suggestive dance moves: PR- 4:29, GS-2:16
Crescendo featuring a screen effect that flips between multiple cameras: PR-4:51, GS-2:28
Final scene involves the entire (motley) cast of the video dancing up a storm: PR-4:59, GS-3:19
Abrupt Stop: PR-5:57, GS-3:37

So I have to ask- Was this deliberate? Or a complete coincidence?

PS- Further to my point, as I pulled up the Link for the Party Rock video, here is what my webpage looked like. I'm sure some marketer somewhere knows that if you liked Party Rock, you will definitely like Gangnam Style! Of course- maybe it's just a coincidence?
I can haz Gangnam Style whilst I Part Rock?

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Interesting World We Live In

The world is a funny place. We get up everyday, work our buns off, and expect to be rewarded handsomely. Up until this point in my life I'd have no reason to disagree. I get up everyday, give it 110% and then enjoy my few spare hours. I guess my question is... when....if ever, does it end?

I <3 capitalism... I always have. If you can make money from it, you should sell it!

The problem is... most people don't think about things rationally... Adam Smith... What a BALLER!

Seriously though, rational thinking is almost non-existent in our society! Case in point- ANYONE who has ever told you their website is going to make the sale. Guess what- the website is irrelevant! If you want to close a sale you need to make that next call, send that next email, and treat your next customer like gold. It's a long way to the top!

PS: If you need late night resume services, hit me up at
(Please note the site is still in progress... and TOTALLY not SEO Optimized)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 Year In Review- Progress Against My Goals

Back on January 8 I outlined my goals for the year. Even thought the year is not through, we are nearing that time, and I feel like it's a good time to reflect on whether I have made sufficient progress towards my goals. Reviewing your action plan and your progress is the first step before you can lay out goals and an action plan for next year.

1- Accelerate my new found love for my body
2- Live in another country
3- Help others more than they help me
4- Be more disciplined with my finances

1- I did not reach my goal of doing a full set of push ups or pull ups, but I can confidently say that this has been the healthiest year of my life. I have continued to eat in a relatively healthy manner, choosing to cook over eating out when possible, and keeping up a regular (but not as intensive as I would like) workout routine.

2- For those of you who didn't hear through the grapevine, I had actually planned to move to the US within my company to take a new position. This is currently on hold for a variety of reasons, the largest being immigration has tightened up given all of the economic trouble down there.  At first I was really bummed about this, but I've since come to realize that where one door closes, many more open up. I'm not disappointed that I didn't achieve this goal this year, as it's truly a long term plan on this one.

3- This one has been a really funny goal. Reason being is that I'm not sure if it's achievable. I feel like I was very successful in spending an inordinate amount of time helping others, but somehow I wasn't able to tip the balance to me helping others more than they help me. I suppose it really is true that the more you give, the more you get back. In case you were wondering what I'm talking about in terms of helping others, I've reviewed and given feedback on approximately 10 resume's of folks who are looking for work, I helped an acquaintance get a well paying job at one of the big Canadian Banks, I made extra effort to ensure that all of the interns we had in our department this summer felt right at home even though they didn't report to me, and I prioritized helping others in my work group over doing my own work (even when this meant I had to work more hours to catch up). I'm not looking for an award here- but I want to capture this so that one day I can look back on it and reflect on the times and how I can get better in this area of my life.

4- Hmmm... the finance question. This one has mixed results, but only because my standards are high. I think overall I would call this bucket successful, as I refinanced some of my higher interest debt recently, and I have been saving about 10% of my income for the future. That reminds me, I probably need to write a post on why you should be saving because pensions are likely going to be something we reminisce about by the time I get there. I have definitely gotten more disciplined in sticking to my monthly budget, but there is more work to do. Some of the line items (eating out, booze) really could be reduced, and if I could do that successfully, I'd actually be helping out with Goal #1.

Overall, this year has been amazing. I feel like I have continued growing as a human being across all aspect of my life; economically, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Over the next 2 months (and 2 weeks of vacation during Christmas) I'm going to take a hard look at the year and my goals and figure out what 2012 needs to be all about.

I'll leave you with this thought, which was shared with me by Rafael Alencar while he was working with me at P&G. I am going to try and apply this to my goals for 2012.
"People often try to do too many things in 1 year, and not nearly enough in 5 years. You should have one or two small goals for the year, and 3-5 big goals for 5 years."

Think about it.