Thoughts on Competitive Advantage

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In order to provide the necessities of life, people desire a competitive advantage and strive to gain a lead over those with similar objectives.

However, at some point in time, those we are competing with become aware of the knowledge or skill we use that has put us in a favorable position. After studying, experiencing, or teaching himself or herself, the competition  begins to employ these processes to achieve their purpose.

Once this happens, we will fail to retain the competitive advantage, which deprives us of the favorable position we once held over the rivalry, because our prior tactics are now in widespread use by a large group of people. As a result, in this area, our once promising situation has now come to an end.
How could one move forward to get ahead of the competition?

The Quality of Our Thoughts: What We Think, We Become

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Each of us holds beliefs and opinions about someone or something.  We have the ability to use our mind to develop ways to accomplish our goals.  Or, we can allow our thoughts to wander and leave us in undesirable states.

The Results of Our Thinking

Sometimes, the views we hold, cause us to judge someone or something.  So, we blindly accept information as being true.  There are times when we settle on a way of thinking about someone, based on how we see his or her behavior.  We firmly believe our thoughts are true and make snap decisions without completing a mental process to determine if you thoughts are right or wrong.

This unchecked method of thinking allows our biases to strongly influence the decisions we choose to make about someone or something.  If we make assumptions and believe something is true without proof, we create situations that are not morally right and unfair to ourselves and other people affected by the quality of our behavior.

Benefits of Improving the Quality of Our Thoughts

On the other hand, the caliber of our thoughts can improve the quality of our lives and those around us.  Poor-quality thinking results in lower performance.  Allowing our mind to give serious consideration and careful thought can make us a better person.  Improving the quality of our thoughts causes us to grow, lifts our inner spirit, and positively influences our character, behavior, which magnetically attracts the attention and interests of those around us.

Our quality of thought has unimaginable power.  When we allow time for reflection and think deeply, the outcome of our thought can create pure magnificence.  Not only will we surprise ourselves and improve our future, we will inspire and lift up those who come into contact with us.

How to Improve the Quality of Our Thoughts

We have the power to strengthen the quality of our thoughts.  To continuously develop the quality of our thought, we must regularly allow an opportunity for slow and careful thinking.


Greatness lies within all of us, which can improve the condition of our lives.  We possess the ability to overcome biases by cultivating our mind to think meaningfully.  Careful, deliberate thinking allows us to produce the best that we have to offer for ourselves and those around us.


Start a Conversation: Ways to Help a Failing Relationship

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Dialogue is essential to exchange ideas and opinions, especially in difficult situations.  Those conversations can derail if one person uses language to point another person’s faults, while trying to correct a problem.  However, every person should consider using positive communication to share feedback that gets results.


Relationship Struggles

Sometimes, individuals experience relationship trouble.  For instance, that person may have  trouble getting along with someone.  Another issue is that previous relationship bonds have become broken, and result in continuous disagreement.  There are instances when people are fed up with each other and no longer want to have dealings.  These situations make it hard to converse.


The Headaches of Relationships Gone Bad

Relationship issues give rise to a series of emotions.  For example, people experience mood changes.  Conversation becomes awkward and painful.  Oftentimes, people have feelings of being stuck, unable to move forward with one another.  Furthermore, individuals tend to think they have spent way too much time on the problem.  Without resolution, individuals become angry and resentful of each other.


Make a Plan to Save the Relationship

There are clear-cut ways to resolve these situations.  Communication tools can positively influence another person’s behavior.  Yet, the situation may require all involved parties must be willing to change the way they view the situation.

Use positive communication that focuses on the person’s strengths.  One tool should be to speak to the other person’s strengths.  The person speaking should use language that focuses on the other person’s interests and what is important to the person they are speaking to.

The person delivering the message will also benefit from good, positive communication.  For example, these responses allow them to be honest, provide authentic feedback, and the positive environment allows them to communicate their position, while sharing their thoughts using non-threatening language.

Helpful Language Gets Results

There are multiple benefits from using positive communication.  People listen and pay attention to what you have to say.  Oftentimes, the other person will be open to negotiation to find a way to reach an agreement that can be beneficial to all parties involved.  Fostering a positive environment can allow a person to make small changes in their behavior, which can eliminate conflict.  Furthermore, these powerful situations allow every person to take part in sharing their voice to shape future outcomes of the relationship.  Aiming for positive, criticism-free conversation without putting the listener in a defensive mode, allows the other person to change their behavior and grow.


Steps to Get the Conversation Going

There are simple ways to introduce healthy conversation.  Here are some simple steps to create positive, criticism-free conversation

  1. First, state the current situation as you see it. For instance, if a difficult situation arises, one person should go to the other person.  Face-to-face, one person start by verbally explaining the situation, based on their viewpoint.
  1. Second, hear the other person’s thoughts. One should ask the other person to share their viewpoint, while remaining silent.
  1. Third, focus on building trust. For instance, the person listening should admit the points of view they share the same opinion on and the feelings they had.
  1. Fourth, contrast dissimilar views. All parties involved in the conversation should state the points of view they have a different standpoint on.
  1. Fifth, make a simple plan to move forward. Together, a consensus should be reached using a simple set of action steps to move forward in the relationship.



Relationships may experience difficult times.  However, there are tools to keep important people in each of our lives.  Instead of speaking negatively to about a person, positive communication can help remove barriers.  When people take the time to understand how the other person feels, what is important to them, and look for a solution that helps everyone move forward, powerful relationships develop.


Move Away from Intention and Aim for Results

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Do you or someone you know get into difficult situations?  If so, what do your discussions entail? This morning, I was reading and came across a statement that seemed deep and worthy of attention.  The writing read, “regardless of intention, the result is still the same”.  How profound is that?  I do not know about you, but there have been several experiences in my life when people try to address an issue by talking about their intentions.  My purpose here is to help you change the conversation and move away from discussions about intention, but to talk about how to aim for results.


Understanding Intention

Intention is defined as an aim.  For some, intention is about one’s plan.  Oftentimes, people want to direct attention to what they really intended, what they really meant to do.


Reflecting on Intention vs. Result

The questions for me involve conversations that aim for results.  In my life, when I have been on the receiving end of these conversations, I could not think of a meaningful response that added value to these types of discussion that were aimed at focusing on the person’s intention.  After reading this profound statement, “regardless of intention, the result is still the same”, I have experienced a change of heart.  For instance, why didn’t the person’s rhetoric focus on the result of their actions?  Why didn’t they share meaningful dialogue that acknowledges the consequences of the behavior and their plan to move forward?  How could they overlook the outcomes that did not occur because of their action or lack of action?


How to Move Away from Intention and Aim for Results

In many instances, the discussions I have had are rarely about the effect one’s action or lack of action caused.  People focused on talking about their intention, which rarely involve a reflection on the ramifications that stem from their conduct that did not aim for results.

When people depend on a person to bring about desirable outcomes, the overriding need should be the central focus of the conversation.  One should share a plan that shows the intention to use another method that delivers expected results.  Therefore, discussing intention is never good enough, when the result is still the same.  Instead, the focus should be directed towards outlining the actions that will be different to produce intended outcomes.

Watch the Company You Keep: Why Become Your Best Self

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Be aware of the company that you keep and be on your toes when you are sharing your time with others.  The purpose of this writing is to get you to realize that each person you spend time with influences how you emotionally think and feel.

You should always be aware of how you feel around each person you encounter.  For example, you can perceive the feelings you have when talking with another person, such as do you feel happy, inspired, or does the person leaves you feeling sad, demotivated, and energy-sapped.  Humans have the capacity to become familiar with their emotional state to consciously recognize their reactions around the company they may be keeping.  When conversing with others, you have the ability to examine comments exchanged during each interaction.  As a result, you can study your emotions to examine your feelings in that moment.

Benefits When You Watch the Company You Keep

Personal and Professional Development

At work, unscheduled conversations and lots of small talk can derail career advancement.  Likewise, personal development takes time.  The process requires a series of focused actions and steps to fulfill your aspirations.  When you fail to monitor the mood that other people have contributed to you feeling, it takes a great deal of effort to redirect your attention and focus to work on your goals.

Financial Aspirations

You may work for yourself or you may want to earn extra income on the side.  To make money, it is imperative that you recognize that time is money.  Furthermore, working for yourself requires motivation and demands that you participate in high quality, useful activities to accomplish your business aims.


Drawbacks When You Watch the Company You Keep

Emotional drain

Poor relationships fail to improve your mood.  For example, unfocused people waste your time.  They tend to unload their troublesome situations onto you.  The sad part is they rely on you to listen, with no intention of solving the problem.

Time drain

To get where you want to go in life, you must prepare and pay particular attention to your activities.  You cannot progress toward your goals without following a well-coordinated plan.  Time quickly runs out.  So, occupy your time with people who can add value to your life, instead of depriving your dreams of the vitality that is a necessity to energize and activate your dreams.

Lack of motivation

There are people in life who lack motivation.  These people do not have specific interests.  They are not enthusiastic about anything special.  Their lack of excitement can damage your efforts to fulfill your ambition.  You must safeguard your mind and your time so that your experience, thoughts, and feelings are positively influenced by people who have behaviors and information that will be useful to fulfilling your dreams.


Ways to Improve How You Watch the Company You Keep

Willfully inspecting your internal responses as you engage with other people, gives you information, which can help you modify your involvement with individuals who unfavorably affect you.  As a result, you can take measures to lessen the amount of time you mingle with that person.  You should continuously review how you feel to protect your physical and emotional well-being.

You should be aware that keeping company with people that have an unpleasant influence on you could cause unwanted results.  For example, desires, hopes, and dreams that you want to realize, keeping the wrong company can stop you from doing what is necessary to reach your goals.

On the other hand, keeping company with people whose presence has a desirable effect on your inner-self, can energize your well-being.  These individuals tend to fire you up and elevate you mentally.  As a result, their spark triggers strong feelings of want within you to have “something” or wish for “something” to happen, that encourages your developmental growth, or you activate your increased yearning for “something”.

The focus of this viewpoint is to get you to become aware of the company you keep by understanding that the time you invest in people is consciously important and worthy of your attention, because if you fail to examine how others influence your emotional state, you will become dissatisfied with your personal or professional situations.  From my point of view, human beings must critically examine the moral makeup, behavior, and attitudes of the people they spend time with.  Using this approach enables you to become aware of your thinking and the feelings you experience around someone, whose influence may later reflect in your behavior.  My suggestion is that by taking the specific action of observation; you will reveal unknown information to help yourself understand the far-reaching consequences that result when keeping bad company because people can have a major impact on your success and each person can greatly affect the quality of your life.

To test this theory, pay close attention to the next person you encourage.  Observe the feelings you experience.  For example, do you experience a feeling of satisfaction or enjoyment?  On the other hand, you should also observe whether you feel uneasy or inconvenienced.

Becoming aware of the company you keep has advantages and disadvantages.  Another opinion is to consider whether it is okay to mix socially with everyone and allow each person to spend time with you as they see fit.  To illustrate this point, let us assume that a person named Janet, needs personal development.  This means she feels a powerful desire to increase her intense yearning to make discoveries and test the potential of what she finds.  Therefore, it frustrates her when people visit her unexpectedly, because she has to draw upon mental resources to make small talk.  For Janet, she dislikes these inconsequential talks because she feels they do not contribute to her overall success.  Furthermore, her perception is that the conversation shared by some of the people she spends time with, detracts from her ability to achieve her personal and professional goals.



When you allow anyone to squander your time, you are likely to experience failure in achieving your goals.  The bottom line is that you should be honest with yourself and pay attention to the company you are keeping.  It is virtually impossible for you to get in touch with the person you want to become when you allow any and every one to dictate how you spend your time.  Vigilantly monitoring who you spend time with, can help you find the right type of people who trigger your hunger and contribute to you working towards getting what you truly crave out of your life.

Physical Inactivity Affects Muscle Strength

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Physically fit people must keep their body in good shape. They must continuously workout to build muscular strength. Or, they will lose a significant amount of muscle.

Reason Physical Inactivity Affects Muscle Strength

According to a recent report issued by the Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, “New research reveals that it only takes two weeks of not using their legs for young people to lose a third of their muscular strength”. The research also stated that lack of exercise for at least two weeks, leaves their legs “par with a person who is 40-50 years their senior”. This can be especially alarming to people who become injured, decide to take a vacation, or those who take time off from being physically active. Furthermore, they can lose significant muscle mass, which has been shown to decrease their metabolism.

Research Study Results of How Physical Inactivity Affects Muscle Strength

In the Denmark study, a leg pad was used to monitor inactivity. Participants had one leg that was immobilized. Younger and older men were observed. According to the report, both subjects experienced muscle loss. However, the younger participates experienced a greater muscle loss than older study participants. Based on the results, older people lost approximately 25% muscle strength. Yet, younger individuals experienced a 33% decrease in muscular power. It should be noted that younger people tend have more muscle mass than older people, which results in a greater muscle loss. Also, physically fit people have a greater muscle mass than individuals who are unfit. So, if the physically fit person becomes ill and cannot workout, they will lose more muscle mass than the unfit individual, who is physically inactive.

Process to Muscle Strength after Physical Inactivity

Once you lose muscle strength due to physical inactivity, you must do more than bicycling. In the study, the participants biked 3 to 4 times per week for a total of six weeks. However, this did not increase the strength they had prior to physical inactivity. Weight training is essential to regaining muscle strength. In addition, it will take at least three times the amount of time for an inactive person to return to their original muscle strength.

Gas Residential Tankless Water Heater vs Hot Water Heater Installation

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Residential tankless water heaters are becoming more popular. This high-power device heats water only when you need it. Unlike hot water heater tanks, the tankless technology does not store any water internally, except for what is in the heat exchanger coil.

Consideration for Tankless Heater Installation

This month, twelve years after purchasing a new home, our original 50-gallon tank water heater needed replacing. The last time we had bought a new hot water heater, was in 2002 for a previous home. The total cost, including the tank and installation, was around $700.00. Let’s fast forward to today and today’s prices. My wife and I consulted with local plumbers. The quoted estimates ranging from $1400.00 to $1800.00. Even though over ten years had passed, we still suffered a mild case a of “sticker shock”. This caused us to slow down, rethink, and look for alternative solutions since we plan to keep living here for the foreseeable future.

We are almost empty nesters now, three children down to one, we realized our hot water needs were much less than in previous years. Fewer showers and baths, dishes, and clothes meant less demand for hot water. That meant after our morning showers, we were paying to maintain 50-gallons of water at 120 degrees for the rest of the day. This seemed wasteful as far as dollars and adding to our “carbon footprint”. Unless you manually shut off a conventional tank water heater, it is constantly heating the water inside whether needed now or not.

Alternatives Considered to Hot Water Heater Installation

Two alternative solutions we discovered were 1) solar and 2) natural gas/propane/electric tankless. Since our home already had natural gas infrastructure, we decided to investigate that option first. The tankless technology is still somewhat new, but no longer brand new. Prices have come down to reasonable levels since those who paid “early adopter” costs. Plus with added rebate(s), interest free financing for twelve months, and the continuous savings by using much less natural gas, a tankless unit could eventually pay for itself through efficiency savings over its twelve year unit warranty.

The Decision for Hot Water Heater Replacement

It was not an easy choice. You may ask how someone who had sticker shock at $1,400.00 was able to come to terms with paying slightly above $3,000.00 for a
Rinnai Luxury Tankless Water Heater. That is a valid question. On a strictly a cost basis, it may not make sense (dollars and cents) initially. Yet, what we do have is continuous, 120-degree hot water, on demand for hopefully as long we own our home.  Also, we have reclaimed approximately thirty cubic feet of space in our garage for much needed storage.

Only time will tell if this was a proper financial decision or not. So many variables and unknowns are in the equation. For instance, 1) Will the tankless unit perform as advertised and at least as long as under warranty? 2) Will we continue to live in this home as long as we foresee? 3) What will the price of natural gas be in the future? As of this writing, it has only been a few days since the new installation. So far, so good. We are looking forward to the savings on the next gas bill!

10 Tips to Develop Interpersonal Communication Skills for a Healthy Relationship

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A healthy relationship cannot survive without successful communication. Interpersonal communication is based on face-to-face discussions.  Individuals can share thoughts, ideas, and information, which is a wonderful recipe for building intimacy, creating a connection, and exploring a lifetime of happiness.  Examine these 10 essential ways to emotionally communicate in a relationship.

  1. Don’t let too much time pass if you feel your relationship is in trouble. Find someone who can give you the support you need.  You should feel comfortable with whomever you choose.  If not, find another person to speak with.
  2. Be proactive and maintain a healthy relationship. Surprise your spouse.  Add spice to your relationship.  For example, surprise your partner by performing a task they normally complete.
  3. Set aside time to check-in with your partner each day. Develop your interpersonal communication skills through face-to-face discussions. Make sure you are in a quiet place.  In other words, the environment should be free of distractions, so you can give your undivided attention.
  4. Do not blame, but ask for what is important to you. Be accountable and show your partner gratitude. For instance, instead of saying “You made me lose my job”, try “I would be grateful if you could agree to allow me 1 hour to call my clients”.
  5. Notice signs that your relationship is in trouble. Some signs may include: verbal insults, emotional absence, and declining intimacy.  Non-supportive behaviors can have a negative impact on relationships with children.
  6. Say “I love you” tell your spouse you are thought about them. Do not assume your spouse knows how you feel.  Verbally communicate your affection to build intimacy in your relationship.
  7. Show affection before sharing physical intimacy. Remember to give hugs.  Share kisses.  Squeeze each other lovingly.  Tender touches set the stage for romance.
  8. Never talk over each other. Let the person speaking share their thoughts.  Do not accuse each other.  Saying “You are the most worthless spouse ever” tends to increase arguments and leads to defensive language and behavior.  An alternative approach is to say “I do not like it when you buy clothes before paying the bills”.  Instead of feeling that his character has been attacked, the spouse may realize this is an opportunity to develop a plan to improve the specified behavior.
  9. Spend time building a relationship by getting to know each other. Go for a walk.  Share some quiet time together.  Interaction increases the depth of communication and strengthens your relationship.  Allow time for each of you to openly express yourself.  For example, ask “What did you think about the Star Wars movie?”   Or, “How do you emotionally feel about our relationship now, versus when we first met?”  These conversations need to occur without judgment, which builds.
  10. Have fun. Let yourself laugh.  Having a good time encourages you to relax around each other.  This lays the foundation for a strong emotional bond that can rise and conquer every day challenges.

How to Get What You Want in Life

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Some people seem to have all the luck! Everything they want appears to come easy for them. Have you ever wanted something really bad? You desired it so much that you could not stop thinking about it. So, you decided to do something. But, you just didn’t know how to get started. Use these five methods to move beyond your present situation.

Visualize How to Get What You Want in Life

Set aside time to visualize what you want. Do not rush yourself. You may need at least one hour to clearly picture your desire. Use your senses to see your future state that you want, to become aware of how your heart will feel, and to discover how your present situation could lead to improved conditions for you.

Document Your Future Desires to Get What You Want in Life

Record what you want to get in the future. You can use pen and paper to write down your desire. Or, type your ideas on a computer-like device. However, if you dislike writing or typing, consider voice recording to capture your thoughts. For example, most mobile devices can use speech-to-text apps that convert the spoken language to text. Computer devices have similar technology available. The main purpose for doing this is to log your thoughts so you can refer to them later.

Find Proven Methods to Get What You Want in Life

You must locate information to jump-start the process to get what you want. Use Google as a resource. Based on the future you desire, type keywords that represent these concepts. Then, examine the database results. Google’s search engine can help you discover actions you need to carry out to get what you want. Make sure you gather information from at least three different sources.

Make a Plan of Action to Get What You Want in Life

Evaluate each source. Write at least three actions you will take to get what you want. Then, record how often you will complete each action. Finally, write the deadline date that your desires will be successfully achieved. Provide a sensible date that is favorable for your lifestyle. Reasonable dates help you to put effort into achieving what you desire.

Get to Work and Get What You Want in Life

Hooray! You made your action plan. Now, you must get to work. It is very important for you to physically take action and get out of your head. Get busy. Watch the changes your life will undergo as you move from an unpleasant state to the gratifying, desirable situation you wanted.

Review on How to Get What You Want in Life

Life is filled with success and failure. You can leave your present situation to chance. Or, you can take action to live the life of your dreams. To get started, imagine the future conditions you want to fulfill. Write down what the future situation should be. If you have no idea how to change your current position to the one you desire, use Google to find answers. Then, choose the best ideas that work best for your situation. Make a plan of action that you can commit to doing. Do not forget to add a reasonable deadline that shows when you plan to successfully achieve your desire. Post a comment. Let us know what you have done to successfully get what you want.

The Purpose of Up By One Website

What is The Purpose of This Site?

The main purpose of this site is to provide individuals valuable information and skills. Here, I want to focus on topics that help you become your best self. For example, every time you visit this site, you will learn at least one of the following:

  • How to solve a problem
  • How to overcome a fear
  • How to reach your goal


Which Topics Will Be Discussed?

This website will be dedicated to individuals who need information and processes to solve problems, achieve goals, and will cover topics such as life, technology, food, health, family, hobbies, news, relationships, inspiration, quotes, money, business, and leadership.


What is the Background of the Author?

Most of the information and skills will be provided by Tisha Alford. Yes, that’s is me. I have a varied background. For instance, as a teenager, I worked odd jobs for the local newspaper and fast food restaurants. After going to school, I received a diploma in Information Systems and Helpdesk Support. In the early part of my career, I was employed as an entry-level Helpdesk Administrator.  Later, I was hired as a Computer Technician and was promoted to a Senior Technician position. Once I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Education, I begin teaching technology courses in Continuing Education, as a full-time Faculty at a Community College. Several years later, I pursued my Master’s Degree in Education. Once this was obtained, I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Management. At the present, I still teach and hire instructors to teach basic computer courses, programming classes, and Microsoft programs. Needless to say, I look forward to creating content that I hope will increase my personal and professional growth. Along the way, I have decided to share my journey publicly to allow us to benefit from each other as we move forward.