The Year of 12 Virtues

Grow Your Twitter Following in Your Sleep
February 10, 2009, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

For those of you who haven’t joined twitter, you seriously need to try it out- it is a blast. For those of you that are already using twitter here is a new pointer I got from twitter pro @mike_wesely

If you want to grow your following in your sleep (I know it sounds like a cheesey marketing pitch), here is what you have to do: find a few twitter stars- those with 10,000 plus followers that are in your target market- then late at night, say 11:00 or 12:00, right before you go to bed- tweet a good night message to each of these people. The message will likely stay on all night due to far less activity during these hours. Your @name will show up on their very popular blogs under their twitter feed for hours.

I tried this last night @posting to just three popular twitterers before I went to bed, and I awoke to over 30 new followers. Not exactly hundreds of followers, but it took me less than five minutes to send those posts. Imagine if I had sent tweets to all the top 20 twitter celebs? Try it out, and let me know how it goes for you.


Act Like Friends, Live Like Strangers
February 5, 2009, 7:02 pm
Filed under: anti-social, social meda

Is social media in fact anti-social?

Here is a conversation that I overheard from an acquaintance:

“I have so many friends on facebook that I would never talk to in real life.”
“Yeah, yesterday I was at the Mall and I saw one of my facebook friends, and I purposefully avoided eye contact because I didn’t want to have a forced conversation with him.”

What is the point of social media if it doesn’t translate into real offline connectivity with other people?

I know what your going to say, that social media enhances our existing relationships through sharing pictures, coordinating activities, sharing information, and etc. I think that might be overstated.

My point is that the most important relationships we have in this life require time, sacrifice, and dedication. Our relationships with parents, children, spouses, or other loved ones won’t grow and flourish if we only maintain them through facebook hugs, and twitter nudges. We must be comitted to putting these relationships first, or we will be left feeling utterly alone even while virtually surrounded with hundreds of friendster, followers, and readers.

At the end of a hard day at work, after our son has gone to bed, there is nothing as valuable to me as the quiet time my wife and I spend together talking. I close my laptop, turn off the t.v., turn down the music, and we just enjoy eachother’s company. Its my favorite part of the day, and that is something I really digg.

When is social media at its best/worst?

After writing the post I found some other great articles on the subject




Anti-pirates Don’t Even Realize
February 4, 2009, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

According to the AP they have special training now just for killing pirates. What next? When will this anti-pirate media bias stop? I swear the media never publishes anything good the pirates do. We never hear about the schools they are building, pirate counsels they are holding, or advances in pirate seamanship. We always hear just the bad stuff.

And I can tell you from seeing multiple vaguely historical Pirates of the Caribbean movies that not all pirates are bad. Some pirates are cool, hip, funny, and/or hot. So next time someone starts telling another “pirate joke” or does another pirate impression (so tired). Just look him in the eye and say, not cool man…. not cool.

Half Habits? I don’t buy it.
February 4, 2009, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here is an interesting article about learning new habits and breaking old habits. The idea discussed in the article of “half-habits” makes sense- but doesn’t seem like it would work in the real world. To learn a new behavior you need to be 100% committed. Tell me what you think. Here is the full article.

Here is the part I disagree with:

“Half Habits

The most common approach to forming a new habit is to attempt to
create it with a single leap from your old way to the new way, without any
transition period. You smoke and you want to quit smoking. You drink coffee and
you want to cut it out of your diet. You don’t exercise and want to join the gym
to exercise on a daily basis. To achieve your goals, you rely on commitment and
But as you have experienced time and time again, your willpower
will dwindle a few weeks down the road (if you survive that long) and drag your
commitment down with it, leaving you with your old ways… if not worse!

That’s because to go from one way to a totally new way is unnatural. It comes as a
shock to your mind, body and soul and they will fight fiercely to return to a
way that is familiar to them.
What’s the solution, I hear you ask?
Well, that’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked it 🙂
A solution I would recommend would be to go for half habits.

What does that mean?
Rather than trying to commit FULLY to a new habit, you simply take a step in its
direction. For example, instead of immediately joining a gym in order to
become healthy, if your body has almost forgotten what “physical activity”
means, incorporate a mini-exercise routine at home. That way, you don’t feel
guilty that you’re not going to the gym every day, and you’re not taking
something on that will be met with resistance. It’s a small adjustment that you
won’t have difficulty keeping up. An advantage to half habits is that you
accept that you need to go through a transition period from old habit to new
habit. You accept this as something natural and not a failing on your

In my life I am either excercising or NOT excercising. It doesn’t make sense to start half-excercising. It seems like more of an excuse.

I like this part though, it makes a lot of sense.

“Timeless Habits

One of the major obstacles we face in trying to adopt new habits into
our lives is simply that we don’t have the time to do so!
If you want to start exercising, you need to fit exercise sessions into your schedule. But that
involves some planning, and you might already have too many commitments that
stop you from squeezing in exercise into your busy week.

But that doesn’t mean you cannot develop new and positive habits!
Not having the time is no reason to remain stagnant. There are many small adjustments and changes we can do here and there that require no extra time whatsoever!
Do you need any extra time to replace coffee with green tea, or soft drinks with water?
Do you need any extra time to sprinkle your day with a few more smiles?
There are SO many ways we can move forward in life without needing to make any hefty
time commitments, and these changes will help us realize how easy it is to form
new habits and will also lead us to enjoy the many benefits these habits can
bring to our lives!


Half Habits: For all the habits you intend on adopting, instead of focusing on the
destination (forming the new habit fully), think of the next step you can take
in the direction of these habits and make a slight adjustment to adopting these

Timeless Habits: Come up with ways you can make simple changes to
what you eat, how you behave, etc. that can bring about positive results in your
life, without needing to free up any time on your schedule to form these new

What do you think? Can we learn new habits without even trying. It sounds like an oversimplification to me.

Submitting to Publishers
February 1, 2009, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Courage, Publishing

How do I get my book idea published?

For those of you that have never tried to get a book published, here is how it works. First, you send a query letter to the publisher. This is a one page explanation of what the book is about, why people would buy it, and why you are properly suited to write it. The query process may take a month or so. There are examples of good and bad query letters in The Writer’s Market (a great resource for aspiring authors).

The second step is the book proposal. If the publisher likes your query letter, they will request a 5-10 page book proposal. This is kind of like a business plan for your book. You explain how the book stacks up to the competition, why the book is unique, and more details about who you are. This will usually include a table of contents of the book, and maybe a chapter or two. This part of the process will take another couple of months.

Third, if the publisher likes the query letter, and likes the proposal, they may request a full manuscript. If they like what they see- they send you an advance ($500-$1000 for first time authors). The interesting thing is that you don’t even need to have a manuscript to get a publisher interested- many authors receive an advance on the book before it is even written simply by writing a good letter and strong proposal.


In NYC I met with a publicity firm named Krupp Kommunications. They recommended that I submit my manuscript to some smaller publishers. One in particular is Benbella Books. They are a publisher out of Texas that publishes about 15 titles per year. I was given the phone number of someone named Glen at Benbella, so I called and spoke with him for a minute about my manuscript, I said that Krupp had recommended Benbella for my book. He told me that I should email in my proposal, and he gave me his email. He said he would get back to me in 1-2 weeks.

This was good news, far quicker than the normal submission process that usually requires paper submissions, self-adressed stamped envelopes, and a lead time of 3-4 months. So I jumped online to read about what was expected by Benbella in their proposal (most publishers have submission guidelines on their website). It turns out Glen is not just one of the editors, he is the Founder and President of Benbella, the company was named after his two children Ben and Elisabeth. The point is by networking through Krupp I had skipped a couple of steps- and got straight to the decision maker. It gets better.

I emailed out my proposal (expecting to hear back in 1-2 weeks). 30 minutes later Glen emails me back asking (1) if I am using Krupp for my publicity, and (2) If I can send him a few sample chapters of my book. I responded in the affirmative to both questions, and I look forward to hearing back from Benbella soon. This was a great lesson in the power of talking to the right people.

Don’t be afraid to network, in life it often helps us skip a couple of steps, and make it past the gate keepers.

Dinner is Served
January 27, 2009, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“This month you have been way too critical of my cooking.” My wife told me yesterday.
“Honey, I love your cooking, what are you talking about?” I replied.
“I think its this whole month of integrity, you are taking it too seriously- all of the sudden you are telling me all of the meals you don’t like.”
“Look, I am amazed by your cooking- I just thought we could start diferentiating between which meals are good and which meals are great.” I careful explained.
“That’s the problem, you never told me before you disliked any of my meals- and suddenly I’m hearing about all of them- if you had told me in the first place I would have stopped making them!”

So the month of integrity is almost over, but it hasn’t been without it’s challenges. My wife and I decided on a star system for dinners. 1-10 stars, 10 stars for the GREAT meals, 1 for the meals I cook. (I know what you guys are thinking- I should be grateful for ANY meal, and I am. Natalie just wants to know which are my favorites.) This is the perfect system, if there is a meal I don’t like at all, I don’t have to insult it with a “1”, I can just give it a 4.5- and Natalie will realize it’s on the low end and make it only when I am out of town.

Here is a list of some of my wife’s best dinner’s. If you want the recipe’s I’m sure she would be happy to provide them:

  • Crocpot Mac n Cheese
  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Thai Chicken Curry
  • Chicken Rolls
  • Taco Soup
  • Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup
  • Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and gravy


This morning I had a phone call meeting with Jennifer Garbowski from Krupp Komunications. She is an amazing publicist that works for the same firm that made the South Beach Diet famous. She gave me some great ideas for potential publishers and for ways of marketing my manuscript. She loves the idea, and thinks it has some serious potential.

We agreed that I have one large challenge ahead of me to getting published- for those of you that do not know me very well…I am NOT famous. I have tried to convince people otherwise, but its the truth. I haven’t climbed Mt. Everest, run multiple marathons, or been on a spaceship. The big challenge will be to show that my book concept is so innovative that it will succeed even without a big name behind it. This is the challenge of all first time writers, and as my wife and I learned from the movie “Little Miss Sunshine” which we watched last night- life is often a beauty concept, and you need to be glamorous or famous to get noticed.

Here is where I could use some help. If anybody would like to learn about the 12 Hidden Virtues, and would like to commit one year to trying out my concept, email me at Good and bad experiences can be posted on my blog (with your permission of course).

Sweet Parking Spot
January 23, 2009, 2:11 pm
Filed under: Month 1: Integrity

Since this is the month of integrity I have been searching for ways to be more honest. As I said before, I think I am generally a fairly honest person- but maybe I was just fooling myself. I must now publicly admit, I have been dishonest in my parking.

How does one be dishonest in his parking, you may ask?

1. Borrow your grandma’s handicap parking permit (I know this seems pretty low, but an associate of mine at law school actually did this all through law school.)

2. Park in the “expecting mothers” section at Baby’s R Us. (Sadly I will never be able to honestly park there.)


3. At my work there is a 9 story parking garage. Anytime I arrive to work say after 8:45 I have to go around and around in a circle up to the 7th or 8th floor. The whole process is time consuming and highly annoying- especially considering the fact that I am paying $71 per month for the privelege to be trapped in the discusting garage.

Well last month I found a loop-hole. On the first and second floor there are some PRIME spots marked with “Reserved for Comfort Suite Guests”. The signs also mention “Violators will be towed for ticketed for $50”. Generally this serves as a significant deterent from non-guests parking there- but as said before, I found a loophole.

One of the employees from my work used to be on the board that runs the parking ramp. Apparently they have no mechanism to patrol those spots. Long story short- since there are TONS of opens spots and nobody patrols them, it seemed like it was my responsibility to take these spots. It was better that I use them than nobody at all.

Funny thing is, I started getting really suspicious- I didn’t want anybody from work to see me parking there, so I would go around the corner if a car was following me, and then I would sneak back into the prime spots. I was so worried that one of my co-workers might see me parking in the forbidden spot- and maybe even turn me in. So after, I would rush out of my car- so nobody would recognize me and know which car I drove. It was really starting to stress me out.

So I thought last night while I was lying in bed, how can I live a more honest life?

I need to park in the right place, even if its on the seventh floor.