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When the structure around you starts to crumble, the more you can take care of yourself, the better off you’ll be.

My boys and their buddy sold lemonade and snow cones yesterday as it hit a blistering 82 here in the Pacific Northwest. Boy #1 has been doing this for years and his focus has changed from “hey this is fun” to “we could make some money for summer” to do cool stuff.  This makes me feel so much better for his future because I hold no hope that our schools are going to teach our kids what they need to survive in the real world. I mean, for God’s sake, public schools still teach cursive over personal finance or negotiation (yes, kids should learn both in grade school). It’s not the teachers, it’s the system.

The technology, ideas and changing landscape we see in the corporate world hasn’t caught up with our education system. And as someone who had kids in grade school, middle school and high school last year, I don’t see this changing anytime soon. The revenues of some of the largest temp companies have gone up 300-400% in the past five years (public info) because companies are outsourcing all levels of employees today. From the secretary to the VP, they just don’t want to deal with the rising costs and headaches (healthcare) of having employees anymore. With changes in the corporate world and the deteriorating relationships companies have with their employees, it’s important that our kids know that they can also start their own companies when they grow up. Even if it’s just to have a side-gig.

The Internet has made running your own business something you can get going in a weekend, and below is a great Ted Talk video on how to raise kids to be entrepreneurs instead of working for someone else. It’s by a former COO who is worth more than $100 million and was a terrible student. He talks about how he couldn’t focus or pay attention and his teachers sent notes home about his failures at school (this sounds familiar).

Teaching your kids how to make a buck on their own is a hell of a thing to hand down. It will also teach them to reach for their own goals … instead of someone else’s.

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9570633249 920961c0f1 z 5 New Sleeping Tips Thatll Stop You From Being a Zombie

You don’t look this good after 5 hours of sleep.

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything here (more on that later), but I promise these sleeping tips and health “test” will worth the effort and make life a little better.

I recently turned 45 which doesn’t freak me out. What freaks me out is that in five years I’ll be 50. That’s almost too much to stomach. Plus, I’ve been waiting for my mustache to come in ever since a girlfriend in high school said I’d look good with one when I grew up. So that didn’t happen.

As I get older, my body is revolting against all the obstacle races, scuba diving, runs, wrestling with my boys and ten hours of sitting and staring at a computer screen every day. I get monkey fist-sized knots in my back that no massage therapist can get out in hours, my hips are like stone and I don’t sleep. You don’t either, I know because you tell me. And I see everyone walking around like caffeinated zombies. Which, coincidentally is a killer band name.

I have little tricks I use that helps the stiffness, but I want to focus on sleep today because I’m such a terrible sleeper that I’m always reading and searching for new tricks and hacks. Plus, I always get good feedback when I write about sleep. Because no one sleeps anymore.

Enter — once again, Tim Ferriss, who has a new podcast and it is chocked full of all kinds of information. Some he’s recycled, but the other hacks and tips have been fantastic. I’ve sung his praises many times and told you guys about a tip he gave to never be tired again. Well, his guests Kelly Starrett and Dr. Jason Mager on a recent episode had more gems about getting the perfect night sleep. Or at least six hours.

Starrett is a superstar physical therapist, coach and mobility specialist who trains Olympic athletes, NFL players, crazy ultra-endurance freaks, athletes from the armed forces and everyone else in between. He has a whole site full of videos to fix common mobility problems by yourself and presents them in a way you can understand. I have no idea who the other guy is, but he is smart as hell and talks like a doctor should in 2014. He promotes health instead of fixing symptoms.

All three stressed the importance of sleep to be at all healthy and function in a high-paced workforce. And if you’re competing in anything remotely strenuous, then you won’t last long without it.

Before the tips, they did talk about how you can tell how healthy you are first thing in the morning with these two big barometers:

  • The #1 thing they said in order to gauge your health is to pay attention to how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel like shit? That’s bad. I always feel like I just ran a marathon while being chased by Michael Myers. Not good. If you feel like you’re ready to take on the day, then you’re on the right track.
  • Do you have “morning wood?” If so, then you’re good. It’s a barometer of health and also reminds you that you’re awake, and alive. If you never do, it’s time for that yearly physical. Just bring your doc something nice for the effort.

Here are their sleeping tips that they said everyone needs to be following to maximize sleep and health:

  1. No light in your room whatsoever. They actually said you should be a diva and wear a sleeping mask. It reminds me of the way Mrs. Roper slept on Three’s Company, and that wasn’t pretty. No screens in your room at all. No phones, computers, or TV’s. They all give off a little light even when they’re turned off and that can be enough to screw up the entire snooze.
  2. Staying with the diva theme, also use earplugs to block out any noise. Tough for parents. I always feel like I need to be ready for when that team of ninjas storms the house and Rocco and I need to spring into action. That hasn’t happened … yet.
  3. Your mattress should be soft. This goes against conventional thinking, and I can’t explain this one, you’ll have to listen to the podcast, but body alignment comes into play.
  4. Your room should be cold – not above 62 degrees. Heat bad, cold good. Probably why we all sleep like shit when it’s 95 degrees, like it was here this weekend.
  5. Never sleep on your stomach. This has more to do with body alignment than anything else, but it was a big deal to Starrett. He says to sleep on your back with a memory form type pillow.

These tips really help, but I find it’s tough being consistent with them. I’ve also been experimenting a bit with sleep cycles, which actually help as well. Good luck and pass this on to anyone who know that doesn’t sleep well or wonders about their “morning” health. Check out the full podcast here, but bring a pen and paper — so much great, life-improving gems.

Check out my new writing and creativity blog Man Vs. Words here.

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Well, I did it.

3638772707 86859b7b59 z e1397163743120 A Big Annoucement: Read This or the Puppy Gets It

We have lift off for Man Vs. Words.

Embracing the “it’s better late than never” motto, I finally launched my new blog over at Man Vs. Words. I’d love to say it was inevitable, but it was touch-and-go there for a while. I’m thrilled, relieved and a little freaked out. You’d think we’d finally get to an age where we stopped getting freaked out, but no such luck.

In any creative project, there comes a point where you begin to hate the sight of what you’re working on. This was no different. The nice part is if you can grind through the fog you can eventually come out of that darkness into the light, and excitement comes rushing back. Man Vs. Words has been five years in the making (give or take 23) . My hope is that it’s a place for a discussion about overcoming the struggles of writing and creativity, and some direction for those eager to start creating content.

I’ve been a writer since I was 16 years old, and it saved me because it was around the same time when I sat in Geometry completely confused. A decade of numbers, and now shapes? Rediculous. I failed miserably, but writing pulled me out of the pit of Sweathogs and into something I really loved. Since then I’ve been widely published and created/managed content for Fortune 500 companies, TV, games, radio, online, mobile … the list goes on. It’s the greatest passion of mine (outside my kids) and I’m more excited about this than anything else I’ve ever done. While my writing hasn’t been published as much as in the past, I’ve been doing a lot of consulting to small businesses and writers around content strategy and writing. If you know anyone that could use a little help, let me know.

Since you guys have been listening to the fun, horror and confusion that is my life, I thought I’d tell you first. If you like it or know someone who’d get something out if, please share it. Oh, who am I kidding? Share it with everyone you know, please! I’ll be your best friend and if you ever encounter me in a bar or coffee shop, the first one (and probably the last one) is on me. I’d appreciate it. The is the first project where I’m openly marketing it, which is a moving target these days.

I feel it’s important to say that I edited my about page 118 times (no joke, WordPress tracks these little horrors), took an entire page out last night, changed 1/2 the text on the  site within the last week, and feel like I’ll be standing in my underwear at my junior high “just say no to drugs” assembly.

As for this blog, I have the feeling that it’s coming to the end of its life, but will evolve. Just like we all do. I’ll always write and do my best to throw hilarity and ideas I come across out to you, hoping it helps in a small way.

Again, thanks for reading and the support. I appreciate it.

Craig

 

(image by NASA courtesy of Creative Commons)

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Do You Remember Your First Concert? Mine Had Firecrackers and Fear

Few things classify as life-changing anymore. Your first concert used to be one of those life-changing events that you talked about forever. It was for me and my buddies when Rush invaded Tacoma, WA in 1984. I suppose you could argue just how life changing it was for me since I saw Wang Chung four […]

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