Tag Archives: Tip of the Week

Heal your brain.

Now and then, I simply borrow someone else’s tip of the week.

Since it is 11:45 and I am still up answering emails, I am going to do just that.

This tip comes from Bill Myers.  I am doing exactly what he recommends at the moment.  I am listening to soothing music on You Tube.  I’ve got to get back to work, so here’s Bill:

Bill Myers Tip of the Week – August 12, 2017


Heal Your Brain?

They say that ‘Music hath charms to soothe a savage beast’.

I don’t know if that holds true in every case, but I do know that in our house when my wife tunes our XM radio to the Spa channel (music you can relax to), our normally rambunctious two-year-old male cat, will settle down in front of the speakers and nod off to sleep.

Me, I prefer the soothing strains of Pink Floyd. Especially when I drive.

But a lot of people, millions it seems, like to listen to what’s being called ‘mind wave’. Music that is supposed to heal the brain, relieve stress and soothe nerves.

You can see evidence of this on YouTube, where videos with titles like ‘Heal your brain fast’, get tens of millions of views.

Whether these videos with their mind wave audio tracks can actually heal your brain is debatable. What isn’t debatable though, is the number of views they get. Some have close to a hundred million.

The thing is, these mind wave videos are easy to create – no video camera or special equipment needed. In fact, it took me less than ten minutes to create one of my own.

If you want to see what mind wave videos are and how to create them, check out the short video I posted on my site. I’m not promising what you see and hear will ‘heal your brain’, but it might.

You can watch it at


Bill Myers


Have a Happy Sunday, everyone.


How to track what you are reading.

Last week, I blogged about a simple way to stand out in your chosen field of expertise.

Simply read more than everyone else.

If you read a book a week for twenty years, that adds up to 1,040 books!

20 years is going to pass anyway.  You might as well have something to show for it.

By the way, we have the time.  How many hours are spent each week watching football, baseball, or hockey games?  The same math applies. Just one game a week for twenty years adds up to 1,040 games.

After I sent the tip of the week last Saturday, I received this email from a friend.  Not only does she have 8 kids, she has already read 50 books this year.

After punching a hole in the sheetrock, and after crying on the floor for a while, I emailed her back and asked how in the world she does it.  In her response, she reminded me of a site I used to know about but had long since forgotten.

“I know people never understand how I can read that much, so I always tell them 10 minutes at a time.  I never feel like I have to have huge chunks of time to read, but sitting down for even 10 minutes with a book a couple times a day adds up.   Have you heard of the website Good Reads?  I find that is a helpful way to keep track of the books I read every year, as well as read reviews on books, etc.  I am “friends” with just a few other people of whom I respect their reading choices, so it is also fun to see what they are reading.  It perpetually keeps me adding to my “want to read” shelf!  (Good Reads has “shelves” where you organize your books, i.e. Books Currently Reading, Books read in 2017, Family Read Alouds, etc.)  Anyway, you might find you like it!”

Actually, I thought all of you might like it.   If you want to track what you are reading, or if you need new ideas, or if you want to nose through your friends’ personal library without actually nosing around in their library, then check out Goodreads.com.

Have a happy Saturday (What’s left of it, anyway)!
Dwane Thomas

How to stand out.

In one of my favorite books, The Pledge, by Michael Masterson, the author reports that the average American reads one book per year.

It may not be that bad.  According to the Pew Research Center, the average American in 2013 read a book a month.

What about “above average Americans”?  According to the site, Rich Habits, the average millionaire reads a couple of books a month, or 24 books a year.

Author Brendon Burchard claims to have read a book a week for the last 20 years.

Using the sources above and using Brendon Burchard’s 20-year benchmark, here is how the numbers stack up.

  • 20 years = 20 books (The Pledge)
  • 20 years = 240 books (The Pew Research Center)
  • 20 years = 480 books (Rich Habits)
  • 20 years = 1,040 books (Brendon Burchard)

Want to stand out in your chosen field of expertise?  It’s a simple numbers game.

If the average person in your chosen field of expertise reads a book a year, or a book a month, and you read a book a week… who is eventually going to stand out?

It’s simple math.  You are.

Devote an hour each day to learning by reading and you are going to set yourself apart.

In time (and it may be sooner than you think) you will move into the top half of your field.

Keep reading.  You will move into the top 20% of your field.  You will stand out.

Keep reading.  Eventually, you will move into the top 20% of the top 20%.  In other words, you will move into the top 4% of your field.  You will very likely be recognized as an expert.

Perhaps you are thinking… 20 years?  That’s a long time!

So, what?  20 years is going to pass whether you want it to pass, or not.  You might as well have something to show for it.

As Tony Robbins says, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in two or three decades.”

By the way, I also recommend you write about what you are reading.  In this way, you also develop your writing skills.

I read a lot.  But, for some dumb reason, I have not been blogging about the books I read.  Until recently.  I am a slow learner, I suppose.

Anyway, I am now reviewing books on my site and will continue to do so.  I recommend you do the same.

You can check out my reviews here: https://dwanethomas.com/bookreviews/

So, turn the T.V. off.  Turn Netflix off.  You can always watch “Some Dumb Movie 3” later.

Stand out.  Grab a book instead.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

Protect yourself before you go.

One of the great inventions of the modern world is insurance.  (I know.  I know.  It’s also one of the great nuisances of the modern world.)  But, think about it.  By pooling your resources with others, you can protect yourself from massive financial setbacks.

By now, all of you know that my son was in an accident in Colorado.  His accident brought my family back from Athens, Greece.  I had gone there to study Greek intensively.

When we heard of the accident, I immediately went online and bought a ticket for my wife.  She was on a plane for Colorado eight, or so, hours later.

My girls and I stayed in Athens.  We waited for more news.  How serious was the accident?  How badly was my son injured?

As news slowly filtered in, we realized the situation was, indeed, quite serious.  We settled all of our affairs in Athens and boarded a plane 24 hours behind my wife.

Last minute flights for myself, my wife, and my girls cost roughly $2,000 each.  So… $12,000.  With airport taxes and such, it was actually a bit higher than that.

Before our trip, my wife had purchased travel insurance for the family.  It cost $158.

This week, Allianz Global Assistance refunded the entire amount.  They deposited a little more than $12,000 directly into our checking account.

I am a bit of a complainer when it comes to taxes and insurance.  I shouldn’t complain, I know.  But… it feels so good.

Maybe I will stop complaining now.  Those $158 dollars my wife spent now numbers among our top 10 purchases for $158.

If you are traveling alone, you could possibly justify the risk of going without travel insurance.

But, if you are traveling with a family, do it.

And, if you are going to purchase travel insurance, consider Allianz Global Assistance.  They were easy to work with, and they upheld their end of the bargain.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

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During my son’s recent ordeal, I discovered several things about myself that I did not like.

Among other things, I am not the Stoic I thought I was becoming.  Under pressure, I lost my cool.  More than once.  Sigh.

I also discovered that, under pressure, I stop journaling and I stop writing down all that I have to do.  (My wife, on the other hand, became a blogger under pressure.  Prolifically, she started writing everything down.   She is still blogging about my son’s recovery.  You can follow her here.)

I almost always have a small Moleskine journal with me.  Usually, whenever an idea hits, or whenever I remember something I need to take care of, I will write it down in the journal.  I write things down for one simple reason.  I can be rather forgetful.  If I don’t write it down, there is a good chance I will forget it.

During our time in Denver (where my son’s accident and subsequent hospitalization took place), I stopped writing things down.

That was fine for a few days while we traveled to Denver.  It wasn’t fine at all to stop writing things down for the two months (almost) we were living there.

There were still things to do.   Life doesn’t stop throwing “things to get done” at you.  Not even during the hard times.  Cars still run out of gas.  Bills keep coming.  Kids get hungry.   Rent is still due.  The cat needs a bath.

To keep up with what I had to do, and to keep up with the new demands created by the situation, I switched to a digital to-do list.

There are many online, but several years ago, my friends at Compass Classroom told me about Wunderlist.

If you write things down, you will enjoy Wunderlist.  You can set it up on your computer.  You can set it up on your smartphone.   And, you can link the two.

Sometimes when I am out, I will think of something I’ve got to take care of later when I return to my computer.  I will type it into my phone into the Wunderlist app.  When I am back on my computer, there the task will be.

You can even set Wunderlist up with other people.  Using this feature, other people can add items to your inbox.  Then they can use Wunderlist to remind themselves to pester you about the tasks they delegated to you.  I do not use this feature.  But, you can, if you want.  But, you cannot use it with me.

We all know it’s true.  If you write things down, you will get more done.  The studies have proved it over and over again.  We just have so much hitting us these days.  To keep up with it all, write it down.

Wunderlist it.


Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:


Tip of the Week #107. Get a job.

Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you want to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

This time of year, there is a lot of talk about college.

I am a teacher.  Over the last 20 years, I have spent much of my time talking with students.  Naturally, many of those conversations were about college.

Many people think I am anti-college.  I am not.  I am anti-debt.

The cost of college has risen exponentially.  Considering the product these factories are producing these days, the price of college has become a joke.

Or, worse.  Since debt is a form of slavery, and since we are loading the young with debt, perhaps the cost of college has become more than a joke.  For many, the cost of college has become the introduction to slavery.

To misquote Patrick Henry, “Our children’s chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of campuses everywhere!”

Debt is slavery.  Debt is strain.  Debt is stress.

Early on in my marriage, well-meaning, older, “wiser” Christians pressured me into buying a house.  The condo we were living in was “too small”.  I was a teacher in a private school.  Teachers in private schools don’t earn much money.  I couldn’t really afford the house.

(Teachers in government schools do just fine, but I refuse to work for the government.  If you take the king’s dime, you are the king’s man.)

I foolishly left the condo we were living in.  I bought the house.  This dumb decision on my part sent us into a downward financial spiral that lasted years.  Three years later, after trying for almost two years, we sold the house.  We sold it at a loss.  We moved right back into a condo.  Even though it is “too small” we still live in a condo today.

That condo that was “too small”?  It is now worth twice what I paid for it.  Someone else’s profit.

That house debt locked me into a bad employment situation.  I couldn’t get out because I was locked into debt.  I had to pay the bills.  That house and that debt strained our marriage.  We have never fully recovered.  The cracks and fissures and strain are still there today.

I can’t believe that, as a culture, we allow students to walk into the combat zone of debt.  Worse, we encourage them to do it. “So, kid?  Where are you going to college?”  What are we thinking?

It took twenty years and way too much strain, but we are now debt free.

I am thinking of getting a job at a local bike shop when I return to Tennessee.  I do not need the job.  I do not really need the money.  But, I have always loved mountain biking.  I wish I had gotten a job at a bike shop when I was younger.  By, now, I am sure I would own my own store.

Before you go to college, before you go into debt, try hard to identify your passion.  If you can, get a job inside that passion.  Love working out?  Get a job at the gym.  Love biking?  Get a job at the bike shop.  Love eating healthy food?  Get a job at the smoothie place downtown.

In other words, do what humanity used to do before we all started believing in the college fairy tale.  Become an apprentice.   At least for a while.  If your career choice requires college, then go.  Just go later.

And, please.  Read this before you sign that college application: http://files.stansberryradio.com/files/50_colleges_GA1LLNJBSZ.pdf

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas


Tip of the Week #106. Hidden in plain site.

I usually keep some cash hidden in my car.  And, an extra house key.  And, a ninja grappling hook.

Okay.  I don’t have a ninja grappling hook.  But, I have always wanted one.  Today is my 44th birthday.  Perhaps I will order one.  I have waited long enough.

I don’t want anyone to find the cash in my car.  I especially don’t want anyone to find the key to my house.

Of course, if someone broke into my home I am afraid they would likely be quite disappointed.  We don’t own too many electronics.  We don’t have much cash lying around.  Our phones are old.  And, since I wasn’t into Star Wars as a kid, we don’t have a collection of vintage Star Wars figurines.

But, if there are robbers out there eager to make off with a pile of Latin and Greek books, my home is treasure island.

I worry about this every night.  Throughout the country, there is a resurgent interest in Latin.  I know it’s only a matter of time before my home is invaded.

At least the cash in my car will be safe.  It is hidden in plain site.
My cars are old.  Every one of them has a can of WD-40 tossed under the driver’s seat.  But, here’s the cool part.  They are not cans of WD-40.  They are safes.  Check this out: http://amzn.to/2rCimdu

If you need to hide some valuables, stuff them in one of these secret safes.

Oh, one more thing.  If you have kids like my kids, then you need to find a way to hide your chocolate stash.  You should be able to find a safe large enough on this page.  I recommend the dictionary: http://amzn.to/2q3lLRk

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas


Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here: