Keep Track of the Risks Involved with Adrenaline Seeking

Life 5 Comments »

Adreneline Sports

I’ve got a guest post this week that covers some of the risks of what I love, extreme sports…  The author, Trevor is listed at the end of the article as well.

An adrenaline junkie is a person that seeks out thrilling activities and the adrenaline rush they produce. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in the brain. When engaged in a particularly exciting or dangerous activity, these glands dump huge doses of the pleasure-inducing hormones into the bloodstream, which increases the heart rate and ups oxygen levels, creating an overall feeling of euphoria that can last for hours. People who seek out this adrenaline high tend to engage in high-risk activities, such as, but not limited to, skydiving, car racing and mountain climbing.

An Addictive Feeling

It’s no coincidence that people who enjoy activities that produce adrenaline are identified as adrenaline junkies. In fact, engaging in action sports produces neurochemicals in the brain that are more potent than illicit drugs. According to Psychology Today, one way to mimic the effect of an adrenaline-producing activity is by combining deadly amounts of cocaine and heroin. And similar to the action of drugs on the brain, once you grow accustomed to regular doses of adrenaline, you need to take even bigger risks in order to achieve the same level of euphoria — which is one of the main reasons why adrenaline junkies get hurt. When the excitement of, say, snowboarding down a particularly steep hillside no longer produces the desired effect, a true adrenaline junkie will seek out an even steeper mountain, or add tricks to his routine, like jumps and flips.

Avoiding Injury

Rock climbing, extreme sports

Without taking some simple steps to prevent injuries, an adrenaline junkie can easily find himself seeking out not the next big wave, but rather, an experienced medical professional. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) understands that as long as there are skis, bikes, boats and skates, people of all ages will speed down hills, careen off ramps and ride huge waves. Fortunately, instead of preaching the importance of couch surfing, the AAOS offers those hooked on adrenaline a variety of tips to avoid getting hurt. For instance, stretching for a few minutes can help minimize muscle and ligament injuries. Always have a partner with you. Avoid overheating and dehydration by taking frequent water breaks. Wear the appropriate footwear and protective gear for your sport, including helmets, padding for knees, elbows and wrists, and goggles.

Understand the Risks

After observing the behavior (and also lifestyle) of some of these so-called adrenaline junkies it would be quite easy to conclude that many of them won’t take a break from danger until they find themselves looking for a long term disability lawyer. However, it’s important to understand that nearly every significant outdoor or physical activity – such as driving, jogging solo, or even walking down the street – carries risk; the critically important thing is to carefully and thoroughly measure the risks involved with each type of activity, and determine whether the potential benefits outweigh the potential costs. For many individuals, adrenaline-filled activities present substantial benefits, such as stress relief and personal enjoyment, and these benefits more than make up for the risk. Whatever your extreme activity may be – race car driving, extreme cycling, mountain climbing, or something else – it’s vital that adrenaline seekers be fully aware of the risks associated with their activity of choice.

Trevor Diamond is a freelance writer who focuses on career development, professional training, disability claims, workplace culture, employment trends and other like subjects.

Managing Turnover

Business 1 Comment »

turnover title example

The business world has a lot of factors in it that affect turnover with people switching jobs or career paths. It is something that will certainly be important to any manager who has to keep a team of people productive and effective. Depending on where your work sector is, this problem might be very common with higher yearly turnover numbers approaching or even exceeding 50% or you might be in a stable economy sector with low 10% turnover. Whatever your case, I think there are many ways to manage turnover and reduce the turnover factor in your business relative to your competition and/or the industry you are in. Lets explore some of those methods.

Finding and Using Individual Motivators

Turnover has two major factors, individual and team.  Lets talk individual factors first.  Each and every person is going to have their own set of motivations in their jobs and workplace and it is a manager’s role to find those out and manage that person based on their individual motivators.  You can’t motivate someone directly, but knowing their motivations, you can do a lot to direct work that is suitable, change your level of communication to suit their style, and you can absolutely use those motivating factors to influence their behavior to help them and your organization be successful, as you should as a manager.

Team Dynamics and Culture

Another big factor to turnover is the team, its dynamics and the culture that exists within the team and company as a whole.  People who work closely together need to be able to have a good working relationship, it does mean they need to be friends or really like each other, but they do need to have a few critical elements.  These are respect, trust and the right amount of fun or humor to keep the job interesting from a culture aspect.  If there is not enough respect between people or trust in what they say, the dynamics can ruin a person’s desire to stick around in that job.

The behaviors of a team can be managed to ensure there is no disrespectful comments, that people learn and know each other’s strength’s and that there is enough open communication and to bring forth some honest sharing and discussions.  These things help build goo dynamics and can drive your group to great results.  Read and review with a team Lencioni’s book called, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, to really tackle the dynamics and culture you build intentionally through interaction.

Provide Career Path Improvements

People want to see room to advance, improve their careers and ultimately move up and earn more money in any role.  These are more important for some than others, but there is certainly a large component of turnover that relates to how much of this exists for a team and if they have discussions, see progress and are given opportunities to learn new things and take on new responsibilities.  There isn’t always a role to move up to so this might seem impossible in that case, however, I assure you there are many other ways to look at career improvements that may not have a new role.  Any level of added responsibility can help with this a person’s motivations will again, dictate how you should explore this with each person.  Some people would like to gain more respect from others by become an expert in a certain area so they are relied on for those technical aspects.  Others might want to be recognized or better known in the organization, this could be through making something they start or they’re responsible for more visible to others in the company.  For some, promotion might be an option where they work to not move up within the group, but to move a higher level in another area of the company, still giving them a promotion and keeping them in the company, despite not having promotion options within a group.  All of these techniques are just examples of providing career path improvements and a great way for any manager to do something to reduce turnover.

Set a Goal to Minimize Turnover

This is straight forward, if you want to improve something (reduce turnover) measure your current rate and set a specific goal to reduce that in the next year.  Use these techniques and come up with more ways to discuss career development with your staff, find ways to motivate them and build your culture to be positive so you are able to not only keep the talent you have, but attract new talent.  Once you have a goal for this, as with any goal, schedule some time to work on it, put it on your calendar, meet with your team members to discuss it and ensure you are taking some of these steps to manage turnover in your area.

5 Factors to Making Memorable Presentations

Business 3 Comments »

public speaking - strong messagePresentations are an extremely important skill in business and any leadership position as it is a way to influence others and gain support/followers toward some action.  Even presentations that are intended as training or teaching styles, still require this influence to convince the audience to believe what you present and to gain support and knowledge for that topic.  This makes presentations an important skill to learn for your career and any leadership roles you face.  Instead of covering a huge list of small things, I want to focus presentations skills on learning the most important elements since the smaller things all fit within these big components.  If you take one thing away from this articles, please let it be that you need to make your presentations memorable.  That is not done only with a funny joke or embarrassing moment (although that might help), its done by honing your presentation skills and making it memorable.  Lets look at the factors that help you do that.

Minimize Powerpoint

Powerpoint is a great assist in presenting to show visuals, however it is almost always overused and unless the audience is already intimately interested in the content, it doesn’t do much to make the presentation memorable.  You want your audience to remember the main point (more on that later) of your presentation, to remember you and how it was presented, not just some heading, nice wording or piece of text on your powerpoint slides.  So, drop most of your slides and never use powerpoint to guide you as the presenter from content to content.  Don’t read your slides and starting using powerpoint to assist your presentation, instead of you assisting powerpoint slides.  You are the presenter, you need to capture the audience and therefore, powerpoint should be used to show evidence of your message, support what you are saying and summarize your content only.  Nothing more.

Story Telling

In order to capture an audience you need to be authentic and believable.  Do this by using stories and personalizing what you have to say.  Your audience may or may not already know you, either way its important for them to connect which what you have to say and this is made much easier through telling stories and anecdotes that relate your own personal experience into your main points and convincing message.  Sometimes a story might be to give an example, to help teach a lesson learned, to be convincing due to your own experience or just to add something humorous or memorable to capture the audience’s attention.  Stories let your audience relate to you and your experience, so the story must be relevant to what your presentation is about, else you take them away from the message you want to leave them with.  Use them to help paint a visual picture, show a related experience or to teach something about your subject, always find a way to connect your stories into your presentation so they don’t only remember the story, but also your presentation itself.  Again, story telling should be used to support your main presentation.

Be Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm means many things when it comes time to presenting and needs to be obvious.  The fact is, being enthusiastic gives you more credibility in what you have to say and it will capture the attention of more people in your audience, whether you like be enthusiastic or not.  Have some energy in what you present, show some passion, smile, move around and use natural body gestures.  You need to have much more than your voice if you want to be remembered and if anyone is going to truly believe in your message and main point.

Share ONE Message

Most people cover far too much in presentations and don’t make it clear what their main point or message ever is.  Covering more material is generally not a good idea and so work on being concise with fewer topics that all support one main message.  Setup all your other topics to be evidence that support the main message you introduce early in the presentation.  Refer the evidence and sub topics back to this main one to lock it in to people’s memories.   Build on each idea with related subjects or additional evidence that continue to support the one main message you want to leave your audience with.  If you started with it, you support it throughout your presentation you must also go back to finish on that main message.

A great way to do this is to start with your main message and tell the benefits that it brings to your audience.  These benefits all help convince your audience why your topic is important.  Then walk through your subtopics and make them all supporting your main message, perhaps by covering small components of it, or by linking back related topics.  Each of these subtopics should have evidence as well to make ti believable and valid content.  Then when completed, summarize your presentation in reverse, taking your back through each subtopic and the benefits of them, linking it all back to the main message you started with, so you end up where you started with, restating your main message and topic.  Ask the audience for questions and comments if you have the opportunity to do so at the end as well.

Make it Memorable

We’ve covered a few ways to make a presentation memorable already, where having one main message is the best method.  There are smaller actions and tools you can use within the presentation though that will extend this even further.

Frame your Subtopics

Framing a subtopic means you are creating a mental shift that your audience will need to think on to connect to your subtopic.  It might be a picture or visual, a story, a diagram or chart or a demonstration to capture attention and draw the audience back to your next sub topic, always relating or supporting your main message.

Use Analogies

Analogies help people relate to new content by connecting your new content to existing thoughts or knowledge.  It creates associations in the mind and greatly improves memory of the content, so very powerful in presentations.  Make sure they are professional, suitable to your audience and in obviously relating back to your sub topics.

Have great Visuals

Your visuals will trigger more in your audiences mind than your words.  So, this doesn’t only mean your slides but the visuals you present personally as well.  Your movement and gestures combined with your slides all count as visuals.  Combining visual learning with audible learning helps to make it memorable.

Make something Hands On

Have your audience participate with something hands on or interactive.  When you draw them in to something they can touch or feel connected to, you combine kinesthetic learning, audible and visual together, the best way to make things memorable.

Bodyweight Training

Learning 3 Comments »

In my last article, Fitness Activities and Habits, I coveBodyweight Exercises - samplered some of the ways to bring more fitness into your lifestyle.  One of the things I’ve always focused on in any fitness and sport I get involved in, is to study, research, learn and visualize as much as I can with resources from friends, books, online, experts or wherever I can get it.  I enjoy the learning aspects of developing new skills, movements, and abilities for my fitness activities and so this article jumps in on one of the those, fitness training using bodyweight training.  Basically, bodyweight training involves using your own body as weight resistance for developing your strength, balance and flexibility.

No Equipment Necessary

I’ve used training equipment at the gym and had some of my own over the years and I always thought they limited the movements I could train for.  Some machines and equipment certainly have an advantage to isolate muscles and make weight gains very simple to adjust, but they still need adjustments, maintenance and a lot of space or a facility to keep them in.  That was something that I just never liked.  Bodyweight training doesn’t require any equipment to get started and only a few simple things are needed to really expand your workouts.  Your body is the main weight you need and this method uses different leverage angles and resistance with your own body to train.  For example, pushups are a classic bodyweight training exercise and most people know of one or two types of pushups you can use for training.  I know of 36 different pushup styles (no, I can’t do them all yet), that you don’t need any equipment for and they all work slightly different muscles and vary in difficulty from simple (which anyone can do) to extremely difficult (which could take years to get strong enough for).

The little equipment that does help in bodyweight training is quite inexpensive or you can build or use  household items for many of them without spending a dime.  The best equipment I’d consider for bodyweight training is and you certainly don’t need all of these are:

    1. Gymnastic rings
    2. Small barbell set
    3. Medicine ball
    4. Exercise ball
    5. Stretch bands
    6. Parallette bars
    7. Wobble board

Training on Your Terms

Bodyweight Exercises - hand balancing

So, since the majority of the exercises can easily be done with no equipment at all, this method of training makes it possible to do anywhere and anytime.  Your workout program can be easily be done while traveling, it can be done when you only have a short amount of time.  Since you don’t need to drive to a gym or remember to bring your gear bag to change clothes and you don’t need to have a membership or pay any fees, the training becomes completely on your terms.  You can train for 5 minutes or 2 hours, before work or in the middle of the night, with or without a buddy, once a week or every day, whenever and wherever you feel like it.  This such a huge advantage over traditional training methods that most people use at a gym or fitness facility.  As long as you are self motivated enough to actually get started for some training, the accessibility to training however you like, is an immediate advantage for bodyweight training.

Progressions

The next area of bodyweight training that I have found to be a serious advantage is that the various muscle groups and exercises you will work on, start simple and get more complex as you get stronger.  The exercises change and get more interesting as they get more difficult as well, which doesn’t happen as much with programs for pumping iron for example.  You start with bicep curls and even as you get much stronger, you will likely still be doing bicep curls.  I’m not saying that is bad, cause its not, I just find the variety is better with bodyweight training and the exercises are far more interesting to work towards and accomplish.  The pushups for example that I mentioned above, start simple for beginners but to progress through 36 different pushups, you are going to work through many different muscle groups, body positions, balance techniques, postures, speeds and dynamic movements in order to get to the most difficult ones.  This makes progressions interesting and an excellent challenge to help motivate you towards the next type of pushup.

A Balanced Workout

Balanced training is very important in an exercise program so that you don’t focus on one area of the body way more than another.  This can lead to major muscle imbalances, injury and posture problems over a period of time so its important to work on a variety of muscles and not to do too much muscle isolation, which unfortunately is all too common with inexperienced or unknowing trainers.  While bodyweight training has the same risks and concerns, its a lot less likely since bodyweight movements as you progress use more and more muscles of the body together for each movement, instead of isolating muscles as you progress to build strength.  Core muscles and the lower back with hip and pelvic regions become crucial in many of the exercises so it leads to much more balanced workouts with muscle tone in whole areas, not specific muscles.  Another huge advantage is that many bodyweight exercises not only develop more strength, but also bring challenging elements of balance and flexibility into the exercises, which help to balance the muscles used and develop higher levels of mobility and general body movement.Bodyweight Training - rings

It’s Simply More Fun 

Last but not least, I think bodyweight training is a lot more fun because of its simplicity and ease of getting started, and strangely appealing as you seek more complex progressions and master a series of movements.  To me, this has always been more motivating and the fact that I can bring in balance work with a huge number of exercises, keeps me very excited about bodyweight training and I expect to be sticking to this method for many years. I hope its something you are interested in learning more about and will enjoy it as much as I have.  In fact, I’ve built (well still building) a web application for browsers and mobiles to track and train bodyweight exercises, which I’ll share once I’ve got some beta testing completed.

In the meantime, would love to read your comments or questions and enjoy these couple links to some common bodyweight exercises:

Fitness Activities and Habits

Life 4 Comments »

Any personal development program for your mind and knowledge also deserves some attention to your physical health as well.  While I’ve not written much yet on personal training or living actively, I figure its due time to cover a few areas of fitness thatFitness activities: xc skiing I’ve learned and want to share some stories from.  So, lets venture into this realm of personal development and see what there is to learn!

Making Fitness a Priority

Without getting into all the details of the million programs, changes, hopes and promises so many companies and people make about health and well being, I want to look first at fitness from a very general perspective.  My take is the only way to truly stay healthy is to have and make fitness a priority in your life in some way.  It doesn’t need to be difficult, its a mindset and so as with any change you want to first make a decision to include some fitness in your lifestyle.  I don’t suggest setting goals for physical body results until you have the knowledge to know what is reasonable for your body and lifestyle to make an informed target.  Many people jump into fitness only because they are after some result of weight loss, or strength achievement in a short time frame.  I think it is far more important to answer the question of why do you want to be more fit with a longer term goal of including fitness into your lifestyle.  Being active with fitness leads to better health, happier living and a longer life, regardless of what you can bench press.  So, think of fitness in terms of making it a priority in your life for the long term and progress slowly. Making fitness a priority means it sits among a list with other priorities as well, it doesn’t need to replace them or overcoming everything else in your life. You will have to set the priority based on your current level of fitness and what you want to change relative to your other life priorities and goals.  Don’t take on more than you can easily handle as you want to make it something that lasts.

Making Lasting Habits

Making some plan that lasts is best by making it a habit.  Habits are creating by repeating something on a regular basis, learning to enjoy and appreciate it and making it something you start to do automatically, without always needing reminders or added incentive.  This works perfectly for fitness because good fitness really needs to be a regular part of your lifestyle to make it automatic and long lasting.  Focus on building new habits or improved habits, don’t worry at all about breaking or stopping bad habits, even if they prevent the fitness level you want.  It’s much more effective to build new habits, be encouraged by them and let them push out other bad habits.  The only way to really eliminate a bad habit you don’t want is to replace it with some new habit in its place anyway.

A great way to build a new fitness habit is to:

  1. Setup a plan or schedule to repeat your fitness activity on a regular basis
  2. Plan only what you are absolutely confident you can achieve
  3. Leave a lot of room for flexibility and interruptions to that plan
  4. Get some accountability for this activity

I think these are pretty self explanatory except the last one.  By get some accountability, I mean, you need to connect a way to care about forming this habit that is personal to you.  This could be by getting help from a friend or family member who can encourage you and help you keep any commitments.  Another method is to ensure you make visible your progress and can track results for this habit and fitness to help motivate achievements and stay on track. Perhaps you need a reward or punishment system to keep you focused.  Whatever it is, it should be connected to other important priorities you have so it has significance to help train you.

Easy To Do Fitness Activities

A fitness program is going to need you to be active, getting physical, playing sports, or working out in some fashion.  The easier these activities are if you are not already doing them, the better success rate you will have and the easier it is to form habits with such activities.  For example, it’s much easier to plan a short work out in your garage if you have equipment already a couple times a week then it is to drive 50km to workout at a gym you don’t know anyone at.  You are much more likely to be successful when the activity is easy to do.  This is very important for forming habits and you need to ensure any fitness training is easy to get into based on your lifestyle now.  The smaller the change you can start with, the better.  There are many ways to do this, I have listed only a sample of some that might work for your lifestyle:

  • Get into a sport you have played previously that you know you enjoy
  • Do more of any physical activities you already enjoy (like walking or biking if you already do these)
  • Take simple tasks and make them more fitness oriented, like taking stairs instead of elevators.
  • Pair up with a friend to meet for training
  • Find a nearby gym that is on your daily route and works easily with your schedule
  • Get some home gym equipment or dust off what you already have and make it easily accessible
  • Make current activities more fitness oriented (such as working out while watching TV)
  • Read and learn more about fitness to inspire and motivate yourself to be more active
  • Take up bodyweight training so you can train with minimal to no equipment, anywhere.

So, there are many more ways to take on easy to do fitness activities and so I’d love you to add your ideas in a comment below and in my next article, I’m going to cover how bodyweight training is a excellent example of easy to do fitness and I’ll cover what some of the benefits are to this style of training.

Book Review: Makers

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The New Industrial Revolution

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Author: Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson is quite an inspiring guy for anyone with an ambition to find a market for things that interest them and to do something with it.  That was the impression I had from his last book, The Long Tail, which you must read if you haven’t already.  This new book, Makers is a brilliant addition that uncovers an enormous amount of knowledge and presents it a way that covers how that knowledge is being put to good use throughout the world, but it also inspires you to learn from it yourself and to join the movement and become a maker yourself.  A maker is essentially a person who is involved in what he calls the new wave of capabilities for desktop application, content and now, real products that is finally possible on an individual scale to compete in the market place.  Makers are those people who are building their own products, producing there own manufacturing capabilities on a small scale and being successful at it.

What’s interesting about this book is how so many examples of what Anderson talks about are not only reasonable, but personal since he is a huge part of this maker revolution and so his stories and experience is extremely authentic in the realities of what is possible and what recommendations he has to make from lessons learned.  The book covers his theory that the manufacturing arena is going to change and shift from a huge capital limiting arena to one of creativity and equal access.  This is just starting to be done by rapid prototyping, 3D printers and personal production devices that enable anyone to get into the manufacturing business with a creative idea at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing.

Anderson keeps a very optimistic outlook on future manufacturing and what the wonders of local technology allow anyone to do despite how many downsides and negative consequences of this revolution so many others point out.  Either way, in my mind, you can join it, enjoy the creative component and reap some benefits or you can watch others do it despite you, as I too believe that the maker movement will become ever more popular in niche markets where mass production with huge economies of scale will start to lose their market share.  I mean, who doesn’t want their own custom etched, physical version of a 3D object they dreamed up.  OK, that was my 3D artist in me talking, but seriously, there is so much room for replicating products, fixing parts, tweaking or customizing things the market for this will only continue to expand.

His previous book, the Long Tail is used as reference several times, this time, however, to look at how the smaller market, unique products have a tremendous value now since they were simply never affordable to make before.  The methods of customization, automation and robotics in scaling production manufacturing systems is covered deeply and its very interesting to hear and learn how easy some of the automation for production has become and how many companies have taken advantage of that to provide fantastic user choices and customization.

So, if you are interested in 3D printing, do any kind of product prototyping, would be curious about the capabilities of building your own products, or simply want to learn what Anderson’s expectations are for the future of manufacturing, then I think you will enjoy the read and gain some knowledge and insight you can reflect on for your own maker mindset for custom products.

Copyright © 2020 Mike King