It's Pronounced Chookshaw

The semi-professional blog of Albert Ciuksza Jr.

Category: General

Only 6% of People Can Pass This Test

Welcome to the test that only 6% of people can pass. Only the most focused people are capable.

Ready?

You failed. You clicked on the link. You’ve interrupted your focus and set yourself up for another 30 minutes of aimless online wondering. If you want to make $100k/year, that will cost you about $24 (you’ll see what I mean below).

It’s not entirely your fault. Countless resources have been spent studying you, the internet user, to understand what it takes to get you to stop what you were doing and click on a link. Your limited defenses are being challenged by an army of hundreds of thousands of well-educated marketing experts and computer scientists, all of whom are highly-motivated to translate your clicks into revenue. You’re bringing a cup of water to a forest fire; it’s not even close to a fair fight.

But fight you must.

One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins, who said that the defining factor of success is not resources it’s resourcefulness. He’s right. The corollary is that it’s your job to be focused enough to be resourceful.

I have found three ways beyond exercise (that one is well-known) that have helped me to focus.

My “Hourly Rate”

I have a financial goal for myself for what I want to make annually. Dividing that number by 2,080 (the approximate number of hours a full-time employee works), I know the amount of money I need to make in that hour in order to reach that goal. That’s my hourly rate. From there, I’m either doing something to earn that number, or I’m “spending” that money by doing something else. Would I pay that to watch an hour of cat videos? Probably not.

Meditation

After being diagnosed with some weird skin thing that flares up when I’m particularly stressed, I realized that I had to get things under control. So, I started meditating. Here’s the bottom line: it changes your brain for the better (read this and this). If you have never tried it before, check out Calm.com or one of their mobile apps. Start it today and never stop.

Learning a Foreign Language

I’ve started to re-learn Spanish, which is part unlearning some of the Spanglish that was part of my El Paso upbringing, and part simply learning the basics that I either never understood or completely forgot since middle school. In addition to a few great free learning resources (Duolingo and the Notes in Spanish podcast), I’m reading news at BBC Mundo and CNN en Español as well as watching football games in Spanish (¡Vamos a acereros de Pittsburgh!). It forces me to think about what I’m reading or hearing/seeing, rather than just passively consume. The unexpected consequence is that it has made me more focused in everything I do.

One last thing…

We’re in the early stages of what is about to be a brutal electoral season (at least in the U.S.), and it’s starting already. The only thing worse than allowing your prime attention resources to be hijacked by random quizzes and cute animals is actively sabotaging those limited resources by getting dragged into a political fight online. I call it Attention Sabotage Syndrome (ASS). Don’t be one. Quit Facebook or Twitter if you have to, but it’s just not worth it.

Snooze Button

As a kid, I sprung to my feet the minute my alarm went off. While most parents complained of having to drag their kids out of bed, mine complained about me waking them up in the morning. I was always bright and chipper, well-rested and ready to go to school or wherever I needed to be.

Then, in college, I discovered the snooze button.

The snooze button is the physical manifestation of our worst instincts. We hit it for temporary comfort, but end up with poor sleep health and the domino effect of starting our day playing catch-up. Think about that — our mornings begin with a decision that is high-cost / low-benefit, then wonder why we’re always feeling behind.

What’s worse is that it’s not the only snooze button I’ve got.

I hit the workout snooze button a lot. The let’s-go-out-instead-of-cooking snooze button gets its fair share of taps. The five-more-minutes-of-Twitter-before-I-get-moving is another favorite. Laundry, meditation, yard work, they all have snooze buttons. Every time I hit a “life” snooze button, I get the same result as I do the one by my bed: a few more minutes of inertial comfort at the expense of future pain, frustration, and anxiety.

Few of us can afford to invest our limited time and energy so wastefully. As a result, I’ve decided to quit the snooze button. Who’s with me?

(P.S. – I apologize for the shorter post, but I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.)

Grab Yourself a Rebound at BreakupNotifier.com

Blue Shirt Guy = Creep

Blue Shirt Guy = Creep

Step one: Go to www.breakupnotifier.com

Step two: Log in with Facebook

Step three: Choose the friends-who-aren’t-really-friends-but-more-like-people-you-want-to-date-at-some-point-in-the-future-if-they-would-just-dump-their-loser-significant-other

Step four: Get an email when those friends’ relationship status changes

Step five: Listen to the video below, which accurately characterizes the person you’ve shown yourself to be…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzjUjNPYzLg

31 Things I Wish I’d Known About Dating When I Was 21, the Guy Version

So, I saw a post from @bosikowicz (that might be harder than Ciuksza) linking to this article called 31 Things I Wish I’d Known About Dating When I was 21 by a blogger over at Glamour.com. I’ll admit to being a bit nervous throwing a rock at this hornet’s nest, especially since it’s against what would likely be considered my “personal brand”. I guess “showing a little leg” in the personal sense can’t hurt too badly, right? So here’s my list of 31 (my favorite number).

  1. The first date is one of the most painful experiences you can face. I forget who said it, but there’s a quote that’s roughly, “women are weird about food and men are weird about money, so why do we go on dates where we eat out and then fight about the check?” Do something different.
  2. Going out for coffee means an informal conversation because she can’t figure you out yet and wants an out if it doesn’t work. Being welcomed in for coffee means something completely different and is full of land mines. Be ultra-careful if the first leads to the second on the first try.
  3. You never know what you’re getting into once you’re “official”. I once said that “looking for love is the process by which you attempt to find the kind of crazy you can handle”, and little in my life has shown me otherwise.
  4. I should have come up with rote answers to the question “what are you thinking?” earlier. The answer is likely either “nothing” or something she’d rather not know … having a quick response to lean on helps. Otherwise they’re never satisfied.
  5. She’s always better looking. That’s fact (my profile picture suggests that it’s not that hard to do). And it needs to be acknowledged. Often.
  6. Little clues pop up from time to time (favorite ice cream or band or childhood memory). Get really good at keeping a mental database of those things — they might bail you out of a jam or score brownie points.
  7. Do your best to forget #6 when the relationship ends or you’ll drive yourself mad.
  8. Accept that sometimes she’s going to out-do you (a birthday gift, a thoughtful gesture). Don’t compete. Competition moves a gesture from the sincere box to the “have-to” box and no one wants to be a requirement.
  9. Get to know her parents. Not because you need to be aligned in some way (thought it helps) but because it helps you to know her better.
  10. You’ll never understand. Accept it and move on.
  11. While it’s inevitable, do your best to avoid taking for granted that she’ll be there. No matter how busy you are, it’s not too hard to remember to thank her for simply being in your universe.
  12. Admit when you’re not ready and let go. It’s the most painful decision you can make, but also the most fair.
  13. Take a walk down the “feminine hygiene aisle” when you’re by yourself as exposure therapy for when you’re called on to make an emergency Giant Eagle run for supplies.
  14. Keep an eye out for drama. If she says, “drama follows me”, it is almost universally of her own making. You probably can’t handle it. Run.
  15. Converse to the aforementioned link’s #21, don’t try to be a friend when you don’t want to be just friends. Spell it out. If it’s not there, it’s not there. You might have your shots, but you shouldn’t follow her around like a puppy.
  16. Roses are losing their luster since no one likes a cliche. Pick something that compliments her favorite color scheme and you win for both the flowers and being thoughtful. If she notices in the process that you happened to get her favorite flower, take credit even if you didn’t know it. Never let the truth get in the way of a good gesture.
  17. Appreciate that she has passions even if you don’t get them. And accept that she’ll never treasure all the things you do (I have a prized autographed print signed by Clyde W. Tombaugh. No clue? Exactly.). Maybe it’s just me, but there’s nothing hotter than a woman genuinely excited about something.
  18. Accept her vanity. It exists and you’ll never understand. Appreciate that she cares about her and leave it at that. In addition, never go into Sephora (see previous post) and use the boyfriend chairs (the chairs and couches made for men who have been taken on exhausting shopping trips) whenever possible.
  19. Establish early on that you’ll never offer an opinion on any of the three following topics: her weight; her family; or her friends. That whole “bearing false witness is a sin” thing is proof that God never had a girlfriend.
  20. You’re never as smart/attractive/fun as she says you are. It’s ok. Appreciate that she’s boosting your confidence and leave it there. I don’t care how rich Donald Trump is, some wife at some point said his hair looks good.
  21. There are days where you each need to clean, do laundry, pay the bills, wash the dishes and other mundane activities. Not everything is an exciting whirlwind of bliss. The better you are at accepting this, the better you’ll be at being in a relationship.
  22. If you’re getting her a practical gift, always pair it with something fun (but not necessarily vice versa). Practical kills whimsy and, by extension, the spark.
  23. By extension of #21 and #22, experience new, exciting and challenging things together. Study after study says this is what makes it all work.
  24. Hunt. I’ve been told by every woman I know that you have to chase. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nice little conservative Catholic boy, you have to show interest and show you’re willing to pursue. It’s not being disrespectful to say, “I think you’re really attractive and smart and would love to get to know you better.”
  25. There are subtle clues to know when she’s testing you. Let it go in the beginning because we all have our walls. Don’t let it go on forever — trust is incredibly important and if she can’t trust you, it’s simply never going to work.
  26. Men and women see conflicts differently. Women have two categories: things she’s not upset about; and things that she is upset about and needs to discuss. Men have three: things we’re not upset about (a considerable majority); things we are upset about and need to discuss (these are usually things connected with a felony she committed); or things that we’re bothered by but realize it’s not worth discussing. The third category has a multitude of reasons — maybe she’ll bring it up in a passive-aggressive way later or maybe the conversation will last forever and you don’t have the patience at the moment. That third category is also where resentment lives. The more stuff in category three, the more you’ll resent her and the less likely you’ll be able to stand another five minutes in her presence.
  27. It’s a whole lot of work but it has to be fun. If it’s not fun, especially in the beginning, try not to pull a hamstring while running away from the situation as fast as you possibly can.
  28. I’m a flirt. I flirt with old ladies and waitresses and bank tellers and the checkout woman at Rite Aid. Know the boundaries. Be yourself, but be sensitive, too. It’s easy to cross the line into “disrespectful” territory.
  29. You’ll catch yourself thinking about someone else. She does it, too. It’s not a threat, it’s human. As long as you know that you’ll be with each other in the end, it’s not worth freaking out over.
  30. Don’t ask about past relationships, don’t Facebook stalk and don’t read her text messages. If there’s a question in your mind, ask her. In the end, you really don’t want to know how she got to where she is, just that she’s who she is today.
  31. A bad relationship is never better than being single. Never. Ever. Never ever. You can’t let inertia be the only force in your relationship. While it’s never happened to me, I’ve seen it happen to others and it usually ends in having to split your assets in half.

Well, we’ll see how my first real foray into the “human” side goes. I welcome comments and rebuttals.

In the Beginning…

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and, perhaps more importantly, why I’ve decided to take up blogging.

My name is Albert, I’m 28 years old, and I’ve been an entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. I know it sounds ridiculous, and I don’t blame anyone for their skepticism. But, when it comes down to it, I’ve wanted to do sales and marketing my whole life.

A story … my first solo venture was artistic – I painted t-shirts and sweatshirts with craft store t-shirt paint and sold them to various friends. I can’t say that I was particularly successful — I might have only had a dozen or so takers — but it’s amazing what you can learn about your target market, customer service and the need to be responsive to others’ needs. Most importantly, you have to be extra good when selling to elementary school friends; they never hesitate to tell you when your product sucks.

In any case, this fundamental love for sales, marketing and getting products into the hands of people who will truly enjoy them has been the underlying driver of what I do. Sometimes it is a business or strategic plan, sometimes it is market research, sometimes it is a logo or web site and sometimes it is even a very polite “no”. Regardless of the situation, it is knowing that whatever I am doing is working that gives me the greatest satisfaction.

So, why should you read my blog?
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