Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Last Christmas Party

I don't know if it's because I've gotten older, or if it's because of all the Hallmark Christmas movies I've seen lately, but I'm feeling quite nostalgic about Christmas past. It dawned on me that the Christmas parties have changed over time. Some people have died, some have divorced or moved away... the Christmas parties I used to have as a kid, which annoyed me at times, are gone.

"The last time you're doing something - knowing you're doing it for the last - makes it even more alive than the first."
-Gloria Naylor

Nobody can predict which Christmas party will be the last. We could say that you need to enjoy every moment of it but the reality is that they're not always enjoyable experiences. It's when you remines that you come to understand that the frustrations of these gathering were part of the experience and their might come a time that you actually miss them.

If you don't consider yourself a family person, I would encourage you to put these feelings aside and reconnect with your family. Life is short!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Tradition Based Decisions

A mother bear will teach her cubs what it takes to survive as a bear in similar fashion than a human will teach his child what it takes to be human. The difference being that the teaching humans are going through is beyond the basic survival instincts and is more geared towards how to survive in the society that we've built. The problem with this inherited knowledge is that some of it is brought down generations without much thought. 

Since my father thought me "X" then I will teach my children "X" but is "X" really all that useful in today's world? It seems that the longer these teachings have been around the more difficult it is to challenge.

The best example I have of this is with religion: A parent born within a certain religious belief will often spent his life not questioning it and pass on the knowledge to his children not really knowing if it make sense to do so but still convinced that the religion is true none the less with the only thing making it true was that it was passed down to him from his own parents.

Another example could be with our educational system. The parents that choose to homeschool their children are often told that they should put their children through the public system instead not because it's better but because that's what we've been doing. Whether or not it's better to homeschool a child is besides the point. The point being that those that challenges established beliefs are met with oppositions by those that have grown content with it.

The focus is always on the next generation and how to best prepare them for the society of tomorrow and sometime that requires the omission of some things in favors of others. What is something that you learned from your parents that you decided to not teach your child?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Use the Things

Roughly a decade ago, someone from my entourage had her car in the garage and something fell on it leaving a dent. Since she didn't want to drive around with a car that had a dent in it, she had it fixed. The entire thing was covered by her insurance which went up as a result.

The question of the day is essentially this: Why do we need to have things look like they haven't been used? Why can't we live with a scratch on the car? Or why do we need to have our house look like someone isn't living there?

None of it matters...

Even if a phone has a case on it, a screen protector, with an extended warranty ... the day will come when you will still get rid of it. Keeping things in premium conditions comes at a cost to you and the result will be the same in the end; the item will be gone.
Some people seems to associate premium condition, of their items, with some sort of social status. It would look "bad" on them to have a scratch on the car. They use their items as a symbol of their wealth.

Again: None of it matters... 

This superficial way of living adds worries in places that shouldn't have any. Items are meant to be used not taking care of like a member of the family. How can you enjoy a car, like they're supposed to be enjoyed, if you worry about scratches?

We have much bigger problems to worry about than to keep our items in pristine condition.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Growing Up

"We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public" 
-Bryan White

One of the greatest mysteries we can have as a kid is the type of person we'll become as an adult. It's a mystery that slowly unfolds with each passing day. The point at which we become an adult is dependent on both biology as well as life experiences. A person is more likely to understand what it means for be an adult, for example, when he accepts the responsibility of being a parent.

“When you’re young; you learn. When you get older; you understand.” 

What does it mean to be an adult?

Being an adult is taking responsibility for your own life. It's understanding that you're essentially the same person you were as a kid only now you're the one that needs to discipline yourself rather than having a parent do it for you. 

“We spend most of our twenties discovering all of the hundreds of things we can be. But as we mature into our thirties, we begin to discover all of the things we will never be. The challenge for us as we reach our forties and beyond is to put it all together-to know our capabilities and recognize our limitations-and become the best we can be.”
-Catherin B. Ahles

The older you get, the more you come to understand the fragility and limitations of life which brings with it a sense of urgency for the things that you want to accomplish.

You decide the type of adult you want to be...

"We're changing everyday but growth is optional." 
-Tim Marks

Those that don't embrace the self-improvement philosophies grow up to be the result of their environments. there's nothing wrong with this but if you want to become all that you can be then you need to make education a companion throughout your life. The type of education you need depends on the type of person that you want to grow into.

Have you grown to be a person that you like?

If you're an adult now, then ask yourself if you are where you want to be in life. If not, then there's still time for you to make whatever changes that you want to make.

Your life always was your responsibility but, as an adult, you understand what it means.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Parents to Fill in the Blanks of Educations

When thinking of the educational system the general consensus is that it doesn't do enough to prepare children to be successful members of society. While I can certainly agree with this, we have to see the educational system as a stepping stone rather than an answer to education meaning that it's a start but not a complete package making the remainder, or what's missing of education, the responsibility of the parent.

Where the educational system fails most, however, is that it makes education a chore rather than something fun to do. Children aren't encouraged to learn on their own account but rather taught to listen and take in whatever is thrown at them making them passive learners rather than active ones.

Self-Improvement is, perhaps, the one skill that parents should instill upon the child. It's the responsibility of the parent to teach the child that the educational system offers basic knowledge, and college/university offers specialized knowledge, but in order to grow as a person one must take ownership of their own education beyond what is readily available via these pre-defined systems.
The difficulty here is, of course, that most parents don't consider self-improvement important themselves as they didn't learn about its importance when they went to school or from their own parents. 

There's a cycle here that must be broken which, hopefully, YOU will help break.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

We're Overdue for a Recession

Historically, we've seen market correction every 10 years (2008, 2000, 1989...) We don't need to be looking at any graphs to know that we're overdue for a recession. Add to this the fact that we're in a pandemic mixed with a war in Ukraine and you have the recipe for an economical disaster.

Every time we're heading towards a recession, we're told that it's best to put money in such things as gold, specific stocks, land... things that wouldn't loose value as much as money might. It certainly sound like a good strategy the issue with that is by the time we learn about this it's already too late. Have you look at the price of gold recently? You need buy these things when the cost is low to sell when its high. If you were to buy gold now, hold on to it during the recession, only to sell it afterwards you would be buying it when the value is at its highest only to sell it when the value is going back down. 
The common folk can't win with these strategies because we're not paying attention to these things as much as experts are.

What can be done?

We will see another recession, and another one after that, as it's just how our imperfect economy works. The first thing that we need to do is insure that our personal finances are in order. Get rid of debt, have a few months worth of savings and be prepare to downsize if necessary.
There's some good that comes out of recession as it's often a perfect opportunity to buy stocks (as most people are trying to get rid of them out of fear) therefor be on the lookout for these opportunities. These market corrections offers buying opportunities that aren't accessible at any other time.

Humanity will get through this recession as its done so many times before. My hope is that every time we go through this that we learn about our mistakes and move on in a better direction afterwards.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

A Hundred Years from Now...

"A hundred years from now..." is a philosophy I use to tell myself that the things I have no control over today doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. A hundred from now, all the things I consider important won't be anymore as I won't be here to make them so. Nobody will remember the mistakes that I made in a hundred years as people will either have forgotten about them or not be around to remember it.

While this provides me with some comfort in the immediate moment, I do feel some sense of anxiety when thinking about how the world will actually be a hundred years from now as climate change is sure to bring with it a great deal of change in how we do things. Are we still going to be able to live on this planet? Some scientist believe that many parts of the world will become unhabitable for humans which is sure to spark some wars as nations are forced to move to new areas.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
-Albert Einstein

Einstein's quote above is a reference to the Nuclear Bomb, even if we never see a nuclear war we could argue that we're heading towards wars that will be fought with sticks and stones due to areas of the planet becoming inhabitable as a result of climate change rather than nuclear weapons.
Individual liberties, brought forth by the constitution and a democratic form of government, has propelled humanity in such ways that wouldn't of been possible under any other forms of government. However, it seems that giving people the ability to seek their own fortune/happiness came at the cost of our environment as many have made their fortune by either directly, or indirectly, destroying it and we're all going to have to pay for it.

A hundred years from now nothing I care about will matter as I won't be here. How different will the planet be in a hundred years?

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

How to Find Your Purpose

"Without a strong sense of values and of direction, the human spirit tends to weaken or deteriorate." 
-Harold H. Titus & Marilyn S. Smith

If you feel that you're alive for a reason but are frustrated that you don't know what that reason is then consider the following to help you find it. 
  • Set/Accomplish small Goals: A purpose is a life goal that works the same way as smaller goals. Set yourself some small goals to practice for when you find what drives you - your life mission.
  • Dedicate time to it: Similar to getting fit, finding your purpose requires time dedicated for it. You won't find your purpose by re-watching Friends.
    • Stay Away from Distraction: Whether it be social media, streaming, gaming... all these things are distracting you from finding out what your purpose is.
  • Try new things: If you haven't found your purpose doing what you're doing then try something new.
    • Be Curious: Ask questions to those you feel have found their purpose.
    • Learn new things: Learn about things that are outside of your area of expertise.
    • Travel to new Places: A friend of mine found that her purpose was travelling by... well... travelling. Another friend of mine found that he wanted to be a teacher by going to another Country and teaching English.
  • Make new friends: Social interactions can be a good way to find your purpose.
  • Be Patient: Your purpose may come to you later in life.
Many people go through life without finding their purpose but that doesn't mean they haven't lived fulfilling lives. One thing is for sure, however, is that you won't find your purpose unless you put forth some effort to find it. These things don't tend to come up by staying in bed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Forget About It!

I've had a recent interaction with someone who proceeded to tell me that I had offended her in similar ways 2-3 times in the past few weeks perhaps thinking that the increasing amount of offenses signaled a pattern that I had to fix with increased urgency. While you can be upset with someone, you can't carry around a list to throw at their faces every time an offense is committed. 

This is an issue we often see with longer term relationships which causes a lot of the same fights. It's perfectly normal to be upset with somebody but most of these offences don't need to be saved as ammunition for future fights
The longer you are with somebody the higher the chances that you'll find things to get upset with them. 

Don't make a list, forgive and forget.

On the opposite side of the coin, it's important for the person on the receiving end of these comments to sometime work on themselves in order to become a better person. If your spouse come to you to tell you that it's the third time you left the toilet seat up this month then you need to consider the frustration and make the necessary change. If you care about your spouse, you want to learn what makes them tick and grow to be a better version of yourself for that person.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

It's Do Good More So Than Be Good

Some criminals consider themselves relatively good people on the inside. If someone that spent a life of crime still feels like he's a good person then chances are that most people think of themselves as good people even if the reality could tell a different story. 

"Cogito, ergo sum" which translates to "I think therefore I am" is the first principle of a philosophy defined by René Descartes that we could expand to "I think therefore I am right" or "I think therefore I am good". How, or what, we think feels right to us as why else would we be thinking about it? It's easy for us to internally feel like a victim of a situation and justified in our overreactions of it. 
To "be" a good person is to "do" good things not simply thinking good thoughts and it's for other people to judge what our good deeds are; It's for other people to determine how good we are.

The picture we have of ourselves and how other perceives us are two separate entities and self improvement requires considerations of both. Become the best version of yourself by paying attention to the constructive criticism people are saying about you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Book Dream

It seems that writing a book is the dream of many that few actually end up doing as they grossly underestimate their writing abilities. Perhaps the reason why most people want to write a book is because they think it'll be a financial success; not realizing that some full time writers struggle to find success. 

Writing is a skill!

Like signing, dancing, metalworking... writing is a skill that needs to be worked on. You can't just wake up one day and decide that you'll write a book and expect that it'll be successful. If a full time writer isn't able to live off of his work then hobbyists writers should rethink their goals or start giving it the attention that it deserves rather than treat it as a side project.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from writing books. If this is one of your future goals, start working towards it even if it's only by reading the dictionary in order to expand your vocabulary. Write a few pages now, see where your skills are at and work on it. What I would hate to see is for someone to wait until they're in their 50s to start writing their book only to realize that they don't have the skills necessary to do it justice and may no longer have enough time to learn it.

It's not as easy as most people think that it is. Remember that while most people can write few can write books without prior dedication to the artform. A book is also not a guaranteed financial gain and not something that should be relied upon as a form of retirement income. 

“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing [about].
-Benjamin Franklin

If its your dream then give it the priority it requires.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Looks can be Deceiving

It seems that we have a tendency to associate what is beautiful to good and what is ugly as being evil. Life, however, isn't as black and white as you'll find just as much beauty in evil as you will find ugly in good. We associate beauty with good because it's pleasing and what is pleasing must be good and what is ugly/displeasing must be evil. 

While this association to morality is unrealistic it's still widely accepted as the interpretation of good/evil in religious text or society in general.
As a kid, I was convinced that Satan was a displeasing looking creature and angels were the most beautiful things that existed. Now that I'm older, I know that appearances can be deceiving and evil can look pleasing to the eyes while good isn't necessarily. 

Evil can also be in institutions that advertises itself as being a place of good such as churches. How many atrocities were committed in the name of God?
Some people have fostered a reputation of doing good deeds only to hide their evil deeds when nobody is looking.

Appearance can be deceiving - trust but verify.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Ignorance Fueled by Misinformation

There was a time when I believed that all that was required to cure ignorance was knowledge but experience showed me that even knowledge can't cure ignorance for as long as the student isn't opened to receive it. This is why many still believe such things as "the Earth is flat" even though it's been proven otherwise for centuries.

In recent years, we've seen a rise of misinformation fueled by influencers attempting to make money off of sensational/fake information which tend to confuse the educated and uneducated alike. We may think that we're smart enough to identify the true from the false but the reality is that we likely believe things that are simply not true.

While we can't double/triple check everything we see online, we should educate ourselves from reputable sources for the important things of life. 
We shouldn't, for example, take financial advice from just anyone we find on YouTube. A background check can go a long way into insuring that the person is who he says he is.

There's no such thing as a perfect place for information and the responsibility to cut the false from the truth falls on each one of us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The new Buzz Word is "Quiet Quitting"

The latest buzz word seems to be "Quiet Quitting" which can be described as an employee that decides to do his work and nothing more. Somehow the term seems to have been coined as being negative almost like employees are expected to do more than what they're responsible to do.

If you do more than is expected of you then people will expect more of you. For a time, these additional responsibilities will come with pay increases but after a while the responsibilities will grow at a faster rate than the paycheck. If you ever grow tired of these "additional responsibilities" it will be difficult for you to get back to your usual responsibilities at that company. Your "Quiet Quitting" may turn out to be a regular quitting in favor of a position, with regular responsibilities, at another company.

It almost seems like work doesn't adapt well to changing situations. In your younger years, you may of had bigger ambitions than you do now but your employers expectations will remain the same.

Is Quiet Quitting a bad thing?

If Quiet Quitting means that you no longer feel like going beyond your core responsibilities than I wouldn't consider this a bad thing as you're doing what you were hired to do. Anything else you might of done, like helping other departments or staying later, was a bonus - a bonus that you no longer feel like you can do. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

How Nations Gain/Loose Power Today

My dad has often said that the main reason why we don't have as many wars today is because of he nuclear bomb. While its certainly true that nobody wants to wage war out of fear of it going nuclear; wars of a different kind have still been fought for decades.

Why are wars fought?

A nation will declare war because it wants more power for itself.

Having a global economy has allowed these power hungry nations to gain more power without the need of acquiring more lands or more people. One thing we can learn from Putin's invasion of Ukraine, or "liberation of Ukraine" (as Putin so eloquently put it), is that it had an immediate negative impact on the nation's economy that will last generations regardless of whether or not Ukraine falls. Putin would of been better off leaving Ukraine alone and, instead, developing a better economic development strategy for his country.

In the information age, a nation will rise/fall based on its internal economy in relation to the global economy. A Country has a greater chance at gaining power by building relationships with other countries than by attempting to invade them. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

There's Blood on The Salad

Some vegans seems to believe that their life choices has little to no impact on the environment when the reality is that there's blood in the salad. If you ask any farmer, they will tell you that in order to grow crops they have to kill hundred of thousands of creatures whether it be insects, bird, squirrels, deer... or whatever else is negatively impacting the crops.

This isn't to say that being vegan is just as bad as not being vegan. What I'm saying is that being vegan doesn't remove a person from the problem nor does it make them a saint.
There's a real need in finding methods of growing crops that isn't as destructive on the environment as it is now. If the problem is that we've destroyed millions of acres of habitats in order to grow our crops then perhaps the solution is to grow food at a smaller , more personal, scale. Would more people growing their own food be better for the environment than having millions of acres dedicated to crops by a single entity? 

Many companies are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Is there anything else that can be done to help making crops less impactful on the environment? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Judge the Art Not The Artist's Ethnicity

"Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is finally out! While it's fantastic, some people have deemed necessary to review bomb the series due to some characters being portrayed by people of color. I get it! We were brought to believe that Dwarves/Elves/Hobbits/Humans in the Tolkien universe were "white" but the problem is that most of the art created in the last century consist of Caucasians. We've purposely left out people of color and we're now trying to be more inclusive with our art which is beautiful albeit overdue.

If you're uncomfortable with seeing a person of color portraying Superman, Batman... or an Elf then, I say unto you, get comfortable and judge the actor not by the color of their skin but by their performance.

You're allowed to not have enjoyed this series but if your only source of hate is that a fictional character is of the wrong skin tone then I would encourage you to open your heart to the idea that imaginary worlds are meant to be places to bring people together. While the characters found within them may be Caucasians, in your mind, they may not be as such for the non-Caucasian consumers and they also deserve to be represented in story adaptations like these.

My hope is that the love for this series will trump the hate as I would very much like to see more of it. If you haven't seen, and you're a Tolkien fan, then you should check it out.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Being an Adult is Boring

"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
-C.S. Lewis

I found my old dress suit while cleaning up my closet and remembered how I dreaded wearing it for work or other formal settings. Why did society ever made something like this? The older I get, the more I realize that in order to partake in society you often have to play these games that you don't really like to play but still do because it's expected of you. 

The problem is that I can't play by all these rules, for too long, or I'll go crazy. 

I'm at an age now that I get funny looks when I tell someone that I still have my old Pokémon cards or about some other, relatively, Geeky thing that I'm into. I know that they're telling themselves "aren't you a bit too old for this?" Perhaps they're saying this because they've given up on something that used to make them happy purely to satisfy the image society placed upon themselves or out of necessity.

I found ways to feed my inner child while also contributing to society. If society had technical specs, like a Computer game, for adulthood then I probably satisfy the minimum requirements for it.

If your life is boring as an adult then try looking into the things that used to make you happy as a child. Maybe what you'll find is that you still enjoy these things and you've given up on them a too soon. While rediscovering yourself, insure that you satisfy the minimum requirements, such as paying bills, of Adulthood and you'll be fine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

We Need to Rethink Consumerism

It's crazy to think that a bag of chips I used 25 years ago is still in a landfill somewhere. According to, the average American will produce 102 tons of trash in his lifetime. Multiply this by the almost 8 Billion People on the planet and it's not difficult to see that we have a problem on our hands.

How did we get here?

We got here through a series of small innovations designed to make our lives easier at the expense of our planet. We got here by replacing paper bags with plastic ones, glass with plastic, towels with paper towels... Someone is profiting from our desires to live a simpler life at the expense of our habitat. We could blame companies for introducing these "innovations" in our lives but the blame ultimately falls on the consumer. Afterall, we wouldn't have a market for paper towels if people didn't buy them.

Have you seen a Swiffer commercial lately? They literally show you how easy it is to clean and then put the thing in the trash. Commercials are training us on how to use those "single use" products and how to disposed of them. 

"It's as easy as throwing it in the trash". Easy doesn't make it right now doesn't it?

We need more reliable, recycle products. We, consumers, must look into everything about our products and choose the ones that are friendlier to the environment. While it starts with the consumer, I also think that business could do a better job at leading us in the right direction just the same as they did lead us in the wrong direction.

Things need to change now...

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Dominant Specie

We started our journey off by being at the mercy of our environment and eventually evolved to be such a dominant specie that we're not only impacting climate but have also became responsible for the survival of most other species.

Is intelligent life destined to be detrimental to their environments or is this something unique to humans? If only we could compare the history of our specie with another!

What could we of done better?

For the longest time, we've underestimated the impact we've had on our surroundings. Whether it be in Ancient Rome or up until last week we have done things to the planet that isn't helping it. We wipe our butts with our forests, we use our drinkable water as a vehicle for various waste... we've evolved in such a way that we use every bit of the resources found on this planet to our advantage and making things worse, in almost every instances, in the process.

We certainly can forgive ourselves for the times that we "didn't know" yet we're slow to change when our mistakes are exposed to us.

Perhaps the most bizarre of our creation is with how we've linked nature to our economy. We MAKE money from destroying it and it COST us money to preserve/restore it. We get immediate value from cutting down a tree but it costs us to plant one even though, I would argue, the value of planting a tree has a bigger significance on our survival.

We need to take a serious look at what we've built so far and make changes in order to be less destructive to our environments.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Owning Up to Your Mistakes

Some people go to extremes in order to not take the blame for the mistakes that they've done and it doesn't make them look any better through the eyes of everyone else. Honing up to your mistakes makes you a better person.

Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada, has apologized for some of the stupid things he has done in his younger years (such as "black face" costume). By apologizing, he calmed his critics, showed the world that the leader of the free world is a human being that acknowledges his mistakes and want to be better.

Self-Improvement is the name of the game here. We can only change the things that we acknowledge as being problematic about ourselves. If we go to extremes to avoid taking responsibilities for our mistakes then we also become powerless in changing these short comings. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Save Money to Retire Early

A few years back, a manager of mine, who had saved millions up to that point, said to me that I should enjoy myself with the money that I have rather than save it all like he had done. 
Recently, an older woman admitted to me that she had no savings for retirement as her philosophy was to, in-fact, enjoy her money in her youth while she still could and not wait until retirement to do so.

My questions to these people are the following:
  • To the manager - Why were you still working at the time you told me this? If you have millions saved, and you're sharing with me that you're regretting not having enjoyed yourself more in your youth, why didn't you just quit your job and enjoy the money you had acquired up to that point while you still could?
  • To the older woman - Why aren't you saving money in order to retire earlier to enjoy yourself without the constraints of work?
I save money not because I plan on spending it when I'm retired but because I want to retire earlier. While I love what I do, I increasingly want it to become a choice the older that I get. I would find it stressful to not have anything saved up for my future.

We live in a society that's all about "buying now and pay later" but that's such a bad way to live. Why would you sacrifice future time for something now? Isn't that how people get stressed out? 


Don't sell your future. Save money now in order to buy future time.

"Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants."

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Those that Can Play with the Law

I like to believe that an innocent person is less likely to go to prison than a person guilty of a crime is allowed to be free. The reality seems to be that the more money someone has the less likely that person is going to prison regardless if a crime was committed or not. 
If you take the case of Bill Cosby, where upward of 60 women have accused him of assault, you can see how a good lawyer can make all the difference in a case. Of course, this isn't to say that all of those 60 women were trustworthy but last I checked Bill Cosby spent but a few months in jail before being set free even though it was proven in court that assaults did take place for some of those women.

The most extreme of cases has to be Trump who's lawyers, as I understand, spends a considerable amount of time in court for one thing or another. When Trump is ordered to provide such things as tax documents, he counter sues, delays, or expertly plays the laws as to not need to do it. When Trump is ordered to provide his phone as evidence in a case, he says he lost it further delaying what ever conviction this could of brought to light. I'm absolutely convinced that if Trump had done the crimes he's accused of, and didn't have the millions of dollars to defend himself, he would be in prison right now. I mean, there's got to be something that he's guilty of otherwise why would anyone be spending so much time in court? Not cooperating with a court order is a crime in itself.

While money doesn't buy happiness, it does allow someone to play the law enough to get little to no sentences for crimes. Canada/US are countries that like to think of themselves as "justice for all" but it often favors those that can afford it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Read the Product Labels of Processed Food

Some people close to me are quick to point out the adverse effects of eating too much "Spinach" or "Broccoli" or what ever other fruits/vegetables I eat a lot that they happen to notice. While I can certainly understand that eating a lot of a good thing can be detrimental to someone's health those same people don't seem to see their eating habits as being problematic. I've had people tell me that eating a bag of cherries was bad for me yet they were averaging 2L of "diet" pop a day. How can eating a bag full of cherries be worse than drinking multiple liters of Pop?

I've first notice this sort of problem roughly 10 years ago when I was part of a health/wellness MLM business. The product offering included such things as plant based protein, fruit based energy drinks, freeze dried anti oxidant products... the entire lineup of products consisted of things to help with someone's health or at least was heavily marketed as such. 
The first thing everybody did, when handed such a product, was to read the label which is something you should do but I've always wondered how many people that read those labels also read the labels of pop or processed food products they purchases from the store. 

When's the last time you saw a commercial for Broccoli? Raw ingredients don't typically need commercials but processed food does. The reason why some people don't see a problem with drinking multiple litter of pop is because marketing makes it look like it's an inoffensive product. When's the last time you saw a diabetic, or someone overweight, do a commercial for pop? 
Every processed food commercial tries to associate happiness with their products. It's always about people having fun, smiling, while consuming the product which makes it appears like it's not poison in a box/can.

Generally speaking, for food and beverages, the more ingredients it has the worse it is for you especially if the list includes ingredients you can't even spell out properly. What I've noticed in recent years is some ingredients were introduced with inoffensive naming, such as Splenda, that makes the product seems better than it is. While Splenda sounds better, as a sugar replacement, than "Aspartame", it's still suffers from the same problem - what the hell is it? We know what sugar is and what problems it can cause if we eat too much of it but what will Splenda do when we eat too much of that? 

Read the labels and consume and put greater effort in buying single ingredient products.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Every Day Stranger

"Have you ever had a stranger remove your clothes?" was something I was asked recently by a nurse who shared the struggled of caring for patients with Alzheimer's disease. She said that some people can be difficult to care for because they simply don't remember you even though you've been caring for them for months/years and every day is like a stranger coming in their lives to invade their privacy.

I knew Alzheimer was about forgetting things yet I never thought about it from the perspective of the carer. If a stranger came to me with the intention to remove my clothes I would become violent which is likely the response some, if not all, Alzheimer's patients have depending on how far into the disease they are.

It saddens me to think that this is the struggles my grand mother is likely going through with her carer and its going to be the fate of many of us as 1 in 9 people will have Alzheimer in their lifetime. I can only hope that one day Alzheimer will be added to our list of treatable diseases. Until then, I guess the only thing we can do is try to live such a lifestyle that minimizes the chances of getting the disease even though there's never any guarantees that we won't have it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

I Forgot About Investing

I recently had a meeting with my financial advisor where we discussed my current financial situation and where I eventually wanted to be. I'm always a bit frustrated when speaking with a financial advisor as it exposes me to a world I don't know as well as I think I do. While I understand the benefits in knowing the rules of the game the complexity involve is daunting at times.

In the past, I've tried to fill the gaps by reading on the subject of finance. While it did helped me greatly, because I don't constantly use that knowledge, I forgot most of what I read. Perhaps it's time for me to pick these books up again. Two books that comes to mind right now are:
  • Money Master The Game by Tony Robbins
  • Financial Fitness by the Life Leadership Company
The most annoying part about all of this is that you pretty much don't have a choice about understanding finances because life is easier when you understand it more so than when you don't. Time for me to pick these books up again!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

When Does Addiction Become a Problem?

It's socially acceptable to be young and do crazy things but their comes a time when it's expected that you leave these things behind in order to become a functioning member of society. Terms, such as "alcoholic", is most often associated with an adult more so than a teen who might be getting drunk every weekend.

When does addiction become a problem?

It becomes a problem when the addiction takes precedents over the responsibilities of the individual. While responsibilities can come at any age, it usually becomes more relevant with time. Teens, freshly out of high school, don't usually have the same responsibilities as an adult a few years into his career.

There's an extended family member of mine who's an alcoholic and decided to forgo most of his responsibilities for his life, in favor of alcohol, giving that responsibility to his children instead. His eldest son, at a young age, had to work simply to pay bills that should've been paid by his father. This went on up until the dad became sick and had to be placed in an assisted living home. The son was given the choice to care for his father or leave him in the assisted living home. What would you of done in this situation?

If you're battling an addiction then you're sole, most pressing, responsibility is on self-recovery. Seek help not only for yourself but for those around you. There's nothing as painful as seeing someone you love struggling with such daemons.

In Canada, various programs/helplines are available.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

It's Your Life

There's some tension in the family as of late due to my sister wanting to move an hour away from where she currently reside making it a bit more difficult for anyone to go see her. While I can certainly appreciate some peers feeling overwhelmed with the news, I don't consider it bad news as she's simply wanting to find her place of happiness in the world. My sister is conflicted as she would of liked to have everyone in the family approve/be overjoyed of the new possibility that presented itself in her life.

I've learned a long time ago that you don't need to seek approval from those closest to you for every endeavors. It's sometime best to do what you feel is right before sharing with those closest to you as they might of steered you in a totally different, wrong for you, direction. 
If my sister doesn't do as she pleases, due to the interference of a family member, then part of the happiness, or lack thereof, falls on the person responsible for the interference. 

My hope is that she'll shut off the naysayers and do what her heart dictates. If she makes the decision then she gets to enjoy the fruit of them. The good thing about this particular decision is that she can always decide to come back or move somewhere else she may find more agreeable to her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Don't Buy The Latest, Expansive/Powerful Phones

A phone is only as good as it's battery and every battery will get worse over time. If you were to buy a 2000$ phone today, instead of the 700$ one, know that in 5-6 years both of these phones would struggle to run more than a few hours.

Expensive phones usually have better specs but is that really useful? What do you usually do on a phone other than take some pictures, browse online/social media, or text/call? Do you really need a phone that is as powerful as the latest generation of gaming console to do these things?

When buying a Desktop/Mac, what you want to do with it determines the specs you should be looking out for. For some people, this logic doesn't apply when buying phones but even if it did can we really use the phone for anything more than the bare minimum? Let me explain:

  • If you get the powerful phone in order to play games wouldn't it be better to buy a switch or a laptop instead?
  • If you're looking for the best camera/phone, wouldn't it be better to buy an actual camera instead?
  • If you're looking to do video editing, wouldn't it be better to do that on a desktop/mac rather than a phone?
  • ...
Perhaps the only reason why companies are making powerful/expansive phones is for those looking to satisfy their ego. Like Rolex is to watches, an expansive phone as a social status tied to it.

I bring this up today because I recently had to upgrade my phone and it took everything in my power NOT to buy the latest/powerful/expansive entry opting, instead, for a new/old iPhone 11 (rather than the newer iPhone 13). When questioning myself I realized that I don't need power as much as I need functional. The arguments I made with myself are the ones I shared above.

If you are in the market for a new phone I would encourage you to find out what you want to do with it and buy something that is on par with your findings, while also being within your budget, rather than something more powerful/expansive that you may not use to its fullest capabilities.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

When Cheaper isn't Actually Cheaper

My mom is quick to brag about the deals she got on some her purchases but sometimes getting something cheaper isn't actually cheaper. Dollorama is one of my parent's favorite place to shop for some goods, like ketchup, and while it is cheaper per unit than bigger bottles you also get a lot less content for that price.

This seems to be a very difficult concept for my parents to understand. Look, I get it, you don't have 7$ to put towards a big ketchup bottle hence why you purchase the smaller, cheaper one, but what needs to be understood is that it won't last as long and next thing you know you're back at Dollorama buying another small bottle. If you would of gotten the bigger bottle, you may still have some ketchup to spare during that same period of time.

This philosophy also extend to other items. When buying shoes, you can get cheap brands but they likely won't last as long, or be as comfortable, as the bit more expensive ones. Essentially, this means that it's more expensive to be poor, and buy the cheapest options, than to be rich and buy the not so cheap options.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Last Home

Ever since my grand father passed away, 10 years ago, things have been changing quite rapidly for my grand mother. She went from owning a house, to moving to an apartment, to moving to a private care home, to the hospital, to moving to an assisted living home; The later of which will likely be her last home.
Due to complications, that came with her advance age, she went from a fully functioning person to a shadow of her former self. She went from being able to think clearly, walking, to being confused and confined to a bed.

Given the choice, I'm sure she wouldn't of wanted to be in this situation but getting old isn't a choice now is it?

The family's responsibility now is to accept this new version of our elderly family member while also remembering who that person was at her best. My hope for my grand mother is that she's able to find some enjoyment in this last stage of her life as well as peace with this inevitable end that awaits us all. 

She's given me life/love and, most importantly, an example to follow. I will be there for you until the bitter end.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Books Recommendations to a Friend

I always get excited when someone comes to me to ask for books recommendations as I know the benefits these books can have on people. Sadly, these inquest occurrences are few and far in between with only a few instances currently coming to mind. The books I recommended to her were based on the subject she wished to improved upon. The following are my suggestions:
  • "Personality Plus" by Florence Littauer
  • "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
  • "5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
  • "The 7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey
  • "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie
  • "Cashflow Quadrant" by Robert Kyosaki
  • "How I raised myself from failure to success in selling" by Frank Bettger
Along with the book recommendations, I shared with her the struggles that readers sometime have with the hope that she would be able to identify these and move pass them. Those are:
  • You won't always remember what you read and that's okay.
  • The brain is like a muscle - It needs a warmup period with constant training in order to grow.
  • You don't need to finish every book you start as not every book is good or is for you.
  • Start by reading 15 min a day.
I'm happy she decided to start on the self-improvement journey and am thankful that I was in a position to make these recommendations to her. My hope is that she'll read those books and find some additional ones of her own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Cutting the Chaos

The Universe is chaotic and we defined boundaries, in the form of Governments and socially acceptable behaviors, for ourselves as well as varying degrees of processes across all of our industries in order to make the Universe appear less chaotic. It's through these configurations that we manage to become the most populous specie on this planet. Perhaps wars and rebellious groups are a reminder that the world isn't as properly defined as we make it out to be.

Is there a better way to live?

Each new generation brings with them a host of changes. The Millennials and Gen Z have redefined sexual identity, relationship boundaries as well as what constitutes a home - many preferring mobility over a sedentary home. It's normal for these changes to be seen as chaotic by the preceding generations but let's not forget that they, too, have made changes for what they considered to be a better way to live. What's important to remember here is that these changes are the natural order of things and what ever is wrong will be made right again by the following generations.
While changes occurs regardless of society's restrictions it does occur faster where freedoms exist.

There's still chaos...

As I mentioned before, wars and rebellious groups are a reminder that our society is built upon chaos. We aren't perfect therefor we haven't been able to create a perfect society. Perhaps these evils are necessary in our quest for improvements. Interestingly, the time period that we live in is relatively calm compared to any other period in our history which may be a sign that we have made some improvements over our predecessors - let's keep this cadence.

If there's one thing to remember about this post is that change is necessary on our quest to create the perfect society. If we already lived in a perfect society then there wouldn't be any need for change. My only hope is that these changes will occur via peaceful means with the uttermost respect for each other.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Everyone is Replaceable At Work But...

It's been said before that everyone is replaceable at work but is that really the case? With time, everyone is replaceable as the people left behind slowly fill the hole that was left in the project by the person leaving. The size of the hole, however, differs depending on the contribution of the person to said project. I remember this particular instance where it took more than 2 years to fill in the hole of that one person that left - these are the kind of people that a company should work to keep.

Employers must identify these people to insure that they're properly taken care of by the company as loosing them as far reaching consequences.

How long do you think it would take to replace you?

Funny enough, I want my departure to be as seamless as possible. I always want to leave a project at the same state, or better, than when I was there. This is why I spent a lot of time mentoring others in everything that I do as I never want to be in a situation where my departure would leave the project in a bad spot.
Maybe this is the approach everyone should have? Why would you want to leave the project you've spent so much time working on in a bad spot?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

We're Dumb!

I recently came across a list of people that were put to death due to being convicted of Witchcraft. When we think about someone being put to death due to Witchcraft we probably think about something that occurred in the 1700s but surprisingly this isn't the case as we've had a Witch put to death as recent as 2020 according to Wikipedia.

"Who knows why we were taught to fear the witches, and not those who burned them alive."

While we have the ability to think we choose to, often blindly, follow other people that does the thinking for us as well as live our lives mostly on habits. When we, blindly, take someone else's thinking as our own we're sometime face with a situation like the Witch-hunt mentioned above where a group of people believe that it's within their rights to prosecute others for, what they believe to be, Witchcraft. 

Thinking is like a muscle that we must exercise in order to be proficient with it. 

The biggest problem that we face as a specie today is that we've created some very smart, but deadly, inventions that are often being controlled by not so smart people. If we think about the Atomic Bomb currently in Putin's possession (and at one point at Trump's disposal) it's not difficult to see that this is an extinction level problem. 
Leaders of the world either forced their way into the role or are voted in but in neither case is "being smart" a requirement and it's essentially the responsibility of the masses to insure the world leaders qualifies for the role. 

Recently, I've been frustrated that some very good people have been influenced in all sorts of extremist ways (think freedom truckers, patriot parties...). If we, in-fact, lived in an tyrannical world I would see these as necessary but what we have today is mostly angry people directing their hate towards good world leaders and they either want to replace them for one of their own or another leader that is, himself, behind a tyrannical scheme.

True freedom comes with a responsibility and that responsibility is for each one of us to educate ourselves from good, trusted, resources rather mamajaba32 on Youtube. I'm fully aware that everyone thinks that they're right but in order to be sure we're right for anything we constantly have to challenge our belief from trusted sources.

I know I've been all over the place with this post yet the bulk of the message is simply this: We're dumb! You can be young and dumb, that's kind of what's expected, but you can't be old and dumb.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Nobody Will Remember You (And That's Okay)

I once said that life was about choosing how to be remembered yet there will come a time when nobody will remember us. Slowly but surely time will forget that we ever existed whether it be shortly after our death or a thousand years in the future.

Out of the billions of people that ever existed only a handful of them are still remembered today. If we think of Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein ... all of those individuals left a mark that will likely be remembered for thousands of more years but there might come a point when history will forget about them too as in order to remember anything we need the ability to carry forward the knowledge from one generation to the next. In the event of a global catastrophe, that would prevent a generation to share its knowledge to the next, this chain would be broken only for history to start anew.

This is "okay" because it simply can't be helped. There's nothing, anyone, can do that will leave a permanent trace into this vanishing thing that we call time. A million years from now, humans may not even be around anymore. 
Sometimes one has to wonder what's the point of all of this? A religious person might say that our existence is some sort of test that will determine where we'll be in our next, eternal, life. I always found it a bit strange that what ever behavior we have in our brief existence on this planet is, somehow, playing such a major role in another, more permanent, state of existence. 
If we, somehow, lost all of our history and started anew it would be interesting to see what kind of religion humans would create for itself. My guess is that the Sun would, once again, reach deity status in much similar ways as our ancestors have... up until a prophet comes along to shake things up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Future is Vegetarian

It makes sense for a specie with self-awareness to move away from barbaric origins in favor of a nobler future. We've made a lot of progress in that regard and one of the ways we can further this is by moving away from meat. Animal cruelty aside, it's not difficult to see that we will eventually reach a point when our meat habits will no longer be sustainable

Maybe it's my, albeit small, Buddhist side of me speaking but does it really make sense to have our specie consume another for survival? Consuming another specie has been useful to us in the past yet we now have the technology to move away from it. Why not explore these options further?

While the current meat alternatives aren't necessarily the healthier option it's still a step in the right direction.

If we ever reach space age then we will need to make changes to our diet. It wouldn't make sense, for example, to bring cows for long term space travel. 
If we think about it from the perspective that the planet we live on has limited resources and that once we reach space age we will need to find alternatives to meat then why not start looking at alternatives now? We may not need to remove meat from our diet completely, yet, but we should start thinking about revisiting some of our meals.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Manager Vs Leader

Lately I've been finding that I'm an excellent manager but a very poor leader. As a manager, I'm good at coming up with processes and assigning tasks to others but I doubt that other people see me as being inspiring (a quality of a good leader).
Being in a management-ish role, I have more people than ever before looking up to me for answers to their day to day struggles. Sometimes, I share these answers but it doesn't seem to stick and I'm required to repeat myself frequently as a result. My current belief is that, given more leadership capabilities, this wouldn't be as much of a problem

According to the book Launching a Leadership Revolution, by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward, Leadership effectiveness is determined by three things:
  • Character - Doing what you say you're going to do even when nobody is looking (or being trustworthy). 
  • Tasks - Ability to accomplish the tasks at hand.
  • Relationships - Being able to connect with other people.
Relationship is, perhaps by far, the area I struggle with the most. Making friends has never been one of my strong points. It's not that I'm a bad person it's that I find the entire process of building relationships kind of exhausting. 
It is said that Extroverts are those that gain energy from being around people and that Introverts are those that gain energy being alone... I'm definitely in the later group.

What now?

Relationship is one of the most important qualities to have as a human being. If you don't have relationship skills then your human experience is going to be a lonely one. This flaw of mine is something I absolutely need to solve. How? Re-reading the Launching a Leadership Revolution book might be a great place for me to start.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Recycling the Unrecyclables

I find it difficult to believe that in 2022 we still allow companies to use material that can't be recycled. Is there any reason why we can recycle a bottle of water but not the cap? Why not make the cap recyclable too?
I understand that there might be some limitations, such as meat can't be stored in "x" type of plastic for whatever reason, yet we need to get back to the drawing board and find a solution to this problem. 

We also need to look at ways to recycle the unrecyclables. Can they be used in other products? Can they be broken down and made into bricks to build houses with? Can a used bottle cap be washed and used for another bottle?
Are we not doing this already because it would be too costly do to so? Why is it cheaper to pollute that planet than it is to do things to preserve it?

Sadly, I have frustrations when it comes to this problem but like most I don't have a solution for it. Is it possible to live without destroying our environment in the process?

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