Saturday, March 18, 2017

Frustrated With Life?

Product Details



For several years now, my friend Edison Guzman has sponsored an Internet site inviting others to write about their frustrations and to comment on those writings, essentially either sympathetically or analytically.

We recently published a 205-page book, Frustrated with Life? You Are Not Alone!, presenting hundreds of responses along with our comments and suggestions in nine categories listed in the descending order of the number of postings to each: Life, Miscellaneous, Relationships, Family, Work, Money, Weird, School, and Health. The posting folk were anonymous, the posts labelled by number. Many of the posts were profane, clearly heartfelt. We did not edit them. I have chosen not to put them here, only a selection from our quotations and reading list.

Each section starts with a quotation and a statistic and ends with book resources to help the perplexed.

Life

“…fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run….” Rudyard Kipling

"Life is what we make it. Always has been. Always will be." Grandma Moses

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones." Marjorie Pay Hinckley

“Keep in mind that you become what you focus on most of the time.” Edson R. Guzman

One of our recommended books is R. Hanson (2013) Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

Miscellaneous

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”  Deepak Chopra

Recommended: N. Hill (2013) Positive Mental Attitude: The Science of Success by Napoleon Hill

Relationships

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx

Recommended resources: J. Shufeldt (2014) Ingredients of Outliers: A Recipe for Personal Achievement and D. Carnegie (2010) How to Win Friends and Influence People.


Family

“All that we love deeply becomes part of us.” Helen Keller

Recommended reading: R. Eyre and L. Eyre (2014) The Turning: Why the State of the Family Matters and What the World Can Do about It

Work

“Individual commitment to a group effort---that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi

Recommended reading: J. Goins (2015) The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

Money

“If you’re not happy with what you have, imagine not having it.” Anonymous

Recommended reading (a favorite of mine): T.J. Stanley (2010) The Millionaire Next Door

Weird

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward." C. S. Lewis

Recommended: F. Day (2015) You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir

School

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned at school.” Albert Einstein

Recommended: A. Duckworth (2016) Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Health

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha

“It took a lot of willpower, but I finally gave up dieting.” Anonymous

Recommended: L. Shea (2015) Ten-Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal

The Book’s Final Three Chapters

“Live with Purpose, On Purpose,” which includes Edison Guzman’s trails and triumphs after coming to America alone as a teenager from the Dominican Republic.

“My Heroic Quadriplegic Wife,” my tribute to Tina Su Cooper, who is inspiring to all who know her.

“Pulling the Rug from Under Me,” How Amy E. Alexander did not let the accident that left her quadriplegic in her twenties ruin her life.

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Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Looks Do Count






Women, including those in our Sixty and Me community, know what research confirms: one is fortunate to be good-looking. Physical attractiveness is a major factor in how we are treated.

The Beauty Bias

Books have been written about this, such as: Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, by Nancy Etcoff; In Your Face: The New Science of Human Attraction, by David Perrett; Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful, by David S. Hammermesh; The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law, by Deborah L. Rhode; Looks: Why They Matter More than You Ever Imagined, by Gordon Patzer, Ph.D.

Dr. Patzer’s comprehensive, research-based book is the source for much of the rest of this article.

Lookism

In chapter after chapter, Dr. Patzer demonstrates the effects of “lookism” as documented by a variety of studies in: dating, mating, marriage; family dynamics and favoritism; treatment in school; advancement in the workplace; before the law, especially in trials; getting elected to public office; belief about marriage and career possibilities; the “dark side” of anorexia and bulimia; the Big Business of beauty.

Biological Bases

The ancients often thought that beauty was a sign of God’s approval and homeliness a sign of disapproval.

Evolutionary biologists explain our preference for attractiveness as part of the battle to pass on more of one’s genes into the succeeding generations. The classic womanly hour-glass figure has been found to correlate with female fertility. Men prefer slender, busty women, just as women prefer tall men with lots of dark hair and even beards.

Partly, beauty is an absence of flaws. Some genetic inadequacies are related to one another, absence of visible flaws may signal the absence of significant unseen flaws.

In general, humans find beauty in symmetry. Again, symmetry also suggests the absence of some genetic errors.

         Attractiveness is having features that fall within the typical ranges for humans, suggesting genetic suitability.

Cosmetics and Clothes

It has been said that “clothes make the man.” Indeed, being well dressed is a plus, but women have been even more focused than men on fashion and cosmetics throughout our recorded history.

Reproductive attractiveness is enhanced by the changes that women undergo once a month. Some makeup mimics these changes; some cosmetics mimic the changes she experiences during sexual arousal.

Friends and Family, Too?

Attractive children and adults are treated better, even by their friends and family, than are unattractive children and adults.

 “…a multitude of studies shows that [physical attractiveness] is by far the most important factor in evaluating both prospective mates and prospective dates.” Women most notice a man’s height, and men most notice a woman’s weight.

Internet dating has shown, yet again, that appearance is generally the most important element in how a potential date evaluates him or her, regardless of résumé. Besides choosing flattering profile photos, some try to enhance attractiveness by adjusting height, weight, and age in any written description.

Birds of a Feather…

We tend to see ourselves as more or less attractive depending on the attractiveness of those around us. Feeling attractive tends to raise self-esteem. Nice to be one of the Beautiful People. However, hanging out with others much better looking than ourselves tends to undercut our confidence. Some seek unattractive friends rather than those who might be more competition.

The Mating Game

Unfortunately, perhaps, physical attractiveness strongly influences success in finding and keeping a mate. Attention to weight and health and musculature can help, along with good grooming, careful selection of clothing and use of cosmetics, and enhancement of those secondary characteristics that play small but real roles in being viewed as all-around attractive.

Less attractive, yet prosperous, men often obtain good-looking women as dates or as “trophy wives” to enhance their own reputations. Some women appreciate the access this grants them to money and connections they would not have otherwise.

A noted marriage counselor maintains that lack of physical attractiveness due to excessive weight gain is a major factor for almost all couples where one partner complains about the appearance of the other.

It’s Everywhere, Everywhere

Hospital nurses give more attention to the more attractive infants. Babies spend more time looking at attractive adult faces then at unattractive ones and will even cry due to the close approach of faces that adults would characterize as ugly.

Children prefer those who are generally physically attractive, and “…most teachers expect better-looking kids to perform better, and they devote more attention to children they think have greater potential.”  

A study entitled “What Is Beautiful Is Good,” summarized its findings: most respondents ascribed positive characteristics to attractive people, negative characteristics to the physically unattractive.

Summing Up

The race is not always to the swift, when looks count, too.

We should do the best with what we have. It pays to invest, within reason, in keeping ourselves trim and well-dressed, and in using appropriate cosmetics. In some unusual instances, surgery may be warranted. What we cannot change, we should accept.

Finally, we should, ourselves, try harder not to judge others by physical appearance.

Questions
Have you noticed the significance of physical appearance? How far are you willing to go to enhance your own?                                                                                        
Please join the conversation.
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Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here.


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Published in slightly different form in http://sixtyandme.com/yes-looks-still-matter-after-60/

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Resources for Writers, from WYBWM



Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves or
we know where we can find  information on it.

Samuel Johnson

INTERNET, LIBRARIES, SOCIETIES, ENCYCLOPEDIAS, THESAURUS, DICTIONARY

In the blog by Carol Tice, makealivingwriting.com, guest writer Samantha Drake gave the following source tips so “writers can find facts fast---and make sure they’re true”:
·      Governments: For the U.S. see Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, USA.gov, Data.gov, and Government Information Online, which lets you mail questions to librarians. The individual states have many agencies willing to provide reliable data.
·      Major national organizations: Such as the American Cancer Society, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants, etc.
·      Trade organizations: Her example of such a publication was Nation’s Restaurant News.
·      Name-brand studies and surveys:  Examples given were Pew Research Center and Gallup.
·      Beware: Wikipedia can be a useful start, but is not authoritative. Use its references yourself to trace the item to its source. “Studies” by organizations with strong views are also to be treated with suspicion.

A truly mammoth source of information on self-publishing is appropriately titled The Complete Guide to Self-publishing, subtitled Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book. The fifth edition is copyrighted in 2010 by its authors Marilyn Ross and Susan Collier. It is published by Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati Ohio. These authors suggest you also visit the website writersdigest.com/books.

An abridged version of their Table of Contents follows:

Part I. TODAY’S PUBLISHING SCENE
·      Your Portal to Self-Publishing: Enter Here
·      Alternatives for Getting Into Print: From POD to Subsidy Publishing --- and Everything In Between
·      Cyberoptions ---Reading between the Lines of Ebooks

PART II: START-UP
·      Scoping Out a Marketable Subject
·      Product Development: Writing Your Own Book or Booklet
·      Establishing Your Publishing Company and Generating Capital
·      Mastering Operating Procedures
·      Must-Do Important Early Activities

PART III: CREATING A QUALITY PRODUCT THAT ATTRACTS BUYERS
·      Wow! Design and Typesetting
·      Affordable Book Manufacturing --- the Printing Process

PART IV: KILLER PR --- THE GREAT EQUALIZER
·      Initiating a Nationwide Marketing Plan with Publicity Pizzazz
·      Using the Web to Rally “Buzz” and Business
·      Provocative Promotional Strategies
·      Turning Book Signings into Stellar Events

PART V: SELLING BOOKS THE USUAL WAYS
·      Milking the Standard Channels of Distribution
·      Creating Ads that Reel in Results
·      Direct Marketing Smarts
·      Tapping into Lucrative Subsidiary Rights

PART VI: NONTRADITIONAL VENUES FOR GENERATING MORE SALES
·      Social Media
·      Originating Extraordinary “Out-of-the-Box” Opportunities
·      Seminars, Classes, and Trade Shows Can Multiply Your Profits

PART VII: PROPELLING YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH THE STRATOSPHERE
·      Bagging the Big Game: Selling Your Self-Published Book to a Goliath
·      Enlarge Your Kingdom; Move up to “Small Press” Status


This approximately 200,000-word guide goes far beyond what we can cover here. It is available through Amazon for $17 for the paperback and $11 for the Kindle ebook version, the one I bought for myself.


Another excellent resource for new authors is the book by J. Steve Miller and Cherie K. Miller, Sell More Books! Book Marketing and Publishing for Low-Profile and Debut Authors: Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolution. Wisdom Creek Press, LLC. 2011.

Their Table of Contents is as follows:    
               
Part I
Rethink Book Marketing in Light of the Revolutions
Chapter 1: Four Digital Revolutions that Can Make Nobodies Awesome

Part II
From Nobody to Somebody
Build Platforms with a Marketable Book and a Cool Online Presence
Chapter 2: Why Market Your Book?
Chapter 3: Write a Marketable Book
Chapter 4: Write a Title and Subtitle That Attract Audiences
Chapter 5: Attract People with Your Cover
Chapter 6: Publish through the Most Marketable Channel
Chapter 7: Get Lots of Blurbs from All Kinds of People
Chapter 8: Optimize Your Amazon and Barnes & Noble Pages
Chapter 9: Build a Professional Online Presence
Chapter 10: Submit Your Book to Contests

Part III
Let the World Know about Your Book
Chapter 11: Check Your Attitudes toward Marketing
Chapter 12: Use Guiding Principles to Prioritize Initiatives
Chapter 13: Seek Early Reviews from Respected Book Review Sources
Chapter 14: Seek Reviews and Endorsements from Busy Blogs
Chapter 15: Seek Reviews and Endorsements from Other Publications
Chapter 16: Attract Attention through Social Media
Chapter 17: Optimize Digital Sales
Chapter 18: Sell Your Book in Brick and Mortar Stores (Not Just Bookstores)
Chapter 19: Help Reporters and Journalists with Their Articles
Chapter 20: Consider Radio (Even If You’re Shy!)
Chapter 21: Consider Speaking (Even If You’re Shy!)
Chapter 22: John Kremer’s Twelve Tips for Low-Profile Authors
Chapter 23: Bulk Sales Beyond the Bookstore: An Interview with Brian Jud
Chapter 24: Consider Press (News) Releases
Chapter 25: Sell Even More Books!
Appendix 1: Never Stop Learning! (Further Reading and Resources)
Appendix 2: 200+ Ways that Low-Profile Authors Can Market Their Books
Endnotes

Clearly, this 344-page compendium of useful book marketing information in this new age of publishing is a bargain at $10 for the paperback and $4 for the Kindle ebook through amazon.com.

            Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort by Steven Van Yoder (2012) tells how to become known among your potential customers, and is very favorably reviewed at amazon.com, where it is available for $10 as a Kindle ebook and $18 for the paperback version.

Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling, by Michael Port (2010), is also widely heralded at amazon.com, where it is available as a Kindle ebook for $10 and as a paperback for $11. Techniques for those selling their services are readily adaptable to those selling their books. Many who sell books hope to use them to increase demand for their services, linking the two.

Finally, don’t forget those old standbys: encyclopedias, a thesaurus, and a dictionary.

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Excerpted from my book for would-be authors,  Write Your Book with Me.

See also my coaching web site, http://WriteYourBookwithMe.com

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

INFLUENCE: 7 Keys to Shaping Opinions



Softer than raw power, but still very important, influence plays a role in most of our communications with each other. Influence is a two-way street: we want to enhance ours and not be overly swayed by theirs.

It pays to heed the lessons in psychologist Robert B. Cialdini’s widely-heralded book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Professor Cialdini starts with this admission:

“I can admit it freely now. All my life I've been a patsy. For as long as I can recall, I've been an easy mark for the pitches of peddlers, fund-raisers, and operators of one sort or another.” One purpose of his book is to keep us from falling prey, too.

Here I list his chapters, along with some of their key ideas:


Weapons of Influence

We often act in strange ways. Tourists were found to be more inclined to buy the same unfamiliar turquoise jewelry at higher prices than at lower, believing “expensive = good.” Some of our rules of thumb make good sense, but not always.

Sales personnel are often counseled to show the more expensive options first, to “frame” the purchase price in the mind of the prospective customer.

Is she beautiful? Men judging a woman’s looks rated her lower after viewing the beauties in Charley’s Angels than after viewing another film. On the other hand, being among a good-looking group can enhance one’s appearance by the “halo effect.”


Reciprocation: The Old Give-And-Take… And Take

If you want something from someone, it’s good strategy to give that person something first, setting up a sense of obligation. Reciprocation has awesome strength, easily abused.

Politicians’ trade votes, “log-rolling,” to get their legislation passed. Lobbyists give gifts to politicians. Politicians give favors to constituents. While dating, some men treat women to expensive entertainment and dinners….

“Free samples” introduce a product while setting up a sense of obligation. Uninvited favors perform similarly; we are advised to limit our acceptance of them to those favors we are willing to repay.

Asking for a big favor (rejected) and then revising the request to a smaller favor is a tactic that often works well, as the revision is seen as a type of gift itself. (The big favor must not seem unrealistic, however.)


Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind

Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds….” Yet, being inconsistent seems wrong. In most instances consistency is valued and suitable. Inconsistent people seem unreliable, unpredictable, and even dishonest.

We like to be, and to appear to be, consistent.

Getting you to commit to something small has been shown to make it more likely you will commit to a much larger, not necessarily related, request.


Social Proof: Truths Are Us

We cannot test every option, so we observe what others are doing, and we are strongly influenced by that. For birds, following the flock makes sense: food is found more readily, predators evaded. For lemmings, on the other hand….

One advertising exec claimed that 95% of people are imitators following the 5% that are initiators. What is fashion other than social proof?

Beneficently, very shy children were greatly helped by viewing films of other reluctant children joining a group of kids and playing together happily.  

Learning from observing others has value. I think it was Warren Buffett who recommended learning from mistakes…those made by others.


Liking: The Friendly Thief

Cialdini quotes legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow, “The main work of a trial attorney is to make a jury like his client.” So much for evidence and law!

Dr. C. adds, “…we most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like.” He then explains the selling dynamics of the classic Tupperware party, where most participants leave with goods they did not really need, to accommodate their friend, the hostess.

The man the Guinness Book of World Records once called “the world’s greatest car salesman” had this simple formula: a fair price and being a man the customers liked.

What helps make people like you? Physical attractiveness, similarity (having things in common), giving compliments, contact plus cooperation (familiarity without competition), conditioning and association (Pavlov’s dogs’ bell; good things happen when…).

If you find you are being influenced by a person’s friendliness rather than by the innate value of the proposition, step back mentally and analyze the situation in depth before agreeing.


Authority: Directed Deference

Listen to the expert? Usually. But what makes someone seem expert? What lends authority?

Credentials and titles can do it. Yale psychologist Professor Stanley Milgram found, in his extensive study of volunteers in experiments with a “Learner” (actually an actor) and a “Teacher,” that most people, acceding to the professorial researcher’s authority role, were willing to give increasing, often rather extreme, electric shocks to the “Learners,” despite the Learner’s apparent great discomfort.

Some other factors that lend authority include: looks, clothes, uniforms, and trappings (office, furniture, car, jewelry, and accessories).


Scarcity: The Rule of the Few

The value of something is usually a combination of its utility and its scarcity (e.g., silver versus water). Scarcity elevates perceived value.

Our readers probably do not need to be told the romantic leverage of sometimes being “hard to get.”

Stores may pretend certain items are nearly sold out. “Limited time offers” and “sales” are common. Even while fearing the loss of the freedom to purchase something desired, you are wise to be skeptical.  

Drunks are often said to be “under the influence.” We want to be freer than that.


Questions
What steps do you take to enhance your own influence? How do you reduce the influence of others over you?                                                                                        
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Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here.

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Published in a slightly different form at http://sixtyandme.com/stop-feeling-powerless-influence-is-not-just-a-young-persons-game/

Monday, February 27, 2017

You Were BORN CREATIVE






We would all like to be creative; perhaps it is not so hard.
“Curiosity about life in all its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people,” noted the late Leo Burnett, outstanding advertising executive and founder of the firm that bears his name. If so, then by encouraging our own curiosity, we can become more creative.
Former journalist Harry W. Hoover’s recent little book Born Creative maintains that we all are born creative, but some of us don’t believe we are, and so we don’t exercise that skill.
Hoover cites a Harvard Business Review (HBR) study that found that those who think they are not creative, are not, and those who think they are creative, are. Inventor Henry Ford is credited with, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Perhaps your opinion correctly summarizes past experience, but Ford’s implied urging toward positive thinking supports Hoover’s view that however much we are innately creative, we can all do better.

Creative Mindset Test
Hoover offers HBR’s five-question test to gauge our “creative mindset.” It asks yes/no questions about
1.   Associational thinking: do you solve problems by drawing on diverse ideas or knowledge?
2.   Questioning: do you often ask questions that challenge assumptions?
3.   Observing: do you get innovative ideas by watching how people behave?
4.   Idea networking: do you frequently interact with a diverse set of people?
5.   Experimenting: do you try to create new methods?
HBR would rate you as “creative” if you answered “yes” to a majority of these questions, but even if you did not, Hoover proposes some approaches to exercise and improve your creative muscle. Hoover reports that a study found that the average adult thinks up two or three alternatives for “any given situation,” but the average child thinks of 60. No wonder kids find so many ways to get into trouble!

Embrace Change
A comment by David Norris helped Hoover realize that his time was more precious than his income, especially when he was spending a couple of hours a day commuting. He altered his career trajectory and now works from home.

Generate an “I Am” List
Hoover recommends this clever exercise: Leaving the first entry blank, write down 30 things you are good at. When all done, put as #1 “I am really creative.” Re-read it frequently, as auto-suggestion, self-hypnosis.


Don’t Be Like This Big Fish
Scientists ran an experiment with a big fish, Hoover relates, a fish that was initially given all the minnows it could eat, while it swam in its aquarium. Next, they encased minnows individually in strong, transparent containers, where they could swim, but the big fish could not get at them. Soon, it gave up trying. Next, they released the minnows from the containers, but the big fish did not try to eat them, having “learned” it couldn’t. This did not end well.

Make Creative Weather: Brainstorm
You are probably familiar with brainstorming, which Hoover praises. In an informal meeting, solicit ideas, and keep pushing for more ideas, while shielding each participant from criticism. Crucial elements are: proper preparation, a skilled facilitator, generating without denigrating, suspending judgment, quantity not quality to start, going “beyond reason,” and piggybacking one idea on another. Capture the ideas in writing.

Use SCAMMPERR for Creativity
To come up with novelty, Hoover uses SCAMMPERR to suggest the following approaches: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Rearrange, Reverse.

Steve Jobs has been quoted as saying that creativity is often the joining of disparate elements to make something new.

Psychologist Edward de Bono, author of multiple books on creative thinking, emphasized the value of comparing and contrasting dissimilar items to generate new ideas. De Bono also maintains that creativity helps make life more fun and more interesting.

Harness Your Creative Courage and Judgment
“Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep,” wrote cartoonist-author-entrepreneur Scott Adams. By being brave, we can risk making mistakes. “Art” may largely be a matter of taste.
You won’t know until you try.

Questions
How do you express your own creativity? What do you do to stimulate it?                                                                                        
Please join the conversation.
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Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his coaching business website, http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here.

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Published in a somewhat different form at http://sixtyandme.com/6-keys-to-being-creative-at-any-age/