199: A COOL TOOL To Create Professional Facebook Live Videos

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A Tool to Create High Quality Live Video on Facebook

This episode is presented by The Success Incubator – a brand new event I’m co-hosting this year for ProBlogger readers and online entrepreneurs.

The event is happening in Dallas Texas on 24-25 October, and I’m so excited to announce that joining me in presenting at the event are a great lineup of speakers including Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, Kim Garst founder of Boom Social and Andrea Vahl who is a brilliant social media consultant.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you another COOL TOOL for bloggers that will help you to create high quality live video on Facebook.

Facebook Live continues to be a medium that is well worth investing time into. Use it and you’ll grow your reach and engagement on Facebook.

The problem with it is that to create a high quality professional looking video can feel a little out of reach. While FB is updating tools there’s still a lot you can’t do without investing a lot into software.

Today, I present to you an affordable option that for under $30 will enable you to do some pretty cool stuff including share your screen, schedule your broadcasts, add overlays and more!

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Hi there it’s Darren from ProBlogger. This episode is presented by the Success Incubator, a brand new event that I’m co hosting this year for ProBlogger readers in Dallas, Texas on the 24th and 25th of October. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’ve got this year some great speakers coming to this particular to this particular event. In addition to myself speaking, we’ve got Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, Kim Garst, founder of Boom! Social, and many more speakers. There’s more speakers to be announced in the coming weeks but I’m excited to have Pat, Kim, and Andrea join us.

I’m excited to offer you an early bird discount ticket for this particular event. If you go to problogger.com/success and use the coupon code SUCCESS17, you will get a $50 discount on tickets to this year’s event. I look forward to seeing you in Dallas this October for our only US event this year. Again, go to problogger.com/success.

As I said at the top of the show, my name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you to grow a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at ProBlogger.com.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you another cool tool for bloggers that will help you to create high quality, live video on Facebook. Many of you have heard me raving about Facebook Live pretty much for the last 6 to 12 months. It continues to be a medium that is well worth investing time into. I have been doing it on a weekly basis for the last couple of months and am seeing the benefits every time I do it.

If you are to use Facebook Live, you’re going to start to grow your reach and engagement on Facebook. It does help to deepen the relationships that you have with your readers. The problem that many people have with Facebook Live is that to create a high quality, professional looking video can feel a little out of the reach of the ordinary, everyday person. Whilst Facebook themselves are updating their tools, there’s still a lot you can’t do without investing quite a bit of money into software or hacking together a system and being quite technical.

Today, I want to present to you an affordable option that will, for under $30, enable you to do some pretty cool stuff including sharing your screen, which is something that many of you have been asking for, scheduling broadcast, adding overlays, and much more. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/199, where I link to the tool but also give you some examples of live videos I’ve shot and broadcast onto Facebook using this tool. You can also check out our Facebook Group where I do live videos every week at problogger.com/group.

Facebook Live continues to be a great way to build a presence on Facebook itself to support your blog. It’s a great way of getting extra reach on Facebook. We know that Facebook continues to show live broadcast more than almost any other type of post that you can put on Facebook. It’s a great way to extend your reach and to reach those people who follow you on Facebook, who don’t see your other posts. It’s also a really great way to build relationships with those who follow you and have real engagement with followers, real time engagement. When you get on and you actually get a comment from someone, you can respond to that immediately. That takes the relationship further faster. It’s also a really great way to personalize your brand.

Back in episode 188, I gave seven different types of Facebook Lives that you can do. We do talk a little more there about why Facebook Live is so great. Today, I want to talk about a tool that I’ve been using that has really helped me in my Facebook Lives. Facebook have been developing what you can do with Facebook Live a lot since it first went live. In the early days, you could only do it from the mobile phone. More recently, they allow you to do it from your desktop computer just from within Facebook itself. That’s pretty cool.

But there still are some limitations of what you can and can’t do either through the mobile app or through your desktop computer. That is why I’ve always been interested in what some of the other apps and tools will allow you to do. One of the ones that I’ve been playing around with over the last couple of months, really, is Ecamm Live. That’s what I want to talk about today. They first came onto my radar years ago now when I was looking for a solution to record Skype interviews.

When you hear me interviewing someone on this podcast, we did Nikki Parkinson a couple of weeks ago now. That interview was recorded on a little tool that plugs into Skype. It’s called Call Recorder. It’s a Mac based tool that allows you to record your Skype conversations. That’s where I first came into touch with this company who produced Ecamm Live.

One of the things I love about that Call Recorder tool is that it’s really cheap. There’s so many software tools around now which are exorbitantly priced. The Call Recorder was something that I felt was affordable and it’s something that I use all the time so I’ve always been interested when they release a new product. One of the new products that they released a few months ago now is this new one, Ecamm Live, which allows you to put Facebook Live videos up using their particular app.

I want to say right up front, this is a Mac Based tool so if you’re not on a Mac, you’re not going to find this particular episode too useful. There are other solutions out there that you can look at for PC based Facebook Lives but if you have a Mac, you’re going to want to check out Ecamm Live because it is really feature rich. They’re developing it fast and it is very affordable. It’s $30. $29.95. Whilst that may be out of the price range of some people, I think most people can probably afford that if they’re going to invest into Facebook Live because it’s so much cheaper than a lot of the other tools that are out there.

It does allow you to do things that you can’t do easily through Facebook itself and their particular apps. I’m amazed how cheap it is really. I’ve been using it now for six or seven weeks, maybe a little bit more even, on both ProBlogger’s Facebook page and also my Digital Photography School Facebook page. I’m really impressed by what you can do with this particular app.

Let me run through really briefly some of the things that you can do with this tool, Ecamm Live, that you can’t easily do just using Facebook’s native desktop app or phone app. The first one is overlays. You’ve probably seen video online for years now, people will add some kind of an overlay to their video. There are numbers of different types of overlays that you can add into your live video using Ecamm Live.

Firstly, you can put an image onto your video. If you go to ProBlogger Facebook page, you will see one of my videos and in the corner, I have the ProBlogger logo showing all the time through the video. I’m able to brand my live video with my logo, which reinforces my brand. You could add in a larger image and you could actually pop it in as a large one that takes up the whole screen if you want it to but I tend to just put mine in nice and small.

You could also use an animated GIF in that place as well. It’s really easy to do. You just get an image off your desktop, drag it onto the Ecamm Live app and there it is. You can resize it and reposition it if you want. You can add in an image.

You can also add in text. Even during your Facebook Live session, you might want to emphasize a URL, you might want to add in your name at the bottom of the video, you can type in your name and you can change the font and the color and the size of the font as well. You can add in more than one text overlay if you want as well, as well as having that logo. In the last Facebook Live that I did on the ProBlogger page, I had the ProBlogger logo up in the top left hand corner and then under the logo, I had a URL to the Facebook Group that we have at ProBlogger.

You can do a number of different types of overlays during your Facebook Live. That’s one cool feature that you can’t do using Facebook’s native app. Second thing that you can do is show video, pre recorded video in your Facebook Live. This is really useful in a number of different ways. Any video that you’ve got on your desktop, you can simply line it up, press play, and then show it to people on your Facebook Live. This could be really useful if you are a business person.

If you have a business sales widget and you have a video that sells the widget, that demonstrates the widget, rather than having to do it live in front of the camera, you could have this pre recorded video. You could introduce what you’re going to show and then press play on it. You can have a keynote presentation that you’ve delivered at a conference and you’ve got the video of it. Rather than giving the presentation again live on Camera, you show the video.

There’s many number of ways that you can use video. You just play it in the middle of your livestream. You could have a video lined up. Introduce it, press play, stop it halfway, get back on you showing your face and then again, show more of the video. You can shop and change during your Facebook Live, really very useful.

Number three, and this was the killer things for me. This is the reason I got Ecamm Live, is that you can share your screen on your desktop. This is a desktop app and this is really what I wanted because a lot of the Facebook Lives that I tend to do are teaching Facebook Lives. If you’ve tuned in to the ones that I’ve been running over the last few weeks, you will know that I show slides and these are slides that I’ve repurposed from talks that I’ve given. I’ve worked hard on those slides and so it’s really great to be able to show them. I introduce my video, I will give a greeting, and then I will say, “Let’s move into a teaching session.” And then I share my screen and I show a PowerPoint presentation that I have already developed.

You could also share your browser. From time to time, during a Facebook Live, I will jump on over, “Hey, let’s look at this site,” and I will show an example of it. Pretty much any app, you can then show on the screen. The cool thing about Ecamm Live is that they recently did an update which allows you to just show one app. You don’t have to show your whole desktop. You can just show your Safari browser or your Chrome browser. You could show a PDF. You could show your keynote slides. You could share a text document. Any app that you’ve got on your computer, you can just highlight that and just share that or you can choose to share your whole screen. I tend not to do that because my desktop is pretty messy with lots of icons everywhere.

Screen sharing, this is the killer app for me. This is the reason I got it and it works so easily. You literally just press a button and then highlight the app that you want to highlight and there it is up on the screen for people to see.

The fourth thing you can do is have multi cameras. If you want to add a little complexity to your setup, you might want to have one camera set up on just your face, another camera set up as a wide angle, a little bit further away from you to show your office or the set that you’re in. You might have a camera even set up on something else or another person if you’re interviewing them so you can switch between cameras. That’s pretty easy to do as well.

You can actually have an external camera. I used to use my webcam built into my iMac, which is a good little webcam but it’s not as good as some of the other webcams out there so I recently bought myself a Logitech webcam, which is an HD webcam and it works better in low light so I plug that in and use that as well but I could switch to the webcam as well.

Another feature you can do very easily through Ecamm Live is schedule your broadcasts. You can actually say I will be on live on this time at this day. I think it’s anything up to seven days into the future so I could today set one up for tomorrow at this time. I’ve been doing that as well. Anyone who’s following you on Facebook in their newsfeed will see Darren is planning to go live at this time and they have the option to set a reminder when you’re about to go live. If they are on Facebook at the time that you’re going to go live, a notification comes up that says Darren’s about to go live. Go and check it out.

This is something you can do using numerous tools. You can actually kind of do it through Facebook itself but it’s not an easy simple process to do. You’ve got to go to settings at the moment to do that, so this is just a seamless way to do that. There are other features. You see the comments of anyone who is responding to you during your session come up on the screen. As you’re broadcasting, you see what your viewers see, which is really useful. You actually see yourself and then over that video of yourself, you see the comments scroll up.

One of the things I don’t like about it is that the comments are quite small and they are white and so if you have a white background behind you, they can be a little bit hard to see. This is something I feed back to the team at Ecamm Live. I hope that they will fix that and make it so that those comments stand out a little bit more. But you do get that feedback, which is fantastic because it means you don’t have to have Facebook open to go and see what people are saying to you. You also see the likes and the hearts that people give you as well. You get that feedback from people.

Another feature, its HD quality if you choose to have it that way. You can switch that on or off depending upon your internet speed. My internet speed here in Australia is not super fast. I’m on a cable connection but I’ve already got 1MB per second upload, which isn’t really fast. When I did switch HD on, I’ve got a few connectivity issues. I’m not sure whether it’s my internet or whether that was a little bug in their tool at the time so I switched that off and since then haven’t had a problem and the quality is still pretty good.

They’re also adding features regularly. This is one of the things I love about Ecamm Live, is that they are updating the app and they’re updating it almost every second week at the moment. They have a little Facebook group which is reasonably active where they preview upcoming features. They released a new version of it last week, which did add scheduling and some other tools as well. You can location tag your videos if you choose to do that as well.

They also shared the other day that they’re going to add a feature which will allow you to use a Digital SLR as a camera, which will be pretty cool because you’d be able to shoot at a large aperture, getting a little bit technical now in photography terms, using different lenses which will allow you to blur your background, which is a really nice effect and is something that I’m keen to experiment with as well.

It’s a cool tool. There are plenty of other tools around out there that will give you all of these features. There’s nothing unique just to Ecamm Live. But, at $29.95, I am amazed at what it can do. Some of the other tools that are out there are upwards at $400. I saw one the other day for $500. I will say that that tool is a professional level tool and it is pretty amazing. You can do a whole lot more than what I’ve just said. But for $29.95, I’m pretty amazed that Ecamm Live is putting this out there. They guarantee that you get this lifetime updates with that as well.

I’m pretty excited about this tool. I would love it if they would allow us to see the comments a little bit more. I would love it if we could do split screen interviews with other people so I could bring on a guest. That’s on my wish list. They have said in their Facebook Group that they’re open to doing that if Facebook would allow it in their API. Hopefully, that will come. That’s something that you can now do through Facebook’s mobile app, I think or at least some people can. Hopefully, that’s coming.

Again, it’s a Mac only tool. Unfortunately for those of you who aren’t on Mac, you’re not going to be able to use that. I’ve got a link in the show notes to this. It’s an affiliate link. I think I make 15% on that $29.95 so it’s not a great deal but it is a tool that I’m using and genuinely do recommend. I’m not doing this just for that 15% of $30. I’m doing this because it is a tool that is so simple to use and I’m really genuinely very excited about. I’m excited to see what they continue to do to add to it. Thanks to the team at Ecamm Live for creating this tool and putting it in the hands of normal people and making it so accessible to people.

If you give Ecamm Live a go, head over to our Facebook Group at problogger.com/group and share a link to your Ecamm Live video that you did. Back in episode 180, I did challenge you to do some Facebook Lives and I know some of you did take that challenge. I want to issue that challenge again. Give it a go. Give this tool a go, They actually have, I think, a free trial for 7 days or 14 days. You can even use it for free just to give it a go as well. If you do, share the link in our Facebook Group so we can see hey, you went, and give you some encouragement as well.

Thanks for listening today. This is episode 199. You can check out the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/199, where there is a link to this amazing tool. I might also embed a couple of videos that I shot with it so you can check them out as well. That’s problogger.com/podcast/199. If you’ve got a moment and you’re listening to this in iTunes or on the podcast app on your iPhone or some other iPhone network, please leave us a review. It does make a massive difference not only to helping us to be found by other people, but also it makes a big difference to me because I get an email each week with those reviews. It gives me a lot of energy to keep on keeping on with this podcast.

Thanks so much for listening today. Look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 200 of the ProBlogger podcast.

Thanks for listening today. If you would like something else to listen to, I do recommend that you go over to listen to episode 180 where I go through seven different types of Facebook Lives that you can do. I know some of you will be asking the question I want to do a Facebook Live but what would I do on Facebook Live. That episode is going to give you some hints on that.

As I say in the show today, head over to problogger.com/group, where you can share your videos and learn from 6,000 plus other bloggers who are on this journey with you. There’s a great community going on in there.

Lastly, if you do want to check out that Dallas event, head over to problogger.com/success and use the coupon code SUCCESS17 for a $50 discount on that particular ticket. I do really hope to see as many of you as possible at that Dallas event. It’s the only event we’re doing in the US this year. We have a great time lined up for you.

One of the things that we will be doing more of at that event than we’ve been in previous events here in Australia is masterminding. We’re also doing a short sharp series of sessions in the evening of day one of the event called Our Power Sessions. In these power sessions, we are inviting people to share for 20 minutes on a particular topic, really short, sharp practical hacks and systems and templates that they’ve been using in their business. That’s a particular focus of this year’s event.

We’re going to churn through as much actionable content as possible. If you are interested in that Dallas event, head over to problogger.com/success, and again the coupon code, SUCCESS17 to get $50 off that event.

Thanks everyone. Chat with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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Sally Chow Explains The Titanium Mastermind

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A lot of people ask me what the Titanium Mastermind is all about. Rather than me explaining it, I decided to let Sally do it.

Sally is with me in Costa Rica for Titanium and I figure I’ll kill two birds with one stone. Sally will explain what the Titanium Mastermind is and I would enter her video into the Titanium video contest. Sally’s video is below. Enjoy watching it and we hope to see you at the next mastermind!

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

How to Stay Motivated Even Though You Can't See Yourself Moving Forward

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Have you ever tried reaching a goal that was labor and time intensive such as, losing a substantial amount of weight, finishing an educational program, or training for a marathon? If so, you understand the struggle of chasing a long-term goal.

As humans, we are hardwired to seek and engage in activities that provide us instant gratification.

We operate on what psychologists call the ‘pleasure principle’.[1] The pleasure principle is the primary force that compels human beings to seek immediate satisfaction of their needs, wants, and urges. Pursuing long-term goals is particularly difficult because it provides no immediate reward. It places us in a posture of waiting. When gratification is significantly delayed–which is directly opposed to human nature–motivation wanes and effort decreases. In order to win, you must work hard, sacrifice and more importantly–wait.

Understanding and coping with the inevitable motivational slump that accompanies most substantial achievements is critical to sticking with the process and achieving your goals. According to the University of Scranton, a whopping 92% of people do not fulfill their New Year’s Resolution.[2] There are a variety of reasons we don’t stick with the quest to reach our goals but the common thread underlying why we quit is simply the lack of motivation. Staying motivated is the key to keep you on the path to accomplishing your goal–especially when your progress slows or stalls.

Pursuing a long-term goal is a counter-intuitive endeavor that is directly opposed to our human instincts.

Instead of fighting this process head-on, it’s better to adjust the process to flow in tandem with our urges and natural inclinations. How, you ask?

It’s actually pretty easy. Below are three simple ways that can help keep you motivated and engaged while pursuing your long-term goals:

1. Always celebrate small wins, no matter how small they are.

Celebrating small wins helps you create your own system of instant gratification. Your brain needs to win. And it needs to win often. The book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work[3] proves how powerful celebrating small victories can be. Authors, Theresa Amabile and Steve Kramer of the Harvard Business Review conducted a study of 238 employees from seven different companies. The study measured the impact that acknowledging small victories has on long-term and sustained success.

These researchers made a significant discovery. They found that tracking and recognizing efforts of small, daily achievements enhanced workers motivation, increased positive emotions and favorable perceptions of the organization, of their work, and their colleagues. Psychologists have found that any accomplishment–no matter how small–activates the reward circuitry of our brains. When this pathway is opened, key chemicals are released giving us a feeling of achievement and pride.

2. Track your progress, and review every milestone.

Keeping track of your progress is beneficial for several reasons. First, it allows you to see your progress overtime. Second, it allows you to accurately pinpoint what works and what doesn’t. Logging your journey also counters bad habits, slip ups and lack of motivation. Frequent feedback increases your chances of hitting a specific goal and helps keep you on track and adjust when necessary.

Experts suggest that you find a way to formally track your progress and to set and celebrate small benchmarks. Using free apps such as Coach Me,[4] is an excellent way to track your habits and celebrate change. You may also want to conduct a weekly review[5] to assess where you are and celebrate all of the small wins of the week. Tracking your progress is also a great way to find and mitigate triggers and hindrances that impede your progress.

3. Stop punishing yourself for slip ups and small failures.

We all fail, backslide and lose ground when trying to achieve something great. It is a part of the process. Instead of fixating on your failures, learn from them and hone in on your successes. Learn to forgive yourself, pick yourself up and keep moving forward. So, you ate three donuts for breakfast, woke up late and missed your gym session or failed a test. That one incident does not determine your success–regroup and keep it moving.

Sustaining your mental fortitude and tenacity during a long and arduous process is difficult. Celebrating and leveraging all the things you do well and all of the successes along the way is the key to your success.


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How the Myth of “Limited Willpower” Is Hurting Your Productivity

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The Way You Think About Willpower is Hurting You. The idea of ego-depletion arose from a 1990 study done by psychologist Roy Braumeister at Case Western Reserve University. This study, which we’ll call into question here, has been cited over three hundred times.

In the study, researchers placed test subjects in a room with a plate of homemade cookies, a plate of radishes and an unsolvable puzzle. Each group was allowed to snack from only one plate while instructed to solve the puzzle.

The hypothesis was that the radish group would spend less time struggling with the puzzle because they would expend willpower needed to work on the puzzle on resisting the cookies.

According to the study’s findings, their hypothesis was confirmed. The radish-eating group spent only eight minutes working on the puzzle, whereas the cooking-eating group spent nineteen minutes.

The study concluded that the radish-eaters had experienced ego depletion because of additional use of will power used up by resisting the homemade cookies. But is that what really happened?

In 2011, researcher Braumeister and John Tierney wrote the best-selling book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, which explained the concept of ego depletion. The take home point was that sugar (glucose) restores willpower, self-control and stamina.

A Closer Look

But not everyone was so easily convinced. Upon replicating the study, other scientists determined that Baumeister’s conclusions about ego depletion were not accurate.

Willpower, they found, was not so limited as we thought.

Further research on the subject also did not come to Baumeister’s conclusion. Many scientists now doubt Baumeister’s theory of ego depletion.

Furthermore, the idea that sugar increases willpower has been discredited. Recent discoveries revealed that the brain uses the same number of calories regardless of the task at hand.

So, if sugar is the key to willpower, why are employers not providing their workers with endless sugary treats to increase productivity?

You Decide if Your Willpower is Limited

It is now accepted that the original theory of ego-depletion is untrue, and new explanations have arisen, giving a different explanation as to why we lack willpower in certain scenarios.

Carol Dweck, author of the popular book Mindset, recently found that people who believe that willpower can be depleted proved their belief to be right. Those who did not see willpower as having limits did not display ego depletion.

Dweck’s findings reinforced the concept that belief and behavior go hand in hand. Eating sugary foods makes us feel better for a while. This is a placebo effect that gives us the feeling that we can work a bit longer.

It should be noted that perpetuating the idea that willpower can be used up can do real harm. People who are taught this theory will quit when they think that their willpower is gone, rather than believing they simply need to believe their willpower is there for them whenever they need it.

“I have willpower and determination. I am very resilient, like rock.” – Carnie Wilson

How To Think About Your Own Willpower

This is an exciting time to be alive. If, in fact, we believe that we have the will to push through circumstance, we actually can. It turns out that the old aphorism “If there’s a will, there’s a way” has a kernel of truth.

The best way to think about willpower, then, is that it’s akin to emotion. In the same way that we don’t run out of joy, willpower fluctuates based on what is happening in our lives and how we feel about it.

In the same way that we can keep our emotions under control, willpower can be trained and managed using a variety of mental exercises. If mental energy operates like emotions, it can be managed with the use of self-control. When we need to stay on task, it is healthier to believe that a lack of motivation is merely temporary than to indulge ourselves in sugary foods.

Just as we take cues from our emotions, we should pay attention to what our willpower is telling us. When we experience a chronic lack of mental energy, we should be examining what we are forcing ourselves to spend time doing. If a job requires constant willpower to complete, maybe we are in the wrong job.

By the same token, when we enjoy our work and find it interesting and exciting, willpower does not need to be summonsed. We remain energetic without the artificial and temporary crutch of sugar or other stimulants. We do not put willpower to the test by fighting the temptation to divert our attention to entertainment.

Essentially, we give up on tasks that are not interesting to us. Spending time working on an unsolvable puzzle in a laboratory environment does not spur us on to greater accomplishments. Similarly, boring daily work requires willpower to keep us going.

A better plan is to listen to our struggling willpower telling us that the work at hand is not interesting or satisfying. Our emotions will line up with this message by telling us that there are no enjoyable, exciting feelings when doing the work.

“The achievements of willpower are almost beyond computation. Scarcely anything seems impossible to the man who can will strongly enough and long enough.” – Orison Swett Marden

Closing Thoughts

Calling on willpower until it is strained to the breaking point is a wake-up call that we should a close look at how we are spending our time.

Willpower is sending a harmonizing message to the miserable emotions we are feeling that something is just not right and we should either summons self-control to get the work done or decide it is time to find a different job.

What are some activities that require you to call on your willpower? Please leave a comment below as we would love to know!

Being a Professional Blogger Is Like Being a Fish Out of Water

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Ever since I started on this journey as a freelance writer and professional blogger, I’ve felt different than almost everyone else around me. When I look at the overwhelming majority of people that I know from high school and university, almost all of them have some sort of traditional job. They might be in communications, they might be in the sciences, they might be in a medical field, but it’s a job in the most conventional sense of the word.

And there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I just decided that it wasn’t for me.

But even now that I’ve had my online business and my online career for more than a decade, I still feel different. I’m not sure if I feel like a fish out of water, like I’m sticking out like a sore thumb, or if I really am unique (just like everybody else). And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that either.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Let me illustrate this with a couple of recent examples in my professional blogging life. Ever since becoming a father, the world of “parenting” has become a really big part of who I am, both personally and professionally. I blog about my life as a dad and I’m increasingly interested in so many of the related matters.

To this end, I’ve been getting involved in things that never really interested me all that much before. Here in Vancouver, there is a family expo that highlights the many aspects of raising a healthy family. There are vendors with all natural foods, vendors with sports programs for kids, and so on. And this expo gathers together a group of “blog ambassadors” and “social media ambassadors” to help promote the event each year.


I was invited to be one such ambassador. Going over the list of names, of which there are about 20 or so, it appears that I am the only dad. I’m the only “dad blogger” in what is otherwise a giant group of “mommy bloggers.” And I don’t want to take anything away from the “mommy blogger” community, but it has certainly been a strange experience for me thus far. The perspective is just… different.

Similarly, I’m a member of a closed group on Facebook for local bloggers. We use it to exchange ideas and to support each other’s work. And, as far as I can gather (at least among active members), I might be the only dad there too. It’s a lot of mommy bloggers. There’s one blog that positions itself as a husband and wife team, but I only ever see the wife post anything on Facebook. Go figure.

But I’ve always felt like the odd one out. Like I stick out.

I’m Different (and That’s Okay)

Even in the context of freelance writing, and this might be entirely in my own head, I sometimes get the sense that my “ethnic” last name might make some clients assume I’m not a native English speaker. This is despite being born and raised in Canada. This is despite pursuing a good proportion of my university education in English literature. But they don’t know that. So, I have to present myself accordingly so they can recognize my value as a writer.


It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to feel different. If anything, it might even give you a competitive advantage. As the only “dad” representative among the blog ambassador group, I may be more likely to get singled out for related opportunities. I could be a force for change, even if that wasn’t really my intention in the first place.

Unique Selling Proposition

John has said for a number of years now that he is sometimes the only dad at some of Sally’s activities. I know the feeling. You might be older than the other people in the group. You might be younger. You might be taller, shorter, darker, lighter, maler or femaler. All these attributes contribute to who you are, so embrace them all.

Be you. Be the real you. Remember that someone had to be the first fish out of water for us to have amphibians, reptiles and the rest of the evolutionary chain. Will it be you?

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

How People Make Illogical Judgements Every Day

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/FgOjVWnl_Iw/how-not-to-let-a-false-correlation-blinds-you-from-finding-the-true-reason

Are windmills machines used to produce wind? The faster windmills are observed to rotate, the more wind is observed to be. Therefore, wind is caused by the rotation of windmills. [1]

This is an example of reverse causality, which happen when we illogically infer causation from correlation. Often times, we mistakenly imply a strong correlation means causation. Let’s look at another example of this mistake. U.S. spending on science, space, and technology correlates with Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation. [2]

Correlation vs. Causation

Let’s start by looking at the definition of both correlation and causation.

Correlation. In statistics, a correlation is a single number describing the degree of relationship between two variables. [3] The key word here is relationship, where a relationship may exist, but not causation.

Causation. If A causes B we have direct causation. Meaning, one event is 100% causing something else. For example, if you stand in the rain, this will cause you to get wet.

Let’s look at another example, one that might initially confuse you (which demonstrates how easy it is to imply correlation equals causation). Does the following imply causation?

Statement. If you commit a felony, you will go to jail.

Answer. This does not infer causation, because you might go to jail if you get caught. Even if you get caught, you could still receive probation or a lesser punishment. Essentially, we can’t say for sure that committing a felony will cause you to go to jail. [4]

To avoid falling into this trap, peel back the layers.

We can use a futures research method that will help us focus on an in-depth analysis of our problem. This method is called Causal Layer Analysis (CLA) and allows us to dig into the layers (or dimensions) of a problem. Let’s see how it works. [5]

There are four layers of CLA

  • Layer #1 – Litany. This is our day-to-day future where solutions to problems are typically short term.
  • Layer #2 – Systemic Causes. Here we focus on the social, economic, and political issues.
  • Layer #3 – Worldview. This is our big picture paradigm.
  • Layer #4 – Myth or Metaphor. Our deep unconscious stories reside in this layer.

Using CLA will assist us in getting to the root cause of a problem. Go back to our U.S. spending and Suicide example. Instead of implying causation, we should dig into the root cause of this issue. This example shows a strong correlation, where r = .99. The closer we are to 1, the stronger the correlation. However, we know this is not logical. So, we must gather more data associated to this problem, identify other potential causes, and identify the true root of the problem.

Let’s look at some techniques we can use for this.

1. Fishbone Diagram

The Fishbone Diagram (otherwise known as an Ishikawa or Cause-and-Effect Diagram) is a way to identify as many possible causes for an effect or problem. [6]

2. 5-Why

Here is a technique you mastered when you were a child, yet you forgot when you became an adult. Simply ask why. The 5-Why technique is a powerful tool allowing us to peel back the layers of symptoms and get to the root of the problem. [7]

3. Apollo Root Cause Analysis

This is a way to dig deeper into root cause analysis. Here we look for (at least) two causes in the form of an action and condition, then ask why of each answer and continue to ask why of each cause until there are no more answers. [8]

4. Pareto Analysis

The Pareto analysis is where we use the Pareto principle. Here we find that 20% of our work creates 80% of the results… or 80% of our problem comes from 20% of a certain population. This is a powerful and effective technique for quickly identifying a problem area to focus on.

Can you now see the error when implying correlation equals causation? Once we understand how errors like this occur, we can use powerful techniques to expose them and find the true root cause to the problem. We are blind when we fail to do this. It’s like trying to look into a forest, but you are blinded by the trees; where you know there is a forest in there somewhere.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io


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How To Fight Inflammation? Ginger And Other Foods That Can Cure Inflammation!

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/6xDw0OcnNjw/top-20-anti-inflammatory-food-that-you-can-eat-to-cure-your-inflammation

Inflammation – Should we worry?

Health advocates are always referring to inflammation, but in actual fact what are they really talking about?

Inflammation is basically a natural process of the body, the body’s chemical messengers encourage a process or an immune response.

But the kind we hear about in the new-age health context is not merely like a broken ankle or a cut; it is the chronic, pervasive low-level of inflammation.

Studies indicate that inflammation affects almost everything from from hip fractures, acid reflux and neuro-degenerative diseases. Many diseases that plague society like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma are tied to one common denominator: Inflammation

Prominent wellness community voices believe inflammation is the root of many diseases. Our current age of environmental pollutants, obesity and high stress levels is a calling for us to do away with some inflammation myths.

Fast Facts on Inflammation

  • Inflammation is a self-protection mechanism, an immune response of the body to alleviate harmful stimuli and begin the healing process. Our wounds, infections and tissue damages heal with inflammation. But when this process gets out of control, for instance in a case of rheumatoid arthritis, it damages the body. It plays a role in disorders like obesity, cancer and heart disease.
  • The initial stage of inflammation is termed irritation, it then turns into inflammation.
  • The discharge of pus follows the inflammation granulation stage, the wound formation and round tissue masses.
  • Note that inflammation is an element of the healing process. Reducing inflammation is necessary is some cases, but not always.

Types of Inflammation

Acute inflammation: Starts with a rapid onset and becomes severe quickly.

Chronic inflammation: Long-term cases of inflammation that can last for months or years. Chronic inflammation can cause several conditions and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, some cancer types, atherosclerosis,
hay fever and others.

Lifestyle choices that compose of food that we eat each day can either balance anti-inflammatory body compounds or tip one end of the scale.

10 Foods to Avoid in a Anti-Inflammation Diet

Incorporating natural foods that are anti-inflammatory foods in diets is as important as avoiding or reducing foods that promote inflammation.

1. Sugars

An excess of sugar intake is known to cause tooth decay.[1] Moreover it is linked to obesity, chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Recent studies prove that sugar and dairy causes acne.

2. Dairy

Approximately sixty percent of the population in the world are unable to digest milk.[2] Milk is an allergen that triggers inflammatory responses. These are inclusive of stomach distress like constipation and diarrhea as well as skin conditions like skin rashes, hives, acne and also breathing difficulties.

3. Cooking Oil

Common cooking oils that are used in restaurants and homes have high omega-6 fatty acids and low omega-3 fats.[3] This imbalance promotes inflammatory diseases like cancer and heart disease.

4. Trans fats

Trans fats increase ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower ‘good’ cholesterol levels.[4] They promote inflammation, insulin resistance, obesity and lead to degenerative illnesses. They are found in deep fried foods, commercially baked items, fast foods, and foods prepared with margarine, hydrogenated oil and vegetable shortening.

5. Meat produced commercially

Meat produced commercially results in animals that are fed with high inflammatory diets like high omega 6 fats and low omega 3 fats.[5] They gain fat as they are kept in compressed environments and given antibiotics and hormones to grow faster. This meat should be avoided.

6. Alcohol

Regular alcohol consumption causes inflammation of the larynx, esophagus and liver.[6] This chronic inflammation promotes the growth of tumors leading to cancer.

7. Processed and Red Meat

Medical Studies have located a molecule that is not naturally produced by humans (Neu5Gc).[7] After this compound is ingested, the body begins to develop anti-Neu5Gc antibodies that trigger chronic inflammation. This inflammation is linked to heart disease and cancer.

8. Refined Grain

Many grains that we eat are refined. They are devoid of vitamin B and fiber in contrast to unrefined grains.[8] Refined grains are equal to empty calories. The high glycemic causes degenerative diseases like coronary disease, cancer and diabetes. These are found in many products, the most common are: white rice, white bread, white flour, noodles, pastries, pasta and biscuits.

9. Artificial Additives

Artificial food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame triggers of inflammatory responses, affecting people that already suffer from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.[9] Packaged foods usually artificial food additives. Read the labels carefully to weigh the risks.

10. Frozen Yogurt

The mixture of dairy and sugar is not a good combination and will have harmful effects even though it may sound healthy.[10] Foods that are high in sugar levels and saturated fat spur inflammation as they cause over-activity in immune systems, lead to fatigue, joint pain, fatigue and blood vessels damage.

When we address inflammation with foods that are anti-inflammatory we alleviate symptoms and even cure many of them.

20 Foods that Fight Inflammation

1. Dark Leafy Greens

Vitamin E is key to protect the body against molecules that are pro-inflammatory (cytokines). A good source of this vitamin is dark green vegetables like swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and kale.[11] Cruciferous and dark green vegetables have a higher concentrations of nutrients inclusive of iron and calcium, as well as disease fighting elements.

2. Fatty Fish

Oily fish, like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna have high omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.[12] Add fish to menus, boiled or steamed rather than fried, salted or dried.

3. Nuts

Nuts like almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium and fiber. With high levels of an omega 3 fat type, alpha-linolenic acid, they fight inflammation. Nuts are full of antioxidants that help repair the damage by inflammation.

4. Soy Foods

Studies have shown that soy products are effective for anti-inflammation.[13] At a cellular level they are a defense against cancer and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis as well as menopausal symptoms.

7. Celery

Research about celery has identified it for anti-inflammatory health benefits, including protection against the digestive inflammation tract itself.[14]

8. Peppers

Peppers are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and therefore possess powerful effects of anti-inflammation.[15]

9. Tomatoes

Red, juicy tomatoes are lycopene rich, which is known to reduce inflammation in the body and lungs. Cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw tomatoes. The consumption of tomato juice is also beneficial.

10. Beets

This bright red color veggie is equally brilliant in its antioxidant properties.[16] It reduces inflammation and protects against heart disease and cancer as it has good fiber and folate.

11. Garlic and Onions

These pungent vegetables are anti-inflamm atory superstars.[17] The compounds of garlic lower inflammation boosting substance. Onions help to inhibit agents that cause inflammation in arthritis. Eating raw garlic is best.

12. Olive Oil

Olive oil is the best additions to healthy heart diets and lung functioning.[18]

13. Cherries

Research has shown that tart cherry juice helps athletes to recover faster from workouts that are intense, and decrease muscle pain.[19]

14. Berries

All fruits help to fight inflammation as they have a high fiber content. Berries are stronger in anti inflammatory properties as a result of rich antioxidants.[20]

15. Turmeric

Turmeric, the bright colored relative to ginger is a disease-preventive agent due to anti inflammatory components and is a beneficial addition to dishes.[21]

16. Ginger

Ginger has amazing benefits and ingesting ginger, either by drinking ginger tea or sprinkling ginger on foods, is said to even reduce arthritis pain, muscle pain and improves movement agility.[22]

17. Dark Chocolate

Recent research revealed that gut bacteria ferments and breaks down dark chocolate components turning them into anti-inflammatory healthy compounds.[23]

18. Broccoli

The health benefits of broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, are numerous.[24] If you eat broccoli on a regular basis, the health benefits that are provided are amazing.

19. Black Beans

High in fiber and protein, black beans are a great healthy food choice that reduce inflammation.[25]

20. Pineapple

Pineapple contains enzymes that reduce inflammation and swelling in the body.[26] Pineapple is great in vitamin C, for a healthy immune system and is best when eaten raw and ripe.

A Superfood Anti-inflammatory Recipe

Carrot Salad with Ginger and Turmeric

This superfood combination of turmeric, carrots and ginger contains flavor compounds making them favorites in the culinary world. To top it of, the curative power of these ingredients has been East Indian and Chinese Ayurvedic medicine cures for many millennia.

Featured photo credit: http://drbrocchini.com via drbrocchini.com


[1] Mercola: Sugar Industry Secrets Exposed
[2] Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: Dairy products and inflammation: A review of the clinical evidence
[3] Authority Nutrition: 6 Reasons Why Vegetable Oils Can be Harmful
[4] Authority Nutrition: Why Are Trans Fats Bad For You? The Disturbing Truth
[5] Owlcation: Dangerous Health Risks of Meat – New Evidence
[6] Alcohol Journal: Alcohol and inflammation and immune responses: Summary of the 2005 Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group (AIRIG) meeting
[7] US San Diego News Center: How Eating Red Meat Can Spur Cancer Progression
[8] Authority Nutrition: Why Refined Carbs Are Bad For You
[9] Archives of Disease in Childhood: The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children
[10] Huffington Post: The Sad, Sad Truth About Frozen Yogurt
[11] United States of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
[12] National Health Service: Oily fish: mighty omega-3 or codswallop?
[13] Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation: Positive effect of dietary soy in ESRD patients with systemic inflammation–correlation between blood levels of the soy isoflavones and the acute-phase reactants
[14] The World’s Healthiest Food: Celery
[15] Ethnopharmacology: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Capsicum baccatum: from traditional use to scientific approach
[16] Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
[17] Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
[18] Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
[19] Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
[20] Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
[21] Dr Weil: 3 Reasons To Eat Turmeric
[22] British Journal of Anaesthesia: Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials
[23] Mercola: Scientists Probe Dark Chocolate’s Health Secrets
[24] Cancer Prevention Research: Dietary Sulforaphane-Rich Broccoli Sprouts Reduce Colonization and Attenuate Gastritis in Helicobacter pylori–Infected Mice and Humans
[25] Medical News Today: Black Beans: Health Benefits, Facts, Research
[26] body+soul: Pineapple helps relieve inflammation

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You Never Lose True Friends. If They Leave Your Life, They Aren't True Friends.

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/-UbvsSx_3P0/you-never-really-lose-a-friend-you-only-cut-meaningless-connections

Do you ever sit back and think about your old high school friends or that kid you used to play with next door? Maybe you remember how much fun you had together and wonder what became of their lives or why you lost touch with each other.

Losing a friend is difficult. But are you sure it’s a loss?

Feeling nostalgic for an old friendship often makes us feel like we’ve lost an important part of our lives. Even the thought of losing contact with somebody we know makes us think twice. There’s just a certain sadness we feel when remembering a lost friendship. Have you ever looked at it a different way, though? Is it really a loss?

Your life and the people in it are constantly changing.

As the direction of your life changes, the people in your life also change. Not all of them, however. Some relationships, like with your family or your significant other don’t come and go easily. It’s your friendships that tend to change over time. You see, a friendship is a voluntary relationship that you choose to enter, not one that’s bound by formalities and rules.

So as the demands of your life start changing, like when you’re suddenly slammed with a full course load at the university while working a part-time job, or you work tons of overtime while trying to raise a family – it’s your friendship that will take less priority in your life.[1]

Some people just aren’t friends (or aren’t friends any more).

Growing up doesn’t only mean changing demands to your personal time, you also start to realize what you want out of life and the kind of people you want in it. Your old high school friend suddenly doesn’t fit your friendship needs anymore, and that’s okay.

Ending a friendship can happen for a number of reasons, and it’s not always a bad thing. Here are some of the types of friends we learn to let go of:

They have no compassion or empathy.

Maybe you’re feeling really upset about a recent disaster you’ve seen in the news, so you try to strike up a conversation with your friend about it. Their response? A slight shrug followed by a question about the latest celebrity scandal or what they should wear on their next date. You’ve tried and tried to find a deeper connection with this person, but you can’t. This is a shallow friendship, and it wouldn’t be a loss to cut this meaningless connection out of your life.

They never return the favor.

Are you constantly dropping everything to do a favor for your friend? Whether it’s take them to a doctor’s appointment, help them move out of their apartment, or just offer a listening ear after a terrible breakup – you are always there. Now, ask yourself a question: do they return the favor? Seems like they’re always busy when you need them, right? This isn’t a friendship.

They want to be the center of attention.

Constantly being interrupted so they can tell you about their terrible weekend or the fight they got in with their partner? It doesn’t matter what you have going on in your life, this person always has something more urgent or difficult to deal with. You either find yourself doubting the majority of their stories or constantly worried for their well-being. When you spend 90% of your friendship dealing with their issues and trying to calm them down or stop worrying, you don’t have a real friendship. It’s okay to admit that.

Letting go of a meaningless connection is healthy.

The first step toward coming closer to focus on what you want and need in life is realizing that friendship with these people is toxic. What you have with these types of people is not a true friendship, so letting go means you are only losing an unhealthy relationship. That isn’t a loss, but rather a gain.

Once you let go of a meaningless connection, you can focus on the important things in life. How can you cut ties with someone you once thought was a friend?

  1. Admit to yourself that it’s okay and healthy to stop hanging out with this person.
  2. Give yourself time away from them and gradually lengthen your time apart if you find it difficult to end the relationship.
  3. Try creating the friendship you want to have. Find a friend who appreciates you and helps you become the person you hope to be.

You don’t really lose a friendship because true friendship always stays.

Cutting unnecessary ties allows you to focus on one of the most important things in life: true friendship. Worry more about developing this relationship than the possibility of losing a friend.

Remember, you can never lose a true friend. You can, however, get rid of meaningless relationships. You get one life, live it surrounded by love and happiness.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io


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The Lost Art of Serious Relationships: It's Too Easy to Meet New People in Today's World

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/FFGN3LwntnU/lost-art-of-serious-relationships-its-too-easy-to-meet-new-people-in-todays-world

Let’s face it, the dating world today isn’t what it used to be. With all of the social networking and online dating sites out there, finding a partner has become too easy. So instead of taking the time to really get to know somebody, everyone is too busy expecting the next, better option to come along. It’s part of the instant gratification culture – put in little to no effort and the perfect partner will just fall into your lap.

Dating apps give us the illusion of choice.

You probably have more access to dating websites and apps than social networking sites. In fact, the last relationship advice you received was probably to open an account with an online dating site. When you wake up in the morning, you check your calendar, check your messages, and check your dating account.

This easy access to potential romantic partners is a problem. Why? Because it gives you the illusion of choice. How many potential dating matches do you see in a day, or even in an hour? Hundreds! And how easy is it to swipe right on by their picture and keep looking for another, better option?

Finding a significant other is not supposed to be easy.

Too many times I hear people criticize potential romantic partners that they’ve found on a dating app. “He has no motivation.” “I don’t like her personality.” “He seems too immature.” You can’t decide these things about somebody you have never met.

Take this relationship advice: you will never find someone who is a 100% match for you. That person doesn’t exist and finding them is not what falling in love and having a long-term relationship is about. It’s about finding somebody who is not exactly like you, loving them anyway, and learning to grow with them. Finding a life partner is not supposed to be a simple task; it takes effort and dedication.

You cannot just be yourself.

Being confident in who you are and what you want in life is a good thing. Deciding that everything about you is enough for a relationship and that you don’t need to change for everything to go well is not a good thing. The worst relationship advice you could ever listen to is to “just be yourself”.

It’s true to a certain degree that you should just be who you are with no dishonesty and pretending. Too often, however, people think this relationship advice means they never have to change and that simply isn’t true.

It takes compromise.

Long term relationships are all about change. You can’t expect to be with somebody for the rest of your life and that neither one of you will ever change. Each person in a relationship has to put in some effort. Effort to get to know each other, effort to understand each other’s likes and dislikes, and effort to make compromises.

Unwillingness to compromise means you won’t find a lifelong partner. If you want to share your life with another person, you have to be ready and willing to accept change. Making a lifelong commitment to another person isn’t about giving up when things seem difficult or when you have to change something about yourself. It isn’t taking a chance on the next best person to come across your computer or phone screen, either.

You don’t have to lower your standards.

Accepting this relationship advice doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. It just means you have to be open to making changes in life and adapting to the wants and needs of another person. Because in a relationship, it’s about the happiness of two people.

Compromise, change, and adaptation means giving up that weekend spa getaway to go see the movie they’re really excited about. It means picking up the shoes they forgot to put away for the millionth time because they’re really exhausted from work. It means staying in for the night when your partner is sick.

You do these things because you are concerned for the happiness, well-being, and growth of your partner. And they do the same for you.

Don’t be tricked by the seemingly endless supply of available partners. Finding and keeping a serious relationship isn’t as easy as scrolling through a list of pictures. It takes much more effort than that.

Featured photo credit: Burst via pexels.com

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