How to be an idea machine

Here is a situation which has happened to all of us: you’re holding your head in desperation at the world around you. Everything seems to be going wrong, and just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. There seems to be no solution and you’re trying not to panic. Suddenly, however, a lightbulb appears. You have an idea. An idea which could be a good idea. An idea which could help you get out of this mess. You lift your head and slowly start developing this thought into a great idea, into a solution.

This situation could be called survival mode. It is when you are reaching rock bottom you’re your brain suddenly comes up with a great idea, like a second chance. It might not happen every time, but when it does, it feels great. So, what if could get your brain to create more of these great ideas, but without having to go into survival mode? This is what will be discussed in this article: how to create excellent ideas whenever and wherever.

Idea generating is like a muscle. As you put more practice into creating ideas, the more ideas you will be able to create, and the better they will become. If you want more good ideas, you will have to practice creating both bad and good ones. Your objective right now might be to produce high quality ideas, but I’m telling you for the moment focus on creating ideas in high quantity. The quality comes with practice. As you have more and more ideas, you will have more and more good ideas. Good ideas will open another world to you. They will generate good experiences, good investments and good solutions. It will feel like a superpower, the ability to always have an idea and to always be creatively thinking out of the box. You will learn how to follow through with good ideas, how to throw away the bad ones and to be constantly thinking for more options.

So how do you get this superpower? This method is taken from James Altucher, a successful blog writer. He says it’s very simple: practice. Every day write down 10 ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are rubbish or excellent, they just have to be ideas. If you can’t think of 10 ideas, do 20. The concept is that your muscle won’t build until you make it sweat. Buy a small writing pad, and every day write a list of 10 ideas about something. It could be ways to make money, business ideas, book ideas, etc. Can’t find any inspiration? Read a book, talk to someone, watch a video. Find creative ways to exercise those 10 ideas. A tip: the first list you could write could be 10 different titles of each list of ideas. According to James Altucher, after 6 months you will notice a drastic difference. People will come to you for ideas, your opinion will always be taken into consideration, you will end up being paid for them, your business will never be boring, and endless other benefits.

These 5 to 10 minutes a day you spend writing that list will make a huge difference. Once you see a great idea, follow through with it. Plan the small steps to make it successful and effective. Join it together with other ideas to develop it even further. Once you get this muscle going, you will be unstoppable. You will realise that money making is only a side benefit, that what you are creating is a mechanism of greatness. You will become a source of solutions, concepts, whatever you want. You will become an effective idea machine.

 

Originally posted at www.selcpro.com

Diversity of Spanish

When you think of Spanish what comes to mind? The delicious paella of Spain or the scrumptious asado of Latin America? Flamenco or Reggaeton? Spanish Sangria or Cuban Mojito? Latin America or Spain? In fact, Spanish is both of these places, and although they speak the same languages, there are a few differences to keep in mind.

I’ll start with a short history lesson. The Spanish language started in the south of Europe, in a country called Spain. In 1492 Christopher Columbus went to Latin America, full of indigenous tribes at the time. The process of ‘hispanization’ started and the continent started learning Spanish. However, as Spain renovated Spanish in their country, word didn’t come across to Latin America, which meant Latin America was eventually speaking older versions of Spanish. They both evolved differently, and so nowadays we are left with Latin American and Castilian from Spain. However, that is not all. Latin America is made of up many countries, which means each country has a slightly different accent or way to talk. It’s not different for Spain, which has three more languages appearing in certain regions. The large variety of languages, dialects and accents can be confusing, so stay tuned.

The main differences between Latin American and Castilian is the pronunciation and some vocabulary. You can immediately recognize whether you are talking to a Latin American or a Spaniard simply by how many s they say. This term called el seseo happens, for example, in the word cereza. The Latin American will pronounce it seresa and the Spaniards will pronounced theretha, so it sounds like they have a lisp of some sort. Another distinction is the yeísmo, where the ll pronounced as y in Castilian and is pronounced like a j in Latin America. There are a few other differences but which are harder to notice when distinguishing the two.

Before going on to vocabulary I will mention another important difference: how they say you. It’s something called the voseo where the Latin American use vos instead of . In Latin America they only use vos, but in Spain they use and usted, the latter used for more formal occasions.

Now on to vocabulary. I will just mention three important ones, since they are the ones most used. The first one is ‘car’: LA is carro and Castilian is coche. Carro in Castilian is a horse carriage, which is why you can imagine their confused face when you say you’re taking the horse carriage to work every day. The next one is computer: LA is computadora and Castilian is ordenador. The third important one I would say is the ‘ok’: in LA it’s simply ok but in Spain everyone uses vale. Of course some Spaniards will also say ‘ok’ but that’s mainly from English influence not far away from them.

The language differences are one thing, but the culture is something much more different. If you are to compare the culture and personalities between the Spaniards and the Latin American, you will see some interesting differences. When the Spaniards colonized Latin America, they brought their character with them: extroverted, full of emotions and the love of arguing. This, of course, has not changed too much in Spain and neither has it in Latin America. Through time, though, this has evolved, and since both areas have received different influences, they are definitely not the same culture now. In Brazil the African people brought them music, giving them the Samba and a great dancing style. In Peru there was influence from the indigenous tribes and the Japanese, making their society much more hierarchic and with importance regarding family relations. In Chile the German influence also gave them a sense of hierarchy. Argentina received more influence from the Mediterranean, making them more individualist. These are just a few of the countries which occupy Latin America, and it is already visible how different they are.

There are also many dialects and accents in Latin America, simply because of the large amount of countries which received different influences. There are too many to describe in one article, but it is worth keeping in mind the variety they have. Spanish, in addition, is not the only language spoken in South America. There is also Portuguese and many different indigenous languages, giving it a lot of diversity.

Meanwhile, in Spain, it seems Spanish has evolved in a different way. Six of the 17 provinces in Spain have an additional language coexisting with Spanish. What’s more, five of them want independence! The most famous pro-independence are Cataluña and País Vasco, which hold the languages of Catalan and Euskera, however there is another language which is Galician. In terms of culture, Spain is mainly divided into two. The northern half is more conservative, and the southern half is more liberal and more alike with Latin America. Similarly to South America, the south of Spain has the seseo, something the northerners love making fun of. The accents vary a lot depending on where you go in Spain, as well as the many different dialects, but generally people will understand you if you speak the standard Spanish.

Spain and Latin America have large differences, but they do not form a barrier of communication. It is amazing how although they all speak the same language, they have different cultures and traditions. To be able to travel in one language, yet experience so many different societies is really something to be appreciated and taken advantage of. Choosing between Latin America and Spain to learn Spanish may not be easy, but there wherever you go, there will never be a loss of diversity and ethos. That is what makes Spanish such a beautiful and worth learning language.

 

Originally posted at www.selcpro.com

Top 5 benefits of hiring a social media manager

You decide to take your business to the next level: social media. Can’t be too hard, can it? You think that all you have to do is post a few articles, answer some comments and you’ll be away. You spend a whole day working on what you think looks like a great Facebook page. Satisfied with your work, you wait for the followers to come tumbling in. In one week you get about 10 followers. You just spent an entire day working just for 10 followers, and it feels useless. What’s missing? You don’t know how to attract more followers and you don’t want to go down the ‘fake likes’ path. Plus, you’re very busy and you want an audience as soon as possible. You are overwhelmed and you don’t know what to do. The solution: social media manager. A professional in charge of keeping track of your social media and who knows exactly what to do in order to attract more clients. Here are 5 perks of having one:

  1. They are professionals

This person/group of people you are hiring is a professional. They have experience in many different social networks and they know exactly what to say and when. They know how to build a relationship with the audience, and they know how to keep a presence. Consistency is key in social media, so they will have a schedule of when and where to keep updating. They understand the different trends and they know how to adapt to them.

  1. Brand Recognition

You want people to notice you and to be interested in you. A social media manager will make sure this is the case. They know how to build your brand and reputation in such a way that you have a strong presence which cannot be ignored. They know how to make sure your work is exposed to an audience.

  1. The effort

People think that social media managing is something anyone can do with enough effort. That is true, but the key word here is efficiency. You could spend 10 hours a day working on each social media platform and you might not get the response you were expecting, meaning it will take you much longer to gain a larger audience. A professional knows how to get feedback rapidly, and you won’t be the one wasting the effort.

  1. New ideas

You might think a social media manager won’t know what to post or whether they are giving the right impression of you. First of all, the manager will have in depth knowledge of your business content and what you wish to be posting. Second of all, you will always be in contact. Third of all, this person will have the ability to ‘think out of the box’. If you get worried that your posts are becoming too monotonous, try it out with a professional. A little bit of variation is great for business.

  1. You have the advantage

It is clear that you have the advantage when you hire a social media manager. As stated before, everyone thinks that managing social media is something any amateur can do. Doing it yourself can get you far, but getting a professional to do it assures your number one place. You will be able to connect better with others and you will have actual people interested in your business, which means a large increase in traffic. It is the social media manager who will make you, and therefore your business, stand out from the rest.

 

Originally posted at www.selcpro.com

Autism is not a disability, it is a different ability

How would you react if one day you found an anonymous letter on your door? You would be intrigued and open it. What you might not be expecting to find is a letter wishing the death of your child. You would probably be shocked and scared at the same time. That is exactly what Marianna felt when she read the letter threatening to ‘exterminate’ her son because he had autism. Just one piece of paper with some ink on it turned her life upside down. Marianna and her family changed house, street and town because of that paper. Her son was being despised just because of how he was. This made her hate autism and weep over the fact that her son had been cursed with this condition.

I am here to convince you to accept autistic people for the way they are. So that they do not live in humiliation and are not set apart into special institutions. People do not understand the exceptional abilities that come with autism. I will make sure that after this speech you do, and that you appreciate how great they are.

 

The dictionary describes autism as a mental condition existing from early childhood, which includes disabilities with interacting amongst other people. However, the dictionary is wrong. It is missing the most important! Where does it say that some autistic people can recite the number pi for hours? Where is it written that some can just glance at a complicated structure like the Taj Mahal and draw it out perfect to the last stone? Where is it shown that some can say on which day of the week any date will fall? People should be told the advantages of autism as well as the disadvantages. Autistic savant George Widener stuns everyone with his superhuman calculating and memory skills. Gary McKinnon, a computer hacker who broke into high-security military and government site. Daniel Tammet who can talk 10 languages and learnt one in a week. These are all autistic people who have learnt to take advantage of their exceptional abilities. This is what parents should be told when they are presented with a child diagnosed with autism. This is what everyone should be told so that no parents or autistic child should have to suffer rejection and humiliation.

 

To be able to accept autism, you need to understand it. Autism is very hard to understand since there are so many different and unique cases. Here is a bit of background explanation: in the last 50 years, scientists have tried to understand how an autistic brain works and how it is formed. Before that, scientists believed an autistic child was simply a very insecure and unstable child. It was only during those years that scientists realised it is something present at the birth of the baby; the brain is physically different when compared to a non-autistic child. After many experiments, they concluded that autism is to do with genes, which is believed to cause the unusual behaviour. What do I mean by unusual behaviour? They feel uncomfortable around other people, making eye-contact, having close friends… They do things like pinching, kicking, slapping, they will not talk for a few days, not liking being touched, they like routines, do repetitive actions like tapping, etc. The hardest part for parents is to deal with their child not showing affection for them and to seem disconnected from the world. This makes them focus on trying to change their child instead of helping their problems and working with their abilities. This is natural in parents since they want to have a ‘normal’ child and do ‘normal’ activities with them. It is tough for them to realise that they have to adapt to this unexpected speed bump. If our civilisation works on the parents’ attitudes’, many things can be accomplished. What if an autistic child cures your cancer one day? What if one invents a rocket that will bring us to Jupiter? What if one solves our economic crisis? There are endless possibilities with autistic people. Let us turn those ‘what ifs’ into ‘oh wells’ and see if these dreams are actually possible. However, this is only achievable if we make parents and the child work together to create a secure environment for everyone. Then discoveries and inventions will happen.

Temple Grandin’s mother was not affected by all the criticism directed towards her, and forced her autistic daughter to go to school and then university. It was thanks to her determination that Temple was able to overcome her fear of people. Temple Grandin is now able to present lectures everywhere about her autism and explain what a great gift it is. It was her autism which allowed her to observe small details other people did not. She noticed how nervous cows would get, before being slaughtered, simply because of the surface they walked on. She revolutionised slaughterhouses, which resulted in less cows suffering and meat being much tenderer. This could not have happened without her autism. She says it herself that she is glad she has autism and identifies it as a wonderful gift. This is what autistic children should be encouraged to think at an early age. Temple was only able to do this with the encouragement of her family. Autism does come with incapacities, but in an environment where everyone supports them, they will strive through our society. Then, autism will not be regarded as a disability anymore.

 

If you now believe autism is more of an ability than a disability, support and accept them. It is the least we can do for them. Prevent scientists from trying to find a ‘cure’ to autism. Autism is not a disease! Autism should not be treated like the enemy; it should be benefitted from by supporting those who have it.  By making them focus on their talents. By repeatedly telling them that they are not abnormal, but that they are unique just like everyone else. They are human beings, just like everyone else. They have the right to be respected, just like everyone else. Why are autistic people being kept in special institutions? Is it because they have brilliant minds? Or is it because they are ‘socially awkward’? They are indispensable to humanity; they make our culture more vivid, more remarkable. Together with autistic people, anything is possible. Great minds should not and cannot be ignored.

Bibliography:

TED talk by Temple Grandin

www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/autism-and-asperger-syndrome-an-introduction/what-is-autism.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/history-of-autism

http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/real-life-stories/real-life-stories-from-people-with-autism/as-bad-as-things-can-get-when-you-have-autism-they-can-get-better-too.aspx