Considering a Master’s Degree? Here’s What You Need to Know

Things to Consider Before (paying for) a Master’s Degree

(based on US education & jobs market)

It’s not difficult to get a master’s degree these days, especially if you don’t care WHERE you attend and how much you pay. At one time, the graduate credential set people apart as scholars and intellectuals, but with the proliferation of cheap quality and meaningless majors for those seeking simply the ‘M’ after their name, there are plenty of avenues to pursue. The question then shifts from “CAN you get a master’s degree?” to “SHOULD you get a master’s degree?”

As a university educator, it was not unusual for me to hear from prospective students who had a bachelor’s degree from one of the plethora of what I refer to as “quickie, online schools” and who had not advanced out of their retail or fast-food job. I also heard from students who had both a bachelor’s AND a master’s degree from a “quickie, online school” and were STILL stuck at an entry-level, only now with significantly more student loan debt.

Too often the individuals with the questionable “graduate degree” had a poor command of the spoken language, even worse skills in written communication and limited critical thinking skills. It was clear to me in 5 minutes why that master’s degree hadn’t made any rain for them. While I had compassion for them (and anger toward the scam-schools who took their money and passed them along regardless of their ability), I couldn’t offer them much hope other than starting over and getting a bachelor’s degree (or even an associate’s degree) that required them to learn basic skills.

This repeated experience has inspired me to create a guide for making the graduate school decision. I hope you’ll forgive the tech-leaning format of an “If-then” statement.

= IF

Your BA/BS has allowed you to enter a professional role (one that is a step UP from what you were working in before you graduated)

(AND) your peers with more experience in that or similar roles have moved up with the help of good work contributions and a graduate degree,

(THEN) Find a Master’s Degree program that is complementary to your body of knowledge & skill set, from a RESPECTED institution of higher learning. If possible, find one that qualifies for tuition reimbursement or that you can pay-as-you-go, avoiding the need to borrow (student loans).

= IF

Your BA/BS has allowed OTHERS (those you graduated with) to enter a professional role, but you remain in that pre-college job due to preference ,

(AND) you are willing and ABLE to move into a more higher-level position (one that is commensurate with someone working toward a Master’s Degree),

(THEN) Find a Master’s Degree program that is complementary to your body of knowledge & skill set, from a RESPECTED institution of higher learning. If possible, find one that qualifies for tuition reimbursement or that you can pay-as-you-go, avoiding the need to borrow (student loans).

= IF

Your BA/BS has NOT enabled you to enter a professional role (one that is a step UP from where you were working before you graduated),

(AND) you are not getting calls for interviews when you submit your resume, (OR) your classmates from your school are having a similar experience,

(THEN) DO NOT SIGN UP FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL! Walk away from any “advice” (that often comes from the “college” that sold you the sub-par BA/BS degree) that you need more education. What you need is relevant work experience, and you may have to start over at the bottom (entry-level) and work your way up to where other BA/BS degree-holders are coming in. This seems HARSH, but if you eventually want to advance, and have a chance at putting the BA/BS money you spent to good use, you need to do this or you will never realize a return on the school investment.

Spending more money on another de-valued degree is going to do you more HARM than good.

= IF

Your BA/BS was not required for you to get your current job, but was cited as being a “nice addition” when you were hired,

(BUT) you notice that everything you write for your boss or others above you in the organization gets heavily edited for grammar and spelling (basics) (OR) others in the organization are tapped to do work that is normally yours when an important client or meeting is involved,

(THEN) DO NOT SIGN UP FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL without FIRST taking the time toclean up your basic communication skills. A poorly-written cover letter or resume (or poor speaking ability in an interview) will nix a job offer quicker than the wrong suit.

It’s boring, I know but; Reading and Writing are CRITICAL skills if you want to move up into a better (paying) job! The best investment at this point will be returning to your local community college and boosting your critical reading, writing and communication (speech) skills.

Once you do this, work on moving UP out of your current position and into one with more responsibility; then (and only then) you may consider a graduate degree from a respectable institution.

= IF Your BA/BS degree has absolutely no impact or influence on your current job,

(AND) You are working in retail, fast-food, customer service or perhaps a service-intensive job in a specific sector like health care, travel & tourism, etc.,

(THEN) A Master’s Degree is not going to magically transform you from “would you like fries with that?” to “hold all my calls, Sally – I’ll be on the golf course this afternoon“.

A Master’s Degree will not transform a Certified Nursing Assistant into a Hospital VP; a Fry Technician at the Burger Blast into the CEO, or a cashier at the grocery store into a Bank President – even if it is an MBA (MBA degrees are also a dime a dozen – unless it’s from an AACSB-accredited school, there’s no guarantee it’s worth the paper the degree is printed on).

You must have the appropriate WORK EXPERIENCE to accompany that degree for it to make a difference.

There are, of course, a few caveats to this decision matrix.

Traditional undergraduate students, in respected and proven institutions of higher education often stay on to finish a Master’s Degree. While they will often not secure employment at a level much higher than their undergraduate colleagues, once they prove themselves in the work place, they will have the opportunity to move up more quickly than someone without the Master’s Degree.

If Mom & Dad (or Uncle Sam) are paying your way in college and you can afford to stay on after your BA/BS to complete your graduate degree, go for it!

If you’re paying the bills, or borrowing – get a job FIRST and seek out tuition support for that graduate degree. It goes without saying from me that you should find a program of study at a long-standing and respected institution of higher education, preferably one that is non-profit and public (or non-profit and highly-ranked if private).

Professionals who have earned serious work credentials and experience in meaningful positions through the military or other environments will often choose to go the route of the “quickie online degree factory”. They don’t need the Master’s Degree to open any doors; they simply want to spruce up their resume with the ‘M’ or the ‘BA/BS’ because that’s the world we live in. They are doing what I call, “checking the box”.

Do not be fooled by their success with those “degrees”. Their success with the “quickie online degree” is built ENTIRELY on their previous experience in the military or another organization. Without a similar foundation to stand on, your experience with that same “degree” will fall very short of theirs.

As I have mentioned in previous posts and countless blogs: borrow student loan money with great caution. Education can transform your life for the better if you choose wisely in terms of your school/college and your jobs.

As an educator, I have had the opportunity to speak to many community and student groups about education and workforce issues. I’ll close this post with my standard theme:

“In 1950 if you had a degree, you could walk into the Steel Mill across town, show them your “sheepskin” and get a job in management. Our steel mills and factories are mostly gone; lots of people have degrees – many of them of questionable value – and today the BA/BS degree is the new high school diploma. It’s not 1950 anymore.”

Education is a wonderful goal to pursue. Make sure your pursuits are appropriate to your progress to date so you don’t invest in a 1950 ideal for a 21st-century workforce.

By Rebecca Harmon

Belts That Matter: Interview with Bora Wear Founder on Kickstarter Campaign

 

As Eleanor Roosevelt eloquently pointed out, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

For Mugo Muna, that future is now…and his beautiful dream is beginning to crystallize into a movement.

He is the founder and CEO of Bora Wear, a start-up company focused on making exceptional, hand crafted belts in Kenya.

He is currently spearheading a Kickstarter campaign looking to raise money to help share his beautiful sense of style with the rest of the world.

Make sure to check out his fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, which has already raised more than $4,000 in just 10 days.

That’s over 20 percent of their intended goal. According to Kickstarter, once a campaign reaches over 20%, there is an 80% chance that it will get funded!!!

So what are you waiting for?

Check out the site and become part of something amazing!

Starting a business is a hard and life changing decision that many of us only dream about. The long hours and sleepless nights often keep most people from pursuing the life of an entrepreneur, but some of the most courageous and ambitious among us ignore any self doubt and commit to making their vision a reality.

en·tre·pre·neur

noun

1. a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

Farewell, Cornell

I spoke with Mugo a little over two years ago, just a day before he walked across the stage as a graduate of Cornell University.

(Check out PPA’s first story on Bora Wear)

He was charming, down to earth and spoke about returning to Kenya in order to give back with a burning passion.

Since then, he’s returned back to the hub of East Africa, working tirelessly to bring his passion for fashion to life.

He says that he’s “Never satisfied with the way things are and (he’s) obsessed with the way things could be.” With Bora Wear, he’s “focused on making things better than how we found them.”

PPA was fortunate enough to interview Mugo about his journey as an entrepreneur working to spread the beauty of Kenya to the world.

PPA: The last time we spoke, Bora Wear was a company looking to sell shirts and eventually various types of clothing. From your Kickstarter, I read why you had to make the transition to belts…but can you talk about what kept you from giving up.

MM: It’s weird, but it didn’t seem like a worthwhile reason to give up. Like if I were talking to someone later and they asked why I stopped working on Bora Wear. Then I would respond that “I gave up because it was hard” or “I gave up because I couldn’t find a good group”? That’s a poor reason to let the whole thing go. The only reason to give up to me is if Bora Wear can’t sell anything. So we do our best and if that doesn’t work then you move on.

PPA: Do you ever plan to get back into clothing?

Yeah. I still get emails from time to time telling me about how awesome the shirts were. I think there are definitely ways to get back into it, but it would require training people up to the standard that we want and need. It’s possible but just not right now.

PPA: You’ve lived in Kenya for a few years now when previously you were just a visitor. How has your experience in Kenya changed your opinion about the country? Are you one of them or do they still consider you a foreigner?

MM: Hahaha. Definitely still a foreigner. I mean when you tell people that you are going to yoga and they just give you a blank stare, you know that you aren’t “normal” in the Kenyan context. I guess my opinion of Kenya is more love/hate than it had been before. I mean this rigid notion of what men should do and what women should do. I’ve also gone to a couple of weddings where in the middle of the ceremony the pastor will interject how “marriage is only between a man and a woman”. But then on the other hand, you meet so many people doing cool and novel things in the country. You see that Kenya really is growing economically. And coming from Ithaca, the weather here is phenomenal.

PPA: What has helped you deal with the stress of being an entrepreneur.

MMA: Networking with other entrepreneurs definitely helps a lot. You get to commiserate about how each other’s businesses are going. But it also helps just to get out and sweat a little. So I exercise fairly regularly and take any opportunity I can get to break it down on the dance floor.

PPA: When we first spoke, you wanted to hire HIV positive women to produce the shirts…and donate some of the profits to an orphanage in Kenya. Do you still plan to use Bora Wear as a vehicle to help Kenyans? If so, how do you plan on making a difference?

MM: Keeping people working is making a difference. If they weren’t making products, what would they be doing? I think the way to deepen the impact is not just working on a piece by piece basis, but actually employing someone full time. Paying them a living wage. Giving them healthcare. Taking care of the children’s school fees. That way you are giving them a way to decide where there money is most needed.

PPA: Why is $16,836 your fundraising goal…it seems like such a specific number. Does it have a certain significance?

MM: It’s the exact amount to get the belts produced, get everything into people’s hands, pay the artisans, pay my designer, and pay me enough to survive for a little while longer.

PPA: What is your long term vision for Bora Wear?

MM: The vision is to be world class. Not just to be good, but to make something that can’t be replicated anywhere else. To have people coming to look at our processes and trying to figure out how we managed to make it work.

Pick your style

PiliPili

After the brass is shined and polished, it is finished off with a hammer. This process creates a series of dimples over the surface of the metal. It is truly a unique and elegant design.

Tamu

This style retains the character of the mold that created it. Every shift and contour makes its way into the brass. Since each mold is destroyed, each piece is unique and cannot be replicated in the exact same way.

Safi

Ground and polished to a shine. The Safi  has an immaculate feel and shines through in its own way.

PPA: What would need to happen for you to call Bora Wear a success?

In the short term, getting the Kickstarter funded. In the long term, being able to step back from day to day operations and the company being able to function without me would definitely be a success.

PPA: What makes Bora Wear stand out from the competition?

MM: I mean these products have a soul to them. You can see the human hands behind what you are wearing. The manufacturer pays the artisans a living wage. The leather is high quality and local. Each mold is destroyed after the belt is made, making each belt one-of-a-kind. And all the artisans are trained from a local slum here in Nairobi called Kibera. You can’t find anything else quite like it.

PPA: Is there any other information that you can tell us about Bora Wear that people who are thinking about donating should know?

MM: It’s not a donation. By backing the Kickstarter, you are becoming part of the journey. You get to join in on the ground level. You are making this whole thing happen. This process is all or nothing. So if we don’t get a 100% then we don’t get anything. If you can, back the project and share it with your friends!

Bora Wear asks, “What if we could make men’s belts here in Kenya that not only look great but also support local artisans? Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

Answer that question by heading over to their Kickstarter page and making a contribution today! You can earn some amazing rewards while helping out a great cause.

Don’t forget to like their Facebook Page, follow them on Twitter and visit their website!

Mugo appreciates your support! High five on 3 

30 Powerful Drawings That Will Make You Question Society

Pawel Kuczynski, a Polish artist has worked in satirical illustration specializing in thought-provoking images that make his audience question their everyday lives.

His subjects deal with everything from poverty to social media and politics. All of them have a very distinct message if you look closely enough…

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Check out Pawel Kuczynski’s Website

Are You in Your 20s? Here are 20 Helpful Tips to Live By

 

Many of our emails tend to come from MBAs and college students so we decided to compile a post of twenty rules that you should abide by in your twenties. Notably, we have each messed up on at least one of these rules in some form or another but if we could go back and become twenty again this is the blueprint.

1) Minimize Debt: This is one of the biggest items on your to do list. Debt is a vice around your wrists that is slowly cutting off your blood circulation, if you don’t release the pressure you’ll be dead before thirty… the Prime of your life. If you are able to spend money on assets that depreciate in value (cars, clothes etc.) you better be debt free and saving large amounts of cash.

2) Change Your Friends: We have given a quick blue print to choosing friends, however the biggest mistake is not upgrading your social circle as you move on. We know, you read the word upgrade and immediately thought the word is heartless. It is not. You need to surround yourself with like minded individuals, even if you have known a childhood friend for 15 years, if they begin using drugs for entertainment purposes and falling off of the grid you have to say goodbye. Your life is too short to spend catching falling knives.

3) Learn to Help Others: This sounds contradictory to point number two, however it is paramount that you learn to help those that wish to improve. The key is their interest in improving, if you attempt to convince a man of self improvement when he does not care, you’ll burn a bridge. Hyper competitive and intelligent young men tend to develop a “put down” mentality where you compete at each others throats 24/7. Not only is this not sustainable, it is not healthy and does not help you in your career. Instead, pass along helpful information and you will find your friend count increasing.

4) College Should Be Tough: Everyone else goes to college to drink and try to sleep with hundreds of women. These guys usually end up unemployed or making $40K a year at a soul crushing job with no skill set to jump into another industry. Their entire life is now 100x more difficult to fix and you’ll be shocked at how difficult it is to come back when you’ve built no foundation. Build a foundation. You can have fun in your spare time.

5) Get Internships: Even if you have a 4.0 GPA from a top university, no one will care if you have zero work experience. In addition to obtaining line items on your resume you will realize that your network expands drastically. You’ll be in contact with people in their 30′s who are well outside of your current social circle of 20 somethings.

*Note internships was intentionally plural.

6) Find Mentors in Their 30′s: By the time you are in your low twenties you should have a handful of men to speak to regarding life decisions. Each man does not need to know every aspect of life, however the more the merrier. You’ll quickly realize that your peer group is older than you as soon as you receive your Diploma (MBA or Bachelors). This is a good thing. Generally speaking, older men make hiring decisions.

7) Your Co-Workers Will Screw You: This is the most common miss. If you are in the same peer group, none of your co-workers are out for your best interests. If you party with your direct co-workers, as soon as layoff rumors begin making the rounds, be certain you’ll be thrown under the bus . See point number one for why they would be more than happy to see you fail.

8) Read Books Daily: If you are not reading books outside of the classroom you are allowing the collegiate system to have more influence on your upbringing than it should. The topic of interest is less important than the act of reading. You can read about health, fashion, coal mining, animals, chemistry, art and the list goes on. Reading is similar to investing as the payoff is far in the future, one day you’ll have a chance to make a connection with a higher up on an obscure topic and ideally you’ll have the ability to add to the conversation. Don’t forget that wealthy men and women are typically eccentric.

9) Learn About Basic Fashion: Before we get comments about books beyond finance, you can simply start with learning about basic fashion. Learn what colors work for your skin tone, eye color and hair color. Once this is mastered find the right brands to accentuate all of your positive features and build asustainable wardrobe. Better to learn and earn before you have some cash and see it burned.

10) Exercise Five Days a Week: Unless you are forced to burn through 100+ hours a week for several weeks straight, you should find time to lift weights five days a week. No excuses. Your health is the only thing that will outweigh your aspirations for wealth. A man who has a healthy mind and body with a heavy wallet is free. There is nothing more valuable than complete freedom to do as you wish.

11) Procrastination is Valueless: If you find yourself  procrastinating on tasks it means that you have nothing to do with your free time. In an ideal situation you are constantly moving and improving your life. You don’t have time to procrastinate because you’re too busy taking action. The day you find yourself sitting and staring at a computer screen for 2-3 hours in a row is the day you either walk outside to exercise or immediately buy a book online. This is the minimum.

12) Ignore the Lazy: You will meet many people who suggest you simply relax and live in the moment. Avoid these men like the plague. You should live in the moment for a calculated risk not to simply feel good for a short period of time at the detriment of your future. Much like investing, 20 years from now they will have a hard time getting by while your life is already on cruise control because you’ve built an unbreakable foundation.

13) Don’t Get Married: No matter what you do, do not tie the knot in your 20′s. The truth is that many women in their twenties are most attracted to men in their low thirties. Run the math. Your future ex-wife is still in high school right now, so don’t fret over anyone within ear shot for a long-term relationship. We recommend not getting married but if you decide to keep one, wait until your 30′s.

14) Go International: By the time you’re in your mid 20′s you should have some international exposure that will wreck a lot of your current beliefs. By experiencing a new culture you’ll quickly see how many of your ideals are based on a US cultural phenomenon. You can do this with a single briefcase and you can do it alone. You’ll force your body into survival mode in an unknown city, your confidence level will grow by leaps and bounds.

15) Face a Major Fear: Heights, snakes, fights, the major fear you have does not matter compared to your ability to tackle it. If you’re afraid of being beaten down in a street fight, you should get into a ring and take a few kicks and punches. You should jump out of a plane if you fear heights and you should even consider purchasing a snake. There is no substitute for repeated exposure to eliminate a major fear in your life.

 

 

16) Turn Family Into Friends: For many, your family members are dragging you down and for others they are a positive in your life. The key is to separate your life decisions from their opinions – their opinions should have no weight on your emotions. At this point you should not use your family as a safe haven in life. If you lose your job, if you want to move cities, if you want to take a risk, it is on your shoulders. Remove the safety net.

17) Stop Complaining: Maybe you didn’t land that Bulge Bracket job, maybe you didn’t get ranked number one in your class, maybe you hurt your wrist and can’t lift for a month, no one cares. By the time you’re well into your 20′s your interest in complaining should be zero. Complaining gets you no where. All it does is increase your stress levels. When you are stressed out, no one wants to be your friend. If no one wants to be your friend, your contact list is not improving and if your contact list is not improving…. you’re dead.

18) Wake Up Early: Unless you’ve obtained a job in investment banking where you’ll eat garbage for multiple years straight to earn your stripes, you should wake up early to get ahead of the rest. Read, go to the weight room, build a website, it does not matter. Your brain functions well in the morning, use your most productive time to invest in the most important person in the world. Yourself and your future.

19) Earn a Voice: Many men will destroy their careers in a few short years by never earning a voice. When you are in your twenties there is not a single person who will care about your world view so it is best to remain quiet and diligently improve while waiting for an opportunity. Instead of dishing out advice, take advice and remain quiet. As soon as people begin asking you for your contributions you’re officially of value. You have earned your keep in a specific niche.

20) Fail: The last piece of the puzzle is the most obvious and the most undervalued. Fail as many times as possible in  your twenties while you have the time to recover. We do not recommend dropping out of college as a failure or taking up a humanities major as a failure (this is simply financial suicide for most), instead we recommend you fail at trying to create value. Try to create a mobile app. Try to learn how to code. Try to learn a foreign language in a year. Try everything.

Assuming you follow these rules, you’ll look back on your life when you hit thirty and know, not believe, you have done everything to make your life better. If anyone attempts to say you’ve worked too hard, write them off as whiny complainers who have to live with the knowledge that they could have been better. They could have improved, they sold themselves short.

Source

10 Important Lessons You Can Learn From Kids

What do children know that adults seem to have forgotten? Children are more confident, more courageous and enjoy life far more intensely than adults. Sometimes it feels that we spend our entire lives trying to return to who we were as children. Here’s what we can learn from our younger selves to bring more clarity and joy into adulthood.

1. Every day is a fresh start.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery.

Wasn’t it always amazing how the end of a school day always felt so final, so finished? The break between June and September seemed like a lifetime. Because when you are young, every day feels like an eternity and a new day means new opportunities to make new friends, explore new adventures, learn new things. Children don’t carry baggage from one day to the next. They start fresh, always.

2. Creative pursuits are fun and good for you.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

How often do you see children losing themselves in a creative project for hours at a time? Drawing, playing with clay, building a sandcastle with meticulous attention to detail. For some reason, as we get older, we stop seeing creative activities as worthwhile. How many adults, aside from artists, draw on a regular basis? How many play with clay or finger paint just for the fun of it?

3. Be courageous.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin.

Sing out loud. Dance when you feel like it. A child’s life feels limitless because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation. They march forward with hope and determination because they don’t know any better. They haven’t been beaten down, they haven’t experienced failure. They embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms.

4. Laugh every day.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Children have the beautiful ability to find joy all around them. Just watch the humor a child can find in a shopping mall or at the park. They see silliness everywhere.

5. Be active.

“Play energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown

When you were young, playing outside was the highlight of your day. You would run and chase your friends until you were out of breath and your cheeks were rosy. You would jump and do cartwheels at the drop of a hat and you never thought of it as “exercise” or “daily fitness.” It was just playing. And it was fun. “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. Nurture friendship.

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran

Children find true joy while playing with friends and they love making new ones. They join soccer teams, go to a birthday parties, start new schools. These are all ways that kids make new friends. Children adhere to the motto, “the more the merrier,” and adults should, as well.

7. Be the hero.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

When a child tells you a story about school or the soccer field, they are usually the hero of their story. The world revolves around them. As we age, we don’t want to be conceited or egotistic, so we downplay our accomplishments and achievements. We don’t want to brag. But in doing so, we often slip to the side of self-deprecation. We put ourselves down to make others feel better or to be more relatable. Modesty becomes an admirable quality and we start to convince ourselves of our own mediocrity.

8. Scars are badges of honor.

“Every day you either see a scar or courage. Where you dwell will define your struggle.” – Dodinsky

When a child breaks a bone, everyone they know will sign the cast. They become the superstar of the class, the survivor. If they fall down and cut themselves, everyone wants to see the scar, they wear it proudly. As we get older, we hide our scars, our wounds become our secrets. We don’t want to be seen as weak or pitied, so we tell no one where it hurts. But what children recognize is that scars aren’t signs of weakness, a scar is a sign of strength and survival. A story to tell. An accomplishment.

9. Try new things.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

Children are not afraid to play a sport they have never tried before. They will jump on a trampoline, dive into a pool or ski down a mountain even if it is foreign to them. As adults, we fear the unknown. We stay safely ensconced in our comfort zone and rarely venture out. Adventure exhilarates us and awakens the spirit.

10. Notice the little things.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

My niece loves watching the sandpipers run back and forth at the water’s edge. She notices their little legs and how fast they move along the sand. Something simple that we take for granted brings her immense joy and profound inspiration. When did we stop noticing the tiny miracles that surround us daily? How much more beautiful would life be if we could see these miracles again?

–by Jocelyn Kelley

How to Expand Your Business Out of the Garage

Take Your Business Out of the Garage Just Like Steve Jobs Did with Apple Inc.

The stories of companies like Apple Inc. are legendary.  For those of you who don’t know, the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started the business that became the Apple we know today in a garage.  And they didn’t even own the garage.  It belonged to Job’s parents.

So how do you go from college dropout building computers in your parent’s garage to the CEO of the empire that is Apple Inc. today?  First, you must have a passion for what you are doing.  Jobs and Wozniak didn’t build computers because they intended to grow into a large corporation.  Wozniak didn’t even have any formal training in engineering.  He built the first Apple computer, the Apple I, as a way to show off to a group of electronics and computer hobbyists who called themselves the Homebrew Computer Club.

Love what you do and you will never work another day in your life.

Apple was able to grow because they offered a product people wanted.

Steve Jobs had his finger on the pulse of consumers.  Because he was tuned in to the wants of his customers, he was able to design products that solved a problem or were just fun to use.  It doesn’t matter how spectacular your product is, you need to give people a reason to buy it before you will be successful.  Know your customers and give them what they want.

Apple also made a lot of good business decisions.  The garage is famous not just for it being the beginning of Apple, but also for what it symbolizes.  The opportunity any business has for success despite its most humble beginnings.  Look for opportunities to get the most from your humble beginnings.  If you are manufacturing something like computers working in a garage is reasonable.  If you are starting an accounting firm you won’t get any clients by leading them to a cubicle in a garage.  In an industry like professional services, your garage will need to be a shared office space. You can find these services on websites like Officelist.com.

These services offer office space that you can grow or shrink due to the structure of the shared office.  The administrative staff, furniture, equipment, and conference rooms are provided by the shared office service.  All of the services are included in the rent.  The amount of rent is based on how much space you require, and you can increase or decrease your space as needed on a month-to-month basis.  This is an affordable solution to office space for those large corporations in their humble beginning stages.

There are many corporations that share similar beginnings as Apple Inc.  Many corporations have made the leap from garage to building an entire campus to house all of their offices.  Make the most of your opportunities and maybe you will one day look back fondly on your “garage” days.

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[PICS] How a Young Photographer Found Success by Fearlessly Pursuing His Dreams

Remember being 19 and fresh out of high school, full of big dreams and pressure to choose the right path? How many potential actresses, rockstars and painters have disappeared due to rational long-term thinking? Kyle Thompson’s path to becoming an amazing photographer should be an amazing source on inspiration to anyone who has had such a youthful dream.

Thompson was a shy boy from the suburbs of Chicago who went to college and had a job as pizza delivery boy. Not a full year later, however, Kyle became a recognized and desired young photographer with a distinct style whose work created a huge buzz on the Internet. 

Using himself as the main character in almost all of the shots, Kyle creates fantastic alternative realities full of signs, symbols and deeper meanings. As he says, he feels more like a writer manifesting his thoughts and moods through visual art than a photographer. By looking at Thompson’s photography, you can feel yourself being dragged into his quiet dreamy solitude.

Embark on a journey by browsing through Kyle’s shots and reading short excerpts about his life.

At 19, Kyle dropped out of college to pursue his dream to do something artistic.

At first, he doubted if he could survive as an artist and planned on settling with psychology or advertising.

But artistic genius took over. Kyle quit his job and started focusing on improving his technique as he didn’t have any formal education in photography.

In December 2011 he started a 365 days project and has been taking a self-portrait everyday since.

Abandoned houses were the first inspirational spots. As Kyle says, he enjoys their juxtaposition – they’re both empty of life but full of memories.

Simple props are used for his photos – this shot features desk lamps hooked to a chair and a fog machine.

He gets creative with anything that’s around, even flour or sand.

Kyle describes his style as surreal conceptual photography.

He feels that art is very personal and self-portraiture is the best medium to express himself.

Though shot in the suburbs of Chicago, Kyle’s images construct a separate dream-like reality.

He always sketches the concepts and then pre-plans the photoshoot carefully.

His photos have that feeling of emptiness as almost all of them feature one person alone in the vast surroundings.

Kyle’s dream location is a ghost town, maybe Pripyat in Ukraine.

Photographer’s sacrifice: for a good shot Kyle’s willing to soak in freezing mud or set his clothes on fire.

Kyle has big life plans – from making a photo book and a movie to teaching photography workshops.

Two Brothers Re-Create Childhood Photos As a Priceless Gift to Their Mother

There’s a fun new trend in contemporary photography – digging through one’s old childhood photos and creating detailed replicas. The Luxton brothers’ project, though, is probably the most hilarious of them all.

The brothers made the pictures into a Christmas calendar as a gift for their mother to remind her of the good old days and appreciate her children’s beautiful brotherhood, which only seems to have grown stronger over all those years. Some of them are disturbing, some of them are odd, but all in all, the photo calendar came out touching and brilliantly amusing!

9 Key Differences Between the Rich and the Poor

9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

What you do today matters. In fact, your daily habits may be a major determinant of your wealth.

“The metaphor I like is the avalanche,” says Thomas Corley, the author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals.” “These habits are like snowflakes — they build up, and then you have an avalanche of success.”

Corley spent five years studying the lives of both rich people (defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more) and poor people (defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less).

He managed to segment out what he calls “rich habits” and “poverty habits,” meaning the tendencies of those who fit in each group. But, Corley explains, everyone has some rich habits and some poverty habits. “The key is to get more than 50% to be rich habits,” he says.

And what are those rich habits that are so influential? Here are a few:

1. Rich people always keep their goals in sight.
“I focus on my goals every day.”
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 6%

Not only do wealthy people set annual and monthly goals, but 67% of them put those goals in writing. “It blew me away,” says Corley. “I thought a goal was a broad objective, but the wealthy said a wish is not a goal.” A goal is only a goal, he says, if it has two things: It’s achievable, and there’s a physical action you can take to pursue it.

2. And they know what needs to be done today.
“I maintain a daily to-do list.”
Rich people who agree: 81%
Poor people who agree: 19%

Not only do the wealthy keep to-do lists, but 67% of them complete 70% or more of those listed tasks each day.

3. They don’t watch TV.
“I watch TV one hour or less per day.”
Rich people who agree: 67%
Poor people who agree: 23%

Similarly, only 6% of the wealthy watch reality shows, compared to 78% of the poor. “The common variable among the wealthy is how they make productive use of their time,” explains Corley. “They wealthy are not avoiding watching TV because they have some superior human discipline or willpower. They just don’t think about watching much TV because they are engaged in some other habitual daily behavior — reading.”

4. They read … but not for fun.
“I love reading.”
Rich people who agree: 86%
Poor people who agree: 26%

Sure, rich people love reading, but they favor nonfiction — in particular, self-improvement books. “The rich are voracious readers on how to improve themselves,” says Corley. In fact, 88% of them read for self-improvement for 30 minutes each day, compared to 2% of poor people.

5. Plus, they’re big into audio books.
“I listen to audio books during the commute to work.”
Rich people who agree: 63%
Poor people who agree: 5%

Even if you aren’t into audiobooks, you can make the most of your commute with any of these commute-friendly self-improvement activities.

6. They make a point of going above and beyond at the office.
“I do more than my job requires.”
Rich people who agree: 81%
Poor people who agree: 17%

It’s worth noting that while 86% of rich people (compared to 43% of poor) work an average of 50 or more hours a week, only 6% of the wealthy people surveyed found themselves unhappy because of work.

7. They aren’t hoping to win the jackpot.
“I play the lottery regularly.”
Rich people who agree: 6%
Poor people who agree: 77%

That’s not to say that the wealthy are always playing it safe with their money. “Most of these people were business owners who put their own money on the table and took financial risks,” explains Corley. “People like this aren’t afraid to take risks.”

8. They watch their waistline.
“I count calories every day.”
Rich people who agree: 57%
Poor people who agree: 5%

Wealthy people value their health, says Corley. “One of the individuals in my study was about 68 and worth about $78 million. I asked why he didn’t retire, and he looked at me like I was from Mars. He said, ‘I’ve spent the last 45 years exercising every single day and watching what I eat because I knew the end of my career would be my biggest earning years.’ If he can extend his career four to five years beyond everyone else, that’s about $7 million for him.”

9. And they take care of their smiles.
“I floss every day.”
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 16%

Enough said.

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