Simplicity.

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written by Ben Alexander

LIFE is not easy.  It will pull at your sweater and unravel you thread by thread until you stand naked in front of a room full of everyone you’ve ever known, then you’ll wake up from your nightmare realizing that in real life it’s 2AM and your fish tank has just sprung a leak and is flooding  your living room floor.

Yes, this scenario actually happened to me.

Thankfully all the fish survived, so I gave them back to the pet store and no longer have to worry about maintaining a fish tank as large as a coffin.

There will be random events in your life that complicate things, so for this reason it makes sense to clear the path of all the challenges that you CAN control and strive for Simplicity, a philosophy designed to smooth the path a bit and clear the way for whatever success you were destined for.

The Simplicity Concept is one that I wish I had been aware of when I was a young man starting out in life, a philosophy that I formulated through countless boneheaded mistakes as well as a handful of successful ventures as well. These concepts come from being the father of 2 lovely ladies, living a lot of life in 40 years (and making mistakes) along with owning a national company with hundreds of young associates and seeing them undergo various challenges, from dating woes to drug addiction to just general disorganization.

Simplicity thinking looks at all areas of your life and asks one (simple) question: IS this complicated for no reason, can we simplify this?  

In high school and college you might learn about the victor of the 100 Years War, the sublime use of the periodic table and Gregor Mendel’s theories of genetics but they fail to teach you the common sense lessons that you need to navigate the shoals of our modern adulthood without wrecking your ship on the hidden rocks beneath the water.    

I personally embrace a lifestyle of Simplicity; in my community work, as a husband, a father and as an entrepreneur.

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Fired! …. at 12 years old.

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Written by Ben Alexander

Every day, all over the world, every single MINUTE people are waking up and going to their jobs and expending their energy, time and intellect in exchange for the money they need to eat, live and take care of their family.

No other plant, mineral or animal does this other than humans, with the exception of performance animals and service dogs… and we pay them in food and shelter, mainly because it would take a very talented dog to handle coins and paper currency.

Of course, you can’t forget your friendly killer whale down at Seaworld, doing flips for buckets of fish and occasionally living up to their names when that little switch goes off in their Orcan brain and they decide to murder that small primate in a neoprene wetsuit who has been ordering them around for the last few years.

If you outweighed your boss by a few tons how tempting would it be to simply END them one sunny day?    

My first job was an auctioneer’s assistant, I was 12, the guy who hired me knew me from church and he was a total jerk. He paid me $2 per hour to clear brush in his backyard and help him run estate auctions on the weekends. At the time the minimum wage was about $4 an hour, but I was 12 and he paid me cash.

You have about zero options for legal employment when you’re in sixth grade, and my parents would not have been happy if I’d become a cocaine dealer while still in elementary school.

In this first job I learned all about auctions. People would die, and we would come in and sell every item in their home. This was interesting because you learned that used stuff was pretty worthless 99% of the time. At one house I took home a whole set of heavy duty hand tools for about $4. They were probably about 60 years old when I bought them back in the 1980’s, I still have those tools in my tool box to the present day.

A valuable thing to learn early on is that THINGS have less value than you may realize.

During the actual auction I would hold up items and then help haul stuff around for the buyers.

At 12 I was a smallish kid, so my lovely boss would always tell me what a pathetic weakling I was. I had spent my childhood reading books and avoiding  athletic activity, for a mere 2 bucks an hour what the hell did he expect, Hercules?

My boss would also find odd lots of stuff in warehouses and then buy it to sell it elsewhere. I remember one day when we drove to a decrepit warehouse in a ghetto of Philly where we loaded about 500 one gallon tins of tomato sauce into his box truck. To this day I have no idea what he did with 500 cans of tomato sauce. It was crap work and he paid me crap pay, and then he fired me a few months later.

I guess 2 bucks an hour was too much to pay a 12 year old kid, perhaps he found a 5 year old who could work for less?

So there I was, fired from my very first job at the tender age of 12.

I had all the feelings that one associates with being fired; shame, humiliation, failure, disappointment, etc. But in a way getting fired is an action of forced change, you have no choice but to look around and consider your other options.

Later on in life, when I was fired from other jobs I took it in stride and always landed with all 4 paws on the ground. Getting fired forced me to try new jobs that I never would have considered if I didn’t need work. I was a waiter in a BBQ restaurant when a balloon guy came in and started twisting balloons, if I had NOT been fired from my last waiter job I never would have learned balloon art, if I had never learned balloons my present company would not exist today…

Everything happens for a reason.

The Unlimited Creativity of the Ballooniverse.

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Famous balloon artist Jason Szabo and his amazing Yoda….

Balloon art really took off in the 1990’s when people started sharing pics on this website:

http://balloonhq.com/

Previous to that there were a few basic books and some small conventions around the world, but once the folks in the Ballooniverse started to collaborate there was an explosion of new ideas.

Balloon Distractions has had over 4,000 people learn balloon twisting in our organization since 2003, so we’ve been a small part of the expansion of the Ballooniverse, no pun intended!  

Twisting balloons in restaurants is a great way to get very fluent at the art  and earn some decent cash as well, the CEO of our company worked in restaurants during his last 2 years of college and graduated with no student debt!

There is also the added benefit of bringing joy to people through balloon twisting…

Balloons represent a colorful medium for creativity all over the world, and we are proud to be a part of it!  

2 easy ways to Stay Happy.

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written by Ben Alexander

#1. Be useful and DO something every day.

Do something every single day that is measurable and productive. It could be exercise, a chore around the house, gardening, etc. I work from home 99% of the time, today I was closing new clients over the phone and talking with my database expert about changes to one of our systems. I also did the dishes and went food shopping.

One of the roots of depression is the feeling that you are worthless, but if you DO something you can draw satisfaction from that, at least for that day.

This is why I take care of my own yard, at the end of the day it feels great to sit on my back porch in sweaty clothes and drink a beer while the sprinklers run over my freshly cut lawn.

If you work hard every day, and get stuff DONE you will sleep well and have a great sense of daily satisfaction.  

#2. Serve others.

This does not mean you have to go out and solve the homeless issue, this can be as simple as cooking a nice meal for your family or cleaning up your home. When you are focused outward you gain perspective on your own life.

This upcoming April I’m going on my third trip to Honduras to install water filters with my fellow Rotary club members and Pure Water for the World. Going there, and seeing how people struggle with everyday life makes me tremendously grateful for what we have here in the United States.

Serving others also translates into my business, by making Balloon Distractions BETTER I am serving the independent contractor Artists and Regional Partners who make our concept possible.

The flip side of serving others is doing NOTHING for anyone but yourself.
We all know people like this, they never lift a finger to do anything… and then they wonder why they have no friends and are wracked with depression. If you are a business owner and you don’t serve your clients and your team you will be OUT of business pretty fast!

Serving others can be as simple as going to a local nursing home and just spending time with the people who live there. You can volunteer to mentor a youth group in church each week, or volunteer to frame out a house with Habitat for Humanity. During the recession there were several empty houses on my street with knee-high weeds, I started cutting all those lawns on a regular basis, which kept my street looking decent until those empty houses eventually found buyers.

As a member of the local Rotary club here in Wesley Chapel I was fortunate to serve as the president of the club 2 years ago, my goal during my year of leadership was to grow the membership of the club and we were very successful.    

There are so may ways to serve others if you just look around….

So, if you are feeling down try my 2 suggestions for the next few weeks, let me know if it helped you feel better about life!

 

10 reasons we love Robert Herjavec.

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#1. “Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.”

#2.  He not afraid to try all food on air, even the dicey stuff.

#3.  The whole dog thing.

#4.  Always a gentleman, no matter how silly the idea in front of him.

#5.  He grew up poor, and forged his own path.

#6.  He likes fast stuff, from Italian supercars to motorcycles.

#7.  He has tried every piece of exercise equipment ever presented on Shark Tank.

#8. Chord Buddy. He is going to make that guy a millionaire if he hasn’t already.

#9.  He’s a great counter balance to Mark Cuban.

Last but not least…..  

#10. Infectious Enthusiasm!     

Why we LOVE Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC!

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We made a shark hat for the Queen of QVC when we shot our Shark Tank segment back in September, Lori posted this on a social media a few days ago….

Watch our segment when it airs on ABC January 17th, 2014. Our awesome team in Southern California, led by Thomas Ryan, got together to twist over 2,000 balloon shapes for the segment.

Here at BD we are big Lori fans, she is always a class act, she treats everyone with respect and she is proof that being NICE does pay off!

Benjamin T. Alexander

March 2014

Chiropractic WORKS!

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On the adjustment table at Dr. Pablo Rivera’s office @ Core Chiropractic. 

 

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Written by Ben Alexander

A few years ago I was taking a corner on my ’78 Honda and hit a patch of sand. I went down pretty hard, scraped my leg and broke a turn signal on my motorcycle, I thought I was fine….

… but I wasn’t.  

Two days later my lower back was totally tweaked, I could barely stand, twist, walk or do anything. I felt like a cripple.

Many people in this dilemma would go to a General Practitioner and get pumped full of dangerous pain killers or take muscle relaxants that zonk you out. I went to a Chiropractor and he adjusted my spine, I was fine a few days later.

Chiropractic WORKS!

My dad had been having difficulty walking because of an issue with his hip when he was 60 years old. I took him for an chiropractic adjustment and he left the treatment feeling better instantly. He had never been to a Chiro before that day, now he goes about once a month and he can walk pain free again!  

I strongly recommend Dr. Pablo Rivera in Wesley Chapel, owner of Core Chiropractic:

http://www.corespineandrehab.com/

Pablo is not only a member of the Wesley Chapel Rotary, I’ve also gone to Honduras TWICE with Pablo to install water filters with Pure Water for the World.

Dr. Rivera is my good friend and a great guy as well, he’s married with two sons in elementary school.

Pablo really has a Rotarian philosophy of taking care of people, and I have no doubt that his practice in Wesley Chapel is going to grow like crazy once people get to know him and experience how beneficial chiropractic can be.

I like the idea of maintaining optimal health without drugs, I’ll continue to use chiropractic throughout my life…. especially since I still ride that darn motorcycle!