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Money doesn’t buy happiness – or maybe it does ????

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Career, Leadership, Technology, Work-Life Balance
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A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of. ~ Jane Austen

Money doesn’t buy happiness – or maybe it does ???

This is a question that has been on my mind, because I have noticed a widening chasm between the happiness of the “haves, and those that have less”. People who are comfortable financially and are financially stable seem to be MUCH happier than those who are not, they seem unscathed from the stress of these difficult times. Is their money like an invisible shield that keeps unhappiness at bay?

As the middle class dwindles, and the overall happiness rating in the US drops, I wonder if happiness will be reserved for the 1% of our country OR will we be challenged as a society to redefine happiness? 

There is no doubt that across the board a desire to be happy is prevalent in not just the US, but in our Western culture, and a happy life is very much the preferred life. People who are considered successful, have influence, economic power, stability and tend to be happy.

In a study conducted in Britain, by the Institute of Economic Affairs called “The Pursuit of Happiness”, determined a direct correlation between happiness levels and the amount of wealth a person has accumulated. The study goes as far as to say that CASH can make us happy – and that CASH, is the most important factor in a person’s happiness.

Another study conducted at Princeton, goes as far as to claim that the threshold in the US for happiness is a $75,000 household income (even in high-cost cities), the study analyzed information gathered from 450,000 responses to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (GHWBI).  

Money is human happiness in the abstract; he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes himself utterly to money.
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

The big question is – Does happiness lead to success or does success lead to happiness?

Continue Reading “Money doesn’t buy happiness – or maybe it does ????”

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Some of the Best LISTS of 2011

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Design, Education, Events, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Women in Technology
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In that weird time between Christmas and the start of the next year, I love reviewing the year. My 2011 has been quite remarkable, I accomplished many goals and ticked off a few things on my bucket list, including graduating from Thunderbird in Europe, attending Sundance, visiting India and Germany – and overall, just had a wonderful time of travel, friends, and family throughout. 

Now it’s time to read the Top and Best of lists for the year, and as 2011 winds to an end, and we start to get a peek at 2012, it’s time to review what 2011 brought us…. and some of the lists it has spawned.

Here is a list of some of the Best Of lists of 2011 that I have found… I would LOVE to hear some of yours!

  1. 50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
  2. 19 Biggest Social Media Moments of 2011
  3. 2011 Top Ten Global Topics
  4. Top Selling DVD’s
  5. 2011 Best Companies to work for
  6. The Best Movies of 2011
  7. The Best Artists of 2011
  8. Top 10 Songs of 2011
  9. The Best Games Of 2011- Awards
  10. The Best of Ted Digital
  11. The Best Cocktails of 2011 and where to drink them
  12. Top Cars of 2011
  13. The Top 10 Marketing Infographics
  14. Best Photos Of The Year 2011
  15. The Best of 2011 by Discovery
  16. 10 Best Commercials of 2011
  17. 2011 Year in Review: Best in art
  18. 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011
  19. 2011 Top Ten TV Shows
  20. The 50 Best Websites of 2011
  21. Best Books Of 2011
  22. 2011 Best Dressed Celebrity Women
  23. Forbes Most Powerful People
  24. Best Of 2011 Pop Culture’s Tastiest bits
  25. Best of 2011 – The Superficial
  26. Forbes Most Powerful Women
  27. The World’s Best Hotels 2011
  28. Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs
  29. The Best Mixtapes of 2011
  30. The Best of 2011: Job Search and Recruiting
  31. The Best of 2011 – AOL
  32. Best of 2011 Brands and Films
  33. Most Admired list of 2011
  34. Top 10 Wines of 2011
  35. 2011 Best Places to live
  36. The Most Viral Fortune 500 Brands

So the Myan calendar ends in 2012. So what? My calendar ends in December. I just buy a new one. ~ Mr. Youngblood Geography teacher

And in 2012, pending that the world won’t end, here are some interesting lists of things to look forward to.

  1. Color of the year 2012 – Tangerine Tango
  2. The Top 10 Franchises for 2012
  3. Where to Invest 2012
  4. 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End?
  5. The List: 2012

Now as I am thinking ahead to 2012, making my resolutions, planning, strategizing and imagining what the year ahead may bring… I wish you all an amazing 2012.

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Doing what you love – just like Andy Rooney

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Career, Leadership, Marketing, Mentors & Motivators, Technology, Work-Life Balance
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Don’t get a “job”, create a life and career you love – why not?

I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life…….. And all this time I’ve been paid to say what is on my mind on television, you don’t get any luckier in life than that.
~ Andy Rooney

One of the things that struck me during the coverage of Andy Rooney’s life and passing, was his resolute claim that he did what he loved professionally for 70 years – and in fact he did it right up to his passing at the age of 92. Some would say that he was one of the privileged few, but I say why not do something you love to do professionally? why shouldn’t we all do what we love?

Living your life’s passion can not only be extremely rewarding but can lead to prosperity. Interestingly, most creative professionals that I know, will tell you that they do what they love – why can’t this be true for everyone?

Watch Gary Vaynerchuk’s funny and inspiring video. Gary is a 35 year old New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author and a self-trained wine and social media expert, and the founder of Winelibrary.com.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!) TED Talk

YouTube Preview Image This video contains (mostly) adult language

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.
~ Wayne Dyer

Have you asked yourself:  What do you love to do? What do you care about? What sparks you? Find your niche, whether it’s working for a non-profit or becoming an entrepreneur creating a company based on your passion?

  1. Is there something you already love doing, a hobby? 
  2. Care about your self first – figure out what you love and then do it.
  3. Study the market carefully and you will find opportunities. Consider conducting a market survey with potential customers to uncover untapped needs, position yourself to succeed

I am not suggesting that you leave your great paying job tomorrow …. but really think about it, plan it and pursue it. Start in small steps, and work on pursuing your passion after you leave the job you are lukewarm about.

Here are 3 stories of people I know who are pursuing their passions:

People might tell you, you can’t do it, you will starve – well I am here to tell you that you can! Here are 3 stories, of people that I personally know, who are making a go at it in 3 very different ways.

  • Molly Butler, someone I know in Atlanta was just laid off – she actually enjoyed her full-time job, but her true love is pets. This past year she started Wag & Purr, a pet sitting services she was growing on the side. Now, it’s a no brainer, the passion she had as a side business will most certainly grow and provide her a great income – because she loves it. 
  • I have a friend who has been a writer his entire career – he has written for major publications, the news – you name it. But recently he started working on writing a book about 2 of his great loves – Sports and cooking.  There is no doubt in my mind that this venture will be successful, because his passion makes him a credible source, that and the fact that there are so few cookbooks geared to men. 
  • Rob Mazze was a well respected Executive at a large New York advertising agency, who got laid off less than 2 years ago. When that happened, he went through a period of introspection about WHAT to do next, and decided to follow his passion for yoga, (which he regularly practiced for 20 yrs.). He enrolled in the teacher training program at Yoga to the People and is now registered as an instructor by the Yoga Alliance. Keep in mind that he went from a highly paid executive job to being a student and re-building his career and income. In a very short time he has built a private clientele as well as regularly instructing at several studios. I have no doubt that his business will grow, and if he chooses he will soon be running his own studio.  

These are just a few of the stories I know personally, you get the idea …. define yourself by your passion, build your business based on that definition and you will have an instant brand for yourself and your business, and that is something that potential customers are naturally drawn to.

Passion is important, especially in your work life since we spend an average of 8270 hours a year at work – and I will tell you that entrepreneurs typically spend much more than that. Be in control of your own future and create the opportunities to do what you love!

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Occupy your mind – An opportunity to create change?

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Career, Events, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Social Media, Technology
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You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.
~ Albert Einstein

Occupy your mind – Attracting and creating opportunity

The global “Occupy” movement has been on my mind a great deal lately, it disturbs me to the core, I understand the anger – at times, I am angry too. I am not a liberal, conservative, communist, a tea partier or a socialist, now that we got that out of the way – my feelings, hopes and dreams about this country, simply do not fit into any of those little categories. Like the occupiers, I want a renewed democracy, prosperity, and to restore “The American Dream” to it’s rightful glory.

I do not resent wealth or wealthy individuals – I like money! What I resent, and in fact detest, are those individuals and institutions who have set about to kill the dream, and the dishonest means by which wealth has been achieved and rewarded in this country, and those that made “Greed is Good” a mantra for Wall Street ……. But, I am not choosing to occupy Wall Street – instead, I choose to focus my energies on creating my own wealth …. doing so ethically and honestly, as an example to others, and supporting those who will pursue the same. 

It’s a sad commentary that the general public is actually better versed in Kim and Kourtney Kardashian’s antics than our nation’s politics ….. that has got to change …. perhaps that will be one of the things that the “Occupy” movement will achieve. But it’s time to focus the “Occupy” tactics on what is sorely needed – jobs that pay a decent wage, and hope for those who have been struggling. 

I support the intent of the “Occupy” movement because…..

  1. The “Occupy”  movement is a wake up call to American business.
  2. It is an escape valve for those who have had to endure this crisis on their backs.
  3. Protesting is a way to generate change – we need it in order to save the middle class. 
  4. It is our right as guaranteed in the Bill of rights – which includes the phrase “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

A Humanitarian Mission to the “Occupy” movement

I have a dear friend, Maria Caso, who is a certified Life Coach and grief recovery specialist. She went to the occupy Wall Street encampment together with a number of other Coaches, in the camp they set up a table, and spent an entire weekend offering advice and coaching. They considered this a humanitarian mission – offering their expertise and knowledge for free. She told me that besides the incredible stench (this was in the heat of September) the one thing that struck her was the palpable lack of hope. This lack of hope, is something that will remain in our country’s psyche for a long time …..  

Why aren’t employers coming to the movement to get people back to work?

If I where a business owner, I would take this opportunity to go down to those “Occupy”  encampments and get people back to work, you might find the next innovator for your company right there. The occupiers are obviously thinking differently, and that is exactly what American businesses need right now – people who will think in new ways.

At least one company is trying to do something of significance to get people back to work, starting November 1, the Starbucks Foundation, is teaming up to initially fund the “Create Jobs for USA program”. The purpose will be to provide loans to under-served community businesses, including small businesses, micro-enterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing. 

How do we challenge other employers and lending institutions to get down to those encampments and get people back to work? …… I see this as an opportunity, that is being missed – but why? I would like to know the answers to these questions…. and I would like to see the energy of the “Occupy” movement spent on attracting and creating opportunity, and hope that the protest is the beginning of the process of change.

Besides creating good jobs, the “Occupy” movement has the groundswell and momentum to create a platform where to engage big business – starting perhaps with a manifesto of ethics and standards. The time is now, there is an opportunity to create a place to initiate the dialogue that will lead to the changes that the world wants to see.

The “Occupy” movement will be on our minds for a long time. But will camping in a park in unsanitary conditions indefinitely, with no real actionable agenda, help the movement achieve it’s goals? At the very least, I hope that the “Occupy” movement will spark the dialogue and action that is necessary to ignite the changes that will get people back to work! 

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Where are the opportunities in the “New Normal” economy

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Career, Copywriting, Education, Leadership, Marketing, Technology, Women in Technology
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The business landscape has changed fundamentally; tomorrow’s environment will be different, but no less rich in possibilities for those who are prepared. McKinsey & Company, worldwide (former) Managing Director, Ian Davis

A lesson from the (original) Great Depression – opportunities always exist!

Many years ago, I heard a story of a man who became a millionaire during the (original) Great Depression. This banker had lost his fortune and had watched many of his friends capitulate to the circumstances. Faced with unemployment he learned a trade and became a tile layer, he eventually worked his way back up, and was hired to work on the the construction of the Holland Tunnel in New York and got the contract to supply the tiles for the inside of the tunnel….. in the process regaining his wealth.

The Great Depression was a terrible time for many, some would compare today’s economy and the Nation’s battered spirit to that time. I have thought about this story many times lately, and the lesson. In the US, there are always opportunities to make money in ANY economy, you just have to have a little vision and be prepared to grab them.

Your own “Reinvention plan”

Continue Reading “Where are the opportunities in the “New Normal” economy”

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