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Give with no Intention of Receiving

I was listening to a podcast featuring Chris Brogan yesterday that coincided perfectly with the Donald Trump story regarding the idea of giving to charity. It seems like the stars aligned this week because the company I work for is also pushing content related to “Giving with an Agenda,” and why that can be harmful.

Anyways, Chris Brogan said something on this podcast that really resonated with me. He was discussing ways in which we can effectively create relationships online through Twitter, our blogs, and anything else. He mentioned how we are used to be bombarded by sales, which everything ultimately comes down to. It seems like every conversation we have online or in life boils down to, “What can this person do for me?”

Brogan pointed out a simple truth. When you give with no intention of receiving, that is, you give without an agenda, people respond. Relationships and intimacy are formed between two entities. Giving without expecting a return may not always be easy to display, but when someone is convinced that you are genuinely trying to help them, they are much more likely to trust you.

I’ve experienced this myself just by writing this blog. I make no money from this and expect nothing in return from the people who gain value from reading this. That is why this blog has gained a following. It’s not because I’m some genius writer (although you’re definitely allowed to think that) because I make mistakes all the time. The point is that you will find much more success in branding something when your mission is trust, and real trust has to be earned.

Jon

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Why Donald Trump’s Challenge to Obama Probably Won’t Work

I say “probably” because hey, anything can happen right? That said, the odds that this will actually change anyone’s mind or perception of Obama is rather slim.

Here’s the context. For days, Donald Trump has been hinting at a big “announcement” he would make today (Wednesday). Many speculated on uncovered divorce papers while some even argued he was revisiting Obama’s birth certificate. Turns out, the notorious Trump is offering $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice if, and only if, he releases his respective college transcripts, including his passport.

This request comes from the notion that the president is hiding a shameful record of low grades during his time at Columbia University. Here’s the thing though: Obama has already admitted that his grades were mediocre during his time there in his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Of course, this raises the valid question of why his records are sealed in the first place. Even if he had poor grades, that would change few minds about reelecting him since this happened decades ago. As some have pointed out, however, poor grades mean that Obama could never have gotten into Harvard Law School or kept up scholarships that would have to pay for his education since he did not come from a wealthy background. So, what exactly could the president be hiding?

The real point, however, is that this would change nothing. Obama will never release his college records at the request of a private citizen. That would be political suicide unless he has a sterling record, which is highly unlikely given that he sealed them and because of the points above. Obama will play this off as “political football” and let his constituents attack Trump for him as his advocates. That is the obvious strategy that will inevitably make this issue fizzle out. Some more people will hate Trump. Some more people will distrust Obama. That’s about it.

That is, however, unless something completely unpredictable happens between now and October 31st, which I am all for.

Jon

What The Weekends Should Be For

At least for me, my work week is packed full of writing. In other words, I spend my time at work just putting out tons of information from my mind. For you, that can be in the form of something else, but the idea remains the same.

When it comes time to plan out my weekend, I am then faced with trouble. I want to be productive, but I am mentally exhausted. What can I do to keep myself from being lethargic without missing out on much-needed rest?

For me, the solution is reading. After days of spouting content from my mind, it is actually refreshing to just take in some profound insights from something else. Escapism if you will. The key is to find something that isn’t just entertaining, but thought-provoking as well. In other words, if it isn’t interesting enough for you to talk about the rest of that week, you’ve probably wasted your time.

JN

A Simple Way to Boost Your Online Influence

If you’re like me, you hate seeing your Klout score drop. It happens, however, and is pretty much unavoidable that your influence online is either going to plateau or decline. The law of entropy and all that.

It seems like some people don’t have a hard time with this. They share and post content daily that is absorbed by a loyal network, and they make it look like a breeze. A lot of factors go into why some people are more influential than others, but it usually comes down to how valuable your content is.

Increasing your content’s readability and value is, in fact, the simplest way to become more influential, as long as you’re sharing it effectively. So, how do you become better at producing valuable content?

One way is to narrow your focus. You’ll hear this everywhere. People say that the more specific your message is, the more people will respond to it. That’s definitely true, but it’s only half the battle. What you really want to do is become an expert in that category (we love to skip that part).

We need to be absorbing valuable content from other people constantly in order for us to become real opinion leaders. The reason is because people will see through you if you post a bunch of articles about cooking when you know nothing about it or even if you don’t even make an effort to making your cooking unique and remarkable.

Opinion leaders become what they are because they pick a topic they love, learn everything they can about it, and share their unique perspective on it to a correct audience. This is an intricate, yet overall simple way to look at it.

Let’s say you are doing a music blog like I have in the past. You’ve picked music because you’ve loved music all of your life and you want to share your tastes with others. Maybe your mission is to help people discover new music that is hard to find. Another mission could be to show off how good you are at predicting what songs will become hits (that’s a fun exercise). You then attend concerts, watch tons of music videos online, and have frequent discussions with likeminded colleagues. You’ve then created a network of people you have interacted with online to attain your goal of learning about your topic. You then have the resources you need to launch your full-scale music blog and the followers will flock to you.

The best part is that picking a topic you are passionate about propels you to maintain and keep your blog up-to-date, mostly because by then, this has really become a part of your lifestyle.

JN

Review: ‘Revolution’ Pilot

If you haven’t watched the pilot yet, I strongly suggest you do before reading on. You can watch for free here: http://www.nbc.com/revolution/video/pilot/1415378

The basic premise of Revolution follows one key theme: what would happen if all of our man-made electrical devices just stopped working? Cars, airplanes, lighting, even batteries are now completely useless, as something has disrupted electrical currents.

Revolution follows this idea opening with the “blackout” which takes place during the present, and we see how this sudden change immediately affects the world. The show fast-forwards 15 years to our main characters, who are embarking on a mission to save a family member from a ruthless militia. Along the way, we are shown hints to why the blackout happened and who knows about it, and the show teases us with flashbacks to the day the blackout happened a la “Lost.”

It’s an interesting mystery for sure, but what has people really rooting for the show is how it lends itself to spirited adventure with the reasonable implementation of muskets, swords, and crossbows. The action scenes are actually dynamic and fun to watch, making it a lot like Pirates of The Caribbean meets Fallout if that makes any sense.

That said, the pilot has its issues. Mainly the characters. I don’t really like Charlie, the female lead, as she seems like a pretty boring narrative device. Her main function is to bring the other characters together, but it’s not very exciting yet. I’ll give her more episodes, but I don’t like what I see yet. The other characters standing alone are much more well-conceived, especially Maggie and Miles. Maggie is a botanist that uses trickery to win her fights, although she doesn’t seem to fit in the cast ensemble just yet and doesn’t get much screen time.

Miles could be the show’s saving grace as the reluctant hero who bests an entire platoon of militia soldiers single-handed. Easily the best action scene you’ll see on TV these days.

Other characters don’t make much sense yet, such as Nate, the show’s villain yet hero who works for the militia and has a thing for Charlie. Aaron is a former Google employee who is nothing more than a comic relief who we’ll hopefully see come to his own as this group’s “Sokka.”

Oh and how could I leave out Giancarlo Esposito, who can only be described as Revolution’s own  Gus Fring. His performance was great, of course, but we really need to see him evolve beyond his usual sharp-tongued villainy.

Overall, the show has plenty of promise. Enough, at least, for you to get plugged in now and see where this goes. As long as the characters begin to find their rhythm amongst each other and the writing continues to catch us off guard (the second-to-last plot twist was very well-done), we could have an addicting (for a good reason) show on our hands.

Also, people are crying foul over supposed plot-holes surrounding how this world has been shaped after 15 years. All I can say is wait. I’m sure we’ll see valid reasons for why society has developed into what we see in the pilot, and I’m confident they can pull it off.

That Moment When You Have Nothing

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Is the moment you realize you have everything…you need.

I cross the Howard Frankland Bridge every day, which is a bridge that connects Tampa Bay to Clearwater. Today I was going over all of the issues and problems I have ahead of me. Bills, challenges, jobs, and really just making sure my life is moving towards a goal that I won’t regret. Something that future me will thank me for.

I got to the point where I lamented over all of the tools and resources I didn’t have and how I could miss out on opportunities that I see others grasping for.

It was at that precise moment that I crossed the Howard Frankland Bridge. This is a several mile bridge over the ocean that is a spectacle to see in the morning. The water is reflected perfectly, and you are just barely above it. It was then that I realized how fortunate I am to be living in such a place. Not just Tampa Bay, but even being in America is a blessing I frequently forget.

Perhaps I won’t get everything that I want and maybe some of my goals won’t be attained. So what? I have everything I need, not at the least including my drive to thrive in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Image courtesy of tampabay.com

How Do You Know if Something is Truly Valuable?

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Not too long ago, I held something extremely valuable. For you it may be a person, job, hobby, pet, etc. Something happened out of my control and weeks later, it was no longer valuable to me. This is a strange phenomenon because I truly believed deep down that I fully cared about this, but now I feel nothing but a void. All it took was a couple of steps.

If something is truly valuable to me, that won’t happen so easily. This is because:

Value is as inherent as it is relative.

The more relative the value in someone or something, the less value they are capable of controlling over you.

This seems obvious, but causes mind blisters for me to grasp.

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