2014's Top 3 Inspirational YouTube Videos - So Far

James Preston Reply 8:10 AM
YouTube is an epitome of the internet's power. Loaded on its servers are millions and millions of hours of material that has the power to educate, inspire, motivate and entertain like never before. At the touch of a button, you can search what you want and 90% of the time find it.

You can get an entire University Education through YouTube alone.

You can learn how to build your own solar powered car.

You can watch just about anything.

One of the greatest gifts of YouTube is the motivational material. In this Information Age, the desire for motivational and inspirational is at an all time high. I think this is primarily due to its convenient availability. Before the internet, and specifically YouTube, we got our motivation from books and their subsequent live events. Now, you don't have to read these great author's books, you can just watch their videos.

Although having said that... I was introduced to Robin Sharma through his AudioBooks before YouTube. But Simon Sinek, Seth Godin, Tony Robbins and so many more have all inspired me via YouTube first.

So if you're anything like me and appreciate some inspiration from some of the world's great thinkers, then I am going to release my Top 3 Inspirational Videos on YouTube every Quarter. Starting right now!

We are already half way through the year, so we're starting at the end of 2014's second Quarter.

These 3 videos below are guaranteed to inspire you. I use www.clipconverter.cc convert them to Mp3, add them to my iPod and listen to them while driving.

May these messages inspire you as much, if not more, as they did me!

The Top 3 Inspirational Videos on YouTube - 2014 Q2

1. Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
You know the quote "Your time is limited, don't waste it living someone else's life."? Well, it comes from this video.
Many people have heard about this one, as I had. But I had never actually heard or watched this speech. I found this video through Scott Dinsmore's (of Live Your Legend) weekly Newsletter. It really is 15 minutes of pure inspiration.



2. What's Wrong With The "F" Word - Mel Robbins
I wouldn't be surprised if you've never heard of Mel Robbins before. Maybe you have. But I hadn't. A friend of mine introduced me to this video. Wow. She is a gifted communicator, and she provides a powerful message. A short message with enough punch to motivate you to go for it and go after your dreams. One of the best videos out there for those needing a push to get out of their comfort zones and into the unknown waters of their dreams.



3. Start With Why - Simon Sinek at USI (France)
My good friend Andrew Bloch told me about Simon Sinek after hearing me preaching on very similar material. Andrew knew this was a kindred spirit. Oh my gosh! That's the great thing about the internet, you can find people that resonate with you and your beliefs like never before. It's glorious.

The thing is, I spent quite a bit of time going through Simon's videos to get the most effective message. And I think I found it! This is one of the clearest talks of his that outlines his "Start With Why" message. If you don't know why you do what you do, you'll never have the impact you were born to have on the world. Start With Why. Enjoy this one!



These 3 videos have had the most impact and inspiration on me over the last few months. I am always looking for good motivational material for the iPod, so I'll have the next Top 3 in October. And the Top 5 of the year in December.

What are some of your favourite YouTube videos?
Who are you favourite speakers/thinkers?


Why We Are Not On The Verge of World War 3

James Preston Reply 7:18 AM
Today is International Mandela Day. 96 years ago today, Nelson Ronihlanhla Mandela was born in a small village on the South Eastern coast of South Africa. No-one in that village knew how great a man this little boy would grow up to become.

What makes Nelson Mandela's life so extraordinary and inspirational, was not only the fact that he actually became the leader of the very nation where he was once an outlaw, but it was the way with which he dealt with his oppressors after taking that position of leadership. Not once did he use his power to exact any form of vengeance on any of the people involved in oppressing him and his people.

He modelled forgiveness on incomprehensible scales.

It intrigues me that those who chose the path of forgiveness over the path of aggression are the ones more greatly remembered by history. Jesus Christ. Mahatma Ghandi. Martin Luther King.
Something worth noting.

We are living in the greatest days in human history. At no other time has there been more access to wealth than this epoch in history as right now. Of course we have vast arrays of the world population living below the poverty line, but the percentage ratios are lower than ever before.

And yet, in the midst of man's greatest advancements, there is still great division.

It seems sadly ironic that on the day humanity remembers one of the greatest examples of forgiveness in human history, we wake up to news of 298 entirely innocent people killed in what is emerging to be a possible war attack intended for the Russian President.
Israel escalated their offensive on Palestine with a ground-invasion into Gaza.
And the White House was placed on lockdown after a suspicious package was found on its Northern fence.

People all over the world took to Social Media to question the state of the world. I understand that. These are big stories. None more so than Malaysian Flight MH17's devastating crash. But these three completely separate incidents are smudges on a remarkably rosey picture of the state of the world.

Of course I don't deny the countless challenges humanity still faces. But when we compare the state of our world with only a century ago, we would be pleasantly surprised.

So, in the midst of such tragic news, allow me to share with you some encouraging facts highlighting the better world within which we all live today...


HEALTH
  • We don't live in the fear of Smallpox, Polio, Tuberculosis or Leprosy like so many did for thousands of years even up to the mid 1900's.
  • For much of human history, the average life expectancy of a person was between 20 to 30 years, but by 2003 the average person worldwide lived to 67. Even in Africa that figure has increased to 46 years old.
  • Not only are people living longer today, but they are also healthier in their old age. People get sick much later in life...
  • People contract heart disease 9 years later than they did just a century ago.
  • Respiratory diseases have been delayed an average of 11 years and cancer 8 years.
  • Before industrialization, at least 1 in every 5 children died before reaching their 1st birthday. By 2003 infant mortality had dropped by nearly 75% to 1 in every 17 children.


POLLUTION
  • From 1962 to 1987, smog levels in major cities fell by more than half.
  • In 1972 in the USA, only 36% of lakes were usable for swimming and fishing, by 1994 that number rose to 91%.
  • Another American figure; the number of water sources judged to be poor by the US Council on Environmental Quality fell from 30% in 1961 to less than 5% today.

POVERTY
  • The average person has never been better fed than they are today.
  • Between 1961 and 2002, the world's average daily food supply increased by 24% (38% in developing nations) per person.
  • Chronic undernourishment in developing nations declined from 37% to 17% in the same period.
  • Since 1950, greater agricultural productivity and international trade has caused inflation-adjusted prices of food commodities to decline by 75%.
  • By 2035 there will no poor countries left in the world.

CIVIL RIGHTS
  • When we think of oppression of women in countries like Afghanistan, we often forget that until August 26, 1960, women in America could not even vote!
  • After thousands of years of oppression and domination by men, women are finally winning back their God-given place in society.
  • Women are finding their way into the world's marketplaces in record numbers.
  • From 1654 to 1863, slavery was legal throughout most of the Western world. Today it is an abomination.
  • People of colour can vote in countries were only 60 years they couldn't sit on the same beach. America has advanced so much that a man of colour leads their government!
  • In 1900, no country had universal suffrage (the right for all its adult citizens to vote), today only 12.4% percent of the world's population have limited suffrage.
  • Today, 44.1% of the world's population lives in nations deemed "free" by Freedom House and another 18.6% live in nations deemed "partly free".
  • 200 years ago, the age of sexual consent in much of even the Western World was 10 years old!
  • Up until even a few decades ago, human sacrifices were accepted in many cultures, most notably in South American culture up till a few hundred years ago. Today it is unheard of.

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
  • What about the invention of the atomic bomb? It may seem like with such an invention, the world is more dangerous than it's ever been before. Whereas in actual fact, violent dictators have been able to be kept in check. There are less violent dictatorships than ever before in human history.
  • Even in 1939, when one of the most infamous dictators of all time (Hitler) took the step to conquer the world, kickstarting World War II. Nations came together, working with each other, doing everything possible, to stop such a tyrant and ensure human rights were upheld. In 1946, in the bloody war's aftermath, the United Nations was founded to ensure international security and the protection of human rights. 


There are many other areas I could go into that highlight the remarkable fact that the world is far better off than it ever has been in history except since, maybe, before mankind entered the fray. But the fact is, mankind is enlightened like never before and our advancement means a better world for all. Poverty, pollution, violence, disease, are all being tackled at rates never before experienced.

The unfortunate reality is that us humans crave bad news. This in itself is intriguing, because deep in our souls we want to help others and make the world a better place. This is a strange juxtaposition. But we cannot deny that bad news is a cash cow for the outlets that give it to us.

With our inclination for bad news, we must be careful not to paint the whole world with this outlook, doing so just allows fear and anxiety to get the better of us.

Hope is the lifeblood of those who change the world. We need it to get on with the job of making this world a better place. Let's not allow our hope to be snuffed out by minor blips in the system.

-------------------------

I'd love to hear your perspective on the state of the world. Let me know your thoughts on Twitter:

Most of the facts in this article come directly from the following 2 books:
- Heavy Rain - Kris Vallotton (specifically pages 222 to 229)
- It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years - Stephen Moore and Julian L. Simon

I also encourage you to read Bill and Melinda Gates' remarkable annual letter from January 2014 "3 Myths That Block Progress For The Poor".

Why I Hate And Love The FIFA World Cup

James Preston Reply 8:28 AM
Is this the greatest soccer player of all time?
The FIFA World Cup is by far the greatest sporting spectacle of all. That's not a subjective opinion, that's fact. The numbers speak for themselves. The FIFA World Cup holds all the important records:

- The most amount of people collectively watching throughout the tournament worldwide
- The most amount of people watching a single sporting game worldwide.
- The most amount of tweets sent per minute
- Etc.

You know? The important records that really count.

That's the problem though. They really do count. Numbers mean a whole lot when applied to the context of Capitalism. The more people consuming your product, the more power you have.

That's one of the reasons I hate the World Cup.

How can I hate the World Cup? I don't really know. I am honestly one of the most sport-loving people I know. I have one friend (out of thousands) that I know of who likes sport more than me. But even he doesn't seem to know Soccer as much as I do.

I love sport. A careful inspection of my Twitter feed will tell you that. (I'm trying to curb my sport-tweeting - but for some of us, Twitter is a platform for expression, so when we feel an emotion, we have to express it. At the expense of our Twitter followers. You gotta be real after all.)

This is the first time I've ever said "I hate the World Cup". And obviously that is really just a statement of satire. The word "hate" is used very liberally and subjectively here. It is used for the emphasis of my point.

But here's a few reasons why there is reason for it to resonate...

Why I hate the World Cup:

It gives FIFA way too much power.

Did you know that FIFA has more countries on its membership role than the United Nations? I'll bet FIFA are happy about that. But that is a huge membership!

You'll find that most of the big companies today became so successful because they started where no one else did. No one else was making a delicious soft drink like Coca-Cola. No one else was making well-brewed, decent, fast coffee like Starbucks. No one else was making quick meals as tasty as McDonald's. No one else was utilizing search opportunities on the internet like Google.

These gaps in the market allowed for these companies to establish themselves as the authority, and thereby gain huge early followers, therefore more capital, therefore work better, therefore become more successful.

FIFA is no different. No one else had institutionalised international soccer like FIFA did in 1904. They started to oversee European international soccer. No one else was doing it, so every other nation wanted to join in. Especially after their first international tournament in 1930. By then, it was too late, they had become the international authority.

It all started very innocently. No one foresaw how megalomaniacal they would become.

They are the ones who are allowed to set the rules of how soccer is played. They are the ones who decide whether a player gets suspended or not. Etc.

More sinister than this, they are the ones who get to dictate to nations how to put on a World Cup, how much they will need to spend, and what they are allowed to advertise, even if it infringes on national law. Their money gives them immense power over nations. Too much power in my opinion.

This power is stewarded by only a handful of men. (It doesn't seem like women have much of a voice at the top). An institution of FIFA's size should be a lot more democratic than it is. Alas, it seems far too top heavy for comfort.

If it weren't for the FIFA World Cup, FIFA wouldn't have half the influence and power they do. The fact is, The World Cup is their pinnacle event. Their Mecca. Their Golden Goose.

And while FIFA themselves at an executive level may try and do their work innocently, their systems and channels only breed corruption. Countries will do anything to gain the right to host the World Cup.

When democracy gets sacrificed on the altar of capitalism, you're in trouble.

FIFA's trouble is in need of fixing.

But as a sport lover, I cannot deny that the World Cup is a spectacle worth savoring.

Here's why I love the FIFA World Cup:

Anything can happen amidst its fierce competition.

Its fierce competition is what makes the World Cup so attractive. The more competitive a sport is, the more attractive it is. Anything can happen, anyone can win. (Think of the English Premier League. Any one of 6 teams could realistically win it. On top of this, any one of the other 14 teams can beat those 6. Of those 14 teams, any one of them could finish in the bottom 3 thereby getting relegated.)

Note to sporting officials: It is fierce rivalry and competition that attracts the masses. It is part of our DNA make up. We love competition. We are competitive by nature. We want to see a good contest of ups and downs, losing then winning, fight-backs and knock-downs, shocks and surprises. The FIFA World Cup provides this at the highest stage of all: Internationally. The next step beyond international sport of this competitiveness is war itself.

I don't know about you, but I would much rather be watching sport than war unfolding.

32 nations compete every 4 years to become the greatest in world soccer. Those 32 nations come from a pool of 204 nations who competed 3 years prior. Getting to the World Cup alone is a national achievement and goal.

But as mentioned last week, of those 32 competing nations, any one of about 15 of them could realistically go on to win the Cup. It's not a far cry to say that all 32 teams have a chance.

But think about that... 15 nations! That's a huge pool of potential winners.

When Usain Bolt lines up, there is no competition. You know who is going to win. And we watch him for him. Not because someone might beat him.

(Note: I have just realised why Penalty Shootouts are the best way to decide even contests in Soccer. They may well be a lottery, but the fact is the game itself is in many ways a lottery. Its a game of margins, where one lucky strike could be the difference between winning and losing. It is only fair that those tiny margins be emphasised on the penalty spot by no less than 10 different penalty-takers and 2 goal-keepers).

Anyway, back to my point... Many people bemoan soccer, and particularly the World Cup, because there are so few goals. But that's what makes it so exciting! Just one goal, one lucky shot, one mistake, can change the entire game.

Whereas in Rugby, American Football, Cricket, Basketball or Baseball, scores happen often and frequently. Meaning if you concede a score, you have a good chance to get back at the opposition quickly, it doesn't change the game as drastically as a goal in soccer does.

This is what draws us competitive-ones in, sitting on the edge of our seat, knowing that just one goal could be the difference between absolute heartbreak or eternal ecstasy. The emotions are supercharged.

Almost every game from game one to game 64 are like this. And the closer you get to game 64 (the final), the more those emotions are heightened.

It is something else. The country of my birth, England, are out well before the Quarter-Finals most World Cups. But I still can't help but get involved in ensuing games and see who makes it and who doesn't.

There really is nothing quite like it.

It is this very reason that the FIFA World Cup pulls the numbers that it does.

It's a love hate relationship like no other.

We just need good governance to steward this beautiful game and its competition into an equal and fair future.

Here's to Lionel Messi, the most talented soccer player to ever grace this planet, being on the winning side this Sunday!

----------------

Do you enjoy Soccer? What are your feelings on the FIFA World Cup? Drop a comment below.



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FIFA World Cup 2014 Quarter-Final Fixture List

James Preston Reply 7:19 AM
The FIFA World Cup is a massive occasion! I can't really put my finger on it, but sport is just such an important part of a man's life. And many women, too. (Shoutout to my sport-mad Aunt Trish and cousin Jenna!) It may have something to do with out competitive nature embedded in our DNA. Or our love for fun. I've often wondered.

Any kind of World Cup is usually the pinnacle of any sporting code. So when they come round every four years us sport lovers get very excited. The Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, and Soccer World Cup.

The FIFA (Soccer Federation) World Cup is the ultimate of these pinnacles. Primarily because it is so competitive. Of the 32 teams in the competition, any one of 15 of them have a realistic chance of winning. Unlike rugby and soccer where it usually comes down to 4 teams every time. And, what makes it even more exciting is that these games between the top teams from around the world are very rare. Games of these competitiveness only happen at the World Cup, and in some cases in-between the World Cup (2 years either side) in their Continental Tournaments (like Euros or Afcon etc.). 

But still, 2 years between highly competitive international soccer is a stark contrast to cricket and soccer's over-indulgence of international tours that happen twice annually.

Anyways... the FIFA World Cup 2014 has arguably been the best ever. With the most goals ever being scored. And the most amount of previous winners being knocked out in the early stages. With the most exciting finishes in the majority of the games.

And now we get to the real crunch-time: The Quarter Finals.

So if you're like me, you need to plan for when you need the TV. For the sanity of your family. So I have put together a fixture list for you which you can print out and put on your fridge. It gives you all the times and days of who plays when.

Unfortunately it is only in the time-zone of Central Africa. So if you're outside that timezone you can use this great website (worldtime buddy) to write you own time in there.

If you're not a sport fan, then carry on! You have a good week! And I'll see you next week. Maybe earlier.

Click the PIC below and download it for your fridge!

If you are a sport fan; who do you think will make the Semi-Finals? Even better... who do you think will WIN this year's World Cup?




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