Archive for 2008

Some Holiday Season 3D Images

December 31st 2008

Some Eye Candy and Holiday Cards to Finish Off 2008

I wanted to finish the year off with some amazing 3D images.  These are not my own but are from a variety of artists that I’ve really enjoyed the artwork and 3D content from this past year.  They use the same 3D software that I do and there are countless more images in the community forum here from Luxology , the makers of modo, which was used for ALL of these inspiring 3D images. I hope you enjoy them.  Happy New Year!!

3D Image Gallery

This is a mix of Christmas and Holiday pictures as well as a select bunch of images that I loved throughout the year.

Posted by Mike King under 3D | 13 Comments »

Life and Work Balance

December 29th 2008

Life and work balance seems like it is always a massive struggle for so many people in their lives.  There are constant pressures and trade-offs between working more to get ahead and having time for the rest of your life that seem to always clash no matter what the circumstances.  Here, I’ll present some options for dealing with this.

The Dilemma

1093389_balance_3 Most people have an impression that has developed that you must working longer hours in order to get ahead in your career.  This comes from a huge range of sources nowadays, from work itself, the hectic busy lives in cities right  back to seeing our parents as children and how we are taught in school.  Everyone talks about working more and working longer in order to get what you want.

In learning this, people who have hopes and ambitions for their careers are trained early that it is necessary to put in those extra hours to get ahead which will have a drastic effect on your personal life outside of work.  This is the dilemma one faces when trying to balance life and work.

The Timing

Timing of this dilemma means multiple things to me.  It is about the timing of the balance itself and the timing of the beliefs that feed and re-enforce the dilemma in the first place.  It seems that people change their minds on this belief as they progress through life so where you are at in your career, position or even your age has something to do with how to balance work and life.  I personally don’t believe this one bit and I think that people should be much more careful with when and to what extent these beliefs drive them.  Young people tend to be looked upon as people with less responsibility who can and therefore, should working more in their life.  The age old comments about people who live on their own, have fewer responsibilities and who don’t have kids is something that makes my blood boil.  No one should judge others in this way and if you ask me, young folks make a massive life mistake by adopting this thinking that they should work more now and then later in life have time to do all the other things.

Timing your life is not something you should ever plan for, it’s too short, too unexpected and would be terribly irresponsible not to use your time wisely at any point in life.  A young person should take on work life balance even more seriously than others as it will have a bigger impact on the rest of their life than if they only have 5-10 years left to work.  Imagine if you developed a practice to always have time for yourself each week when you were 20 years old and fit work in without making a huge commitment to work extra and try to get ahead.  Do that when you are 20 instead of when you are 50 and you can save yourself 30 years of unhappy work life balance.  If you change these beliefs early in life, the payout is far higher than waiting until work has worn you down and you only look to balance your life out of necessity before burning out.

The other aspect of timing for work life balance is simply in how you can balance it in the first place.  Develop yourself a routine so that you are dependable with your work and that people learn to respect your time and your decisions about balancing your life.  Flexibility to nice but not at the cost of your free time and life over any long period of time.  Short term flexibility and adjustments of course will be needed in many careers but you don’t need to, nor should you allow these behaviors become habits.  If you do, they become very hard to break and it changes expectations from those you work with.  If you have worked 60 hours a week for 5 years and then suddenly want to scale back to 40 hours a week, all I can say is good luck.  You either won’t be able to, will be so stressed you’ll not enjoy your free time or it will be seen very negatively from your employer.  On the other hand, if you have always worked 40 hours a week and this is consistent, you have no problem scaling up for a short time and returned back to a normal workload.  Don’t let anyone take advantage of this and always discuss it with an employer before you let it happen for more than a couple of weeks so they know it is temporary.

The Sacrifice

So, some of you probably think that working only 40 hours a week will be a sacrifice to your career.  Well, yes it is.  Maybe.  If you look at your career over a longer term however, like I do, then you will not think it is a sacrifice to your career, but to your life.  Why would you really want to work significantly more?  What will it gain you?  Possessions, security, time?  Aren’t each of those things only sought after to give you more freedom and enjoyment in life anyway?  Why would you choose to defer those things if you can have more of it now?

Let me reframe the idea of sacrifice then from one of sacrificing your career progression to one of sacrificing your life.  Don’t be convinced that putting off life, no matter how temporary it is, is going to pay back more in the end, it won’t.  Life is short, it can end abruptly with no warnings and you will never find a single person on their death bed wishing they had worked more in their lives instead of living it.  So, make the sacrifice one of work to ensure you lead the type of life you want, have the free time you need and change your habits to make living the focus.

This sacrifice is something that can also reinforce many great character traits.  If people know that you will NOT sacrifice your life and cannot be taken advantage of for work, good people will respect this and value it.  They won’t try to take advantage of you and you will be appreciated far more when you do put in extra effort from time to time.  Anyone who doesn’t respect this type of moral decision will likely never respect you and I’d say to walk away if you are giving ultimatums or your work is made more miserable because of it.  This is a smart sacrifice to make to get yourself in a job where people value your time and respect your decisions.  I know if I didn’t have that in my job, I would walk a way in a second!

The Solution

Finally, I want to cover more of a solution to this dilemma of work life balance.  It’s definitely not an easy solution to come to.  If you haven’t started your career yet, I guess this might be much easier to apply without any side effects but anyone in a role with a habit of overworking that they want to break, it’s not going to be easy to change.  The best way though by far is to continue to get your work done, but do it in less time by becoming more efficient and more productive while you are working.

If your hours are tracked by a superior, sit down with them and talk to them about your plans to reduce your overtime or extra work.  They need to know you are going to change it so that you do not surprise them and disappoint them unexpectedly.  Discuss the areas of your work that are most important and which areas if something had to go, should.  Ask about ways to be more efficient and be honest with yourself and your boss about time that is wasted on the job that you have room to eliminate to become more productive.  You can make a strong case if you admit that some of your time is wasted on person email or internet browsing when really you should be working and that you are going to reduce your hours worked, but also eliminate those things that could be done outside of work.  This honesty and self-assessment will impress them and give you a big bargaining chip.

Most people if they added up all the time they spent each week on wasted activities could easily have the free time that they really want and they fall into the trap of making themselves look busier than they really are.  Let them know that you are going to try it for a week or two and see how it changes things.  Make a strong effort to kill those distractions and wasted time so you can prove you can get just as much work done.  Ask to meet and review progress in a week and continue to highlight that it is working and making you happier and more productive.

If you are giving no support to try this at your work place I’d would suggest to do it anyway.  Log the hours you work and the hours you waste (for yourself) so you can see what you could still get done with reduced hours.  Then, do it anyway and take on the consequences.  If you are serious about work life balance, then you need to make a stand and do your best to make it work at your present job.  If that won’t happen, then take the plunge and switch jobs, it might be the only way to reset and start over with a fixed work schedule and attitude.

To me, the topic of work life balance is a critical one and the foundation that supports it in your life is productivity.  The more productive you can be, the easier it is to be successful in your career while keeping a happy work life balance.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 23 Comments »

Why Are You Waiting for Happiness? Have it NOW!

December 21st 2008

Have you ever heard yourself or someone you know say, "I’ll be happy when…"?  Do you think that happiness is something you will have or get in the future?  Are there things you think you need to do or have before you will be truly happy?  I’ve learned that you can control your own happiness and this article will help you learn to enable yourself to experience happiness anytime, anywhere, in any situation.

The Myth of Happiness

Happiness is one of those long sought after, conceptual ideas and it has turned into a sense of longing and searching for many people instead of a state of being and feeling.  People have learned over centuries to look to the future to find more happiness instead of looking at the here and now with what they have.  Well, did you know you can have happiness now?  You don’t need anything else or anyone to be happy.

Have you ever been happy before in your life?  Are there moments when you’ve experienced more happiness than right now?  I suspect there are!  If so, great, then you can harness that and be happy now as well.

Happiness is Internal

Many think that happiness comes from having lots of money, being attractive, having the perfect job or the latest gadget.  Some people think it comes from circumstances in life or your environment.  I personally don’t understand how people let themselves belief this so easily (obviously the media is very good at what they do for consumerism, but that’s another article).  Studies, experience and worldly looks at happiness show that it doesn’t come from all your possessions, your genes or any external factors.  It comes from within.

There are several different factors that do feed our happiness.  Part of our happiness factor has been shown to be stemmed from our genetics and youngest years in life.  This is a significant portion of our happiness which tends to give us a consistent fall back point for our happiness.  It can move up and down from that point, but it seems this point is different for different people and doesn’t tend to change much through life.  So, that area is not really within our control so there is not much point on dwelling or working on that.  I have read however, that our genetics and base happiness level can be as much of 50% of what contributes to our happiness.

The next factor is circumstance.  This is the one that takes the most blame for not being happy yet studies show it is only about 10% of our happiness factor.  So, this area while may seem like the most important area to control, is fairly insignificant when it comes to our happiness levels.  It’s something to realize but keep in mind that doing something about something in this area is not very impactful and it isn’t a factor that can easily be changed, so also not worth a lot of time considering the value.

The last factor however, is completely different.  It’s your attitude, thoughts and feelings about happiness.  The voluntary control area of happiness where you think about your past, present and future to adjust your level of happiness.  This area is the area you have complete control over as it’s based only on your own internal thoughts.

Past

How you think about your past and let it affect you today is up to you.  If you put more thoughts on learning from the past, and use that to make life better now instead of dwelling on hardship or struggles, you can gain more happiness right now. People who focus on and remember the good times and happy memories are happier than those who remember all the unhappy times.  Having an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for those good times strengthens that happiness you can experience today.

Present

Your present is something you must practice in to increase your happiness.  How you see things and respond to things is definitely up to you, and doing so in a way that brings more happiness is certainly a better option than choosing to bring sad or disappointing views into your mind. Look around to find simple things to take pleasure in and consider not what you don’t have, but what you do have.  Having and putting time into relationships and enjoyable activities are great ways to experience more happiness in the present.

Future

Your future and more specifically, how you think it will be, will also greatly affect your happiness.  If you condition yourself to think that you need something else (like a possession) to be happy, then when you get to your future you will be trained to continue to look for the next thing before being happy.  Instead, look at the things that make you happy now which are not external and think and remind yourself of still experiencing them in the future.  Be optimistic with your expectations for happiness and you can drive yourself to be more happy!

Be Happy Now

So all of this leaves only one thing when it comes to happiness.  Make a decision to be happy now and to change your thinking towards the things that contribute to happiness instead of deterring it.  Choose your response to situations and live with a hope and appreciation to what is good, what is right, and what makes you happy.

Posted by Mike King under Life | 30 Comments »

Want More Influence? Give to Others First

December 18th 2008

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about giving.  Time, money, life…  There are many ways to give to others and I’ve seen a lot of parallels to that in the blogging world with my site as well.  I have really stepped up the last month or two by looking to put a lot more effort into promoting other bloggers, my subscribers, people who comment on my site and basically everyone I interact with in this digital world.  It’s not that I didn’t do that before, but never as generously or as often.  I put more of my efforts into content and reading others material without always having a lot to add or say.

Shift Your Actions

However, recently I’ve started putting just a few minutes of all my usual reading time, writing and thinking into helping promote others or by commenting on their sites. I’ve looked at offering more help on this site (please just ask if you need any for something…) and I’ve been much more consistent at leaving articles or reviews when I read some great content instead of just rolling on to the next thing in my list.  I can say that this shift in my actions has had a big ripple effect, something I never expected and it’s wonderful to experience it first hand.

Show Appreciation

I’m working to make more of my actions show appreciation for online content, authors, subscribers and others in my digital sphere.  Just one extra minute after reading an article to add a review or comment and it’s increased my interaction with others by many times.  Instead of forgetting what I read or who I read it from, I have a personal interest in the author once giving them feedback and this makes it much easier to remember the content in the first place as well.  I also find that I value it more if I put just a minute into reading an about page or exploring a few extra articles while stopping by someone’s site.

Everyone knows how they feel when they get appreciated so make that shift and show just a little more appreciation to others around you as well.  Take the first step and put it out there.  Here’s why…

Social Media Reciprocation

Well, I’ll call it reciprocation and it applies in more areas in life than just the social media aspect but as a blogger and considering the point of this article, I think the social media reciprocation has the biggest impact.  Sites like StumbleUpon drive a huge amount of traffic to this site and I’ve connected with a lot of like minded people which is why the interest continues to build.  It’s easy to find people with similar interests and there are a lot of people with these same thoughts to show appreciation and help each other out.  If you are willing to go do that first yourself, you will only soon find out that people will return the favor without you even asking.

My traffic and readership have continued to grow and recently increased quite drastically (over 30% per month) due to this small shift in my actions.  It’s payed off, the social media arena has helped to pay that back and I’m happy to that much more communication with other great like minded people.  Here is an excellent guide to getting more from stumbleupon written at Inside Writer.

Influence

So I started this thinking about influence and I know that when you look to do what others value first, you will have more influence on them.  Every time you do something for someone else, whether it seems noticed or not, I think you gain a small piece of influence.  Whether that influence is important at that time or some time well into the future, I don’t think it matters, either way, the influence that is built remains there and was all created by giving first.

So I hope I can have at least some influence here as well and encourage you to please, take one extra minute after reading great articles to add some comment or review the page in your favorite social media.  You’re welcome to do this here but I’d prefer you do it with other articles as I hate to seem like I’m asking for that!  Here are some great articles from my top commenters lately if you need a starting point.  I’d love to hear comments how you’ve experienced this as well or ideas that you do to give first?

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 30 Comments »

6 Random Things About Me…

December 16th 2008

Well, I’ve been reading some of the results from the latest craze in the blogging world where people are getting tagged to write 6 things about themselves and then pass on the tag to other bloggers to do the same. It’s been quite enjoyable to learn a little more about the faces and lives of those I read so much from so was about to do the same when I got tagged by Ross at www.willitchangeyou.com . So first, here are my 6 random things about me.

6 Hopefully Not All Known Random Facts About Me

  1. I’m a Extreme Mountain Unicyclist (What is it? My Club Website, The Calgary Mountain Unipsychos )
  2. I run my own freelance 3D Animation and Graphics company (Ethereal 3D.com )
  3. Met my lovely wife of now 10 years marriage when I was 14 years old
  4. I used to storm chase and have seen ball lightning up close and personal
  5. I love studying the brain and mind and anything with neuroscience
  6. I’ve never had a coffee in my life and never will

So, I’d be happy to elaborate or discuss any in comments, please just ask!

Tagging 6 of My Recent Readers

I’m going to continue this little game of tag and target a few new comments and people who’ve I’ve either met just recently or have surprised me in some way with their comments and blogs.

Husain at: http://strengthindiversity.blogspot.com/

  • You’ve always kept your word about comments or visiting my site later and I appreciate the detail you put in your comments!

Armen at: http://www.timelessinformation.com/

  • Armen, you always catch little errors and let me know on email when I’ve made a mistake in an article or the wording somewhere.  I appreciate your help to point these out and love your thoughts on your blog!

Marshall at: http://bondchristian.com/

  • Marshall, you have an amazing blog with very inspiring posts that put some real knowledge and information out there for people from a real Christian perspective.  Awesome stuff!

Pushhyarag2000 at: http://www.evolveever.com/

  • I’ve not even checked out your blog much yet, but I’ve liked a few articles I’ve read and I want to return the favor of your excellent recommendation on Entrecard.  You are definitely doing great things by helping to encourage and promote others work at first glance.  Thanks!

Viriya at: http://www.tedded.net/

  • Viriya you have a passion for life and your future like no other.  It excites me even if you don’t know exactly what that might be.  That is what keeps it exciting and I look forward to talking to you more about your plans and where you want to steer things in your life!  Thanks for all the compliments to my content and you’re doing a great job ramping up your blog!

Arswino at: http://www.bestinspirationalquotes4u.com/blog/

  • You’ve had a lot of great comments and continue to help promote more of my content, thanks for that!  Your blog is coming along nice and I’ve enjoyed a number of your articles.

So, if you are new to this tagging business are are in my list, then plese check out his list for continuing this little game.

THE RULES:

1. LINK TO THE PERSON WHO TAGGED YOU
2. POST THE RULES ON YOUR BLOG
3. WRITE SIX RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF
4. TAG SIX PEOPLE AT THE END OF YOUR POST AND LINK TO THEM
5. LET EACH PERSON KNOW THEY ARE TAGGED AND LEAVE A COMMENT ON THEIR BLOG
6. LET THE TAGGER KNOW WHEN YOUR ENTRY IS UP
7. DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN (not actually a rule)

Posted by Mike King under Personal | 23 Comments »

Book Review: The 4 Hour Workweek

December 12th 2008

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Author: Timothy Ferriss

The 4 Hour Workweek

I finally got around to listening to The 4 Hour Workweek after hearing mixed reviews about it and I have to say I have mixed thoughts as well.  Not for the quality of the book itself or the usefulness of it, because it certainly has that, but the style and attitude that is portrayed.  I find that Ferriss encourages his avoid work attitude in his own personal way which clearly works for him, but I’m afraid it’s not going to work for other personality types.  There are certainly many wise and useful pieces of advice throughout the book and you can definitely look to apply some of those in practical ways as he gives step by step instructions and guides for many of these.  However, I found his delivery of them to be far too heavy on the self promoting, “look what I did” kind of attitude there where many times I had to laugh past his ego to try to get to his point.  The book is like a great big long rant about stupid people and I think Ferriss highly exaggerates his points about general workplace, people and how easy everything is if you just make it happen.  Now, I am certainly not one to doubt anyone with that kind of ambition and desire, but that is exactly what the book is lacking, a way to help provide some practical steps to the less confident, less forceful person.  If you have a “who cares what anyone else thinks kind” of attitude and can be proud of becoming a reseller of someone else’s products and have no fears and experience traveling on dollars a day with zero security in your life, then the Ferriss lifestyle is something to follow and his guide provides clear steps how.

Lifestyle Design

If that is not your ideal of a 4 hour work week, then the book still has a lot of great advice to be gained but you will have to look past the Ferriss style and it likely won’t take you anywhere near the same level of living that Ferriss can enjoy with a 4 hour work week.  Still, there are useful ways to free up time and he looks heavily at outsourcing, not just outsourcing your work tasks, but everyday life management as well.  This is something that highly intrigues me and is something I need to look more seriously at.  One important point that Ferriss makes throughout the book is that you need to give up the idea of having everything to make you happy and start thinking like the “new rich”.  This is to start thinking that living simple is all you need and that your excess is what makes you rich and enables you to do the things that only rich people do.  It’s all about the experiences you have and not the possessions you own.  There are things to do, places to see and events to attend that money enables you to do, so put your money into that, not the things that tie you down to one location or job.  This I can certainly agree with he gives great advice and practical steps to achieving this.

Clarity and Content

The one thing that is incredible about the book is simply how clearly things are written with specific guides and steps in many many areas of life.  There is a single page (or 3 minute) guide to speed reading that will double your reading speed in about 15-30 minutes of practise and while this seems crazy, I found his advice to be right on par with any speed reading lessons I’ve already done and he really misses nothing of significance.  He adds his own thoughts and hugely clarified process of learning to speed read with only a few steps each taking a few minutes to complete. He leaves that by saying now you are done, you’ve doubled your reading speed, time to move on to your next problem you have and kill it.  He does this over and over with all the things you could use to challenge him from a boss’s reaction to working at home, to coming up with your own audacious goals and plans in life.  It’s entertaining to see his simplistic view of these problems and left me feeling like I was on the edge of a balance between amusing and egotistical.

I think his ideas on email, phone usage and eliminating distractions are easily worth it on their own.  Ferriss takes batching these processes to the extreme and shows ways to actually train others how to communicate with you by customizing your auto responders and voice mail.  These among others are all great productivity tipes and ways to get the right things done, which I’m a BIG advocate of.

One thing I found quite odd in the audio version (and obviously since it was unabridged) is that there were nearly hundreds of URL links read out loud to endlessly bore you in the audio version.  I mean, really, who on earth is going to go back to these and sit there replaying them from their device in order to type in the exact URL.  A single website reference is all that is needed to Ferriss’ site and all that character reading could have been eliminated, it was in no way helpful in the audio book.  Other than that gripe and just the attitude by Ferriss in book, I think it is definitely worth reading and take what you can from it.  There is a lot of concise information and enough to last anyone quite some time learning to really implement.

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 8 Comments »

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