Matt\’s Cuppa

My take on tea, technology, and our environment

Archive for the ‘Self-help’ Category

Just The Text, Ma’am, Just The Text…

Posted by telecommatt on January 18, 2008

Featured Windows Download: Grab Just the Text from Documents with Text Mining Tool

Text Mining Tool grabs just the text out of Word documents, PDFs, HTML pages, and other documents without the hassle of opening, selecting everything and hoping embedded images d…

It’s Friday, so I’m allowed to use bad humor in my post titles! I just put together a database whose reference tables involved copying and pasting data from a 17 page pdf file into a text editor, removing all the crazy tags and special characters, and realigning the text before finally importing it into the database. I cannot begin to tell you how much less annoying the process would have been had I known about this free little Windows (only– sorry Macaddicts) application!

Posted in Self-help | Leave a Comment »

I Got Motivated

Posted by telecommatt on June 26, 2007

I attended the day long Get Motivated semnar last week. The seminar was held in the Target Center, a sports arena in downtown Minneapolis, and the arena was packed. Standing room only. Honestly, I usually avoid these things because I’m not into large crowds of cheering people. My motivation was really due to the speakers that were. The producers of the event, Peter and Tamara Lowe, don’t mess around when it comes to who is going to be on their stage.

Peter & Tamara Lowe

This is what their website has to say:

Only the BEST of the BEST appear on our stage! Speakers vary by
location and always include a Dream Team of respected success experts.
Current and former speakers have included: Former NYC Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, Secretary of State General Colin Powell, Former First Lady
Barbara Bush, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Former World
Heavyweight Champion George Foreman, NFL Superstars Joe Montana, Peyton
Manning, Ladainian Tomlinson and coach Tony Dungy, Presidents Ronald
Reagan, George Bush, Entertainers Bill Cosby, Jerry Lewis, Goldie Hawn,
Motivational Expert Zig Ziglar, Legendary Microsoft President Rick
Belluzzo, Gold Medal Olympian Mary Lou Retton, Barbara Walters, and
Larry King just to name a few!

So, I sat in the audience and listened to what all these successful people had to say. The morning session consisted mostly of wealthy people selling their pre-packaged systems for success to a captive audience. They must have made a killing! The funny thing is, I went in there with the mindset that these people were all successful and I was there to learn how to be like them. Like everyone else in the audience, I was lapping up every word! It was after the lunch break that things sort of switched gears. These were the people that I had come to see, people you see in person once in a lifetime. I later realized that these were the people who were up there talking about success not because of their system, but because of themselves. Take Zig Ziglar as an example. There’s something so personable about Zig that you can’t help liking the guy. He’s living proof that integrity still works. And Gen. Colin Powell, what a powerhouse of a speaker! The man has seen so much of what has shaped our world today that he just opens his mouth and something insightful falls out. You may not agree with everything he says, but you can’t argue with the man.

Gen. Colin Powell

Out of everyone who stood up that day, it was Bill Cosby who walked on stage and kicked me in the gut. That’s literally what it felt like. I wish that I could remember the wording he used, but I’ll have to paraphrase things a bit instead. When he walked on stage (after making a hilarious jab at the next speaker, Gen. Powell) he looked around and said, “I know why all of you are here.” He proceeded to tell us that we were down there (in our seats) because we wanted to learn how to be up here (on stage). His point was that we were the reason we were down there. We put ourselves in our seats just was we put them on stage. It was a decision that we had made ourselves.

Bill Cosby

It was at this point that I sat back and thought of all those people who had lined up earlier that day to buy someone else’s system. I thought of all those people who were frantically scribbling notes trying to get the entire seminar into their Franklin planner. I thought, “Did we all just miss the point?” I had a sort of sickly feeling crawl across my skin. It seemed that these “successful” people were there feeding on the desire of a bunch of little people who wanted a piece of that success for ourselves. One man that day came out and told us all that we were here for the wrong reasons, and I wonder how many people got it. If the majority of the audience had, I think there would have been an audible intake of breath when he stopped speaking. There wasn’t.

In retrospective, every person that stepped up on stage that day had important things to talk about. I thought that it would be Gen. Colin Powell who would have the biggest impact on me, but it was Bill Cosby. He stood there and told us that we were all going about things wrong, and no one wants to hear that. But I’m glad that he did. I think I needed that; the admonishment came at a time when I was receptive to it. I feel lucky about that. I guess it’s true that we don’t always get what we want, but if we are receptive enough, we get what we need.

Posted in Entrepeneurism, Self-help, Success | 1 Comment »

12 Step Program for Reducing Carbon Your Dependency

Posted by telecommatt on February 8, 2007

I’ve decided to reprint this article in it’s entirety because I’m so impressed with it. This is a list of (mostly) simple things anyone can do to reduce their carbon footprint by hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year. I think I’ll plan a “green weekend” and see how many of these I can get done in 48 hours.

Because we all contribute to
global warming, be co-dependent no more!

1st Step: Admit you are
powerless over your addiction to using energy and that your high energy
use has become unmanageable, and then change 10 light bulbs in your
house to compact florescent bulbs. Taking this first step saves 1,795
lbs of carbon dioxide per year!

2nd Step: Come to believe that a power strip turned off can restore
you to sanity. Turn off your power strip when not in use and save 300-500
lbs of CO2 output per year!

3rd Step: Make a decision to turn your water heater down to 120
degrees, and turn your will over to the care of the planet, as you understand
it. This step saves 550 lbs of CO2 per year!

4th Step: Take a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself
and then wash out the waste in cold-water laundry. Save 1,533 lbs of
CO2 per year!

5th step: Admit to yourself and to a human witness the exact
nature of your true driving needs (how often do you drive the entire
soccer team around?), and drive a more fuel efficient car (increase
of 3 mpg) will save 2,400 lbs of CO2 emissions per year, and save getting
hosed at the pumps!

6th Step: Take an oath that you are entirely ready to begin composting
25% of your garbage. Save 1,040 lbs a year!

7th Step: Humbly wrap your heater in an insulation jacket. Save
1,000 lbs!

8th Step: Make a list of all your errands; become willing to
combine them on the same trip, and drive 10 miles less a week. Save
500 lbs per year!

9th Step: Make amends to the planet and turn your thermostat
down 2 degrees in the winter and up 2 degrees in the summer. Save 2,000
lbs of CO2!

10th Step: Take personal inventory of your appliances and unplug
them when they are not in use. Save 300 lbs a year!

11th Step: Seek through prayer and meditation to lighten your
footprint on the planet and clean the coils in your refrigerator twice
a year. Saves 651 bs of CO2 per year!

12th Step: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of
these steps, resolve to take this message to other energy addicts, and
to practice these principles in all your affairs. And if you get really
motivated, switch to solar power. It’ll save 5,749 lbs of CO2

output a year!

For more
“sound solutions for a healthier planet”,

Posted in Environment, Self-help, Websites | Leave a Comment »

Got Motivated Again: Further Thoughts on Cosby

Posted by telecommatt on December 31, 1969

This morning, I was discussing the Get Motivated conference with my father. We had both attended the conference and really haven’t had time to sit down and share thoughts on what we heard. In particular, we were talking about Bill Cosby. We both agreed that, out of everyone who took the stage that day, it was Bill Cosby’s talk that we took the most away from. I talked about Cosby in my other post about the conference here.

He did a bit on butterflies and moths that was hilarious. Behind the laughter, there was some really powerful stuff going on. Basically, moths are dull, boring, and stupid.They run into bug zappers and how play kamakazi with cars. “Now this is how you stop a car! Bzzzzzz…splat!!” He obvioulsy has issues with moths running into his car. Or, he probably knew that all that stuff about moths would make people laugh harder. Butterflies, on the other hand, are bright and beautiful and they spend their time bobbing from flower to flower. There was a bit more, but what is came down to was, “Are you going to be a moth or a butterfly?”

What I got out of this was potential. But not just the regular “You have the potential to become successful” stuff. I think he was aiming deeper than that. I think his whole talk was aiming deeper than that. I belive he was talking about who you could be, while most of the audience was listening for what they could be. Cosby’s message was pretty clear in my mind: You can’t be successful unless you be yourself first. So, with the butterflies, he was asking who are you going to be? Are you going to be a moth and believe that you can stop the next car? Or are you going to be a butterfly and spend your life moving from flower to flower? In other words, are you going to chase after success like it’s a moving car, or are you going to be success and enjoy the flowers?

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Posted in Self-help, Success | Leave a Comment »