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The Science Behind Mindful Practices

Published August 6, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Recently, neuroscience students from Brown University published their findings on mindfulness practices (meditation) and the positive effect they have on helping individuals manage and even overcome mental disorders. Below is a post written by Christina Sarich (2014) that was published last week on the Mind Unleased website, that shares their findings:

“Can mindfulness practice (meditation) help vanquish mental disorders? 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 7.7 million Americans suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – approximately 3.3% of the US population when combined. Of these, approximately 40% of the individuals with schizophrenia and 51% of those with bipolar are untreated in any given year, but with the new studies being presented by Juan Santoyo and his peers, there could be strong scientific proof that meditation could help even the most debilitating psychological disorders.

Juan Santoyo is studying neuro and contemplative sciences, and he isn’t doing it ‘just to tickle his fancy,’ but to solve the real problem of mental disorders in our society. He presented his findings at the 12th Annual International Scientific Conference of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

He noticed when his family emigrated from Columbia that many homeless people suffered from psychological orders that often went untreated. Instead of pumping them full of pharmaceutical meds, he sees another plausible solution based on the preliminary results of a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The paper describes how meditation affects a subject’s ability to change brain activity in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Given the chance to observe real-time feedback on their PCC activity, some meditators were even able to control the levels of activity there.

“You can observe both of these phenomena together and discover how they are co-determining one another,” Santoyo said. “Within 10 one-minute sessions they [participants in a meditation study] were able to develop certain strategies to evoke a certain experience and use it to drive the signal”  (Sarich, 2014).

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To surmise, Brown University’s research indicates that training in mindful meditation facilitates an awareness of present moment experiences, such as body and breath sensations. These practices can also change a person’s brain activity which enables their ability to manage mental disorders more effectively. In addition, mindful practices help prevent depression, reduce stress, and relieve chronic pain! This research is exciting and gives promise to coping strategies that offer alternative methods to not only manage enhanced emotions, it also offers hope for the management of psychological disorders with successful outcomes.

Friday’s post will focus on some of the practices I utilize that have been instrumental in my own healing process;  how these practices work as coping skills which have helped me both professionally and personally, and reveal the long and winding road that led me to their door.

Until then … keep organizing.

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“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings.” —Thomas Merton 

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References:

Sarich, C. (2014, July 26). Neuroscience students shows how meditation can vanquish mental disorders. Retrieved August 1, 2014, from The Mind Unleased: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/07/neuroscience-student-shows-meditation-can-vanquish-mental-disorders.html

Continuous Improvement

Published June 25, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Before I graduated from high school, I had already determined that my career path was going to be in the entertainment industry as a performer. The strategy I implemented was to pursue and acquire a degree in Fine Arts to help me achieve this goal. According to Baack (2012), a successful career entails the crafting and developments of personal skills, building relationships, and embarking on new challenges throughout the process. Some of these skills may include learning a foreign language or comprehending the customs of another culture (Baack, 2012). In my case, an education in the Fine Arts Drama Department, taught me every aspect of theatrical production including directing, acting, stage management, stagecraft, prop construction and management, makeup, costume, and scene design. This educational strategy helped me acquire additional skills other than those required from a performer. It can also help make an individual more valuable in a specific field or at an organization. In other words, this tactic helps create more opportunities which in turn, enables individuals to explore a variety of career choices within a specific industry.

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The continual improvement of an individual’s skills and talents however, is equally important in the longevity of a person’s career because of the rapid rate in which each industry is expanding due to advances in technology and changes in how organizations function in the modern era. For example, with the explosion of social media channels, most companies have developed an active online presence. As a result, they now require employees to learn new skills like coding, programming, blogging, and SEO strategies. People that have learned these skills are more valuable in today’s market place.

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Another form of improvement may include working with a mentor to help navigate the obstacles of a specific industry. Then, as an individual continues to improve, that person can then pay it forward and become a mentor to others assisting them in their career development. In short, people who embrace the concept that careers are lifelong learning experiences will continue to find avenues of self-improvement so that they remain a valuable asset in their industry.

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Friday’s post will examine various strategies that successful people use to achieve balance between work and personal time. Until then … stay organized!

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Most people rust out due to lack of challenge. Few people rust out due to overuse. – Unknown

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References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational Behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

 

 

The Mission of Corporate Strategic Behavior

Published February 28, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Hello Friends!

It’s finally arrived! My latest article has been published and is now available on amazon.com! In this latest article I reveal the purpose and importance of developing effective strategic plans as a key component in organizational management. I also explain how strategic planning in a corporate arena can help determine a company’s future, help strategists detect possible threats and weaknesses they may face, and explain how certain strategies can be used to help key decision makers identify strengths and opportunities that can help them gain a competitive edge.

In addition, and based on my perceptions and personal experiences as an alumnus of Capitol-EMI Records, I also included a comprehensive case study of the music industry to take a closer look at the strategic management plans strategists implemented that helped them adapt to industry changes. Plus, this article will also help you understand more clearly that by including such tactics as the observation and evaluation of organizational systems and performance outcomes, strategic management can help companies achieve a high position as a leader in the marketplace and remain profitable. To purchase the article, click the link below:

The Mission of Corporate Strategic Behavior

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00INPI8CQ

That’s it for this time! Have a great weekend … and  keep organized!

Financial Statement Ratios

Published January 6, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

 

 

 

 

 

 
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What are Financial ratios?

Although ratios offer valuable information as tools in analyzing financial statements they also have their limitations. Fraser and Ormiston (2010) explained that ratios do not provide all the answers needed to paint a full picture of a company’s financial condition, and although they indicate areas of strength and weakness they are not predictable and should be utilized with common sense (Fraser & Ormiston, 2010).  For example, activity ratios help define how many times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced during an accounting period to determine how many days it took to sell the inventory on hand. A low turnover for instance, usually indicates that products are not being moved but does not clarify the reasons to help determine if this is a temporary condition or typical of that product (Ratio analysis: using financial ratios, 2010). Liquidity ratios, in the meantime, are used to measure a firm’s capabilities of meeting short term debts but they do not determine whether there is sufficient cash on hand to satisfy their debt commitments.

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Because of the complexities involved in liquidation, quick liquidity ratios offer an alternative way to measure liquidity because it excludes the inventory from the current asset totals. Leverage ratios on the other hand reveal a company’s ability to service their debts.

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The advantage of these ratios when used effectively is that shareholder returns are magnified through financial leverage. The disadvantage is that the ratios do not reveal all the risks involved or whether the debt is financed from fixed commitments. In the meantime, profitability ratios reveal the company’s overall efficiency and performance but do not provide the accounting choices and techniques used to calculate the data which can be misleading (Financial Ratios, 2010). In conclusion, when considering financial ratios although they provide valuable information the analyst must always keep in mind that they have their limitations and that using common sense strategies can help them determine a more accurate picture of a company’s financial condition.

References:

Financial Ratios. (2010). Retrieved December 1, 2013, from netmba.com: http://www.netmba.com/finance/financial/ratios/

Ratio analysis: using financial ratios. (2010). Retrieved December 1, 2013, from Investopedia.com: http://www.investopedia.com/university/ratio-analysis/using-ratios.asp

Fraser, L., & Ormiston, A. (2010). Understanding financial statements. Pearson Education.

Financial Statements

Published November 15, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Financial statements contain an enormous amount of valuable information with respect to a company’s financial position, the success of their operations and provides a clear insight of their future potential. They help investors make effective decisions because they answer such questions as: (a) would an investment yield an attractive return; (b) what is the level of risk they pose; (c) should existing inventory be liquidated, and (d) are cash flows sufficient to support the firm’s borrowing needs. For example, because of changes in the economy as well as advances in technology in how music products are now marketed and sold, someone looking to invest in a record company like the one I used to work at, Capitol-EMI Records (CER), would look to the financial statements of their annual report to help them determine how well the company is performing.

In it’s hey day, CER was considered a prestigious primary market record label that is still recognized worldwide today. It is part of the EMI Music Group and is a subsidiary of the Universal Music Group. The company was founded in 1942 by American lyricist, songwriter, and recording artist Johnny Mercer, who wrote the famous lyrics to Henry Mancini’s Moon River that later went on to become the trademark song for singer Andy Williams  (The Johnny Mercer Research Guide, 2012). Throughout the years, CER has consisted of an impressive artist roster including such mega stars of the past like The Beatles, Kenny Rogers, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Bob Seger, as well as the giants of today like Katy Perry and Coldplay. In the global marketplace, CER distributes a wide genre of music including, pop, rock, classical, jazz, R&B, and hip-hop through various sister labels. With offices around the globe, the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, California is their most famous landmark.

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Investors that are looking to figure out how well the company is performing today would seek answers from the company’s annual report. Friedlob and Welton (2008) explain that the key to comprehending any annual report is understanding that they are developed to help satisfy the many needs of a variety of different people including shareholders, creditors, potential shareholders and creditors, as well as economists, financial analysts, and suppliers  (Friedlob & Welton, 2008).

EMI’s Annual Report provides information that discloses how well the company is performing, their financial condition, and where the company is headed. Fraser and Ormiston (2010) purport that segmenting the financial information helps direct individuals to the data that is relevant to them (Fraser & Ormiston, 2010). For example, a creditor may want to peruse the cash flow statements to gain insight into the company’s liquidity. The Consolidated Financial Statements however, would be useful to investors because they provide details on all the company’s financial branches that reveal the true nature of their net worth. Any person therefore, looking to invest in the Capitol-EMI family, would need to take into consideration the information provided from these consolidated statements. They are important documents that will help investors decipher how well all of the company’s affiliates are performing to give them a clearer a picture of its net worth.

References:

(2011). EMI annual review 2009/2010. Finances. Hollywood: Maltby Capital Ltd.

The Johnny Mercer Research Guide. (2012). Retrieved October 30, 2013, from The Johnny Mercer Foundation: http://www.johnnymercerfoundation.org/initiatives-charities/for-researchers/johnny-mercer-research-guide/

Fraser, L., & Ormiston, A. (2010). Understanding financial statements. Pearson Education.

Friedlob, G., & Welton, R. (2008). Keys to reading annual report. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series.

Happy Veteran’s Day

Published November 11, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

Warm Greetings Everyone!

I forgot that today was a national holiday. Therefore, in observance of the Veteran’s Day holiday there will be no post today as we take this time to reflect and honor all those who served to protect our freedom.

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In the meantime, beginning this Wednesday, for the next six weeks we will embark on a new adventure as we begin the final course for my graduate work which will take a closer look at a company’s Annual Report and analyze the financial statements and other various components that have an effect on the financial decisions that occur within the context of organizational management.

A special thank you to everyone who has stayed with me on this journey. Thank you for the honor and privilege of allowing me to share my research with you.

Until Wednesday …

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Happy Veteran’s Day!

Target Market

Published October 7, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Marketers that approach advertising with a strategy to target everybody will face many obstacles. An effective marketing campaign is designed to clearly communicate a message to the right people through the proper channels in order to experience the highest level of profitability. Kennedy (2011) explains the most efficient marketers build their campaigns in powerful, persuasive, and compelling ways to attract the attention and captivate their viewer. Another significant aspect of developing a campaign is to determine precisely who the message is for and design the best method to present it to them (Kennedy, 2011). In short, successful campaigns include two important components to achieve the best results: (a) delivering a powerful message and (b) delivering it to the relevant people.

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Because of the internet and advances in technology in today’s competitive culture, a great marketing message is more important than in any other time in history. A creative who designs a campaign to target everybody will not transmit their message efficiently to the people who need to hear it the most. For example, an advertisement about make-up is only relevant to people who use it. This ad would be wasted on members of society that do not wear make-up. Baack and Clow (2012) suggest the most effective marketers analyze their target audience and design their campaigns to persuade relevant consumers to inquire about their services or products. The information companies gather from consumers allows them to serve their needs better. This strategy enables them to develop a campaign that speaks directly to the consumers who may have an interest in their services or goods (Baack & Clow, 2012). Taking this information into consideration, most creatives design their ultimate marketing plans to promote and combine powerful messages that authentically represents the company’s goods and services.

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Many of today’s advertising giants have one thing in common: commitment to customer focus strategies derived from rigorous customer insight. Gallagher and Zoratti (2012) purport that one way this is achieved is through separating consumers into groups by data mining, analysis, and detailed profiling that implements third party data resources. This strategy is in addition to behavioral, transactional, and conversational tracking. This is known as precision marketing. Rather than allocating large budgets for mass campaigns that treat everyone in the same manner, precision marketers are mining customer data for spending predispositions and propensities in order to target buyers in an exceptionally sophisticated manner (Gallagher & Zoratti, 2012). In other words, all communication received can be used for segmentation to target relevant data to the intended recipient. Marketers that include segmentation as part of their advertising strategy produce higher results than those who do not. For example, when a person with a Facebook profile indicates their interests by liking different pages, this information is gathered so that the next time a person logs in, there are ads strategically placed to target that individual’s interests. By gathering and segmenting data, marketers are better able to reach their intended audience to produce more successful results.

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Gallagher, L., & Zoratti, S. (2012). Precision marketing: Maximizing revenue through relevance. London, UK: Kogan Page Ltd.

Kennedy, D. (2011). The ultimate marketing plan: Target your audience (Fourth ed.). Avon, MA, USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.