Wednesday, September 23, 2020

"Ant Farm" theories and Creationism


Man has wondered about his origin for has long as he was able to think for himself. The theories we're going to discuss today were created in ancient Greece at a time when Philosophy and Science was one of the same. In fact, the term "Scientists" was only coined in 1833. In ancient Greece, when a Philosopher thought of a theory he wouldn't necessarily need to prove, via the scientific method, that it made sense before sharing it with the world. A lot of those theories didn't stick but some have and are still with us today even though, from a scientific perspective, they make no sense.

The following are a group of theories that fits well, at least to me, together and have all been created at roughly the same time by Greek Philosophers. In Chronological orders, those are:

  1. The Earth Is Flat - According to Wikipedia, the idea of a flat Earth first originated in the 6th century B.C. by a Philosopher named Pythagoras.
  2. Creationism - According to Wikipedia, the creationist theory originated in the 5th century B.C.
  3. The Earth is at the Center of the Universe - According to Wikipedia this theory is, again, attributed to a Greek Philosopher in the 4th century B.C.
These 3 theories seems to have been created to complement each other and I like to call the combination the "Ant Farm" mindset. An Ant Farm is finite (Earth Is Flat), everything in it has been placed there by someone (Creationism) and it's location is at the center of a kid's room (The Earth is at the Center of the Universe). It make sense for a theory, such as Creationism, to exist in a world where "The Earth is Flat" and "We're at the Center of the Universe" exists but since both those theories have been nullified - why, then, is Creationism still around?

Religion is why Creationism is still around, and thriving, today. There's no doubt in my mind that the book of Genesis is an extension of the Creationism theory as it was widely accepted at the time of Jesus.
A religion is a work of Philosophy and every religion has a story on how everything began. The answer to the questions related to our origins is too important and should be answered with science - not faith. There's no value in keeping debunked theories around. Let's keep what make sense and move away from the things that don't.

Creationism originated from the mind of a Philosopher in Ancient Greece. Why are we still debating whether or not the theory is true considering it didn't even come from "divine origins" or observable evidence? We have to remember that Creationism was created at a time when people would sacrifice animals to Gods, for protection, and act on dreams because they believed it had divine significance. 

These things might of made sense then but it doesn't anymore.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Dwayne Johnson Football Dream



If you know anything about today's movies then you've likely heard about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Before Dwayne Johnson was an actor and wrestler he was someone that wanted to play in the NFL but ultimately failed to do so. Fast forward to 2020 and Dwayne Johnson now owns the XFL - a Football league that, while small, has plenty of potential to grow.

What this tells me is that Dwayne never let go of his original dream of being involved in Football. Sure, he never played professionally but he did some acting related to it and now owns a league. I doubt owning the XFL was part of Dwayne's plan in his youth since the league wasn't around then but when you stick to your goals the world seems to create opportunities for you.
“If you want something you've never had
You must be willing to do something you've never done.”

-Thomas Jefferson
Not many of us have dreams that we work towards and, from those that do, even less continue on after hitting failures. It may have taken Dwayne a few decades to achieve his dream but the important thing is that he did. How many of us can go through decades before eventually getting our dreams? Most of us can't even wait until our food is done in the microwave - let alone wait decades for anything.

Never loose sight of your dreams.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Where's the Valor?



Valor is an incentive most often attributed to military focused societies as it is a quality one gets from exhibiting great courage in battle. 

With the rise of technology one has to wonder where is the Valor today? Our wars haven't stopped but the way we fight has changed. Some people don't even need to be physically present on the battlefield anymore. How can a soldier, who is taught that great deeds on the field of battle brings valor, earn valor when he's placed in a situation where he can't exhibit great courage as he's fighting in-front of a monitor rather than the trenches?
Valor has inspired soldiers for thousands of years but technology seems to have taken it away from them. If valor is no longer attainable for a soldier then what other moral incentive is used to inspire? 

After reading a few books on Alexander The Great, there are plenty of times where valor, or battle recognition, was the sole motivator of the soldiers. After all, the Greeks were military focused. If this is what inspired the soldiers then... what inspires them now?  Is the career soldier more of a job nowadays than anything else? There's definitively still recognition to be found as a soldier but, like most everything else, it changed.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

We Should Be Better Than the Spartans


You can probably tell that I've been reading about Greek history based on my few recent blog posts. Who ever read about Greek history likely learned about the reputation of the Spartans. For those of you who haven't, the Spartans were a Greek military society who's military, and fitness, prowess are forever remembered as being the best of its time.

If I was in charge of a nation I would make it like Sparta - not from a military perspective, as I'm not a man of war and I believe that the only war we should be fighting are the ones found withing ourselves, but from a fitness perspective.

Wouldn't it be great to live in a society largely focused on fitness? It's kind of weird to live in a society that understand the various issues the body can have if it's not treated properly and yet we "fix" those issues via medicine rather than lifestyle changes.
The Spartans didn't know anything about heart diseases, cholesterol and high blood pressure but they understood that being fit meant that they performed better on the battlefield. We know more about fitness, dieting, diseases... than the Spartans did and yet so few seems to be taking advantage of this knowledge. With all the knowledge we have we should be remembered as the fitness civilization in history but there are far more people overweight than people that are fit.

"Without knowledge action is useless and knowledge without action is futile."
-Abu Bakr

The knowledge to be fit is available to us all but few are consuming it and even fewer are applying it. You don't need to understand everything to get some good results you just need to start. If I had any degree of control over a nation fitness is definitely something that I would promote. Vote for me?


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Alexander's Veteran Soldiers


Last week I talked about Alexander the Great's army containing career/veteran soldiers. What I didn't mention is that some of those soldiers were in their late 60s.

If you were a young 20 some year old fighting a 60 year old I'm pretty sure you would be thinking that this was going to be an easy win. After all, your opponent is old, frail and slow but that's not how I see it. 

Being a soldier is one of the most dangerous career path one can take. Many soldiers, of that time, didn't live to see their 30s and it's, therefore, pretty rare to see someone reach old age.
Sure, an older man may be slower than a young 20 year old but we have to remember that those 60 year old soldiers were not like most 60 year old we see today. Since they spent most of their time on their feet they were in great shape for their age and, perhaps most importantly, their advance age as a soldier meant that they hadn't yet met their match in battle.

If I was a young soldier, at the time of Alexander, I would be scared when faced against a 60 year old veteran soldier. Wouldn't you?



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

If I Could Go Back In Time...


If I had a time machine I would go back to the time of Alexander the Great. More specifically, when Alexander's army faced off Darius' massive army which some historians say was 1 million men strong and contained war animals, such as elephants, among it's ranks.

"An army of sheep, led by a LION is better than an army of LIONS, led by a SHEEP" 
- Alexander The Great

What I find fascinating about this particular battle is we see first hand what a strong leader, with a small army, can do against a weak leader with a large army. Alexander was a young commander that was taught the art of war by his father, King Philip, at a very young age. His army consisted primarily of veteran, career, soldiers.
Darius, on the other hand, was a King that grew up in luxury not knowing much about war. His army consisted of career soldiers as well as blacksmith, shopkeepers, potters ... or any other man that could hold a sword and a shield. His primary strategy was to intimidate the Macedonians by the sheer number of men. This proved futile, however, as the Macedonians knew too well that most men in-front of them were not as battle tested as they were.

What Darius failed to understand is that you're only as strong as your weakest link and the weakest link, in his case, was the men that had no battle experience. Once the battle started, these inexperienced soldiers started to flee which created hysteria among the masses. Many of Darius' men died on the battlefield and many more fled the scene including Darius' himself. The Persian casualties is said to have been in the few hundred of thousands while the Macedonians had only lost a few hundred men. An impressive feat considering the size differences of each armies.

It was a well known fact that Alexander would spare cities that surrendered to him. Needless to say that Alexander's conquest became much easier once the word got out that he had brought down one of the vastest army of the time. After all, if Alexander could defeat an army said to be 1 million men strong how could a city state of a few thousand people expect to stop his advances?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the rise and fall of Alexander's in the book "Alexander the Great" by author Jacob Abbott. The book is considered public domain and is therefor free - you should pick it up!

When/Where would you go if you could go back in time?


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

My Parents Changed the Neighborhood

The Road

"You can only lead by example."
-Frank Langella

My parents have owned the same house for roughly 35 years. It's on the country side and, for a time, it housed a family of 4 alongside a bunch of pets.
For most of those 35 years my parents have mowed the lawn on the side of the road for roughly half a kilometre each side of their property (pictured). For years, my parents were the only ones to do this but recently the neighbors have jumped on the idea.

The benefits are evident:

  • The road looks cleaner.
  • It stops the trees/grass from growing too close to the road.
    • It increases visibility of cars getting in/out of yards.
    • It increases visibility of pets/human/animals that want to cross the road.

When we think about leadership we usually think about business or some big endeavor but it really can be as small as mowing the lawn. My parents didn't ask people to do anything - they lead by example and, eventually, it caught on. As far as I know, this is the only street where people do this and I like that it all started with my parents.

Have you done anything to make your neighborhood better?


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Freedom IS about Wearing a Mask



"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
-Thomas Jefferson

It is natural for us to believe that freedom is the opposite of law. We would think that freedom means that I can do anything that I want but in reality you're only free to do anything that you want for as long as you don't step on someone else's freedom. 
If we were to remove the laws related to how we use the road the end result would be chaos and definitely not freedom. It's illegal to drive at top speed, or while being drunk, because doing so endangers other people - doing so steps on other people's freedom to use the road.
We need a minimum set of rules so that our actions don't negatively impact someone else's freedoms. 

"Every man should be responsible to others, nor should any one be allowed to do just as he pleases; for when absolute freedom is allowed there is nothing to restrain the evil which is inherent in every man."
-From Book VI (chapter 6) of "Politics" book by Aristotle

I can't help but think about the road scenario whenever someone says that being forced to wear a face mask, to slow/stop the spread of Covid-19, goes against their freedom. By not wearing a mask they are making the road less safe for all of us the same way as if we were to remove the laws that pertains to the road. In-fact, a lot of our freedoms are at stake if we don't do our part to stop the spread of the virus. If we can't control the spread of the virus then how long do you think restaurants, bars and other public places will remain open?

It's true that someone can say "I don't care if I get sick" but what about those around that person that don't want to get sick? Why are some people being so selfish about this? Some people changed their minds once they actually got sick. We just can't wait around for them to learn this lesson the hard way. 

It's easier to fight a virus than it is to fight people's arrogance. Those so called "Freedom Fighters" believe that history will remember them has heroes when in fact they will be remembered as one of the reasons why this virus stuck around for so long and why things were shut down longer than it needed to be.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

You're Enough



Does anyone ever feel like they're perfect the way they are? Or are we all feeling inadequate in some way? When will we ever feel like we're enough or just as good as anybody else? Why is it that the perfect picture of ourselves never matches our reality?

"Other people see in us what we see in ourselves." 
-David J. Schwartz

Life insecurities is getting in the way of living to the fullest. To just be and let it be sounds simple but it definitely isn't'. This isn't something that becomes better with age as I've seen many people in the last stages of their lives still not being at peace with themselves. It's something that we first need to identify as a problem and work towards improving.

"The key to winning what you want lies in thinking positively toward yourself. The only real basis other people have for judging your abilities is your actions. And you actions are controlled by your thoughts. You are what you think you are." 
-David J. Schwartz

It's difficult to feel confident when we feel inadequate. What  can we do to work on this? We need to attack this problem on two fronts:

  1. First, and most importantly, we need to think positively towards ourselves. Sure, we may have some bad sides but we also have some good sides. There are good and bad things in all of us - this is what being human is all about.
  2. Second, there are some things about us that we definitely need to change. If we have addictions, for example, it's not enough for us to simply think positively about them - we need to get rid of them altogether.
To recap, think positively about yourself, identify the things that are a nuisance and fix them. Even when we fail to change, just the thought of seeing ourselves as a project to work on is sometime enough to see the better side of us.
It is better for us to identify our own problem than to have others identify them for us. Fixing ourselves is our responsibility - nobody can do that for us.



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Look Your Best But Don't Overdo It

*David by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

We're a society that's very appreciative of beauty which places a, often unfair, pressure on people to look a certain way. There are some good sides of this as it sometime inspire people to make dietary, or lifestyle, changes in order to bring out, what is widely considered, attractive physical features. This becomes a problem, however, when taken to extremes. Some people don't feel pretty unless they look like they can lift a car.

The pressure to look a certain way can be so great that some people will get all sorts of surgeries to "fix" what they think is wrong with them physically. If you have no reason to get a new nose, other than you think it's too small or big, then why do it? Note that there are no surgeries that will allow us to look 20 years old once we reach the ripe old age of 60. Plastic Surgeons are obviously not against this trend as it allows them to own a few cars and a condo in the Bahamas.

"Exterior beauty without the depth of a kind soul is merely decoration."
-Anne Marie Cummings.

On one side, it's great to live in a society where we have the option to change our physical appearance but I hate the fact that it is so widely used for the wrong reasons. Somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of what true beauty is. It's not about how you look as much as who you are. There are no surgeries available that can fix a broken soul. It is far more pleasant to be at the company of someone with a kind heart than someone with nothing but a pretty face.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Virtue is Happiness



"The highest good was the virtuous life. Virtue alone is happiness, and vice is unhappiness." 
-Take from the introduction, from an unknown author, in the book "Meditation" by Marcus Aurelius.

Inner peace can be easily achieved by those that live a virtuous life. Inner peace is something that we should all work towards as there's no greater joys to be had in this life than to be a peace with it.
When we live a life of vice, or a life that goes against our moral values, it is the vice that is in control and not the other way around. We may think that we have control over our vices but it's an illusion. If you can stop your vice "anytime you want" but don't then you are not in control of it. You only really gain control over it once you accept it as one of your flaws and work towards getting rid of it.

There can be no inner peace if the mind is preoccupied with vice. If there's no peace then there's no happiness. How can you be happy when it is the vice that is in control of your life instead of you?

We don't have to look too deep to find our vices. The difficult part is to see them for what they truly are: an hindrance to our inner peace and happiness. Dedicate your life to being the best version of you that you can be. Start by removing your vices.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Religion and Tyranny



A Tyranny is a nation under a cruel or oppressive form of government. Leaders of such parties often shows a religious side for no other purpose than to better control the populace. Hitler was a tyrant that used religion to convince a nation that the Jews were bad people for their involvement in Jesus' death. If Hitler was, truly, the religious man he professed to be to his people he wouldn't of committed such atrocities.

Religion can be a wonderful thing when it is used for its intended purpose but a really ugly one when used as a mean of control or as a way to meet some selfish, tyrannical, end.

Tyrants using religion as a mean to control the populace isn't a new, nor original, idea. Aristotle said, almost 2500 years ago in his "Politics" book: "...Also he should appear to be particularly earnest in the service of the Gods; for if men think that a ruler is religious and has a reverence for the Gods, they are less afraid of suffering injustice at his hands, and they are less disposed to conspire against him, because they believe him to have the very Gods fighting on his side..."

This was as much of a problem then as it is today.

According to the "planetrulers.com" there are currently 50 dictatorship in the world. Tyranny and dictatorship are interchangeable terms. I don't have data on how many of those dictatorships uses religion as a mean to control but I find it frustrating that there are still so many of these oppressive forms of governments around in this day and age. Don't you find this frustrating?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Best Thing About Me



Even though I work full time, I often go through interview exercises in my head. I do so to prepare for future job search.

One of the questions I ask myself, during these imaginary interviews, is "What is your best quality?" and there's one answer that comes up more so than others which is: I understand the importance of staying humble. 
A person stops learning as soon as he considers himself an expert. Daniel R. Castro, in his book "Hidden Solutions All Around You", said "Don't be blinded by your own expertise." Richard Feynman refers to it as the "ignorance of experts".

I believe strongly in this philosophy because I have seen it first hand. I saw people come to my project being so confident in their abilities that they didn't bother learning the new things to accomplish the task at hand and that ultimately lead to their downfall.
If an expert is not humble then he not only set himself up for failure but he may also come across as arrogant, rather than confident, to his peers.

I believe so strongly in this philosophy that it's been the motto of this site (listen to those with the fruit from the tree) from the very beginning. Be humble my friends and learn until the day you die.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Do You Make Your Bed In the Morning?



There's a video of a military general stressing the importance of making your bed in the morning. This is a discussion I also had with one of my mentors who, coincidentally, had been in the military for 20 years at an earlier time in his life.

One day, I shared with my mentor my dreams of a better future and my mentor said "Those are big plans but are you making your bed in the morning?" to which I replied "That's stupid! What does that have to do with anything?" What he said next was along the lines of what was in the video.
He said that if I ever wished to take care of big things in life then I needed to first take care of the little things and he said that while he doesn't know everything happening in my life he does know that I sleep in a bed and that I should start by accomplishing the little thing, of making my bed, before doing anything else.

I hadn't asked whether or not he was making his bed everyday because I knew he did just by how much attention he paid to the little things in his life - a likely result of his military training.

That discussion happened roughly 6 years ago and I wish I could tell you that I've been doing my bed ever since but on most days I haven't. Recently, the video with the general talking about the important of making your bed has resurfaced in my life and I was reminded of that discussion with my mentor. 

This post is to let you know that I have now committed of making my bed made every morning. Are you with me?


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Listening to Politicians - We are no Longer a Country of Entrepreneurs



Both Canada and the United States were built on the idea that success comes to those that dream. We are Countries that were created with an entrepreneurial spirit but that seems to have faded in the last 50 years.

Politicians spends thousands of dollars to figure out what exactly the mass wants. They do so because they want the bulk of the population to vote for them. What kind of promises do those politician usually make? They talk about raising the tax on the rich, creating more jobs, job security or some new thing that will be "free".
This is telling me that most Canadians and Americans no longer have the entrepreneurial spirit. It was surrendered in favor of job security. People would rather work for someone else's dream than to work on their own. Not only this but people are jealous of those with financial success and, in some cases, want them to pay taxes that are unfair.

The "I want someone else to take care of my future" mentality is making us complacent. We need to come back to our roots and it starts with us learning to think for ourselves.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

It's Easy To Say "Make America Great Again"



"Anyone can steer a ship when the sea is calm."
-Publilius Syrus

It's easy to say "Make America Great Again" when you know you're going to inherit an America that's already great: All you really need to do is to maintain it.
Some things got worse ever since President Trump was elected and I'm sure some things were improved as well but one thing is certain, however, is that things aren't great anymore and everyone is looking at the President to "Make America Great Again" (again?)

America has the most Covid-19 cases, the economy is the worse it's ever been (due to the pandemic), a few weeks ago they were protesting the lock-down (that was silly) and now they are on the brink of a civil war following the death of George Floyd but this new protest, unlike its direct predecessor, is at least justified.

America is going through the perfect storm right now where they have one of the worse crisis ever faced with possibly the worse leadership it ever had.

How to "Make America Great Again"?

In order to turn any failing situation around you need strong leaders that take responsibility for the failures. A President that suggest that we ingest disinfectant to kill the virus isn't the type of leader that can turn around a Country that is on the brink of collapse.
What stand out the most to me is his golf outings. At the time of this writing, President Trump has golfed 254 times, costing Americans 134 millions in the process, during his first term. This is someone trying to get away from his responsibilities and it comes from someone that said he wouldn't have time to golf because he would be too busy working for America ... well it looks like you've found time to play golf after all.
This is also someone who said he was going to hire the best of the best people; most of which are either in jail now or in the process to be.

Hello? Can you please remind me why this guy was voted in? Perhaps America confused Narcism with genius.

Even though I'm not American, I yearned for the day where America will be great again but this ultimately falls on the American people. There's an election coming up soon - you guys know what to do. I don't want another 4 years of a President suggesting we take unproven medicine to fight off a new virus.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Police Brutality Ends Now!



"The greatness of a man is measured by the way he treats the little man. Compassion for the weak is a sign of greatness."
-Myles Munroe

When a person of color, or anyone, is arrested for a pity crime my expectation is that the person will be treated fairly. If you are enforcing the law then your moral compass should be above, not below, average. I understand that you see the worse of our human nature, on a daily basis, and that you are stressed out as a result but you can't turn that into hate for an individual or ethnic group.

This man had committed a crime but he shouldn't of paid for it with his life. He is but one of many that fell from excessive police brutality and this has to stop. The cop responsible for his death is not the problem as much as the result of a much bigger problem that plagues modern society today. 

"Many keen observers and writers have been calling attention to the loss of sense of values that has accompanied the growth of modern technology. They tell us that we have been living under the illusion that more automobiles, labor-saving devices and the like will bring happiness and usher in a better life. Without a strong sense of values and direction, however, the human spirit tends to weaken or deteriorate. Technical devices can liberate man from drudgery and open up new possibilities for cultural development; they can also have a dehumanizing effect and be potentially dangerous if there is no self-discipline and dedication to enduring values."
 -Page 107 of "Living Issues in Philosophy Sixth Edition" book by Harold H. Titus and Marilyn S. Smith

Is technology responsible for all the hate we see in the world today? No, but it does feel like people know more about how to use a computer than how to be nice to one another.

Was the person responsible for George Floyd's death a racist? Would the person doing the crime have died if he was white? I don't know but nobody should be above the law - not even those that enforces it.


 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Don't Believe Everything You See Online



If you're Canadian, then chances are that you've heard about the House Hippo ad that use to be shown on T.V. to remind everyone not to believe everything we see or hear. Is it time to re-run this add to remind us not to believe everything we see on T.V. and, especially, the Internet?

Sacha Noam Baron Cohen, during one of his nomination, said it best:


There have been many conspiracy theories in the wake of the Pandemic and most don't even have facts to back it up. Why is it that some people think that their 10 min Google research is enough to prove, or disprove, something? Why is it that we would rather listen to "Blogger434" than the advice of an expert?
We can, literally, find anything online that supports our beliefs but that doesn't mean that it holds any ground. I can ask Google "is the Earth flat?" and I'm going to find hundred of thousands of sites that supports this idea and, again, it doesn't mean that it's right.

How do we know if this Pandemic is real? 

If you're asking yourself this question then you likely don't believe anything that's in the news right now (and you shouldn't) but do you really think that all Governments have banded together to mess up the economy like this? Do you really think that all the news about doctors and nurses crying are fake? How would it be possible to setup a global phenomenon like this and have everyone on board with it? What use would it have? Do you need to experience these events yourself in order to know they are real?

This isn't my first rant on this subject but I'm constantly reminded, by my Facebook friends, how easy we believe in things that just aren't true. The mere existence of a conspiracy doesn't make it true. It's frustrating to see people I highly respect fall prey to a blogger who's only wish was to gain views in order to boost his revenue. We need to be careful!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Am I a Good Writer?

Writing Journal

 
"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." 
-Vince Lombardi

I've been writing for a long time and always thought that if I do it often enough, if I work hard at it, and I give it time ... I would eventually become one of the greats. While I have made improvements over the years I'm surprised at how little of the "best practices" I actually implement in my writing. 
The problem is that I haven't been learning much on the subject of writing itself. I've simply read books, unrelated to writing best practices, and went on to write expecting that I would pick up on things. The irony here is that the motto of this site is to "learn from those that have the fruit on the tree" but I haven't been learning from the writing masters.

Practice what you preach right?

I've implemented some lessons I've learned about paragraphs and sentences in this blog post. Is it better? Is it working? I can't tell! I can't tell because it's difficult to spot our own mistakes. What I need is a writing mentor - someone that can look over my blog post and tell me how I can make it better without loosing the message I'm trying to convey. 

"No! Try Not! Do or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

When I go to the gym, I have a very specific goal in mind. I know how my end result is going to look like and I notice changes along the way. Improvements, related to writing, seems to be barely noticeable to me. I don't know how I'm doing and I don't know what it takes to get where I want to be with it. Is the desire to be great writer enough to actually be great at it?

If you like my writing - thank you! If you don't then constructive criticism would be appreciated. Either way I'm going to be doing this for as long as my mind is able to formulate thoughts so stick around!


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

I Miss the Gym



Those that don't go to the gym, on a regular basis, don't understand the true meaning of "missing the gym". When I share this, with my non-gym friends, they tell things like "well why don't you just workout at home?" or "why don't you just go outside for a walk?". The gym is more than just a place to exercise - it's a sanctuary. It's like a church for millennials; a place where we go to exercise and mingle with people of similar goals. It's a place filled with people that understands the true meaning of discipline and hard work. It's a place to forget about your problems and focus on the moment.
Sure, I do some workouts at home with the tools that I have but it's nowhere near as good as a proper gym. I feel "flabby" in places I wasn't flabby before.

I was recently asked "what is the first thing you're going to do when the quarantine is over?" and the first answer that popped in my head is that I was going to the gym. Assuming I'm still working when the quarantine is over I fully intend on taking a few days off to go workout.

What's is the first thing that you'll be doing after the quarantine is over?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Is the Pandemic Your Financial Wake-Up Call?



I've been fortunate to have gotten my financial "wake-up call" early on in my IT career. For some of you, the Pandemic is your financial wake-up call and it's going to hurt you more than those that were financially stable before this entire mess started out.
I can't stress out enough the importance of living a debt free lifestyle. Having money in the bank gives you choices - debt is financial slavery.

Some of you are protesting the lock-down not because you want to go back to work as much as you need the money to pay off all of your bills.

Now here's the problem: the majority of people is going to loose money because of this pandemic. If you don't have any money then you will be more in debt at the end of this ordeal than you were when it all started.
I have one of the most conservative, minimum risk, financial portfolio that I was able to create and I still am loosing money because I don't understand the investment world enough to take advantage of the changes that are going on. Even some experts investors are loosing money in some areas because previously "safe" investments are no longer safe. Compared to most of us, however, those experts know where to put their money to minimize the lost and, in some cases, make gains out of this change.

In recent weeks, I've seen an increase amount of "sponsored" investment related videos on my Facebook feeds, from people not known in the investment world, promising great gains if you buy their training videos and follow their investment advice. Since we are in unknown waters right now I would advise you to be careful with those that think they can outsmart the investment market. If you are looking for investment ideas then you need to be looking at what the experts, such as Warren Buffet, are doing with their money. They are the ones that knows the game best and have the most chances to take advantage of the change.

Listen to those that have the fruit from the tree.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Don't Inject Disinfectant





I'm not a fan of the American President but I do find the man entertaining. His latest comment about potentially injecting disinfectant to kill the virus, which I'm sure he's going to deny as fake news, is but one of many outrageous claims that no human being should think let alone say.

He repeatedly said, during that interview, that he's not a Doctor. We know you're not a Doctor, Mr. President, so please stop conjuring up cures and suggesting them to those that voted for you without, first, talking to a Doctor. Your voters, Mr. President, believe everything you say so don't say anything that can potentially kill them.
I understand that in politics you sometime make promises that you can't keep but you can't, and I can't believe this has to be said, suggest to your voters that they do something that could potentially kill them because it's your responsibility to insure the security of those people.
A mother will often tell a child not to "drink this or that" because it can kill the child. It is weird to live in a world where a President is suggesting that we consume things that can kill us.

No, Mr. President, you are definitely not a Doctor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

America - Stop Your Quarantine Protests!



America stop your quarantine protests! Look I get it you have a President that likes to say "Fake News" at what ever facts is thrown at him but you can't just wish a Pandemic away.

Some of you don't believe this is real because you haven't seen it with your own eyes and you don't trust anyone else but yourself. Having this type of mentality during a Pandemic can make you sick or kill you. If you are attending gatherings, and not respecting the lockdown rules, you are not only endangering yourself and your entourage but you're also extending the time it will take for everything to start up again.

America, you're "number 1" in a lot of things and it's great but being the Country with the most cases of Coronavirus is nothing to be proud of. The lockdown isn't an attack on your freedom but an attempt to get rid of a deadly virus.

The Economy is going to change because of this Pandemic. If we remain in lockdown for too long this will obviously have a negative impact on the economy but if we start everything back up again, and everyone gets sick, then this will also negatively impact the Economy. There's no way around it but we need to take the route that has the potential to save the most lives and, at least for now, that's with the lockdown.

Please stay home and only get out when you need to!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Decisions & Success



If you read any self-help book then you've likely heard that you need to have "goals" or be "passionate" in order to be successful. What all this boils down to is that you need to be making decisions and it's the type of decisions that you make that will ultimately determine how successful you'll be.

To have goals means that you've added a direction to your decisions. If you don't have goals then your decisions aren't focused and therefore not as effective.

We are paid based on the value we bring to society and we bring value based on our actions which are initiated by our decision making abilities. The difference between the CEO of a company and the bottom of the barrel employee is in the decision each one is making. One affects the direction of the company, and therefor is of greater value, while the other is to help pave the way to get to that destination.
If you want to be the CEO of a company then you have to set yourself this goal and to focus you decisions towards it.

I have a friend who always wanted to own a restaurant. He started off as a cashier for a fast food chain and worked his way up. He was assistant manager, night manager, day manager and he now oversees the performance of the franchise all over the province.
He was able to make a career out of the fast food industry simply by having a goal. Most people don't have goals which is why most people will remain "cashiers".

Making decisions can be difficult but it's a necessary step to get what you want in this life. Decide on where you want to go and get to it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

What's Next?



I, like most people, dream of starting my own business but it's difficult for me to plan for it when I'm busy working. All of my time and energy is focused on my work and I have very little desire left to focus on building a business. I like what I do, I'm good doing it and it's comfortable. It is easier for me to work than it is to start my own business.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
-Alexander Graham Bell

Many have lost their jobs due to this Pandemic/lock-down but there's some good that can come out of this. Now can be a good time to sit down and think about your next big life move. Did you ever want to start your own business? Change careers? Improve upon your existing skills? Use this lock-down as an opportunity to plan your next move. Prepare yourself to hit the ground running when this is all over.

Many of you will simply waste all of this time and wait until it's all over to get back on the same horse you didn't like to be on in the first place. If you have a desire for a better life, after this is all over, then use this time to your advantage.

Fight back! The decision is yours...

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Pandemic is Going to Hurt The Economy



The Lock-down is a necessary evil and it's great that Governments all over the world are providing financial assistance to businesses as well as those that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic/lock-down. We have to remember, however, that nothing coming from the Government is free. In this case, the Government really is just taking money from your left pocket and putting it in your right pocket - eventually we'll have to pay for all of this.

This is going to hurt no matter how we look at it. There's no way we can shut down everything and expect that our normal way of life can be maintained. At one point or another it'll fall apart and the question then will be "what do we do now?"
In the U.S. President Trump is already asking this question. His party is planning on stopping the lock-down, likely partially, in order to not loose out on the economy.

This isn't a question of money as much as it is a question about trying to maintain the type of society we've built up to this point. What should we do when the cure becomes worse than the problem? What should we do when the cure is just as threatening to our way of life than the problem is?

What we should do is choose the lesser of two evils. Right now, the pandemic is the lesser evil hence why we went with the lock-down but the pandemic will not be the lesser evil for ever. What will we do then?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Learning Outside of Careers



The average life expectancy is 75 years old and I don't know about you but life seems to go by faster the older you get. There's more to life than just to live. Knowing this, I would consider it a great shame to die with the only knowledge being that of my chosen career path. There's simply more to life than whatever we are learning in our careers.

It's been said that it takes 10 000 hours to master anything. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant for this discussion. What we need to keep in mine is that we only have a set amount of hours that we can dedicate to our activities as well as our learning endeavors. This means that we won't be able to master everything.
If you're like me, and wish to learn all that you can before dying, then where do you even start? Which book? Which audio? Which video? The answer is quite simple: Get the information directly from the experts.

"Listen to those with the fruit on the tree". -Ripencil.com

You may not be a philosopher but there are many that are/were.
You may not be a economist but there are many that are/were.
You may not be a carpenter but there are many that are/were.
You may not be a mechanic.... (you got the point?)

We're decades into the information age now. This means that the information is out there for who ever wants it. We can pretty much learn everything that we want from the devices we carry in our pockets. There's no excuse so get to it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It's A Pandemic - Stay Home!



"It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself..."
-Charles Darwin in his “Origin of Species” book.

There's a difference between courage and stupidity and we're seeing this first hand with the blatant disregard of public safety some people are exhibiting by not altering their daily activities following the pandemic state of the Covid-19/Coronavirus. We have to keep in mind that this Pandemic started with one person.

Even though you're not afraid it doesn't mean that you, or the people that you come in contact with, are immune to the disease.
Even though you're not at risk of dying it doesn't mean that the people you come in contact with won't die.
Even though you live somewhere that doesn't have many infected it doesn't mean that it won't change rapidly.

I saw a funny, but true, comment on Facebook that said "Your grandparents were called to war. You're being called to sit on your couch. You can do this."

We'll make it through the Pandemic but the amount of death will largely be determined by how many people are able to adapt to the quarantine restrictions. We're past the point where we can simply wash our hands and call it a day. We need to separate ourselves from the masses, as much as possible, and follow the guidelines put in place by our respective Government.

The question isn't whether or not we'll get through this, because we will, the question is will it be 50,000 deaths or will it be 1 million? We all need to do our part in order to contain this as much as possible and It starts with you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Sales Traps



Always be careful with people that benefits from having you think a certain way. I have a friend who worked for "Dealership A" and every time I would talk to him he would tell me how good cars from "Dealership A" were and how better the brand of "Dealership A" were superior than other brands. 5 years into his selling careers with "Dealership A", my friend decided to switch over to "Dealership B" and when I talk to him now all the positive things that he used to say about "Dealership A" is now being said of "Dealership B".

Good salesmen believe in the product that they are selling no matter if the product is actually good or not. Salesmen benefits in having you believe certain things about the product that they are selling. This statement is true for any field where salesmen are involved.

This isn't good or bad but it is something to keep in mind when you are in the market for something. Before buying anything be sure to do your own research rather than take whatever the salesmen are telling you face to face.

Another example of this is when buying a house. Is a house a good investment? If you ask a financial adviser, a financial adviser IS a loan/insurance/investment salesman, he'll tell you that it's a great investment when the reality of it is that it's not as good of an investment as the financial adviser is telling you that it is. If you want to make it a good investment then you have to do your research.
It is a GREAT investment for who ever is giving you the loan because if you stop paying the loan they get to take the home away from you - they never loose.
You, on the other hand, can loose much if you consider that the value of the house fluctuates (2008/2009 was an especially troubled time for the house market) and that you have to pay for the upkeep of it. In the best of circumstances, you can make a profit from selling but it's often not as good as you would think when you factor in the upkeep cost.
Most people don't do market research when buying a house because they either want to just own a place to live in or because they wrongly assume that the house they bought will always go up in value.

When your money is involved you can't be too careful. Remember to be careful with those that benefit from having you think a certain way. If you do your research you'll realize that not everything that salesmen support are actually good and that you're the one loosing as a result.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Invest Without Loosing



I recently finish reading Tony Robbin's "Money Master the Game" book for the second time and got more out of it this time around because I have a more mature investment portfolio.
One of the rules of investing is to never invest money you can't afford to loose but did you know that there are types of investments where your guaranteed to get back the money you put in? In his book, Tony Robbin shares many such ideas where you put money somewhere that is guaranteed not to loose with a chance of making more. One such idea was to invest in copper coins - you can either sell the coin for the copper value (if more than a cent) or use it at face value (of a cent). It's sounds kind of crazy but I've actually seen someone in the news do this and it was working for him.

Those aren't risky investments so they don't bring in as much either but the fact that you can't loose it can be liberating for some. If you decide to use this strategy with bank investments, rather than such things as copper coins, then the catch is that the bank will only give you 1-4% on your investment and keep the rest of the money that it can potentially make.
Since we're overdue for a recession, and that the Coronavirus seems to be slowing the economy down to a standstill, now might be a good time to look at those types of investments or wait until the recession hits and then buy more. We have to remember that recessions brings opportunity as much as it brings downfalls. It is wise to wait until the stock market hits a low before buying stocks. Many do the opposite where they buy stocks when the market is at the highest and sell it when it's at its lowest out of fear that they will loose more money. If you follow the "don't invest what you can't afford to loose" philosophy then you shouldn't have to sell your investment portfolio when the economy is in a low.

Tony Robbin's "Money Master the Game" book is a must read if you are new to the investment world. You can buy it on Amazon.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

It's My First Time Filling My Tax Return



In all my years of being a productive member of society I have never filled out my own tax return out of fear. My biggest fear was to mess it up so much that the Government would come bursting through my door and arrest me.
Because I was afraid, I spent close to $100 a year on "experts" to fill my tax returns. Over 10 years that's $1000...

$1000 is a lot of money so this year I decided to fill out my own return and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to fill them out. Don't get me wrong, I still had to do some research online to figure out some of the terms but I think I got through it okay for my first try. If you have your T4, RRSPs receipt, and have little else to declare then you should try one of the free tools online this year(Turbo Tax & HD Block). If you can't figure it out you can always revert back to your old method.

I used HR Block this year (FREE) and I doubt that I will ever pay someone else to do my taxes again (unless my tax return becomes more complex).

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

My Next Books



If you're a reader than chances are you wonder which book to buy next even though you may have a hundred books that you still haven't read in your library. During such episode I asked myself which subject I should invest in and "Astrophysics" came to mind (for some reason).

My philosophy, when choosing books of a subject that is unknown to me, is to look for those that are at the top of the field and see what they have either wrote or what they've read.
If you do a search on astrophysics online chances are that the name of "Stephen Hawking" is going to come up since he's a renown astrophysicist, thinker, and author. He passed away in 2018 but luckily is books have lived on and are still widely available.

Needless to say that my choice of books was made clear to me - I ordered 2 of Stephen Hawking' earliest works (A Brief History of Time & The Universe in a Nutshell) on amazon and I can't wait to get them!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Our Selves

In the age of social media, where everyone can choose to share anything about their lives online, it's important for us to reflect on the type of image of ourselves that we wish to project to the world. We typically have 3 "selves".
  • Personal - Your personal life is what happens within yourself - it whom you really are inside and when nobody else is around.
  • Private - This is the person you choose to be around your friends and family.
  • Public - This is who you are in public. You may refrain from talking about specific subjects or be on your best behavior while in public as you know that your reputation is at stakes.
Think of an onion where Personal is at the center and the subsequent layers are Private and Public.
The difference between our personal self and our private self is sometime minimal but may be vastly different than the person we choose to be in public. Who we are in Personal and our Private life isn't necessarily what we want people in our public life to know. Knowing who we are in our personal and private life can help determine what we want, or don't want, to go into our public life.

I'm one to believe that if you have evils in your personal or private life that it will eventually be found in your public life. If we think of Tiger Woods, or Bill Clinton for example we can clearly see that the mistakes they've made in their private lives has had a negative impact on their public life and ended up costing them much.
The opposite can also be true where someone has a bad public life but is actually good in his private and personal life but we don't typically learn about those situation as much because private/personal matters are typically not talked about.

If you decide to share bits and pieces or your life just think about the consequences that may come as a result and keep in mind that what you post online can be viewed by anyone - forever.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Suggested Books from Leadership & Liberty



The Leadership & Liberty books contains blog posts from Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. It's an okay book but what I like the most about the authors is that they are providing a list of suggested readings. The book they suggests are among the bests I have ever read and thought I would share it with you guys.

Attitude and Success
  • See You at the Top, Zig Zigglar
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino
  • Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations On and Off the Cour, John Wooden
  • The Psychology of Winning, Dennis Waitley
  • Life is Temendous, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones
People Skills and Principles
  • How to Have Power and Confidence in Dealing With People, Les Giblin
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Personality Plus, Florence Littaeur
  • Bringing Out the Best in People, Alan Lloyd McGinnis
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covery
Leadership
  • It's Your Ship, Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
  • The Cycle of Leadership, Noel Tichy
  • The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle, James C. Hunter
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell
  • Launching a Leadership Revolution, Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
Historical Leadership Illustrations
  • The Founding Fathers on Leadership, Don T. Phillips
  • Scuttle your Ships Before Advancing, Richard Luecke
  • Churchill on Leadership, Steven Hayward
  • Character Counts, Os Guiness
  • The American Leadership Tradition, Marvin Olasky
The History of Liberty
  • The Future of Freedom, Fareed Zakaria
  • The 5000 Year Leap: The Miracle That Changed the World, W. Cleon Skousen
  • How the West was Lost, Alexander Boot
  • The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk
  • The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas
Economics
  • The Economy in Mind, Warren T. Brookes
  • Economics in one Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
  • The Making of Modern Economics, Mark Skousen
  • Human Action, Ludwig von Mises
  • Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Politics and Governance
  • Politics: Easy as P.I.E., Bob McEwen
  • The Revolt of the Masses, Jose Ortega y Gasset
  • The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek
  • The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin
  • Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Robert H. Bork
I have only read but a few of the books mentioned above. This list is for my own safekeeping as I'll be sure to pick those up and read them. How many of those books have you read?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How I Built my Book Collection



My experience is pretty niche when it comes to building a book collection. After graduation, I moved to a new city where I was approached by a man that had a business proposition for me. I listened attentively to what he had to say and decided to join his business venture. The business venture in question offered a leadership system that included books, cds, seminars and a mentorship program. In the span of a few days, I was literally drowning in good books - everything that anyone suggested in the organization are still part of the best books I ever read.

What do you need to start building your own book collection?
  • Which genre you want? - The most important thing you need is to know which genre you want. Since I wanted to learn new skills, the business opportunity I mentioned above was the perfect opportunity for me to build my "self-help" library (an opportunity I fully took advantage of).
  • Association - Once you know the genre, associate yourself with people that love the same genre as you. Through discussion with them you'll learn what they liked and disliked and through this process you'll find books to start with.
  • Look for References - Some books include references of other books or work that help in the creation of the book you're currently reading. Going through this list may help you find your next purchase.
  • Ask the Seller - Some people working at bookstores may be able to find your next favorite.
Once you built yourself a small library, of about 100 books, it'll be easier to add to your collection. If you're looking to build a digital library, there are free (legal) books available online on the Gutenberg.org website.

Happy Collecting and Reading!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Are Family Gatherings Disappearing?



I've been feeling a bit nostalgic as of late in regards to my family. What I'm noticing is that my aunt and uncles are meeting at least once a year. They've built this tight knit bond throughout their lives and it's been great for them. What I'm also noticing is that their sons/daughters, including myself, have not been so keen to keep in contact with each other. I fear that once the "baby boomers" generation of my family will move on to the next life that there won't be anyone to take over the family gatherings.

On my mother's side, the family had built camps near a river where we would meet, for a week at a time, every summer. The week would be filled with fun and games but what I remember more vividly is the family "prison". The prison, which was at the center of all the camps, was a place where you could put family members for "misbehaving" (swearing, lost at a game, and other silliness..) or you could pay to have someone arrest them. To get out, someone also had to pay and the money raised was use to help pay for the food and activities. It was a pretty fun, and original, way to raise funds for the events.

These events stopped about 25 years ago as key people have either move other places or passed away.

On my father's side, there's a big family BBQ every year during the long weekend in August. This has been going on for as long as I remember and I wouldn't miss it for the world. While not as elaborate as what we had on my mother's side it is still great fun and a perfect opportunity to get in touch with those that you don't get to see as much.
The BBQ has been going strong for at least 40 years but I fear we're nearing the end of that event as well as most key people are reaching an age where their bodies are failing them.

The BBQ on my father's side, and the odd gatherings during Christmas time, is all that's left. Realistically, the children of the family are not setup to take over those events.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Individual Truth?



I was reading the book Beyond Good and Evil book by Friedrich Nietzsche over the weekend. It's a very difficult read for me but I did come across a little paragraph that made me think about the current events happening in the States.
"There are truths which are best recognized by mediocre minds, because they are best adapted for them, there are truths which only possess charms and seductive power for the mediocre spirits..."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Doesn't it pretty much sums up what is happening in the U.S. with the division over the President? How is it possible for something to feel true to someone but not for others? Isn't truth universal?

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
-Joseph Goebbels

Before saying that the quote above isn't true consider this: Hitler was able to convinced an entire nation that the Jews were evil and should be eradicated. Any rational mind knows the Jews aren't evil but Hitler kept repeating it to the populace until the majority came to believe it.
More recently, Trump kept repeating that he would build a wall and have another Country pay for it...

Truth isn't universal and people can believe pretty much anything if it's said just the right way and often enough. This doesn't only applies to Dictators but also to what we tell ourselves on a daily basis. I once heard Tim Marks, a speaker and author, say "Know why you believe what you believe" - ain't that the truth.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

My Journal's History



Over the Christmas break, I manage to find some old journals of mine and it was kind of nice to see the progression of my writing throughout the years similar to the type of progression that can be seen on this blog.
When I first started writing in a journal, I didn't really know how to go about it and had complicated systems such as different type of icons depending on what was the subject of the day was or had specific sections reserved for things such as "quotes of the day".
My older journals were basically just about quotes I found interesting during my reading. There wasn't much in terms of personal experiences or thought process which is kind of a bummer because it would of been nice to see what I was thinking then compared to what I'm thinking now.

Nowadays, my journals are pretty straight forward. I start off every day by writing the date and write about pretty much everything that comes to mind whether it be an interesting interaction I had or a thought following something I read. When I write, I always use a BIC pens and recently been using those 4 color ones so I can change color when ever I change the subject.

What I found throughout my years of writing journals is that I used to write less when I had a complicated system. I used to put all this pressure on me to make the best journal possible and it was getting in the way of my writing. The simpler the system the better it is.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Religion Is Love



I was at a funeral not too long ago and the priest said something that stuck with me. He said that the most important thing you can learn in this life is how to love.

Religion is meant to be a guide on how to achieve love. One of the most famous quote of the bible is Matthew 22:39 that says "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Most of the 10 Commandments, for example, are a reflection of love:
  • 4 - “Honor thy father and mother.”
  • 5 - “Thou shalt not kill.”
  • 6 - “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
  • 7 - “Thou shalt not steal.”
  • 8 - “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
  • 9 - “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”
  • 10 - “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”

Some people consider themselves Christians but are quick to place judgement on those that have a different sexual orientation than the norm. They will say things like "My God is saying that what you do is a Sin".

Your God is also saying that you should love your neighbor.

Your God is also saying that only God can judge.

We need to stop pretending that the Bible, and other religious texts, are about hatred as this isn't the case. We have to stop using religion as an outlet for our hatred. We hate because we don't know how to love - not because religion thought us how to hate because it doesn't.

Where do I stand on religion:
When I read religious texts, I approach it from a philosophical perspective because I consider them philosophical work rather than words of a God. When ever I talk about religion, I have both positive and negative things to say about it. I don't believe everything that I read from any religion.

I want to be the best person that I can be a parts of religious texts are helping me with this.

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