General News

Minimum wage hikes: not an effective solution to poverty reduction


Last Shopping Day is a 1000 piece puzzle from Cobble Hill. It is available at The Book Vault.

CFIB recently presented to Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel outlining the negative impact that minimum wage hikes have on small business. While we support the province’s efforts to reduce poverty, spontaneous and politically-motivated jumps in the minimum wage tend to hurt not only small employers, but the very people they are supposed to help: the low-skilled and low-income workers, by reducing the businesses’ capacity to hire and retain them. We provided recommendations for more effective alternatives in reducing poverty.

To help this segment of the economy, we are calling on government to implement measures such as changes to the personal income tax system and incentives for informal, on-the-job training.  For example, Ontario has a much lower basic personal exemption – the amount Ontarians can earn before paying taxes – than provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec. An increase in the personal income tax exemption will provide an immediate increase in disposable income for low-income earners, far greater than hiking their hourly pay rate by a few cents.  In addition, more skills training opportunities will allow low-skilled workers to broaden their expertise and qualifications and will eventually expand their ability to earn more than just minimum wage.  If implemented these solutions will help more Ontarians to get above the poverty line and will allow  small, independent businesses to continue creating jobs and economic growth without imposing additional payroll burden on them

Link to original article on CFIB’s website

Reeling in the Gears Blog



Our store was recently visited by Robert Cundari, who runs the blog Reeling in the Gears. His goal is to complete the challenging Tour Divide race in 2015. The race follows a fixed course called the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. It crosses the Continental Divide from Banff, Alberta, through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and ending in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The Great Divide route is more than 2,700 miles, which is 500 miles longer than the Tour de France and involves more than 200,000 feet of ascent — the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest seven times.

We decided to give a shout out an inspiring story in the making. His blog at the moment covers his preparation from the race, everything from bicycle maintenance, to his favourite music to listen to while riding on trails. Colour us impressed.

Lock it or lose it


Warm weather and sunshine are back so you take the bike out of the garage and go for a ride. You stop at a corner store and lean your bike against the wall as you zip in for just a second. You end up walking home.

Ross Taylor, owner of Ross’ Bikes, knows the feeling of walking out of an establishment and finding nothing where there should be a bike.

“It’s just this stunned moment. I had all my gear on and I had to walk home. I felt like an idiot. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth,” he said.

In a perfect world a bike left leaning against the wall of a coffee shop or at the side of a house would still be there minutes, hours or days later. It’s not a perfect world.

In 2011, there were 94 bikes reported stolen to Stratford police. The good news is that number fell in 2012 to 66. The majority of bikes are stolen from the core area but others are swiped from front porches, said Stratford police Insp. Sam Theocharis.

From January until May 13 there have been 14 bikes reported stolen, which is on pace with this time last year.

“I’ve never had a bike stolen that was locked,” Taylor noted.

That’s the key.

Taylor, police and Joel Curtis, co-owner of Totally Spoke’d, agree the only way to keep your bike from becoming temporary transportation for someone else, a source of income for thieves who strip them for parts or income for someone looking for a quick buck to buy drugs, is to lock it up.

“About this time of year is when it starts to peak,” Theocharis said.

The problem isn’t as bad as it has been in the past but that bitter taste lingers.

“People come in with the mindset they don’t want anything too good because it’s going to get stolen. The thieves win,” Curtis said.

From the Stratford Beacon Herald Saturday May 8, 2013 .. by Laura Cudworth

To avoid money fights, take a ‘mine, yours, ours’ approach, says Gail Vaz-Oxlade

"Loose Change" is a 550 piece puzzle by White Mountain Puzzles.  Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario.

“Loose Change” is a 550 piece puzzle by White Mountain Puzzles. Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario.

Celebrity money expert Gail Vaz-Oxlade has helped many budget-challenged Canadians put their bank accounts back in order on national television.

Now, with her new series “Money Moron” (premiering Friday on Slice), the frank-talking financial guru comes to the aid of those who feel they are victims of such over-spenders — from spouses and friends, to parents and their children.

In each episode, Vaz-Oxlade helps a “tattler” confront a “money moron” in hopes of saving their ailing relationship. If they follow through on the tasks she assigns, which include a spending journal and a cash-flow budget, she gives them up to $10,000.

“People at home will watch this and all to learn how to tell the truth, how to lovingly tell the person that they’re genuinely interested in helping, ‘This is not working, we have to do something,“’ says Vaz-Oxlade, who previously hosted the series “Til Debt Do Us Part” and “Princess.”

Telling the truth is also the key to avoid fighting with a spouse about money, says Vaz-Oxlade, who recently spoke with The Canadian Press about that very topic.

Here are Vaz-Oxlade’s five tips for preventing money meltdowns in relationships:

1. Simply fess up about your financial issues, whether they concern your own money or your partner’s.
“The majority of people fight about money because they’re not honest, so rule No. 1 for not fighting about money is to be honest with each other,” says the author of over a dozen books, the latest of which is “Money Rules.”

“Tell each other what you’re thinking. Don’t expect the other person to know what you’re thinking. Please, we don’t read minds, OK?”

2. Don’t deceive each other in money matters.
“Don’t do things like bring home stuff and take the tags off or stuff in bags and bring it into the house and hide it in the laundry hamper,” says Vaz-Oxlade, who also has a weekly radio show on Toronto’s Newstalk 1010.

“That kind of deception, you may think it’s not a big deal but it is fundamentally saying you don’t trust your partner and you’re telling your partner not to trust you.”

There is one exception to the rule: If you’re married to a money moron, you may have to keep financial information from your partner, she notes.

3. Have constructive — not confrontational — cash chats. And communicate your longer-term financial goals to find a common ground.
“Talking about the money outside of just, ‘The bills need to be paid,“’ says the straight-talking Jamaican native.

“Have conversations about what it is you’re trying to achieve. Don’t just assume you both want to buy a house, and even if you say you want to buy a house, do you want to buy the same kind of house? You have to have the conversations and you can’t just assume that the other person is on track with you if you don’t ask the question.”

4. Choose when you talk about finances carefully.
“If you do this at the end of a busy day, if you do this just when you’ve found out somebody overdrew the account, if you do it during heightened emotional times, what you’re going to do is set yourself up for a fight,” says Vaz-Oxlade.

“If you get into a fight over the money, call a time out. Say, ’This is not working for us anymore, this is too emotionally inflated. We’ll stop now but set the date for the next meeting,’ so you don’t just walk away from it.”

5. Don’t let one person take all control over the money.
“You need to have both people in the game if you want to have both people committed to the game plan,” she says.

“So yes, one person may have more time and may be better attuned to doing things like paying the bills. But you still have to sit down and show your partner, ‘These are the bills I paid this week, this is how much money we put in savings.“’

Vaz-Oxlade recommends a “mine, yours, ours” approach to managing household finances.

“So, ‘Together we decide what our joint expenses are, we open a joint account, we contribute to that joint account proportionate to our income,“’ she said. “Fifty-50 isn’t always fair. If one person makes three times as much as the other person, 50-50 definitely isn’t fair.

“Contribute proportionate to your income so you’re each paying proportionate on the joint expenses, and then everything else you do as individuals: You have your own credit, you have your own savings, you have your own insurance.”

In the case of a stay-at-home mom or dad, the couple still has to make allowance for the fact that both parties need their own money to manage, she adds.

“Which means that you handle the joint expenses and whatever else is left over, you divvy it up and you share it so that you can build your own savings and you can build your own emergency fund and you can manage your own credit.”

“Money Moron” premieres with back-to-back episodes on Friday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Slice. A special sneak peek presentation will air Thursday at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

By Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press, Wednesday, Apr. 17 2013.

7 ways to know you’ve got too much debt

"Saturday Night" is a 500 piece puzzle by Cobble Hill.  Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario.

“Saturday Night” is a 500 piece puzzle by Cobble Hill. Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario.

When it comes to debt, many people dare not add up the amount they owe, or the total amount of their debt-related monthly payments. To do so would make it all too obvious that they have too much debt. Instead they focus on their ability to afford the monthly payments and skip on their merry way playing the business-as-usual game. And if they’ve been in debt long enough, that game may actually be easy to play.

But even if you do your best to avoid looking at your actual debt numbers, there are telltale signs in your behavior that will give it away in spite of your best efforts to ignore the problem.

You’re having trouble sleeping at night

Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. But if it is becoming a habit, it’s likely that your subconscious is trying to tell you something.

You won’t be able to sleep if you’re worried. It can even come in the form of “something is bothering me, but I don’t know what”. That something may be excess debt. On the surface, you try to block it out. After all, it isn’t an immediate problem. You may do this by immersing yourself in various projects, trying to keep yourself busy during your waking hours. But while you are laying in bed – with no activities to distract you – you subconscious may be keeping you awake.

The truly bad aspect about not being able to sleep is that it will actually magnify your problems, what ever they are. You’ll be adding fatigue to more tangible problems, like debt. And that will lower the chance that you’ll be able to deal with it in an intelligent manner.

You think about your debts – a lot

7 Ways to Know You’ve Got Too Much Debt This is probably a better situation to be in than losing sleep – at least you’re consciously aware that you have a problem. Still, many people are aware enough to worry, but not enough to take constructive action against the problem.

You may even put on a happy face for others, but inside you are aware you have a problem.

If you are disturbed by debt, either consciously or through a loss of sleep, the alarm bells are ringing telling you it’s time to do something about it.

You have no money left over after paying your bills

Ironically, insufficient ability to pay your bills is a major reason for going into debt in the first place. But if you are already in debt and still can’t pay your bills completely, you may already be at the crisis phase of debt.

Your savings account is empty

There is often an exaggerated connection between prosperity and income. The thinking is something like: as long as I have a high and growing income, I’m on the right track, and all is well.”

Maybe not. Income is only half the prosperity equation – the other is savings. As the saying goes, it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep. And if you aren’t keeping much (or any) after paying your bills, the future isn’t bright.

There’s a close correlation between debt and a lack of savings. If your bank account is empty, or nearly so, you could have major problems on the debt front. Savings are the ultimate solution to a debt problem. The more savings you have, the less you will need credit.

You frequently play the “robbing Peter to pay Paul game”

Most everyone finds themselves in this position from time to time. But if you find yourself playing the game more often then not it could be a distress signal that you shouldn’t ignore. It’s time to begin an immediate plan to increase income and lower expenses.

The robbing Peter to pay Paul game is usually in it’s terminal phase when you find yourself borrowing on one credit line to pay another. At that point, you’re about to hit a wall – and hard!

You worry about your credit card charge being denied

Even if you never bother to look at your credit card balances, the fact that you are worried about exceeding them is an indication that you know that you’re getting close. The denial of your card is viewed with cold fear – you know the jig will be up when that happens!

You have a mortal fear that it will happen when someone is with you, causing them to ask questions that you are not comfortable answering.

You’re dreams of achieving financial independence are mostly just…dreams

Many people give up on the idea of ever achieving financial independence when it becomes apparent that they are doing nothing more than muddling through. In a way, it’s a defensive mechanism that allows them to lower their expectations, settle into the unfortunate reality, and even to stop trying.

But optimism is a natural human state of mind that should never be willingly abandoned. It could be time to face your fears and be ready to do what you need to.

Never give up hope!

None of the above are meant to scare you – OK, maybe a little, just to call your attention to a festering problem. After all, denial is another part of the human condition!

But once you become aware of a debt problem, the worst thing you can do is to try to live with it. For one thing, it will only get worse until you run out of options. And for another, it also has a way of eating away at your self-esteem. That will cause other problems that will make everything worse.

If your mind (conscious or otherwise) or your money habits are sending you signals, like any of the above, it’s a time to be proactive and hatch a a workable plan to begin paying off your debt.

Once you get your plan going, the warning signs will gradually go away, one at a time. And as they do, you’ll go back to the natural human state of hoping and working toward that better life you used to dream of.

by Justin, from, April 30, 2013.

Exercise first, improve diet later, if you have to choose: Study

Happy woman exercising at the park and stretching

Researchers have found those strapped for time are better off to begin physical activity first and follow with healthy eating rather than the other way around as some weight-loss programs advise, a new study says.

But the study found introducing exercise and an improved diet simultaneously produces the best results, said lead author Abby King, professor of health research at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“If you need to start with one, consider starting with physical activity first.” King said in a statement Sunday.

Researchers studied 200 inactive people, aged 45 and older, with a goal of improving their health. Members of the first group changed their diet and started exercising all at once, the second group made diet changes and started exercising a few months later, the third group began with a fitness routine then started eating better later and the fourth group didn’t make any changes.

The study found those who improved their died and started exercising right off the bat were more likely than the other groups to meet the guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise a week and five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Those who started with exercise and later followed with healthy eating did a “good job” of sticking to their fitness and diet goals, but not as well as those who dieted and exercised at the same time, the researchers said. Those who started eating right and followed with workouts met their diet goals but didn’t meet the exercise guidelines, the study said.

The study was published online on Sunday in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

The Beacon Herald, Saturday, April 27, 2013, QMI Agency



Stressed at work? Add a daily dose of Mother Nature

David Suzuki (David Suzuki Foundation)

Is your office bad for your health and well-being? Unfortunately, a growing body of scientific evidence says yes.

The modern workday pose—fingers on keyboard, slight slouch, glassy eyes fixed on glowing screen, bathed in unnatural light—can drain vitality, happiness, and creativity. Designed to maximize efficiency, this sterile setup actually reduces productivity and job satisfaction.

In fact, modern workplaces are the main reason adults now spend about 9.3 hours a day sitting. Medical journal The Lancet estimates this unprecedented level of inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths a year worldwide, similar to smoking—prompting the Harvard Business Review to suggest “Sitting is the smoking of our generation.”

The good news is that researchers have built an increasingly persuasive case for what most of us know intuitively: nature is good for us. Being regularly immersed in a natural setting can reduce stress while boosting immunity, ingenuity, and energy.

As neuroscientist Marc Berman explains, adding a daily dose of green to your routine may be the best prescription for dealing with workday stress. His research shows that even simple, brief interactions with nature can improve cognitive control and mood.

Nature Offers ‘Soft Fascination’

Why does green time reduce stress? Various studies suggest exposure to natural settings stimulates “soft fascination”—something New York Times reporter Gretchen Reynolds describes as “a beguiling term for quiet contemplation, during which directed attention is barely called upon and the brain can reset those overstretched resources.”

Hard fascination, by contrast, is stimulated by bright, loud activities like watching TV or sports, which require little or no effort but don’t allow for mental rest.

Researchers at the University of Michigan estimated that memory performance and attention span can improve by 20 percent after an hour in nature, while University of Rochester studies concluded that being outside for 20 minutes a day is enough to boost vitality.

And a new study from Scotland demonstrated brain fatigue can be eased with just a 10-minute walk in the park.

But how can we fit more green time into our hectic schedules?

The David Suzuki Foundation has a solution. The 30×30 Nature Challenge asks Canadians to commit to spending at least 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days in May.

Participants can take the 30×30 pledge at and receive tips about how to add green time to their routines.

Finding your nature fix can be easy. Hold your next meeting outdoors—maybe make it a walking meeting. Invite colleagues to have lunch in a nearby park.

Take the scenic route home and go for a walk in a neighbourhood green space along the way. Stop to smell the flowers and take notice of critters, trees, and plants. Skip the gym, and head outside for a jog or bike ride.

Simple Changes Indoors

Even if you can’t make it outside for a daily dose of nature, simple changes inside can help make you happier and healthier.

As Alan Logan and Eva Selhub document in their book Your Brain on Nature, workers in windowless settings are more anxious, hostile, and depressed than colleagues on windowed floors. Increasing natural light within the workplace has been linked to improved productivity and contentment.

Researchers in Texas even found employees in offices with plants or green-space views felt greater job satisfaction and reported a higher overall quality of life.

Stronger Community Bonds

Increased exposure to nature also leads people to nurture closer relationships and build stronger community bonds.

When Capilano University professor Joe Kelly spent at least an hour a day outside each day this March, he observed that “free of the distractions and background noise present in the city, the serenity of nature provides a perfect venue to connect with others.”

Even the world’s worst boss should know employees who are less stressed and healthier are more productive. So why not sign up for the 30×30 Nature Challenge—and encourage your office mates to join?

Challenge your entire company to head outside for 30 minutes a day for 30 days.

And be sure to take part in the surveys before and after. Tell us how you feel. Does regular time in nature make you calmer? More alert? Happier? Let’s all get into the nature habit. It can make our lives better.

by David Suzuki, from the Stratford Beacon Herald, April 29, 2013. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Specialist Jode Roberts


10 Quotes that changed my life

By Robin Sharma
Author of the #1 Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

Hi Leader Without a Title/Game-Changer/World-Builder:

Hope you’re superb today. Hope you’re playing full out + expressing your genius + making the world better.

I was in a reflective mood this morning and thought about 10 of the quotes that profoundly influenced the way I think, create and live.

[As you know, all it takes is a single idea in small paragraph to revolutionize the way you play out the rest of your life].

So—to inspire you (and move you to action on your boldest opportunities), I wanted to share them.

Here you go and I’ll be reading your comments at the end:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.”
—Ayn Rand

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
—Oscar Wilde

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
—Jack Kerouac, On the Road

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
—Marianne Williamson

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”
—Bessie Anderson Stanley (frequently misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
—Margaret Mead

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
—Mahatma Gandhi


51 Ways Ordinary People Reached World-Class

The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life


By Robin Sharma

Author of the #1 International Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

    1. Know what you want. Clarity is power. And vague goals promote vague results.

    2. Remember that every problem has a solution. Maybe you just can’t see it. Yet.

    3. In this Age of Dramatic Distraction, the performer who focuses the best wins the most.

    4. Before someone will help you, you need to help them.

    5. Become the most passionate person you know. It’ll be contagious.

    6. Know more about your craft/the work you do than anyone who has ever done the work you do…in the history of the world.

    7. Join The 5 am Club. Your most valuable hours are 5am-8am. They have the least interruptions.

    8. Devote yourself to learning something new about your field of mastery every day. Success belongs to the relentless learners. Because as you know more, you can achieve more.

    9. Remember that when you transform your fitness, you’ll transform your business.

    10. Don’t check your mobile when you’re meeting with another person. It’s rude. And rude people don’t reach world-class.

    11. Every time you do what scares you, you take back the power that you gave to the thing that scared you. And so you become more powerful.

    12. A problem is only a problem if you make the choice to see it as a problem.

    13. Stop being a victim. Your business and personal life was made by you. No one else is responsible. To make it better, make better choices. And new decisions.

    14. You can lead without a title. Don’t wait to get a position to stand for excellence, peak quality and overdelivery on every expectation.

    15. Find your own style. Be an original. Every superstar differentiated themselves from The Herd. And marched to their own drumbeat.

    16. Understand that when you play small with your success, you betray your potential. And the birthright you were born under.

    17. Eat less food and you’ll get more done.

    18. As you become more successful, stay really really hungry. Nothing fails like success. Because when you’re successful, it’s easy to stop outlearning + outOverDelivering + outthinking and outexecuting everyone around you. (Success is Beautiful. And dangerous).

    19. If you’re not overprepared, you’re underprepared.

    20. The only level of great manners to play at is “Exceedingly Polite”. In our world, this alone will make you a standout. And differentiate you in your marketplace.

    21. Remember that the moment you think you’re a Master, you lose your Mastery. And the minute you think you know everything, you know nothing.

    22. To double your results, double your level of execution.

    23. Invest in your personal and pro development. All superstars do.

    24. Get this year’s best Targets of Opportunity down onto a 1 Page Plan. Then review it every morning while the rest of the world sleeps.

    25. You don’t get lucky. You create lucky.

    26. When you push through a difficult project, you don’t get to the other side. You reach The Next Level.

    27. Smile. And remember to inform your face.

    28. Spend time in solitude every day. Your best ideas live there.

    29. Debrief on how you lived out your day every night in a journal. This will not only record your personal history, it will make you uber-clear on what you’re doing right and what needs to be improved.

    30. If you’re not being criticized a lot, you’re not doing very much. Ridicule is the price of ambition.

    31. Develop a monomaniacal focus on just a few things. The secret to productivity is simplicity.

    32. To get the results very few people have, be strong enough to do what very few people are willing to do.

    33. Rest. Recover. It’ll make you stronger.

    34. Buy a smaller TV and build a larger library.

    35. Remember that the bigger the goal, the stronger a person you must become to achieve that goal. So goal-achieving is a superb practice for character-building.

    36. Food fuels your body. Learning feeds your mind.

    37. Don’t ask for respect. Earn it.

    38. Finish what you start. And always end strong.

    39. Breathe.

    40. In business, don’t play to survive. Play to win.

    41. Protect your good name. It’s your best asset.

    42. Remember that words have power. Use the language of leadership versus the vocabulary of a victim.

    43. Give more than you take. The marketplace rewards generosity.

    44. Know that if it’s not messy, you’re not making progress.

    45. Be a hero to a kid.

    46. In business, aim for iconic. Go for legendary. Make history by how awesome you are at what you do.

    47. Please don’t confuse activity with productivity. Many many people are simply busy being busy.

    48. Your doubts are liars. Your fears are traitors. Stop buying the goods they are attempting to sell you.

    49. The best anti-aging remedy in the world is working really hard.

    50. World-Class performers have no plan B. Failure just isn’t an option.

    51. You have the power to change the world—one brave act and one person at a time. Please use it.

    My best to you!

10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day

They’re small things, but each has the power to dramatically change someone’s day. Including yours.

Want to make a huge difference in someone’s life? Here are things you should say every day to your employees, colleagues, family members, friends, and everyone you care about:

“Here’s what I’m thinking.”

You’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements and decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic, not with position or authority.

Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement.

Authority can make you “right,” but collaboration makes everyone right–and makes everyone pull together.

“I was wrong.”

I once came up with what I thought was an awesome plan to improve overall productivity by moving a crew to a different shift on an open production line. The inconvenience to the crew was considerable, but the payoff seemed worth it. On paper, it was perfect.

In practice, it wasn’t.

So, a few weeks later, I met with the crew and said, “I know you didn’t think this would work, and you were right. I was wrong. Let’s move you back to your original shift.”

I felt terrible. I felt stupid. I was sure I’d lost any respect they had for me.

It turns out I was wrong about that, too. Later one employee said, “I didn’t really know you, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”

When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect–you’ll gain it.

“That was awesome.”

No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone–pick anyone–who does or did something well and say, “Wow, that was great how you…”

And feel free to go back in time. Saying “Earlier, I was thinking about how you handled that employee issue last month…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (It could even make a bigger impact, because it shows you still remember what happened last month, and you still think about it.)

Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it–and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.

“You’re welcome.”

Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?

The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person. The spotlight may make you feel uneasy or insecure, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”

Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too.

“Can you help me?”

When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need or the person you need it from, just say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you help me?”

I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen–which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader.

And are all qualities of a great friend.

“I’m sorry.”

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support…

Say you’re sorry.

But never follow an apology with a disclaimer like “But I was really mad, because…” or “But I did think you were…” or any statement that in any way places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.

Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. No less. No more.

Then you both get to make the freshest of fresh starts.

“Can you show me?”

Advice is temporary; knowledge is forever. Knowing what to do helps, but knowing how or why to do it means everything.

When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen: You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice; you show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight; and you get to better assess the value of the advice.

Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught or trained or shown.

Then you both win.

“Let me give you a hand.”

Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. So, many people hesitate to ask for help.

But everyone needs help.

Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will give you a version of the reflexive “No, I’m just looking” reply to sales clerks and say, “No, I’m all right.”

Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say “I’ve got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.

“I love you.”

No, not at work, but everywhere you mean it–and every time you feel it.


Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may think venting will make you feel better, but it never does.

That’s especially true where your employees are concerned. Results come and go, but feelings are forever. Criticize an employee in a group setting and it will seem like he eventually got over it, but inside, he never will.

Before you speak, spend more time considering how employees will think and feel than you do evaluating whether the decision makes objective sense. You can easily recover from a mistake made because of faulty data or inaccurate projections.

You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on an employee’s self-esteem.

Be quiet until you know exactly what to say–and exactly what affect your words will have.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. (article from, January 2013)