Monday, December 30, 2013

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Doesn't it seem like when all of the good ideas are already taken, BAM!--something comes along that has everyone saying "Damn, how come I didn't think of that?!" Why is this? Why do such inventions leave us feeling this way? I tend to think the main reason so many great ideas are overlooked is assumption. Assumption, as in that it's such a great idea, someone else has to have thought of it already and is in the process of trying to develop it. Another reason is the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where or even how to begin.

SPR Blog its enough room for your idea

The good news is that with thorough research you can find out the things you need to know to make sure no one else is "in your lane," so to speak. After all, we live in a time where virtually no one is anonymous, especially if they are running a business. In other words, technology has allowed almost everyone to be accessible, especially those who own and operate a business. With that said, the chances of someone else working on the very same idea you have and there be no researchable information or record of it is very slim. So if you've got a great idea, don't sit on it. Do your due diligence and if the coast is clear, go for it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Formula for success: C + B = A

What the mind can Conceive and Believe it will Achieve. This is a formula I keep next to my computer and refer to quite often. I'm sure you may have heard similar concepts before such as, "As a man thinketh" or "You become what you think of most." No matter how you phrase it, it all comes down to the same thing--you and the thoughts that occupy your mind. 
SPR BloG C + B = A
Conceive + Believe = Achieve

As simple as it may sound, everything around you started as a thought. The device you're reading this entry on started as a thought. The fact is, without the thought, the action can not take place. It still amazes me how some people think that their dreams are not possible, yet people are orbiting the moon and manufacturing life-changing inventions every day. So when someone tells you your idea is "crazy," or "it will never work," remember this simple equation:
C + B = A. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

"Its always impossible until it's done." --Nelson Mandela

Monday, December 16, 2013

Separate Time from Talent

You're never too young or too old to pursue a dream. If you don't believe me just log on to YouTube and see for yourself. People ranging from 8 to 80 are now starting big businesses and launching new careers at historic rates when before, age would have surely played a discriminating factor. 
 SPR Blog Seperate Time From Talent

Technology has a way unlike any other that makes it easy for anyone to share their passion or talent with the masses right from the comfort of their home or smartphone. The days of needing an office, hiring employees and tracking overhead to sustain a business are a thing of the past. Whether it be a smartphone app, a blog, a tutorial, or a website, resources can be found everywhere that technology is available. And if there isn't one that your looking for, then perhaps that's your cue to create it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Take Inventory

Sometimes it's good to stop and take a look at where you are in life by taking inventory. You'll either say one of two things: "Ok I'm on the right track," or "What the hell have I been doing all this time?!" It's quite amazing the clarity that it brings. Either way, doing this throughout the year, once a month, or even weekly will help you stay the course. Furthermore, it not only gives you an opportunity to purge the things in your life that aren't conducive to achieving your goals, but it can also help you pinpoint the areas that could use some attention.

SPR Blog

I like to do this a couple times a month in solitude, usually while on a walk, and without music, or my phone. Something fascinating happens when I take in this moment of reflection. Important tasks that I had forgotten about or had been putting off suddenly reappear, and even new ideas begin to emerge. I'm not really sure why this happens, but it seems to work for me, and hopefully it works for your as well.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It Doesn't Belong 2 You! (Why Your talent isn't YOURS)

Believe it or not, the talent that you possess doesn't really belong to you. Your talent actually belongs to the world. When you think about it, to be deemed "talented" at something is usually a label given to us by another person. In other words, a "talent" really isn't discovered until someone else experiences it. Imagine the kind of world this would be if everyone kept their talent to themselves. I believe the magic doesn't begin with the talent itself; the magic lies in the act of sharing your talent with others.

I've met quite a few people who didn't consider themselves to be talented or creative. But the reality is, each and every one of us are creative in our own way, and we ALL possess the ability to use our minds and bring ideas to life (regardless of what anyone tells you). In fact, this reality is one of the many things that make living in this day in age so remarkable. The "Information Age" is perfect for cultivating new talents and ideas, and displaying them to the world. So remember the old adage "sharing is caring," and don't be afraid to share your talents with others. You never know who you may inspire.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Law of Averages

This has to be one of my favorite concepts of all times. Whenever I start a new project, there's always a fear of failure, and this very idea always helps put things into perspective. So what exactly is the "Law of Averages" anyway? It's basically the notion that the more a particular task is performed the better the odds are at succeeding. Just like the law of gravity and the law of physics, its just a part of the world we live in.
Law of Averages SPR Blog

The more you share a great idea, the more you increase your chances of peaking someone's interest. I find this to be a rather liberating concept because it reminds me that success doesn't have to happen overnight (which it never does anyway). Take for example, your favorite author, music artist, entertainer, athlete, or anyone else at the top of their profession. I'm willing to bet that their good fortune was a long time coming, and that the Law of Averages has been their one constant companion on their journey to success.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Avoid The Traffic (Go The Extra Mile)

I'm sure we all know people who do just enough--just enough to not get fired from their job, just enough to make it though the week and earn a paycheck. Maybe that's how they like it.  As for me, I've been on both sides of the fence and have found that while it seemed easy and convenient at the time, doing "just enough" didn't present any challenge, which therefore, didn't allow me to experience personal growth. 

SPR Blog, Go the Extra Mile

Going above and beyond can be beneficial in many ways. Not only does it produce results, but it can automatically give you leverage that separates you from the rest. At times, this means arriving early and staying late, maybe missing a social function or even hours of sleep at night. I believe the saying "there's no traffic on the extra mile" is true because most people choose to "sit in traffic" with everyone else by doing the bare minimum. On the contrary, doing what's more than required or necessary is a virtue few people encompass. Lastly, one of the best things about going the extra mile is that you don't need anyone's permission to do it. You, yourself, can take the initiative and incorporate this ideology whenever you choose. And when you do, do it because it's the right thing to do, not to get anyone's praise or attention. Besides, people won't help but notice. So which areas of your life could use that extra mile? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Look In (Believe In YOUR Process)

At times it appears that everyone else has the answers but us. Everyone has their life in order and it runs as smooth as a well-oiled machine. But the reality is, we all have flaws and shortcomings, we all experience set backs, and no one has all the answers (unless you're on an infomercial--those guys have a solution to every problem). 

Look Within Yourself SPR Blog

The point I'm trying to make is instead of looking out, look within. Don't always turn to others for help without first trying to help yourself. Realize that you are good enough. Your words are good enough. Your thoughts & ideas are good enough to help get you to the place you wish to be, be it physically, geographically, mentally, or emotionally. And when needed, a professional opinion or a set of "new eyes" can help you view things from a different perspective. Just remember that at some point, you have to start trusting and consulting with yourself. Trusting yourself in addition to hard work, research, and resolve will someday put you in a position where you can be the one that people look to. 


Side note:  Today is Veterans Day. Although I have not served in the military, I've had the honor of being raised by a great man who did, and will always be proud and grateful for his sacrifice and service to our country.

Thank You Veterans from Damion Hollomon and SmartPhoneRecords

So if you happen to love or know a veteran, or even see one passing by, take a moment to thank them. Today is their day-- they've earned it. And for all the veterans reading this entry, God bless you, and THANK YOU!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Allow me to reintroduce myself!

If there has ever been a time in your life to reinvent yourself, it's now. Many of us often get pigeonholed into thinking that we're supposed to be only one thing or one way our entire lives. C'mon, how many of you out there were asked a zillion times what you wanted to be when you grew up? I'm sure most of us gave the kind of answers that we knew they wanted to hear, but really, how much exposure can a little kid have? If it was little to none, chances are your choices were limited, and by no fault of your own, by the way. But as we get older, that changes as we experience new things. We gain new interests, discover hidden talents, learn about new professions and if we're really ambitious we create new ones.

Time to Re-invent

Starting new can be scary. It can be thrilling. Sometimes it can be downright paralyzing to the point where you will be so afraid of failing that you freeze before you even get started. Or it can be liberating and just the thought of the possibilities launch you into action. Either way it all comes down to a choice. Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be an overnight success. A reinvention can often start off with a hobby or a life long passion that you thought was impossible to accomplish.

Time never moves backwards. The world as we know it will continue to evolve. And since we occupy this planet, it's only natural for us to evolve as well. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Finish What You Start

There is a lot to be said about a person who can finish what they start. Many of people can prepare and even get started but when it comes to crossing the finish line, that's a completely different story. In fact, the ability to follow through and persevere is what separates the "live from the jive." 

Giving up is such an easy thing to do especially with the millions of excuses that we've all used at one time or another--your schedule is too busy, you're "too broke", you have to to take care of your family, or even plain ol' bad luck. Whatever the reason is, don't allow giving up to be an option. 

Completing a project of any kind brings you one step closer to the legacy you will leave behind. Because just like all the great finished projects out there, one day ours live will be finished, so make sure you see your masterpiece to the end, whatever that may be. As for me, my projects are still a work in progress, but I know I will finish them the same way that I'm going to finish this post. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Perks of Dream Chasing

Pursuing a major goal in life can be one of the most important and rewarding things you ever do. And I don't just mean a simple goal. I mean a life changing goal, something bigger than yourself. Additionally, doing this can help you in other areas as well. For instance: 

SPR Blog
1. It gives you direction -- When you know where you're headed, chances are you're going to get there. Even if you get lost or hit an occasional "bump" in the road, just keep moving along your designated path and before you know it, you will have arrived. 

2. It improves your focus - It's easy to get sidetracked by all the distractions in life, but having a goal helps keep the more important things right in front of you. 

3. It provides a purpose-- Sometimes we all feel like giving up at one time or another. But pursuing your goal can give you a reason to press on. Knowing that loved ones are supportive of your dreams and that they are counting on you will help you endure as well.

In addition to these benefits, there are countless others you can add to this list, which is why you should start chasing your dreams today. Remember, it's not the destination, it's the journey.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Suspend your beliefs (forget logic and CREATE!)

This is a great way to help get your momentum going anytime you're in a creative mood. What this means is while in the creative/brainstorming process, allow your thoughts to explore and the freedom to run free. 

The Impossible Art of Li Wei
The Impossible Art of Li Wei
During these moments, forget about what's "logical". Disregard, or "suspend your belief" of what goes on in the so-called "real world". It should actually be rather easy to do, as this method is what we use while watching cartoons or movies, for example. For most of us, we're able to distinguish reality from fiction, and understand that they are strictly for entertainment purposes. Nevertheless, we allow ourselves to go on a temporary journey that seemingly goes against everything that happens in reality. 

Whether your ideas are ones that you'll bring to life or keep stowed away, the important thing is that you exercise your mind. Give it permission to think outside the box by tapping into that same person you are while watching a fictitious movie. 

So the next time you sit down to write your next song, screen play or create your next invention, don't be afraid to suspend your beliefs, and give the power to your imagination. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Portion Control (Keep a small plate & stay focused)

Most people, I would assume, associate this concept with dieting. Apparently it can be rather effective. For those that may be new to this concept, it goes like this: keep a small plate to help maintain your weight. The smaller the portion, the less you eat. The less you eat, the less weight you take on.

I've been slim my whole life and if you ask my older brother, I could use a few extra pounds. And although I don't heavily focus on the size of my plate or how much food I consume, ironically, I have noticed that this idea of "portion control" has suited me well in other areas of my life. But it hasn't always been this way.

SPR Blog (SmartPhoneRecords) Music & Motivation

I'll admit that I am a natural-born multi-tasker, but I still can't determine whether that's a good thing or a not-so-good thing. Focusing on one thing at a time is a constant struggle for me. To tell you the truth, I don't know if it's because I feel more accomplished when I multitask, or if I'm afraid of missing out on something. Maybe subconsciously I feel less than productive if I'm not doing four things at once. Whichever it is, I'm a "multi-tasker" in a major way. 

But it wasn't until recently I realized that giving my attention to one thing at a time not only resulted in the same amount of productivity as before, but more importantly, created a more sound mindset that multitasking hadn't given me. I felt more confident in what I was doing, I was thinking more clearly, and I was overall more pleased with my results.

My question to you is, what does the size of your "plate" look like? Could it use a little portion control, too? Are there areas of your life that could use more of your focus and attention? 

If so, maybe using this strategy will help. Or, perhaps you'll need to take a different approach to be more effective. 

Either way, I say it's worth a try. Test it out on a few tasks and see what happens to your productivity. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules as always. If your a parent, I'm sure multitasking is the only way things get done, and trying to find time to do one thing at a time is virtually impossible. But for those who are willing and able to take on a new challenge, here's your chance. So keep calm and portion on...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Begin With The End (how to finish before you start)

After posting my last entry, I had a few lingering thoughts that I felt I should've included, because I do realize that it's not enough to suggest to just get started without knowing what to do first. 

One of the philosophies that's been a staple in my life is to begin with the end in mind. I'm sure that may sound a little backwards. But, just like building a house, you have to first draft a blueprint before the foundation is set. Likewise, in order to create the blueprint, you have to have a vision of what you want the house to look like. The clearer the vision the more likely you are to obtain it. Vision, however, requires more than sight itself. It requires an imagination. Its similar to planning a road trip. First you need a destination. From there, you plan accordingly. You need vision, or an imagination to prepare yourself and anticipate things you will need along the way in order to get there.

Begin with the End

I really find this idea helpful in all aspects of my life. It helps to start my day with a clear picture of what I want to accomplish by its end. If I reach my goal then I consider it a successful day. The idea is that doing this day after day will eventually lead to long term success. 

So once you get your dream established, begin with the end in mind. What do you want your finished product to look like? What do you want to accomplish by the end of the day? Don't forget to draw out your blueprint. With a little gumption and dedication, you'll be on your way to turning your vision into a reality in no time. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

GO (the Power of getting started)

I have a question to ask you: If you knew you couldn't fail, what is one goal you'd set for yourself? 

I once read a book called "The Perfect Business" by Michael LeBoeuf, which posed a similar inquiry. I thought this was a brilliant question, because it forced me to really examine what I wanted most out of life, and what I was doing to try to make it happen. It turns out that I did have a goal, and I hadn't a clue how to accomplish it. So I did the first thing that came to mind--I sat down and got started. I read books, watched tutorials, listened to lectures, all in hopes of finding out what my first step should be. It wasn't easy, let me tell you. In fact, it was down right frustrating and confusing at times. But ultimately, I knew that even in those trying moments I was still one step closer to reaching my goal.

The difference between people who fulfill their dreams and those who help others fulfill theirs is the ability to take the first step. Can it be intimidating? Yes. Can it be difficult? Most likely. Will it be worth it? Without a doubt. But also keep in mind, NOTHING that has ever been done in the history of mankind has ever happened without someone taking that first step. And the same applies to you, no matter what it is that you want to pursue.

So, let your focus be fueled by questions. What is it you wish to do? What will you need in order to do it, too? Seek and you shall find.  Before you know it, you'll be doing exactly what you've been talking about doing "one day." You're dreams are waiting on you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gravity (Embrace Resistance)

Lately I've been so busy trying to take care of my business that I quickly fell behind in writing this week's entry. Because I waited until the last minute, it came as no surprise when I hit a writer's block and couldn't come up with anything to talk about. Despite having inspirational stories and tons of notes that I'd jotted down throughout the week, when it was time to get this blog ready, I was stumped.

Artwork by ~FuzzyLumpkat

I began scrolling through my notes and came across the word "Gravity." I remember writing it down three days ago, if only I could remember the reason why. It did, for some unknown reason, trigger a thought at that moment pertaining to my writers block issue. I found it interesting that my inability to come up with a thought would actually be the driving force that inspired this week's topic. Instead of getting overwhelmed with frustration because things didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, I decided to embrace the fact that I was stuck, and share it with you. 

Normally, I try to provide you with a blog that's informative, but sometimes, you just gotta call them like you see them. Sometimes these things happen. And when they do, you've just got to embrace them for what they are, rather than put up resistance and fight. Once I acknowledged this, somehow it was liberating because it immediately took the pressure off of drafting an entry that I knew I wasn't prepared to write. Liberating because I accepted my shortcomings and realized that sometimes, things aren't going to go as planned. Life gets in the way. And sometimes, that's okay, too. 

So the next time you experience something that doesn't go as planned, just remember you're not alone, and embrace it. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

U Down Wit O.P.P? (Learn from others)

What's the cheapest and most efficient way to learn about life? If you ask me, it would be learning from other people. You know, like OPP--other peoples problems, other peoples progress, other people, period. Whether it's directly from a mentor, a friend, a family member or coming indirectly from an autobiography, a documentary, or a movie, the source itself really doesn't matter. What's important is the lesson. 
SmartPhoneRecords Blog
Yeah you know me;)

Some might argue that personal experience is the best teacher, but I contend that it all depends on what it is you want to learn. For example, if you're going thorough a difficult phase in your life, it can be helpful to know the ways in which someone else overcame similar struggles.  If someone has accomplished something that you dream of doing, learning about their story may save you time, as well as expedite your learning curve. 

When I would share with investors the idea behind SPR, I would get pissed when they failed to share my vision, or tell me all the ways in which it wouldn't work. But once I learned about Thomas Edison and his invention of the light bulb, or the story of Pandora and the many roadblocks that were encountered prior to its huge success, I began to feel less discouraged, and more motivated. Believe it or not, both of these world-wide, life-altering inventions were once turned down by so-called "smart" investors.

With the world as big as it is, chances are there isn't one person who hasn't walked a mile in your shoes before. So, don't be afraid to find out their background and see how it can apply to your life. After all, you never know the affect your story can have on the next person.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Accidental Icon (If at first you don't succeed....hire a pro)

Recently, during a conversation I was having with our graphic designer, I shared with him the story of how our SPR icon was created. So, I figured I'd share it with you.

Operating on a tight budget, I made the decision to design the logo myself. I knew what I wanted--a smartphone with headphones attached, and to make the background blue to represent the sky and/or cloud, since all of the activity that takes place on SPR is done in cyberspace

The problem was that although in the past I've had some graphic design experience, what I lacked was the knowledge of how to work with photoshop layers and vector images, which was pretty much a requirement if I planned on building this thing on my own. (Thank GOD for YouTube!)

After several hours of watching video tutorials and playing with different effects, the original icon was born. The funny part is that to this day, I'm still not sure how I did it. Everything about it, with the exception of the color, was a complete accident (or "ack-ee-sent", as my niece used to say) right down to the details of the shadowing inside the phone itself, and the headphones. 

My work on the Left / Rezniks work on the Right

I was EXCITED! The minute I saw it I knew it was the one, so I saved it. 

And computer crashed.

"WTF!!" I yelled out.  Fearing that I had lost  the icon and desperation because I had no clue how I did it. Thankfully, it was retrieved when my computer restarted, although it was a bit distorted due to the .bmp format it was now in. But I didn't care. By this time I was just relieved to know that I didn't have to start over. I knew I had just dodged the mother of all bullets.

So with this experience, I guess I've learned two things: 1, from now on, I'll let the professional graphic designers handle any icon upgrades, and 2, I've learned that you don't have to be perfect to do everything right the first time. Because, while I was worrying about what others would think of our icon, in actuality, no one really cared. Know one knew the story behind how it came to be, so essentially, all of the fears that I had about it were self-manufactured. 

So don't beat yourself up trying to be perfect all the time, especially if it's your first time up to bat. Just keep your eye on the ball and swing--you're bound to hit a home run eventually. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

My 3 Favorite 5 Letter Words

My Three Favorite 5 Letter Words on my iPad Screen

These are my 3 favorite 5 letter words. And they are my favorite because I've come to the conclusion that I can use any one of these words to get me through any situation. 

For example, to write this entry I used "today." It often comes in handy, because for me, it is a word that helps keep things in perspective. 

It's easy to get sidetracked by our past, or to dwell in reliving moments we either regret or would love to repeat. The same can be said with the future, I suppose. Life is filled with more options than we know what to do with, which requires us to make more decisions about the very things that will ultimately find their way into one of the two categories I just mentioned. But even as daunting (or exciting) as "future" planning can sometimes be, it can also overshadow the lessons, adventures & answers that the gift of "today" has to offer . 

It's been said that "the best way to predict the future is to create it"...
So, what better way to do that than by embracing TODAY???

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Conductor (Take Charge of your Symphony)

While channel surfing the other day I stumbled upon what appeared to be a symphony preparing for their upcoming performance. 

As the spectators were being escorted to their assigned seats, on stage the musicians were busy putting their respective instruments to the test while simultaneously getting rid of any last-minute jitters, I suppose. The noise blaring from these instruments sounded more like chaos than a soon-to-be sophisticated, professional paid event.

Conductors Baton

Then, just as it started, the noise abruptly subsided. As the lights dimmed, the conductor confidently made his way to center stage armed with his conductors baton. He looked as though he was certain it would be a night no one would soon forget. 

Which leads me to my point of today's blog: with so much "noise" in our lives, (i.e., social media, current events, family, relationships, work, medical issues, the unpredictable economy) sometimes life itself can become just as "chaotic" as that symphony rehearsal. Perhaps even though it may SEEM noisy and disorganized, in actuality, maybe life's just waiting for you to get on stage and take charge of your own "symphony".

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy New Year!

No, it's not January 1st, but it's a personal "New Year" for me. I celebrated my birthday yesterday and made a resolution.  I've decided to start a blog and every Monday I'll make a new entry. I'm not sure exactly what I will be writing about, but it will be positive and worth reading.  Many people know me as an artist, but what they don't about me is that I hate to write. It may sound weird, considering my new resolution, but I do not like writing. I live inside my mind most of the time.  But what I've discovered is that when I write my ideas down, I'm able to separate self from thought and bring them to life. A great idea needs to have room to mature and grow on its own, and not be lost in the mix & mayhem of all the smaller, less important ones. 

SPR Blog, where music and motivation lives
Happy New Year
I've also learned that the things I put off doing are usually the very things that I should do FIRST.  So check in with me every Monday & since I've told you guys about it, I have to stick to my word.  

Thanks for reading, stay creative and remember-- you don't need to wait until January 1st to make a resolution.