Archive for July, 2013

Putting in an “Honest Effort”

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Even though you are not a native speaker and you have possibly never heard this term, I’m guessing you can guess what an honest effort means.

An honest effort, is when you actually try your best at something.  Only YOU know when you are trying your best, so only YOU know if you are putting in an honest effort.

When I was a young kid, my parents, teachers, and coaches were always telling us how important it is to try our best at whatever we do.  I’ll have to admit, I never realized how truly important this was until pretty recently.  I believe that part of the reason was that I was afraid to believe this.  I didn’t want it to be true.  For me personally, I almost fantasize about a successful and happy life without needing to put in a full effort.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want or expect success with no effort.  I guess it’s just that I hoped that hard work wasn’t so important for success.  I somehow wish that intelligence and great ideas were more important than they are.

I kind of hoped that hard work was something that was just for the “stupid” or the “average” people.  I wanted to be more creative, more thoughtful, and attain success from simply having better ideas than the ideas of the typical “hard workers”.

But the truth is that when I think about all the people I know in my own life who are successful at anything, hard and consistent work is almost always the biggest reason.  The most successful people I know are not the smartest people, and they aren’t the most talented either.  But they are the hardest working people.  Even if their ideas and plans aren’t that amazing, they end up succeeding at almost anything they do because they keep working hard no matter what the situation looks like, and they never give up.  If their first plan doesn’t work, they try something else and work even harder.

This is true for people who are successful in business, in relationships, in learning a new language, in fitness, in pretty much anything. Hard work is insanely important for success.  You can make all the excuses you want, and many of your excuses might even make sense, but the real truth is pretty simple; if you want more success in your life, then you need to work harder than you are now.

This blog is supposed to be a little “kick in the pants” for anyone reading this.  It’s a wake up call.  I know you’d like to improve many areas of your life, and your English level is just one of them; and it’s a very important one too.  Even if you already know a lot of what I’m saying, I just hope this wakes you up a little bit.  You need to study harder.  You need to be more consistent with your studying. You know that you need to improve your English, and I hope this blog helps you realize that you shouldn’t waste even one more day procrastinating and making excuses.  Life is short, and we have no time to waste.

For a great way (the best way) to improve your English, try our VIP community.  I’ve been uploading awesome documentaries, books, and now some full length awesome audio books.  When I was in Canada, I read a lot of really great books, and I’m sharing the best ones with you guys in this VIP community.  I’ll keep them there and keep adding more stuff I know you’ll love.  I just uploaded one of the best and most famous books ever about psychology and improvement.  This will absolutely help your English and your life. It’s in there now :)

Of course, the China232 VIP room is pretty sick as well.  Do you know that Add and I already have more than 211 VIP podcasts in there?  If you study all those lessons, you’ll have unbelievable English in less than 90 days.  Just sayin…

Love to hear your thoughts and comments as usual :)  Did this post help motivate you to get off your butt and start working harder?

Stop Feeling Guilty – It’s Killing You!

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

I love writing blogs that will teach you some quality English, make you think, make you feel happier, and help your life; all at the same time.  I guess that’s like killing 4 birds with one stone.

I was reading an interesting article written by an American female doctor.  She recently quit her job as a “traditional western doctor” and has since been writing about “Eastern medicine” like Chinese and many other types of traditional medicine.  The older I get, the more I believe in “Eastern” medicines.  It’s more about understanding human health, rather than just treating illness with pills and surgery.  (Pills and surgery make A LOT of money for the huge industry of western medicine, and people in that industry will do everything they can to make sure they keep making huge profits)

The article she wrote was talking about “self discipline”.  That basically means to learn to “control yourself’”.  If you have “self discipline” it means you can follow your own plans.  For example, if you say to yourself, “I promise I’m going to wake up every morning at 6 am and go to the gym for a workout”, and then you actually do it, it means you have good self discipline.  If you make that promise to yourself and then maybe go for a few days and then quit, start sleeping in, and watching TV on the couch instead, it means you have terrible self discipline.  So it is all about learning to do what you say you are doing to do, and not be a lazy piece of garbage who keeps doing the easiest things all the time.

Everyone knows that self discipline is absolutely important for business success and for overall life success.  This woman, however, was talking about how it’s also just as important for your physical and mental health as well.  Even though it seems like life would be much better if we had millions of dollars for no reason and we could just sit around the pool all day getting a sun tan and drinking fancy drinks, it’s actually not as good for us as we imagine.  (Trust me, I imagine how awesome this life would be ALL THE TIME)

We are happiest when we have things to do, even if they are sometimes boring things.  We respect ourselves more when we do a lot each day, and respect ourselves less when we sit around doing nothing or just goof around all the time.  When we don’t do much, we start to feel a sense of guilt for some reason.  I’m not even sure exactly why, and I kind of hate this fact, but I think it’s true for the “human animal”.  We simply need to do stuff just to feel useful, even if it’s not necessary for the money.

So, the first point is that we need to do what we say we are going to do, otherwise we are going to experience an annoying amount of “guilt”.  Who wants to feel guilty for any reason?  It sucks.  It’s unhealthy too!

The second thing I want to say about guilt was something I learned from a great book she recommended.  I got the audio book, I listened to it online, I LOVED it, and I put it here in the VIP community for you guys to listen to as well.  I think that book alone is worth trying out a month in there.  And there is a lot of other things in there, and a lot more to come…..

….. One of the many interesting things that the book was talking about was guilt from yourself, and guilt from other people.

There are 2 extreme personality types when talking about guilt.  One is “neurotic” and one is “character disorder“.  These are opposites and are both very extreme.  Most people are probably somewhere in the middle between the 2.

If you are “neurotic” it means that you blame yourself for everything.  If anything in your life or anyone else’s life goes wrong, you think it’s your own fault, and you feel super sick with guilt because you wish you could have done better.  You experience a lot of pain because you keep torturing yourself by telling yourself that you are a failure and you should have been better.  If you are “neurotic” in this way, you might be quite depressed and stressed.  It’s of course good to take responsibility and try to do the best you can, but if you feel overly guilty for everything that doesn’t work out well for you and blame yourself too harshly all the time, you will feel sick and you’ll be sick.  Being “neurotic” is not healthy.  If you notice that you are neurotic sometimes, then try to remind yourself to relax a bit and stop blaming yourself too much.  Just do the best you can and move on.  One advantage of being neurotic is that it makes you more likely to succeed at things.  Someone who is neurotic with their English study will often learn it really well, because they won’t accept failure, and if they fail, they will blame themselves and do whatever they can to make sure they learn it.  This is how they are with everything.  The important point to remember is that you need balance.  You can’t be overly harsh on yourself for everything or you’ll probably die young.  You need a balance.

“Character disorder” on the other hand, is the other extreme personality type for guilt.  If you have character disorder, it means you always think that everything bad that happens to you is someone or something else’s fault.  You blame yourself for nothing at all.  I’m sure you know people like this.  Maybe you are even in a relationship with someone like this…  They blame you for everything!  They make you feel guilty for everything and they always act like nothing was their fault.  They are masters at making excuses.  The positive for them is that they don’t feel much guilt, but the negative thing is they make other people extremely miserable all the time, and they also don’t succeed as often because they don’t believe they can control their situation.

The important thing to remember here is this, if you know people who have character disorder, do whatever you can to stop accepting their blame.  It doesn’t matter how good of a person you are, they will make you feel guilty, and get very sick, if you let them.  You need to stop listening to their insane nonsense excuses.  If you have character disorder, you might not even realize it if you are reading this, because you’ll be so great at blaming other people for everything.  It’s too hard for you to imagine that your behaviour is your own fault.  That’s what character disorder is!

Another thing I found interesting, and quite logical, was that many people who are neurotic date people with character disorder.  It makes for a very unhealthy relationship because one person (the one with character disorder) is always blaming the other person for everything, and the other person (the one who is neurotic) is always accepting the blame and guilt for everything.  If you are in this type of relationship. you need to either get out of it, or at least tell the other person what is happening and make sure you don’t allow them to “run all over you” and blame you and make you feel guilty for everything.  You’ll be sick if you do!

I’d love to hear your thoughts as always.  I think you’ll love the book too.  Again, the full book is right here for you to listen to and enjoy.

Are you neurotic sometimes?  Do you know people with character disorder?  Do you believe that endless guilt is as terrible as I’m describing.  Please share :)

Personal Experiment

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Today I want to talk about doing a life changing experiment.  This personal experiment is all about seeing what kind of things your life would be better without.

I think its a really interesting idea and I’m thinking of doing it myself.  I just read about it yesterday and I’m thinking that maybe some of us can start doing it together.  I put this guy’s full experiment here in our 232 group.

So, here is the idea…

It’s about intentional self deprivation.  ”intentional” means that you do something on purpose.  ”Deprivation” means that you avoid something that you would generally want.  It sounds weird at first but it makes sense.  Just give me a chance to explain…

We are all living in a world where things are almost “too easy”.  And ironically, all of the modern advancements that are designed to make our lives easier and better can often end up making our lives far worse!

Think about things like, “watching TV, using Facebook, owning a car, playing on your cell phone, having junk food in the house”…..

All of these things are fun to do/use, but they can easily become a problem.  It’s so easy for all of us to become fat, lazy, and pathetic animals.

We all know we should watch less TV, go the the gym more often, eat healthier food, try to earn more money, etc.

The problem is that modern life is filled with so many ways to waste time or do unhealthy things.  The best way to live life is to do things that are both enjoyable AND helpful/healthy in some way.  Learning new things, exercising, spending quality time with your family and friends are all things that are both enjoyable in the short term and also useful and healthy things to do.  They are also, unfortunately, things that we often don’t do enough of.

Why?  Because life is filled with stuff that is so pathetically easy, that our little animal brains have a very hard time saying “NO” to something that is enjoyable in the very short term.

Sometimes it’s fun to watch your favourite show on TV, and sometimes it’s quite enjoyable to talk to your friends on Facebook or even eat unhealthy food.  But these activities are just SO EASY and SO CONVENIENT, that it’s quite possible to just waste so many hours doing these things, and very often not even get that much enjoyment from doing it.  It almost doesn’t make sense but we all know it happens, and happens easily.

Think about how easy it is to open up your computer or Ipad with no real goal at the beginning.  Maybe you think you are just going to check your email and then stop using it.  Somehow, 2 hours fly by and you mindlessly just start playing games, watching pointless videos, or having a boring or meaningless conversation with some friends on Facebook.  TV is even easier.  We go into the fridge or cupboard and grab some snacks, then sit on the coach and watch 3 hours of TV while pigging out.  I’m talking about eating when you aren’t really hungry, and watching TV shows that you aren’t even really interested in.  You just do it because it’s easy, and it gives your brain a chance to not think or worry about anything.

It’s really terrible and unhealthy behaviour, it’s not very enjoyable, but it’s so easy to do.  There are many things like this in modern life, and it’s our job to control these habits before they control us.  These habits suck our energy, kill our ambition, make us fat and sick, and make us poor and unhappy.

If you have any bad habit at all, even a small one that wastes too much of your time, I think the answer is simple (If you are actually serious about changing).

You NEED to stop it completely for a while.  If you have been watching too much TV lately, then you need to start watching NONE for a while.  If you have been eating too much chocolate or drinking too much coke lately, then you should try having NONE for a while.  If you have been wasting too much time on Facebook, then you should not use it AT ALL for a while.

Many people will tell you that you are being too “extreme” or going too “overboard” if you try to cut one of these things out of your life for a while.  The truth is that it may be necessary to be “extreme” for a while, if you really want to experience a healthy change.  (And trust me, I’m sure you want a big change).

If you eat too much chocolate, people will say, “try not to eat so much”.  If you waste too much time on Facebook or watching TV, then people will tell you to try using it less.  It sounds like the advice makes sense, but it almost never works.  If we just say that we’d like to “exercise more” or “watch less TV”, then nothing will happen.  The reason is that we have no rule to follow.  We can keep tricking ourselves by saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll only watch for a little while”.  Then we find that nothing happens.

If we take something COMPLETELY out of our lives for a while, it’s actually easier to not use it.  Watching no TV at all is much easier than watching only 30 minutes a day.  Eating no ice cream whatsoever, is much easier than just having one or two little spoons of it and then stopping.

I highly recommend you try taking one simple thing out of your life, and see how you feel after just 7 days.  Don’t use Facebook AT ALL for one week.  Don’t watch any TV at all for a week.  Don’t eat any chocolate or drink any coke at all for a week.  It’s not that hard actually if you just make a clear rule for yourself and make a little game/challenge out of this.

You will start to notice that your life may be actually better with less convenient ways to waste your time.  You might hate it at first, but you may start to love it later.  Don’t even worry about what you will do with the new free time, just make sure that you stop one bad habit for an entire week.  Even if you think it’s stupid after 2 or 3 days, just keep doing it anyway for the full week.  I promise, a week with no Facebook won’t kill you.  You may love it, you may hate it, but I’m sure you’ll learn something about yourself.  After the week, you can decide whether or not you want to continue doing it or not.  You just have to promise that you won’t “cheat” during the week.

The guy I’m recommending here talks about his program and he suggests doing each of these things for a month.  He is an expert on doing this and has a great and clear plan.  Again, it’s here for you to read in our community.   (Along with many other free things in there.  Movies, audio books, e books, high level chatting partners…)  We’ll keep adding to this and making it better and better for you guys :)

If you’d like to try changing one small habit for a week, I’d love for you to write about it in the comments.  Share your experience with us.  Let us know your plan (Don’t be shy and there is no need at all to feel embarrassed).

Do you think this is a good plan?  Why?  Do you think one week is long enough, or do you think a full month is needed for this?  Do you also believe things like Ipads, smartphones, TV, 24 hour Macdonalds, and the many other things in modern life that are supposed to make our lives easier and better are often making our lives worse overall?  Do you agree that today’s generation is in many ways more weak, lazy, and pathetic than generations of the past?  (50 years ago for example)  Please share any or all thoughts you may have about this in the comments.  Can’t wait to read them!

Andy :)

Fat tax?

Monday, July 8th, 2013

I’ve always found this to be an interesting story and I’ve heard this being discussed for years now.  I’ll post a link to the CNN article I read at the bottom of this post.

Here is the basic idea:  The fuel (gas) costs for airplanes is HUGE.  Doing anything to save fuel costs is a very important business idea for any airline company.  The problem is that this can be a very sensitive issue.  We all know that it costs more money (a lot more) to fly with very expensive luggage.  But what about if you are fat yourself?  It’s not very easy for the airlines to say, “sorry sir, you are too fat. We need to charge you extra money to pay for the extra fuel required to fly your fat ass all over the world”.

I even remember a debate from years ago about charging super fat people double price.  This idea was not because of the fuel price, but because some people were so fat that they literally needed to sit on 2 seats.  We all know that airplane seats aren’t very big in economy class, and it’s easy to imagine that its absolutely impossible to put 3 super super fat people side by side in 3 seats.  (If you don’t believe that there are many people who are really that fat, then, well, I guess you’ve never been to the USA!)

Anyway, this topic is about any extra weight on a plane costing the airlines money.  Due to “political correctness” and an overly sensitive world (especially in the West) it’s impossible to charge passengers based on their body weight.

One Indian airline company recently had an interesting idea.  They announced that they are going to hire mostly petite (small) female staff.  A lot of airlines do this anyway, but they are making it a policy (rule) and their reason is that it will save them money on fuel costs.  I think it’s obvious that most airlines want to hire attractive young female flight attendants for other reasons, like for all the male passengers who love staring at them (even though men don’t easily admit this).  It’s good for almost any business to have attractive females deal with the customers.  But it’s not easy to just say “we are only going to hire attractive women”.

Anyway, the Indian airline gets to have the “best of both worlds”.  The way they are selling this idea to the public is they are saying that they want small females because it saves them “gas money”.  Apparently, just hiring mostly small women will save the company $500 000 USD per year in fuel costs.  That is a lot of money, AND it’s better for the environment.

I know what a lot of “western people” think about this topic, and I’m interested in your international opinion.  Please share your comments as usual in the comments section below.

1.  Do you think it’s ok for airline companies to start charging heavy people more money to fly?  Why or why not?

2.  Do you think people in the west are “overly sensitive” about these things?

3.  Do you think it’s ok to hire only small females for this job?  Is it fair?  Why or why not?

There are really no right or wrong answers, all of this stuff is just personal opinion to get you guys talking and practising English.  I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

We’ve got the live chat set up now and some more cool movies in here:  Live chat and more cool movies

Here was the original article from CNN.

Can’t wait to read your thoughts!