Monthly Archives: May 2016

Think, Feel, Know: How Well do You Communicate

Communicate What You “Think or Know,” Not What You “Feel”?

Baby Shocked SONY DSC
Baby Shocked
Thinking woman
Bigstock-Thinking-woman-46936999 yo
Do you Know the Difference Between a Thought and a Feeling?

Someone once asked me if I knew the difference between a thought and a feeling. It struck me as a senseless question. Of course I did. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

Then I thought about it and realized that many times a thought seems to be a feeling, or vice-versa, when it is not. And it was only made worse when questions were posed as to what I thought about, or felt about, any give topic.

Now, with social media people communicate instantly with others around the world. More and more people communicate feelings and opinions posed as facts, thoughts posed as feelings, and feelings posed as thoughts.

It seemed worthwhile to write a little piece about how totally confused many people are about thoughts and feelings, and what impressions we communicate with each.

FEEL

Put simply, feelings are an emotional, biological response to a stimuli, such as a thought. Feelings can be a response to something seen, or to physical sensation, like pain. Frequently, they are responses to something someone else says or writes that the feeler finds offensive or insulting, or elevating. Tasting ice cream can bring back either great or horrible childhood feelings, or no particular feeling at all.

Learning bad news is, at first, knowledge followed by a thought, one that generates a feeling. Feelings also can be triggered by countless things that are conditioned responses, ones of which we’re not aware. The only way to change these feelings is to change the thought that provokes them.

Feelings are entirely contained within a single person. That person may inspire others to have similar or even different feelings, but, despite recognizing and responding with feelings, those people are feeling their own emotions. Some may feel hope while others may feel fear. Feelings’ unique property is that they are emotional and subjective.

THINK

Thoughts are completely without feeling, though they, in turn, can be triggered by feelings or be the trigger for feelings. For example, in this highly charged political environment, any number of statements begin their journey as a thought that sparks an emotional response, which stimulates more thought in order to put it into words, usually to express the feelings. But in short, thoughts are objective.

HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE

The two photos below depict the difference between thoughts and feelings.

Meeting-People Thinking
Meeting-People Thinking
Meeting-People smiling
Meeting-People smiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may take a bit of practice before you can tell the difference. It’s difficult because one seems naturally to lead to the other, and does this almost instantly. Because of that, it may be difficult to see that exact moment when a thought generates a feeling, or the feeling generates a new thought.

Once you can tell the difference you’ll easily see how weak a statement it is for people to say things like “I feel like the education system is going in the wrong direction.” They may, indeed, have some bad feelings about it, but if they have reasons for their feeling, then it’s more correct, and more powerful to say, “I think that the education system is going in the wrong direction,” and be able to list reasons why they think this is so. They might follow up with, “I have some bad feelings about the outcome.”

When they reference only their feelings, it’s very vague. It might must mean they don’t like change of any kind, rather than disapproving of specific changes because of some fault with them. If they have no reason to think this, that is, they can’t list any facts to substantiate their opinion, then maybe it IS just a feeling. And if this is the case, would you let that person’s feeling sway your opinion?

The point is, try to find out why people say what they say, and whether their comment is truly a fact-based thought, or just an opinion or personal preference.

Look at the images below. One depicts a woman thinking with little emotion. That is, unless you are someone who wants to work from home. Then it might trigger some strong and encouraging feelings. But it starts with a thought. “I think” I’d like to do this leads to any number of positive feelings.

In the second picture we see only hands wearing rings. Are they an older woman’s hands? A younger woman’s? Do they depict patience, loneliness, giving advice, hearing advice? Considering the sweater, maybe she’s just trying to keep them warm. Whatever your thoughts, they may be the trigger that will lead to an emotion.

Businesswoman Reading - Thinking
Bigstock-Businesswoman-Reading-A-Document-54866261 Ammentorp
Hands
Hands – Death_to_Stock_Photography_BodyTruths_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following images also elicit thoughts that lead to feelings.

Eye drops
Eye drops
hands-598146
Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, it seems that the thought consistently precedes the feeling, as it takes thought to process the information coming to us. The resulting feeling is completely subjective to each of us, individually.

Though feelings occur lighting fast, those feelings are the results of other thoughts, such as facts or other knowledge or experiences to which we associate our thoughts. Look at the image “Eye drops.” If you have good feelings about getting eyedrops (pain relief, improved vision, restored sight) then the image above might trigger pleasant feelings. But if you’re like so many people, that image might trigger an “Eww” or just make you cringe. In any case, the image is the same, the thought starts by interpreting the image and leads to your own feelings.

The next image, “Family” might elicit warm, secure thoughts and feelings for some, and painful ones for others.

KNOW

Knowledge, however is based on fact, proper research, or empirical evidence that strongly suggests a trend. It’s repeatable under the same circumstances, and reliable when used for making decisions.

It’s not uncommon to think we know something, often based on experience. That’s not always “knowledge.” A good example is taking every article we read as fact without vetting those facts. Facebook memes and posts are a perfect example. How often do you research the quote to see if the person associated with it ever really said that? And I don’t mean just a Snopes search, but possibly searching factual information, museums or cautiously searching news articles. The latter are notoriously spun to deliver more propaganda than fact. Does your source give a complete or partial presentation? Does it lean left or right? Pro or con? If it’s anything but neutral, you may find that the meme is taken so far out of context that it doesn’t even resemble the original statement.

*Research is a big issue for me. The simple fact that once a research finding is published, someone often does another research project to disprove those results. The new research is often successful, making me take any findings as “possible fact” rather than “actual fact.” In addition to that, there have been a string of articles recently denouncing much research as fraudulent and biased and even ghost written (see Wyeth, below.) Researchers often edit the facts to show a more favorable outcome, and insure future funding for more research.

Knowledge comes from doing your homework, learning facts, and which claims are actually facts. The person that says “I know” all the time may know, or may not really know. They may just have an opinion.

As an aside, all successful advertising is designed to trigger your emotions. Notice that the ads don’t focus as much on facts as on what you might get out of having their product. How it will make you happy, sexy, wealthy, or completely satisfied in a number of ways. It’s appeals to our hopes and dreams. Just thought I’d throw that in.

WRAP UP

As you work from home or RV and struggle with marketing and your credibility, keep this in mind. Statements referencing what you think, backed by knowledge (facts) appear more objective, and are more powerful than statements reflecting how you feel (so very subjective.)

Statements about our thoughts imply that we actually gave it some thought, maybe did some research, and care what others think as well. They sound less egotistical, and more receipting to the audience we’re addressing. This may do better to open doors of friendship, or future sales.

Statements about our feelings are more egotistical and self-centered. Their subjective nature isolates us from others, though may work with other people who use think and feel interchangeably.

Test this. Try posting something referencing how your think in one place, and the same post referencing your feeling in another. See if you get different responses.

And always use the most appropriate term in your marketing.

Wishing y’all great WFH successes

Micki

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Copyright Law and DMCA

Every now and then someone brings up copyright law, in particular, infringement, and related topics on some of the forums I belong to. So, I thought I’d talk about some of the main issues from the creator’s standpoint.

One of the most common questions I see is whether or not a writer, musician, course creator or any type of author/creator can just use something in their own work that is not in the public domain. That is, something that is copyrighted by someone else and still within the copyright period. For the most part, the answer is “no.” But, it’s the exceptions that confuse everyone.

About Copyright Law

One of the exceptions to copyright infringement is the “fair use” clause. This clause is found Title 17 §107:  Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use and says:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

This is perfectly clear until you go to use this information. Then it becomes clear as mud. I actually read most of this law several times. There are sections that don’t apply to anything I create, so I skipped them. But this section is one of the most important for determining whether you can or cannot use copyrighted material. If you’re creating courses that you charge for, it’s a commercial venture and not a nonprofit educational one. But if you’re using the information simply to compare or criticize, or show an example of what you’re teaching about, you might want to get a legal opinion if that product (a writing or course) is going to earn you an income.

The simplest thing to do here is to make sure you are using either public domain or royalty free photos, music, writings, etc.

You can download the Title 17, US Copyright Law PDF here.

The next most common question I see is how to deal with someone who has published your work without permission. You have several routes here, depending on whether you have suffered any loss or damages.

  • You can sue. This is costly, but if you have suffered significant damages it might be worthwhile
  • You can send them a DMCA letter. DMCA refers to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. You can download that pdf here
  • Even if you have not filed for a Copyright Registration, your work if copyrighted immediately once you have fixed it in any medium, such as writing online or on paper, recording in audio or video, or painted in any of the media available, digital or physical. So many things are date stamped these days that it shouldn’t be hard to show when you created your work. Despite that, do something to date your work as soon as you start working on it. One way is to write © “the date” and your name or business name, and then set that text to white (if on paper) or the same color as the background of your work. Integrate it in a way that raises the fewest questions about when you did this. I’m not sure how to get the copyright mark (©) on a PC, but it should be similar to the Mac which is option-G. My option key says “alt” so try alt-g.

 

Affordable Legal Advice

Again, I’m not allowed, by law, to give legal advice, but I can share a few things that might be useful. Beyond that, if you’re uncertain, you really should get legal advice. There’s a few ways to do this.

  • Some attorneys will give you a free 30-minute introductory visit, and may tell you whether or not your intended use is legal or not. But attorneys prefer not to give their knowledge away for free, so he or she want you to schedule a paid appointment.
  • USLegalForms.com offers legal forms. For $19.95/month you can download any form in their library and use or modify it to suit your needs.
  • LegalZoom.com goes a step further. Not only can you pay a monthly fee to download forms you need, but you can also get legal advice for a fraction of what an attorney would charge.

Years ago when I was looking for model releases I subscribed to LegalZoom.com. My $19.95 subscription gave me the opportunity to download contracts in any category in addition to the releases. I now have a huge file of contracts to work from, far more valuable than the $19.95 I paid. So if you’re starting a business and need legal documents, these sources are excellent for forms, which most of us have no idea how to write. LegalZoom also offers legal advice from an attorney in whatever state you request, and assistance with documents, like wills.

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Choosing a Web Hosting Service

work-from-home startup-photosAs a new business owner, especially a mobile business owner, having a web presence is essential. Let’s talk about web hosting services.

Yet, choosing the right web hosting service isn’t an easy job. There are hundreds to choose from, with a wide range of fees and services. And it’s hard to know what your needs are before having any experience with this.

So, along with a checklist and some descriptions I’l give here, also check with anyone you know who has set up a website. Their comments about their experiences and web hosting services they’ve used will be invaluable. The reason that counts so much is that web hosting services can change over time. I started out using Network Solutions. At the time (around 2008) they were one of the best services, and reasonably priced. But over time I realized that it was impossible to get tech support help that was worth anything. It seemed like they couldn’t make sense of what I was asking. Either that or they had no idea what the answer was. After five years with them I began looking at their reviews. They started out pretty good, but clearly, over time the complaints grew more frequent and more serious.

POINT 1: Look for reviews about each service that you are considering.

I followed my own advice looking for reviews, referrals, and especially warnings about my next hosting service. I was particularly interested in MacHighway, thinking that they were Mac-focused and would naturally be a better choice for Mac users, like us. I checked those reviews, asked for references on social media sites, and it all looked good. But, to be cautious, I signed up for only one year. That was a smart move, because within eight months they started having problems ~ periods of downtime, hackers were getting in and scrambling sites, and, every time something happened, they made excuses and promised it would never happen again. They actually got sarcastic and demeaning with me because I didn’t know as much as they did. Really! As part of the tech support, designed to help the less informed, why would they expect any of their subscribers to be knowledgeable of this tecchy stuff?

POINT 2: Sometimes great reviews aren’t enough. There are things you can learn only by taking a risk, that is, your own experience.

POINT 3: Services that were once good and went bad might turn around and improve their quality. Be careful, in case they haven’t, but don’t write them off completely.

My next attempt led me to several great services, thanks to referrals from dozens of people who were using these. Whittling it down to just one was my problem. The ones that looked good for my purposes included:

There were many others, but I didn’t keep notes. I ruled them out based on features, price, or some other factor. I eliminated 1and1 and Arvixe on price, and Hostgator and Weebly on features or limitations. These were reasons three years ago, so again, my needs have changed and they may have changed prices or services.

I was down to BlueHost and WebHostingHub. These are shared services, meaning that an account will share a server with other site owners. There’s no overlap with other people’s accounts, though. Your site will not be accessible by anyone else. I ended up choosing WebHostingHub over BlueHost for two reasons. WebHostingHub seemed to have more features (at the time) such as unlimited email accounts (I seem to remember BlueHost having a limit of 5, but today it is unlimited.) WebHostingHub was having a sale and it’s monthly price for a 3-year contract was less than BlueHost. I’ve been very happy with them for almost three years now. I have an associate who is trying to set up a video training site for portable careers. He’s on BlueHost and, so far, is hosting streaming videos. That says a lot about BlueHost, too.

POINT 4: Sometimes you can get more than what you pay for if you shop wisely. Price does matter.

The following checklist will help you evaluate and compare web hosting services. It’ not exhaustive, but will serve you for this purpose as well as for helping you think up other questions more specific to your purposes.

  • Define your goals for having a website. It is for a blog or to sell a product or service, or all of that?
  • Do you want to use analytics and track traffic?
  • Will you have a shopping cart, take credit cards, a PayPal link or some other method of payment.
  • If you will blog, do they offer WordPress?
  • Do they offer C-Panel? If so, what is included? When we switched from MacHighway, sadly I lost a couple programs that were on their C-Panel, but not on WebHostingHub’s C-Panel. But now I don’t even remember what they were, so all’s good.
  • As mentioned above, I’m satisfied with shared hosting, but consider whether you need a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated hosting. Ask how much space you will have, and do take time to estimate how much you will need. If their tech support can help you with this, that’s great.
  • Speaking of tech support, this is more important than it might seem. WebHostingHub tech support rocks, and is better than any I’ve come across. They’re knowledgeable, friendly, and patient with us, and that’s only one of their great benefits.
  • Read ALL of the terms of service.
  • Look up (search) any terms you don’t know. They’ll show up in the terms of service, and you do want to know what you’re agreeing to.
  • Find out what they mean by “unlimited”. Unlimited service on a shared server becomes limited when we all use up the server space. Unlimited server on a VPS or dedicated server is actually limited to the size of the server. What else is claimed to be unlimited but actually is limited. Email size? Number of email accounts? Amount of email storage? Bandwidth? FTP bandwidth?
  • Do you need a domain name, and will the service obtain it for you? Will they register it in your name (gives you freedom to move to another hosting service) or do they register it in theirs. If so, can you move it or is the name (your trademark) going to be under their ownership.
    • NOTE: I wanted mine to be anonymous at Whois.org, and by paying an additional $10/month my web hosting services registered it to their name. I have never lost ownership and am able to move my name if I need to.
  • Whois.org lets you register privately so that your contact information is private. This helps cut down on spam.
  • Is the domain registration included in the annual fee? Just for new customers or every year? How much is it. This fee can vary from $10 to $30.
  • Moving a domain name within ten days of renewing the name may take some planning. Find out what these restrictions are and plan ahead so that your site isn’t down for any period of time. One service recommended I simply have my old hosting service renew my domain name and point it to the new hosting service, as it would avoid the 10 day delay in having the new hosting service register the domain name for me. They gave me the information on pointing it to give to the old provider. So, you can actually have your domain name registered through one service, and “pointing to” or showing up on another service.
  • If a web hosting service offers more than one level of service, does it have a comparison chart of their services’ features? Some services also offer comparison charts of competitors’ services. Double check the information, but if it’s current and accurate, this can save you a lot of time. You might want to consider making your own comparison chart.
  • Especially keep notes on prices for different levels of service, and compare to other services. If they offer several levels of service, you can start small and move up to the next level on the same hosting service without disrupting your website.
  • How large can an email be? It used to be that Yahoo, HotMail, AOL, etc. only allowed attachments up to 5mb. I’m sure it’s more, now, but I don’t know the limit. I often send huge files, and my service limits me to about 52 or 54 mb per email. That can be quite a few photos, PDFs, Word docs or other files.
  • Personally, our business often sends files well over 100mb. So, we’ve added files to FTP on our site. If you need this feature, be sure to ask if you have room. The web hosting service might even have instructions on their site. WebHostingHub has an extensive library of instructions.
  • Also mentioned above ~ Check as many reviews as you can find. The ones on the web hosting sites will always be flowery. But do a search on the web hosts’ names and add “reviews” to the search (i.e. Bluehost reviews) to find other review sites.

While that’s not an exhaustive checklist, it does contain much of what you’ll need to consider. I also invite anyone who can add to that list to do so in the comments below. Thanks for following us. Until next time …

Happy Trails and Tales,

Micki B.