The Freedom Sliders

One of my favourite surf brands, The Critical Slide Society, has used freedom as the inspiration for their latest clothing range.

The autumn collection is called The Freedom Sliders and is hitting stores now.  The photo shoot for this range not only happens to feature some of my favourite pastime (surfing and camping), but my favourite vehicles (a Landrover Defender and a VW van).

Despite being a relatively simple marketing campaign without a great deal of thought put into it, it’s a nice little reminder that freedom is a simple concept that doesn’t require buttloads of cash.

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Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

This week I’m really enjoying the remarkable work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success — an inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.

Here’s an extract which really resonates with me:

carol-dweck-mindset

For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.

[…]

I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves — in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? . . .

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality. A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.

two-mindsets-fixed-growth

The consequences of believing that intelligence and personality can be developed rather than being immutably engrained traits, Dweck found in her two decades of research with both children and adults, are remarkable. She writes:

For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.

[…]

I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves — in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated:Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? . . .

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

This idea, of course, isn’t new — if anything, it’s the fodder of self-help books and vacant “You can do anything!” platitudes. What makes Dweck’s work different, however, is that it is rooted in rigorous research on how the mind — especially the developing mind — works, identifying not only the core drivers of those mindsets but also how they can be reprogrammed.

4 killer reasons to write your first eBook

eBooks are generally written to assist, to entertain or to educate readers. But let’s face it, as much as you have the best intention of helping people, writing an ebook takes a significant investment in time and effort, and is therefore generally written with a specific business goal in mind.  I have detailed four key reasons an individual or business should consider embarking on the journey of writing an eBook below. (Before you read on: I strongly suggest choosing just one of the four reasons listed below as your point of focus rather than a hybrid, as otherwise you run the risk of diluting your progress towards the end goal).

1. Lead Generation

In my experience, the most common reason to write an eBook apart from selling it, is to generate a list of future leads by growing your email database.  This is a relatively straightforward process, most often initiated as a simple call-to-action on your website prompting your website visitors to leave their email address in exchange for a downloadable copy of the eBook.

For example, on xxx’s website you will see a simple online form, where visitors simply type in their name and email address to get their hands on xxxx book.   When you consider the alternatives for growing your email database (such as running competitions promoted by Facebook Paid Posts or Google Adwords) which can easily end up costing in excess of $2 per database lead with high attrition rates, writing a compelling eBook and offering it for free proves to be a cost-effective method of drip-feeding a constant flow of high-quality leads to your email database.

2. Revenue

Traditional publishers of books and magazines will be all too familiar with the concept of a ‘cover price’, and the revenue model for selling eBooks is no different.  The main difference is that in comparison to the traditional print media, there or virtually no overheads to physically produce the publication. Even better, the ‘supply’ of your eBook is uncapped, which means your shopfront or resellers will never run out of stock.

While selling through your own website seems like a logical place to start, and allows you complete control of your marketing, relying on your website alone will significantly restrict your revenue potential.  Just as books and magazines are predominantly sold through major retailers online and in local shopping malls, eBooks can be sold to the public through specialist eBook stores such as Clickbank and xxxx.  Due to the strong reputation of these retailers within the global market, you will unprecedented reach to new audiences globally. Some of these retailers (namely Clickbank,) double as affiliate networks, allowing even further reach to new audiences while only charging an agreed commission per completed sale.

Whilst the overheads are low and therefore offers an attractive return on investment, the revenue model for eBooks is not foolproof. The relative ease of sending an email with a pdf attachment, means that the risk of your eBook being unlawfully redistributed is always real.  Piracy is a reality in the modern digital age, so a small loss of sales due to piracy should always be factored into your revenue projections, though surprisingly rarely (if ever) has piracy been reported as significantly impacting the sales of a great eBook.

3. Boost Brand Reputation

Let’s say that you are a new player in your field, and you are looking for a way to increase awareness of your brand.  A great way to build rapport and trust within a community, is to offer qualified free advice to those in need, and an eBook can be an ideal method for achieving this at scale.  Why? Because you could spend an entire lifetime speaking to people individually about precisely the same solution to precisely the same problem. Alternatively, you could add each individual to a group email, and send them a pre-written solution in eBook form which still solve their problem and therefore still boost your reputation, but with a fraction of the time.  And the best bit about this approach is it usually leaves them wanting more; this desire is a powerful force for a brand to have with a consumer.

The approach to writing an eBook to grow the reputation of brand (be it a personal brand, or a business) is relatively uncomplicated. The first step is research, research, research. This could be through conversation with a sample set of your target market, it could be through online research on social media and in forums or it could be through Google keyword research . The next step is obvious – write and publish an eBook that addresses the common problem or need that you identified during your research.  Once this is complete, hatch an eBook marketing plan to get your digital publication in front of them. Simples!

4. SEO

Did you know that you can improve your visibility in Search Engines and achieve great SEO results by releasing an eBook?  SEO = Links, and the better the book, the more links back to your website (where the book lives).  There are a couple of ways to encourage even more backlinks. Firstly you can become an active participant in newsgroups and discussions related to the topic of your eBook…just make sure your posts are informative and valuable and are not just spruiking your book. Secondly, you can submit your free eBook to eBook directories such as:

  • Manybooks
  • Snipfiles
  • Docstoc
  • AskSam
  • Know free

The more quality links which point back to your website, the more website’s rankings in Search Engines will improve, so get creative with your outreach strategy and maximise those link opportunities.

Beaches closed as huge 4m waves hit Gold Coast

When I woke up this morning and heard the ocean pounding, I couldn’t resist heading over the hill to the point at Burleigh Heads, one of the best vantage points on the Gold Coast to a decent swell rolling in. While the ocean is well and truly out of bounds for swimmers and families today, with some of the biggest waves to hit our coastline in years, experienced surfers are being treated to some seriously amazing waves. Here’s Burleigh Heads firing on all cylinders this morning.

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burleigh-heads-gold-coast