Archive for February, 2010

Quitters Arcade

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I’ve just been checking out Serious Quitters’ Arcade which is a website containing three free arcade games designed around the theme of quitting smoking.

Before I continue, I want to be upfront that I was approached by Buzzparadise and asked to write an article about Serious Quitters’ Arcade for money. I don’t have to say nice things about it, just write about it, which seems fair to me. Well I’m a non-smoker and my dad is extremely ill from smoking and so I can wholeheartedly support the message of this site without compromising myself. I’ll also report back later if Buzzparadise actually keep their end of the deal and pay me, because if they do, and you have a blog, you might want to look into it.

One thing that Serious Quitters’ Arcade has got right is the apostrophe in its name. That’s a good start in my book of pedantry. There are three 80s-style arcade game cabinets and each one has a different arcade game as follows:

Blast N Quit

This is basically a side scrolling shooter with simple controls. It’s got a nice style of retro/mono graphics but only held my attention for a short while. It’s quite tough from the start and you have to hammer on the Ctrl key which isn’t so hot. Basically it’s just a minigame, but it has a few different powerups and different cigarette-themed enemy types. See you what you think:

Bin ‘Um

I felt this was the weakest game, it’s not even a mini-game, more like a micro-game. Basically a hand carrying a pack of fags (fags are cigarettes to you non-UK readers, not homosexuals) moves left to right and you have to stop the hand on a column that contains a bin. Then you have to hold down a button to get the correct power to throw the fags in the bin, and that appears to be it. Didn’t play for long. Check it out:

Escape From Planet Smokey

This is a vertically scrolling platformer where you have to collect coins as you leap from platform to platform whilst avoiding smoking related enemies. I actually found it quite funny because it has these women puffing out smoke in your direction and when the smoke hits you, you fall off and die. Sometimes I feel like that walking around Yaletown. You see a nice looking young lady and then she goes and ruins it by lighting up and puffing stink in your direction … sweet. Probably this is my favourite game on the site.

Apparently if you play these games that I’ve embedded on my site, a total score will be recorded for this site and it should be visible in each game’s high scores. Neat. So please help this site get into the top 10 by giving them a go. Better still, help yourself by giving up smoking.

Disclaimer: is built to leverage awareness about seeking help and support from your doctor to quit smoking. If you wish to quit smoking, please seek professional medical advice.

How I changed my Financial Blueprint

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Last Monday I did my second speech at Toastmasters Club 59. It was a speech about money, a topic that some people are not comfortable talking about, but it didn’t seem to phase my audience because the speech went down very well indeed!

Here’s the written version of the speech – the actual speech varied a little bit from this because I did it from memory.

How I changed my Financial Blueprint


Thank you madam Toastmaster. Good evening fellow toastmasters and most welcome guests.


Strong Opening

“Rich People Suck!”


Last year I attended a seminar about changing our attitude towards money and during one exercise we had to write down our negative beliefs about money. The guy next to me wrote “Rich people suck” and it’s quite a common negative belief, along with things like: “I don’t deserve to be rich”, or “money is evil and not spiritual”, or “finances are sooo boring”.

Tonight I’m going to tell you about a book I read that made a big impact on the way I think about money.

About the Book

I’ve been into positive thinking and personal development for quite a few years but I never really applied that style of thinking to my finances properly until I read this book.

[Hold up the book]

It’s called “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T Harv Eker.

Has anyone heard of it?

It’s not a dry book about finances – it’s packed full of great ideas, and is quite funny and blunt in places.

[Put book down]

The main aim behind the book is to get you to look at your financial blueprint, that’s the way you think about money and deal with money, and to replace any thoughts that hinder your financial success with better thoughts.

I read it quickly and enjoyed it a lot, and then straight away I lent it to Helen, my partner, and said “you’ve got to read this so we can be on the same financial wavelength”.

Our successes

This was back in January 2007 and at the time I ran my own company making computer games and Helen was (and still is) a freelance Science Writer.

One of the things Helen got from the book was a realisation that she wasn’t charging enough – that her work was worth much more. She doubled her rates immediately and still got plenty of work and was able to say no to lower paid jobs. A couple of months later she was earning triple her original rate on some particular jobs!

As for myself, for a little while I’d had a goal of making £5000 from my game company every month. In March 2007 I had my first £5000 month. Then my company went on to have a great year, and the following year my turnover doubled and things are still going strong!

A large part of our success was because we are good at what we do but when we shifted our attitudes towards money, things got even better.

So where do negative beliefs about money come from?

Beliefs about Money

When we are children we hear our parents talk about money in the home, and we hear our peers at school, and what they say begins to shape our financial blueprint.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”
“No way! We can’t afford that”
“I got the blues so I’m going out shopping.”

Stuff like that. Then by the time we reach adulthood our financial blueprint is already affecting the way we deal with money. It defines if we are always broke, or if we horde our money, or if we are well on the way to being a millionaire.

The book talks about many negative beliefs about money and offers positive alternatives that we can replace them with. Also the great thing about the advice in the book is that it doesn’t just apply to money, it’s about creating wealth in all areas of your life such as love, happiness and health.

For example, one concept I love from the book is that of being bigger than your problems. So let’s say on a scale of 1 to 10 that I’m only a level 1 in terms of dealing with problems. Then along comes a level 3 problem and it seems insurmountable to me. I think “Oh my God, how am I going to deal with that?” But if I work on myself and expand my comfort zone so that I’m say a level 8 person, a level 3 problem is really tiny by comparison, something that I can deal with easily.

Educating yourself

Therefore educating yourself about managing money is vital in becoming financially successful. Once you start effectively managing your money you start to think more about long-term savings, ways to cut your costs, and ways to invest your money to make it grow.

Another great piece of advice from the book is to split your income into several different bank accounts. That’s what I do.

I put 10% of my earnings into long-term savings that I never touch, this is for my future.

Then I make sure all my outgoings are dealt with and then I split the remainder into several more accounts: a giving account, a contingency account, an education account and a Play account. That’s the best account because the idea is to spend it every month just having fun. When you know how much money you have spare for fun you don’t overspend.

The result of using a system like this is that I know exactly how much money I’ve got available for different things. I feel much more in control of my finances.


In conclusion, I encourage you to examine your beliefs about money and ask yourself if those beliefs are serving you well or hindering you. I also encourage you to educate yourself more about money in order to manage your finances more effectively.

Strong Ending

Finally I’d like to remind you that to be successful in whatever you’re passionate about, you’ll need to overcome many obstacles along the way …

And that is why … you need to be … “bigger than your problems!”

Thank you madam Toastmaster.