How To Create An Online Community – The Make Money Part

In the last article I described the process of creating an online community – namely the one around the Open Connect event. As of today, I started an experiment in monetizing this community. I’m going to share the entire process here. I don’t yet know if this experiment is going to be successful or not, … Read more How To Create An Online Community – The Make Money Part

Improvisation: A Social Experiment

I once read somewhere that the highest number of suicides are taking place on Sundays, between 7 and 9 PM. The reason behind this is that people are highly unhappy about their jobs. The mere thought of having to go again to a place they don’t like made them feel so miserable, that some are … Read more Improvisation: A Social Experiment

Twitter Downshifting

Three weeks ago I deleted my first twitter account @edragonu. At that time I had more than 1000 followers and I followed around 800 people. After a few days of silence, I decided to restart my twitter experience, on another account, @dragosroua, which happens to be me real name. I restored the first account but let my followers know that I’m on a new account and invited them to follow me there. During that silence period I learned a lot about how Twitter works and about myself. Here’s what happened.

Real Followers On Twitter

After I announced that I switched accounts, I experienced a flood of new followers on the new account. Those were the real followers, the ones who were listening and had a real interest in follow me. In 2-3 days I went from 0 to 100 followers. And then it slowly started to stop. I have around 1-2 new followers per day right now.

As you can see, the “core” of the followers was less than 10% of my actual numbers. Out of 1000 listed followers, only 100 were actually listening to my tweets and were interested in following me. It’s a little bit sad. And also unexpected. I was convinced that my followers are interested in what I write. At least, I was interested in what people I followed wrote.

Fewer Followers, Better Experience

The feeling I had in the first few days of having only meaningful followers were terrific. And I still experience the same feelings now. I feel relieved, authentic, useful and true. No more dumb numbers chasing, no more empty performance metrics, just authentic interaction.

I used to spend around 2-3 hours each day only in reading my timeline. I had to find ways to filter the content and cut down the noise. Somehow I took for granted that “noise” is something that Twitter has by default and I have to get over it. After I started the new account it was like the noise never existed.

Twitter doesn’t have any associated noise, it’s you who create the noise, by succumbing to the numbers game.

Read moreTwitter Downshifting

The Gratitude Experiment – Conclusions

After almost a month since I started it, it’s time for me to write the conclusions for my gratitude experiment. Some of you may already have read a follow up on this but now it’s time to write the full conclusions. For those of you who came here directly I will shortly outline the core of the experiment, if you want to know more feel free to read the first and the second post.

Too keep a long story short: this gratitude experiment consisted in daily writing in a journal the things for which I am grateful. Being quite a geek in some areas, I chose to do this using some advanced technology like an iPhone and a specific application designed apparently exactly for that, a gratitude journal. Of course, if you ever want to start something similar you can do it with pen and paper, this is not even remotely about technology. It’s about you.

Gratitude Is Acknowledgement

It’s pretty difficult to define gratitude because of a strong cultural connotation caused by religion and / or spirituality. Gratitude has a lot to do with those areas, but it’s not entirely tied up to them. I think gratitude is only overlapping with those areas, is not contended by them. Every time you want to talk about gratitude you feel a little discomfort because it tends to take you out of the normal, day to day routine and put you into some serious and rigid realms like religion or spirituality.

We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life. Redemption, guilt or excessive frugality are common ground for all major religions and so we tend to act a little bit cautious toward it, unless of course, we do have a daily religious routine and we’re placing it very high in our value scale.

But gratitude is not only religion. In fact, gratitude is so flexible and versatile that sometimes appears to me to be quite the opposite from the fixed paths of religion. Gratitude is your way to tell the Universe it has been good to you. It’s an acknowledgment, it’s a confirmation you send back. It doesn’t have to be in a fixed form, nor to be contained in any ritual or structured philosophy. All it takes is to be honest.

Read moreThe Gratitude Experiment – Conclusions

The Gratitude Experiment – Follow Up

A few weeks ago I started a gratitude experiment. I wanted to understand more about how gratitude really works for me. I read a lot about the force of this attitude of gratitude, and also noticed how it was praised in “The Secret” and other motivational works. So, I wanted to put it to test for myself. If you came here directly I suggest to read first the original post about gratitude, in order to grasp more details. If you don’t want to go there, feel free to read on.

The experiment has 2 areas: one personal and one public. The public area involved a Twitter hashtag, “”#gratitude” and a daily tweet about things I am grateful for, including that hashtag, of course. Also, there were some invitations to my twitter followers to join this experiment. A few days after starting the experiment I put together a page on my blog listing the last 20 tweets with the hashtag gratitude.

I plan to write more about the public area after the end of the experiment, which will come somewhere around February 10th, because I really want to involve more people and learn from their experience. So, if you want to join this and then share your experience with it, feel free to tweet once a day (or even more if you feel the need) and include a hashtag #gratitude in your tweet.

For now, I want to share something about the personal area. The personal part of this experiment is in fact just a little exercise of noting down each day at least 5 things for which I am grateful, in an open and honest way. And see what happens to me during this interval.

Initial Excitement

In the first 5-6 days, everything was smooth. I noted each evening the things I was grateful for and gave each day a rating from one to five stars. Sort of an “excellence” mark. I sometimes noted those things even before the clock alarm I set on my iPhone for this experiment. It felt nice.

But after the 6th or 7th days, it become a little difficult. I got caught in the daily routine and if I didn’t have that clock alarm I would surely miss some of my gratitude sessions. For the next 5-6 days I did the exercise really quick and only when the clock alarm reminded me.

And after this period, meaning in the last 3-4 days, it become even harder. I had to postpone noting those gratitude things several dozen minutes after the alarm clock, sometimes close to midnight. Right now, after I decided to write this blog post, the gratitude attitude finally resurfaced and I feel really good.

But what happened? Why it was so difficult? My guess is that is something to deal with the punishment / reward mechanism. We humans, have a strong tendency to follow this mechanism. In the beginning there was a good deal of direct reward from this activity. Knowing that I’m doing something interesting and new made me happy about. That was my little reward. Each evening when I noted the results I felt good. For 4-5 evenings in a row. But then the reward circuit was closed.

You know, the reward mechanism is an incremental one. It needs more and more. If you set up a reward for something you want to do, you’d better be prepared to raise the bet every now and then, otherwise your actions will stop sooner or later. This is how punishment and rewards works, they need more and more of each other in order to sustain the activity. So, after the initial excitement, and in absence of a direct reward, I had to rely on self-discipline in order to express my daily gratitude.

Read moreThe Gratitude Experiment – Follow Up

The Gratitude Experiment

The experiment is out and running, check out the new page listing the last 20 tweets tagged #gratitude on twitter.

It’s funny how a certain path we chose leads us to realms we never knew to exist. Or puts us on roads far more adventurous or enriching than we thought. In today’s post I’ll share one of those twisted yet so rewarding situations in which a certain path lead me to another, much deeper one.

The iPhone Situation

I can say in all truth that I’m using an iPhone even since before it was launched. One of the most read posts on my blog is about iPhone and GTD – total black belt productivity, a post featured on the official forums of David Allen company. That post was written weeks before the launch of the iPhone. What can I say: it’s a useful device which combines my needs for communication in one little tool.

But I use my iPhone for much more than communication. In a post about Law Of Attraction and Action I gently let you know that I exercised with the Law Of Attraction by using my iPhone. It was a very simple exercise: I set up reminders in the calendars with my goals and took time to read them and interiorize them. I kept this habit for several months and of course, it worked. I also used my iPhone for getting in touch with my Personal Mission Statement, another interesting exercise which I am still using.

Read moreThe Gratitude Experiment

Overcoming Cravings On A Raw Food Diet

Soon I’ll have the 4th month anniversary of my raw food diet. This has been an exciting time for my body and mind and I think it’s only the beginning. The positive effects I outlined in my other posts describing the health benefits are going steadily, while the side effects, like detox simptoms are slightly … Read more Overcoming Cravings On A Raw Food Diet

Practical Astrology: The Moon In Signs

As some of you may know, I use astrology for personal development. Among some other stuff, of course. And by that I mean I use it constantly as a symbolic model of reality. The position of the planets on the sky is having some kind of influence on our lives and I learned how to understand that. Today I’ll share a little experiment which lasted for more than a month. It’s about the Moon and its position on the sky during a complete cycle from New Moon to Full Moon. If you still think astrology is only a horoscope in the morning paper, with no value whatsoever, I recommend you to read more about understanding astrology. And if you still think this is just new age garbage, feel free to skip this post, it’s ok.

I guess you already know the Moon is having a complete cycle in around 28 days around the Earth. During this cycle the Moon is staying between 2 and 3 days in each astrological sign. The nature of the sign in which Moon is at some moment is affecting that part of our being which is ruled by Moon. There are many interpretations of what Moon “is” in our lives. For the sake of simplicity I chose to understand Moon as the ruler of our emotions. It has a number of other interpretations but staying only at the emotional level will just be enough for this experiement. Just remember that the Moon represent the things that can hurt us and the things which we need healing from. The Moon is the unconscious pulse of our emotional field. From joy to sorrow, from compassion to anger, everything that is in your emotional filed has something to do with the Moon and its position on the sky.

The Experiment

During a complete cycle of the Moon I monitored my emotions. I also monitored the position of the Moon on the sky and noted my impressions and reflections of what the Moon in the sky could be. I did this in a kind of geeky way by using, of course, an iPhone. There are two apps on the iPhone that I used during this, none of them directly related to astrology, but more on that later on after the experiment description.  For now, let’s just focus on what I felt during a complete cycle of the Moon on the zodiac, from Aries to Pisces.

Moon in Aries

My emotions were extremely intense, like powered with high energy. On the whole, I felt an intense drive to action. Anything I started was out of enthusiasm, was powered by my own choices, not by external circumstances. I also felt an interesting silence on the emotional level, not too much noise, everything seemed extremely pure. It seemed that Moon in Aries favors clean emotions focused on achieving immediate results. Moon in Aries is also accident prone, during this interval I had a small driving accident (no consequences, but the burst of energy was almost physical around me).

Read morePractical Astrology: The Moon In Signs