Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What would Robin Williams say, if he could have 10 seconds on air, right now?

You miss him, I miss him, the world misses him, his friends, and most importantly, his family misses him, more than any of us can imagine. 

Robin Williams was sooo funny! My late husband was so funny too. I remember seeing with my own eyes, when at a get-together two people fell off their chairs, while laughing about my late husband's jokes.

Robin Williams was outspoken. He packaged important messages into funny words. Depression is a terrible condition. I have had depression, after my husband's death. It  is a condition that makes people want to be quiet, not move, not do anything. Since I did not have clinical depression I know from my own experience, that just doing something changes the feeling. 

Here is what helps: Never ask "What happened?" Talk about something in the future, something good, that will be coming, and there always will be something. Friends can help people with light depression by helping them to believe. To overcome light depression people have to focus on good things coming. They have to gain a positive outlook. If that does not happen, many light depressions add up to big depression.

I believe if Robin Williams could come back for 10 seconds, he would say: "Call that friend you haven’t heard from in weeks or even months… Take him out, talk about something in the future... If the friend does not want to go out, say 'You don't have to dress up, we are just going to a burger joint'..."

It is not about big action, it's about calling and sharing a moment in time, that focuses on a future, which becomes an option again because of your call.

Gisela Hausmann is an award-winning author of inspirational story books. She graduated with a masters degree in Arts of Mass Media from the University of Vienna, Austria.

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© 2014 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The easiest Path to Success = Reducing Opportunities to Fail

#success, #determination,

'A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step'. Lao Tzu

While that is true, most of us find that “keep walking the path” is a lot harder than “starting the journey”. Trying to lose weight is an excellent example. It is a goal millions of people aim for. Everybody, who goes to a gym, knows that January 5th is the busiest day of the year at gyms nationwide.. Only a month later everything is as it always was. What happened to the New Year’s resolutions? Why did so many people give up? I think it is because they are making things too difficult for themselves. 

One of my friends took a different approach. Akila is one of my Egyptian friends in Vienna, Austria. We spent a lot of time together in the Eighties. 

“Wow”, I noticed one day, “You look great! How much weight did you lose?” 

“23 lbs in the last six weeks!” Akila announced proudly. 

“How did you do that so quickly… Which diet did you do?” 

“Oh, diets are too complicated for me,” Akila said, “all I did was to cut the appetizers, and I now walk the stairs to our apartment instead of taking the elevator.” 

To understand how perfect this concept was, one has to know a bit about Akila’s lifestyle. Her Egyptian family was very social. Every other weekend they had some kind of get-together or attended one of their friends’ parties. As customary in their home country, tables were always loaded with tasty appetizers, to be followed by an excellent dinner. 

Akila decided to simply pass on the appetizers. That allowed her to still have dinner with her friends and not appear anti-social. Honoring her home country’s culture at the time, Akila did not join a gym, where most members dressed like Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta in the movie “Perfect” (1985). She also substituted the Stairmaster by walking real stairs a few times per day. 

Akila’s success came from the decision to create her own two simple rules, which she could follow easily. Had Akila decided to skip the great parties she might have felt isolated. Had she decided to enroll into a gym, she (or her parents) might have felt uncomfortable. Both of these feelings deter all of us from following through, even if we do take the first step

Achieving solid and continuing success is a lot about reducing opportunities to fail.

Tailoring your action plan to your lifestyle:

  • puts YOU in charge of your destiny rather than some program, whose creator knows nothing about you and your lifestyle
  • gives you the opportunity to avoid personal issues, which is a requirement for lasting change

So, if you feel intimidated by men with ripped six-packs don’t buy a membership at a gym, but maybe start rowing, which you can do alone, on a lake. 

If you hate working for a corporate giant, but aren’t sure that you really want to run your own business, don’t overcome the hurdle of actually starting your own business, but hire at a small business, where you’ll have more space (and influence) than in the cubicle at your old workplace. 

Here is an interesting detail, which is not too well known:

Lao-Tzu’s famous quote is not a correct translation. The exact translation is:

"The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

The space “beneath your feet” is your space. Lao-Tzu meant to say we have to start our journeys from our turf.

Gisela Hausmann is an award-winning author of inspirational story books.She graduated with a masters degree in Arts of Mass Media from the University of Vienna, Austria.

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© 2014 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's the unexpected surprises, which keep us going...

#surprise, #SocialMedia, 

[The content of this video is owned by third parties and they retain the right to any properties you are about to view]

I have got news for Mr. Forrester and Jamal: an unexpected gift is not only the key to a woman's heart but to everybody's heart. 

All of us get disappointed, overlooked, ignored... Then again, getting disappointed is nothing new. Countless quotes from famous people throughout the ages speak for themselves.

Disappointments are to the soul what the thunderstorm is to the air. --
Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

Still, something has changed - the magnitude of our somber feelings.

As we have moved on from having a circle of friends and acquaintances to having an additional crowd of social media friends our disappointments have multiplied too. More than one study have proven that looking at social media posts of others does not make us really happy.

Just recently I read an author friend's blog, which was somewhat distressing. In his blog my friend was asking himself and his readers if what he did made any sense at all. He blogged (a lot more often than I do), he networked, connected and communicated, but... he did not get the reaction he hoped for.

While my friend is neither a Hemingway nor a Shakespeare his honest and personal blog had a quality, which gave me the right push to get out of my comfort zone and ponder the problem. Was he not well-known enough? [He had 5,000+ followers on twitter] Was his material not good enough? [I had read one of his books and thought it was fabulously suspenseful.] Lastly, did "more famous tweeps" experience the same problem?  There was only way to find out and it would be laborious.

I went on to look through three well known people's entire twitter feed. Each of them had between 12,000 and 43,000 followers and all of tweeted often. My findings were astonishing. These people's individual tweets had 7 RT's at most, with many tweets prompting no RT. My friend was in excellent company.

I know... I know... Instead of "blasting messages" we are supposed to use social media to "form connections". Gary Vaynerchuk had become famous with his "Ask what I can I do for you?" Maybe these three people did not do that? In fact, I know that neither of them asked this question in the last 30 days because I read all of their tweets.

Then again, after Vaynerchuk published his findings years ago, everybody started copying the idea and not everybody meant it. I remember distinctly that in early 2013, shortly after I had published my book "Naked Determination", a well-known motivational speaker tweeted, "What can I do for you today?" His tweet rolled in right as I was reading new tweets. Then I humored myself with tweeting back "Pls endorse my inspirational book "Naked Determination". Will send copy asap so you can check if you like it".

LOL... LOL...
No, I never heard back.

Everyone can say I love you but not everyone really means it. So believe it when you feel it, not when you hear it! -- Unknown

"Feeling it" is an unexpected surprise. About the same time when I sent my tweet to this motivational speaker, a lady, with whom I had never exchanged a single tidbit of communication, had tweeted back, "Beautiful. Bought your book just now". A week later she had posted a review on Amazon. Now, about one-and-a-half years later, Anna* is about to publish her first book, an inspirational story book just like my own. How do I know? Even though I am really busy I have read it already. Does that surprise anyone?

The key to anybody's heart are unexpected surprises. We know pretty much everything else. The only thing we don't know is where the next unexpected surprise will come from.

Award-winning Gisela Hausmann is the author of 11 books. Born in Vienna Austria, she graduated with a masters degree in Arts of Film and Mass Media from the University of Vienna.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of others.


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© 2014 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Does nature deserve the same attention as the bodies of supermodels?

#nature, #photographs,#supermodels, #photoshopping

Before I get to the difference in attention toward pictures of nature and pictures of supermodels, I need to show that even the way how we experience taking pictures has changed.

I am attempting to show that in the "good old days" when a roll of film was expensive we did not care that much about "how perfect the picture was" we wanted to capture the moment. However, these days, when all of us can capture pictures digitally, plus we can alter the picture (models as well as nature) capturing the "real moment" is not good enough anymore.

It is a distant yet vivid memory for me: the special moments when somebody would take pictures in the Seventies. Then, pictures were never taken carelessly; it was too expensive. Still, people could not live without them. In 1970, Eastman Kodak, the same company, which today trades at 3 cents per share, was ranked #27 among the Fortune 500.

At least in Europe people took pictures only at special occasions; shooting all 36 pictures available on a roll of film could take months. If pictures weren't perfectly white balanced it didn't matter. The only thing that counted was that a precious keepsake had been created.

Even in the late Eighties taking pictures still had issues, especially for travelers. Film rolls came with ISO ratings of 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1000. The worse light conditions were (e.g. inside a castle or a museum) the higher the ISO rating had to be in order to shoot a fabulous picture. However, not all types of film were available in every country. If we had just loaded our camera with a new roll of film (e.g. ISO 100) we could not exchange it with another roll of film (e.g. ISO 200) if light conditions changed. It would have meant to waste precious film material, which we might not be able to buy. Therefore we had make a best guess when we loaded our camera with a new roll of film and then work with we had.

For instance my picture of a young artist creating an ice sculpture for the International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin China, 1987 is shot on ISO 100 film though light conditions would have required film rated ISO 200. Still, I took the picture anyway and preserved a moment in time, which will never come back.

Today, cellphones with built-in cameras, memory cards, and Photoshop have changed everything. Capturing a moment is not a special occasion anymore. All difficulties are gone. I bet even in Harbin China memory cards are being sold in every corner store. Additionally, if I wanted to, I could create the sun in the upper left corner of this picture, thereby altering history.

This has become our way of life. Every day, we get to see altered pictures on websites and in our social media feeds. 

As our rivers, lakes, and oceans get dirtier, we see more depictions of gorgeous blue waters, even though these waters may have never been that blue, not even in the Seventies. And, though in real life we might see a perfectly blue sky only five to ten times per year, most nature pictures show what used to be called a "perfect picture day". I think this term is no longer being used, photoshopping has made it obsolete.

While our Facebook, Twitter, and especially Pinterest feeds show beautiful luscious green trees, in reality deforestation, droughts, heat waves, and climate change in general kill and threaten trees worldwide, including many that have outlived generations of people. Rarely ever do we get to see these authentic pictures in our various social  media feeds. The process of altering pictures creates a dangerous side effect,  the impression that "somewhere else" everything is ok even though we might know that the woods in our neighborhood are dying.

Sadly, while many organizations fight against altering the pictures of super-models and demand that that models are being shown the way they really look like, there is no such movement defending nature. Isn't nature our super-environment?

I treasure my childhood pictures because I own only 69 photographs of me between the ages 2 and 12. Will future generations have to treasure pictures of "real" natural environments the same way?

If you want to take a stand for nature please post unaltered pictures at your social media platforms, state where they were taken, and write "We need to keep these woods, lakes, rivers this beautiful", then SHARE!

Award-winning Gisela Hausmann is the author of 11 books. Born in Vienna Austria, she graduated with a masters degree in Arts of Film and Mass Media from the renown University of Vienna.


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© 2014 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Want to Get Ahead? Learn About Storytelling!

#success, #story, #storytelling, #document

Storytelling for and in business situations is "in". While it may not be surprising that Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group and legendary film producer, talks about its importance, so does Oren Klaff, Director of Capital Markets at Investment Bank Intersection Capital, and many others. Stories have captured the attention of the movers and shakers of big money.

Why is that and what do you have to know?
Liking stories is deeply ingrained into our DNA: Tens of thousands of years ago, before the invention of writing, storytelling was the only way how information could be passed on. Older people, who lived long enough to be able to predict the weather, were revered members of their tribes. Passing on stories became essential for survival.
Listening to stories is exciting and safe: During childhood years we learn to experience stories as exciting entertainment. Reading stories translates to safely experiencing possibly dangerous adventures in real and fictitious worlds, challenging our minds to solve mysteries, and getting captivated by a story's unexpected twists and turns. Listening to stories becomes magical.
Learning from a story is much more pleasant than watching a Powerpoint presentation: Very few of us appreciate lectures or typical Powerpoint presentations. In contrast, we enjoy discovering smarts and wisdom in stories, because we pick up on it from an outsider's point of view. Trained from childhood on to notice the "moral of the story" we value great stories as blueprints how to act. Best of all, we can re-tell stories and help others.
Thus, if you want or need to impress, package your message into a story from your past. At a job interview tell a true story of how you conquered problems in the past. At a date, don't just list your interests, illustrate how you got hooked on a hobby with a funny story. When fund raising tell a story how the funds made a difference in somebody's life. This way, you will capture the attention of others.
At this point you may wonder: If people are so receptive to storytelling, can it be abused?
Any story is only as good as are its moral and proof. Opportunities to cheat are getting fewer.
The storyteller needs to give you specific details: A good story includes specific details. Vague appeals to your emotions (e.g. "XYZ was broke and had maxed out his credit cards. He borrowed money to buy my program and now he is a millionaire") do not count and are possibly a lie. Even fairy tales list specific details of their characters' action plans. (e.g. Hansel and Gretel laid a trails of pebbles to find their way back.)
The details need to add up: Storytellers are giving you an opportunity to engage. They want to capture your attention and stimulate your mind to see new opportunities. Thus: Ask questions! If the story is real, the presenter will be excited to share specific details.
For your own life: Document, save, file: Document your stories: the big ones and the little ones! Even if you have only a small car accident, document the situation with your cell phone and don't leave judgment of what happened to a claims adjuster. If you are leaving a job, ask for a letter of recommendation, right away, before others forget your achievements.
If you want to get ahead listen closely to others' stories and share your own for more success.
Want to more more tricks what you can do to succeed? 
Gisela Hausmann has published 41 of her most interesting, exiting, and funny stories in her award-winning life-skills book "Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear". Similar to the famous "Chicken Soup"-series it tells 41 true stories with 41 tricks how to find that determination to fulfill our dreams. 
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© 2013 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved. Previously published at YAHOO Voices

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why would anybody read Joe Schmo's autobiography? (You'll be surprised)

#autobiography, #story, #stories, #inspiration, #motivation, #empowerment

Joe Schmo
Main Entry:     Joe Schmo
Part of Speech: n
Definition:     the hypothetical average or ordinary person
Usage:          slang; pl. Schmoes

There was a time when autobiographies were penned only by the rich, the famous, and the beautiful. During my teenage years and early twenties I read lots of these stories, especially in the subcategory 'famous adventurer'. 

Then, in 1986 my home country Austria experienced the "Waldheim scandal". In his autobiography Kurt Waldheim, a former Secretary of the United Nations and about-to-be-elected Austrian president, had left out a few details about his life between 1938 and 1945, when he, like every able man, had to serve in the German Armed Forces. This led some people to believe that he had been involved in atrocities during WWII.

Finally, a lengthy investigation proved that Waldheim had been an insignificant soldier during WWII, who had not done anything wrong but most likely been a coward hiding behind a desk, including when he wrote his autobiography. Contrary to that, Lance Armstrong's 'It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life' contains a lot of lies. 

Probably most famous people's autobiographies either omit something or contain smaller or even bigger lies. That's because the purpose of such autobiographies is to help shape their authors' legacies. 

Then again, even if all autobiographies of famous people would be 100% true, would e.g. reading Ted Turner's 'Call Me Ted' help you to win the America's Cup, or found a cable TV network, and/or become the second richest landowner in the United States?
 [Naturally, I read 'Call Me Ted' anyway; as an adventurer, mass media expert, and environmentalist I admire Ted Turner.] 
The autobiographies of the rich, the famous, and the beautiful (not to talk about politicians) are meant to entertain while at the same shaping their authors' legacies.

Of course, that's always been the case. Thousands of years old monuments tell the stories of their countries' emperors, the politicians and "stars" of their times. In those days nobody but the rich and the famous could afford penning their autobiography to an obelisk or even a triumphal arc.

However, I bet at the same time, in every village lived at least one old man or woman, who could tell stories of how it was before their village got occupied by foreign forces or about a strange weather pattern, which indicated that horrible storms were coming. Or, how it came about that somebody in this village found a plant, whose extracts could heal a certain disease. And while surely the people enjoyed traveling to Rome and seeing the monuments, probably they found it more important to listen to the stories of this old man or woman. What he or she had to tell could actually truly influence their own lives in a positive way. In fact, when visiting native tribes we always get to hear stories, which have been passed on for generations, because these stories are the ones, which are truly important to the tribe members.

So, here it is: Joe Schmo's autobiography has been read and treasured since the beginning of time because it's purpose was, is, and always will be to help others. Happy Reading! 

Gisela Hausmann has penned 11 books, including her award-winning life-skills-book-autobiography
Naked Determination, 41 Stories about Overcoming Fear.

Her most read and thought provoking blogs from 2012-2014 have been published in
Blogs are like Chewing Gum, There's Got to be Something to Chew On.


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© 2014 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What really hinders us in reaching our goals

#determination, #motivation, #work, #endurance

What and who did you want to become when you were a child? Did you have big dreams? Most children do. Even many young teenagers simply "know" they will become the next computer whiz, rock star or rap artist, or a movie star.

As we grow older come the set-backs. They could be minor like not getting asked out on a date, bigger, like not being accepted into the college of our choice, or even huge, like getting passed over for a promotion we truly deserved. Logically, when that happens, we experience negative feelings. Strangely enough we fear these negative feelings more than the actual set-back.

I remember a friend of mine telling me, "Ok, so they did not promote me... that's ok... BUT, did they have to give that job to miss-obnoxious-so-and-so? I hate that woman; the way how she smiles at you when you know that she is lying is sooo obnoxious. If they would have given that job to anybody else, it would have been ok with me." 
My friend ended up quitting her job because she could not accept that miss-obnoxious-so-and-so was going to be her immediate boss. In her new job she never applied for a promotion again. The fear of being outscored kept her from doing the obvious.
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.-- Michael Jordan
The only way how we can overcome our fear of negative feelings is to just keep going. In fact, fear can bring out the best in us. When 12-year Cassius Clay's bicycle got stolen, he wanted to "whup" whoever had done it. A neighborhood cop advised the scrawny 12-year old, who weighed only 89 pounds, to "learn how to box first". The rest is history. Even today, 50 years after this fight actually took place and 33 years since Muhammad Ali hung up the gloves, the poster of him standing over Sonny Liston victoriously is the 16th bestselling poster on

Then again, Muhammad Ali's biggest loss or stoppage did not come by the hands of Joe Frasier or Ken Norton but by a much more formidable opponent -  the United States Army. After declaring himself a conscientious objector ["I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong..."] Ali refused to be inducted in the military, a felony punishable by five years in prison. Ali was found guilty of draft evasion and got stripped of his title and his boxing licenses in all states.

I don't think that I know anybody in person, who would not have given up then. The United States Army is not an opponent from whom you can "float away like a butterfly" and who you can "sting like a bee" - yet Muhammad Ali did. Even though he could not fight professionally for three long years Muhammad Ali went on to become the legend he is today. After he had challenged the United States Army he must have lost fear completely. 
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination.
Tommy Lasorda
To reach our goals
  1. we have to love whatever it is we want to do, because this PASSION MOTIVATES us
  2. we have to WORK to get really good at we want to do and
  3. we have to have DETERMINATION to keep going, so we can become, who we want to be.
Probably, motivation is the easiest to come by. After all, all of us love to do something very specific. 

Working on getting better is harder, but all of us understand that it takes hard work, sweat, and quite often some pain to get get where we want to be.

Lastly, there is determination. Determination is an elusive force to keep. Frequent set-backs test us, "well-meaning" friends advise us to settle for smaller goals. When I wrote my book "Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear" I thought about how I could visualize determination. Obviously it is not easy because determination is a mindset. Here is what I came up with:

The view under the Johnny Mercer Pier in Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Quite obviously the goal is in plain sight but getting there is difficult. Unlike a tunnel the pier doesn't have walls but pillars, which allow waves to come in from more than one angle. Waves will push back any swimmer and even into the concrete structure. 
Like in life, there are tiny waves, which are like difficulties that can be overcome with a bit of extra effort, and there are also the type of waves, which seem insurmountable. They keep coming and coming, and never seem to stop. Naturally, everybody knows that after the flood the ebb will come, but would a swimmer be determined enough to tread in place until that happens?  

That is #determination. 

All of us own it when we are children, and all of us are being challenged to keep going with it. Everybody, who was determined at age 4, can be even more determined at age 44. Colonel Sanders started KFC with $105 from his Social Security check at age 65. 

Truth is, it is only the fear of negative feelings, which keeps us from being determined and reaching our goals. 
Gisela Hausmann is the author of award-winning "Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear". Similar to the famous "Chicken Soup"-series it tells 41 true stories with 41 tricks how to find that determination to fulfill our dreams. 
Ebook edition for $4.95 at Amazon worldwide, the paperback edition for $14.75 is available at fine bookstores in the US and Europe, as well as at Amazon worldwide. 

Gisela Hausmann is the author of 11 books