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Posts published in “Guest Posts”

How much would you have paid for good advice at your biggest life fork in the road?

Chris Martin 0

In my first two posts, I looked at what makes a good Sage and when or why you might want to pay for Sage advice.  Today, a story about a time I needed advice and how not getting that advice cost me time and money. Literally, years of my life and more than six figures.  This example is personal, and I think it reflects the kind of major life choice that people face.  When your first plan hasn’t worked out and you must pivot to something new, how do you decide the best course of action? When we met, my wife and I were both teaching ballroom dancing while pursuing careers in musical theater.  After we married, we moved to NYC to pursue that dream.  Fast forward seven years, and now we have a son approaching his third birthday.  Though we focused on auditioning, taking classes, and doing shows, we both had “day” jobs. I was managing and teaching at a ballroom dance studio, and my wife taught English at Berlitz. We had a small rent-controlled apartment on W49th street between 9th and 10th avenue. We loved everything about our life, with one exception: the cost of living. Living in Manhattan was simply too expensive for the three of us. Every year the rent went up, and our income remained about the same. I started juggling balances on credit cards. I’d apply for a new credit card and pay off the old one with the promotional 0% interest rate. But that…

Social Media Dangers to the Human Psyche – the Cost/Benefit Dilemma

Shari Botwin 0

The first social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. Two years later, blogging sites took off. In 2002 Myspace quickly became the most popular site for teens. YouTube launched in 2005, and, shortly after that, Twitter emerged. As these different sites gained momentum, people were reeling from the benefits of social media while also blind to the long term dangers. Entrepreneurs were growing their businesses. Others were connecting with long lost friends from childhood, and many people were accessing information for their physical and mental health conditions. People living in dangerous and abusive relationships finally had resources to access help. Patients diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses could turn to their social media to find out the latest about medications and clinical trials. When Facebook launched in 2004, no one knew the potential dangers and pitfalls it would have on vulnerable populations, such as people struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, or lack of a strong support system. People began flocking to Facebook and other social media platforms to connect, spread, and seek information and support. But along with opening up a proverbial world of possibilities, the world itself had also opened Pandora’s Box. The world was smart enough to quickly realize the negative possibilities brought on by social media use in teenagers but unable to find effective ways to cope with them. Around 2017, psychologists conducted research, mostly among teens, to test the…

Why Spend Money for Advice Online? Everyone is Giving It Away Free!

Chris Martin 0

Note: This is the second in a series of posts about TheSageBoard.com I have a good friend who spent the summer gutting and re-tiling a shower in his house. He spent dozens, if not a hundred, hours of research and work, buying new tools and all the supplies.  For him, doing the work with his own hands was worth the time and money he spent. Sure, he could have paid someone else to do the work in a weekend or two, but he’d rather do it himself! Recently I asked him if it was worth all that work, time, and money? He said he had no regrets, but “Now that I know how much work it was, I might have been better off hiring someone.” How much is your time worth? Everyone has a different threshold for the value of their time, but everyone puts SOME value on it.  There are online calculators to help you figure out a ballpark number. When you’re considering spending your hard-earned cash consulting a Sage, this is the balance you’re trying to find. Will spending money now on expert advice save you money in the long run?  If you have a problem that you could research in 40 hours, how much money would you be willing to spend to just get an answer?  How much do you earn in a week?  How much would you pay to save a work-weeks’ worth of free time? As easy as that? If only it were as easy…

Mental Health Coping Resources in the Time of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Shari Botwin 0

How can someone find mental health support when many offices are closed or only providing teletherapy? While hospitals and other medical care facilities continue to see patients, mental health services have not been given the same priority. Peoples’ lives turned upside down when the pandemic hit the United States. Businesses were shut down, religious communities were torn apart, grieving families buried loved ones without others present, and children were forced to go to school online. Outlets people once turned to for stress reduction were no longer accessible. Treatment halted suddenly for people struggling with mental health issues; such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions. People dealing with a mental health crisis had little choice but to turn to emergency rooms which were overcrowded and under-staffed. Before Covid-19 our society was beginning to recognize the need for mental health support. COVID-19 Fallout A few months into the pandemic, Psychology Today and other mental health platforms suggested that our society was facing a “Post-COVID-19 Suicide Epidemic”. Suicide rates were sky-rocketing, and people from all different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds were reporting an increase in suicidal ideation. Major contributors were economic stress, social isolation, frontline healthcare workers, and loss of a loved one from COVID. Social isolation, in particular, was called out as a required COVID prevention approach, but one that exacerbated peoples’ abilities to combat depression and suicidal thoughts. Research has also shown the importance of social connections in helping people overcome depression and suicidal thoughts. While social distancing remains an important…

What makes a good Sage?

Chris Martin 1

When you need an expert opinion, where do you turn?  How do you know who has the expertise to provide insight into your situation? Is book-learning more relevant, or do you need someone with hands-on, real-world experience? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to these questions because of the diversity of problems that would benefit from expertise.  Think about the last time you needed help with a problem – where did you turn?  A friend?  Google or YouTube? Did you go to the library and do research? How much work did you do to verify that the sources you were looking at had the expertise you need? The fundamental problem with finding an expert on the internet is trust. It is all too easy to find an opinion on the internet but figuring out the motives and reliability of opinions – not so much.  Crowdsourcing sites have been trying to help solve this problem for a while now. The idea being that more people commenting on something will tend to get closer to an accurate answer. “The wisdom of crowds.” Search engines use algorithms to evaluate the way sites link to each other, with the theory being that the sites with the most links are the most reliable. As you could deduce, an entirely new industry has evolved around gaming these algorithms.  This makes large, established brands easy to find online.  For smaller, more niche experts and subject matters, finding someone you can trust can be daunting. On the internet, nobody…