Litemind Readers’ Project: Send Your Best Personal Excellence Tip (US$800 in Prizes)

Litemind Personal Excellence Project

It has been a year since the last collaborative project, and since such projects are always fun, I figured — why not run a new one? The good news is that this time participation won’t be limited to bloggers: all Litemind readers can participate and have a chance to win.

Read on to learn how you can participate and be in the run to win 5 prizes, totaling more than US$ 800 in software and cash grants.

Theme

To participate, simply tell us your very best personal excellence tip.

What do I mean by ‘personal excellence tip’? It’s that one secret, that one practical advice you can give — the one that you know for sure makes the greatest positive contribution to your life.

It may be a tip for increasing productivity or heightening creativity, or maybe a tactic you use to deal with procrastination or perfectionism. Maybe it’s a rule of thumb or a personal mantra that you live by. Maybe it’s something that makes you think more clearly. A specific technique or idea or something that you feel really makes a positive impact on your life? I don’t know what it is — you’re the one to tell.

Entries will be chosen by the participants themselves, who will vote on the best entries following criteria such as usefulness and originality.

As an example: If I were to participate (I won’t, obviously), I would send a tip such as this one:

Use time boxes. Instead of working on a task until it’s done, commit to work on it for a specific amount of time instead. I use this concept every day, and it works wonders to keep me focused, counter perfectionism and avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed by daunting tasks (details).

(It has the structure ‘Title’, ‘brief description’, ‘why I use it or how I benefit from using it’.)

Easy, uh? Now all you need is to show us what you’ve got by sending your tip.

Prizes

There will be some cool prizes for the best tips, as well as some prizes given randomly, so that anyone who participates has a chance to win something.

First Prize

MindManager 8 is the brand new version of my mind mapping tool of choice — one which I’ve been recommending for years both for personal and business use. (The mind maps I create for this site — such as the book summaries — are made using MindManager.)

If you’re the grand winner, you also get an additional US$100. This way, if you can’t benefit from the license (e.g., you don’t use Windows), you can still benefit from the prize (and maybe give away the software license to someone else if you like).

Second Prize

I recently started trialing Tony Buzan’s iMindMap software, and I really like what I see. The maps created with iMindMap are very beautiful and have a very natural and ‘organic’ feel, making them look almost hand-drawn.

There’s also an extra cash prize of US$ 30 for the second prize.

Additional Prizes

Joining the two winners on the podium, 3 other participants picked at random will also take US$ 30 home each.

How to Participate

1. Sign up for the free Litemind Newsletter.
To send your tip and participate, the only requirement is that you must have signed up for the Litemind e-mail newsletter.

This serves as a validation of identity to help the contest run smoothly. It’s also a way to reward loyal readers who signed up already, and as an incentive for more people to sign up and enjoy the newsletter. If you enjoy the contents of this site, it’s a safe bet you’ll also enjoy the newsletter (and even if you don’t, you can unsubscribe after the contest is over, so there is no harm done).

To sign up for the newsletter, click here.

Note: Signing up for the newsletter is not the same thing as subscribing to get the latest articles by e-mail. If you’re not sure whether you’re subscribed or not, just try to sign up again to be sure.
Also note that you’ll only be subscribed after you click on a confirmation link that will be sent to you, so make sure you provide a valid e-mail address and that you click on the confirmation link.

2. Send your tip.
When writing your tip, give it a short, descriptive title (one sentence usually works best). Right after the title, write a short paragraph about it, either describing it a little bit or giving a quick story or personal example to illustrate it. Describe it in a way that makes it applicable to as many people as possible. Avoid tips that are too specific or limited to particular jobs or situations.

Do not use the comments section to send your entry. You’ll receive the instructions on how to send your tip after signing up for the newsletter. If you’re already signed up, you should already have received these instructions (if you didn’t get the e-mail message, please contact me and I’ll be glad to help).

Important: Only one entry will be accepted per subscriber. Entering the contest using multiple e-mail addresses is not allowed and will disqualify the participant.

3. Submissions close on Thursday, November 27 2008, at midnight (GMT-12 — which means that if it’s still November 27 2008 wherever you are in the world, you’re good to go).

4. On December 1, I’ll publish a post with the final list of entries. A pre-selection of entries may be necessary (see additional rules below), so check if your entry made it to the final list.

5. The participants who made it to the final list will have until Monday, December 8 2008 (midnight, GMT-12) to cast votes on their favorite entries, using the comments section on that post. They must pick at least 5 favorite entries, and as many as they like.

6. On December 10 2008, the winners will be announced. Every time an entry gets mentioned as a favorite, it gets one point. The two entries with the most points get first and second prizes, respectively. If there’s a draw, the entry that was submitted first gets ranked higher. I’ll also announce the random winners (see below for randomness criteria).

Additional Rules and Guidelines (aka ‘The Fine Print’)

Here are some additional points (in no particular order) to make sure this contest runs as smoothly as possible:

  1. As you probably noticed, the entry requirements are pretty relaxed. Although I’m leaving the judgment of their quality to the participants themselves, I reserve the right to remove or edit entries that I find to be offensive, irrelevant, too long, poorly written or inappropriate for the contest or the site.

  2. I have no idea how many participants will take part in the project — there may be just a few, but there may also be a lot. For this reason, to keep things manageable for me and for the participants, I chose to limit the final list of entries to 100. That means that, if necessary, I’ll do a pre-selection to keep the number of entries to 100 at most.

  3. One entry per participant only will be accepted. If there’s suspicion of any kind of fraud — either in the submission or in the voting — I reserve the right to disqualify any candidate at any time. I don’t believe it will ever get to this, but it doesn’t hurt to be clear about this.

  4. If more than one participant sends the same tip, in very similar forms, I will keep only the one that was sent first.

  5. To be eligible for the prizes, in addition to be in the final list, you need to cast your votes by the deadline. Also, you can’t vote on your own entry.

  6. The cash prizes will be paid via Paypal or as Amazon Gift Cards, winner’s choice.

  7. This contest is not open to immediate associates of Litemind, its sponsors or any of the organizations or subsidiaries associated with this contest.

  8. Criteria for Random Draw. To make sure the random draw is fair, I will use the following procedure, which makes the drawing authenticity verifiable by anyone:

    1. I will enter the list with the names in Random.Org, which is a known, trustworthy third-party, assigning numbers starting from 1, in the order the entries are listed in the post.
    2. I will use random.org random sequence generator, using as the seed for randomness Amazon’s stock last trading price for December 9 2008. (I happen to like Amazon.com).
    3. The first three numbers in the results will be the winners. If any of these is already one of the winners, I’ll pick the next number and so on.
  9. If you’re a blogger or have an online resource to share about the tip, you’ll have the chance to provide a URL to go along with the tip — but bear in mind that the tip must stand on its own, i.e., one should not need to access the link to be able to understand the tip.

  10. To increase your chance of winning, please keep the entries as short as possible. Bear in mind that many people only skim (especially if there are too many entries), so make sure to make a good impression quickly. (Use 60 words or so total as a guideline.)
  11. My decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Whew! Hopefully I covered everything. Oh, one last thing: don’t forget to have fun. Seriously! :) These projects can be very enjoyable and you always learn a thing or two…

Good luck!

Sign up for the Litemind Newsletter to join now.

Update: Submissions are now closed — check out the entries!