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 Colin Noden:

Copywriter &  Advertising  Consultant.  

Specializing in  Travel ; Health ; Medicine 

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CFS Disability Update Nov 2009

I have recently put myself to the test regarding my levels of disability. The reason for doing this was to avoid falling into the trap of becoming comfortable with a lower level of functioning. I want to live my life to the best and fullest ability. However I know the power of habit, and monitor myself to keep from living less than I'm able.

 

The first major challenge I gave myself was to enroll into Howie Schwartz's Apprentice program.

 

The apprentice program is a 10-12 week $3000 training program for internet marketers. It is designed to take people from virtually any ability level and train them to use tools and tactics to sell online. I thought this would be an appropriate test since I have competent levels of website building; good communication skills; and a strong background in sales.

Howie's Apprentice program was an ideal test because of its great structure and the personalized training by a team of instructors. It was like going to college without having to leave my home. My strengths and weaknesses soon became apparent using this well organized system.

My strength is in my writing ability. When given enough rest, I am able to take virtually any topic and churn out a 500 word article with relative ease. And even at lower energy levels I'm able to scan large amounts of information and dump it into my subconscious for processing. Of course I'm still under the restrictions of my limited energy and there are diminishing returns on the hours spent in research.

My limitations became starkly apparent under the discipline of the Apprentice System Course. Again it seems to be an inability to function in a linear manner. It was literal torture to do simple tasks such as cut & pasting information into spreadsheet cells. My brain would soon be exhausted to the point of failure, just from moving from one page to another. Part of me knew that this was a simple task, but the execution of the task was near to impossible.

Also, building "web 2.0" websites was next to impossible. These free website services are built with a variety of customized software bundles, designed to make website building easy. For me they turned out to be a punishing experience. Again, the tasks were reduced to fill in the box, cut and paste, 123 methods. My brain literally shut down during repeated attempts to create these websites. It is ironic that I own a website dedicated to website building and am not able to use web 2.0 software.

The Apprentice Program also gave me the chance to quantify my comparison with others. I dedicated myself full time to the program. Others had to fit it into their spare time. I was able to complete only one website promotion compared to dozens and hundreds done by others. Also the quality of my 2.0 websites was dramatically inferior, due to the struggles I had with the software.

It is important to understand the magnitude of my experiment with Howie Schwartz's Apprentice Program. This is training given by a real life internet marketer, showing what really needs to be done to make a living online. He is generous with his teaching, and even gives access to proprietary tools which most inexperienced marketers are not even aware exist. He shows you the reality of what it takes to make it online. His instructors train the apprentices in each facet. There is no holding back of anything.

This makes the apprentice program a great tool for getting an objective analysis of skills and potential. And if I am to be equally honest with myself, I must say that I am not able to do 80% of the tasks needed to make a living online. This is very hard for me to admit to myself. Once again, I can see the potential with clarity, but am unable to perform the basic tasks. I cannot do what needs to be done to run a successful business online. I'll still play around with websites, but have no illusions that my capabilities can bring me financial independence.

My second self challenge was social and environmental :

 I went on a group holiday which tested my ability to spend long periods of time with others.  My usual routine is quite solitary and self controlled. I have the flexibility to rest and withdraw when I am tired or overwhelmed.  Being with a group of people for a week was a test to see how I could handle a mild and short social stress.

I was able to drive for long periods with no ill effect.  I have had years experience as a commercial traveller and find driving easy and relaxing.  My verbal skills are another matter.  I am not able to process multiple sources of auditory input.  I cannot filter sounds.  They all come in at the same level of demand for my attention.  The exception is volume.  The louder sounds does seem to get priority, but I'm not sure if that is my brain's processing or a matter of physics.

I cannot sustain conversations and my ability to speak is soon reduced to a slow one word pace.  I struggle to get each word out.  Almost like stuttering, without the stutter.

Our trip took us through different climate and elevation zones.  Again I find that I am best in dry high elevation areas.  There is a noticed decrease in energy and functioning levels with lower barometric systems.  I will become fatigued before any noticeable change in the weather.

 

An update on my CFIDS for 2010 

 

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