Being specific for tangible results

Well only two weeks to go before I have to work my way to the open door of an aeroplane travelling at 100 miles an hour at 10,000 feet, lean out… and let go…

I’m not sure if you saw my previous post asking for a donation towards a charity called Catch22 so I thought I’d write again and maybe remind you that I’m doing this to raise £1000 to provide dedicated attention and education for a young person for a whole year through the Catch22 organisation.

I’m sure you get asked to give money to charity for all sorts of good causes by all sorts of people all the time, so I appreciate that you might not be overwhelmed by yet another call to give to charity. In my defence this is the first time I’ve done anything for charity and as you can see I’ve set myself a fairly steep target for a first go, but I have an actual aim and I know exactly where the money is going and exactly what it is going to do.

I too don’t really like the idea of simply filling the generic coffers of a “good cause” which is why I was so psyched to find Catch22 and actually go down and meet the people running the Gravesend branch where the money is going to go and actually see with my own eyes what they do and achieve there.

Below is a video about Auto22 which is a social enterprise and how I found Catch22. Watch the section about Boo: a graduate of the programme whom I have been to meet personally. Boo is exactly the kind of person whom the money raised will be helping: taking a young “hoodie”, with no prospects other than a life of crime, intimidation and benefits and giving them the time and attention to put them back on the path to a productive future as a fully signed up member of the local community.

If you, like me, want to actually see tangible changes as a result of your donation, then please support me in this and have a look at my Just Giving page and watch my video and see a bit more about why I’m doing this and the kind of results Catch22 give.

www.justgiving.com/Ben-WhiteCatch22

Thank you so much,

Ben

P.S. I’m jumping from 10,000 feet on the 28th August over an airfield near Maidstone, Kent.

P.P.S All the money raised is going to Catch22. None of this “sponsored” jumping nonsense: I’ve paid for the jump myself, so your contribution (plus Gift Aid if you’re a UK tax payer) is going to be used to help someone like Boo.

Going crazy for what you believe in

I’m going to do something crazy!

I write a lot about how the stuff we believe or don’t believe influences the way we think and the way we act and its about time I shared something with you that I believe in.

I believe in our ability to change: it’s why my blog is called “Believe in…” and my strap line is “constant change”. I believe in our abilities to make decisions based on the information that we have at our disposal at the time. I believe that, given different information and a different time and place, what we believe can and does change.

I remember starting A-level chemistry and one of the first things the lecturer said was “everything you learned at GCSE is not actually true.” And he proceeded to demonstrate just how our beliefs (based on three years of education) in how and why the world of chemistry worked were indeed inaccurate. Science has other examples with the classic “world is flat” scenario.

I’d like explain to you about another recent change in belief that I’ve had about how we can actually make a tangible difference to someone’s life. In the video below I talk about this and the lengths I will go to to demonstrate just what it is worth to me by putting my life in danger for the sake of someone else’s

I know that we all believe that we can make a difference to the world no matter how insignificant we might be and this is your chance to make a real difference to someone’s life. I’ve never done any kind of fund raising before, so please support me and show me you too believe people can change for the better by clicking here and donating something, anything; as I know that not everyone has £83 spare but even just £10 will make a difference.

www.justgiving.com/Ben-WhiteCatch22

Thank You!

Why I love scuba diving

I was recently asked why I like scuba diving and I thought I’d share my answer here.

Wreck diving is the best kind of diving in the UK and there are lots of reasons why I love it. On the well preserved ones, its like flying around the actual wreck and you have complete control of where you go and swimming around in the holds and cabins is other worldly. You feel kind of ghostly, like you’re from another dimension, one that is partly in the same place, but the normal rules simply don’t apply. Having said that, the experience starts right at the beginning when you’re swimming down through the green murk, feeling the anchor rope slip through your hands, not seeing anything apart from greeny blackness below. But then you start to see a change in the gloom and slowly up out of the depths, you start to see encrusted bits of metal with soft corals and as it comes towards you and you start to piece it all together and you suddenly realise that you’re looking at the wheelhouse! And as you look about, you can suddenly recognise the rest of the hulk and spot likely entrance ways into the hull. If you’re not paying attention, you might have to find another entrance because there’s a 12ft conga slinking in and out of the holes. Like a lace being pulled through a corset.

Everything is quiet and you feel stilled, relaxed and acutely aware of your breathing. When I was a member of the Southampton club, I used to lie on the floor of the diving pool on club night, just breathing in and breathing out: floating up a little with each in breath and sinking down again with each out breath. The most meditative and relaxing state I’ve ever been in.

The technical diving stuff didn’t really appeal to me, so I left the club when they all started doing seriously deep stuff with hours of deco. Not that I’ve done serious cave diving with string and specially mounted tanks, but I have been into various caves and of course inside wrecks and there’s always interesting stuff to sea or treasure to find. I remember swimming into a really massive cave in Lanzarote and looking back out towards the light and seeing the walls of the cave move out of the corner of my eye. On closer inspection with my torch, the walls of the cave were entirely covered in shrimp! I could hardly see the rock there were that many. Or the drift dives off Lulworth cove over the scallop beds where we’re drifting along in the tidal current at 5 or 6 knots and all the scallops are leaping up off the bottom and we’re simply picking them out of the water and stuffing them in our bags to have for supper. Can’t beat fresh, diver caught scallops wrapped in bacon on the bbq. There are always incredible and yet unexpected surprises like that and I’ve got a small collection of bits of treasure I’ve collected from various wrecks and other sites I’ve dived on around the world.

Well I think I’ve waxed lyrical about diving quite enough now so I’ll sign off for now.

Which of These Curiosity Builders Will Work Best For You?

I’ve recently been researching methods of building curiosity and I’ve come across a number of interesting articles on writing newspaper headlines, blog posts and Google Ad words and have a set out a summary of some of the ones that I like best below.

Concepts to convey in your headline

Ask a Question

Simply asking a question raises the reader’s curiosity and they will be more likely to read the contents. See the Key Words to Use section below for the best words to use in your question.

Suggest Breaking News/Discovery

If it sounds like its some kind of breaking news, people will be more inclined to read it to get the lo-down before everyone else does. There’s that quiet satisfaction that most people feel being able to share something of import with their friends that no-one else knows yet.

The discovery element is very similar and if you can combine the two, you’ll capture not just the news hungry, but also the knowledge hungry: a new thing is almost always going to be more interesting than the same old thing discussed ad nauseum (how quickly does news get old!?).

Linked to Latest Events

Leverage the latest search trends and social interests/fashions and build them into your title. Relevance, combined with breaking/discovery news and a question is going to combine to provide a very strong call to action.

Key words to use in your title

How

How To Make Your Blog Post Irresistible…

We are naturally curious and people will always be interested in reading stuff that looks like its going to provide us with value.

“How” implies that there’s free knowledge being given away.

Take all those endless sites offering a “free e-book on xyz” if you give us your email address for example: Personally I hate them, but they work and I still sign up anyway because the title suggests that I’ll get a load of really useful information as a result. Besides, I can always set up a Google filter to remove all emails from them straight to the bin…

These

How Many Of These Key Words Are You Using To Build Curiosity?

Used with the “How” word, it suggests that there are in fact several important pieces of information in the content and the reader cannot answer yes or no to the headline: they’ll have to open and read the content in order to make up their mind.

Why

Why Do Some Guys Get Nearly All The Girls?

“Why” implies high value content: answers to a question that is of import to the reader. As an added way of increasing the authenticity of such a headline, off set the “Why” with words that suggest that its not the absolute truth. In the example above, I have included “Some” and “Nearly”.

Which

Which High Impact Attention Grabbers Are You Using?

Piques the reader’s curiosity by making them ask themselves what high impact attention grabbers there are and whether they are missing a trick…

What

What to Always, ALWAYS Include In Your Email Signatures…

Very similar to “Which” and allows you to dictate rather than question. As a rule, this is going to be used the least and is best used for subjects that Everybody knows about or wants to know about.

The next step

Of course there’s a lot more to writing an irresistible subject line or headline such as using emotive and powerful words, presuppositions etc. but get the basics right and you’ll probably find you’re already three quarters of the way there!

Which other situations could you use some of these? Do leave your ideas as comments.

Here’s a couple to start you off:

Blog posts (well duh! lol)

Marketing emails to prospects and customers (your boss even?)

Messages to people you like: to build attraction and curiosity (could you use these in text messages?)

How could you use them in actual conversation?

Thanks to Samuel Ng and Tom Thrush for the info.

Gravesend garage with a charitable heart

I had an unexpected yet excellent experience this week: The alternator in my car packed up leaving me without car transport ahead of my sister’s wedding this weekend (the wedding is in Hampshire and I live in Gravesend, Kent over 100 miles away!), not to mention needing to get out to my hypnosis clients – Obviously, that was not the excellent experience – read on… So after swearing profusely at the blasted machine , I was straight onto Google maps looking for a local garage to recover and fix it.

Phoning the nearest garage resulted in me having to deal with a grumpy and reluctant mechanic who clearly didn’t really want my business or know anything about customer service. honestly, it amazes me that they can get away with the sort of surly and unpleasant demeanour and still be in business!

So widening the search slightly, I selected a company called Auto22 who had their company logo and web site address on their Google maps presence (always a good sign in my book). Despite being after closing, they took my call and were very helpful and understanding about the situation I found myself in and arranged for someone to come out first thing to collect the offending vehicle.

All fixed, they came and collected me and en-route to their garage I got chatting to the service advisor (Mark) who explained that they are actually a social enterprise, able to invest all their profits in supporting young people in gaining work experience opportunities, work placements, apprenticeships and eventually getting their first job.

Catch22: a charity for young people

The parent charity is: Catch22 and their website says:

Catch22 is a national charity that works with young people who find themselves in difficult situations. Whatever the reason for their situation, we help them out. We work with their families and their communities wherever and whenever young people need us most; in schools, on the streets, in the home, at community centres, shopping centres, in police stations, and in custody

Auto22: a social enterprise

It turns out that Auto22 is one of the mechanisms that the charity use to enable young people to gain education (they have a classroom in the next door Catch22 building where they are taught maths, English and more practical things) and provide hands on mechanics training with the aim of placing their graduates into apprenticeships and actual work placements.

I could not have been happier to be handing over money for the work on my car and the whole experience was easy and honest and I feel good that I’ve been able to contribute to a charity that directly benefits the local Gravesend community. Plus I’ve got a working car to get to my sister’s wedding AND a reliable garage to get the car serviced and MOT’d later in the year so I am more than happy to recommend their services here, plus its such an unusual and yet fantastic idea that its worth reading about anyway.

Doing something to support Catch22 and Auto22

I’m jumping out of a plane on the 28th of August, so please read my post about it and then contribute a little something to help. Thanks:

http://www.benwhite.me/2010/07/going-crazy-for-what-you-believe-in/

Recommended: happy, smart, efficient and good for the community

Auto22 offers: servicing and repair on all makes of cars and light vans, MOTs, and tyre and exhaust replacements.   All work is carried out by professionally qualified and experienced technicians using the latest diagnostic equipment, and they offer a free customer drop off and pick up service within a three mile radius.

Website: www.Auto22.co.uk

Call them: 01474 362 413