Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Biggest Letdown: Wanting Is Not The Same As Having

"I would be so happy if only...." 

You tend base your goals upon what you believe to be your desires. In fact, one of the basic premises of economics is that people know their own likes and dislikes. But we often find out that what we thought we wanted before we got it is no longer what we really want once we have it.

Just as people adapt rapidly to drastic events like winning the lottery or becoming paralyzed, we get used to almost anything we are frequently exposed to. That’s why the money we spend on big purchases gives us such a perishable pleasure. 

To put a twist on the Rolling Stones lyric, you can’t always want what you get. Take that new SUV. When you first drive it off the lot, it glistens like a gigantic jewel and feels just as fast and safe and soft and roomy as you had dreamed. Becoming an owner is even better than you imagined. But soon, being one turns out to be worse. In a couple of weeks the last race of new car smell is gone. In a month or two, the exterior is scarred with little dings and scratches, while the interior is splattered with coffee, Gatorade, and goodness knows what else. It’s hard to park and every time you pull out of a gas station you leave at least $50 behind. 

With each passing day, the contrast between your vision of what ownership would be and the reality of what it has turned out to be will become more glaring. Therefore, while you might not be quite willing to renounce your new SUV, it will probably give you much less pleasure than you were sure you would get from it. 

Same goes for the beautiful new suit or shoes (they’ll get stained or go out of style too soon) or the kitchen you just remodeled (the counter top gets chipped, the floor tiles get scratched, and somehow the fridge still isn’t big enough). 

Big capital expenditures can give us a great deal of pleasure when we imagine the results ahead of time. Unfortunately, the vision pales by comparison when it collides with the reality. You are left weighing what you got against what you dreamed you would have and the results can feel flawed and a little dirty compared with your dream. 

Because those original dreams remain so vivid, you often come to the wrong conclusion. Instead of realizing that big spending will probably never make you happy, you conclude that you simply spend your bundle on the wrong thing: “Next time I’m getting a Lexus instead of this doggone SUV/Acura/Camry/Cadillac.” Then if the Lexus lets you down, you wish for a BMW/Audi/Infiniti and so on—condemning yourself to an unending cycle of buildups and letdowns.

George Bernard Shaw was right when he wrote, “There are two tragedies in life: one is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Healthy Compassion: Bringing the 10 Commandments Into the 21st Century

These days, shouts go back and forth among certain religious and non religious groups about whether or not one can be moral without religion or a belief in a separate, supreme deity.

In their latest book,  Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century, authors Lex Bayer and John Figdor held a contest in which atheists were asked to offer up to date alternatives to the biblical Ten Commandments.

Here are the winners:

1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations
9. There is no one right way to live.
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

I offer no opinions on the list; I'm just a messenger. Still, it might be worth the effort to consider the possibility that no one has the Final Answer to anything.
Just a thought...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hey! You, Too, Can Be More Spiritual Than Your Friends!

This video can help us all fall off our spiritual high horses, no matter our religious convictions. Funny, witty, and spot on. Enjoy!

'And god said, Let there be light. I there I stood, lit.'

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Give Yourself To Love!

Even when you're lonely, a happy tune can help clear the head, the heart, the spirit!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Free College Tuition for Americans

Several different countries are now offering free tuition to American students. If you have kids near or at college age, it may be well worth your while to check this out:


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Playing The Brain Game...Are You Winning or Losing?

Trapped in a cage not of his making, but you??

(Gorillas do not look like this in the wild, only in captivity. Seem familiar?)

Six Ways to an Empty Head... 

You have billions of brain cells. Who needs that many, right? So, if you don’t care about losing some of them, lots of them, here is a short list on how to do it more quickly and make it permanent:

• Eat lots of fatty animal tissue—beef, pork, packaged meats.
• Skip the green foods, the fruits, the seeds, nuts, and veggies, especially that awful stuff that comes right out of the ground.
• Don’t exercise. Watch more TV.
• Up the caffeine. Sleep less.
• Smoke more. Drink more alcohol. (Some say wine doesn’t count as booze so bottoms up!)
• Finally, if anything goes wrong, have lots of legal—and not so legal—drugs on hand. No need to worry any further. Pop a pill and you’re covered.

Results? Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, kidney and liver damage, vision, hearing, and bone loss, addiction, and of course, lots of dead brain cells. But who cares? It’s your life. Do as you will.

I’m not reprimanding, only reminding, for I have sinned “more than ye all.” But ultimately, your brain, your very being, is not yours alone. We need you to be at your physical, emotional, and spiritual best. You could be the one who tips the world aright. (Don’t laugh…it could happen!) If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to come to the rescue when you’re needed.

You’re needed right now.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Executive Coach Asks: Hey, Boss, Are You Available?

CEO, CFO, COO: Are You Available or Are You Absent?

“Executive,” as you know by now, is more than a title. It’s an environment. You appear distant to most of those in your organization. Your job, along with all the other responsibilities you have acquired since moving into that corner office, is to communicate, to inspire, and to foster optimism. Read all the books; watch all the Power Point presentations on how to go about doing all that. Then, come back to these simple suggestions:

  1. Demonstrate excellence. How you proceed through your professional day will set a tone. You want it to be a good one.  You are the example, not the exception.
  2. It’s important to set high standards for the moment-by-moment activities as well as for the new projects. You will help your staff think beyond the status quo.
  3. Reinforce high performance with enthusiasm. Encourage your people to look for and present new ideas. Sincerely praise their efforts.
  4. Challenge the negative outlooks while identifying the risks and their consequences.
  5. Let your people know that there are no failures. Mistakes will be made, to be sure. But they provide necessary feedback and open the door to the next steps.
    Today’s executive is under more pressure than ever before, both from within and outside the organization. To many, you are The Enemy. You get large bonuses, large salaries, and large offices while the general worker loses health coverage and struggles to make ends meet. You must create an atmosphere of trust, confidence, and a greater level of comfort. When you’re trustworthy, you encourage those with whom you work to become trustworthy as well. And when people feel that they count, that they matter, and that they are heard, the stage is set for a new level of success.

You are the model. Choose to be a great one.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Begin Each Day With A Grateful Heart--Here's How...

My only request, here at the beginning, is that you read these words with an open mind and an open heart.

Go back in time with me...

The year is 1900. Only about 30 percent of Americans owned their homes in 1900, compared to 70 percent today. And those homes weren’t much. Typically, they were unheated, crowded farmhouses or rundown tenements. Less than three percent of them had electricity; fewer than one in five had running water, flushing toilets, or central heating. Most Americans cooked on wood burning stoves and read, if they could read, by the dim light of kerosene lanterns. 

Working conditions were terrible. In 1900 boys typically went to work at age 14 and kept working—an average of 60 hours a week—until they died. No paid vacations, no guarantees of job safety, no job security, no retirement plans, no health care, no Social Security. Pay was low, averaging less than $4800 in today’s dollars compared to an average of about $32,000 currently. And you know how hard it can be to live on even that amount.

Women rarely worked outside the home at the dawn of the 20th century and they couldn’t vote. In 1900 almost half of the income had to go for food compared to about 10 percent today. Infant mortality was high, even in the upper classes.
In 1900 there were fewer than 5000 millionaires in the US. Today, there are more than eight million, and even 269 billionaires, two and a half times that of Japan, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Britain combined.

A child born in 1900 had 60 percent chance of completing grade school and if they stayed in school, they only went to 8th grade. Fewer than one in four graduated from high school and only the very wealthy went to college.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Creating Jobs: How the 1% (One Percent) Can Actually Help...And Benefit in the Process

(Guest Article)

"To die rich is to have lived in vain."    
J. Krishnamurti

I saw a news story recently about a very wealthy person who was donating $500,000 in order for a school to be able to buy the steel needed for its reconstruction. It struck me as both kind and savvy.

You One Per Centers, the folks that the Occupy Movement is seeking to reach, here's how you could become very big in their eyes. Instead of constantly trying to increase your holdings, take those holdings and rebuild the communities that have provided you with the means and methods to build your little empire in the first place. Take some of that money or that land and give it to the schools, the libraries, and other civic institutions than cannot survive without your help. Provide jobs, help the homeless, make sure kids are fed, receive medical help, and education.

Damn it! Quit hoarding. It's a sickness. And it's a sickness that you can cure. Plus, you will set an example for those confused and chaotic members of Congress who just can't seem to get it together.

This isn't socialism. This is people helping people. It's providing jobs so that the people can once again contribute to the good of society.

You don't have to wait for the state or federal governments to act. You can start now. Just like the person who provided the steel to the school, search your heart and see how good your wealth can really be.

It sure isn't helping anyone by sitting in banks, stocks, and other illusory profit makers. And if you don't, there's a good chance your world will crumble along with everyone else's.

It's on your shoulders. Do the right thing. Spread the wealth.

You may well be the biggest winner!

Monday, October 20, 2014

WAAAAAA! Why Self Pity Is Your Greatest Roadblock--In Business, In Relationships, In Life

Here's lookin' atcha!

You might get a little bitchy after you read this (I hope)...

Poor me. I just can’t seem to get what I want. Things just don’t work out for me. I have had this consistent run of bad luck. I try and I try. Still, it seems God has it in for me. What the hell did I ever do to deserve all this mess?? Then, I read all the self-help and spiritual crap and they promise all the goodies. (Some don’t; they tell me material prosperity is a bad thing. Screw them. I want the material stuff anyway.) I do affirmations and I visualize a little. Still no change. Then the economy takes a nosedive, the weather is awful, people are rude, traffic is, well, traffic. There doesn’t seem to be any way out. I’m too fat; too sore; too scared. (Too lazy?)
Blah, blah, blah.
I call the above whiny, complainy garbage The Velcro Effect. It’s like you have this patch of Velcro on your forehead and the connector on the back of your hand. Every time some little thing goes wrong, up goes the hand, connects to the Velcro, and you walk around in a state of self-pity for all to see. And you actually think you are justified.
Bull Puckey!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to Quit Worrying About How You Feel About Yourself

(Borrowed from my Hub Pages articles...)

“If I see myself today as I was in the past, my past must resurrect itself and become my future.” William James
(This is a very long article, more than 2700 words, so you may want to take it in pieces. Get a cookie, something to drink, and dig in…)
The Child with a Chunky Challenge
I am a true Fat Head. That means that even though I am not overweight anymore, I still see myself as a fat person. I’ve made the decision to be OK with it. There are those who say that seeing myself that way is not healthy. But I tell you this: Trying to eliminate the internal sense of being a fat person is even less healthy. It produces more anxiety than dieting. I know.
Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it…
Picture it. The year is 1954. Southern California. Cars have gotten huge; suburban houses are getting huge; TV screens are getting huge; grocery stores are getting huge. Everything in America is getting bigger and bigger—including the people. I was no exception. (You can get an idea from my picture, above. I don't seem too happy about it, either!)
Even though I was only nine in 1954 and my family was always on the verge of financial collapse, still my mother found ways to feed my father, two brothers and I the most fattening foods she could find. Her motto? “Feed ‘em full on what we can afford.” And that included cheap cuts of meat, especially hamburger, and lots of potatoes, pasta, pan-fried chicken (in lard), biscuits, floury gravies, and of course, cheese—cheap cheese. She made a kind of goulash out of macaroni, hamburger, and Hunt’s Tomato Sauce that we kids thought was the highest of gourmet delicacies. (Later, when I tried to make that stuff as an adult, I realized how awful it actually was!)

I grew up on simple carbs, fatty meats, and desperate love (Mom was fat, too). At nine, I was short and 25 pounds overweight. The kids in school teased me mercilessly. I was the ‘fat kid.’ They weren’t about to let me forget it. I cried on the way home almost every day. (I was the fat kid until my junior year in high school.)
One day, Mom took me aside, knowing I was miserable, and told me, “Son, just suck in your tummy and hold it. That way, you will look thinner.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Surprise! The Universe Likes You....

You Are More Important Than You Might Think... 
If all the insects were to disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow, the rest of life on this planet would follow very shortly. But if humanity were to disappear tomorrow, the rest of life on the planet would thrive. Or so say the scientists.
How's that for knocking our arrogance down a bit?
There is a major difference between arrogant selfishness and a healthy self-interest. You are born with an inherent drive to survive. Naturally, you want things your way. And if you're still alive, you've gotten everything your way. Surprised?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The REAL Law of Attraction...And How to Use It

So, you've read about it, watched the videos, gone to the seminars and progressive churches...
The Law of Attraction
Well, you're in for a pleasant surprise. The entire Law can be summed up in one word:
No other 'rule' necessary.

Jesus suggested we cast our bread upon the waters. Which simply means, Always be ready to give in any circumstance

You have the capacity to share continually. And when you do, the return can and will be immeasurable. Count on it.

A bonus:
Open yourself up to receive, too.

Don't take my word for it. Give it a try, say, for six months. Then, come back and comment. I know you'll be as sold as I am. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland--The Big Vote and the Changing of the UK

Today I wish the best for Scotland, no matter how the vote for independence turns out.

Scotland, there has not been a vote like this since the beginning of the 18th century. And you have spent the past two years preparing for this day. The Conservatives in London are praying you don't leave while nearly half of you seem bent on leaving.

Considering the economy, the connection to oil, the relationship with the EU and the US, this vote is a make or break deal. England has stated that it will not allow you back, if you decide to leave. And the EU may not let you in, even if you want it.

Again, I wish you the best.