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 BLOG >> October 2013

Autumn Reflections [Nature
Posted on October 17, 2013 @ 08:01:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Went to one of my favorite nature spots in late evening when the autumn leaves were vibrant. It is called Mabou Landing and it is where a large fresh water stream, the Mull River, meets the ocean waters of Mabou Harbour. On this evening the waters were calm and I focused on capturing reflections of the scenery in my photos. I travelled 2 minutes up the road to Mabou Harbour and took my last reflective photo. Enjoy.

Mabou Landing facing Mull River

Skeleton Tree

Moon on Water

Mabou Landing facing Mabou Harbour

Mabou Harbour


Fall Farm Work [Agriculture
Posted on October 8, 2013 @ 12:11:00 PM by Paul Meagher

On friday, Oct 4th I drove down to our farm and returned late monday. My wife and I have had the farm for around 4 years. I'm experimenting with trying to grow various plants. I've had some success so far with growing grape vines (after a couple of years of failure) and this weekend I wanted to get the soil ready for planting around 1000 more vines into next spring. For me, this meant plowing new strip tills that I'll be planting into (see photos below). The freeze-thaw action on the plowed soil (4 furrows wide) over the winter will cause the soil to break apart more so that when I run my 3.5 foot wide rototiller over the tills twice it will make a nice bed to plant my rooted vines into. The strip tills also have a drainage function as the fields get waterlogged in spring and this helps dry the soil up better. Vines don't need as much water as apple trees. I also went down to the farm this weekend to take in the colors of the season. The leaves are changing now and the various hardwood tree species create a pastel landscape this time of year.

Colors around the farm

More colors in the distrance

Strip till for next year's vines

2 yr old vines at end of growing season

2 yr old vines up close

Ripe red wine grapes

Ripe white wine Grapes

Corn looks ok

Harvested vegetables

Nine new strip tills

Farmstead from back field


The Adversity Quotient [Motivation
Posted on October 3, 2013 @ 08:48:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Let's get motivational!!!

In Chapter 12 of Orrin's Woodward's book, Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life, he discusses the concept of Adversity Quotient or AQ for short. AQ was developed by Dr Paul Stolz as a potential predictor of what it takes to achieve success in business. According to Orrin, AQ is composed of three components that can be represented by the formula:

AQ = IQ (Intelligence Quotient) x EQ (Emotional Quotient) x WQ (Will Quotient).

Watch Orrin's YouTube video to learn about the first two components of AQ:

To learn about the third component, the Will Component or WQ, you can read about the story of Colonel Sanders as told by motivational guru Tony Robbins:

The key to success is to decide what's most important to you and then take massive action each day to make it better, even when it doesn't look as if it's working.

I'll give you an example. Have you ever heard of a guy named Colonel Sanders? Of course you have. How did Colonel Sanders become such an unbelievable success? Was it because he was born wealthy? Was his family rich? Did they send him to a top university like Harvard? Maybe he was successful because he started his business when he was really young. Are any of these true?

The answer is no. Colonel Sanders didn't begin to fulfill his dream until he was 65 years old! What drove him to finally take action? He was broke and alone. He got his first social security cheque for $105, and he got mad but instead of blaming society or just writing congress a nasty note, he started asking himself, "What could I do that would be valuable for other people? What could I give back?" He started thinking about what he had that was valuable to others.

His first answer was, "Well, I have this chicken, recipe, everyone seems to love! What if I sold my chicken recipe to restaurants? Could I make money doing that?" Then he immediately thought, "That's ridiculous. Selling my recipe won't even pay the rent." And he got a new idea: "What if I not only sold them my recipe but also showed them how to cook the chicken properly? What if the chicken was so good that it increased their business? If more people come to see them and they make more chicken sales, maybe they will give me a percentage of those additional sales."

Many people have great ideas. But Colonel Sander was different. He was a man who didn't just think of great things to do. He put them into action. He went and started knocking on doors, telling each restaurant owner his story: "I have a great chicken recipe, and I think if you use it, it'll increase your sales. And I'd like to get a percentage of that increase."

Well, many people laughed in his face. They said, "Look, old man, get out of here. What are you wearing that stupid white suit for?" Did Colonel Sanders give up? Absolutely not. He had the #1 key to success; I call it personal power. Personal power means being persistence in taking action: Every time you do something, you learn from it, and you find a way to do it better next time. Colonel Sanders certainly used his personal power! Instead of feeling bad about the last restaurant that had rejected his idea, he immediately start focusing on how to tell his story more effectively and get better results from the next restaurant.

How many times do you think Colonel Sanders heard no before getting the answer he wanted? He was refused 1,009 times before he heard his first yes. His spent two years driving across America in his old, beat-up car, sleeping in the back seat in his rumpled white suit, getting up each day eager to share his idea with someone new. Often, the only food he had was a quick bite of the samples he was preparing for perspective buyers. How many people do you think would have gone for 1,009 no's - two years of no's! - and kept on going? Very few. That's why there is only one Colonel Sanders. I think most people wouldn't get passed twenty no's, much less a hundred or a thousand! Yet this is sometimes what it takes to succeed.

If you look at any of the most successful people in history, you will find this common thread: They would not be denied. They would not accept no. They would not allow anything to stop them from making their vision, their goal, a reality. Did you know that Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating "The Happiest Place on Earth"? All the banks thought he was crazy. He wasn't crazy; he was a visionary and, more important, he was committed to making that vision a reality. Today, millions of people have shared in "the joy of Disney", a world like no other, a world launched by the decision of one man.

So this should give you the gist of what AQ consists of (i.e, IQ x EQ x WQ). A few questions you might want to reflect upon are:

  1. What is your AQ?
  2. Are you born with a certain AQ or can you develop it?
  3. If you can develop it, should you learn more about the concept in an effort to develop your AQ or do you need to learn by doing - by throwing yourself into situations that will help you develop it? Perhaps it is a "mindfulness" thing, a trained consciousness of some sort?
  4. How important do you think AQ might be in predicting whether you will be successful in business?
  5. Be critical - Is AQ just motivational mumbo-jumbo to entertain the masses? Are socio-economic factors, or some other set of factors, a better predictor of business success?

Math Note: The mathematical relationship between the variables cannot be a simple multiplicative relationship. Orrin states in his video that high levels of intelligence are not required to have a high AQ which would mean that a ceiling function might be required to restrict the range or perhaps a decay function of some sort to rescale the IQ score. How each of these AQ components are scaled would be critical to developing a predictive mathematical model from the AQ = IQ x EQ x WQ formula.


Business Gardening [Entrepreneurship
Posted on October 1, 2013 @ 07:22:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I'm a big fan of Permaculture. Lately I've been taking a free online course on Permaculture design. I recently watched some lectures that dealt with the ecological topic of "succession". The teacher, Larry Korn, describes succession as the ecological process that takes place after soil is disturbed. Soil can be disturbed by plowing, tilling, tree harvesting, fire, etc... Succession refers to pioneer plant species that initially take over and how they are eventually replaced by other plant species.

Larry makes the observation that many gardeners do not realize that they are dealing with early stage successional growth patterns when they till up the ground and try to plant something new. They wonder why there are so many weeds and eventually many come to see themselves as having a "black thumb" - the opposite of having a "green thumb". If these gardeners step back and appreciate that they are in an early stage successional growth situation, they might appreciate that "weeds" are pioneer species in this context and that they might eventually disappear once the soil gets what it needs from these plants. Provided you don't keep re-disturbing your soil, these weeds will eventually be replaced by other types of plants that can survive in the conditioned soil, that is, soil with the right tilth, the right balance of nutrients, and with a thriving microbial soil community.

Starting up a business is like planting into newly disturbed soil. There is alot of weeding that needs to be done to get the plants that you want to grow to grow. There is alot of "pivoting" that needs to be done to deal with weeds that are threatening your plants or to deal with plants that have been wiped out and soil that might be in need of replanting. For permaculturists, the key to success is to have a successional planting strategy that respects nature's successional laws. A successional planting strategy consists of planting food and money-making annual plants while at the same time planting longer-term trees and shrubs that will ultimately yield more food in the form of fruit and require less weeding to maintain if done properly. Initially, planting these trees and shrubs will not make you any money but eventually they'll be providing you with the bulk of your food and income and offer a more sustainable basis for your business going forward.

If you follow through on a successional planting strategy eventually you will have an edible forest garden consisting of a mix of trees, shrubs, and vegetables.

What I want to leave you with is something to meditate upon that might be useful in terms of thinking about the bigger picture on how to grow your business. Namely, how can you grow your business with a successional growth strategy that balances what you need today to provide income and necessities, with a longer term view towards developing a business that consists of many lines-of-business each working in harmony with each other?




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