Doodle as I do, Traci York, Ida Auclond – new blogs for The Star Blogger Award

I promised that I’ll be posting these on Thursday. And it’s Friday… so apologies are in order. What I’ve learned though is that I need to tally votes a bit sooner (Tuesday evening). That way I’ll have more time to contact winner, arrange prize giveaway and write blog post. Let’s see if I manage to do it better in three weeks when we’ll have another poll.

My Instruction Manual, July 2017 Winner of The Star Blogger Award

It is my immense pleasure to announce that Keith won the first ever Star Blogger Award. He called his followers to vote in blog post, and that had big impact. It built him a lead that lasted until the voting ended.

Here is what Keith had to say when I presented him with The Star Blogger Award for July 2017 and $10 Amazon Gift Card prize:

Wow! I’m so grateful for everyone who voted for My Instruction Manual. It was a great honor to be recognized alongside other terrific blogs. I started My Instruction Manual to chronicle my own journey to be happier and healthier after my kidney transplant. It’s very rewarding that that others find it helpful too! Thanks to the How To Addict for giving back to the blogging community by setting up this award!

Congrats again Keith on your well deserved win! I look forward to reading your blog for many years to come!

Badge for Keith so he can brag about My Instruction Manual's win

Badge for Keith so he can brag about My Instruction Manual’s win

Doodle As I Do by Gemma

I’ve met Gemma through Reddit few months back and have been enjoying her posts ever since. Simply, Doodle As I Do is blog with terrific idea and execution. Instead of doing regular blog posts Gemma crafts a song that she then illustrates. I especially enjoy when she does it for one of her readers.

So, now that Gemma is on doodleasido.com I think it’s great time to feature her work. Plus, definitely try to stop by her Facebook page – she often organizes competitions there for her readers. Whoever wins gets custom poem and doodle! Talk about creative prizes.

Here are the posts I’ve enjoyed most:

Traci York

Another fellow blogger that I’ve met through Community Pool. Luckily, I must add, as Traci is someone who you can often helping others. She does a lot of blog promoting, all while somehow managing to keep steady schedule of Tarot, Witchy and Inspiring posts.

I’ve joked that I need to nominate her for The Star Blogger Award so she doesn’t throw a curse on me. But in all honesty, she runs great and unique blog. I for sure am intrigued by idea to spark inspiration with a spell. And the weekly tarot readings she does are definitely something you shouldn’t miss.

So, do yourself a favor and check out Traci’s blog. Here are the posts you can start with:

Ida Auclond

Tagline is: “I’m not insane. I’m a writer”. So – you’ve guessed it – Ida’s blog focuses on writing. But, like me, she often explores other unrelated topics. Thus, you get a chance to read Ida’s thoughts on fathers, hobbies and life in general.

That said I think you’ll benefit immensely be reading Ida’s posts on writing. By describing her own battles while writing novel, Ida helps the rest of us. Now, my writing is nowhere near complexity required by novels. But I still find it very useful to read her thoughts on the subject. Like how she is handling editing process and emotional ups and down of it.

I especially recommend following posts:

Comment and come back next week

As I said in the first post – I appreciate suggestions that you send through comments. Commenting and pointing out worthy blogs saves me a lot of effort and time. So, if you operate a good blog… or know someone that does – please comment below and let me know.

Related to that I wanted to give special shout-outs to:

They both took effort to nominate and spread the word about The Star Blogger Award. Truly thankful for it!

See you next week!

Why be happy at all? Life is pointless anyway

You have probably heard some variation of negative life philosophies. They often focus on criticizing life and things you shouldn’t, won’t and can’t obtain. Lacking and terrible; you’ll never be good enough, they say. Then there is also a part about our existence being mere coincidence which can be erased by number of likely scenarios. If humanity doesn’t destroy itself that is. We almost destroyed ourselves in the recent past and as news tells us, some tough times are ahead.

So, looking from that perspective – why even bother? We all will die anyway. Even if we spend every waking hour of our life working and trying and giving our best and struggling against adversity and fighting disappointments, we will essentially end up in the same state as those who decided not to bother at all and went on with distracting themselves.

The core problem with negative life philosophies is not whether or not they are *correct*. The core problem is that they are built as an excuse. People who end up embracing negativity always first acknowledged that it is easier to give up than try. It obviously is. And once that easy choice was made, all that was left is finding excuses to justify the decision.

Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. The same way others pick pessimism you can pick optimism. Will making that choice be harder? Sure – but only for start. After someone truly makes positive outlook part of his character he is unable to let it go. For all those unhappy who need one small reason to get depressed, you have those who you can’t knock off happiness no matter what you try. Throw obstacles, frustrations and problems toward someone who is positively-focused, and he’ll keep evading and crushing them while laughing like a maniac.

It’s inspiring, really. Knowing that a persistent shift to the right state of mind is all we need to become unstoppable. That those unhappy ones laying around and saying “I don’t care” to everything offered are using exactly the same phrase that happy ones utter while facing challenges. So, decide to try and stay positive for your own sake. Ignore or deal with negativity of environment the best you can, depending on situation. And just keep going!

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. -Viktor E. Frankl

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way -Viktor E. Frankl


Note:
This post was inspired by life and work of Dr Viktor E. Frankl. Kind human being who survived Auschwitz and bore no ill will toward anyone. Not even to the neighborhoods who reported him and his family to Nazis. The same ones he treated as a doctor – both before and after the World War 2.

More yet, he wrote a great book – Men’s Search for Meaning. I highly recommend that you read it. Learn more about this great human being.

The Star Blogger Award nominations for July 2017

Another week of me writing about blogs I enjoy reading. So far it’s been a great ride. I especially enjoyed last week when Crystal took part in nomination process. I am truly excited for the future and can’t wait to announce the winner next week.

For those that are new to my blog, here is quick recap. Each week I write about 3 blogs I enjoy visiting and present those to my audience. Additionally, anyone is free to nominate their own blog or blog someone they know. That is as long as that nomination follows the process of:

  1. Create a post that includes The Star Blogger Award in the title. Post must contain:
    • Paragraph that presents the blog in at least 100 words
    • Links each instance of The Star Blogger Award text back to this page
    • Nominates another 3 bloggers and links to their blog
  2. Notify nominees about The Star Blogger Award nomination through comments on their blog
  3. Leave comment here and link to created nomination post. I will then verify that 1 & 2 are completed and confirm nomination

If you have any question, feel free to ask in comment section. And now, without further ado, the nominees for this week!

The Star Blogger Award by HowToAddict.com

Let the best blogger win!

Brilliant Viewpoint

This blog is a poster child of how good personal blog should look like. Design is minimalistic yet eye catching. Same for tagline: Discover, Motivate, Inspire is short yet communicative. As for the content – Moni has been writing for past 2+ years and produced steady stream of intriguing content. Visit every week and chances are you’ll find new post that’s well written and includes nice media.

I simply love it. And you’ll likely too. Now, when someone is starting a blog and asking you for advice, it’s easy for me. I just point him to Brilliant Viewpoint and say “emulate this”. Posts I’ve enjoyed the most are:

Just Mr Johnson

Blogging opens up world of opportunity to meet new people and read their thoughts. I’ve visited JKJ’s blog after he commented on one of my previous posts. And immediately I was blown away by the amount of content he has produced with almost no recognition. That’s the thing with blogging: you could be awesome writer, yet you’ll likely be overlooked in the sea of everything that’s posted nowadays. I hope to change with The Star Blogger Award – link as many overlooked gem blogs as possible. JKJ’s blog is definitely one of them.

Daily Flabbergast

Another blog that I’ve visited after owner commented on my post. Daily Flabbergast is one of the blogs that I read when I need change of pace. Most of the content that you’ll find on WordPress is very politically correct. It’s kinda complete opposite of Tumblr – which is madness incarnate. And while I don’t seek controversy for it’s own sake, I do enjoy entertaining unpopular opinions. In that sense I highly recommend visiting Daily Flabbergast. Just before clicking the link be sure that you are not easily offended and are willing to consider floatinggold’s point of view.

Special nominee… Daisy Mae

Hopefully every new edition of The Star Blogger series will increase clarity on nomination process. But Crystal shows that it’s already easy-peasy to include your blog if you want. Sure, there are few kinks to iron out… like linking The Star Blogger Award text back to this post and not nominating multiple blogs you own.

But for start: it’s pretty good. So, good luck Crystal and I’ll be voting for Daisy Mae blog! Love what you are doing, and I’ve already promoted everyone else much more than you.

Goodbye Yoly

Not necessarily related to The Star Blogger Award, but Yoly has been behind my first Thursday post. And she would likely be a nominee, but for better or worse she decided to stop blogging. I won’t get into guessing reasons behind her decision – it’s her life and her choice to make. All I want is to say is: thanks for all your contributions Yoly. I hope you’ll at least keep visiting and commenting here on HowToAddict.com.

It’s time to vote and pick The Star Award Blogger winner

The poll below includes all nominees from this and previous two posts. Voting will be open until Thursday next week and limited to one vote per WordPress account. While you are welcome to invite your friends to vote for you, please no voting with duplicate accounts or through proxies. You don’t want me using my awesome programming skills.

Looking forward to reading your comments and seeing who gets the most votes. And of course, I am especially excited for winner announcement and prize giveaway next week.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 08-08-2017 00:00:00
End date 17-08-2017 00:00:00
Poll Results:
Who should win The Star Blogger Award for July 2017?

Let the voting begin!

Let focus and persistence guide you toward your goals

It’s incredible how much human beings can achieve when they have a clear plan that they relentlessly follow. When you look at any great achievement there is always sense of awe when you consider the time and effort. It is easy to think that you would never be able to do that. Yet, people whose work you admire are not much unlike you.

We often fool ourselves by saying that we are not good enough. The problem is that we focus too much on the result and not on the process. Nobody is a genius all the time. It is the daily grind over years, millions of seconds spent focusing and doing the work… that results in something that someone at some time may look up to.

And I get it – it is scary to acknowledge the amount of work ahead of you. But you know what is scarier? The possibility that you’ll end up not even trying. That you’ll spend lifetime hiding from everything you should be facing head on. That you’ll be left in a cloud of misery simply because you decided to do what needs to be done – tomorrow.

The best lives belong to those who take challenge head on, the first time it comes. By each action train yourself to perform, the same way someone else trains themselves to procrastinate. Bring habit and momentum on your side by making the right choices.

Embrace your focus and hold it against all doubts. Persistently and relentlessly attack. And stop only once you see that your goal is lying ahead of you, ready for the taking.

Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. -Abraham Joshua Heschel focus

Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. -Abraham Joshua Heschel

Highlighting blogs worth following – The Star Blogger Award nominations

Here we are for week 2 of highlighting under-appreciated blogs. Comments last week have been overwhelmingly positive, and I can only hope that trend will continue.

To make things more interesting I’ve decided to institute an Award. And unlike others “Awards” that you saw going around in blogsphere recently this one will have a real prize attached. Symbolic, but prize still.

First of all – contention. Any blogs that are linked in this weekly post will be eligible for prize. If your blog is not linked in the article (since we are only doing 3 per week), you can participate by creating a post on your blog with title “The Star Blogger Award“. In that post you need to:

  • Present your blog in at least 100 words
  • Nominate 3 other bloggers of your choice
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination
  • Link to this post as a source and comment link to your article

Then, every few weeks we’ll organize a poll that includes all nominees. The one with most votes will be declared the winner of The Start Blogger Award and given a prize. I plan on increasing pool prize as often as possible. If you have suggestion on what would be a good prize – let me know.

My mother used to bake cookies with me... but now she blogs and I pretty much raise myself.

Well, someone certainly deserves prize…

And now, to this week’s blogs I enjoy and The Star Blogger Award nominees.

The Loyal Brit Wit

I am in awe of daily schedule The Loyal Brit Wit is sustaining so far. Premise is simple: each post introduces “British English” word and builds around it. For example “loo” in England generally means “bathroom” – and sure enough, BritWit has a Loo post.

Here is the list of few posts I’ve particularly enjoyed:

All I can say – keep it up BritWit. And if you ever decide to write in detail on how you manage to keep up daily writing schedule – let me know; I’ll be ecstatic to read that one.

Project Believe In Yourself by Benjamin Ngiam

What sets Benjamin and his blog apart is how much video content he produces. That’s how we’ve met – he participated in Community Pool and reviewed other people’s blog. I’ve found idea great… aside of promoting his own OC he truly adds value by providing other people with in-depth feedback. I really hope he manages to get in rhythm and do video blog reviews every week.

With PBIY I recommend going to YouTube, specifically watching:

Touched2MySoul

As I often say: interacting with community is one of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging. Being able to talk with people from all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs is powerful. Addicting even. Thus I am truly thankful for Community Pool and interaction I had there with Touched2MySoul that got me to visit her blog.

To me, reading posts Touched2MySoul is writing provides all the inspiration I need to write my own. These I would especially recommend:

Nominate your blog and blogs you like

Same as the last week – when you have visited linked blogs, feel free to comment and share your impressions. And also, do nominate yours or worthy blog of someone you know that’s not getting enough recognition.

We will be having “The Star Blogger Award” poll in next week’s post, so be sure to comment and link your blog in order to be in contention.

Until next week!

Give in and surrender, so you can focus on things that matter

In today’s opinionated world the worst thing one can do is get lost in countless battles that are around us. Who would be the best president? Which sports team deserves most attention and recognition? What is the ideal form of government? Why is group A attacking group B and who is right there?

Those who managed to educate themselves and focus their brain understand that most of the questions most of the people ask themselves most of the day are completely irrelevant. Yet, those questions are the ones people answer every day in their heads over and over. Until they are lost and drained of willpower.

Consciously decide what topics interest you. Do not let advertisements, TV or yet another yelling idiot take you off your path. Do not let someone else decide what you will be thinking about during your day. Reign in your brain and focus it on topics that interest you.

Be especially careful about giving your time and interest to other people. One of the easiest ways to drain your willpower is to get involved in confrontations with others over trivial things. Integrate others into your plans but don’t depend on them. Focus on your production and things you can do, not others.

When you know what is important for you – follow the advice – give in and surrender. Everything that you decided not to be worth of your time, simply fold and surrender. Do what needs to be done, so you can take a loss and move on. Only then will you be able to double down on things that lead you ahead. Only then will you be free to embrace the grind that leads you to toward path of happiness, secluded from pointless arguments. Only when you surrender what you don’t care about can you fight for what you do care about.

Featured comment of the week: Luck is when opportunity meets preparation by brilliantviewpoint

Surrender: Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days -Zig Ziglar

Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days -Zig Ziglar

Spreading the message of positivity from blogs

Thanks to Community Pool and feedback from my fellow bloggers I’m finally on weekly posting schedule. It doesn’t feel like I’ve already spent last 6 weeks writing and posting every Monday. But results are definitely showing! My last post “Set yourself in happy state of mind, simply because you can” has 30+ comments. And number of visitors on my blog has drastically increased.

So, I want to expand on the experience. As a self professed improvement tryhard – I am now aiming to post twice a week. And while I still don’t have exact time scheduled, I’ll try to come up with one (likely Wednesday, Thursday or Friday @ 8:00).

As for the theme of the posts – I want to write about other people’s blogs. Share my impressions of them and lessons learned. Participating in Community Pool allows you to experience how much effort bloggers put in daily. We definitely live in the world of abundance. And it is my hope that trough the series of posts I’ll be able to point out overlooked and under-appreciated.

You have your own blog? Your life must be all kinds of fascinating!

My Instruction Manual by Keith McArthur

Keith is another author that you can often see hanging out on Community Pool. And for the good reason – his posts are inspiring, especially if you take into account his life story. I most enjoy reading his step-by-step posts like this one: Five Ways to Beat Procrastination Today.

If you like my motivational posts, Keith has more great content on the subject. I haven’t found if he separates those posts under certain tag on the site… but I try to follow “Inspired” category:

To Cut a Short Story Short by Simon J Wood

Talk about wordsmith hero. I’ve always admired people with discipline to consistently perform certain task with quality. Simon has been linking his short fiction stories ever since I’ve joined Community Pool. And he shows no signs of stopping.

So, it was kinda weird when I loved a post of his that’s not a short story. It’s detailed article on self-publishing your book on Amazon. I’m sure lots of bloggers are wondering what it takes to publish your writings as a book. Well, as Simon Says: Publishing the ‘Best of Your Blog’ is as Easy as 1-2-3!

Here are also some of his recent short stories:

Way of the Wise by Layvi Litton

It is my firm belief that reading good content preceeds good writing. Thus, while I do spend considerable time writing my motivational posts, I also reading a lot on the subject. Books are great for when I have time… but for quick 5 minute relaxing read I enjoy blogs like Way of the Wise.

Layvi is participating in Daily Prompt so there is almost always a new piece on the site for reading:

Don’t be shy, leave a Reply on blogs you’ve liked

When you have visited blogs I’ve linked, feel free to comment and share your impressions. That is the point – to kickstart conversation of content that bloggers are producing. For now, I do not have exact criteria by which I will be picking blogs to link each week. But comment on my own posts or partake in Community Pool, and I’ll likely visit your blog.

In that sense – feel free to also link to your related blog posts in comments. Obviously, I will not approve comments that are link only or one liners. Same goes for “Cheap NBA 2K17 MT for Sale” and “Work from home for $9999” – my spam folder is full of those ;). But if you wrote a post that you are particularly proud of – comment to present and link it. I for sure want to cheer you on!

Set yourself in happy state of mind, simply because you can

Sometimes it seems as if everyone around us is so blessed and happy. How is it that while we are struggling with our life others are enjoying theirs? What is the secret that separates those who are happy from those who are not?

The answer is simple – it’s the state of mind.

In today’s world everything is attainable. Look around and you’ll find people who go from poverty to being millionaires before they turn 30. Kids without parents that become stars in professional sports. People who lose 100s of pounds in a few months after spending most of their life being obese.

Scratch the surface and you’ll see that the most important thing these people did was: setting the right state of mind. They replaced depressive, negative, busy thoughts with ones that are supportive, positive and focused. They chose to hold themselves accountable. They chose performing over criticizing. They chose being happy over being unhappy.

You can do exactly the same thing. Understand that happiness is not a goal, happiness is a state. You can’t obtain happiness the way you obtain 4 year higher education diploma. Feelings inside you can’t be stored and owned like a piece of paper. They can however be retrieved and reignited over and over until certain feelings become identifying part of you. Relearn your brain to power positive thoughts instead of negative ones. Make happiness your identifying trait, a habit, and you will find yourself unable to be unhappy even in the darkest hours.

Ignite the flame of joy in you. Not tomorrow, the next year or the year after. Now! Seize the realization that your happiness belongs and is controlled by you. And that there is not a single reason to delay being in the happy state of mind.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions -Dalai Lama happy

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions -Dalai Lama

Choose to belong and fight for others. Depression targets those with no one around them.

One of the most impactful things in life is the group of people you share your time with. We humans climbed to the top of the food chain by organizing into tribes and standing united against stronger, faster and meaner enemies. What we couldn’t even imagine as individuals, we achieved as a part of a group. Tens of thousands of years we spent roaming and evolving together left the imprint of social animal all over us.

However, in this era of distractions and shallow entertainment many of us seem to have forgotten how important real relationships are. There is no surer way to box yourself into depression then to cut ties with everyone around you. At first it may seem like a great idea, but as time passes you’ll start to realize that you need someone, anyone to share your thoughts with.

So, choose to belong for sake of your own sanity. Understand that everything becomes easier when you truly invest yourself and share time with people you care about. Find those who share your values and goals. Stay away from those who don’t. But be prepared to give – the best relationships are those where you can help others with their need and have them satisfy yours.

Now, will you be burned more often than not by giving and not receiving? Of course. In the rapidly changing world of today, everyone needs so much, and tomorrow they will need even more. Know your limits but do not let those limits hold you. If you are able to give – give freely. Rejoice that you were able to provide and contribute to the social network we all depend on.

The more you give, the more you will develop yourself. We all end up getting pulled toward our own group. Leeches always end up with leeches. Givers always end up with givers. Don’t let adversity and disappointment knock you off your path and drive you toward group you don’t belong. Choose to give and be foundation for people around you and help them develop. Make your group a giver’s group and start carrying each other on the path of happiness.

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. -William Gibson

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes -William Gibson

How I would handle it: faking your feelings for sake of others

I truly enjoy being part of community. So, for me, the most lacking aspect of blogging is it’s solitary nature. Finding good blogging group is hard. Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon Community Pool – and connected with various individuals over last few weeks. Reading other people’s blogs is inspiring – it gets me thinking about stuff they are going through.

Last week I had extended conversation with Yoly as she commented on my Reduce dependencies and tune out distractions post. You can see our whole exchange on Community Pool. I would say this paragraph best represents our discussion:

I have to swallow my “wants” so everyone can be happy. But there are times that I can’t anymore so I’m the angry with everyone. I have good days and bad days. I’m the problem here, I can’t be honest with my myself because I need to sacrifice my needs to make others happy.

That got me thinking – how would I handle that? Feeling that I am in position I don’t want to be, yet I need to pretend that I am happy so I don’t disturb others. Sure enough, I’ve been there often. We all have. Parents and married people are especially vulnerable to this. Situations where they need to project “everything is great” image are everyday occurrence.

Here's to Friday... oh, that's right, we're parents. Friday means nothing anymore.

Here’s to Friday… oh, that’s right, we’re parents. Friday means nothing anymore.

Being able to satisfy others is a sign of strength

For me, the most important part is perception of “fake your feelings” strategy. Lots of people believe that one needs to be authentic 100% of the time. Yet, as one of my favorite quotes says “Every general statement is false”. Nothing is black and white.

So, as soon as you understand that it’s OK to fake here and there – everything becomes easier. Like: accept it’s OK to pretend that you are fine in front of your child. I mean, do you really want to saddle little kids with your issues? If children are able to help – sure, give them a chance… tell them what they can do so you can feel better. But in 99% situations you children can’t help you. Thus, swallowing your wants and pretending is way better alternative.

Now, faking is only half of the problem. No matter how strong of a person you are – you can’t fake your feelings long term. So, you absolutely need to define plan that allows you to get into setting where you can meet all your desires. But, you need to be realistic. We all would love to have billions of dollars, admiration of others, bunch of houses and yachts. True happiness in life comes with ability to define a “sweet spot”. A situation which you are able to maintain long term, yet that makes you happy.

Most of the people that are stuck in life have disconnect between ability and reality they desire. And there are only two ways to bridge this gap:

  1. Either you increase your ability
  2. Or downsize your desires

When talking about this subject almost everyone lauds option number 1. Yet, in practice, 90% of people choose second option. Depression is a poster child for option #2: one completely accepts that he will never improve. And willingly gives into expecting nothing.

Conclusion

So, in a nutshell this all comes down to two things: accepting imperfection and having discipline for continual improvement. Be OK with things not going your way most of the time. Isolate yourself and take a break when you need it. But take control of your life and accept responsibility. Work every day to keep going toward situation that you desire.

Theory is pretty easy. Application of what I am laying out here is the hard part… especially in Yoly’s situation. I am now regular visitor of her blog – as she is quite prolific and intriguing author. Here are some her posts in which she casts more light on her situation:

Considering post is already pretty long, I’ll stop here. See if there is any feedback on what I wrote.

If there is self-improvement subject you would like to discuss in detail – feel free reach out. Leave a comment or use Contact page; either will work!