Sleep Experiment Update: Ups and Downs

Devin over at Saint Joseph’s Vanguard wanted me to keep him updated on the sleep experiment that I’ve been doing.  And whatever Devin wants, Devin gets ;).

Anyway, so here’s a quick update on my crazy sleep schedule:

  • vector clockDifficulty getting up - Although I’m not going to say that it’s easy, things have been going pretty well with this whole thing. Over the past week my daily average of sleep is anywhere between 4.5 to 6.5 hours of sleep. I did have some bumps along the road though, and I haven’t followed the cycle completely, but overall I am sleeping a LOT less than I used to (formerly 8 – 10 hours a day).  I think the primary problem that I have in the mornings is the feeling of “it’s so early and nobody is awake, I should be sleeping.” Even though I may not be tired, I will go back to sleep just because of that.
  • Feeling throughout the day – Overall, I feel a whole lot better throughout the day doing this schedule.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, even when I would sleep 8 – 10 hours, I would still be tired and groggy throughout the day.  Now, even with almost half as much sleep I am more awake and productive throughout the day.  Pretty sweet.
  • Health – I exercise regularly and don’t see any health impact from the cycle.  In fact, I tend to exercise more simply because I feel like I need something to do toward the end of the night that doesn’t require brain work.
  • Work - This was another surprise.  Prior to this cycle, I would tend to almost doze off  in meetings.  I still do, but not nearly as much.  Overall, my productivity has increased at work, I have time after work for my side business projects, and things seem to be more in balance.
  • Family -  Family time with this sleep schedule was a big concern.  For the most part it’s been positive, especially on the weekends now that daddy isn’t sleeping in until 9:30am while everyone else has been up for 2 hours.  There have been some times here and there where I have missed a nap during the day and needed to take one in the evening, but even with that it’s been fine.  I do sleep in sometimes on the weekend until 7:30am depending on how I am feeling ;).

So there it is…  It’s been a few weeks, but all is going well and personally I feel that the schedule works fine.  I have more time to do side projects, be with family, exercise, and do whatever.  Personally, the best part about it all is the sense of accomplishment knowing that I am not stuck being that guy that needed 10 hours of sleep in order to feel rested.

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Sleep Experiment: Get More Done by Sleeping Less

So…  I’m probably doing something pretty dumb – but that’s okay – I tend to do that a lot.  The thing about working full-time, owning a business, growing a business, learning Latin, maintaining a family, and so on is that there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to fit everything in.  As Thomas More Eloquently put it:

“Amid these occupations that I have named, the day, the month, the year slip away. When, then, can we find time to write? Nor have I spoken a word about sleep, nor even of food, which for many people takes up as much time as sleep ~ and sleep takes up almost half a man’s life! So I get for myself only the time I filch from sleep and food…”

We sleep a lot – and that’s okay.  Our society and work is based on a particular sleep schedule and going against that cycle can be tough simply from a practical perspective.   Good thing for me I’ve never cared too much about the practical.

Anyway, It’s about 4:11am and I’ve been up an hour already.  While it’s lonely, it’s actually pretty cool.

sleeping dogWhat’s this all about?

So here is the scoop – for the next few weeks I am going to be challenging myself, and anyone that wants to join, to keep a different type of sleep schedule.  Rather than sleep the normal 7 – 9 hours a day we are going to drop that down to 4.5 – 6 hours a day.

Sound crazy?  Well, it’s not, it just takes discipline and patience to push through.  The cool thing is once you are in he groove you are able to utilize another 20 -28 hours a week of productivity.

That’s pretty crazy.

Anyway, the sleep schedule is called the “Everyman” polyphasic sleep schedule.  It essentially consists of 3 hours of core sleep time, and three 20-minute naps throughout the day.  Fair warning, I’ve tried this in the past and failed, but I;m pretty confident about this go around because of a couple of factors.

#1 I’m pretty sure I had a vitamin deficiency

For years, no matter what I did, I always felt tired throughout the day.  I could sleep for 12 hours and still be nodding off in class, at work, etc.

I tried the Everyman schedule during this time and it sucked….

It wasn’t until the last 2 years that I started taking little vitamin packets every day – and it helped a lot.  I had tried to do this sleep schedule a few years back and it was horrible.  Now, even though it’s super early, everything feels pretty good. Yes, there is a little fatigue but that’s to be expected for the first week or so.

#2 There wasn’t a good reason to not sleep

I like to sleep.  I’m lazy.  Unfortunately, there is no time to be lazy anymore.  Having a full-time job and a full-time business, raising a family pf 7 in one of the most expensive parts of the country on one income, and trying to maintain a good life balance takes a toll.  Yes, God’s grace is enough, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want us to sacrifice some of our luxuries in order to make things happen ;).

I was somewhat able to do all of the above with a normal sleep cycle, but things are growing and there is no way to keep up with it without filching on sleep.

#3 There has to be a better way

Something happened I became an entrepreneur and you may think that it’s a bit harsh, but since being in business for myself I can’t stand people that make excuses in order to justify why something can’t be done.  These are the same types of people that say they don’t have time to start a business while at the same time they spend 3 hours a day watching television or playing Farmville.

Seriously?

God put us here for battle.  If the world is used to sleeping 7 – 10 hours a day, I want to find a way to sleep less so I can have the advantage on the battlefield.  The time filched from sleep will go to building up the kingdom in some way or another.

Anyway, if there is a better way to sleep – I am going to do it.  Heck, if it weren’t for this schedule this blog post wouldn’t exist.  It’s 4:42 AM and Mass doesn’t start for another hour and 15 minutes. ;).

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One Simple Way to Take Back 21 Hours a Week

When you think of productivity or time management, you often imagine that there is a system out there that you can implement right away that will solve everything.  Often what really happens is that you end up spending even more time trying to implement and make that system into a habit.

Here’s the deal… there is an easier way to take back a lot of time out of your day than you probably realize and it’s very simple.  But, I am warning you – just because it is simple doesn’t mean that it is easy.

So… if you want to take back 21+ hours of your week, here’s what you do – turn off the T.V.

Before you throw a shoe at me, give me a chance to explain and I’ll even add a personal anecdote from my family of 7.

The average American watches approximately 3 hours of television a day.  Holy heck, that’s a lot a time!  Actually, that’s a lot of wasted time.  By getting rid of this time suck, not only will you save time, you will also become a far better person – I guarantee it.

But Dean, how can you live without television?  Are you a Neanderthal?

When my wife and I got married, our friends and family were aghast that we did not have cable television.  Personally, I thought it was a waste of money and we ended up just using Netflix to watch anything.

Fast forward to the last year and a half, my wife and I made the decision to completely get rid of even Netflix and the kids could only watch cartoons via YouTube on the weekends if all chores and school work are completed.

After a few days of enduring the whines and cries of our cartoon addicted children, something wonderful happened.  They realized that they had toys, and could run around outside, and had brothers and sisters to play with.  It was amazing.  Oh, and the best part was our oldest has been kicking butt with her Classical Arithmetic and Latin studies.

Catholic Stop Watching TVBut television isn’t bad!  It’s just how you use it!

It’s true that television in itself is not a bad thing.  The problem is that it very easily becomes a dominating force in the family.  It superficially satisfies a number needs and desires that we have, but it eventually becomes a master that is very unforgiving.

“The kids are loud and I need to get things done.” – turn on the babysitter, er… television.

“I’m stuck in the house and need adult conversation and information” – turn on the news.

“There is nothing to do, I need something to entertain me.” – watch the latest sitcom.

At first these scenarios may not seem so bad.  They are real situations and are very difficult to satisfy without the TV.  The problem is that these situations, and others like it, are gifts from God that are designed to build your character and strengthen the souls of your family.

When you immediately turn on the television you rob yourself and your family of the opportunity to love, to be courageous, patient, and kind.  Our children, who typically watch more television than adults do, have hours and hours of spiritual growth taken from them every day.

No, I am not saying that you and the kids should be praying an extra 21+ hours a week, which is not reasonable.  However, you can turn those situations into great (and sometimes difficult) learning experiences.

“The kids are loud and I need to get things done.” – Get the kids involved with the cleaning.  Set a schedule of chores with them and lay down expectations.  If they are under 6 years old then that get’s a little tough and you should just let them play with their toys.  I usually just tell my wife that I will watch the kids when I get home so she can do the things she needs to do

“I’m stuck in the house and need adult conversation and information” -  The news isn’t adult conversation, for the most part it is gossip.  As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:

…we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: “Everyone is entitled to know everything.” But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era. People also have the right not to know and it’s a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls [stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk.] A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.

“There is nothing to do, I need something to entertain me.” – There is always something to do.  If you find that you are bored it’s probably because you have your priorities out of whack and your habits are misaligned

Don’t be afraid to break the addiction

Even though it’s simple, it takes a lot of courage to break the addiction that the television holds on a family.  You will be ridiculed by friends and family, your kids will whine, your wife or husband will complain, but the rewards are worth it.

Be honest with yourself though.  I was addicted to television (among other things) and so was my family.  Yes, we still watch things but usually it’s 1 – 2 hours on the weekends, far less than we used to.

Seriously, what could you do with an extra 21 hours a week?  Could you write a book with that time?  would you be able to learn a new language like Latin?  How would your family benefit from more time with each other?  If you don’t think the extra 21 hours is worth it, that is fine too.  But don’t cry when you feel like you have no time in the day to do things that would fulfill you. ;)

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Why is Latin Hard to Learn and How the Language Has Rocked My world

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’d know that one of my super goals was to learn how to become fluent in the Latin language. Well, I’m glad to say that after about a year and a half I am still struggling with it. Why the heck am I glad? Well, because even though it’s because even though Latin is such a hard language to learn, through it I have learned more about my own language than I did through over 16+ years of schooling.

Now don’t stop reading just because I said that Latin is hard. Honestly, I have never had so much fun and so many surprises learning a language.

Latin is so mechanical and so explicit in its language that I’ve been forced to learn new things about my own language (and others) that I never would have learned otherwise.

That’s right… Latin has taught me so much about how language works universally that all of the struggle is worth it.

Now, why is Latin hard to learn? Read the rest of the article to find out.

I’m Behind on My Goal (There I Said It)

My goal was to have at least the first part of my Latin studies done by the end of January (there are 8 parts in total, each with about 40 lessons). I misjudged – mainly due to recent lessons that had 26 quizzes and exams total per each freaking lesson. Each of those quizzes are about 40 or so questions too so that didn’t help speed-wise.

Those quizzes were mainly for verbs, which are a pain in the #$% to remember.

Anyway, I am hoping that my next few lessons are less difficult so that I can get back on track. (Even if I do fall way behind, it is still a good example as to why you need to set clear goals).

Why is Latin Hard to Learn

Why Is Latin Hard to Learn?

Why is Latin hard to learn? Well, there are a number of reasons but for the sake of time I will only go over a couple that I think are relevant to Western thinkers (predominantly Americans). Here are the top reasons why Latin can be difficult for most people:

1. Latin requires work (It’s not for the lazy)

The #1 answer to the question “why is Latin hard to learn” is that is requires a lot of work. *Gasp* “You mean that I, as an American, can’t learn Latin in 48 hours and in 6 easy lessons?”

Nope, you can’t learn Latin easily. In fact, if you truly want to learn the language it’s going to take years.

Yes there are Latin immersion programs and groups out there, but here’s the deal – if you want to TRULY learn Latin, I mean that you want to be able to read, write, and understand poetry and oratory – then an immersion course isn’t going to cut it.

2. True Latin requires a Mastery of Grammar

Why is Latin so hard to learn especially for older folks? It’s because true mastery of Latin requires a mastery of grammar, and mastery of grammar takes a lot of memorization. Here is just a snippet of what you learn in grammar through the language:

  1. The eight parts of speech (classical) – noun, pronoun, verb, participle, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection.
  2. The six things that happen to a noun substantive – gender, number, case, declension, figure and kind.
  3. the seven things that happen to a noun adjective – gender, number, case, declension, figure, kind, and comparison.
  4. Subject in a sentence versus an object or indirect object.

and so on (these are off the top of my head mind you)…

The thing is, with Latin these grammar concepts are VERY important to know and understand in order to master the language. Take the below sentence for example:

Deus amat mundum

In English this means “God loves the world.” Simple, right? Yup… simple…

Well, let’s take a look at the Latin…

Deus = the singular nominative case of the substantive noun for “God”. We use the nominative case because God is the subject of the sentence.

Amat = the third-person, singular, active, indicative, present tense of the Latin verb for the word love.

Mundum = the singular accusative case of the substantive noun for “world”. We use the accusative case because it is direct object of the sentence.

Whew… that’s a lot of grammar… But check out what happens when we change things up a bit and use passive voice.

Mundus amatur a Deo (The world is loved by God)

 

What the heck!? All of the words changed because of one little change? Yup… let’s see what happened:

Mundus = Nominative case for “the world” now since it is the subject of the sentence.

Amatur = The passive voice of the indicative, singular, present verb.

Deo = The accusative form of God since he is now the direct object.

So the key takeaway is that words change depending on how they are used in the sentence. It can be confusing, but it’s elegantly mechanical and a perfect way to learn how language works. In fact, that’s why schoolchildren were taught Latin in elementary school – namely to learn the art of language.

#3 Latin is a Less Used Language Conversationally

Is Latin hard to learn? Heck yeah it is, but it’s not impossible. Is Latin harder than Spanish? The answer is yes… and no.

Latin is harder to learn than most western languages because it isn’t used much anymore. It’s hard to hear what the language sounds like. It’s not like you can walk into your local deli and practice your Latin with Cicero the baker. It can be a hard language to learn simply because you don’t have the opportunity often to practice it and develop it.

Don’t worry, It’s Doable and Worth It

The big thing to understand is that Latin is more difficult for us than it is for little kids. Why is Latin hard to learn for adults? It’s hard for us because we are used to knowing our own language without much effort and it sucks having to memorize a bunch of new things. Is it Latin hard to learn in college? Hell yeah it is… but that’s why it was always taught in elementary school because wise men knew that we would soak it all up when we were young.

Is Latin easy to learn? Heck no, but learning is is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and Latin is not so tough if you go into it knowing that you are going to have to work for it.

Anyway, all this to say… Latin has been rocking my world and is making me really work to meet my goals. ;)

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How Does Goal Setting Improve Motivation

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be doing a series on goal setting.  Too many times I talk with Catholics that gripe about not being able to accomplish this thing or that.  Most of the time the problem is that they have no concept of how to set disciplined goals, or that they are scared to limit themselves to only a few focused objectives (even becoming a saint).

Well, because of that let’s look at the question for this week, “How does goal setting improve motivation?”

As human beings, we typically need motivation to carry out tasks or engage in challenging activities. In many cases, we fail to reach the mental goals we set simply because we have no real motivation to do so. We might want to improve our performance at work or go back to school, but there is nothing driving us to follow through with these ideas. However, setting reasonable and clear goals for yourself will provide you with the motivation you need to get things done.

Using Goal Setting to Improve Motivation

How Does Goal Setting Improve Motivation

Creating a goal in and of itself is a motivator – and you will see that motivation through goal setting is powerful because goals are centered on things that you truly care about, which give you a reason to follow through with your plans.

In regards to the theory of goal setting, most experts recommend making your goals “SMART.” This simply means that your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Each of these factors plays an important role in motivating you to complete your goal. A specific goal gives you direction, which eliminates confusion and makes it easier to stay on track. A goal that is measurable and attainable will not only hold you accountable, but will also ensure that you never make your goals unachievable by setting your sights too high and too quickly. By making the goal relevant, you find a way to align your goal with your future and the things you care about most. Finally, putting a deadline on your goal will keep you motivated and help you stay on the right track.

Setting a goal and achieving that goal also brings forth feelings of satisfaction and in some cases, will bring praise from co-workers or loved ones. This will also serve as a motivator as humans continuously seek out acceptance and praise from those in their social groups and families. Knowing that you will receive a simple “job well done,” or a promotion at work is often enough of a motivator to continue working towards your goal.

The Importance of Setting Short-Term Goals for Motivation

Setting short-term goals will also greatly improve motivation. In many cases, these short-term goals are a part of a larger goal that may take months or years to complete. Accomplishing these short-term goals will provide you with the satisfaction you need to keep working towards the bigger goal. Without these milestones, you may find it incredibly challenging to stay on track for an extended period of time simply because that feeling of satisfaction is so far down the road. With each milestone you overcome, you can reward yourself for a job well done, which will further motivate you to keep on working towards your goal.

Using Goal Setting as Motivation for Performance Enhancement

Both coaches and employers motivate their teams to improve their performance by giving them goals to reach. Again, these goals need to be clearly defined, time-bound and attainable. When goals are accomplished, members of the team can enjoy a feeling of satisfaction and praise from their coach or employer. Accomplishing these goals and improving performance also boosts confidence and encourages a person to continue improving themselves. Ultimately, how does goal setting improve motivation? It causes a drastic improvement in motivation and performance by giving clear direction and a challenging goal to strive for.

What about you? What goals are you striving for? Share at least 1 goal in the comments!

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What is a Super Goal?

We live in a society that loves to feel like they’re doing things. Often we will spend a lot of time reading, watching, and listening to a whole bunch of things that don’t matter and equate them to actually getting things done. The sad thing is nothing could be further from the truth though. Aside from getting more information, which can be useful, you aren’t doing anything that is of value. That’s where super goals come in.

Super Goal?

Super goals are things that have tremendous value. When you finish a super goal your whole life changes from one direction to another. They don’t have to be long and arduous goals, but they do have to make a huge difference in either how you think, how you feel, your profession, or anything else that is important to you. Also, they are things that can be clearly acted on.

For example, spending 30 minutes creating a pay-per click ad campaign is a super goal if you’ve never created an ad campaign before.

Why? The reason is simple, prior to creating the campaign you had no idea how pay-per click advertising worked, and you had no idea whether it was going to be successful or not. If the advertising campaign is successful it opens the door up to new possibilities when it comes to making money.

On the other hand, if it’s not successful now you know not to go down that path or at least spend a lot of time on it. There is a huge difference between reading six hours worth of how to make money online books and actually seeing the results of trying to start a business.

Check out this Frank Kern Interview – in it he talks about the difference between feeling like you are doing something and actually doing it:

(Warning: there is some strong language)

An example of what a super goal is not

You want to stay as far away as possible from things that seem like they are moving you in the right direction but are not. One of the biggest and worst time sucks that we all should avoid is the television.

Sure, the news feels like it is helping us to learn more about the world we are in, but in fact all it does is continually make us addicted to hearing more and more about things that don’t matter in our life. Think about it, do the news companies care whether or not their programming educate and better peoples lives? Maybe, but probably not – but they are definitely worried about making more money off of your viewership through their advertising sponsors. Do you blame them?

The idea is that you need to find those high value low time cost actions that will help change your life.

Here are two more quick examples:

Super goal – creating a 30 page e-book and sell it on the warrior forum for the first time.

Not a Super Goal – reading A 30 page e-book on how to sell on the warrior forum for the first time.

There you go – now go make some super goals.

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Super Goal: Finish Classical Grammar 1-A (Latin)

I’m going to explain what a super goal is in a later post, but the first one I’m going to publish on this blog is one that is very dear to me and that is finishing classical grammar 1-A.

What the heck is classical grammar?

Before I answer the question, what is classical grammar, first things first. When I was growing up I was a horrible student. School was dull, pointless, and meaningless. I spent most the day daydreaming about being a superhero, or saving the class from an evil genius. Very little of my mind was spent on learning new things. Honestly, I hated school.

The thing is, it’s not that I didn’t like to learn. In fact I have always loved learning new things. What I hated was being trudged to the school room, having to sit down and a desk for hours on end, and then only learning things that others thought were important. Not that they weren’t important, but usually it was a hodgepodge of whatever the teacher felt they should teach that day.

Sorry if I’m sounding negative, it’s mostly just the way I think. I’m an odd duck.

Anyway, so the reason why this particular goal is so important to me is that I feel that I’ve lacked a lot of proper education over the years. Let me give you an example:

WhyLearnLatinWhen I was a freshman in college I was cocky. During the first two weeks of my English 100 class I was working on a four page essay that counted for about 10% of my grade. Well, I spent hours and hours perfecting my masterpiece. Seriously, to me it was a gem of English composition that should’ve been placed in the museum. Well, at least I should’ve won a Pulitzer Prize for it.

I submitted my work, and confidently waited for two days. Finally, when I got it back I was horrified. The red ink outnumbered my beautiful black text by at least a margin of 2 to 1. What the heck?

The problem that I didn’t know was that I had no idea how to even stream a complete sentence together. No joke, I spent hours writing fragment sentence after fragment. To top it off after my professor gave me my paper back, he had me come outside so he could show another professor friend my work. He then proceeded to make fun of my paper with the other professor while I stood staring with my mouth open.

Well, the good thing is that it taught me a very valuable lesson – I know Far less and I think I do. And although I may think that I’m a good communicator, more than likely I’m not and I need a lot of work.

So all of this brings me back to why I have this is a super goal.

Latin is the foundation and basis for all western languages right?

While it’s true that Latin is the foundation for a lot of languages in the west, that’s not the reason why anyone should learn Latin. Up until about 100 years ago everybody learned Latin for one reason alone and that is to understand grammar. And learning grammar wasn’t just about learning English grammar either, it was about understanding how language works as a whole – universally. By understanding how language works, you can move on to how reasoning and communication works. That’s some powerful stuff that many people (including myself) have lost in recent years.

For example, I am currently on lesson 32 out of 40 in the particular course that I’m taking. In it I’ve learned everything from The eight parts of speech, the difference between noun substantive and noun adjectives, to the differences between a subject direct object, and indirect object. This may not sound like a big deal, but you have to understand that I knew just about nothing of not only English grammar, but grammar in general. So this is quite a big deal for me.

Here is a good introduction to why Latin is so important (Note: this is not the program I am currently taking):

So there you have it, that’s why this is one of my super goals. I want to learn Latin so I can better understand language. If I understand language better, then I’ll be able to communicate better. If I communicate well, that opens the door so many different possibilities and opportunities. Who knows, maybe in the next two years I will write a book.

Super Goal Stats

All right, so I started this thing about year ago in October. As of writing this I’m about three quarters of the way through. However, I’m on the hardest part – mastering verb conjugations. Yes, it sucks. I basically have to memorize over 50 different ways to say one verb. The good thing is that after this I should be good to go with the basics of Latin grammar and can move on to actually reading some of the great books of the past (the Bible in Latin, Cicero, Cato, etc.).

Latin grammar GoalsSo using the SMART method, I specifically want to finish this goal by January 31 of 2014. It’s definitely reachable since I’m at the end, but it’s going to take daily study in order to do so.

020 PC Podcast: Social Media and The Church with Brandon Vogt

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Brandon VogtIn this episode I had the great pleasure of interviewing an amazing Catholic author, Brandon Vogt.  Brandon is the author of the blog The Thin Veil and of the book The Church and New Media.

As you can guess, the majority of what we talk about in this episode is how Catholics can use social media to reach and evangelize a much larger community than they ever could before.  Not only that, parishes and ministries can communicate with their members in a much more effective and meaningful way.

Although there is a lot of fear and mistrust of social media among Catholics, Brandon shows us that it is just a tool that can be either used for good or for evil depending on how you choose to use it!

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An Introduction To Affiliate Marketing – It’s Easier Than Your Think

The vast majority of Catholic bloggers know about Google Adsense, but rarely have I seen some that use affiliate sales to produce revenue from their website.  I am going to file this particular video under digital products since being an affiliate – for the most part – entails marketing for an electronic product or service.

In this video you are going to learn what affiliate marketing is, where to find products to promote, why promote them is a good thing if done the right way, and how to do it effectively.

Check out the video below:

{{{Gold}}}

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A Hard Lesson In Overcoming Objections In Sales

I received a comment on one of the premium posts the other day that really got me thinking about overcoming objections in sales.

The comment was from a visitor by the name of Kevin and he didn’t pull any punches when it came to what he though about my premium content:

Can’t afford your premium access until I cam [sic] generate more income from my Catholic content business. Not joking.

As you can see, it was very simple and to the point.  However, despite how short the comment was, it really says a great deal.

Continue Reading →

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