Happy Anniversary!

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Get Control Of Your Life! In that time we have posted 80 articles to help you succeed in your life. My guest writers and I care about you being healthy in every aspect of your life, including your career, health and fitness, money, relationships, spirituality, and most especially, personal development. I always have ideas for new articles running around in my head. I want to explore more personal development tools, like various the Myers-Briggs and Strengths Finder. I’m always on the lookout for fresh spiritual expressions, tips on having a healthy body, and suggestions for succeeding in vocation and relationships. The blog is not about quick fixes, so we avoid lists of surface tips. Instead, it’s about fostering and encouraging personal growth for a happy and fulfilling life. You can only give out as much as you’ve got. And each reader has incredibly profound contributions to make to the world. I want this site (and the upcoming podcast series) to be successful and beneficial. Which articles have you found the most helpful? What would you like to see addressed? What recommendations do you have for more resources? Please take a moment to make a brief comment on the site or Facebook page; your feedback is valued. It takes time to build an audience. In one year, we’ve only had 3248 visits by 1636 unique visitors. Because of budget constraints, a few bumper stickers, business cards and Facebook posts have been the totality of our promotional efforts. The site relies on word –of-mouth promotion by those who like it. What suggestions do you have to increase traffic? Make a great suggestion and you could win a prize!   Image by Michael Lorenzo; retrieved at...

Overcoming Adversity

This is a video story about two things: Overcoming adversity and making a difference. Zach is the 11-year-old son of some friends. He suffers from several disorders including Aspergers Syndrome, dyslexia and ADHD. His service dog, Clyde, is his helper. So is Chris. Zach and his parents have had much to overcome. Life was very difficult for Zach; but as a family, they pressed forward till they found answers. Chris is the prison inmate who trained, Clyde the service dog. He turned his life around and is doing so for others. Watch this inspiring video. If these folks can overcome adversity, so can you!...

Death by Password

According to InformationWeek, IBM predicted back in 2011 that in five years we will not be using passwords to access secure resources like ATMs and computers. While we may be on our way to voice, fingerprint or eye recognition, we’re not there yet. And we’re stuck using passwords. My computer is a mess. I have too many unopened emails and too much clutter on the desktop. I need a week to get my photos organized and put on an external drive. All these are on my “round-to-it” list. However, one area that is NOT a mess or stress is managing my passwords. And I have a LOT of them! I use a little program that effortlessly manages them for me. I’m amazed when I see friends or colleagues struggle to remember passwords, look around their desk for various little pieces of papers, or use one or two passwords for everything they do online. Bad ideas! There are multiple little programs to keep track of your passwords. Some you buy; some are free. A password program works like this. You input all the web sites you visit that require a password. You either enter the password you want to use, or let the program generate one. You only have to memorize ONE PASSWORD! Then every time you visit a web site, you double click on that entry and the program does the rest; it brings up the site, enters your logon and password, and logs you into the site. No copying and pasting. No forgetting passwords ever again. Password managers are available for your computer, tablet and smartphone. I personally use 1Password on my Mac and iPhone. (It’s also available for PCs, Androids and iPads.) I easily sync all my passwords between my devices, so a change in...

Be Positive!

“Be positive regardless! Life is sweet!” Those are the words inscribed in the front of Watermelon Credo, a little book given to me by the author, Wally Amos. Most people know him as the cookie man who invented Famous Amos Cookies. I ran into Wally Amos as he was selling his newest “Wamos” cookies in front of a hotel on Waikiki in Hawaii. I’d hoped to interview him for my upcoming podcast, but he was unable to make the appointment. So we chatted. I found Wally to be a delightful man who never gives up. Though in his 70s, he refuses to quit life. Instead he continues to start companies, write books, and speak to groups. Somewhere along the way he founded a group called Read it LOUD!, a foundation that encourages parents to read aloud to their children everyday. He knows that reading is a key to success. Wally has had his ups and downs. From humble beginnings, he served in the military, and then became an entrepreneur. He didn’t wait for anyone to give him anything; he knew he had the power and the responsibility to create his own destiny. Wally was very public about the mistakes he made that led to loosing control of his Famous Amos Cookie Company. “I made the mistake of thinking the company was all about me and never realized that I could be part of the problems that befell it,” he wrote. “Now I subscribe to the TEAM adage, that Together Everyone Accomplishes More.” In his little book, Watermelon Credo, Wally (who loves the fruit and wears his signature watermelon hat), shares 10 principles for a successful life: Whatever you believe creates your reality Attitude is the magic word Together everyone achieves more Enthusiasm is the...

Packing for Vacation

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and time for many people to go on vacation. If you are a workaholic who feels guilty for taking time off, get over it. Learn from your European cousins who typically take 4-6 weeks off every year. This year I’ve thrown guilt to the wind and am embracing the fact that I am a human who needs rest and realizes there is more to life than working. In trying to bring balance into every aspect of my life, so I’ve made arrangements to get some serious time off. Holidays and vacations off are necessary for our mental and physical health. They are good for the soul. They are good for the body. They are good for relationships. I live in the U.S. but have been to 61 countries. International travel always involves work, so vacations for me ar more likely to be closer to home. Car trips are as great as those by air. Keys are making the effort and doing what you can afford. I thought it would be good to share some advice from my years of travel. Doing a search, I realize there are multiple web sites that offer advice on planning and packing.; so I will include some links at the end of the article. Here are packing tips I’ve learned: Earplugs – Probably the most important item you can pack. Get good ones like Mac’s silicone ear plugs (available from Target and drug stores). They block out sounds like jet engines, hotel air conditioners, roosters, people who snore, street noise, and other people’s music, as well water when you swim. I never leave home without them! Eye shades are a good companion. Plastic bags – Put your shoes in grocery store bags and...

Living In The Box

We live in a world of social conformity. Even if we don’t like it, people like to stuff us into boxes. It’s hard to move in a box. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to be yourself. Do you put others in a box? Check out this funny video about labels, polarized thinking and very small boxes. It highlight the antithesis of critical thinking and respect. God gave us brains and hearts. Let’s use them...

How Are Devices Changing How We Think & Live?

Did you spend Easter dinner (or any other family meal) with certain members disengaged in conversation because their heads were buried in their phones or tablets? Certainly our digital devices are changing how we think and interact with each other. But it’s too early to tell how or to what extent. As one who teaches a college interpersonal communication course, I see that young people (and some not so young) struggle with saying no to immediate communication. I stress over and over how it’s ok to go against culture and to ignore texts, especially while in class, during face-to-face conversations (yes, we have to use that term now to differentiate), and most especially, while driving. Many have underdeveloped interpersonal skills, so the course is great for them. We can point to two or three major shifts in history that altered communication and how the mind works. The first two are related: written language and literacy. Before the moveable printing press, books were hand copied, so were only in the possession of the wealthiest. Once the printing press starting churning out inexpensive books, the masses began to learn to read. We know that when someone learns to read, there is a fundamental shift in the way their brain works. Consider all the things people no longer had to remember! Instead they had the possibility to write things down and look them up later. A great burden was lifted from the human brain. The third major shift we can attribute to the digital age, which is generally considered to be about the year 2000. Though we had radio, film and television in the last century, around 2000 is when the internet started to reach critical mass as well as an explosion of new delivery media and methods. These, of course, include things we can’t image living without, such as mp3 players, smartphones, tablets, inexpensive laptops, video games, video on demand, and the development of the cloud (where software and data are stored somewhere besides on your devices). The future will likely be all about the cloud. Sony and other companies are committed to this model because it’s cheaper and faster to deliver content digitally rather than by print, disc or other hard media. I focused on media effects in my doctoral studies; that means I studied how media affects people, or more importantly, how people interact with media. If you saw my interview, Do Movies Make People Kill Others?, you know that research shows that movies or other media do not make people do bad things. Or restated, they might encourage some predisposed people to do bad things some of the time. So when I came across the following article, I knew I wanted to share it with you. The Child, the Tablet and the Developing Mind is an piece by New York Times writer Nick Bilton. It’s worth keeping an eye on this developing topic. However, I can think of many instances when I’ve been in family settings where people were not communicating, devices or not! There was a day when children and young adults were educated in the art of conversation. I think we would do well to revive some of that. If kids knew how to engage in interpersonal communication, maybe they wouldn’t default to their devices. Be sure to click on the...

Do Movies Make People Kill Others?...

Video- Do movies make people kill others? Mass killings are nothing new; history is full of them. But today, when unstable people unleash their mental illness and problems by killing others, we hear about it almost instantly. Cable news outlets–that have to fill 24 hours of programming every day–spend hours interviewing experts and trying to understand the insanity. And politicians try to pass new laws to prevent it from happening again. Since the beginning of the film industry and most especially television, a lot of research has been done to try to understand its effects. Do media messages make people do things? How media affects viewers was the focus of my doctoral studies, and most especially, my dissertation that looked at the positive (prosocial as opposed to antisocial) effects of media. The following interview is one I did after the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting in 2012 to contribute to the discussion on the...

Page 2 of 212