Ladders as an Illustration and Explanation of Different Kinds of Friendship

by Steve Martin Relationships
Ladders are great to use as an illustration and explanation of different kinds of friendship. Before we get into this illustration, a brief explanation of the difference between a friend and an acquaintance may be helpful.  Acquaintance vs. Friend Although there are different opinions on the difference between these two terms, most people agree that the depth of the conversations is a determining factor in this difference. When you put this term in the context of the basic three kind of friendships ...
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How 4 Situational Filters Affect People's Perception

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
So what are situational filters and how do these 4 situational filters affect people's perception of the world around them? Cameras and filters We all are familiar with cameras, but not necessarily with lens filters. Camera lens filters are translucent or transparent glass or gelatin pieces that attach to the lens in the front. So if a picture is like a memory, then a filter affects the initial perception that creates that picture or memory. Cause and Effect So values govern perception, perception is ...
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The Cycle that Leads to Happy Friendships

by Steve Martin Relationships
The cycle that leads to happy friendships is giving-receiving-growing, and so on. Here's more of an explanation. The Cycle Explained Giving comes from growing- Giving from our own experiences and our own learning is both meaningful and resourceful. Growing ourselves personally can lead to growing interpersonally and helping others too. Receiving with sincerity and gratefulness helps us grow.  So if we are on the receiving end, it is important to be open to new points of view that we may not have considered and ...
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Growing Wealth Through Financial Planning

by Steve Martin Finance
When discussing growing wealth through financial planning, we need to start with why this is important. Why Financial Planning? Financial planning is like any other area of our life that involves planning. Without a plan, we do not know where we are going or how to get there. This would be the same as planning a vacation trip without a destination, route or routes of travel, or means to get there. The Desired Final Outcome Wealth building put simply is eliminating liabilities and increasing ...
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Business Culture of Proactivity vs. Reactivity

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
Before we get into differentiating between a business culture of proactivity vs. reactivity, we need to first give a brief explanation of what is business culture. What is "Business Culture?" Business culture is the style, approach, or methods of daily operations within a particular company. This involves key components like customer relations, overall planning and goal-setting, internal relationships like frequency, proximity, and clarity of direct communication, for example. What is Reactivity? Reactivity in this article is referring to the specific and habitual approach management ...
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Some Practical Ideas for Lifestyle Businesses

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
This article seeks to give some practical ideas for Lifestyle Businesses. But first, we need to explain what we mean by a "lifestyle business." What is a Lifestyle Business? A lifestyle business is a business that is founded with the goal of maintaining a specific level of income and/or to provide a foundation with which you can live a particular lifestyle. To me, this could encompass a large array of business types from what I would call "conventional" to "nonconventional."  Shifting Mentalities In order ...
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Thoughts on Individual Financial Responsibility and the Present-Day Workplace

by Steve Martin Finance
It seems like there are a fair amount of people who are uninformed or misinformed in regard to their thoughts on individual financial responsibility and the present-day workplace.  So I decided to write a short article just to deal with the basics. A Common Misconception A common misconception is that our employer will take care of us for retirement as long as we just "stay loyal by continuing our work." Although there is nothing wrong with loyalty in and of itself, this ...
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Consumers, Business Specialization, Education, and Choice

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
As consumers we deal with business specialization in many cases and personal education helps us in our choices. When I mention business specialization, I am referring to hiring someone else for a service or to create a product that we have little or no skill or knowledge in.  Examples are plumbers, mechanics, HVAC technicians, etc. So what do I mean when referring to education and choice? Let's start from the top and discuss competition and choice first. Competition and Choice As we use ...
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What Do Rabbits, Porcupines, Turtles, and Criticism Have in Common?

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
So what do rabbits, porcupines, turtles, and criticism have in common?  These animals can all be used to illustrate defensiveness and/or denial in response to criticism.  All of us will need to deal with criticism in our lives at some point. The difference maker is how we receive criticism.  Reasons for Defensiveness People usually get defensive when they hear criticism for two main reasons:   They feel they are being put down or judged inaccurately because the critic does not have or want to ...
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Emotional Triggers and Personal Growth

by Steve Martin Relationships, Self Improvement
So what are emotional triggers and how do they affect personal growth?  Emotional triggers are past thoughts and feelings resulting from a present event that takes us back to past experiences and feelings associated with them.  Most of the time when I have heard the term "trigger" used in relationship to human responses as it relates to feelings like fear, anger, hurt, etc.  Occasionally, I have heard it used in relationship to memories of fondness and positive past experiences. I ...
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Thoughts and Suggestions When Dealing with Saturated Fat

by Steve Martin Health and Fitness, Self Improvement
The first thought of many thoughts and suggestions when dealing with saturated fat in our diet is to be aware of the culture in which we live. My Industrialized Culture For myself personally, I live in what I consider an industrialized culture that is both fast-paced and consumer-based. In my experience a consumer-based model that involves competition and choice eventually keeps the quality of service, product, or idea better in some way. The downside is that appealing to what people are willing ...
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Putting the Daily Pieces of Your Life Together While Balancing the Past, Present, and Future

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
What does putting the daily pieces of your life together while balancing the past, present, and future mean?  We all have various responsibilities in different areas of our lives that are present and/or future concerns and may involve past history as well.  A couple of examples may be staying in touch with long-distance friends or relatives, various cleaning tasks around the house, maintenance of home appliances, and so on. So how can we manage our lives in a way that ...
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Energetic Motivations and the Pendulum Effect on Relationships

by Steve Martin Relationships
Three Energetic Motivations First we are going to explain the basic three energetic motivations and then the pendulum effect on relationships.  The basic three energetic motivations are love, hate, and fear.  In order to understand the relationships between these three motivations, I first picture a triangle.  At one corner is "love."  At the second corner is "hate."  At the third corner is "fear."  Love and hate may be opposites in the sense that they are degrees of liking or disliking of ...
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Community, Social Norms, and Cliques

by Steve Martin Relationships
What are Social Norms? Social norms, in layman's terms, are unspoken rules of a particular group. Most of us have experienced social norms without using those specific terms. These rules are based on values the group shares in common.  We recognize when people stop speaking to us or when we feel accepted or unaccepted by a group. Social norms can be helpful or destructive to groups and individuals depending on what those norms are. They can help a group grow in depth ...
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Solutions for Back Health

by Steve Martin Health and Fitness, Self Improvement
In the past couple of years, I've searched for solutions and tips for back health because of the physical activities I participate in both personally and professionally. Here are a few useful tips and solutions I would like to pass on: 1. Seek a "proactive chiropractor" for regular adjustments or be specific in what you want in terms of the quality of adjustments. Over the past couple of years I've had some interesting experiences with chiropractors  One group of chiropractors was very proactive about ...
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Responsibilities, Seasonal Cycles, and Systematic Neglect

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
"Cyclical Seasons" In this article on responsibilities, seasonal cycles, and systematic neglect, I want to first make an observation from nature. In regard to climate, we see seasons of weather that "cycle around" in every geographic location. In my area we have four seasons. Every season comes with it's own beauty and challenges. We can learn to prepare for and utilize the challenges for personal growth while enjoying each season's beauty.  Systematic Neglect Again In countries where the cultural emphasis lies on the ...
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Rethinking Retirement

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
My motivator to rethinking retirement is a culmination of years of my own personal, work, and business experience as well as talking to other people about their own experiences. Old Industrial Age Thinking The stereotypical thinking of some for the perfect retirement is to stop working, pull up your socks, and move to a state like Florida and play golf for the rest of your life. In the Industrial Age when corporations were booming, many corporations could afford to support their workers ...
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The Medicinal Effect of Productivity to the Healing Process

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
Recently, I had an experience that reminded me of the medicinal effect of productivity to the healing process. When recovering from a minor muscle strain, I noticed that rest helped, but staying physically active without straining the muscle more helped it heal faster for many reasons. I also thought about how this is true for mental and emotional health as well.  Stagnation and Growth Anything stagnate is not growing or, in this case, healing well. Although productivity during pain may seem counterintuitive, ...
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Helping Other People, Responsibility, and Enablement

by Steve Martin Relationships, Self Improvement
At some time in our lives all of us face the issues and dilemmas of helping other people, responsibility, and enablement. Many times this comes from a friend or family member. Or sometimes we work in the social service field where we are in a people helping role. Other times we may be the person in need of help and we are asking ourselves where our responsibility starts and some else's helping hand begins. The "Ins and Outs" of Friends, Family, ...
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Escaping the Trappings of a Narrow Customer Service Approach to Embrace a More Comprehensive and Dynamic Business Model

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
So what is involved in escaping the trappings of a narrow customer service approach to embrace a more comprehensive and dynamic business model?  In order to give a fair answer to this question, we first must take a new look at the common thinking behind traditional business models. A New Look at Traditional Business Models The "old or traditional way" of viewing businesses in terms customer service is that a business produces or offers a product, service, idea, or sometimes a combination.  ...
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