Archive | February 2012

Sticking to Your Guns

Wow, that’s a loaded issue! (pun intended??)

What do you do when you have a great idea, but for much of your life someone has knocked down many/most of what you thought were great ideas? You think you’ve hit on the answer, the idea that will propel you out of your rut.

But, because of all those years of having negatives thrown at you you’re just not sure. What do you do?

You stick to your guns! Doggone it, you’ve done the research and this is something you can do AND feel positive about. You feel positive about the opportunity, the potential outcome and above all your ability to DO this. It falls within your knowledge and abilities – why not?

OK, so yes I’ve had many times where I thought I had a great idea and I let a parent, friends, co-workers, family talk me out of it. Only to find out it really would have been the best way for me to go. Hindsight is that 20/20 thing and often too late to do anything about. But then occasionally mixed in is the one or two times I tried something and followed what I thought would work and failed horribly – one to bankruptcy. So, yes sticking to my guns when I started my business was seriously scary!

But, what do you do when you’ve had a history of people talking you out of doing something now giving all kinds of moral support? Getting people actually agreeing that you can do what you’re setting out to do!

Does it matter? Should it matter?

Well, to a certain degree since we are social creatures it does matter. It is important to stick to your guns. It is important to have valuable advice. Just as it is important to follow your heart of hearts. Keep in mind, people have failed in their endeavors – but gone on to do great things. Some people have a magic touch and seem to succeed as soon as they put their touch to the idea – but that is incredibly rare. No matter where you are on that scale – stick to your guns!

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Sitting on Pins and Needles

YIKES! That’s a painful picture! But if you think of the meaning it explains a lot:

It means feeling sharp anticipation or anxiety; in a state of suspense. Someone who is “on pins and needles” is very anxious and nervous. This not necessarily a negative emotion although the phrase is sometimes used in that way, it is usually used to describe someone who is in great anticipation of some event that they have been looking forward to.

OK, so maybe saying I’m sitting on the edge of my seat is better:

If a story keeps you on the edge of your seat, it is very exciting and you want to know what is going to happen next.

Hmm, well in my case I guess I’ll have to stay with the pins and needles thing. You see, the other day (2/7/12) I had a follow-up EEG. I haven’t had one in years – when you don’t have insurance you sort of let things slide. I won’t find out the results of the test until I see the doctor NEXT Friday – 2/17/12 – hence the pins and needles thing.

Yes, I have been living with my epilepsy since 1991. Yes, I have been taking meds all this time. A person gets tired of taking medication – especially when those meds make you tired all the time, and still fog up your brain. I’ve been having the feeling of late that the more foggy feeling is because I either don’t need as much of the medication, or I don’t need it at all.

Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Since I had the surgery putting electrodes directly on my brain in August 2007 for testing, then removed and everything closed back up, I haven’t had anymore seizures. This is a major record for me. I truly want to be one of those rare people whose seizures stop because the brain’s environment changed.

Yes, I know there will always be some damage – face it having seizures causes some brain damage to the area where the seizures originate. But, some research I’ve read on fighting early stages of dementia suggest that Vitamin B12 and learning new skills (like more things for my business) can help build brain cells. I’ll be asking if this will work in my case.

So, here I sit (figuratively) on a BIG helping of pins and needles waiting for next Friday and to find out the test results. As I usually spend my prayers on many other folks, I’m going to be a bit “greedy” and ask that my hopes come true. That’s not a bad thing. Right?

Create your own safety net on the web

Unfortunately, you can never be too careful – you HAVE to protect your personal information as best as possible. Hackers, spammers, phishers, et al are out there to ruin your life just so they can have some money/fun.

Rule 1:     DO NOT ENTER FINANCIAL INFO AT A PUBLIC COMPUTER.
Rule 2:     Do Not repeat passwords across all of your sites. I know this is easy for you – but it’s easy for the ilk out there to steal from you.
Rule 3:    Be careful at those wonderful Wi-Fi hotspots, I’d have to say do not run personal transactions from them. You don’t know who can be watching. Not a problem you think? Remember when camera phones first came out and there were people taking pictures of credit cards? You can be a trusting soul – but don’t let people steal from you when you can prevent it in the first place.

This next one has been one of my BIGGEST peeves. Scammers use email to (in some cases) convincingly get their victims to send them money. You may have noticed these scammers have crawled their way on to the social network pages – turning your friends against you. According to Joe Ferrara, president and CEO of Wombat Security Technologies in Pittsburgh, “To ensure safe social networking, never connect with anyone you haven’t met, verify the identity of new friends and look out for scam messages, even from trusted friends, which could indicate an imposter.” ALWAYS ask yourself: does the offer make sense, do you have to spend money to get the “great deal”, does the verbiage sound like your friend, how’s the typing? Although, the typing thing could be problematic – as the “Smart Phones” spell checkers have some very strange overrides. But you get my meaning.

Now here’s something I didn’t know. Keeping your software up-to-date isn’t just to get all the new bells and whistles – it can be another way to protect you online! When it was explained, I thought “Duh!” When your software isn’t current it leaves holes – and that’s just one of the things cybercriminals look for. Keep in mind you’re updating ALL the security fixes for all of your software – not just the anti-virus programs. When you update: Microsoft automatically sends updates and they happen. For other programs, it’s recommended going to the software company website to ensure safety.

Here’s a “goodie” – if you’re going to plop money down on something, and/or release any personal information – double check that URL! Looking at the link should truly happen before you even click on it (you got it in an email and not from a trusted source). Always look out for typos/irregularities to make absolutely certain you’re going to a legitimate website. Now about that plopping money down/personal information thing, ALWAYS look for the letter s on the end of that http. That s let’s you know it’s a secured site.

OK, now for those mobile apps. Sure your smart phone is great for all sorts of things, but be careful what you’re using the apps for. Sure, you want to be able to manage your banking from your phone (looks great on the commercials…), but be smart about it – only use the apps from your financial institution. The 3rd party apps may not have the same privacy protections. Now, having said that, there are experts out there who still advise AGAINST mobile banking apps – until there’s better security for all of the apps. WHY? Some of the apps continue to run – even when you exit, running the risk of keystrokes and touch screen selections to be intercepted. So, until there’s better security, be the opposite of the Nike slogan – Just DON’T do it.

Last but not least, for those of us who use shortened URLs – posting on Twitter and character limitations, we need to be careful with those as well. Only open those from trusted sources. However, experts say even then to “proceed with caution, you do not know what the actual Web address is until you click.” Scammers will also use shortened links to lead victims to a malware site. The experts suggest going the extra steps to expand the link to see the full address, but they do admit it isn’t easy. Many of the services providing shortened URLs guard against spammers, but it’s still a good idea to use a tool to safely open the shortened link. TinyURL.com is one place suggested.