10 Nice Ways to Surprise Your Loved Ones

It's Day 39 of the Idea Machine Project and today is all about nice, inexpensive ways to surprise your friends and family. It feels good to do nice things for other people.  Research clearly shows that being kind to others makes us feel good and makes us happier. Doing something nice for others boosts your own endorphins, so there's a positive effect on your brain chemistry and it tends to … [Read more...]

Why Adults Don’t Laugh

For Day 36 of the Idea Machine, Claudia Altucher asks us to consider why adults stop laughing. The obvious answer is that we get busy and beaten down my life's challenges. But I think the real reason goes deeper into cultural norms and socialization that date back into the medieval age. 1. From The Court Jester and Other "Fools" to Stephen Colbert The professionalization of humor began with … [Read more...]

Day 20: Gratitude as Spiritual Practice

On Day 20 of the Idea Machine Project, I focus on gratitude as a spiritual practice. After this quick introduction, I write about gratitude in 11 areas of my life. Seeing Gratitude Although I've always had a generally grateful attitude about whatever I've experienced, until about four or five years ago, I've rarely taken the time to write down specific things I'm grateful for. It's not … [Read more...]

Ideas and the Revival of The Ben Franklin Follies

After a long hiatus from publishing new content on The Ben Franklin Follies, the site is suddenly active again. As I explained a while back, I've been trying to figure out how best to focus The Ben Franklin Follies around a theme that makes it easier to explain what the site is about. At the same time, in an effort to better organize my writing and interests, over the past 18 months or so I've … [Read more...]

Idea Machine, Day 18: Emotional Practice

Claudia Altucher's definition of emotional practice seems to be a bit different from my own, but I think I understand where she's going with it. In any event, rather than explaining her brief description of the prompt, I'll just list my 11 ideas for today. If you're interested in learning more, check out Claudia's book, Become An Idea Machine, [affiliate link] inspired by James Altucher's daily … [Read more...]

So Many Blogs, So Little Time

After being away from The Ben Franklin Follies for months and months and months, I decided there's no better time for revival than now. If you're a regular blogger and/or social media enthusiast you may have seen some reference to the #NaBloWriMo project. The aim is to promote the practice of writing through a 30-day "blog every day" commitment. Here in Birmingham, the cause is led by the … [Read more...]

Bird Choreography & Rock-n-Roll

I have never guffawed but this had me guffawing. This is why I'm fascinated by nature. Go Bird: Post by 2Day FM. … [Read more...]

How to Shine

The quickest route to the top of the mountain, to the place where you can truly shine, requires three steps: You must be willing to explore so you can discover your true purpose and calling. You must find inspiration and be an inspiration to others. Through exploration, discovery and inspiration you'll grow. Without growth, we become stagnant. Like an unused muscle, we experience … [Read more...]