You can have what Navy Seals and Olympic athletes have: Mission focus

Mission focus is something both Navy Seals and Olympic athletes have. It's also something each of us can use to achieve our goals. Chris Jansing, of MSNBC, showed a video clip today titled, "Navy Seals: The Science of Mental Toughness," as part of the NBC special series, "Silent Warrios: An exclusive view at the lives and the training of Navy Seals."

The documentary stood out to me because it focused on the psychological aspects of the making of a Navy Seal. It became even more interesting to me when it compared what Navy Seals and Olympic athletes have in comon, i.e., Mission focus.

In the video Jansing tells us that, "For Seals, mental toughness is the number one indicator of sucess." That's what achieving our goals is all about. Isn't maintaining our focus on the job at hand the way to become a good student, parent, educator, athlete, writer, doctor, engineer, teacher, and even a Navy Seal or an Olympic athlete? Whatever goal we set for ourselves will require mental toughness on our part so we keep going when the going gets tough.

US Navy Seals flag animated clipart
The key ingredient used by Navy Seals to gain this mental toughness is one that is within the reach of all of us. They choose to go through constant training challenges. Time on task. Moment after moment. Day after day. As with the Navy Seals, it's the constant training of our minds, bodies, and souls, that will allow each one of us to reach higher and go further in our own lives.

Research is backing up the idea that mental toughness is key in achieving goals. "The Navy has been doing cutting edge research on mental toughness," Jansingcontinues, "developing a written test that helps weed out candidates who aren't likely to make it thru training."

Cmdr. Eric Potterat, Naval Special Warfare Psychologist adds, "For the first time, to my knowledge, we're able to predict, from the neck up some of the science of mental toughness...Panic, fear, doubt, the minute we teach our candidates to be able to control that, their confidence goes up because they don't have the same fear response that you or I might have"

That's the key, isn't it? How many books have you read that told you the same thing? Whether it be, Hug the Monster, As a Man Thinketh, Unstopable, Dare to Win, An Enemy Called Average, or Unstoppable Women, to name just a few, the advice is the same: Do not let the molehills in your life become mountains. Bring the obstacles you're facing down to size and you'll see that you are, indeed, able to deal with them. You can work through whatever is keeping you from achieving your stated goals.

I enjoyed seeing how the research and experience that the Navy has garnered in this field is being shared with Olympic athletes. Jansingasks, "how does a Seal on a mission, how does an Olympian in a gold medal moment, make years of training come together when it counts most?" We each have our "goal medal moments" where it's up to us to stay the course or throw in the towel. It makes sense that our individual mental toughness can be a key determining factor of our success at such times.

I agree with what a US Olympic psychologist says in the video. He thinks that, "there are things that are similar in terms of how we have to be primed and ready for an elite performance opportunity." Long before the opportunity comes for us to perform at our best, we need to be ready for it.

The video shows us members of the Olympic Water Polo team going through mock drills under the Navy Seals' supervision at the Seals' base in Coronado, CA. Terry Schroeder, USA Water Polo, shares why they came, "So often the difference between winning and loosing is just a fraction. And so we were looking for whatever little piece we could grab."

Wrapping up the segment, Jansingsays that, "On the playing field and the battlefield, using mental toughness to come out on the winning side, both Seal instructors and Olympic coaches told me that what they all have in common is mission focus."

Mission Focus. Now there's a thought worth grabbing hold of, isn't it? What is it you want to become? What do you want to accomplish? How are you focusing on your goal, your mission? Take a hint from the Navy Seals and Olympic athletes and work hard at maintaining your mission focus.


Meet New Year's Goals with HabitForge's Help

In the past few years I've almost stopped making New Year goals and resolutions. Not because I don't have things I'd like to accomplish, but rather because I rely on my never-ending "to do" list to keep me focused. This strategy has served me well, up to a point. The thing with "to do" lists is that they often are made up of things that scream so loud for my attention that whether they're on the list or not they will get done. But what about my silent goals? What about the desires I keep in a hidden corner of my heart?

If you're like me, those longings of our hearts tend to take a back seat to the screaming demands of daily life. Thankfully, they do not go away. More often than not, their embers remain in place, softly calling us to blow upon them with our time and promising a glorious flame of victory once we do so.

Whatever your New Year's goals may be, habitforge.com may hold the key to your success. Their website tells us that, "Every 6 minutes someone joins habitforge." This is followed by a long list of testimonials from folks who've signed up for free and are being helped by the site's technology to accomplish their goals.

Is 2010 the year you'll start writing your novel? Or finish writing your work in progress? How about your reading? Would you like to read more this year? And when it comes to your physical well-being, do you want to exercise more? Walk more? Rest more? Eat healthier? I've signed up at habitforge.com and hope this will help me accomplish one of my heart's desires. How about you? If you do sign up, come back and tell me whether you found the site helpful or not.


Xerox Technology to Fuel Espresso Book Machine

I've been tracking, on and off, the development of the Espresso Book Machine and am totally fascinated by it. Back in 2006 we posted an article about it to the CCF website and today we found a press release from the Xerox Corporation announcing that Xerox technology is to fuel the Espresso Book Machine. Even more promising for what has been termed "the ATM for books," is the fact that Xerox's worldwide agreement with On Demand Books includes global marketing and sales support.

Click to enlargeXerox and On Demand Books will jointly market and sell, on a worldwide basis, the Xerox 4112 Copier/Printer together with the Espresso Book Machine -- a fully integrated solution that prints, binds and trims books with full color covers on demand in retail locations and libraries.The Espresso Book Machine can produce paperbacks in variable combinations of trim sizes between 4.5" x 5.0" and 8.25" x 10.5" for a production cost less than one cent per page.

This technology should be able to help us get our hands on out of print books and it should also help small publishers, as they won't be forced to keep large inventory of titles on hand.

I am an author, editor, and bookseller and don't see the Espresso Book Machine and related technologies, whether they be amazon.com's Kindle, etc, as threats. Instead, I see them as enlarging the reservoirs from which readers worldwide can more easily satisfy their thirst. What do you think?


Island of my heart, by Olgy Gary

April 29, 2010 is my self-imposed deadline to finish the middle grade novel I'm writing. I keep a copy of the manuscript in my Kindle and love to browse through the various chapters before I go to bed at night. The memories are crisp, clear, and the years separating me from when the events in the story took place vanish as I relive them in the stillness of the night.

Now that I'm settled into our new home in Virginia it's time for me to finish the manuscript and submit it to the editors and agents who have asked for it after hearing my pitch. The plan is to finish writing it by April 29th and then have the months of May and June as a time where the manuscript is read by pre-selected readers, including members of my critique group. During these two months I would work on rewrites and edits prior to submitting the manuscript to various agents and editors come July 1, 2010. At present my critical path is BIC HOK TAM (butt-in-chair; hands-on-keyboard; typing-away-madly)! It's the motto of the Book-in-a-week group I belong to and it really is the best way to get writing done.

Island of my heart / Isla de mi corazón is the working title of my forthcoming middle grade novel. It's also the sentiment many Cubans have about their homeland. Andy Garcia encapsulated this feeling in his movie, "The Lost City." [Final scene of the movie shown below.]

My writing in Island of my heart has garnered praise from award-winning authors who've read it. The manuscript also won 2nd place in the YA category of the Paul Gillette Writing Contest in 2005.

I'll keep you posted on my progress as the days go by and give all my blog visitors permission to hound me so that I keep to my deadline and finish writing the manuscript by April 29th. I've set up an Island of my heart group at myspace and would love to have you visit with me there as well.


Kindle for PC: Another reason to adore your Kindle

Just when I thought the Kindle world couldn't get any better, it did! Amazon.com now offers Kindle for PC, with the Mac version on its way. This means that every single book or document I've ever downloaded to my Kindle I can now download and read on my PC, my laptop, or my notebook.

Honestly, it's just awesome to be able to do this. If I don't have my Kindle with me I still can keep reading where I left off by going to my Notebook and launching the Kindle for PC application from there. All my documents and books are available, even the archived ones. And my notes and bookmarks that I made while reading my various books or documents in my Kindle also show up. Is this ever cool or what?!?

If you already own a Kindle, you can start using the Kindle for PC application right away. If you've yet to purchase one, you may want to consider going global! Yes, the latest generation of the Kindle Wireless Reading Device is not only wireless, like the other versions are, but it's Global Wireless!

Up to now you had to be within the USA in order to be able to download books or documents to your Kindle. Not anymore. With the Global Wireless version of the Kindle it works anywhere else in the world you find yourself in. Probably tourist or business travelers will find the global wireless useful. We've found yet another group of folks who will be able to use the global version of the Kindle: our deployed military men and women. This is just what our friend has done. Her son has been called back into active duty and he's taking with him the global wireless Kindle.

It's also nice that the newest version of the Kindle is smaller, it's 8"x5.3"x0.36", so it's smaller than the Kindle-2, which was smaller than the Kindle-1. I could go on about how much I love my Kindle-2 but I'd rather hear from you! Write back and let me know how you like yours. Or let me know if you have any questions about these units.

If you end up purchasing a Kindle or any of its accessories from the links on my blog a portion of the purchase price will come back to CCF, the educational nonprofit I manage. Just know that I wouldn't be singing the Kindle's praises if I did not totally believe in them. At our home we have already purchased two of these units and a third one is on its way.


Very cool news: Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews Lives to Write Another Day http://bit.ly/4GDQ4F

Dreamdark's Silksinger: an excellent read

ChildrenComeFirst.com has posted a great review of this middle grade novel. They write that,
"We received a review copy of Laini Taylor's Silksinger earlier this year from its publisher, along with the first book in the series, Blackbringer. The paperback edition of Blackbringer came out in May of 2009. The hardcover edition of Silksinger came out in September. Both titles are part of the Faeries of Dreamdark books that Taylor is writing.

Click here to read the rest of the post


Happy New Year to our friends & family!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Click to view the card from our home to yours.