EOYDC Wins Two Gold MarCom Awards For Our Design Work

We are so excited to announce that our client, the EOYDC is the recipient of two MarCom Gold Awards for our design work for their Close The Gap fundraising campaign!

MarCom Awards is a creative competition for any individual or company involved in the concept, writing and design of print, visual, audio and web materials and programs. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.


American Dreaming Magazine is a Forum For Creativity

As a kid, Brandon Davis dreamed of playing in the NBA. “I’m five-foot-six and three-quarters (don’t forget the three-quarters). So, due to certain height requirements that dream was short lived,” the 28-year old Olney native said.

Davis is, however, living out a very different dream and helping others to discover their dreams too as the editor-in-chief of American Dreaming Magazine.

“Starting a magazine was not my dream but having an idea and seeing it through was and is my dream. So in that context ADM is my dream,” Davis said.

American Dreaming Magazine is a bi-monthly publication that solicits contributions from up-and-coming journalists, photographers, designers, stylists and creative minds, giving them the opportunity to gain experience before entering the workforce.

It was tragedy that led Davis to launch The Rick Foundation, a 501c (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the memory of his brother, who was shot to death in 2003.

“I wanted to do something to commemorate his life because he always pushed me to go out and make my dreams reality,” Davis said.

He would later earn his bachelor’s degree from the Fox School of Business at Temple University with hopes of furthering the foundation’s primary goal: helping young adults realize their dreams. American Dreaming Magazine is the first project to launch under the foundation’s umbrella.

“Our magazine is for everybody,” Davis said. “There are people 60 years old, working a job, but if you talk to them about their dreams they probably really want to be a painter. This magazine is that inspiration, information and instruction on how you can possibly make that transition.”

ADM began as on online publication in 2009 and then made the transition to print in April. While Davis admits this was a big risk taken at an unstable time for the magazine industry, he said there’s no shame in having a bootstrap beginning.

“Our plan was to try to get more than 5,000 people to request to receive the first issue for free. So we did a little campaign for that and we got 3,700 people to fill out forms to receive the first issue for free. We asked our parents, friends and family members, and friends for donations in order to fund the first issue of the magazine and we were actually able to raise enough to pay for the first two issues,” he said.

“After we put out the first issue, we asked people to subscribe to the magazine for $15 for six issues and we were able to retain about 2,400 subscribers.”

Within a few months, ADM’s subscribers grew to nearly 7,800. With larger readership, the publication was able to offer advertising space and Davis began reaching out for sponsors. The first major sponsor to bite was Vitamin Water.

“VitaminWater has been a huge supporter of ADM. It started off as us doing videos with their products and it grew to them actually sponsoring the magazine,” Davis said.

VitaminWater Marketing Manager Rob Norton said the partnership with ADM and Davis has great potential.

“The analog world of print is a hard business to master in this digital world, but there is something special about the touch and feel of ink on paper so I can appreciate the extra time that they put into doing it right,” he said. “Brandon is one of those people who has so many great ideas and the energy to execute them. He is young, hungry, connected and fearless, and that’s a combination you want in a partner.” READ MORE


Ebony.com Black, Fresh and 20-Something: Brandon Davis

It was three years ago that I was sitting across from Brandon Davis on campus at Temple University. Truth be told, I can’t remember how we met. But what I can remember is the moment I realized I was talking to a future leader of our generation.

Davis, now 29, is the brain behind the Philadelphia-born magazine American Dreaming. After the death of his brother, who was always focused on helping others follow their dreams, Davis decided to celebrate his brother’s life by finding a way to help young twentysomethings follow their dreams too. What would begin as a non-profit organization turned into a national magazine. Here, Davis shares his story on how he created the life he wanted with just a dream and a memory of his beloved brother. READ MORE


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7 Habits of Successful People

7 Habits of

Successful People

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In order to achieve your goals in life you have to work hard. We all wanted to be successful in our life but success doesn’t come overnight. For a moment, take a look at people who have succeeded in their life, who have achieved their goals, who are able to do what they really wanted to do. If you look at their schedule, they usually utilize their time in achieving their day to day tasks and work as per their list to achieve their long term goals. They have developed a quality of doing the things as planned in their day to day life. Below are 7 habits of successful people which actually make them productive and leads them to success.

1.Successful people Stay Away From Distractions

Distractions are the biggest hurdle on the way to success. Distraction can be in any way. Successful people know what things can distract them so they are more likely to stay away from them. Seeing other’s success can motivate you, but successful people don’t compare their success with anyone because everyone’s journey is unique and different and it should not be wasted in comparing with others.

2. Health Comes First

Health is Wealth, as the proverb says that if your health is good then everything is good. Successful people are concerned about their health. Working all the time and no relaxation gives birth to many problems. It is one of the best habits of successful people that they give proper time to their health. They know that after completion of their tasks it is necessary to take rest and relax their mind and body so as to increase more productivity. Eating healthy food, having proper and timely meals are some of the energy sources which make them capable of achieving their day to day tasks.

3. Reading Habits Of Successful People

Reading is one of the most favourite habits of successful people. Warren Buffet, One of the wealthiest person and most successful investor in the world also spends his 80% of the time in reading books.
His favourite books “The Intelligent Investor“, “Security Analysis“, “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” are some of his recommended books which he thinks that every person should read.  Reading actually increases knowledge and leads you to success.

4. Planning Of The Next Day Tasks

Usually people don’t decide what they have to do tomorrow and keep their work pending. But successful people have a complete day schedule planned that helps to easily catch up the things on time. They are likely to make a proper planning of the things that what they have to perform tomorrow creating a ‘to-do list’ types so that it is easy for knowing what to do and at what time.

5. Creating A Balanced Life

Work and only work is not the important thing in life but family is. Maintaining a balance between your life is must and successful people are likely to maintain a balance so that they can spend quality time with their family and friends. A good balance always leads to success.

6. Learning From Their Mistakes

You can’t succeed in life until and unless you will not learn anything from your mistakes. Learning from mistakes is what makes a person successful and successful person have a habit that they learn from each and every mistake they have made and have courage to accept their mistakes wisely.

7. Helping Others To Achieve Success

It is a habit of successful people to help others to achieve success by helping and sharing some of their success tips without having any kind of selfish attitude.


The Important Habit of Just Starting

The Important Habit

of Just Starting

Every single day, my to-do list is a reminder of all the other projects I haven’t started. The passion projects that I ‘just don’t have time’ to do. And when I do have time? That familiar friend—fear—comes knocking at my door.

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”
When Bonnie Ware, a nurse who cared for patients in their final weeks,published the most common regrets she heard, not chasing dreams was number one.

“When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made,” she wrote.

Every single day we choose how we spend what few hours we have. Yet, despite the constant warnings to chase after what we believe, we often fall victim to procrastination and a fear of even just starting.

For myself, and the 95% of the American population who admit to falling prey to procrastination or even total avoidance of the things we want to do in our lives, ‘time management’ only goes so far. And when it comes to looking at why we fail to start, there are larger emotional and psychological reasons at play.

Seeing and Helping the Future You

Procrastination isn’t just simply us putting off things until a later date. It’s purposefully putting aside important work knowing there will be negative consequences in the future.

We aren’t just being forgetful, or complacent. We’re purposefully hurting ourselves by focusing on short-term pleasure at the cost of the long-term. Almost all studies agree that procrastination leads to to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and poorer well-being. In our professional lives, it can have dire consequences. In our new way of working, with increased autonomy to work when and how we want, your word is your reputation. And missing deadlines for no good reason, is really no good reason.
Dr. Piers Steel, an organizational behavior professor at the University of Calgary, has proposed a simple formula to determine why we make certain choices.

Breaking this down, motivation is the drive or preference for a course of action, or what economists call utility. At the top of the equation,expectancy is the odds of an outcome coming from your choice, while value refers to how rewarding that outcome might be.

Underneath, impulsiveness is your sensitivity to delays (how easily you get distracted) and delay is how long you have to wait to receive the reward.

So, all of our choices come down to the expectation of a good result vs. how long a task is likely to take us. Seems basic, right? We weigh the potential value against the effort involved. But what happens when our view of the potential value of what we’re doing gets skewed?

Recent studies into chronic procrastinators have uncovered what Dr. Fuschia Sirois, a psychology professor at the University of Sheffield, England, has called “temporal myopia,” or the inability to see into your future.

We all have a way of transporting our mind into the future, whether it’s through planning and setting goals, or positive affirmations. But for procrastinators, that vision is blurry. It’s more abstract and impersonal, and procrastinators often feel an emotional disconnect between who they are, and who they will become.

Another obstacle is what behavioral economists call time inconsistency—the human brain’s tendency to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. Add this all up and we’re in a poor place to make decisions from the get go. Our motivation to start any task depends on us seeing value in it, yet we place more value on what is happening currently over what the future holds and justify this decision by emotionally disconnecting ourselves from our future self.

It’s why you might go to bed promising to change things for the better and wake up just to fall into the same old habits.

Present you: 1. Future you: 0.

Learning to Diet in a Candy Store

Yet it’s not only an internal struggle the causes our lack of motivation. The world we live in is motivationally toxic.

In Dr. Steel’s research he equates our day-to-day lives as trying to diet in a candy store and then being blamed for getting fat. We’re being herded towards a place of consumption over and over. And consumption trumps creation.

Everyday, products are made to compel you to use them. Nir Eyal’s Hooked—a basic how-to guide for making products that pander to our impulsiveness and push us to return time and time again to things that we maybe ‘shouldn’t’ be using—has become a staple in the business world. The survival of your business depends on people returning, time and time again. So it’s no wonder that companies are scrapping it out to become ‘sticky’. They need your attention and they know how to get it. This is nothing new.

Ancient Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia. Simply put, Akrasia is being weak-willed—unable to see long-term value and giving in to instant gratification. Like binge watching TV instead of reading a book or working on a project you’ve meant to. Or ordering takeout instead of cooking yourself a healthy meal.

It’s why the ability to delay gratification is such a huge predictor of future success. Success takes hard work. Long hours of concentration with no promise of reward. Yet the world around us and what it’s done to our brains makes it all too easy to just give in and take the low-hanging fruit.

Building the Habit of Just Starting

Ironically, the guilt and frustration we feel from not starting is often worse than the pain of actually doing work.

In the words of writer and theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky:

“On a moment to moment basis, being in the middle of doing the work is usually less painful than being in the middle of procrastinating.”

It’s that hump of ‘just start’ that is so hard to get over. Yet once we do, momentum takes over. We see immediate results from the work we’re doing and instead of looking for ways to avoid it, we look at ways to finish.

While there are some common ‘cures’ to procrastinating on work you’ve already started, such as breaking bigger goals into short, actionable items (“I will work on my paper for 1 hour at 11am on Tuesday” rather than “I’ll work on my paper on Tuesday”), taking scheduled breaks, and rewarding yourself for completing sub goals as well as the full project, what about getting over the fear of just starting?

Are there ways to combat procrastination, or even see it coming and adjust course?

Sweat the Small Stuff (Because They Add Up)

When we think about starting a new project, it’s usually the huge milestones—the big ideas—that slow us down. We often forget about the smaller aspects—the little parts that go missed when we ‘re thinking about starting.

When you allow the small losses to build up, such as sleeping in when you want to start work early, or letting yourself be easily distracted, you work towards embedding a process of small losses. But they won’t stop there.

In Procrastination and Obedience, Professor George Akerlof wrote that procrastination is the perfect example of where there are repeated errors of judgement due to us mistakenly ignoring their costs and benefits:

“In this case, each error of judgment causes a small loss, but these errors cumulatively result in large losses over time and ultimately cause considerable regret on the part of the decision maker.”

There’s a mental process called the Zeigarnik Effect, which kicks in when you are close to finishing a task, propelling you towards the finish line like you’re running from a hoard of zombies. You feel as though you just cannot stop until you’re done.

We’ve all felt the feeling at some point, whether it’s reaching the last chapter of a book or the last page of an essay, once we cross that threshold, it’s easier to continue going. So why not switch your own process from small losses to small gains?

Hemingway would always stop writing mid-sentence so that when he returned to the work the next day he could pick up where he left off, effectively forcing himself into ‘must finish’ mode.

Use a Commitment Device

Just starting is a mental battle, one that we sometimes have to turn into something physical before we can be victorious. One way to do this is by implementing a commitment device—some strategy that will make it damn near impossible for you to continue with negative behaviors.

For Victor Hugo, the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that meant locking all his clothes in a closet so he wouldn’t be able to go out socializing or entertain and would be forced to write.

For Douglas adams, who wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it was being locked in a hotel room for weeks on end (something his publisher and editors apparently did regularly without much complaint from him (also, why is it always writers who need strange strategies to force them to work?)).

Create the Right Environment to Get Started

Looking back at Dr. Steel’s motivation equation, one of the main factors killing our motivation is impulsiveness. Look around you right now. How many things are within reaching distance that could potentially distract you? Our urges get the best of us, and creating an insulated workspace is often the easiest way to battle them. As my father used to say ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

For example, writer and artist Austin Kleon sets up two distinct work areas surrounded by things that help him just start: an analog desk with paper and pencils and art supplies, and a digital desk with his computer, MIDI controller, and tablet. Set up systems and processes in place where the goal isn’t to ‘create perfection’, but just to create.

This could include decluttering your workspace or setting small, easily achievable daily goals (such as committing to writing for 10 minutes each morning). Whatever your method (and there are plenty to choose from), the goal is always to get your mind in ‘just start’ mode, rather than ‘must finish’ mode.

Don’t Worry About Being Perfect

In high school, I almost failed art class because I wouldn’t hand in projects. They were technically done. In my mind, they just weren’t perfect yet.

Eventually, the anger and fear of handing in subpar work went so far as to make me not even start on them. It’s a common impediment to work. We fear the unknown and instead of going in blindly, spend more time planning.

In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards discusses how we all draw and create freely as children, but around adolescence, most of us stop:

“The beginning of adolescence seems to mark the abrupt end of artistic development in terms of drawing skills for many adults. As children, they confronted an artistic crisis, a conflict between their increasingly complex perceptions of the world around them and their current level of art skill.”

This crisis isn’t limited to just the artistic endeavors of children. As adults, when faced with a new task or goal, our current skill level usually doesn’t relate to our vision of how we want the end goal to look.

Think about if you ever wanted to build a website, or create a book. The daunting task ahead surely cast a cloud across your idea. Instead of the excitement of experimentation, we feel self-doubt and fear. The end goal, that perfect image of what we want to create is suffocating.

As author and marketing guru Seth Godin describes it:

“We tell people that the route to Carnegie Hall is paved with practice, practice, practice. But practice is another word for preparation. I’m not talking about being prepared. Preparation isn’t the same as ready. Ready is an emotional choice, the decision to put something into the world… The paradox is obvious: the more important the idea, the less we can be ready. And so we fret that the world, or our market, isn’t ready for the leap… Everywhere we turn, the doors appear to be closed, not open.”

Getting over the paralyzation of perfect gives you the chance to try. To explore without the limitations of how you defined something in your own mind.

The fear of starting is often so much less than the pain of actually working. Yet, our brains can fool us into thinking the opposite is true. And once we’ve engrained those beliefs it’s hard to break out of them. But the greatest achievements don’t happen without starting.

If we want to create more than we consume, we need to build those habits every single day. When you look back, do you want to remember the things you wanted to do and never started, or the times you tried and made something you could call your own?

Start. Every single day. Start and then restart. Let go of your fear and reconnect with the future vision you want so badly.


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Nobody Cares How Hard You Work

Nobody Cares How

Hard You Work

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As you sink into the couch, or slide onto the barstool, at the end of an exhausting workday, it’s hard not to experience the warm glow of self-congratulation. After all, you put in the hours, cranked through the to-do list; you invested the effort, and got things done. Surely you’re entitled to a little smugness?

Sorry, but at the risk of ruining that martini: maybe not. We chronically confuse the feeling of effort with the reality of results—and for anyone working in a creative field, that means the constant risk of frittering time and energy on busywork, instead of the work that counts.

Psychologists have long noticed what’s sometimes been called the “labor illusion:” when it comes to judging other people’s work, we might say we’re focused only on whether they did the job quickly and well—but really we want to feel they wore themselves out for us.

The behavioral economist Dan Ariely tells the story of a locksmith, who, as he got better at his work, started getting fewer tips, and more complaints about his prices. Each job took him so little time or effort that customers felt cheated—even though, pretty obviously, being super-fast is an asset in a locksmith, not a fault.

In 2011, a study by the Harvard Business School researchers Ryan Buell and Michael Norton found that people using a flight-search website actually preferred to wait longer for search results—provided they could watch a detailed progress display to see the site “working hard” to canvas each airline’s database.

This would be no more than an intriguing quirk of consumer behavior—if it weren’t for the fact that we apply the same twisted standards to ourselves. Call it the “Effort Trap:” it’s dangerously easy to feel as though a 10-hour day spent plowing through your inbox, or catching up on calls, was much more worthwhile than two hours spent in deep concentration on hard thinking, followed by a leisurely afternoon off. Yet any writer, designer or web developer will tell you it’s the two focused hours that pay most—both in terms of money and fulfillment. (In Mason Currey’s 2013 book Daily Rituals, a compendium of artists’ and authors’ work routines, almost nobody reports spending more than four or five hours a day on their primary creative tasks.) Indeed, meaningful work doesn’t always lead to exhaustion at all: a few hours of absorption in it can be actively energizing—so if you’re judging your output by your tiredness, you’re sure to be misled.

It’s doubly hard to avoid the Effort Trap because our culture so strongly reinforces its deceptive message: Hard work is ultimately what matters. From childhood, parents and teachers drum into us the moral virtue of effort, and the importance of “doing your best”. Numerous approaches to productivity—even the best ones, like David Allen’sGetting Things Done—encourage a “cross-it-off-the-list” mindset: They’re so preoccupied with clarifying and keeping track of your to-dos, you forget to ask if they’re the right tasks to begin with.

And too many workplaces still subtly communicate to employees the idea that intense effort, usually in the form of long hours, is the best route to a promotion. In fact, though, if you can do your job brilliantly and still leave at 3 p.m. each day, a really good boss shouldn’t object. And by the same token, you shouldn’t cite all the effort you put in when making your case for a raise. Why should a results-focused boss even care?

In America and northern Europe, the roots of the Effort Trap may well lie in the “Protestant work ethic,” the old Calvinist idea that being a hard worker was evidence that you’d been pre-selected for Heaven. To reach creativity heaven, though, you’ll need a different approach—one that prioritizes doing the right things, not just lots of things.

The well-known advice to do the most important tasks first in the day is probably still the best; that way, even if you do lapse into busywork, you won’t be wasting your best energies on it. And if your work situation permits it, experiment with radically limiting your working hours: The added constraint tends to push the most vital work to center-stage. You could set electronic reminders through the day, as a prompt to ask if you need to change your focus.

But above all, remember that tiring yourself out—or scheduling every minute of your day with work—isn’t a reliable indicator of a day well spent. Or to put it more cheerfully: The path to creative fulfillment might take a lot less effort than you think.