Teaser for My Upcoming Novel, The Silver Year: A Great Adventure of the World & Mind

Four years, four months and four days ago, I began what was originally to be a memoir of my European trip and my quarter-life crisis year of 2012. However, over the years and 400 or so Word document pages later, “my little inside joke with myself”—as I lovingly refer to it now, has grown into something quite different and spectacular. Although I have probably a good three to six months of editing and post-production work left, I am elated to announce my book is finally finished! It feels surreal, for this project has been floating in the background of my life, occupying every spare hour I have, for so long. While it’s still not quite ready for public release, below is a link to a teaser for all of you who keep asking to read it. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to enjoy a congratulatory beer with myself :-).

The Silver Year: A Great Adventure of the World & Mind

It had been Walter Huxley’s teenage dream to become a rock star and he sacrificed everything to make it come true: a promising future as a physicist, a well-paying job, a loving girlfriend, and even two people’s lives. But when one is born with the desire to brand his name on the world, he’ll destroy his own to do it. However what happens when you realize your dream was not your own, just an expectation of everyone around you? And even worse, you realize this just as you’ve made your dream a reality, a reality in which you now hate but can’t escape.

On his twenty-fifth birthday, this is where Walter finds himself, living in the shadow of a character of his own creation, his stage persona, Quinn Quark. Quark is a character everyone loves but Walter: a dark and enigmatic madman; a charismatic and self-destructive genius; an immensely talented songwriter with a pretty face and the budding hopes of a generation on his shoulders. Quark was the resurrection of popular culture’s most beloved and missed creature: the rock star.

After attempting to destroy Quark and abandon his teenage dream forever, Walter finds himself lost and in financial ruin, but surprisingly more famous than ever. Just as he’s on the verge of a mental breakdown—all in view of the public eye, he becomes the unexpected recipient of a birthday gift from a long-forgotten friend, an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe. At first reluctant, he only goes as a means to escape his newfound fame in America, but in the process of traveling through eight countries, Walter meets a number of characters—in and outside his head—whom will alter his life forever.

The Silver Year is not only a journey of the world, but of the ubiquitous transition into adulthood known as “the quarter-life crisis” through the messy mind of a genius—or madman. Really, it’s up to you to decide the difference.

 

Advertisements

3 Unusual but Scientific Ways to Find Your Inner Entrepreneur

Image

By Bradley Dowies

Marketing Director Merchant Capital Source

There’s a sea of small business tips at your disposal and while many have merit, behind almost every successful business you’ll find a few key things that go against the grain. Finding these hidden gems to success is not easy and takes a lot on your part. The purpose of this article is not to tell you what these gems are (because that is truly unique to you), but to shed light on some scientific shortcuts to possibly finding them.

1. Solve Creative Problems When You Are Tired

As backwards as this sounds, it makes sense when you look at it scientifically. The brain on average is made up of 86 billon neurons, but relies heavily on neural pathways to make connections to ideas and concepts. Think of the brain as a network of roads and while there are many possible routes to a destination, often our brain will use the routes it’s most familiar with. This may be the reason behind the often cited and untrue statistic that we only use 10 percent of our brains.

Creative problem solving requires outside the box thinking, or in other words using new neural pathways. The reason why this is difficult is you are literally breaking the pathways in which your brain is used to relying on. However if you’re tired, the brain has difficulty staying on these pathways and often gives into distractions. While a tired brain is not ideal for working efficiently, it is ideal for exploring and finding these new pathways. This is why great ideas sometimes come in the middle of the night, or just upon waking.

This excerpt from an article in Scientific American explains why distractions can actually be beneficial for creative thinking:

Insight problems involve thinking outside the box. This is where susceptibility to “distraction” can be of benefit. At off-peak times we are less focused, and may consider a broader range of information. This wider scope gives us access to more alternatives and diverse interpretations, thus fostering innovation and insight.

2. Don’t Multitask

Multitasking is inefficient because it is impossible. What we call multitasking is actually called context-switching, meaning our attention is just quickly switching back and forth between tasks rather than doing them simultaneously. Research from the book Brain Rules has shown error rates go up 50% and it actually takes you twice as long to finish tasks.

Why you ask? Because you’re splitting your brain’s power and giving less attention to each task. Also the switching itself uses vital brain power making it more susceptible to mistakes, mistakes you’ll later have to correct.

The same concept for paying off credit card debt can apply to accomplishing tasks. Think of tasks as debt, mistakes as interest and brain power as money. The fastest way to pay off debt (complete tasks) without wasting your money (brain power) on interest (mistakes) is prioritizing the debt (the tasks) and tackling each one individually. You’ll pay off debt quicker (finish tasks quicker) and save money (brain power) on interest (mistakes).

3. Make Mistakes

Mistakes are your best ally in the pursuit of success. This is because your brain stores information more accurately when it’s related to a mistake. This can be traced to your brain’s most basic survival instinct. High-stress situations, such as being humiliated for giving a wrong answer, releases adrenaline that makes your brain take point by remembering every detail to protect itself from happening again.

Mistakes can also make you more appealing to others due to a social psychological term called the Pratfall Effect, which basically means those who never commit mistakes are less likable than those who commit the occasional blunder. Mistakes give you humility while perceived perfection creates distance.

If you’re afraid of making mistakes or taking risks, you’re limiting your full potential. A 2004 University of Michigan study published in the journal Organizational Science showed employees who received incentives for attempting something new, regardless of success, actually produced more successful ideas than those who were only offered incentives for successful ideas. Once the fear of making a mistake is taken away, it no longer has the power of holding you back.