Brian Esler – Reverse Lottery

Reverse Lottery Vantage Network Brian Esler

SPOILER ALERT – Watch video before reading further!!!
The video shows an interesting perspective and just under 4 minutes.

Financial products like insurance and investments are full of statistics and often based on probabilities, so I pride myself on understanding those elements of the industry and finding “value” for clients. Hopefully I can articulate some of this “value” to clients.

The video has an interesting term – “Random Sucky Things”. In the insurance world, we are great at using statistics and probabilities to make the case for purchasing insurance. (Remember “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics”).
For example, we said there was a 1 in 1,200 chance of someone’s house burning down. That means 1,199 families don’t really “need” insurance.
But for 1 family, it is devastating, emotionally and financially. This “Devastation for 1” principle applies to basically all types of insurance – life, disability, travel, critical illness and on and on and on. And no one knows who will be the “1” to suffer a “Random Sucky Thing”.

Dr. Ganz’s – Working with athletes

Working with athletes, especially elite athletes. There are tools they use to perform at high levels under stress, and a lot of those can be applied to areas outside of sport. Especially business.
Overtraining
A typical thought in the sports world is more is better. Especially from athletes who want to be at that elite level. To get that edge they put in more high intensity work outs and longer hours. Eventually improvement slows down to very small and gradual gains. In response, they go even harder and take away time from personal life to train more. There comes a point where training will see negative changes; they become slower, less productive and less responsive. Not only are they getting less from the same amount of time but the performance starts to decline.
Similarly, with business there is a ‘more is better’ mindset. Adding more time by taking it out of your personal life will get you there faster. However, just like an athlete you will see smaller gains and productivity will drop. You may stay 2 hours every day after work to get something completed. However, before you were overworked that same task was done in a much shorter time.
Resetting the system is best done by adding balance. With athletes, I would suggest non-physical activities. With business professionals adding exercise is one of the best ways to reset the system. Even 10 min a day can have an impact.
Visualization
In preparation for games something I do with athletes is called visualization (also known as guided imagery, or mental rehearsal. Basically, it is a form of practicing without practicing. This isn’t the same as daydreaming and it can’t take the place of actual practice. One can’t visualize being a hockey player and go out and join the Oilers without picking up a stick. However, it is something athletes use to relax, reduce stress in certain situations or enhance skills.
When done right, research has found similar brain activity as when they physically completed the skill. Athletes will go through certain plays, moves and adapting to situations. When game time arrives, it is more familiar to them, they are more relaxed and they perform better. Or they use it to relax before or after a game. Russell Wilson, Tiger Woods, Conor McGregor are some athletes to look up if you are interested in their experience with it.
For business, I believe mental rehearsal has the same applications. For a presentation or a meeting, visualizing different scenarios and how you respond to them. It is a performance and the main idea is you are calmer when you it is more familiar to you. In addition to performance, guided imagery that focuses on relaxation can help you reduce stress before or after work. One tip I like to give people, is that you want to involve all your senses in the imagery. This provides a more “real” experience for your brain and you get more out of the visualization process.
Self Talk
A major area I work with athletes on is their inner dialogue/self talk. What are they telling themselves in a competition/game? This has a huge impact on the stress and anxiety a person feels, not only in a game but in life.
I find that usually it is not the situation, but what we are telling ourselves about the situation that causes our reaction.
For example, a kicker goes up to kick a game winning field goal and is thinking, “if I hit this wide right again, I am going to lose my job”. He has created a ton of pressure on himself for a physical motion he has literally done a thousand times. The only thing that has changed is his inner dialogue.
In business, the dialogue can be the same, “I must sign this client or else my business will…” or I have to close this deal because I may not get another one”, generally any “if I mess this up, then…” statements. This dialogue creates unnecessary stress on you.
In general, you want to stop those thoughts but typically you can’t just tell yourself don’t think about that. If suddenly you told yourself to not think about elephants, you would start to think about elephants. If you tell yourself don’t think about stress, you are likely going to think about the stress.
There are different techniques to control this self-talk. We may think we are good multi taskers but we are not. Both tasks are done at lower efficiency. We can take advantage of that by focusing on something else, diverting our attention away from the negative. It can be as simple as focusing on a word that has meaning for you and breaks that negative talk. Going further, one technique is to challenge/re-frame those negative statements. “This is an important client, but I have signed others in the past.” You want to concentrate on the work you have put in or the process. The outcome takes care of itself when you focus on the process.

Things to remember:

Before the game (on a regular basis and before the stress hits)

  • Sleep
  • Balance your life
  • Practice good self-care
  • Pre-pay your “happy bank”
  • Eat
  • Take 60 second mini-vacations (grounding)

During the game (when you’re stressed)

  • Remember to Breathe
  • Think long term
  • Know the stress reaction and accommodate for it so you don’t make things worse
  • Pay attention to your senses
  • Pace your self
  • Remember you can always say “NO”

After the game

  • Give yourself time to recover
  • “Debrief” the event
  • Sleep
  • Pay back your “happy bank”
  • Eat
  • Take more mini-vacations (grounding)

Develop your own “emergency stress management menu” (ESMM)
This is a list of things you can do to look after yourself and manage your stress when it gets out of hand (or better yet, before it gets out of hand). Once you have your ESMM , you don’t have to add more stress by thinking about what to do, you just have to pick a few things off of it and do them.

This is your brain on Music!

a presentation by Jacynthe Arsenault from Kidsnotes Music, on the book by Daniel Levitin

What is Music?

Music is organized sound.
Vibrating reaches our ears, which vibrate at the same rate as the object making the sound allowing us to identify the timbre and the pitch. 7 major elements of music: pitch, rhythm, melody, harmony, tempo, meter and loudness.
Foot tapping Rhythm refers to the length of a note, and putting notes of different lengths together. (Secret knocking on a door: shave-and-a-haircut, shampoo!) Tempo refers to the pace (how quickly you would tap your foot) and meter refers to when you tap your foot hard versus light. Rhythm is a crucial part of what turns sound into music. It’s why a car driving away, a jackhammer or a baby crying doesn’t sound musical, although there can be a certain musicality to it and composers are often inspired by such sounds in their compositions. (Vivaldi’s the seasons, for example) Tempo often sets the mood, with fast songs seeming happier and slow songs sad or melancholy. Meter refers to the way in which the the pulses or beats are grouped together. STRONG-weak-weak-weak vs STRONG-weak-weak. (Think We will rock you, 3 beats plus a rest, vs My Favourite Things, a waltz in three-four time)

Loudness: Very tiny changes in loudness can have a profound effect on the emotional communication of music. If a song is played entirely at the same loudness, is would seem boring and emotionless. (metzo-blando!) Also, as we discussed, loudness affects how we perceive rhythm. (First beat louder than the next three)
The Brain We know that different parts of the brain control different functions. For example, damage to an area behind your left ear causes difficulty in understanding spoken language, damage at the very top of your head causes difficulty moving your fingers, and damage to an area in the center of your brain can block the ability to form new memories.
Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that we know about. (See page 84) Different aspects of the music are handled by different neural regions, which are then grouped to form a whole. Listening: brain stem. Following along with music you know: hippocampus (memory centre). Tapping along: cerebellum’s timing circuits. Performing: frontal lobes for planning your behaviour, motor cortex and sensory cortex, which provides the tactile feedback that you have pressed the right key on your instrument. Reading music: visual cortex. Hearing or recalling lyrics: language centres. Emotions we experience: amygdala, the heart of emotional processing in the cortex.

What makes a musician?

Out of millions of people who take music lessons as children, relatively few continue to play as adults. But even just a small exposure to music lessons as a child creates neural circuits for music processing that are enhanced and more efficient than those who lack training. Music lessons teach us to listen better, and they accelerate our ability to discern structure and form in music, making it easier for us to tell what music we like and what we don’t like. Becoming an expert musician simply takes time and stick-to-it-ive-ness, the same as becoming and expert at anything else. Music students who became experts practiced twice as much as those who didn’t, regardless of perceived ‘talent’ at the start of their training.

Conclusion Based on the studies that show how many parts of the brain are used when making music, and how all of these different parts work together to make a whole unit (song), it has been shown that playing music help children in all aspects of their development (gross motor, fine motor, emotional, language etc), as well as adults. (Delayed onset of Alzheimers, for example) And one doesn’t need to become an expert to see the benefits. (Adult violin student feels good when picking up the instrument)

Greg Randall – How to Get Rich in Real Estate

1. Investing in Rental Properties is the Key
Real Estate is expensive, so get your financing in order. Buy a small property to learn from your mistakes.

2. Find A Good Property Manager
Hire a professional to manage your tenants and property. Focus on what you are good at.

3. Do the Math
It has to make sense financially. Does the cash flow justify the risk?

4. Carry Out Your Due Diligence
Regardless of how well you know the Seller (or Buyer), do your research. Make sure the property is properly priced, appropriately zoned for your purposes, and in the condition you expect.

5. Use Cash Flow To Pay Down The Mortgage
Re-mortgage to buy additional properties. Build your portfolio in a systematic, manageable way.

6. Buy Desirable Properties In Areas That Will Increase In Value
Make modest improvements and rent to good tenants.

7. Buy Distressed Houses In Less Desirable Neighbourhoods
Make them liveable and rent them to people who are hard to house. People in poverty need places to live.

8. Buy The Worst House In The Best Neighbourhood You Can Afford
The other properties will raise the value of yours. You do not want the castle in the neighbourhood.

9. Flip Houses In An Improving Market
Buy while property values increase, but quit before the market crashes.

10. Allow Properties To Appreciate In Value
Sometimes this involves keeping the property for a longer time than you initially anticipated. Buy low and sell high.

11. Get The Right People On Your Team
These professionals include a: Realtor, Mortgage Broker, Accountant, Renovation Company, Tradespeople, Investment Counsellor, Insurance Broker, and Management Company, etc.

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Increasing Conversions with Improved User Experience

Nate Schick discussed how improving the user experience on your business’s website can help increase the conversion rate and ROI.

To learn more about User Experience or how Boost2Business Marketing can help your business drive more leads and increase online conversions, contact Nate Schick – 780-266-6663

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Spray Foam Insulation – Phil Bentson of Arctic Insulation

Phil discussed ways that spray foam can improve “the comfort zone” of your house or business. Download a pdf below or read the presentation notes below.

 

According to the Appraisal Journal, every $1 decrease in energy costs results in a $10 to $25 increase in a homes value. Reducing utility bills by $1200 per year translates into a $12,000-$30,000 increase in the homes price.

 

What is spray foam?

Polyurethane material that expands 3-9x its initial volume and contains a high r-value over standard insulation. Contains a vale of about 5.3-6.8R/inch. Proper spray foam is a two part solution that is mixed at the tip of the spray gun and creates a chemical reaction. The final product is strong, impenetrable by air and water.

What is R-Value?

It’s a heat resistance rating. Higher the value, greater the resistance to heat transfer.

Advantages over standard insulation:

  • High psi application means that it can get in places that other insulation can not
  • Cleaner installation than standard insulation
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Higher R-value per inch over standard insulation
  • Potential to save 40% in heating/cooling energy costs
  • Low lifecycle cost (roofing in particular)
  • Provides an air barrier and is seamless
  • Does not shrink, settle or sag

What does Arctic Insulation specialize in?

Arctic Insulation installs a few different spray foams. From open cell to closed cell, the products are all suited to specific applications.

  • Exterior roofs (special product & process)
  • Internal garages
  • Basements
  • Complex jobs
  • Reducing cold spots and room drafts
  • New builds

For more information on Spray Foam Insulation, visit Arctic Insulation’s website or contact Phil Bentson at 780-719-2948

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Lean Six Sigma by Kevin McDonald

Kevin MacDonald (Management Cons. / Bus. Coach / Workshops) presented an overview of what Lean Six Sigma is and how he utilizes it to help businesses reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and succeed in business.

His Lean Six Sigma presentation can be downloaded below:

For more information on Lean Six Sigma please contact Kevin McDonald through his website – L6S Business Consulting