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Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201702

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Personal Update 201702 | 11 February 2017 | Saturday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Work-Life: More Quality, Less Quantity

 

In my work-life over the past 30 years, what has always driven me is the desire to help as many people as possible. Not for the sake of greater earnings, but in seeking greater positive impact. In fact, when I get really busy, with so many support requests in a day, I often don’t have time to bill out all my time. There are just too many emails, text messages, phone calls, and other encounters to keep track of and not enough time in the day to generate invoices. So, typically only the more time consuming support calls are billed out.

I’ve rarely said ‘no’ to a support request. During times of peak demand, this means staying up late and cutting back on my personal life to keep up with the needs of others.

I’ve looked at time tracking apps that might help in this regard, and began using one of the best available. Yet, even the most efficient of these creates administrative overhead and a costly drain on time. I found that I’d rather just skip billing people, and move on to help the next person in need.

With this in mind, one of my goals this year is to help fewer people and spend more quality time with each one.

As a result, here’s what I hope to have time for in the year ahead:

  • More time for training courses that are free and open to the public on topics such as photography, web design, mobile device best practices, and how to purchase a computer.
  • More time for providing one-on-one proactive support, regular maintenance, and personalized training.
  • More time on each service call going beyond quick solutions to offer an expanded multi-point check-up.
  • More time to offer ‘courtesy’ services for customers such as picking up needed supplies rather than having them do it.
  • More time to provide reminders of upcoming meetings, follow-up after service calls, and periodically check-in with customers to see how they are getting along.
  • More time to write extensive tech support articles in responses to the questions I’m getting from people — especially when existing online resources are limited or unhelpful.
  • More time to write how-to guides such as, how to setup a new Windows 10 computer or Apple computer.
  • More time to research, resolve, and document problem solutions. In the past, such articles offer unique resolutions that aren’t found anywhere else, and as such, these articles end up having thousands of readers worldwide.
  • More time to do research on a variety of products and write articles that serve as consumer buying guides.

 

In addition to the tech support related items listed above, I’m also interested in expanding on my consumer advocacy work, photography, music composition, public speaking, and pursuing my wellness goals.

As you can see, there’s a lot I want to bring back into my regular monthly schedule.

Wellness Goals and Strategy

This month I’m expanding my wellness goals. I’ve been committing to a daily workout that includes 20 minutes of strength training, a 20 minute elliptical cardio workout, and about 20 minutes of bike riding. This month, I want to add back into my daily routine a 20 minute morning yoga and meditation practice along with a 20 minute walk-hike each morning. I’m hopeful this additional activity will help me reach my overall wellness goals faster.

For the past few years I’ve been using an Internet-connected scale that measures body weight and body fat. The scale can upload the data to an online service where it can be displayed in table or chart format. However, these systems are becoming less reliable due to massive global hacking of Internet connected devices. There are now delays, sometimes of several days, before data shows up online. This could be due to security countermeasures in place. Whatever the cause, these expensive devices become less useful if the data no longer shows up online in realtime.

This month I’m switching back to using a more sophisticated full-body composition analysis system that measures body weight, percent body fat, percent of body weight that is water, percent body weight that is muscle, BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), bone density (bone weight), and visceral fat rating. This data is used to calculate overall physical fitness (on a scale from 1-9) as well as Metabolic Age. By collecting this data daily, it’s possible to more precisely map and track progress.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. In the future, I hope to get back to taking higher quality photos with some of my other cameras.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

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Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

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Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201701

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Personal Update 201701 | 17 January 2017 | Tuesday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Cold Weather Bicycling

For many years I was a year-round cyclist. Then after spending two years living and working downtown in Iowa City, I stopped riding as much. After that, since the summer of 2011, living on a bus route made it tempting to just let someone else do the driving on rainy days or during cold icy snowstorms. So, I transitioned to becoming a recreational fair-weather cyclist.

Heading into this winter, I decided to return to bicycling year-round. This required outfitting my bicycle with some special modifications. [Read More]

We Need Better Methods of Activism

As a teenager, I became aware of leaders and role models who were influencers for social good: Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Nader, and others before them like Gandhi.

It seems that the more successful activists chose peaceful and creative ways to get their message across and build public support for their message.

Today there’s a troubling rise of confrontational and violent activism among right wing and left wing activists. I’m concerned that civility and some important social values may get lost in the noise.

With that in mind, I wrote Counterproductive Activism: How Direct Action Protests Could Harm the Progressive Movement in America. It’s an essay about how peaceful and respectful freedom of expression is more effective for anyone trying to get a message across. [Read More]

The Year Ahead

We we’re moving into a new year, I’m reflecting on last year and planning ahead for how I can be more effective at everything I’m doing. My main focus this coming year will be to continue to refine and improve my technology consulting business, as well as staying focused on health and wellness.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

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Winter Cold Weather Bicycle Riding

For many years I was a year-round cyclist. Then after spending two years living and working downtown in Iowa City, I stopped riding as much. After that, since the summer of 2011, living on a bus route made it tempting to just let someone else do the driving on rainy days or during cold icy snowstorms. So, I transitioned to becoming a recreational fair-weather cyclist.

Heading into this winter, I decided to return to bicycling year-round. This required outfitting my bicycle with some special modifications.

One of the first things I noticed when bicycling in sub-zero temperatures was that the shifting mechanism for my bike would freeze up. I was able to get a special double-sleve shifting cable. This means the shifting cable goes through a sealed cable that is inside another cable. So, the shifting is smooth and responsive in extreme conditions.

Very low windchill temperatures are especially severe on a bicycle. If you’re riding into the wind, frostbite conditions happen much faster. Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen to burn and remove skin. The procedure is painful. That’s how unprotected skin feels in high winds and sub-zero temperatures. So, it’s important to be well covered and insulated.

In the winter, I tend to carry more things with me. On my bike ride to the gym, I need to pack my exercise shoes separately, and wear winter boots for my ride. So, I purchased some oversized side-bags for my rear bike rack. These are also helpful at any time of the year when needing to carry extra items.

With icy roads, normal bike tires may not have the necessary traction, so I had some winter tires put on my bike. They have silica embedded in the rubber. The gritty sand in the tires, along with softer than normal rubber, helps ensure better control on slick roads.

With all of these upgrades, I’m now able to venture out in just about any weather. As a result, I’m enjoying the outdoors more, and taking some photos I might not otherwise have taken. Bike riding is also great for promoting health and wellness.

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Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201612

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Personal Update 201612 | 03 December 2016 | Saturday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Wellness

Over the past month I’ve been settling into a good workout program of walking, biking, strength training, and elliptical workouts. I’m using an Apple Watch now to track my workouts which is a great tool since it has GPS mapping for tracking routes, and monitors heart rate to determine the intensity of workouts. Each morning, I lift 7,700 pounds (calculated by totaling reps and sets).

Thanksgiving

Although Thanksgiving was a few days ago, I wanted to share this message I posted to Facebook about gratitude, along with the photo I posted with it.

Thanksgiving is a National Day of Gratitude, yet comes at a time when the skies are gray, the days are short, the weather is cold, the flowers are gone, the fields are dry, and the warmth and light of the sun are hidden. Most of us don’t have a big year-end harvest to appreciate. It’s easy to give thanks on a bright sunny warm summer day, but what about now? Perhaps it’s a good thing that Thanksgiving comes at this time of year. We need to grow our gratitude and give thanks even when the things we’re thankful for aren’t easy to see ‘low hanging fruit’ but the fruit of much labor and those things that are hidden from our sight. Most of the ‘things’ we’re thankful for aren’t things at all: family, friends, health, education, career, love, forgiveness, a positive outlook on life. I’m grateful to have a day set aside to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

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Photography Secret

If you’ve been following my posts on Facebook, then you’ve seen some of my recent photography. Here’s a post I shared a few days ago about my nature photography.

People ask me about my photography – What’s my secret… what special camera do I use, what lenses, filters, software, tripods, etc. You might be surprised to learn that the quality and beauty of my nature photography has nothing to do with me or the equipment I use. Most of my photos are taken using a smartphone in auto mode. Sometimes I’ll add a lux effect. However, what really makes these photos possible is the following… In Iowa City and the surrounding area communities, there’s a commitment to preserving natural habitats, neighborhood parks, green spaces, trails, wetlands, prairies, parks, lakes, reservoirs, streams, rivers and many other spaces for wildlife and people to enjoy. Without a commitment to natural preservation, there’s no camera or photographer in the world who could capture these images because they wouldn’t exist. Think about that for a moment. Want to contribute to my photography? Donate to an organization that preserves natural habitats.

Writing

This month I shared a little bit about how having a personal blog has influenced my writing style. You might find that article interesting.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

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Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201611

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Personal Update 201611 | 6 November 2016 | Sunday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update. As you’ll notice, this month’s newsletter is going out at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month.

Website Redesign

I recently changed the theme of my website from Twenty Fourteen to Karuna which is a more modern yet simplistic theme.

On the home page, I now have three big buttons for the primary reasons people are contacting me: tech support, website design, and tiny houses. That way, when people land on my site they can quickly get to what they are wanting.

I really like the Karuna theme because it allows for full-width pages without a right column or left column with widgets. The entire page can be filled with the content of an article, photos, or embedded videos. With the Twenty Fourteen theme, and others, the content of a page is typically limited to a relatively narrow column of text, even when the right and left columns are removed. I like the clean presentation that allows a reader to focus on the writing without distractions.

No More Weekends, Just ‘Weekly Beginnings’

The idea of the weekend is embedded in our culture and is particularly significant for those working a normal Monday through Friday work week. The rationale is that we put in our work efforts during the week, and get a brief respite on Saturday and Sunday to unwind. Although for many people, the weekends are a time to catch up on everything at home you didn’t get done during the week.

Years ago, I embraced the idea of Saturday being the first day of the week rather than the last. That may seem like an inconsequential shift, but given the day’s significance in many religions and cultures, it can actually be a big change. According to some traditions, Saturday is a very significant day of rest. The world is said to have been created in 6 days, “and on the seventh day G-d rested.” There’s a lesson in that. Get your work done, and then rest.

So, in contrast to what popular culture would tell us, I began to think of the weekend as a day of restful preparation for the week ahead. Instead of collapsing on the weekend, and trying to decompress from a busy week, I began to think of Saturday morning as a brand new beginning of a new week.

The calendar on my computer shows the week beginning with Saturday and Sunday. My iPhone, iPad, and other devices also have the week beginning with Saturday as the first day.

This change in thinking is important to me because I like the idea of being forward thinking and beginning from a place of peace and rest before working. This isn’t a matter of putting rest before work, but of putting thought and reflection before work — creating a time of renewal and planning. It’s like starting the day with meditation and exercise, before trying to take on any big projects.

What happens when you make this mind shift is that you plan your weekend as a time of preparation for the week to come, rather than cleanup from the week that just was. You begin to think of things you can do, preventative and proactive things, for the week ahead. This is part of the reason for me wanting to send my newsletter out at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month.

This mindset is part of a broader philosophy of living for one’s ‘future self.’

Don’t Live in the Past, Don’t Live in the Present, Live in the Future

A popular theme in self realization books is to emphasize the importance of living in the present. People regret the past, yet there’s nothing they can do to change it. They fear for the future, yet it’s a fear of things that haven’t happened. So, if we live in the present moment, which is all we really have, then, presumably we can be at peace and not miss the good things in our life.

Here’s the problem with that kind of thinking. Taken too far, it causes people not to give sufficient planning to the future. It causes people not to reflect on the past, and think about what they could do differently to improve the future.

In reality, we really should live simultaneously in the past, present, and future. Yet, the most important of these is the future.

Think about it. If you focus most of your thoughts and actions around what you can do right now, to make your life better in the future, then you will perpetually be walking into a tomorrow that is better than it might otherwise have been because you prepared for it today.

Here are some examples:

  • Exercise. Some exercise is enjoyable in the moment, but sometimes we’re just doing it because we know we should. During those times when it’s uninteresting, it’s an example of choosing to sacrifice in the moment so your future self can be more healthy.
  • Food. Have you even denied yourself some culinary treat because of the calories? That’s a decision to forgo some delicious experience in the moment, so your future self isn’t growing in size at an alarming rate.
  • Savings. Have you ever decided not to buy something you wanted, so you could save up for a rainy day? That’s telling your present self to give up something for your future self.
  • Time. There are a lot of ways we can spend time that serves no purpose in the present, but serves a future need. Setting out clothes at night for the next day is an example. If you take vitamins, consider having those ready to go the night before.

Imagine going through a day with a full-time assistant helping you out. Someone who would have everything prepared for you ahead of time before you need it. You can be your own assistant by doing things ahead of time that are helpful when you need them. That’s the principle behind living in the future.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

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Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201610

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Personal Update 201610 | 31 October 2016 | Monday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Wellness

I’m getting closer to reaching my various wellness goals. This month I lifted over 93,000 pounds cumulatively and walked over 228,000 steps climbing 451 floors. Today my blood sugar was at 100, and my blood pressure remains at about 120/80 while resting. I’ve been spending more time on my bike and enjoying nature hikes with Makur. So, the benefits are showing.

Photography

We recently upgraded our phones from the 2-year-old iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 7 Plus. With the new camera features in the iPhone 7 Plus, I’m getting a renewed interest in taking photos and sharing them. Mostly I share them through Instagram and Facebook, but I hope to return to sharing my ‘photos of the week’ as I did in the past.

I wrote an article about buying the right camera where you can see some of my recent photos with explanations about which camera was used to take the picture and why. Be sure to check that out.

Activism

I’m continuing with my pursuit of public interest work and service projects. One area of interest is architecture and urban planning. In that regard, I’ve been producing regular podcast audio conversations with City Councilman Rockne Cole of Iowa City through my IowaCityArchitecture.com organization. You can find the podcasts at SoundCloud.com/IowaCityArchitecture.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

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Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201609

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Personal Update 201609 | 29 September 2016 | Thursday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Career

My consulting business continues to expand. I’m gaining new clients and still working with some who I’ve served for decades. These days I’m mostly providing tech support and also offering website development consulting and services. Over the past two weeks I’ve been working on two fairly large website redesign projects that I’m excited about. I continue to enjoy working as an authorized Apple repair technician part time.

Wellness

As we head into fall, the weather is more conducive to enjoyable bike riding and walking so I’m enjoying getting out more as well as continuing with my strength training program at the gym. For years I’ve been using a spreadsheet in my iPhone to track my weight lifting. It helps me keep track of my progress. I use the Apple Numbers program, along with the integrated form feature for data entry and drop-down options. This makes it easy to quickly enter strength exercises.

This past month, I’ve lifted over 94,000 pounds, and since I started going back to the gym regularly in April, I’ve lifted over 1 million pounds. This total is calculated by adding up each weight lifted by the number of times it was lifted. I’m looking forward to increasing how much I lift each month.

Here’s an example of what the entry system looks like.

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Here’s a quick review of how it works:

  • Entry. Touch Entry to see the above screen that lets you enter information using a form-like presentation.
  • Sheet. Touch Sheet to view a spreadsheet presentation of the data.
  • Total Entries. The number above ‘815 of 815’ is a count of the total entries in the database.
  • Date / Time. The full date and time are shown above. To enter this information each time, you simply touch the time and press the ‘Now’ button to enter the current date and time, or enter any other date and time you wish.
  • Activity. This is a drop-down menu of the type of exercise you’re doing. You can easily add items to this list in the Sheet view, by selecting the column, choosing format, and selecting the Drop-Down option. This saves a lot of time because you don’t need to type each activity repeatedly.
  • Weight. This is the amount of weight lifted.
  • Reps. This is how many times you’ve lifted the weight.
  • Sets. This number represents how many times, if any, that  you repeat this activity in a given workout session.
  • Total. This number is the total amount lifted which is equal to (weight) x (reps) x (sets).
  • Location. This is the gym or location where you did the exercise. This can be relevant if one gym has a different weight machine that requires a slightly different adjustment for the weight. For example, a chest press machine at one gym may be set at 200 pounds but to get the same resistance at another gym you might set it to 180. It depends on how the belts and pulleys are configured. Knowing the location and weight from last time can help determine what weight you should lift the next time.
  • Notes. This is a field for entering additional notes.

I’m using similar spreadsheets for tracking my weight, car mileage, and other data. What I like about the system is that it’s easy to setup and customize depending on the need, and it’s built on Apple’s own Numbers spreadsheet software that works on all iPhone, iPad, iPod, and desktop computers, as well as on the web at iCloud.com using their cloud apps. The form entry feature only works in the iOS version.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

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Amazing Improvement in Sleep Quality

I founded the ResourcesForLife.com website almost 20 years ago with the goal of empowering people working in the public interest. The Life Map outlines areas of life that need attention, care, support, and renewal. Those working in public service and social activism especially need to maintain a strong and balanced life for maximum efficiency. Optimal health is critical, and sleep is an essential foundation for health.

Like millions of other people, I’ve been using an activity tracker during the day, that also analyzes my sleep quality at night. Anyone curious about their sleep quality can get a report that shows a chart indicating times of sleep, restless, and awake times.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to improve my quality of sleep, and had some success. Yet, I still found my sleep quality wasn’t as good as I’d like, and in recent months it had been getting worse.

Stress can have a big influence on sleep quality. One of the biggest sources of stress for people can be their work, even for those who enjoy their job. Perhaps those who enjoy their job are even more susceptible to stress, because along with that tends to be a genuine concern about colleagues, customers, and the business or institution you work for.

Those who don’t care can leave their work behind at 5 o’clock and go home without giving it another thought. For others, that’s hard to do. Concerns about a colleague, or a problem at work, or perhaps considerations about innovations that might improve the workplace, these things are hard to ‘turn off’ for some people.

I’ve met many dedicated people thought the years — those putting in extra hours, and going above and beyond, not for any recognition or financial compensation, but just because they care about their job and the people they work with, and sometimes because they don’t complain when they are asked to take on extra work. Such people probably take on some additional work-related stress.

Yesterday I decided to make a career change. It was a big decision, and also a big weight off my shoulders. In life it’s easy to wonder whether or not the choices we make are the right move. There are gut feelings, but rarely any scientific metrics to go by.

Last night I went to bed at peace with the decision I’d made. It helped to have the support, agreement, and reassurance of my wife (Makur).

I woke up this morning and looked at my sleep analysis chart for the night like I always do.

Yet this time I saw something that I’d never seen before. I just looked at the chart. I was stunned.

I’ve provided the chart below so you can see it for yourself.

The “Before” chart shows a typical night. Normally there are lines indicating restless times (blue lines) and awake times (red lines). This is what I’ve seen now hundreds of times over the past few years. Sometimes more lines than others, but typically like what you see below in the top chart. In recent months there have been more of those lines.

The “After” chart shows only one blue line over a seven hour period. I’d slept through the night without waking, and apparently without even moving.

At that moment, I really knew that I’d made the right decision yesterday. Not only was I at peace with the decision, but the pressure of the job was gone.

It gives me a lot to reflect on, being familiar with the health impact of poor sleep, it’s a decision that may end up saving my life.

Update: As of 1 January 2016, it’s been about two weeks since I first posted this article. Since then, I’ve consistently seen better sleep each night, and had some great success with weight loss — I’ve lost about 6 pounds since then.

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@BEVEL and the ‘Slow Shave Movement’

As a technologist, I’m always looking for ways to do things faster. For this reason, it’s been hard for me to embrace the Slow Movement (until recently).

My long-time approach to shaving has been to go as fast as possible, using a disposable razor and a can of cheap shaving cream. Other than razor burn, cuts, and dry irritated skin, I felt I’d achieve the optimal shaving experience. I didn’t imagine there could be anything better.

I recently purchased the Bevel shaving system. It’s a high quality kit that comes with a razor, extra blades, brush, priming oil, shave cream, and soothing aftershave lotion. The Bevel shaving experience is definitely more comfortable, and surprisingly, it only takes a few minutes longer than my old less effective and more painful shaving experience.

With Bevel, I discovered the essential missing ingredients to my old fast shave method. The priming oil includes natural emollients (some organically derived) that help soften hair and enrich the skin. The shaving cream contains similar ingredients that are complementary to the oil and aid the shaving process. The soothing aftershave cream moisturizes and protects. The result is a closer and more comfortable shave. The fragrances of essential oils and natural ingredients help enhance the relaxing, invigorating, and grounding experience.

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Using the high quality Bevel shaver and products to experience a slower shave, has really caused me to reflect on other areas of life where I’d been moving too quickly to enjoy living. Always racing through life in a rush to get to what’s next results in missing a lot along the way (see the movie Click for a great example of this).

Slowing down, enjoying the process of whatever we’re doing, and using high quality products can be a real life changer.

The Slow Movement is summarized as:

“A cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.” (source)

Bevel has really helped me appreciate and embrace the Slow Movement. I wouldn’t have thought such a simple product could change my approach to life, but it has. The Bevel system has inspired a Slow Shave Movement among their many satisfied customers.

If you think you’re ready for a better more enjoyable shaving experience, click the link below to learn more and get started.

https://getbevel.com/invite/resourcesforlife

 

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@BEVEL – A New Tradition in Shaving

I first learned about Bevel in early 2015 from their advertising on Facebook. My initial experience with the company was as an enthusiastic follower of their BevelCode.com blog — reposting and promoting their stories. Their website, articles, and photography are exceptional. I especially like the Bevel interviews. I’d not used their shaving system, but found the design of the razor and products visually exquisite.

Last week, on Monday, I ordered their shaving kit. They were having a special offer that included the kit with one month of supplies for free. You can get the same offer here:

https://getbevel.com/invite/resourcesforlife

Within two days, my shaving kit arrived. I was really surprised by the fast delivery. The quality of the kit is something you’d expect to see in a luxury department store or in-flight-magazine for $150. So, for the initial cost of about $7 in shipping, I was really impressed. It was in a premium gift box wrapped in Walker & Co. gift tissue paper. There was a card with a note from Tristan Walker that seemed to have been signed by him with pen — at least the ink strokes didn’t look printed. (See below where Tristan Tweeted a response to this article and confirmed the cards are signed by him.)

Tristan Walker, the founder of Bevel, is the inspiring young entrepreneur behind Walker & Company Brands. Two days ago, in an interview with USA Today, Tristan talked about how he was recently able to raise $24 million in venture capital from angel investors, and he also got Target to agree to start selling his product line in their stores. For a 2-year-old company and young business man, this is quite an accomplishment.

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Impressions

Here are some initial impressions about the product and company.

  • Customer Rewards. Bevel recently launched a customer rewards program. It’s based on customers telling customers. When you signup with Bevel, you’ll get a website link to share with friends. When they signup, they will get a month of products free, and you’ll get rewarded as well.
  • Customer Service. I’ve contacted Bevel customer service and promptly received very helpful and supportive responses. They use Zendesk.com as the platform for their customer service. This is another example of how they are doing everything with excellence and following best practices.
  • Disposable Culture. We live in a culture where just about everything is meant to be thrown away. It’s assumed that products will break or wear out and be replaced by new ones. Perhaps a new product design makes the old one obsolete. The Bevel shaver disrupts this trend. It’s an exceptionally designed heirloom-quality product that could easily be handed down from one generation to the next. This is an aspect of using their products that causes a person to take pause and reflect. Should our things (and our life experiences) be of solid, durable, and enduring quality? It’s hard not to begin thinking that this is the way life is supposed to be — of enduring quality.
  • New Experience. I’ve never really looked forward to shaving. I never gave it much thought. It’s something I would do quickly in the morning so I can get on with my day. The Bevel shaving system creates an experience that’s meant to be enjoyed. Now I look forward to shaving, and take my time. With Bevel, it’s a relaxing and grounding part of my morning routine.
    1. Priming Oil. The priming oil feels soothing on the skin and has a subtle fragrance that reminds me of the oil used in barber shops 50 years ago. You can feel your skin and stubble soften when applying the oil.
    2. Shaving Brush. When you wet the badger bristle brush, it smells like a wet badger — very wild and outdoorsy. The smell isn’t so strong after the first week.
    3. Shaving Cream. Mixed with the shaving cream, the brush does an excellent job of preparing for a close shave. A small amount of the shaving cream makes a very nice lather.
    4. Shaver Safety Razor. I was nervous about scraping a sharp blade against my skin, but amazingly it felt better than any other razor I’d ever used.
    5. Restoring Balm. After shaving, the restoring balm (lotion) helps sooth the skin. It has a faint menthol fragrance.
  • Of the Future – From the Past. The shaver is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. It has a futuristic high-tech design and feel, yet it’s drawing from an old tradition of razor design. In the old design of safety razor, the metal handles are typically cross hatched and rough which is supposed to make them easier to grip when wet. The Bevel somehow manages to have reassuring gripability while at the same time being smooth. You’ll be impressed with how water beads up and flows off the handle and razor head. It reminds me of the super-hydrophobic laser developed metals developed at Rochester University.
  • Patent Wars. I was fascinating to learn that Bevel was founded in part as a response to patent issues that were creating poorer and poorer shaving products over time. After the traditional safety razor patent expired, the market became saturated. Companies looked for greater profits by making new patented razor designs. Marketing helped promote these new designs, even though they don’t necessarily work as well. You can read more on the GetBevel.com website.
  • Photography. As a photographer, I’ve been really impressed with the product photos, portraits, and other photography used on the Bevel websites (product site and magazine site).
  • Positive Portrayals for People of Color. Popular media and news networks propagate an inaccurate and derogatory portrayal of black men through images that are disproportionately negative. The marketing done by Bevel reinforces positive portrayals of black men that help counteract the negativity in the media. I think this is really important.
  • Product Design. The Bevel product packaging has a texture/touch that comes from a unique matt finish. The colors are soothing, soft, strong, clarifying, and grounding. The fonts used are elegant and precise. Overall — impressive.
  • Sustainable. By using a permanent metal shaver with steel recyclable blades, the Bevel system is one of the most sustainable shavers available today.

Practical Inspiration

Bevel is doing some really inspiring and innovative work with product design, customer service, marketing, social media, photography, content writing, website design, promotions, and community engagement.

If you’re involved in any of these areas, you should checkout their products and company. Every facet of their products and service is exceptional. By interacting with the company, and using the products, one learns to internalize best practices.

If you decide to purchase some of their products, feel free to use my referral code for a great discount:

https://getbevel.com/invite/resourcesforlife

Values

The Walker & Co. values are an encouraging departure from business as usual:

  • COURAGE. Our vision requires the courage and conviction to believe that we will build a great company that changes the world.
  • INSPIRATION. Inspiration is in the soul of everything we make and sell. A laser focus and attention to craft, to detail, to colors, to ingredients, to experience. Our success requires it.
  • RESPECT. Our community requires and deserves our respect. They’re the reason we can be inspired and excited to come to work every single day.
  • JUDGMENT. We are our brands. We are responsible for every single action we take, everything we deliver to consumers’ homes and every single interaction they have with us.
  • WELLNESS. We eat well, we sleep well, we keep fit and we care to help and support each other and our families.
  • LOYALTY. We are loyal to a great workplace and team. We are committed to building a great, lasting company for the long term. We’re playing to win and will give it the effort and focus it deserves.

Nice Note from Tristan Walker

Minutes after this article was posted, I got a nice note on Twitter from Tristan Walker (see below) in which he confirmed that those cards in the gift boxes are actually signed by him.

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Page Visits

Thanks to everyone who has read and shared this article. The map below shows recent page visitors.

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