I looked longingly at network marketing for years. Outside of the scams, it is a great way for an individual to start a business.

Why? Or better yet, how?

1. Low cost to start.

2. Can do it part time, or part time leading to full time.

3. Ideally, the business is like a franchise without the startup fees.

4. You will have someone to show you the ropes and mentor you.

5. As a business, you get tax savings.

There are potential problems:

1. There are scams and you need to learn how to spot them.

2. The part time person would have difficulty making any income with the plan. These people will be a big part of your success. If they can’t make it, you will not either.

3. You may not really have a mentor or other help in learning how to make the plan work.

4. There are other potential problems.

In spite of the pitfalls, the opportunity is real. So what do you do?  So what was I doing wrong?

Stay tuned.

Half full or half empty?

The seemingly simple question, “Is the glass as half full or half empty,” tells us a lot about our view of the world.  Our view of the glass has a big influence on how we act.

Half full means we see the positive.  We don’t listen to negatives.  We push on in spite of all obstacles.  This is good.  Right?  Or, perhaps we become like Pollyanna and unable to see the bad.

Possibly.  Half empty means that we see that everything is not fine.  There are problems and I see them.  This can be enervating if that is all we see.  It can also mean we prepare for all contingencies.

For me, it has been debilitating at times.  The first thing that I see is what can go wrong.  It becomes difficult to act.  If I can get past that, then I am good at planning and taking care of problems that may arise.

Remember the lesson from the Tao, “Who can say what is good or bad?”

What do I know?

Not that much.

The problem is that so many people think they know things they really don’t know.

What do I mean?  A simple example is how to control our weight.  This has become a major industry and problem for many people.  Yet when we look at  weight control by controlling calories, we see a real problem.  Just an additional 100 calories a day will lead to a large increase in weight over time.  Yet, many people control their weight over a lifetime without any effort.  They do not watch what they eat.  Yet somehow they do not gain weight.  The idea is simple, the body controls our weight.  If we make that control too complex, it will not work.  We end up working to decide how much and what we will eat at every meal.

Is there a simpler way?  I think there is.  A reading of Gary Taubes is very instructive.  He lays out the evidence and the control is much easier than we have been lead to believe.  Maybe we are trying too hard to control weight.  Another part is exercise does help, but it is independent of weight.  We can be healthy and overweight.

Maybe we should relax and stop trying to control everything.

We think we can control our society with more rules.  The problem is that as we introduce new rules, we can never tell what the results will be.  Saying the rule will produce a certain outcome does not make it true.  Controlling prices may not help.  Price controls likely will simply result in shortages.  But, but….  We can look at the problem and come up with a reasonable solution.  Maybe not.

My recommendation.  Stop trying to control everyone.  If you think something is important to do, then do it.  Do not try to force everyone else to do your bidding.

Why have I not posted recently?

I have been depressed.  I am working on some new approaches to overcoming depression.

I have not done well for about ten years.  I have learned a lot in that time.  Unfortunately, I have allowed all this to ruin my marriage and my financial life.  Now, I have to get going again.

So what happens now.  I am using the methods of postive psychology to deal with depression and find a way to flourish.

First steps, keep a gratitude journal and begin mediation.  This will help break the hold of depression, which is made worse with rumination.  Going over failures and what caused them only leads to even more feelings of depression.

Using the results of the tests at Authentic Happiness,  I am working on using my strengths to succeed at Business Network International, BNI.  What are those strengths?

Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

Forgiveness and mercy
You forgive those who have done you wrong. You always give people a second chance. Your guiding principle is mercy and not revenge.

Humor and playfulness
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.

Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

The core of BNI is “Givers gain.”  This is often overlooked as the core of a free market system.  You can only succeed by giving something to others to help them.  I had to learn this part of the system, even believing a free market was the only way to prosperity.

I want to help other people succeed.  This is the way of the world.

Positive Psychology – An Introduction

Imagine being able to move average people into the ranks of high achievers.  The value of positive psychology is that there are ways to help people become more successful, to flourish.

Martin Seligman began asking if we could help people become more successful. His research shows that such a change is possible. About 20% of the poplulation is positive and resilient. This means they are not discouraged at a failed project, they learn from their experience and move on.

Positve psychology research shows that people can learn to be more successful. Take a look at a TED talk by Martin Seligman,

My Starting Point

Having the right attitude is extremely important for your network success.  I know because I have had problems with my own attitude.  When you are negative and depressed, it is difficult to make good things happen.   People will run away.

If you think you have a problem with negativity, you probably do.  What has helped me understand my issues and see a way to change is positive psychology.  Positive psychology finds what is right with people and helps you learn to be more positive and flourish.

Only about 20% of the population is naturally positive and resilient.  Their studies lead them to believe that we can learn to be positive and flourish.  You may want to keep your positive thinking books, but add some new ones backed by extensive studies and tests.

Unfortunately, most positive thinking seminars start wearing off as soon as you leave the seminar.  The advice is not bad, if you can follow it.  Few people do.

I will be exploring this area for myself.  I am a work in progress.

Here are books I would start with.


Personal Networking

Many small business owners start out by being riffed, being over 40, and not able to find jobs.  “Uh, oh,” you say, “Now it’s time to network.”

Not!  Yes, you should have been networking already.  The best time to start is years before.  The next best time to start is now.

For the new small business, business networking is a vital.  Fortunately, networking is  a skill that you can learn, even if you are network unaware.

You can learn.  First, learn what networking is and then how to network.  You learn and refine your networking skills in groups like BNI, Business Networking International, with the motto, “Givers gain.”  First you help others, then some of them will refer clients to you.

Social Media usually refers to taking this networking to the interne.

Social Media

Humans talk and trade.

Face to face meetings were the earliest form of networking.  It was so good, we still use face to face meetings as a major part of our social and business lives.

Writing gave us another way to tell our stories at a distance.

The printing press gave us a new way to talk and tell stories.

Then the telegraph, the telephone, radio, TV, CB radio, PCs, email, the internet, and the World Wide Web.

The internet began as a tool to share information.  In past few years, we see a new phenomenon, the rise of social media.  This video is a great introduction to the rapid growth and influence of social media.

Think of social media as your new network.  Twitter is your conversation, more like talking to people you meet.  Follow RalphKirkland on TwitterYour blog is more static and tells a story about you and what you do, a brochure and more.  Facebook is where you are more relaxed and informal.  Talk with your friends.  Keep up with what they are doing and thinking.