Soap, Gum and Doing What You Love – The Story of Wrigley’s Gum

Keep doing those hobbies, topics, and pet projects that excite you, even if they bring in little or no money. If you’re a writer, write on that stuff you’re most passionate about, despite the popularity “ranking” of the subject matter. Even something as droll as chewing gum has produced rewards in due time.

I read about Wrigley, the famous gum mogul, tonight on a website. He started selling soap as his main source of income, but kept a secret hobby of making it in the chewing gum market began in his basement. He never thought chewing gum would bring in enough money to be a big business, so he poured himself into the soap as his career. After a time however, the soap didn’t sell as he had hoped. Before long, he would be in chewing gum orbit.

To better market the soap as a novelty, the family started adhering a small package of his tasty gum to each soapbox they sold. After a short time people were buying the soap just to get the gum. You know the rest of the story. Spearmint chewing gum and gum in general is synonymous with his name.

I think the energy in our jobs and in our writing, should not always be spent on what we think will sell, but rather on our pet projects we truly feel invigorated about. We may find, as Wrigley did, that other people like them as well and they may even end up paying us money to continue doing them! Thanks for the life lesson Mr. Wrigley and thank you for Wrigleys chewing gum.

Wrigley’s full history

Accentuate the Positive

Have you noticed in your life there are some people who are always happy? Nothing gets them down and they are just great to be around? That’s how I hope to be . . . I am sure I don’t always acheive it though.

There is a lot of negative energy in this world. I have learned through hard experience not to give it my energy or attention. The next time someone says something or you read something that tends to get your gander up, just breathe and say “That’s negative energy, I have no time for it.”

When you figure we all get “80 years with luck or even less” (Pink Floyd quote) it is a bad idea to accept energy into our lives that breaks down. We need stuff that builds up in everything we let in. If negative people claim you ignore them and their thoughts, just tell them a quote someone shared with me once: “Worse things have happened at sea.” Accentuate the positive, you won’t regret it.

13 Ways I Stay Positive:

  1. Positive self talk.
  2. Compliment people around me.
  3. Practice “Possibility” thinking.
  4. Take time to order my work and living areas
  5. Consciously smiling more
  6. Movement (exercise, for example)
  7. Having real expectations
  8. Practied thankfulness (attitude of grattitude)
  9. Saying “Whatever it is I have it is enough for today.”
  10. Swim (in the warmer months) Exercise etc.
  11. Roll on the carpet and play with my kids and dog physically.
  12. Play guitar
  13. Write

Over time, accentuating the positive will become a habit. People will pick up on it and you’ll have your own diligent effort to thank.

Sorting Navels from Valencias – A Case for College

Since I lived in Orange County until I was 33 years old, I am privy to what goes on in the subcultures therein. The OC is full of people: good and bad. The way they treat each other is often tacit, but the caste system is undeniable. Just like in the royal days of King Arthur, there are knights and there are peasants. Also just like I do about things in history, I question the fairness of these modern day class systems.

One thing is relatively sure in Orange County: educated people do better. If you choose college in Orange County, you can buy yourself a good 8-10 years going to school without really applying yourself to a career. Not that you would want to do that, but I find it incredibly shocking that an uneducated person can toil away for decades in a service job, a restaurant for example, and get nowhere . . . and I mean NOWHERE. I worked at a grocery store for 5 years and Pizza Hut for 10. I know the service industry well.

Just like when Orange County first began, there are still “pickers” and “growers” of metaphorical oranges. Can you see the poster printing services getting excited already? The growers have the land and the abstract dreams and the pickers have the ability to live anywhere just to make concrete survival money. Of course, many of these lower caste workers in Orange County are illegal immigrants from Mexico. We are just 2 hours away from the border and it is getting more and more common for me to come across people in my line of work (namely parents) who cannot produce a social security number. I do not judge them. I recently found out from my mother that 2 generations ago I had relatives that outstayed their visas from Germany and the rest is history. My great great grandfather is listed on his Visa as being an “itenerant peddlar.” I assume that meant he was sent out to beg for items. Far cry from any low-paying job I ever thought I suffered through. What separates me from the itenerant peddlar “O’Riley” who came over from Ireland? Education.

When in Orange County at a fancy restaurant like say, The Fisherman’s in San Clemente, I find myself asking the question: “Who is the busboy/girl? Where do they go to college? What do they want to be when they grow up?” The truth is, they are nobody in the eyes of most of the Orange County upper class. To suggest they go to school is almost an insult to them . . . in their eyes dooming them to inevitable failure. I see these folks as the little engine that could or the tortoise in the tortoise and the hare. College is one way they can win.

I’ve had a problem with this more than once . . . going through all the phone work and attempts to help someone from this realm into a college career only to find they took their free grants and went back to Mexico to aid an ailing relative or even to buy property down there. Of course this is not always the case, but I’ve seen it a few times.

In the final analysis, you are in a sense born into a caste in Orange County. Because of your raising, you know what is possible for you. You will see many in the upper caste fall and go to jail or succumb to drugs. I have known a handful of upper caste socialites who have fallen into trouble. Usually family money and housing will save these people. One aspect of the upper caste is that they take care of their own. Rarely will they fall to the lower caste. In much the same way the lower can’t function in the upper caste world, they must either get educated or find a way to toil and survive in the lower echelon.

I still say education is anyone’s best bet to having a good life. Whether you are lower or upper, legal or illegal, star-bellied sneetch or non, I say that broadening your mind in a classroom shows a lot toward one day earning a good living. All I can say is that I probably would have had a heart attack or something worse by now without college. The world is so unsure nowadays. Can you sort the Navels from Valencias in the denizens of your hometown? This is not about judging or having prejudices. How possible is it to change social class without college?

my CAN Blog Stats February 2010

I’m 7 days late in writing this monthly blog stat post. Perhaps it’s because I experienced so much change in my blogging that I had no space to think about it in my brain. In February I did something gargantuan like the Kraken in Clash of the Titans. While some people are giving away a Bluetooth headset to their 1,000th visitor etc, I am now blogging with far less ambition. My drive to produce quality content is still there, but I’ve toned it way down. This is most clearly shown in how I merged all three of my blogs into this one. Damien at the Speed of Life is now my one and only blog. I’ll probably have more to say about it later but for now I will tell you it is a pleasurable feeling with only one “house to keep in order.” Here are my stats the first month after merging:

Circulation: Backlinks may be weird this month. I applied a 301 redirect with a wildcard. That means that a post that was once h ttp://rileycentral.net/class will be redirected to rileycentral.net/class and so on throughout the old blog being migrated. Inlinks for February: 5,211 (source Yahoo Site Explorer).

Analytics: Traffic of course surged. Redirects from the 2 old domains is causing this. Time will tell if I sustan numbers like these. Visitors in Feb: 6,180

Net: Currently my 2 income sources are Google Adsense and a company called PayU2Blog that I highly recommend you try writing for. They do have very strict guidelines though. Know that before you apply. In February I made: $160 Google Adsense and $110 from PayU2Blog. I also made $16.25 from TextLink Ads but they have dropped me from their service. They say they will re-evaluate my blog later to see if I qualify again. They were a pretty solid $20-50 a month when I had three blogs so I hope they’ll take me on again. Total NET for Feb: $286.75 I don’t know that March will be this high but I am still getting work from PayU2Blog and the other day I made over $5 on Adsense so things look hopeful. I am mostly glad I have less to maintain so I can spend more time with my wife and kids and less time managing three lightly visited blogs.

The Feeling You Missed Something Big

I’m almost 40 and there are all kinds of thoughts about that run through my mind in a given day. Did you ever wonder if you missed out on something big? Opportunity can be a shifty thing and when I reflect on my life up to now I see places where maybe I missed something. My dad says it’s “superstitious” to say what-if in these moments. I admire him for being able to do so. I seem to be asking what-if a lot lately. And my passion for blogging has even waned a bit. I mean once I turn 40 in June, how long should I expect to keep doing it? ten years? Are there 50 year old+ bloggers? I assume so.

All this is probably just negativity. I enjoy blogging and it is so cool to look back years ago and see what I was thinking, my impressions on life. I’m starting to make some ok money at it as well so this is hardly the time to get negative. Some of my blog friends and I (Hi Justin) still dream of hiring moving services one day to upgrade into our blogging mansions … but until them we are content doing what we do now for the money we are making.

I just wanted you to know I am not gung ho 24/7 about blogging so much. We get a total of about 80 years of life on this planet and it’s important to spend the majority of them away from the computer … in my opinion.

What do you think? Has your computer time ever made you think you missed something big?