How To Have Great Ideas


by: Steve Gillman

Want to have great ideas? You could try waiting to see if they pop into your head someday, and they honestly might. However, if you want a more systematic method you can use today, here it is in three simple steps:

1. Get knowledge in the area in which you want the ideas.

2. Use idea-generating techniques.

3. Choose the best ideas from the results.

Great Ideas Start With Knowledge

You wouldn’t expect to come up with a new theory of relativity if you had no knowledge in physics or mathematics. You need some degree of knowledge in the area in which you want new ideas. For truly great ideas, it helps to have a great deal of knowledge.

To create a new transportation device, for example, you would want general knowledge in that field, as well as more specific knowledge. This might include knowing a little about all the current modes of transportation. You might add to that a list of things that have been tried and failed, and a list of all the things that people want in their transportation.

Great Ideas From Techniques

Ideas and inventions start in the mind, and the mind follows certain patterns and rules. This is why tools such as problem solving techniques and other idea generating techniques work so well. Consider the “concept combination” technique, for example. Tell your mind that you need a useful combination of a plane and a motorcycle, and it will search until it finds it. This mind took twenty seconds to imagine wings that expand out at high speed from a motorcycle, allowing it to glide right off the edge of a cliff.

The technique of redefining problems in many ways can open whole new areas to explore. Redefining “inexpensive homes” as “ways to help people afford homes” has lead to all sorts of new financing methods that have made it easier to buy a home even as prices have risen. If “better job” becomes “better way to make money” you open a whole range of possibilities. There are dozens of great idea generating techniques to choose from, each with it’s own advantage.

Many Ideas To Choose From

The more ideas you come up with, the more likely you are to find good ones to work with. This is why you should learn the systematic ways to produce new concepts. Finally, if “great” means “important” to you, you need to work in important areas. There’s nothing wrong with inventing a better clothes hanger, but if you want to change the world, start working on new ways to save the environment, ways to end hunger, new political processes that avert wars and other great ideas.

About The Author

Steve Gillman has been exploring new ideas for decades. Visit his site for invention ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, and to get a free course on How To Have New Ideas:

Bandaging Your Dog


by: Peter Garant

Having a dog is a big responsibility. Some even compare taking care of a dog to that of a baby. The only advantage having dogs compared to having babies is that they won’t grow older and turn into stressful teenagers. Because dogs are like babies they sometimes also end up in harmful situations. They would sometimes get themselves trapped in a tight place or get hit by something that will injure one of their limbs. When that happens, we should learn how to bandage our dogs to prevent further damage. Here are some basic ways of how to bandage your injured dog.

1. When your pet has a bandage, it should always be clean and dry. So it’s pretty important to make sure your pet stays inside most of the time when it has a bandage. To prevent the bandage from getting wet when the pet goes to pee or poop, a trash bag or plastic covering should cover the bandaged leg. You may use empty bread bags. When your pet has wet or dirtied up the bandage, it would require changing. Make sure to check the bandage twice a day to see if it is clean and dry. Check also for foul odors or discharge and if there is any, call your veterinarian immediately.

2. After bringing home your pet from the veterinarian make sure that the bandage is still in place. Your pet might have been irritated by it and has chewed or tried to scratch it off. Look closely at the position and the location of the bandage when you do check. Look at the toes of the pet, the bandage might have slipped up making the toes stick out. Also look at the size, if the bandage has become loose. This should be taken into account when a dog has been bandaged in the abdomen or leg area. This is because one end will be bigger than the other and eventually become narrower. When the bandage telescopes down the limb of the dog it may bunch up and abrade the limb. When that happens, the bandage should be changed as well.

3. If the dog is bandaged up in the leg make sure it isn’t too tight. Observe how the toes will appear at the bottom of the bandage at least twice a day. This is done to check for sweating, swelling, or pain. Check for skin chaffing, redness, discharge or swelling before and after the bandage has been applied.

4. To prevent the pet from chewing the bandage because of the bothersome experience it gives, put an Elizabethan collar. If you have observed that the pet is chewing or scratching it excessively, ask the vet if there might be problems.

These are the times that you should already be taking the pet back to the veterinarian:

• Swelling above or below the bandage
• Chewing the bandage
• Bandage becomes wet
• Bleeding or discharge above, below or through
• Scheduled bandage changes


pitt logo

Adam Bisnowaty, Ejuan Price and Jordan Whitehead are rated among the nation’s best.

   PITTSBURGH—The 2016 Pitt football team will boast three of the nation’s finest players at their respective positions according to Athlon Sports.


Senior offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty, senior defensive end Ejuan Price and sophomore safety Jordan Whitehead were named preseason All-Americans in the recently released Athlon Sports College Football Preview.


Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) was named a second team All-American. He has been a fixture on Pitt’s offensive line, making 30 starts and paving the way for two 1,000-yard rushers during his career. Bisnowaty was an All-ACC performer last year and enters his final campaign as a leading candidate for the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, presented to the league’s top offensive lineman.


Price (Rankin, Pa./Woodland Hills) was a third-team All-America selection. Last season he was one of college football’s most disruptive players, compiling 19.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. Price led the ACC and ranked eighth nationally with an average of 0.88 sacks per game. He was a first-team All-ACC selection and finished third (tied) in the media voting for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.


Whitehead (Aliquippa, Pa./Central Valley), who is featured on the regional Athlon cover, was a third-team All-America pick. He enjoyed a decorated debut season in 2015, earning ACC Rookie of the Year, ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and consensus Freshman All-America honors.


Whitehead led Pitt in tackles with 109 stops (the most by a true freshman in school history) and added six tackles for loss, a sack assist, six pass breakups, one interception and a fumble return for a touchdown (22 yards against Navy in the Military Bowl). He was also utilized as an offensive weapon and averaged 10.2 yards per rush, carrying 12 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

Pirates destroy Marlins, Penguins win Game 1 and Warriors are back in the NBA Finals

UMT Sports Update White Background (1)

Memorial Day is certainly a day to remember its purpose: Honoring those who sacrificed their lives to defend our country and for that, we say Thank You to all those who have served or are serving.

Memorial Day 2016 was also a memorable one in the world of sports as several teams played and won amazing and critical games as MLB, NBA and NHL took center stage.

In the MLB, the Pittsburgh Pirates arrived at South Beach after losing 2 out of 3 to the Texas Rangers and took their frustrations out on the Miami Marlins in a 10-0 beat down. And the winning pitcher was. Jeff Locke?

It was Locke, but he didn’t just win…he dominated.  The Pirates left hander had a feeling early in the game he had a chance to do something special. tossed a three-hitter and struck out one and did not walk a batter while throwing 67 of 105 pitches for strikes. It was the first complete game by a Pirate since Vance Worley on July 28, 2014. He’s improved to 4-3 on the season. It was also his first complete game in 101 career starts. Locke retired 19 straight at one point and needed just six pitches to get through the seventh inning.

Gregory Polanco’s grand slam, Sean Rodriguez’s two-run homer, and David Freese’s four hits helped power the offense for the Pirates, who won the first of a four-game series in Miami. The first two games were originally scheduled to be played in Puerto Rico, but were moved due to concerns of the Zika virus.

The announced crowd of 10,856 was a season-low for the Marlins, who entered the day averaging just under 20,000. Marlins starter Justin Nicolino (2-3) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings.

Nicolino left in the sixth after giving up a leadoff single to Andrew McCutchen with the Marlins trailing 2-0. Jose Urena relieved Nicolino and eventually loaded the bases for Polanco, who deposited a 2-1 change-up into the seats in right-center field for a 7-0 lead.

It was Polanco’s first career grand slam and his eighth home run of the season. He has hit in eight straight games with three home runs and 12 RBIs during the stretch. Jung Ho Kang and Freese had RBI singles to start the scoring for the Pirates.

Two of the Marlins’ three hits were erased by double plays.

In other MLB Scores: Washington beat Philadelphia 4-3, the Chicago Cubs beat the LA Dodgers 2-0, Cincinnati beat Colorado 11-8, and St. Louis beat Milwaukee 6-0. In the American League, Toronto beat the NY Yankees 4-2, KC beat Tampa Bay 6-2 and the LA Angels beat Detroit 5-1.

In the NHL:  Nick Bonino’s main job for the Pittsburgh Penguins is to get to the front of the net and create chaos. The well-bearded forward executed perfectly in his debut in the Stanley Cup Final.

Bonino took a pretty feed from the corner by Kris Letang and beat Martin Jones from in close with 2:33 remaining to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 on Monday night.

Rookies Bryan Rust and Connor Sheary staked Pittsburgh to an early two-goal lead before the Sharks tied it in the second period on goals by Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau. The Penguins responded by upping the pressure in the final period and it paid off with Bonino’s fourth goal of the playoffs after he darted to the San Jose net in time to knuckle Letang’s pass by Jones for the winner. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Matt Murray finished with 24 saves for Pittsburgh, which began its bid for the fourth title in franchise history by peppering Jones constantly in the first and final periods. Jones made 38 stops but couldn’t get his blocker on Bonino’s wrist shot. The Penguins threw 41 shots at Jones, well over the 28 he faced on average during San Jose’s playoff run.

The Sharks made it to the first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history by rebuilding themselves on the fly. Two years removed from a brutal collapse from a 3-0 series lead in the first round against Los Angeles, San Jose ended a 9,005 day wait to play in the NHL’s championship round by relying on a tough, aggressive style that squeezes opponents with a relentless fore check while limiting chances in front of Jones.


In the NBA: The Golden State Warriors advanced to their second straight NBA Finals Monday night with a 96-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7. The Thunder led the entire first half and dominated in most areas of the game, but in the end, all that really mattered was Stephen Curry. Curry was back to his usual phenomenal self, hitting ridiculous contested 3-pointers. He kept hitting, and eventually the Thunder’s composure broke under the strain. Curry finished with 36 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the 3-point arc, matching the Thunder’s total perimeter output.

The Warriors outscored the Thunder 29-12 in the third quarter and the party was on. Russell Westbrook picked a terrible time (19 points on just 7-of-21 shooting) to have his Magic 8 ball come up with “bad game,” and Kevin Durant tried ably to get teammates involved after shooting too often in Game 6, and instead came up passive.

The Warriors host the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Oklahoma City’s run through the playoffs was impressive, taking out the 67-win Spurs and pushing the Warriors to the brink of elimination. They pushed the Warriors in the fourth quarter, closing to within five points, but the Warriors just kept hammering them from the 3-point line. Golden State outscored the Thunder by 30 points from the 3-point line. In the end, that math problem was the difference.

The Warriors close out their Western Conference finals run by capping a comeback from down 3-1 and finish with a comeback victory at home in Game 7. That’s why they’re the champions.

Please e-mail Ray at

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

The Art of the Marinade


by: Michael Sheridan

It’s a sad fact that these days it has become almost essential to marinade most cuts of meat, unless you intend to casserole them.

I’ll go into why that is the case a bit later on, but for the time being let’s just examine why we use marinades at all.

Principally there are two reasons. One is to add flavor, and the other is to tenderize. Usually, we are trying to do both.

It’s worth bearing in mind that marinating is a cooking process, even though heat is rarely applied. The importance of recognizing this is that, like any other cooking process, you can overdo it.

It’s not just a case of putting the meat or fish in a sauce and leaving it there until you are ready to use it. Many of the fruit juices we use in marinades, such as lemon and pineapple, contain enzymes that break down proteins. In essence, what they do is digest them.

Leaving meat in them for too long would result in an unpalatable mush. If you want to try this for yourself, leave a piece of pork in fresh pineapple juice overnight and then see what happens when you cook it.

You probably won’t like the result.

Why is meat tough?

It’s a tragedy that although we are killing our animals at an earlier age in order to satisfy the demand for fresh meat, the end product still tends to be tough.

There are good reasons for this and it is useful to have a working knowledge of them if only to avoid potential disasters.

It is not, as some cooks would have you believe, simply a matter of finding a butcher who will take the trouble to discuss your needs with you, if indeed such a person still exists outside of the more fanciful cookbooks.

Our meat is tough because it started out that way. And here’s why (if you are squeamish, skip this section):

When an animal is killed its muscles (protein) go into spasm caused by the injection of the well-known fight or flight chemicals released by the brain.

Under normal conditions, that is to say in the natural world, this would be followed by rigor mortis setting in, followed by a gradual relaxing of the proteins back to their normal state.

However because of the speed at which the slaughter and preparation of carcasses is carried out, this vital, natural step is rarely if ever completed. The animal is killed, cooled and frozen in one continuous process.

The result is toughened proteins.

A butcher who hangs his meat can, to some extent, reverse this effect. If you ever find one, hang on to him for dear life. You have found a rapidly disappearing treasure.

The alternative is to use marinades.


Basic principles

Marinades can be wet or dry and you can add just about any flavor you desire to them.

When a marinade is liquid, the base is usually acidic. As I said earlier, this may be fruit juice, but wine, vinegar or even beer may also be used. As a matter of fact I know of one cook who uses Coca-Cola.

If it marinades meat, just think what it’s doing to your insides.

Steeping in the marinade may take anything from a few minutes to several hours, and even overnight in the refrigerator.

The more delicate the proteins, though, the more chance there is of overdoing things. Fish, for example, should rarely be in a marinade for more than 30 minutes, particularly if lemon juice is involved (which it usually is).

Red meat, on the other hand, can sit in the refrigerator all night without coming to any harm. So can pork and chicken, providing there are no enzymes present of the type described above.

In other words, if you are using fresh fruit juice, keep the marinating time to a minimum. That is to say, no more than an hour at the outside.

Come to think of it, if either of those meats needs longer than that to tenderize it, it’s definitely time to change your supplier.


Whatever marinade you use, throw away any uncooked portion once you have finished with it. Do not taste it after the meat has been put in it, and do not use it for anything else.

If you want to heat it through to use it as an accompanying sauce, by all means do so, but ensure that it comes to the boil and that it cooks for at least 10 minutes.

Alternatively, heat it in the microwave, which will achieve the same thing in a shorter space of time.

Marinades are the perfect medium for food poisoning bugs to take their vacations in, and when bugs are on holiday they are happy. And when they are happy, they multiply. A bit like us, really.

If in doubt, throw it away.

Copyright © Tingira Publishing 2004 All Rights Reserved

About The Author

Michael Sheridan was formerly head chef of the Pierre Victoire restaurant in London’s West End, specializing in French cuisine.

Ray Jr. on Sports



  1. Apparently the Pittsburgh Pirates are on a roll. 2 weeks after I basically said that they had zero chance at making the postseason for the 4th straight season, this team has now won 7 of 9-which includes an 8-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete a 3-game sweep.
  2. Hey, what do I know. And it’s a good thing that they don’t play the Chicago Cubs all the time (even though they’re NL Central division rivals) but this team’s pitching isn’t as good as it’s been from 2013-15-but here they are, finding ways to win.
  3. Wednesday night, the Pirates rebounded from a 4-1 deficit (and with Jeff Locke on the mound) to beat the Diamondbacks 5-4 and 8-3 Thursday afternoon. Starting P Gerrit Cole wasn’t too shabby, giving up a run in 7 innings, but it was his 3-run HR that gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead that made the difference. Cole’s 1st career HR was an estimated 490 feet. Wow.
  4. 3B Jung Ho Kang went 3-5 with 2 RBI and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison had a 2-run single to help the Buccos. rookie reliever AJ Schugel (1-1) took over from Cole and won his first-ever MLB game. Good for them.
  5. The Pirates are now a season-high 27-19 and trail the Cubs by 4.5 in the division. If the season ended today, not only would the Pirates play the NY Mets in the Wild Card Game, but it would be a toss-up on who would host that game. What a difference a few weeks make.
  6. The Pirates will now hit the road to take on the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The Rangers are currently 27-20, in second place in the AL West Division. It stuns me that they trail the Seattle Mariners, who finished 76-86 last season. What a difference a year makes.
  7. Starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong watched the Pirates/Diamondbacks game Thursday-and that’s a good thing. The veteran pitcher is recovering from getting hit in the eye by a 92 mph pitch Monday. My continued prates are out to him.
  8. As for the rest of MLB, the Cubs (31-19) still have the best record, but the 30-19 SF Giants are close. In the AL, it’s the surprising Boston Red Sox (29-17) with that league’s best record. I’m not really surprised at their turnaround. It was only a matter of time before they struck back.
  9. As for the worst teams. I can’t believe that the Minnesota Twins are doing this bad. At 12-34, they have the MLB’s worst record. Hard to believe they’ve taken such a tumble. And in the NL, it’s the 12-33 Atlanta Braves, who’re just tanking in my opinion. They are a year away from opening a new ballpark. I bet you they turn it around after that.
  10. And then there’s the NBA, and the self-made theory that sports just don’t make any sense. (ok, sometimes it does) now raise your hands if you thought that the 73-9 Golden State Warriors would just blow through the NBA playoffs. Well, apparently the OKC Thunder are making us eat those thoughts because they have a chance at ending the Warriors season this week and advancing to their first NBA Finals since 2012.
  11. I’m no dummy, I (like you) know that regular-season records have nothing to do with the postseason. Other playoff teams can step up at any time-whether they’re a 1st-or 8th seed. And in this case, it’s the 3rd-seeded Thunder led by Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook who are taking it to Step Curry and Co. And that’s more than just a notion. The Warriors almost look mortal.
  12. Of course the conspiracy folks think that Curry’s still hurt ergo, the Warriors struggles, but HC Steve Kerr disagrees (of course) he states that if Curry was still hurt, then he wouldn’t be playing. But let’s be real: It’s the playoffs. Curry would’ve played on one leg if he had to.
  13. As for the Eastern Conference, many thought the 2nd seeded Toronto Raptors would dominate the top-seed Cleveland Cavaliers after taking a surprising 2-1 lead. But LeBron James and the Cavs squashed that by squashing them 116-78 to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  14. So, my NBA Finals prediction is that either the Warriors or Thunder will face the Cavs. No way the Raptors will rebound from Wednesday’s loss. It’s over.
  15. As for College Football, apparently the fans who had an absolute fit over the new football uniforms has calmed down-especially after looking a one of the many color combinations that they could wear. My favorite: the all-blue look, which includes those sharp new blue helmets.
  16. Let’s be honest: It doesn’t matter what the Panthers wear. If they end up winning the ACC Costal Division-or even the conference, fans wouldn’t care if they wore clown suits. In fact, I bet Nike would create a clown suit if the Panthers (or any other college team) won in them.
  17. As for the Pitt basketball team, they announced earlier this week that they will play the Maryland Terrapins in this year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge November 29th at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland. One of the 3 ESPN Networks will televise the game.
  18. Of course, if this was 2 years ago, this would be an ACC game because Maryland was an ACC stalwart-before departing for the Big Ten. Pitt and Maryland have met nine times previously with the Terrapins holding a slight 5-4 advantage. The Panthers have won three straight in the series, including both games during the 2013-14 season prior to Maryland’s departure from the ACC.
  19. I know he’s been quiet, but I have to assume that new Pitt basketball HC Kevin Stallings will check out the JUCO and graduate-transfer circuit to complete their roster. They still need a dominant center, and apparently they’re not as sold on last year’s JUCO transfer Rozelle Nix. The 7-foot, 300 lbs. player was redshirted last season due to injury. But time will tell.
  20. It’s hard to believe that the NFL actually closes out this segment, but apparently Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell’s contract situation is starting to get attention. He’s recovering from a major knee injury, but he’s just 2 years removed from a dominant All-Pro season. We all know if he’s healthy, he’s one of the best RBs in the game. pay the man Steelers.

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Barbeque Techniques: Two Methods to Consider


by: Richard Cussons

When it comes to barbecuing, there are two main schools of thought for the techniques that you can use.

The first of these techniques – and the most popular method for those who grill in their back yards – is the style where the food is cooked directly over the source of heat. This way, the food is rapidly cooked on a hot grill suspended directly over the charcoals, the wood, or the gas burners. Rarely is the lid ever closed. Any foods, including the most tender cuts, hamburgers, steaks, kabobs of all kinds, chicken, and even vegetables are quickly seared and cooked to perfection using this technique. If sauces are desired, they can be added before hand, during the cooking process, or even after the food comes off the grill. These choices will all create different and enjoyable tastes and flavors.

The second barbecue cooking technique uses heat indirectly. This is more appropriate when you’re cooking much larger or whole cuts of meat, such as especially thick steaks, roasts, a whole hog, or a pork shoulder. When you’re cooking using this method, the food is cooked away from the actual source of heat. This usually requires a water pan of some kind in order to maintain the moisture level of the food. The temperatures generally sit in around 250ºF. During this cooking method, the lid of the barbecue remains closed most of the time, and the length of the cooking is much longer than in the first method. When you’re using an indirect barbecue cooker, there is usually an additional fire box that allows you to combine charcoal and wooden logs for burning. This allows the heat and the smoke to rise through the cooking chamber where the meat is, so that it is heated perfectly. The rule of thumb of this technique is a low temperature for a long time.

No matter which method you use, it’s important not to cook your meat too quickly. If the internal temperature of your meat rises too quickly as you cook it, the water and the fat within it will be expelled before the collagen is able to melt. This means that your cut will be dry and tough. However, you cannot cook too slowly or you will risk a bacterial contamination. Though there is a fine line for barbecuing properly, it’s important to find that line and stick to it.

If you’re already dealing with a cut of meat that is tough, such as a brisket or a pork roast, consider cooking slowly as the collagen adds flavor to the meat. If you buy a less tough, more expensive cut, you can cook at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time. This is why ribs and steaks take such a short time to cook, while pork shoulders or beef brisket can run up to 20 hours.

As a final note, it’s important to have fun while you barbecue! Your pleasure will come through in your cooking as it will leave you motivated, and willing to try new and interesting things.

About The Author

Richard Cussons is a prolific and diverse writer. You can find out more about the origins of barbecues at

A Feel for Your Golf Game

Playing golf. Club and ball on tee
Playing golf. Club and ball on tee

by: Craig Sigl

Let’s get down and dirty about the word “feel” and how I apply it to golf the “Without Practice” way so you can shave some strokes effortlessly this weekend. You know deep down if not at the top of your head, that when you feel good, you will perform or act your best in anything right? Most of us struggle with our feelings because we just let them occur based on whatever is happening in our lives at the time.

For instance, if you just get news that you got a raise at work, you are going to have a great feeling for some time after correct? This is a great time to get out on the course as your bio-computer (brain) is now in the optimum conditon for performance. Nobody denies this and yet we go out on the course and choose to say and do things that destroy our optimum performance potential.

I am becoming more and more convinced the longer I play this game that how we “feel” during our round determines the variation from our average score more than anything else. What I mean by feel is our STATE.

STATE is physiology plus internal representation. It’s short for “state of being.” So what if we can do things to affect our state just the same as receiving the news that we got a raise at work? We can!

Recently, I shot my best round of my life at 1 under par. As I teach people to really dig into how they “felt” when they played a great round, I took notes and after the round really went over the things I was thinking, how my body was responding, what did I eat, what were my eyes seeing, etc.

You need this information to help build your optimal state in the future!

Once built, you can rebuild it any time since you now have the blueprint or instructions. WE NEED to pay far more attention to when we play well than when we don’t!

Many golfers completely dissect their rounds afterward replaying their bad shots over and over in their minds trying to figure out what went wrong. This only serves to implant suggestions in our subconscious mind that that is how we play.

Not good for future rounds.

Remember: “as a man thinketh, so shall he become” and other quotes like that? It all stems from the concept of the duality of our mind; the subconscious and the conscious functions. Once we get this, we can do a lot toward the mental side of our game to reach our scoring potential.

I used to take advice from the magazines that say you have to keep track of your Greens in regulation, how many putts you had, how many sand saves etc. and then “identify” my weaknesses.


Again, this is not good since putting the focus on the negatives only gives them power and the repetition of thinking about them starts to solidify in your subconscious.

Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a positive or negative thought, it just accepts that which it is most convinced of by repetitive thought or action.

And besides, I don’t need a scorecard to remind me of my weaknesses on a given round. I know what they are after every round and I can usually pin it down to something I did or didn’t do prior to hitting the ball.

What you need to start doing right now, next round, is really zero in on the things that go well. Make little celebrations in your mind (be humble with your partners) when you hit a great shot. Turn on the positive emotions and show a big smile when you sink that long putt! Take mental, if not paper and pen, notes on anything worth remembering when you do anything that puts you into that “feel good” state.

Create an anchor that you do every time you hit a shot exactly the way you planned it just like the ringing buzzer that Pavlov’s dogs were trained to salivate to.

When you have bad shots, immediately analyze it afterward, see what you can learn from it and then FORGET IT! It will do you no good whatsoever to hold onto it. You know that your swing is different from day to day as all the pros also complain about. So what benefit can be gained from going over bad shots that could be gone the next day without even trying?

Save the analyzing for the range if you do have time to practice. If not, then just keep pounding your subconscious with images of you accomplishing the little things you had trouble with until your next round. If you don’t have time to practice your swing, then “practice” getting yourself into that state or feeling of power and confidence instead of daydreaming during boring or mundance tasks you work on through your day.

That is the “Without Practice” way.

Greens and fairways!

About The Author

Craig Sigl teaches how you can score lower Without Practice and The Legends of Golf teach fundamentals. For details and to claim a free digitized paperback book: “How You Can Play Better Golf Using Self-hypnosis” visit:

All Scholarship Applications are Alike, Right?

student loans

by: Dale Clifton

Evaluating thousands of scholarship applications has definitely left an impression on me. I still remember some of them, because the students who submitted them managed to get into my head in a personal way.

Many books and articles will tell you that “personalization” is good, but they don’t tell you how to accomplish that. I saw a photo attached to an app showing the senior student shaking hands with the President of the United States. Another enclosed an audio tape that revealed his talent to play the fiddle in a country band. A girl had her photograph taken with a well-known professional golfer after she had won a state tournament. A boy included a picture of his debating trophies. Another had won a two day fishing tournament and held the trophy in a picture to prove it. Another had built his own computer. Still, another had patented her own invention, a device for counting inventory units. In each case the items were part of the requirements of the scholarship award, not just thrown in for effect. These are super examples of “personalizing” a scholarship application, but it doesn’t have to be that noticeable.

There were also attempts at personalization not well received, a picture of a girl in a very tiny bikini. The word thong comes to mind. Another included prize ribbons with a request to return them when the judging was over. We had to send them back at our own expense! Another application had an algebra homework assignment inside, oops. We sent that back, too. Her siblings were probably blamed for its disappearance. One application had a Santa Claus hat inside. It came from Alaska. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Why is personalization so important? Imagine that you are on the committee, sitting around a table with 247 scholarship forms. It is the committee’s job to pick a winner. All of the apps appear to look alike. All things being equal, which one is going to be chosen? It’s impossible to say. But, let’s suppose that one personalized his/her request and made it stand out positively from the rest. Now, someone has taken the time to be bold, inventive and creative. They have made it possible for the scholarship committee to know more about who they are. They are more than a just a piece of paper with a name on it. They have revealed intimate sides to their personalities. Who will win now? The choice is obvious.

Personalize don’t dramatize. Use good judgment and common sense when personalizing. Try to imagine who the people are making up the committee. Then, send in your request knowing that, out of all who sent their forms, you are the one who will win. You are the person who deserves the money.

Planning produces positive outcomes when the scholarship effort is truly a family affair.

About The Author

©2006 The Scholarship Doctor, Dale Clifton – All Rights Reserved – Dale is an educational consultant and expert at helping families win college scholarships.

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The Four Golden Rules Of Personal Finance


by: Francis Kier

Many successful people have mentors to guide them in learning the skills that lead to achievement, and I’ll do my best to offer you some critical personal finance perspectives. They say that life is a school where you learn the lesson after the test. The same thing applies to money, but you can’t go back in time to fix catastrophic financial mistakes that you have made over time. As long as you are alive, you are a player on the field of the money-game, and you need to know the basic rules before you get tagged by the experienced players.

Rule #1: To earn money from money. The only way to escape becoming a wage slave for the rest of your life is to set aside savings. The profit on your savings can be used to increase your lifestyle spending, reduce the number of years until you retire, or allow you to actually have any retirement at all. How are you doing so far toward saving and getting it to earn money for you?

Every dollar that you spend eliminates its ability to earn money for you in the future. I am not recommending that you stop eating at restaurants and going to movies, I am recommending that you use some common sense, like looking at your four biggest expenses over the last few months and aggressively finding a way to reduce them.

The biggest obstacle for the first rule is personal debt of any kind (other than a mortgage for your home) or a lease of any kind. Every personal debt that you incur reduces your net worth which could have been working for you over your life time. Acquiring personal debt is exactly like putting a large hole in your wallet. In the money-game, a huge transfer of wealth occurs between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’ over the words, “I can afford that monthly payment.” Here is a hint: the “Have-Nots” are the ones who make that statement. So please don’t ever look at whether you can afford a monthly payment to make a purchase; pay in cash after you’ve saved for the item. [Everything that you buy with a 0%-interest payment plan must be over-priced. Behind the scenes, your payment contract is sold to a lender with an interest rate, and retailers don’t do this without building-in an acceptable profit for themselves. Ask retailers how much the item will cost if you pay in full, and you could get a lower price.]

Rule #2 Always keep your finances under control. The first step in losing financial control and spiraling into debt and money problems is simply not dealing with personal finances. Prepare for catastrophic financial accidents with health, life, disability, and auto insurance. Plan and save before you buy something. Create a balance sheet for yourself at least once a year to see how you are progressing. Pay every bill on time, or contact the creditor to tell them what is going on and make a partial payment. If you are temporarily unable to handle any of this, ask for some help immediately and find someone trustworthy who will do this for you.

The most common source of financial trouble is a trauma in your life. This can be a health problem (large expenses or unable to work), an emotional problem (divorce or loss of loved one), or a financial problem (losing a job, cut in pay, relocation, unexpected expenses). Whichever the source may be, it leads to three emotional problems: the first is denial, the second is being overwhelmed, and the third is hopelessness. Denial causes people to not open their mail and continue spending as usual, and being overwhelmed paralyzes people from getting assistance and dealing with the situation. For example, if you just lost a loved one, balancing your checkbook and paying bills is not high in your priorities. Unfortunately, tiny amounts of debt grow with interest and penalties into seemingly insurmountable mountains of debt; leaving you with loathsome options such as bankruptcy, poor credit, declining lifestyle spending, and added stress that you bring to relationships and work.

Rule #3 Pay attention to the finances of the people with whom you spend the most time. Whether they are relatives, friends, or co-workers, these people have the most impact on your financial life. Do they consistently follow the first two rules of the money game? Do they earn about the same money as you? If the answer to either of those is “no”, then I recommend that you start spending a little less time with them; and this is why. If they don’t consistently follow the first two rules, it is unlikely that you will either. You unconsciously model the people around you, and the more people you are exposed to that don’t follow the first two rules, the more likely that you will unwittingly follow them. No one thinks they are ‘trying to keep up with the Joneses’, but we all do it to some extent, and this is the mechanism. On the other hand, if they earn a lot more money than you, you may rack up a lot of debt trying to keep up with them (meeting them at their favorite expensive restaurant, joining them for another expensive vacation, buying a new car because yours is the junker among all of your friends, etc.) On the other hand, if most of your friends earn a lot less than you, you will turn into the group’s banker. For example, you’ll find yourself in the pattern of putting your credit card down to pay for dinner and they’ll all say they’ll pay you back later, but 50% of them never do; and they don’t mind taking advantage of you because, after all, you earn a lot more than they do. Or, you and your friends need to pay a deposit for renting a house and they expect you to write the checks because you have the money available and they do not.

The neighborhood that you live in also creates financial pressure to violate the first two financial goals. Your neighbors are likely to become friends (and I’ve already gone over this), but they also influence the size of your home, extent of your landscaping, price of furniture, and the size of your TV. So pay very close attention to the finances of your neighbors – if you don’t like how they are measuring up for first two rules, move somewhere more in alignment with your financial goals. If your family and friends, don’t measure up financially, find some additional people to spend time with that have financial habits that you’d like to emulate and learn from. I have friends with a wide range of income, but it is much more difficult to follow the first two money rules when I am with the extremes from my own income. You’ll just find it easier to reach the next rule when the peer group that you hang out with aligns closer to your economic level.

Rule #4 Accelerate the other three rules:

Add to your savings by increasing your income through advancing your career. It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy it; it is a means to an end – with the end being progress toward the fulfillment of rule #1. Increase the amount that you save by aggressively lowering four of your highest expenses. Start spending time with people that talk about investing money and are systematically building their wealth the fastest. The combination of all four of these rules will hopefully offer a next-step for you to take today to start getting more ‘wins’ in the money-game.

About The Author

Francis Kier has an MBA in finance and shares his two decades of experience with investing and personal finance. More of his articles are available at