1 minute to improve the world

Sometimes all it takes is a minute to make a difference in someone’s life and that difference can improve the world.  This is a story about a high school senior who took it on himself to make a difference in people’s lives.  All he did was create an anonymous account and start posting positive captions about his classmates.  He used social media to build up the people in his community without the possibility of returned benefit.  Most of his posts probably didn’t take more than a minute to write but the impact he had on his classmates was enormous.

I suggest we each spend a minute a day trying to make someone’s life just a little bit better.  Do it without the expectation that the person will return the favor.  It can be something as simple as taking out the trash, letting someone in front of you in traffic or simply asking that quiet person about their day.  Small things matter.



Habits: Good or Evil

Habits have a bad reputation.  To be fair, some bad habits have led to many ills in society today.  Smoking, over eating, etc. have killed off more people than wars in the last 50 years.  Ok.  It lends some credence to the “habits are bad” logic.

On the other hand, have you ever driven home and not remembered the trip?  Habits kept you on the road.  Habits helped you follow traffic laws.  Habits watched for other cars and habits knew the route home.  Looking at it this way, habits kept you alive while your mind was somewhere else.

Maybe we need to step back and really think about what a habit is before we decide if they are good or bad.  Basically, a habit is your mind trying to do efficiently a series of actions you take in response to a trigger on a regular basis.  Your mind is wonderfully powerful at recognizing patterns and connections between things.  It recognizes, without any conscious effort on your behalf, what you do in specific situations and then automatically prompts you to do the same thing in the same situation.  It is incredibly efficient, freeing your mind to do other things.  It is labor saving for your mind and, therefore, for you.  By this definition, habits actually are very good . . . . . it is just that sometimes the long term outcome of our habits are damaging.  That isn’t the habit’s fault.  It is our fault because our our initial decisions led to the habit.

A habit has three main components:  Trigger, action and reward.  The trigger is also sometimes called the anchor or the cue.  This is the situation that causes your mind to default to its labor saving device.  Think of Maslow’s dogs.  By ringing a bell just before he fed them, Maslow built a trigger (the bell) to the action of feeding (action and reward).  For you, the trigger can be something like “finished lunch” which leads to the action of visiting the vending machine.  The reward is the sugar rush for doing the action.  Rewards can be enjoying the chocolate bar after lunch or staying alive on the drive home.  Not normally discussed is a fourth component of a habit, that is the long term effect of repeated action.  The repeated action of checking your rearview mirror every few minutes will lead to a very different long term effect than the repeated action of eating a king sized bag of M&Ms after every lunch.

In life, success is more a result of consistent positive action over time than any decision or any short term rush of effort.  The very nature of habits make them a powerful tool for success.  By establishing habits that lead to good long term results, you will put in consistent positive action without much thought.  The trick is to determine what habits will lead you toward your definition of long term success, identifying appropriate triggers and rewards.


We all know to get and stay healthy we need to move more.  But the reality is, most of us dread dragging our butts to the gym or forcing ourselves to formally exercise.  Face it.  We are busy, tired and don’t always have the time or drive to go to the gym.  Here are some exercise hacks to painlessly work in extra movement into your day, taking very little time and energy, and will make a big difference in your activity level.  And as we all know, every step counts…

Hack #1

Park in the middle or towards the back of the parking lot.

Every time you go to any store, whether it is the grocery store, the mall or even Walmart, don’t drive around looking for the closest parking spot.  Find a spot in the middle of the lot, and park there.  You’ll find a few wonderful things very quickly.  You will be working in extra steps to get fit and healthy.  It won’t take long before you are able to and wanting to park further and further away from the store, as you get healthier and build stamina.  And finally, you will actually find parking quicker and reduce stress as there are many more open spots toward the back of the parking lot.  These extra steps add up quickly.  If you only park ten spaces further away twice a day, you will walk an additional 10 miles a year.  Don’t think of it as a daily burden but just a part of your ten mile journey……or maybe 20 miles.

Hack #2

Take one flight of stairs instead of an escalator or elevator.

Any time you have the choice, take one flight of stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.  If you live in an apartment building with an elevator, get off one floor before your own and go up the last flight by stairs.  If you’re at an airport choose the flight of stairs.  Make the same choice if you’re at a hotel, a friend’s apartment building or even in a medical building.  Taking one flight of stairs instead of the elevator/escalator will build strength and stamina.  As you build strength and stamina, you may find you’d even like to try two flights of stairs.  It takes very little of your time, will burn extra calories and build muscle.  Make a game of it.  If your friends or co-workers are taking the elevator the whole way, see if you can beat them by taking the stairs.

Hack #3

While at work, get out of your chair once an hour.

Set a reminder on you computer or smart phone.  Every hour on the hour, have your alarm go off.  At that time stand up.  In the office there are unlimited ways to vary up some quick and easy movements to keep you blood flowing and your body active.  Take one minute.  Just simply one minute.  Do squats at your desk.  Take a quick walk around the perimeter of the office floor.  Go down then up one flight of stairs.  Take the longest possible route to the kitchen, the bathrooms or conference rooms.  Place your feet two to three feet from the wall, lean in to the wall and do standing push-ups for one minute.  Stretches are wonderful as well.  Bend down and touch your toes.  Reach up high and stretch that way.  There are endless ways to move for just one minute.  Again, like hack #1 and #2, once you start and build strength and stamina, you may surprise yourself and want to increase the movement to 1 1/2 minutes or even 2 minutes.  Your body will very quickly adapt and look forward to it.

These are very simple hacks that will change your sedentary life into a more active one.  You can start small and still reap the healthy benefits of activity.  These are easy activities that nearly anyone can accomplish.  Every journey begins with a single step.  Take your single step today.  And remember, every step counts!

Wolski Success Partners, Life coaches.

Epic Fails – Milton

Milton grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania in the late 1800s.  He worked hard and helped his parents on the farm.  He dropped out of school after the 4th grade because he had to work to help support his family.  Later, he worked as a printer’s apprentice and thought he had a start at a career.  Unfortunately, he discovered that printing wasn’t for him and left.  At age 15, he worked as an apprentice for a confectioner and found candy suited him better than printing.

At 19, he borrowed $100 from his aunt and opened a candy shop in Philadelphia.    He made caramels at night and sold them with a push cart during the day.  He worked 15 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Even so, his business failed after only six years.

Milton moved to Denver with his father to try his luck at prospecting silver.  They  had no luck.  Eventually, Milton ended up working for another confectioner.  There, he learned skills that eventually would prove to be even more valuable than silver.  Milton eventually left Denver and launched a business in Chicago.  It failed.  Then he moved to New Orleans and launched another business.  It failed.  He moved to New York and launched another business.  It failed.

Finally after failing at so many opportunities and businesses, Milton moved back home to Pennsylvania.  He was penniless and his family had given up on him.  They wouldn’t even take him in and definitely would not lend him money.  He was alone, broke and without support.  He was a failure.  Then a former employee, Henry, came to his rescue.  Henry took Milton in and lent him the money to move his candy making equipment from New York to Pennsylvania.  He experimented tirelessly with different recipes.  By using the techniques he learned in Denver, he founded the Lancaster Caramel Company, which is still in business 125 years later.  One day he saw a demonstration of chocolate-making equipment and felt that chocolates were a bigger opportunity than caramels.  He followed his heart and sold Lancaster Caramel Company and used the money to found Hershey’s Chocolate Company.  You may have heard of it.

The moral here is that it may take a person a thousand failed attempts before they reach their success!  Milton Hershey worked for many years, failed at several careers and many businesses before his first success with Lancaster Caramel.  With each failure, he took away valuable lessons.  With each learned lesson, he launched into the next opportunity.  Even though his family had given up on him, he kept on.  He didn’t listen to others telling him that he couldn’t do it or telling him to give up.  He kept trying and trying.  Milton never gave up.  He eventually founded one of the most successful chocolate companies in American history.


Marketing tidbits for yourself and your business

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