Home Blog Page 99

The Meaning of Life


I was precisely ten years old when I started pondering about the meaning of life. The very thought of it made me wonder what on earth were we all doing here? What good is living anyway if someday you would eventually die? Why is living so synonymous with dying? How does one reconcile this paradox of life? I mean, how can I possibly really live a life that I will eventually have to give up-lose? To me, the whole idea of life was just too complex for anyone to really understand. It seemed like one big web in which all of us are trapped and are


endlessly struggling to get out from. The painful part is that sometimes we end up being strangled by the very web that has been holding us down. Life seemed like an endless journey too wide for anyone to cover within the allotted time. It seems in the end, that we always run out of time. Since there is so much to be done, we are caught up in the struggle of life, consistently trying to do all that we can within the given space of time.

Then what is the joy of being here, if we are not allowed enough time to do all that we want? In my own opinion, I could see a beginning and an end; the time of our birth; when we were born and the time of our death; when we die. What I didn’t quite understand were the moments in between; the moments between our birth and our death-the moments of life. So I committed to understanding the real meaning of life, my lifetime goal. Deep down within me, I knew there was something deeper. There had to be some explanation, a reason for life; one other than just living and dying-a reason other than mere existence.

The challenge was this; what more is there to life other than just living and dying existence? As I grew, I discovered I wasn’t the only one with this challenge. Many others like me were equally battling with this paradox of life-existence, merely living and dying. It was now evident; life truly is complex. It is complex in the sense that it requires a lot of things from us. Once you have life, sooner or later, you will discover the painful truth about life. Which is; that having a life means existence-being alive and

to be alive requires survival-staying alive. This need for survival has been genetically encoded into our very being. It’s a natural inclination to want to survive-stay alive. And staying alive (survival), as we’ve come to know, is hard work! The problem I discovered with many over the years while studying and pondering over this subject is not whether they want to survive, but rather whether they desire more from life than mere survival.

Let’s face it; life is one heck of a thing! Pardon my tone, but seriously, who cares about life anyway? Isn’t it damn too demanding? In my opinion, living is much harder than dying. I mean, it takes only a few seconds to die, but it takes a whole lot more to live. In fact, it takes an entire lifetime to make a life. Why? Because the skills needed to live takes a lifetime to learn. Unlike the school system, where as a student, you get the lessons first before you

are given the test, life operates the other way round. In life, you get the test first and learn the lessons afterward. This is where the problem arises because as long as you are alive, there’s too much you have to put up with. Little wonder, many, when they can’t stand the heat any longer, take the easier path-suicide. For them, that seemed to be the only way out; rather than confronting the challenges of life; they chose to opt out.

The truth of the matter is that life is not fair whether we choose to believe it or not! The earlier we accept this, the better for us all. Life is not only for pleasure (fun and enjoyment) but also for nurture (growth and development). And when nurture rather than pleasure is the objective, the rules of the game have to change. Our focus must shift from existence (a life of ease) to significance (a life of increase) (significance)


Five Top Tips for Living Your BEST Life


Enlightened wisdom believes that the question is more important than the answer. In other words, without the correct question being asked, you cannot ever get the correct answer. So asking the RIGHT questions to yourself is the most important thing you can do for your own personal growth… We are born, and we will all die one day – this is certain. In the middle of our birth and death is this thing called Life. We don’t have a choice about the fact that we will die one day, but we do choose how we will live the days of our lives. So here’s an important question to ask yourself – What is life for?


What is my life about? What is the purpose of my journey here? It’s important to ask this question because the answer will decide what your experience of life becomes. Is life just for growing up, getting an education, meeting your partner, having children, creating a big successful career, company, or family, having experiences, friendships, relationships, and then one day leaving it all behind when you pass away? You may indeed do all of this along the way, but what is the big picture of life all about? This is an important and powerful question to ask.

I asked myself this question when I was just a teenager and then searched for the answer. I looked both within, into my heart, and searched externally by meeting and learning from enlightened teachers. Eventually, after a lot of search, practice, and experience, I found my answer. While each of us has different goals to fulfill and life to love, there is a common thread in our existence. We are all here, experiencing life, to bring out the best possible potential from within us and share it with others. We are all here to be the best we can be as individual human beings.

This is the answer to the big question that will clarify and set the path of your life – You are here to be the best you can be, in your relationships, in your work, in your friendships, in your efforts, and your life. To help you live your best life, let’s begin by understanding that there are essentially just three ways to live life. You can live your lowest life: regardless of circumstances, this is a life where you don’t follow your dreams; you keep chasing STUFF. You are the least important person in your life; everyone else is more important than you:

your partner, your kids, your work, and your in-laws – all of this is more important than being authentic to yourself. You can live a mediocre life. Regardless of circumstances, this is a life where sometimes you get your way, but it is only after others get theirs too. So there is always a compromise. And you’re supposed to feel satisfied with just what you’ve got, been given, or received in life. You look around and see that everyone else is doing the same thing – they are not living the lives they want to live. Instead, they are always compromising to keep moving ahead. Mr. Jones gets up, goes to work.

He comes home, spends time with the family, then goes to bed. The next day, he gets up and does the same thing all over again. This is the conditioned life, albeit stable, secure and comfortable. Living this life of no purpose every day is dangerous as it may bring you to a mindset that believes this is how life is supposed to be. Once this mindset has taken root, you are condemned to a lifetime of mediocrity and nonsignificance.

You can live your best life! This is a life where you know the reason you are alive. You have a clear sense of what you want to do with your life. You are living authentically, not to fulfill others’ expectations of you. You are full of purpose, passion, and a sense of completeness. You are engaged in work that you love.

You share life with someone you love. When you wake up, you know you’re living your highest potential. If you can find the courage inside you to decide to live your highest life, here are 5 tips to help you to do so. Living your best, highest, biggest, brightest life is easy when you follow the 5 tips. The first tip is the most difficult, but let us start here because if you can do this, all the others that follow are easy.


Life Settlement Underwriting


Life settlements are fast growing into a staple of the insurance and financial planning world. Most financial professionals have heard of life settlements, which is the sale of a life insurance policy of a senior (age 65 and over) for a lump sum that is greater than the policy’s cash surrender value but less than its death benefit. Policies that are viable for a life settlement are generally those beyond the contestability period wherein the insured has a life expectancy of between 2 and 15 years. Today life settlements are dominated.


Institutional funders and pension funds. Despite the continued growth in the life settlements market, the number of insurance or financial professionals that have actually completed a life settlement is surprisingly low. This can be attributed mainly to a lack of in-depth knowledge of life settlements on these professionals. Considering that life settlements are a relatively new option for policy owners, many financial professionals, although having heard

of life settlements, have still not had the opportunity to delve into the subject on a deeper level. Many policyholders come to a juncture wherein they continue to pay life insurance premiums on an unwanted policy in hopes of again at maturation or to recoup some of the investment by trading the policy for its cash surrender value. Corporate policyholders often face additional dilemmas when dealing with departing executives with key-man or split-dollar policies or insurance purchased as part of a buy-sell agreement.

With a life settlement, the policyholder realizes an amount much greater than the cash surrender value in exchange for the policy’s ownership. Term life insurance policies are also applicable when converted into permanent insurance. Life settlement transactions involving key-man or buy-sell policies can provide businesses with increased cash flow to solve immediate financial problems. In contrast, transactions concerning split-dollar policies typically involve retirement planning and charitable giving issues.

In short, life settlements offer policyholders of all kinds an array of options previously unavailable to them. In a recent advisor survey, nearly half of the respondents had clients who had surrendered a life insurance policy, many of whom might have qualified for a life settlement transaction and subsequent lump sum cash payment. In this article, I will discuss the underwriting process related to life settlements, which is of paramount importance in the process, just as it is in life insurance itself. However, there is a great deal of difference in the process for each respectively.

Settlement amounts are determined by many factors that arrive at a Net Present Value, which is the present value of future benefits from the death benefit minus the present value of future payments associated with sustaining the policy until maturation. These expenses include premium payments, cost of capital, and administrative costs. This calculation enables the purchaser to factor in the desired profit from the investment and proposes an

offer to the seller of the policy. Because the investor will be sustaining the policy premiums until maturation, the insured’s life expectancy becomes critical in assessing the value or sale price of the policy. If the insured’s life expectancy assessment is too short, the purchaser will have paid too much and risks a financial loss. By contrast, should the assessment of an insured’s life expectancy be longer than their actual life span, the offer to the seller would have been less than it could have been.

Thus resulting in an undervalued sale for the policy owner. Institutional investors in life settlements generally obtain life expectancy reports from two or more independent LE (life expectancy) providers. Many of the larger institutions investing in life settlements have proprietary underwriting personnel on staff. LE reports can vary significantly based on interpretations, medical data on the insured, and/or the actuarial tables used.


SEO Techniques To Build Your Site


This article will help you with your SEO problems to an extent. I stumbled upon a lot of new stuff today and thought it would be important to share it with the outside world of website developers. Out of the many tools I came across today were:


SeoSiteCheckup, AddThis & compression

All are too damn good for any SEO analyst or a specialist. Basically, I worked on over 2 dozen SEO techniques today, and all of them proved to be crucial. Here is an overview of the techniques I dealt with:

1) Keywords – The meta keywords tag allows you to provide additional text for search engines to index along with the rest of what you’ve written on your page. Meta keywords can emphasize a particular word or phrase in the main body of your text.

2) Most Common Keywords Test – Check the most common keywords & their usage (number of times used) on your web page. HOW TO FIX To pass this test, you must optimize the density of your primary keywords displayed above. If the density of a specific keyword is below 2%, you must increase it; if the density is over 4%, you must decrease it.

3) Keyword Usage – This describes if your most common keywords are used in your title, meta-description, and meta keyword tags. Keyword(s) not included in Meta-Title Keyword(s) included in Meta-Description tag Keyword(s) included in Meta-Keywords Tag HOW TO FIX, First of all, you must make sure that your page is using the title, meta-description, and meta keywords tags. Second, you must adjust these tags’ content to include the primary keywords displayed above Extra Update.

4) Headings Status – This indicates if any H1 headings are used on your page. H1 headings are HTML tags that can help emphasize important topics and keywords within a page. HOW TO FIX To pass this test, you must identify the most important topics from your page and insert those topics between tags. Example: Important topic goes here Another topic Headings Status This indicates if any H2 headings are used on your page. H2 headings can help describe the sub-topics of a page.

5) Robots.txt Test – Search engines send out tiny programs called spiders or robots to search your site and bring information back so that your pages can be indexed in the search results and found by web users. If there are files and directories you do not want to be indexed by search engines, you can use the “robots.txt” file to define where the robots should not go. These files are straightforward text files that are placed in the

The root folder of your website: There are two important considerations when using “robots.txt”: – the “robots.txt” file is publicly available, so anyone can see what sections of your server you don’t want robots to use; – robots can ignore your “robots.txt”, especially malware robots that scan the web for security vulnerabilities.


Practical SEO Guide: Good Business Is the Foundation of Good SEO


What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a host of techniques, approaches, and strategies to prepare your website to be found by major search engines. It is often compared to alchemy. Everyone knows what SEO experts do, but very few know how they do it. In fact, many SEO gurus fiercely disagree on the how part. Many tactics are available, but SEO is not a cheap endeavor, so one must be careful when allocating valuable advertising dollars.


First, you have to be clear on what you are trying to accomplish on the business side-focus, focus, focus! Second, you have to reign in your zeal and prepare yourself for a grueling multi-month commitment that will require time, discipline, and money to be ready to spend time in the trenches. Finally, you have to decide which tools and techniques will produce the best return on investment (ROI). If you spread your resources too thin, you will fail.

If you’re looking to get yourself on the first page of Google’s search results immediately, this SEO guide isn’t for you. Don’t believe people who claim they can get you on the first page overnight in an ethical way. Even if you manage to cheat the system for a short time, Google’s wrath will land upon you swiftly and never go away. If you are serious about SEO, prepare yourself for the long haul and do it right. Your patience and diligence will pay off. There is truly nothing complex about SEO. It rests on three principles: Valuable, relevant, unique, timely content will rank well on search engines. The content must be machine-readable to be found. SEO work takes time to produce results.

Valuable Content

Let’s start with valuable content. Before you even mention the term “SEO,” ask yourself, what do I have to offer the world, why is it unique, and why would anybody want it? Do you have a digital strategy covering all your digital communications channels? Remember that you are competing with millions of other websites. Theoretically, you could spend lots of time on SEO and get to that coveted first page to learn that customers don’t find your

content, products, or services appealing. Conversely, don’t give up too fast. Many business owners with great products and services never get through to their audiences because they don’t bother with SEO. The axiom “If you build it, they will come” stands eternally false on Google. The onus is on you, and if you don’t make a compelling case to Google, it will ignore you unless you are the only one in the universe offering that super hot product (e.g., you have a monopoly). So, produce content that stands out. Make sure you provide value. Sometimes it is a sacrifice. You may choose to share valuable information that your

competitors may use against you. You may choose to take unique perspectives that may incite a debate or even draw criticism. Be yourself, be unique, and be interesting. You need to give to get. Provide more than a sales pitch. Do a cost-benefit analysis that includes the value of brand recognition. Remember that it takes time to see results, usually one to two months, sometimes longer. Your ultimate goal is to find your competitive niche and establish yourself as an authority in your area of expertise so you can influence buying patterns. People will remember you and come to you when the need arises. Concerning

content, make sure everything you write is well structured, clean, and free of factual and grammatical errors. Write using plain language. There are multiple resources on this. It is generally recommended that website content is written at the grade six reading level. Sometimes it may not be possible for all industries but do your best. Another helpful metric is the Flesch-Kincaid readability index. It’s recommended to keep it above 60 (you can use this free tool). Be friendly, approachable, and lighthearted.

Use humor, but be careful not to offend and cross boundaries. Always keep your audience in mind. Please make sure the most important information is at the top of the page to be easily located. Web-users don’t read; they skim. Use headings and bulleted lists. Make information digestible, and avoid jargon, clichés, and colloquialisms as much as possible. Make sure that your navigation structure is task-oriented and user-friendly. Your user experience must always take people through the happy path.


Free Website SEO and Traffic For Beginners


This do-it-yourself quick-start guide will help beginning website owners set up their SEO and increase their website traffic quickly and for free. No history or elaborate explanations will be found here. This article explains a simple, easy-to-implement, generic way of doing a specific SEO plan yourself. This step-by-step guide will show you how to set up some good, safe, white hat SEO/Traffic on your new or existing website with the least amount of effort in combination with the easiest-to-use free online resources Try Updates.


Let’s begin:


a. Are you a local business/service or more global?

i. Local examples will be demoed with the following example business:

Mr. Kung Fu’s Karate School in Seattle, WA, USA.

ii. Non-Local examples will be demoed with the following example business:

Susie Smith’s Arts & Crafts Blog

b. Time to think like a potential customer. What word phrase would you expect someone to type into a search engine (like Google) and have your website come up listed on the first page of results?

i. Local businesses owners, be sure to include geographic words. For example, Mr. Kung Fu might use: ‘Seattle Karate’ or ‘Seattle Martial Arts’‘. He might also use a specific suburb of Seattle instead (like ‘Redmond’ or ‘Duvall’).

ii. Non-Local businesses owners, like Susie Smith, might use: ‘home arts and crafts, ‘home decorations’, or ‘arts and crafts ideas’.

c. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) to help you find the best keyword phrases for you. Pay attention to LOCAL and GLOBAL search volumes that best represent your market. WARNING: The more popular your keyword phrase is, the more competition you will probably have. If it’s too popular, you probably won’t make the first page of any search engine results. Try to use more specific keyword phrases whose search volume is below 40,000 a month.

d. Pick the TOP SIX best keyword phrases for you. Write them down in order of importance. Keep the list handy – you will use them later on in this article.


a. Find the HTML tags at the top of each of your HTML pages in the HEADER section. Your title will go between these two tags.

b. Enter in your TOP THREE keyword phrases (in order) here separated by the ‘pipe’ character ( | ) and save it. Redundant words only need to be used once here. See the example below how the words ‘Seattle’ and ‘Home’ are only used once but apply to other keyword phrases:

1) Mr. Kung Fu: Seattle Karate | Martial Arts | Self Defense

2) Susie Smith: Home Arts And Crafts | Decorations| Ideas



a. For HTML Websites – Find the HTML tags at the top of each of your HTML pages in the HEADER section. Your keywords and website description will go between these two tags, respectively.

b. Type your SIX keyword phrases into the keyword section. Separate each term with a comma. Here it’s OK to have redundant words in your assignments. For example:

1) Mr. Kung Fu would type Seattle karate, Seattle martial arts, Seattle self-defense, etc.

2) Susie Smith would type home arts and crafts, decorations, arts and crafts ideas, etc.

d. Type 3-5 sentences into your website description section that describes your business/service. Try and insert the TOP THREE keyword phrases into your description content. Be sure to do so in a way that is readable and natural-looking. Otherwise, it will look like you are ‘keyword stuffing’.


a. Without diving too much into creating an effective landing page design, let’s focus on the SEO aspect of the landing page. Your landing page is your most important page, so we need to include your keyword phrases here in your content. Your top three keyword phrases should be included more than once. Insert your keyword phrase in a readable and natural-looking way to avoid looking like you are “keyword stuffing”. Try and do so with the least amount of content you can. If you insert more of your keyword phrases than what I recommend, you run the risk of getting penalized, so don’t do any more than what is listed here. Insert them the following way:

i. Your #1 Keyword Phrase – insert it in 4 different places.

ii. Your #2 Keyword Phrase – insert it in 3 different places.

iii. Your #3 Keyword Phrase – insert it in 2 different places.

iv. Your #4, #5, & #6 Keyword Phrase – insert once.

b. Content Ideas – You might find it hard to create enough content to insert your keyword phrases naturally. It is a delicate balancing act. New users to your website will leave (nobody wants to read all that stuff). But then again, you need some content for SEO purposes. Here are some excellent content ideas to help you get your SEO keyword phrases in without overfilling your landing page with useless babble.

i. Write a brief description of what your business/service does. When someone first comes to your website, you need to let them know right up front what you do and how you can help them with their needs. A general description of your business/products/services is helpful to new visitors to your website and a great place to sprinkle in some SEO keyword phrases. Again, don’t go overboard. Could you keep it simple?

ii. Insert a few images – Images are a great way to break up the monotony of large amounts of content and get a few keywords in. Every image you insert into your content area allows for a TITLE and an ALT tag description—slap one of your keyword phrases in and use the exact phrase for both tags. Make the image a clickable anchor linking back to your landing page.

iii. Testimonials – Testimonials are great. Get a few from some of your clients/customers and add them to your landing page. “Tweak” them slightly to include your keyword phrases (if your client/customer doesn’t mind). Try not to go overboard on these. Include too many, and people will get bored and leave.

iv. Awards/Articles – Show off any awards and articles you may have about your business/service. Please write in a few quotes from them into your content. ‘Tweak’ them to accommodate some of your keyword phrases. Be careful not to alter them too much… they are quotes, after all. If you misquote an article, you might get some backlash from the writer. Make sure any changes you make are very subtle and don’t alter the author’s intended message.


SEO Link Building


Perhaps you’ve read an article or two by search engine optimization (“SEO”) experts stressing the importance of link building to the visibility of your website on the major search engines. If, for example, you happen to navigate the Google online documentation to the “Webmaster Help Center,” you will see the Google response to the question “How can I improve my site’s ranking?” The Google response includes the statement, “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.2”


“Link building,” then, is the process of developing “inbound” links to your web pages to drive traffic to your site and improve your search engine ranking. It sounds simple, but there are so many different complex online link-building programs and strategies it’s mind-boggling! And, some techniques, even legitimate techniques implemented incorrectly, may actually render inbound links completely useless.

I started this article to cover the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, and why. But, at the risk of detracting from the clever title, I felt the need to add “How?” to make it more useful. So this article is designed to provide insight into the following questions:

1. Who should link to my web pages?

2. What should the link entail?

3. When should I add a link to my site?

4. Where should a link appear?

5. Why should you care?

6. How can businesses develop their own inbound links?

No doubt, reasonable minds can disagree with some of the opinions and strategies contained in this article. I direct your attention to footnote references to several online articles that I found helpful. I encourage you to review these articles so you can draw your own conclusions. I do hope you conclude that there are several legitimate link-building strategies that you can tackle!

Why Should You Care?

Sorry, I have skipped over who, what, when, and where to begin instead with “Why?” After all, if I cannot make the case that link building is important, you certainly will not read the rest of this article! It is believed that, in the eyes of the major search engines, the number and quality of the incoming links that point to your site are indicative of the worthiness of your site. I know; it sounds like a popularity contest.

Perhaps this stirs up memories of the disdain you had for your high school prom king/queen election process. Popularity and Page Rank aside, you are interested in driving qualified traffic to your website and developing relationships with businesses that offer complementary products and services. Link building techniques are designed to accomplish this.

Who Should Link to My Web Pages?

It is believed that links from “authoritative” websites and “related” industry sites carry the most weight. An “authoritative” site might be an educational organization (.edu), a publication, a government agency (.gov), a known subject matter expert, or an organization/association in your or a related industry.

As for “related” sites, partners, vendors, but not competitors are good “reciprocal linking” (discussed later) opportunities. Their sites should be related to the products and/or services you provide. Make sure to set your standards high! Analyze the inbound links to the page where you would like to see your link. Are they, in fact, authoritative and relevant sites? How do you research inbound links to your potential linking partner?

There are some excellent SEO link-building tools out there! Netconcepts provides a free “Link Popularity Checker”. Another site is LinkPopularity.com. Use these tools to assess the quality of the links to the page before you ask for a link! While you’re there, check out the link popularity of your web pages and those of your competitors.

Note that many SEO experts believe that you should stay away from a web page that already has too many links. How many are too many? According to an article in Website Magazine, “… it is best to shy away from any pages with more than 20 outbound links.3.”

You’ll recall that we mentioned the term “PageRank” earlier in this article. The Google PageRank scoring system is used to quantify the relative importance of a web page. You can determine PageRank by downloading and using the free Google ToolBar