Influence #5

It’s astounding to me to see the thousands of people that show up to the various concerts at the Jiffy Lube Live Center.  What is that common factor inside every concert goer that drives them to show up that night.  It can’t be just that they like the artists music. Is it?

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Why do you want to influence others? Well, everyone desires something.  I can’t think of any decent person that just wants to sit by and let luck decide their life..  It is important to believe in something.  I mean to be passionate about a cause.  Whatever that cause is find it.  If you are passionate about something, then you definitely do it more than once a week.  For instance, politicians jobs are to influence their constituents. Lobbyist’s jobs are to influence the politicians.  We as citizens influence the politicians as well.   It’s all an accepted circle. So much so, that there is a business out of it.  There are people who get paid to negotiate and fight on your behalf.  My goal is to teach you the basics of how to do that yourself.  The best politicians can be friends with you even if your beliefs aren’t the same. Most people can at least tolerate those types of politicians.

The goal of this chapter is to influence others regardless of their beliefs.  Some people try to win influence or likeability over others by riding the fence on issues. To me there is nothing more distasteful than someone who can’t commit to a stance on a major issue.  This is an ameture mistake. You are no longer an ameture. Now, there are some people who truly can’t decide on one thing like religion, or political affiliation and that is fine. But, for those that intentionally hide, skew, or split their views to please others, it is unattractive.  I encourage you to be empathic those those with opposing viewpoints. You will win more friends with a tongue of sweet honey than a tongue of fire. Practice communicating your feelings to friends.  Let them know how you feel about something caring they did for you.  They will appreciate that and keep on giving.  You can leverage your friends trust in you to make more friends and influence more people.  Trust creates credibility. Credibility creates desire, more trust, and deeper relationships.  My friends I’ve had for years share and do way more things for me than the friends I just met  six months ago.  I’ve taken time to build trust, establish connections, and lend a helping hand. In return, my friends have shared their knowledge, experience, and assets with me.

The simple truth is that most people like friendly, warm personalities.  The best way to get friends that will connect with you is to treat people how you would want to be treated. People who are similar in behavior to you will gravitate towards you without you even trying. It should be natural to be yourself right?  Actually it’s not easy for a lot of folks.  With enough practice, you will realize that being yourself in life is a lot less stressful than trying to be someone you are not.

Even though my advice is to look similar to those you want to attract, I am by no means advocating dressing poorly. If it just so happens that the individuals you hang around like to wear tattered clothing and that is the style. Then so be it. However, in most cases, your classiness of dresses directly correlates with your level of quality in people’s minds.   It’s automatic. We naturally see someone in nice clothing and assume they are big shots.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been treated differently when going into a store two times wearing two different types of clothing. Some time ago, I nailed an interview wearing a Goodwill suit that cost me eight dollars . This was for a supervisor position at a big corporation in Washington, DC.

We also feel important when we surround ourselves with good looking, aromatic people.  In my research for this book I met a couple different people who employed a strategy that is the exact opposite of mine. These people prefered to go out on the weekends with acquaintances who looked less desirable than them so that they would be more attractive by comparison. I don’t recommend this because then the focus is too much on judging the looks of your friends. You should focus on looking good in public and surrounding yourself with others who care about their personal image. This includes basic hygiene, body language, and social cue awareness.

Another thing that we instinctively do is compare things. We compare cars, homes, significant others, toys, pets, you name it.  That’s the reason why comparative bargaining works.  When you are trying to persuade someone to do something for you it’s often hard to find out their limits directly. A lot of times they don’t know. What I like to do is ask them for whatever favor I need at a level that’s just barely absurd. A level that I know they don’t have time or ability to complete. Then when they say no, I debate that offer with them for a bit. If they still say no, I ask for that same task but at a moderate level.

Let’s say you need a housemate to clean a room in the house.  Well I won’t ask for them to clean the whole house but I’ll ask them to clean two rooms in one weekend. Then if they say no, I’ll convince them why they should clean two rooms.  If that doesn’t work, which it probably won’t, I’ll ask if they can clean just one room and i’ll clean the other room.  At that point they would say yes because cleaning one room is way better than cleaning two rooms.

Which brings me to my next piece of information.  People are more compassionate and willing to perform favors when they see you pulling your weight.    They want to see that the requestor is doing his or her share. They are also more willing to return a favor.  Favors and small gifts are important to give to new friends.. My favorite types of gifts are information. For instance, showing someone who likes coffee a cool new cafe or someone who likes yoga, a great yoga website.

You can leverage social media to “help” friends commit to something that they have agreed to do with you.  Publicize someone’s commitment to helping you with whatever you desire so they feel committed to helping you. They will not want to let you down for fear of public scrutiny or the guilt in their mind.  Their reputation and image are on the line.

Make the person feel smart for accepting your ideas by saying things like, I can tell you are a smart guy.  It’s not just common flattery. it’s they must be dumb if they don’t go along with your plan.  In emotional relationships, even professional relationships people like to feel they are in control even when they aren’t. If you can master this facade then you will win a majority of arguments and decisions.   You will achieve more win-win scenarios because the other person will think they call the shots and you will get the outcome you desired.  Guys especially, like something more when they work to get it. Even if what they achieved isn’t that monumental.

People trust someone who shares similarities with themselves. Similarities attract each other.  If you want to attract someone who likes yoga then you need to dress like you do yoga. Simple as that.  As simple as this fact is, a lot of people don’t realize. I’ve had friends come to me, asking why they can’t get so-and-so to date them.  Well one person looks like they just came from a GWAR  concert while the other is a ballet dancer.  In this respect, you need to focus on what others identify you as not what you identify yourself as.

Personal contact and collaboration go along way in initial meetings.  Give someone a tip on something early on as a peace offering then they may be more likely to give you something later. Keep the ante up on the favors and soon enough you will be trading cars.  A canadian  named Kyle MacDonald, was inspired by a book he read as a child to trade his way to the top. He started with a red paper clip and ended up with a house once he was done trading. His first trade was the paperctoo for a fish-shaped pen. His last trade was a movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Canada.

Increasing your social status is a quick way to increase your influencing power.  There are a lot of professional clubs and associations that cost less than $50 annually.  You can also make your own club for whatever interests you. You can post flyers on craigslist, church bulletin boards, apartment complex bulletin boards, and at local shops.  Social clubs, professional organizations, and associations It’s no secret that social status brings influence.  Check your community center’s online page for clubs.  A lot of churches and businesses have clubs related to sports, travel, or food. Even though you might not be the CEO or the preacher you can still be a big influence in the social scene..

The last but most important key aspect of influence is to allow yourself to be influenced.  This means break down the barriers that you put up to keep people away.  Don’t make excuses for being anti-social.  Make an effort to engage in community events at the club house or pool.  Letting go of your pride and ego will allow you to be vulnerable to influence and reason.  A peer is defined as someone who is equal to you in things like status, ability, qualification, age, and other characteristics.  A friend is generally your peer and sometimes the words are used interchangeably. You can’t be someone’s peer if you think you are better or more important than them.

Tools -Storytelling

The most powerful tool for influencing others is your story. Telling a captivating story can motivate others, recall lost feelings, and promote self-reflection.  How did you get to where you are right now? That is what is interesting to new acquaintances.  They want to know what makes you so important? What is your claim to fame?  In instances where someone has heard about you before, maybe they are a mutual friend, they will want to know details to confirm what they have heard about you.  Hearing a story activates tons of sensors in our brain. It creates images, feelings, and smells.  Stories can be as descriptive as you make them.  The feelings that stories create are engaging and captivating. In 2010, researchers at Princeton University found that the person’s brain telling the story synchronizes with the listeners when fully engaged.   The same waves and sensors fluctuate at the same time.  The researchers also discovered that we think in cause and effect. That is exactly what a story is. We think of our daily lives as stories. The same study concluded that stories are the best way to attune listeners to your ideas.  This is why when you have a dream about an idea you feel so compelled to follow it. The dream story activated sensors in your brain that made it seem real.

If you have been following this guide by been going on adventures then you should have plenty of great stories. People desire to relate their stories to other’s experiences.

Storytelling is so powerful that there are professional consultants who make a living teaching business leaders how to motivate employees using this art. Storytelling can mesmerize listeners by building a bridge into their mind.  The memories that you make with others will be the glue that holds the friendship together.  You can use stories to prove your stance on an issue or a trial you have passed.  Stories are great in the beginning of relationships and friendships. After a few months into a relationship it is safe to easy off on storytelling because by then you will have made great connections with your potential friends. Try not to artificially inject stories into every conversation or else you will be overbearing.
Skill-Charisma and Authority

So you have decided that you want to be more charismatic.  Now it’s time to start acting like it.  Developing charisma is one of the most controversial social science topics out there. Some say great minds are born charismatic like presidents, religious leaders, and business tycoons. I challenge that notion with this exercise.   Try leading dinner plans or evenings out with family. They are perfect test subjects because they know you, they are forgiving, and they are willing to trust you.  The next night or outing try suggesting someone else take lead then be interested in the plans they come up with. Practice being eager to go through with their plan but not too eager or it will seem staged. share some of your short 10 second videos with people at work.  Once you get good at hosting dinner outings then start hosting at your own house.  Make it a bi-weekly routine to get everyone in the habit of making your place the social spot of the week.  After a few good times they will be looking forward to it.

Another key to charisma is a great smile. You need a genuine electric smile. Your neighbors should be able to feel your presence when you enter the room. You should be able to feel this presence because the feeling starts with you. If you don’t feel amazing then no one will.    At the end of the day you want people asking you, “why are you so electric!”?  This warming presence will lead to more attention and magnetism from your audience.

You also need to be aware of the tone of your voice and your facial expression. Speak loud but don’t yell. Don’t cover your mouth when you talk.  Periodically raise your eyebrows in interest when listening to someone’s story. Nod your head in agreement from time to time to show that you are keeping up with the topics at hand. Watch other people’s facial expressions to make sure you don’t look too excited or too depressed.  Don’t repeat old content. Keep the conversations moving. Speak at a steady pace, not too slow or fast.  Keep your stories short as well. When you respond to other people, appeal to their topics using colorful words and insightful questions.  Alter your voice volume  to keep the audience interested.  If you talk in one pitch then people will start to lose focus.  Throw in dramatic pauses with your sentences to give your audience a chance to reflect.  Also, remember to stand tall like a president and talk with your arms for maximum engagement. Don’t be stiff.  The first part of delivering a message is the message, the second part is how you deliver the message.

With charisma, we can use comparisons to our advantage again.  Metaphors and contrasting statements will leave lasting effects on listeners.  Metaphors and contrasts draw correlations between opposites.  Contrasts force listeners to reflect on statements that contradict the normal human behavior.  Comparisons cause listeners to realize the distance between two points.  It is equally important to listen to what others have to say. Facilitation of the conversation is an easy way to appear in control with minimal talking required.  Refer to the graphical  guide for tips on facilitation.

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Preparation #4

If you have ever been a boyscout or girl scout then you understand the need for preparation.  Most military pro’s also know the importance of preparation.  I never go on a day trip somewhere without water, snacks, flashlight, knife, and other tools.  We want to prepare for social encounters and other life events.  Imagine the amount of preparation that goes into planning a wedding so that those 3-6 hours are as amazing and flawless as can be?  That’s the type of preparation you want to put into your daily life. But, you don’t want to spend that much time, of course. I want you to be able to apply the 80/20 rule. Now, that we are aware of our strengths, weaknesses, and those of the participants in our social gathering, we can prepare for success.  Our success is defined as whatever goals you want ot achieve from the event, conversation or what have you.

I used to always feel like the last one to find out something whether it was a new video game, new band, or current event.  I hated being the last one to find stuff out so I vowed to change that. I thought about chipsets. They are known for being the original adopter’s of many things unique and unseen.  I wanted to be the ultimate hipster in the sense of the word but not the clothing style.  I decided to find out popular news websites, news apps, new music apps that I can use to stay current.  One of my favorite tech news apps is called AppyGeek.   The Instructables website is a great resource for staying current on cool do-it-yourself projects. There are a lot of great guides on making anything from lawn ornaments to shaving yourself with fire.

The best way to be prepared is to know your surroundings through familiarity. The typical person probably has routine places they go to for different things every week such as church, grocery store, gym, work, and maybe a park.  An expert socialite like you needs familiar social spots so that when you show up people know your name, where you like to sit and what you like to order.  Whether or not your thing is bars, clubs, sports, or pottery. Own it.

For a common social example lets take bars. One week you decide to try five different places, which isn’t hard especially if they are within walking distance.  Feel free to take one friend.  If you take a group then it will be harder to create an identity with the bartenders and servers. Make sure you sit somewhere open with lots of light so that you will be noticed by other staff and patrons.  Don’t be shy with you body language while investigating the decor, patrons, and other details of the bar.  You want the staff to know that you are interested in your surroundings and approachable. Look out for someone dressed extra well. It could be the bar manager. Try to make eye contact with him or her. You order your favorite drink at each one.  Hopefully, you can show up during happy hour where there isn’t too much of a rush so that you can talk to the bar tender.  If there is a big rush during happy hour then this might not be a good spot to select because it will be harder to get noticed.  You also don’t want to be the only person there.  You openly tell the bartender that you are looking for a new bar to go to.  Make sure you leave a generous tip before you leave.

Out of these five bars you have picked one and decided to go back within the next 48 hours with a small group of friends.  Greet the staff by name if you remember.  If you had a great conversation with them and returned within 48 hours then it shouldn’t be too hard. Bartenders and servers are proficient at remembering who tips well. They will be happy to see you have returned with friends. If the opportunity arrives, feel free to introduce your friends and mention that you brought them here because you had such a great time the first visit.

Scenarios..run through in your mind.

Meetup, a great app for iOS and Android, connects you with people who are interested in the same hobbies as you.  You can search groups based based on interests, location and popularity. Once you find a groups you like you may join them so that you can go to the “meetups” and communicate with the members.  This is a great way to make new friends or meet people in a new city.

Tools – Leveraging Mobile Tech

In my quest for originality and never being the last one to find out about something again, I have employed several apps. Check out life hacking apps like Band of the Day, Reddit Is Fun, and Wondrous. When I get new apps, I always make sure to check the notification settings.  Especially if it is a social networking app, I want to make sure I’m notified when anything monumental happens.

Band of the Day shows you a new band every day. Most of the time you get to listen to one to two full songs from the band.  “Reddit is fun” allows you to communicate on the Reddit forums from your mobile easily.  Depending on who you talk to, you could get a negative opinion about Reddit. Some of the content can be pretty useless or unwanted. Reddit is the sewer of the information highway but if you search correctly you may find a shiny quarter of information. It’s especially useful for finding detailed information like “Is it legal to pick up money from fountains in shopping malls?”  Wondrous tracks where you have been in the world by placing a marker on its map.  It creates a fog over the areas that you haven’t been on the map to create a plan on words of the war term, “fog of war”.

Use these apps to get started with your preparation, then find your own new ways for staying current. Interacting with people on Reddit and meetup will give you two very different types of social exposure.   This will help you prepare to deal with different personalities.

Skill-Spontaneity and Pretexting

Being spontaneous helps build great reflexes.  Over lanning is never good in a social situation because you lose site of the big picture by focusing on minute details. Anytime you are offered a responsibility, that is an opportunity in disguise.  You are constantly being tested and selected.  Your boss tests you, your teacher, your significant other’s parents, the guy sitting next to you at the cafe. They are constantly challenging you.  Humans are curious. They want to discover your worth.  Take responsibilities as a chance for opportunity which provides personal growth. When you decide to go with a plan, commit to it. If you promised to take your significant other on a picnic but it rains. He or she might say “ah forget about it” but don’t accept their invitation to let you off the hook. Even though it’s not your fault that it’s raining they will still admire that you offered an awesome solution.  Find a picnic table with  an umbrella  to eat under if they don’t mind eating outside still or setup in the garage on the floor.    The sun porch would also be a great solution if you open up the windows.

Years ago, I wanted to do something especially spontaneous that would show her I love her.  I volunteering at the city’s Alzheimer’s walk that spring.   Earlier that morning I had helped blow up about 50 balloons to tie from one end of a light pole to the other to decorate the finish line.  Once the event was over I asked if I could have the balloons. They wondered what I was going to do with them but I said it was a surprised because some of the people know my girlfriend at the time.  I walked the bundle of balloons from the park all the way back to campus to tie in front of her dorm. I also put a poster board sign out that says “I love you”. Multiple girls came out of the dorm while I was setting this up.  I got lots of compliments and gawkings. A couple girls even said they wish their boyfriend did stuff like that. Yes guys, it is cheesy but girls love it. Some guys do as well.  My girlfriend ended up loving it too.

Later that year, we became long distance as she had to go home for the school break. I had to do something that would top the last big thing I did for her. Randomly, it came to me.  Give her a box of Hershey kisses, one for each day we are apart. So, I did. She loved it. The opposite sex loves sticktoitiveness. be positive.do the wrong thing, be different, be unpredictable, say the wrong thing, lose at stuff and laugh about it. when you mess up or do something corny laugh with the person who laughs at you.But don’t mock them, laugh with them. define what is mainstream response. do something different. rinse, repeat. adventures create stories which supplement storytelling. make unorthodox or stretch analogies, don’t let someone be able to guess what your next move is. Be courageous in our actions, if your friends are afraid to talk to that girl or group of guys the ngo for it. Let your friends fear fuel you. For the next week practice hiding your emotions

#1 Knowledge

I have always been fascinated with finding out how machines and systems tick.  When I was younger, I took apart toys after I became tired of playing with them. When I started going to high school, I switched to old machines around the house or from second hand stores.  Then, when I entered college, I became bored with machines and took an interest in people.  The complexity of human beings attracted me.  Each person on earth is truly unique.  Everyone perceives, understands, hears, and interprets messages differently. Sure, there are stereotypes, similarities, and norms, but the mixes of culture, society, and experiences combine to make us unique. A personality is a combination of experiences, inherited behavior, and culture.  Your unique personality, of course, has different consequences on different people. We can control these consequences by controlling our personality.  We can craft a personality of interest if we know how to change these things that make up our core.

The easiest out of the three core elements to change are your experiences.  Try to experience something new every week, or every day, for the more aggressive reader.  Surround yourself with positive role models.  Find someone who is where you want to be in 5-10 years and befriend them.  The second easiest element to change of your personality is your inherited behavior.  When we are children we have to be taught to share, to tell the truth, and to be kind, but those are the basics. We are necessarily taught the finer skills. We have to teach ourselves how to develop and harness our uniqueness.  Practice observing your own behavior for a week. Carry around a notepad and write down things about yourself that you would like to change.  Notice how you interact with friends, family, and co-workers. The next week, start catching yourself doing the things on your list, then try to promote the opposite or desired behavior.  I did this for years through college and a couple years after.  Never stop trying to improve your image. I should also note, when I say the word image, I am referring to our inward image and not physical appearance.

The hardest and most powerful element that affects a personality is the culture that person exists in.   We can classify them into work or school culture, family culture, and friend culture. There are norms within each of these groups such as always saying good morning to people at the office or having watercooler chats in the break room.  There are also boundaries in things like humor or conversation topics for family culture.  You will either be an influencer or an influence based on the amount of power or leadership you have in these culture groups.  The size of these groups combined with the amount of power you wield in them affects your ability to change these cultures.

That being said, there is some type of emotional, sociological, intangible source that drives everyone. If you find what drives someone then you can influence and motivate them. So, in order to have social power we must first develop knowledge.

Think of yourself as a salesmen and your product is yourself.  In order to persuade someone to buy you, become friends with you, you must find out what they want, then repurpose your personality to offer that trait to them. In order to acquire new friends you might have to get rid of old friends. If you have friends who are adding more complication to your life then consider cutting the time down that you spend with them and use that to spend investing in new friendships.  I’ve had to get rid of friends and acquaintances that were poisoning my quality of life.  This was a hard decision but something I will never regret because it gave me my life back.  Take time to search your connections for relationships that could end up like that down the line. Keep a watchful eye on those.

The 5W’s are the best way I get to know someone: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.  Review a scenario of the 5W’s in the graphic book.  The first time I talk to someone I ask them open ended questions to find out their religion, relationship status, line of work or study, and political affiliation.  In some cultures it is okay to ask about these things right off the bat. In Washington, DC politics are the main topics at a lot of bars so it is normal to ask someone about their political affiliation.  In Lynchburg, VA religion is a big deal. Folks are very open about their religious beliefs therefore it wouldn’t be abnormal to ask about religion during an icebreaker conversation.  Asking questions are also good ways to move a stale conversation along.

Some people will just ignore someone who says “hi” to them walking down the street or sharing an elevator. I welcome conversations with anyone, no matter what they look like, you never know what you can learn from someone. Also practicing talking is the only way you will be a better conversationalist. I had an acquaintance in college who was friends and roommates with one of my good friends.  I never really spent much time with her specifically but I kept her as a contact after college. Years later, we ended up in the same city for graduate school.  As the senior editor for the school newspaper and journalism student she gained excellent editing experience. She started editing my research papers as a favor during graduate school.

Skill – Mimicking and profiling

Some soft skills that will help with gaining knowledge from people are mimicking and profiling. Profiling isn’t just for policemen.  When I struggled with my depressed during high school days, my mom decided to send me to a psychologist. I went once a month for almost a year. The sessions helped me discover how alone and angry I was but they didn’t lead me to joy.  My feelings of happiness and sadness weren’t consistent, but one day, while waiting in the hallway for my next class to start I met a older guy who quickly became my best friend.  In hour first conversation we found out that we both play the same video games, love the same music, and live less than half a mile from eachother.  I also found out that he worked the graveyard shift inside a submarine for the navy, so if anyone knew about loneliness – he did. Jeffrey became my role model. For a couple years, I mimicked his behavior because he was a big influence in my life.

Profiling is a way for you to infer information about someone based on collections of physical and behavioral qualities. Based on pre-built profiles you can infer information about someone that will help you predict their actions, likes, dislikes, etc.

Capitalize on the insecurity of lost identity. People want to know the 5W’s, who they are, what they are good at, and why. Self-identification is an ongoing process. People never stop redefining themselves. Besides, let’s face it, who doesn’t like hearing reaffirm great things about themselves.  I’m not saying you should suck up to someone or be a “yes man”. That is for amateurs.  Everyday try to find something good about one person and let it naturally come up in conversation.  For instance, a co-worker is telling you about a recent project they worked on,  you can tell them “Modifying XYZ spreadsheets is your specialty. I’m sure you will ace this project!”. Co-workers love being recognized of their strengths.

Always assume someone is watching you when you are in public.  At my college there was a secret society called Chi (pronounced ‘Kai’ not ‘Chee’).  They were the spirit of the school. It was understood amongst the students that Chi was always watching.   One year I dyed my hair blue just for fun. A couple days after doing so, I received a letter from Chi in the mail, condoning my school spirit. The letter also asked me to do the honor of placing the ceremonial flowers and sign on the pedestal for there next Chi Walk event.

If you have ever noticed someone picking their nose in the mirror in their car then you know – people act weird when they think no one’s watching. Don’t be that person and you can avoid some embarrassing moments and office drama.  Your big brother, parents, boss, teacher, they are always watching. Don’t let them know that you know they are watching but always perform your best because you know they are watching.

When debating about projects and current events, only tell someone they are wrong if they can take criticism, and if you know them well enough.  People respect constructive criticism from their peers they trust.  Unfortunately, some people can’t take criticism at all, and offending them isn’t the way to be interesting.  Remember, the best location for criticism is away from other peers.  If you are in a debate or argument, remember to voice your respect for their opinion in spite of your disagreement of it.

Social proof is the scientific term for mimicking. It is a great influence tactic for beginners.  For example you go to your friend’s birthday party where you only know a few people. There are two different friend circles there, his work buddies and former classmates.  You don’t really know his classmates so you attempt to reflect their behavior to fit into the conversation.  Meaning you try to mimic their body language and facial expressions as not to stand out.  It’s a good practice to draw similarities quickly, perhaps after-school clubs, sports, or Greek organizations.

The best time to be unique is when you are in small gatherings.  This is the time you can create originality. Originality is replaceable. This will create a void in their life. When they experience how refreshing your personality is they can’t help themselves by being around you.  If you are in the courting process, limit your time with the person. This gives them a taste.  Think of movie trailers. They just give you the scenes right before the action starts. You have to pay to see the full movie to get the details. This is the same effect we want to have in our social encounters to elicit the maximum influence and desire.  An easy way to differentiate yourself is to join something where you are the only kind of your gender.  Try taking a class or joining a club where the opposite sex stereotypically is the minority. You can look at local sports clubs, music classes, book clubs, different art classes, or hiking,  Surprisingly, many organizations still post things in newspapers, so be sure to check the obvious and not so obvious locations as you hunt for new hobbies.   Thanks for reading, comment, like and subscribe if I changed the way you think.