Sunday, April 25, 2010


What can I do to contribute?
What can I do to help [him/her] on my team do a better job?
What can I do to be more giving of my time, more compassionate, more empathetic?
What can I do to truly listen to what others have to say (and not just *hear*) and to understand, even if I don't necessarily agree with them?
What can I do to be the one *holding* the spotlight to shine on others, rather than waiting for the spotlight to shine on me?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Death of 'Caveman' ends an era in Idaho | Local News | Idaho Statesman

Death of 'Caveman' ends an era in Idaho | Local News | Idaho Statesman

"Cowards die a thousand deaths, but the brave only one," -William Shakespeare

The pain of the moment will soon be outweighed by the joys of the next

Tyler Durden's guide to Personal Finance.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tyler Durden, he is an essential character in Fight Club, which is both a novel and movie. While the novel came a few years before, the movie escalated into a cult classic in the years following its DVD release. If you aren’t familiar with the character, well… we should probably part ways here.

For those that are still with me, let’s get some things out of the way. We aren’t going to be talking about masculinity, violence, mental disorders, religion, or even politics. These themes run rampant through the movie and have been discussed in great length and detail by individuals much smarter and more witty than me.

Instead, we are going to have fun. We are going to dive into some of the most famous of Tyler’s quotes (movie) and attempt to pull any applicable personal finance wisdom from them. The movie’s strong anti-consumerism message will make some of these very easy, while others may seem like more of a stretch. I’ll let you decide!

Here are Tyler’s thought on a wide variety of personal finance themes:

On the pursuits of material possessions…
“The things you own end up owning you.”

Let’s start the party off right. This is not only my favorite, but certainly one of the most popular quotes in the entire movie. The lead-up, timing, and delivery make it’s impact undeniable. As I mentioned in my last post, my suggestion for this is to create a list of everything you own… and sell half within the next two weeks. Or rig your condo and blow them all up. Whatever floats your boat.

On avoiding lifestyle inflation…
“Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken”

Leveraging debt and living outside of your means has its benefits. For example, on a short time, frame you can get very good at looking wealthy, happy, or successful. Heck, you can even feel these emotions for a while. But in the long run it’s all imitation. You can pretend all you want, but eventually it’s going to crumble.

On rejecting consumerism…
“We’re consumers. We are bi-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear.”

Obviously this is one of the central themes of Tyler’s philosophy. While his approach is rather extreme, it’s hard to argue against the fact that our obsession with consuming is at very core of the majority of our financial woes. While capitalism has many great benefits, we’ve got to be able to set limits, especially in our personal lives.

On separating your identity from your financial picture…
“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.”

Far too many people draw a major part of identity from the state of their financial life, their career, or their possessions. We can all agree that establishing control over your financial life is important in maintaining a balanced life. Buts it’s only one part of many that goes into this. My motto… make your finances a priority, but not the priority.

On recovering from financial mistakes…
“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.”

There is no financial situation that is so grim that you cannot bounce back. There are endless success stories of people who’ve overcome extremely desperate financial conditions and came out on top. In fact, many of us need to hit our own ‘rock bottom’ before any lasting change can be made. Stop making excuses and start creating your own personal recovery story.

On sowing first… so you can reap down the road…
“You wanna make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs.”

Success in personal finance rarely comes quickly. Of the times that it does, it’s usually gone within a couple years. Just ask the average lottery winner. To create lasting change you’ve got to sacrifice up front. You’ve got to take care of the daily basics. The ones that aren’t as sexy or appealing as many alternatives. In the end, though, you’ll be the one enjoying the omelet.

On the ability to learn, grow, and evolve…
“I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.”

Another one of my personal favorites. It’s reminds us all that personal finance, like the other areas of our lives, is about the journey rather than the destination. There’s nothing wrong with saving for retirement, but your life shouldn’t be one big climb up to the edge of a cliff. Make it a journey. It’ll be mostly uphill, but take the scenic, winding route and allow yourself to enjoy the view.

On the courage to take control of your finances…
“People do it everyday, they talk to themselves… they see themselves as they’d like to be, they don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it.”

Everyone wishes they could pay off debt. They wish they had the savings to start their business or follow their passions. They dream of nailing the perfect job at a great company. But the people who accomplish these things actually do something about it. Tyler points out that it all comes down to courage. The courage to run with it.

On overcoming emotions to make wise financial decisions…
“Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or… LOOK AT ME… or you can use vinegar and neutralize the burn.”

Emotions play a huge part in our finances. They are an integral part of how we spend our money, what decisions we make regarding major life events, and even how we react to the stock market and our investing. There are many times in the heat of the moment that we end up making our worst financial mistakes. Instead of taking the quickest, easiest, or most convenient option, we need to slow down and think about what will be the most effective choice.

On the value of trusting your financial advisors…
“You don’t know where I’ve been, Lou… you don’t know where I’ve been.”

A little bit of a stretch? Maybe. In all honesty, though, if we’ve learned anything from our current recessions its that we need to be careful who we trust with our hard earned investing dollars. There are seasoned and qualified professional in every community, we’ve just got to take extra steps to ensure we ‘know where they’ve been.’

On keeping your financial life in perspective…
“First you have to give up, first you have to know… not fear… know… that someday you’re gonna die.”

Why this may appear to be a negative quote, Tyler actually uses it to empower. And it’s 100% true. We can’t take any of it with us. This isn’t about living a fast life or squandering just to squander. A wretched financial existence has the potential to bleed into and poison every other aspect of your life. By taking control of our finances, we can leverage them to support the pursuits in life that are the most fulfilling.

On not settling in your career…
“I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars.”

At some point, for a wide variety of reasons, many of us settle. We settle for average and for comfort. Rather than pursue our passions and fail, we lower our expectations and conform. More often than not, this ends up limiting both our happiness and our finances. We’ve got to find ways to recreate that spark. We need to realize that it’s better to try and fail, than to settle and regret.

On conscious spending…
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

As many of you know, this is a big one for me. Courtney and I are constantly looking for ways to ensure that we are open-eyed and aware when we spend our money. It’s not that we never choose to ‘blow’ money. But rather that we are the ones making the choice to buy and not the advertisers or the neighbors down the street. Whether you use credit, debit, or cash, it’s important to take steps to ensure you’re spending consciously.

$258 million

a day in the life of chung

Sunday, April 18, 2010

a day in the life

Your Time

If you wait for the ideal situation, it will never come. If you create the ideal situation, it will always be, whenever you choose for it to be.
There are plenty of excuses you can make for why this is not the time to act. And while you're busy making those excuses, someone else is busy taking those same actions that you are merely considering.

The time is right when you make it right. Waiting and hoping for things to get better will just allow things to get worse.

If it's important to you, figure out a way to get started on it now. Because the more you delay, the more you're telling yourself that it's really not that important.

Why would you want to spend your time setting yourself up for disappointment? Instead, you can spend that time marching steadily toward your goals.

The ideal time is when you make it, and what you make it. Make it now, and make it great.

-- Ralph Marston

Start strong

Read more:

Be the real you.

Let life know who you are. If you have to hide yourself to get what you want, do you really even want it?
And while you're at it, make sure you let yourself know who you are. Be absolutely honest and authentic, especially with yourself.

It's easy to get what you want from life. The real difficult and essential work is figuring out what that is.

If you think it might be nice, that's not enough. If it looks good on somebody else, that's not enough.

What you truly want is what you dearly love. It is something that uniquely and elegantly expresses the real, live, passionate person you are.

You cannot find that or follow it by pretending to be who you're not. Be the real you, all the time, and joyfully feel the flow of your own great abundance.

-- Ralph Marston

Read more:

All the way in

When you must, you will. When there is nothing to fall back on, you can only move forward.
It's frightening when everything is on the line. It's also exhilarating and motivating and compelling and empowering.

Commitment is not a halfway thing. Either you're all the way in or you're simply not going to be very effective.

Choose your priorities thoughtfully, carefully, and sincerely. Then commit yourself fully to them.

Real, solid, unwavering commitment brings the power of purpose to what you're doing. Be truly committed, and it happens.

You can achieve whatever you imagine. Do it by jumping all the way in.

-- Ralph Marston

Read more:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Be your very Best Always

How large a part does intuition play in your life? When you have a feeling that something is brewing in relationship to your life, do you heed or reject the insight? Oftentimes, signs precede events in our lives and if we document these signs we won't be astonished when the event shows up. For example, you might experience a feeling of anticipation, a sense of foreboding, or just an edgy sensation that implies something is about to happen. Either you can acknowledge the feeling and wait for the outcome, or you can shake it off and say you were just being superstitious that the Universe does not communicate with you in advance in this fashion. But, in the back of your mind there is that still small voice that is nudging you to listen and take note. How can a person be certain if the message is real?

A technique that I use to document this flash of advance awareness is journaling. When I feel something is tapping me on the shoulder, speaking to me in my dreams, or sending me physical signs that are meaningful to me, I jot down the date and the occurrence. I may even add a sentence or a phrase as to what this potentially could mean to me in the here and now. After a few weeks pass or maybe a month, I go back and review my entries. By then, it is easy to see if a pattern develops or if my imagination was simply running away with me. Both things can occur. In order to discern the difference, putting down what is occurring in writing establishes a pattern, a record, that it is credible and proves or disproves a person's extra sensory perception in real time.

Why not begin today and keep a log that documents when the Universe tickles you or even offers you a soft kiss on the cheek? These little intrusions in your daily routine could be the presence of your Unseen Guides directing you to consider one path over another. Their whispers could impact your life if only you pause long enough to consider what message might be being broadcast to you. When you tune in and really adjust your dial labeled insight, you may just find that you and the Universe are in perfect alignment.

What does all this mean? It means that you need to step up and listen to the messages that can impact your life. Napoleon Hill states that when an idea comes through to you from the Universe, don't argue, don't hesitate, don't complain, but act immediately to receive the gift that has been placed in your awareness. Not tomorrow, not later, but now. This idea could just be your ultimate Key to Success.

Be Your Very Best Always,
Judy Williamson

Michael J. Fox Chats About New Book, Dropping Out of School

Michael J. Fox Chats About New Book, Dropping Out of School

Monday, April 12, 2010

50 daily habits ~Mark Foo

Every now and then I wake up in a crappy mood, feeling totally unmotivated and not wanting to do anything or see anyone. It could be due to something bad happening the previous day, or it could be due to nothing at all. I just feel crabby for no reason. Weird, I know. But, I'm sure you know what I mean. Everyone has experienced dreadful waking moments in the past.

In fact, it is not really surprising that a lot of people nowadays feel bad the moment they wake up. If you are bombarded with negative news like the recent airplane crotch-bomb threat and the Haiti earthquake, it is little wonder that you'd feel the world is all doom and gloom.

However, it is worth noting that you can actually make your day better no matter what situation you have in life. So, in order to overcome that awful feeling to make my day a rich and beautiful one, I apply a few or more of the following tips throughout the day.

Here are 50 tips to set you on your way to a better day. Do yourself a favor and don't try more than a handful of these in a single day. In fact, put these ideas in a hat and pick one randomly the next time you get in a funk.

Think Positive Thoughts Before You Sleep
The quality of sleep you get the night before can affect your mood the next day. Thus, if you want to create a better day tomorrow, you have to make sure that you think only positive things before you go to bed at night. Do not fret about your mortgage problems or dwell on the bad things that happened to you during the day. You need a good night's rest in order to prepare your mind and body for the busy day ahead.

Tell yourself That Today is a Better Day
The first thing that you should say to yourself the moment you wake up is that today will be great and marvelous. Know that you have control of what kind of day you will have. Telling yourself that today is going to be a great day will give you a positive attitude and a winner's outlook. The power of the mind is strong so feed your mind with positive things.

Wake Up a Few Minutes Earlier
If you want to get out of bed at 6AM, set the alarm for 5:45 and then allow 15 minutes for your body and mind to adjust and wake up. At 6, hop out of bed! Waking up late and rushing through things will increase your heart rate and simply stress you out. On top of that, you'll inevitably forget to do something and then stress about that too!

Take It Easy
Take things easy. Breathe deeply and slowly. If you are feeling rushed, take a deep breath and remind yourself that in the big scheme of life, being a minute late is pretty small.

Keep a Mental Note of the Things You Need to Do
It is always a good thing to try to keep a list of the things that you ought to do or accomplish for the day. If you are forgetful, you should write these things down. Aside from the things that you need to do at the office, you also need to remember those that you need to do for your family or friends. Write them all down so that you can manage your time wisely throughout the day.

Get Some Inspiration
Do not expect manna to come down from heaven. If you want to create a better day, you have to make a conscious effort to achieve things. Give yourself a boost with some inspiration. Be sure to read, listen or watch something that can perk your day up. Sometimes, just seeing your child laugh is enough to make your heart smile.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Your mood for the day can actually be affected by the things that you do and eat. In order to jump start your day and prepare your mind and body for the busy day ahead, you need to have a power breakfast. Make sure that you eat something healthy. Whole grains, protein, and fruits can surely give you the nutrients that you need to do the things that you need to accomplish for the day.

Some Stretching Will Do You Good
Stretching and exercising your muscles will also help in jumpstarting your system. If you wake up sluggish, you need some exercise and stretching to perk up your day. Besides, stretching and exercising can also prevent muscle cramps and other aches that can ruin your mood for the day.

Pay Attention to your Hygiene and Appearance
One of the things that people are conscious about is their appearance. To ensure you won't feel insecure, make sure to take a bath, wear clean clothes and pay attention to your face and grooming. If you know that you look presentable, you will feel empowered and confident.

Compliment Yourself
Say good things about yourself. Do not be afraid to compliment yourself once in a while. However, be careful not to be conceited because people hate narcissistic individuals.

Adopt a Positive Attitude
Before you step out of the house, make it a conscious effort to be positive in all things you do. Tell yourself that you will stay positive throughout the day.

Exert Some Effort to Smile
Studies show that smiling, even if there is no reason to do it, can lift up your mood. Besides, a smile can make you look even more attractive.

Try Not To Be Reactive
There is a tendency for men to react to everything negatively, especially on the road. Thus, you should try not to be reactive, especially when you are driving. If somebody cuts you on the road, just let it pass and think that the other guy may be having a bad day. Or just be please that you are not as rude as that individual.

Count to Ten to Keep You from Exploding
If you think that you are going to get mad, count to ten to calm your nerves. This will let some steam out.

Think before You Act
Many people end up feeling remorse after they have done nasty things without thinking. To prevent feeling guilty and remorseful, think first before you do something.

Don't Take Things Too Seriously
Not everything that you hear people say about you should be taken seriously. Some people just like being nasty so you should not get affected with what they are saying.

Be More Attentive to People
In order to minimize altercations or misunderstandings, it would really be a good thing to listen attentively to what others are saying. Being attentive will also help you come across as being sincere, thus making you more likable. Of course, don't do it for the sake of being likable. Be genuine in it.

Look at People and Situations in a Positive Light
You really can't prevent bad things from happening. Sometimes shit does happen. In order not to let these things ruin your day, try to look for the silver lining in everything.

Give Compliments to Other People
Make a conscious effort to compliment other people. This will help build better relationships. Just make sure that you are complimenting them genuinely.

Manage Your Time Wisely
A good day can turn bad if you feel stressed out. Thus, manage your time wisely to ensure that everything that you need to do can be accomplished with time to spare.

Take a Break
To prevent being burned out, you should take a break once in a while. Try walking around the office or doing some stretching while you are in your desk every time you are feeling a bit drained.

Deal with Things the Mature Way
Do not be petty and do not act like a child. You are an adult so try to do things maturely.

Laugh a Lot
Laughter can pick up your mood. Just do not laugh at other people's mistakes.

Consider Inputs from Other People
Take time listening to the suggestions and inputs of other people. Even if you are the manager or head of your department, you need other people's contributions too.

Grab Fruit Instead of a Bar of Chocolate
Fruits can surely wake you up in the middle of the day, whereas a bar of chocolate will just give you energy spike for a few minutes. So, you will end up feeling even more tired and sleepy.

Always Do Your Best
You will not have regrets if you know that you have given your all in everything that you do.

Don't Wallow in Sorrow and Defeat
Nobody is perfect and sometimes you need to experience losses and defeats to learn. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, use these negative things to make you a better person.

Stay Away From Negative People
Negative people can just pull you down so there is really no point in spending your time with them. Stay away from them whenever possible. If they happen to be your mates, seek to inspire them. If that won't do, perhaps it's time to find yourself new mates.

Be Courteous and Kind
Doing other people some good will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. And also make you more likable.

Build Bridges and Develop Friendships
Having enemies can surely drain your energy, whereas building friendships can make your support team bigger and stronger.

Be Careful with What You Say
It is often hard to take back the bad things that you say, so you need to be careful with your words.

Take Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers
You can enhance your mood by counting your blessings and seeing the good in other people, things or situations.

Learn to Pace Your Energy
You need to be careful with energy bursts and crashes. Try not to exhaust yourself in the morning because you will surely have a nasty and tiring afternoon if you do.

Incorporate Exercise Throughout the Day
Exercise can give you a “high” because endorphins are released after a good workout.

Wear Comfortable Shoes
It is very hard to stay positive if your feet are hurting. I've seen too many of my female friends wear heels that hurt their feet just because they look good.

Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can cause lethargy. So avoid it at all costs.

Pay Attention to What You Eat
Eating junk food can contribute to mood swings. So eat moderately.

Go Easy on the Coffee
Too much coffee can make you nervous and fidgety.

Treat Yourself
Be sure to give yourself small rewards every time you did well. We all need to give ourselves a nice pat on the shoulders to give ourselves a little encouragement.

Plan the Next Day before Going Home
Before you head home, make a list of the things that you need to accomplish in the office the following day.

Spend Quality Time with the People You Love
Don't take anyone for granted. Sustain your relationships. Spending quality time together is the best way to keep and improve relationships.

Keep in Touch With Friends and Family
If you live alone, calling your loved ones or just dropping by to say 'hi' can lift your spirit as well as theirs.

Have a Hobby
To keep your mind off your work, do something that you love outside your office work.

Have No Regrets
You cannot go back in time so you cannot undo the things that you have done. Instead, make a conscious effort to make things better in the future.

Keep a Journal
Writing things and ideas down can help you to keep track of your goals and remember things you've learned and observations you've made. And it can also help you figure out new directions for your life and then guide you as you go.

Take a Relaxing Bath
After a stressful day, a relaxing bath can help you go to sleep comfortably.

Prepare the Things You Need Before You Go to Sleep
This will help make tomorrow less stressful because you won't feel at a lost of what to do. Being prepared always help you to stay focused and assured.

Get in the Mood to Sleep
Do the things that can help you go to sleep early because a restful sleep can help you improve your mood for the next day. Reading a book before bed or listening to soft music helps me to sleep better.

Make Love
Making love can also release endorphins and help you have a good night's sleep. Plus, it helps to improve your relationship. Of course, I don't expect you to do it every day.

Go to Bed Early
Try to go to bed early and get enough sleep to prepare yourself for the day ahead tomorrow. You don't want to wake up the next day feeling like a zombie.

30 tips ~Leo Babauta

For many of us, the goal of life isn't ultimate wealth, a massive amount of stuff, or the perfect car. It's happiness, plain and simple.

Some people may be created happier than others, with enjoyment of life programmed into their hardwiring. For others, getting to happiness isn't always that simple. You weren't programmed that way.

But like any programming, yours can be changed. Rewrite your life program to include as many of the following tips as appeal to you, and the ultimate goal of happiness can be yours. If you've already achieved complete happiness, well done!

Experiment to find out what makes you happy.
Different things make different people happy. If you aren't sure what your hot spots are, experiment. Try different things out. Find out what you enjoy most. The answers just might surprise you. Try a few of the following for starters.

Surround yourself with others who are happy.
If you are around angry, depressed or sad people, it will transfer to you. You can't help it. But if you're around people who are happy, that will also transfer to you. You'll also learn their habits, and learn to react the way they do when something bad happens. Slowly weed out the negative influences on your life and replace them with positive ones.

Count your blessings.
When something bad happens to you, try not to focus on it. Instead, take a minute to count your blessings. Everyone has good things in their lives, whether it is health or loved ones or whatever.

Gratitude sessions.
Along those lines, it is a good practice to have a daily gratitude session. Think about what you have to be thankful for, and silently thank those who have done something good for you in some way. If you have time, take the time to call them or email them to thank them.

Think solutions.
Instead of thinking about problems, move to the next step: how to solve it. When someone says to me, "Oh, this is so hard," or "Oh, I can't seem to do this," or "Man, we don't have any more of that," I just ask them, "Well, what's the solution?" If you develop solution-oriented thinking, you'll be much happier.

Connect with others.
As much as possible, spend time with those you love, and with others who you enjoy. It could be a simple phone call, or a short visit. Or take a day with the person or people you'd like to spend time with. Have a conversation, do things together, be intimate.

Accept things.
We are often unaware of it, but we usually want things or people or ourselves to change. And that's a sure way to lead to unhappiness, because we cannot control the world. We have to accept things as they are, try to understand them, even love them. Including and most especially ourselves: accept who you are, allow yourself to be yourself, try to understand and love yourself. Then do the same with the others in your life.

Take time to savor life.
Instead of rushing from one thing to another, resolve to have less to do each day, less appointments and fewer tasks. Then do each thing slowly, with mindfulness and ease, and try to be present in the moment. And truly enjoy whatever it is you do, from talking to eating to walking to just sitting.

Notice small things.
Along the same lines, try to notice when you feel good, or you're not suffering, or you are tasting something really delicious, or you feel something cold or hot, anything. Noticing the little things will help keep you focused on the present.

Treat yourself.
Take a few minutes each day to give yourself a little treat, whether that's something like chocolate or berries, or a bubble bath, or walking barefoot in the grass, or taking a nap. Whatever it is, treat yourself. You deserve it.

This shall pass.
When bad things happen, and you're having trouble accepting it, think to yourself the same thing the ancients did: "This, too, shall pass." And it will. And you'll survive.

When you give to others, whether that's money or the stuff you no longer need or your time and love, you become happier. It's true. Take 5 minutes today to call a charity and volunteer to donate some time sometime this month. It will make a big difference in your life.

Follow your passions.
If you do what you love to do, especially for a living, you wil be extremely happy. This is one of the best things you can do. If it seems impossible, don't give up. Others have done it and you can too.

Look at your achievements.
Instead of looking at what you haven't done, or what you've failed at, think about what you have done. Many times that's much more than we realize.

Just the simple act of laughing can make you happier. Watch a funny movie, tell jokes, read a book by Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, go to humor sites on the Internet. And laugh your head off.

Realize that you deserve it.
You deserve happiness. That simple statement is actually profound for many people, as they don't believe they really deserve to be happy. It's often unconscious. If you feel that within yourself, you need to first realize that you deserve happiness. Repeat it if necessary.

Get into the flow.
There is a state of doing known as Flow, which is when you completely lose yourself in a task and forget about the world around you. It leads to happiness, and productivity. Set yourself up for it by clearing distractions, giving yourself a challenging (but accomplishable) task, and making it something that you like doing. Then try to lose yourself in that task.

Have a goal.
Too many goals will lead to ineffectiveness. Try to choose one goal and really focus on it. And work to accomplish it. Goals lead to happiness, if you make progress on them.

Get inspired.
Take time to read blogs or books or magazine articles about success stories related to what you want to do. It will get you energized.

When you do something right, when you accomplish something, when you feel like it, reward yourself. Celebrate. Have fun, and pat yourself on the back.

Try to have at least one area in your life where you have autonomy. It's best if this is at work, but if not, find another place, such as a hobby or civic activity. You need to be in control of what you do to be happy.

Spend time doing something you love.
Make room in your life by eliminating some of the commitments you don't really like doing, and replacing them with something you truly love.

Show little acts of kindness.
Each day, try to be kind to others in little ways, opening doors, smiling, giving up your place in line.

Just a short walk or run could lift your spirits and reduce stress. Nothing difficult. Just get outside and move.

Catch negative thoughts.
Monitor your thoughts. When you catch negative ones, try to think of something good instead. Corny, but it helps.

Jealousy doesn't help.
Many people obsess about others who are successful or happy. That gets you nowhere, fast. Instead, be happy for them. Then focus on yourself, and what you do right.

Stop watching and reading news.
Sure, this sounds like a head-in-the-sand suggestion. But really, if you give this a try, you won't miss a thing. And instead, you can focus on reading books and listening to music that lifts you up.

Learn something new.
It's strange how many of us are afraid to try new things, or admit we don't know something. But learning new skills or new information is one of the most fun things there is to do. Give it a try.

Check out nature.
Go and watch a sunrise or sunset. Watch the water, whether that's a river or ocean or lake. Watch the stars, or the clouds. Watch animals. Watch people. Watch children. And be inspired by it all.

Laugh some more.
When you are in the middle of a bad situation, look around you, realize the absurdity of the situation, and just laugh. In a year, no one will care. In two years, you'll be laughing at this anyway. So laugh now, and be happy now.

7 life lessons ~Gilbert Ross

I recently looked back at the last two years of my life and contemplated the lessons I've learned. I wasn't bored, wasn't in search for myself, and I wasn't reeling after a defeat; I simply wanted to improve and reflect. I think this is important - to appreciate our wins, losses, new passions, insights, etc. Not reflecting on our lives and experiences is, well, a wasted chance for growth and learning.

At first I was going to jot these lessons down in my diary but then remembered that we are in the age of information sharing and collaboration. So I thought that sharing them here will extend their meaning and benefit beyond my own personal gain and that's a great thing.

So without further adieu, here are some of the more profound things I've learned recently:

Focus on the process and not the outcome
This thought was beautifully summed up by Srikumar Rao. He explains how we fail because we focus our energies on the outcome (the object or circumstance we desire) rather than the process itself. When a child learns to walk, she never focuses on the outcome but solely on the process. Success is then an unthought but very probable outcome.

Failure is a lead not a stop sign
When you hit a wall and things don't turn up the way they were intended, no one is saying to you: "This is where you stop because you failed". If you do, you are reading the wrong information. Failure tells us, "this method and the intended result do not match. Try another method".

Rejection is a booster not a downer
When you get that metaphorical slap in the face (or literal one) after your job application, idea, project, invention or proposal has been rejected, don't waste time feeling bad about it. Stop taking it personally; it's not about you. That slap in the face is a wake-up call for you to pick up your things and keep on moving. Things get rejected every second. So stop the fuss and move on!

Happiness is not the destination but the journey
We think that happiness is a result that comes after having acquired or achieved something we don't have. The problem is that we are creating the wrong model in our mind in which we link happiness to something that is still to come. This brings eternal dissatisfaction not happiness. Happiness is when we accept and enjoy everything as it is. It's about stepping back and enjoying the ride rather than expecting it at your destination point.

Mind vs. Heart = Turbulence, Mind + Heart = Wisdom
Let your heart talk more; it's wiser than you think. You can be as knowledgeable and clever as one can be but if your mind is out of sync with your heart you are losing a lot of energy in internal conflict. Wisdom is really having reached a stage where you balance all your knowledge and intellect with your heart. Purely and simply.

If you want to be creative stop trying to create
Creativity is understanding that sometimes you are not the creator but only the medium of a transcendent creative force, bigger than you or I. This is something I have written about in the past where I compared the creative process to the Yin & Yang duality. It has generative side - the brainstorming & playing with concepts. This takes action and effort. But there is also the receptive part which we very often forget. This is passive, intuitive and entails no action but plain receptivity. If you stop at the generative part of the process you will have an incomplete creative cycle and the more you try the more incomplete it is. so stop trying.

Gratitude is the energy-drink of the soul
Say thank you to the universe every morning. Appreciation and gratitude are instant soul-lifters as angst, contempt and disdain which weigh you down and make you dull. Try it out. Be thankful to at least one thing in your day. It will nudge you into appreciating the delicate equilibrium of life with more depth and perspective.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

reppin taiwan.

34 Little Ways to Share With the World ~Leo Babauta

As kids, we’re taught that sharing is good, and yet competition is what is really drilled into us. We compete for profits, positions in a corporation, status symbols, space.

We’re tearing each other down instead of building each other up.

A culture of sharing has always existed, from the earliest tribal times, and it’s seeing a resurgence on the Internet these days. This is a good thing.

I’ve written many times before about helping others, developing an attitude of giving and compassion, and having faith in humanity. As have many others.

But now we’re going to look at where the rubber meets the road: how you can start sharing today. Build communities, beautiful public spaces, stop thinking about private property and how you can build fences, and start thinking about ways to use common resources to reduce wastefulness and to start tearing down those fences.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Help an entrepreneur with a Kiva donation.
Volunteer your services with a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or other charity organization.
Donate money, food, or others goods to charity.
Bake cookies or brownies and share with a neighbor.
Put your favorite recipes on a blog and share with the world.
Volunteer your expertise (whatever it is) to the world, and give those services to anyone who needs them.
Give step-by-step instructions for doing something valuable you know how to do, online, for all to read.
Give your books away to friends or charities.
Start a community garden in your neighborhood, or contribute to an existing one.
Start a CSA, or become a member of one that exists.
Become a member of Freecycle, and participate.
Join or form, and participate in a cooperative (food, bikes, books, housing, more).
Give people a ride in your car. Carpool.
Let strangers use your car when you don’t need it.
Hold potlucks every week, rotating among friends/family.
Look into co-housing.
If you own copyrighted work, uncopyright it.
Perform random acts of kindness.
When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to pay it forward instead.
Contribute code to Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS).
Donate money to a small programmer who has created FOSS, or buy shareware.
Clean up a park near you.
Sign up, participate, and contribute to bike sharing, car sharing, and other sharing organizations.
Help transform streets back into public spaces meant to be shared by everyone. (more)
If you’re in southern California, check out Neighborgoods.
Borrow and lend things in your neighborhood by using Share Some Sugar.
Barter via Craigslist. Or try u-exchange, trashbank, care to trade, trade a favor, or joe barter.
Share your tips with others online or through a free ebook.
Create great software and give it to the world for free.
Smile. Be compassionate in all human transactions.
Invest in a friend who wants to start her own business. Don’t ask for the money back for at least a few years.
Make things, and give them to people.
Read to the blind, help the elderly, assist those with disabilities.
Start or contribute to a tool-lending library in your neighborhood.
This list is only to get you started. The ways you can share and make this world a better place, today, is limited only by your imagination.

Post inspired by Sharable, an amazing amazing site.

You want something. Go get it. Period.

Those who can do more, can do more.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

life is short

World's Oldest Man: 'Life is Short'

Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man at 113 years, gave a pretty amazing birthday speech Monday at the Montana retirement home where he lives:

Life begins each morning whether we have succeeded or failed or just muddled along. Life is a school to learn, not to unlearn.

Life is the creation by God and if you would know God, be not a solver of riddles. Look about you and you shall see him playing with your children. Look into the air and you shall see him walking in the clouds, out-stretching his arms in the lightning and descending in rain. You shall see him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving his hands in trees.

Life is a great teacher of truth. What is truth to one is not truth to another. What is true in one country may be false in another.

Life is short but the influences of what we do or say is immortal. There needs to be much more of the spirit of fellowship among us and more forgiveness. The power of gentleness is little seen in the world.

Remember that life's length is not measured by its hours and days, but by that which we have done therein. A useless life is short if it lasts a century.

There are greater and better things in us all if we would find them out. There will always be in this world -- wrongs. No wrong is really successful.

The day will come when light and truth and the just and the good shall be victorious and wrong as evil will be no more forever.

Life itself teaches us to best prepare for that future which we hope for and for that journey to that land un-known, not made by hands.

Everything just is beautiful; everything beautiful ought to be just.

The mystery of the world remains unknown. Our maker alone is the key which unlocks all the mysteries of the universe.

The world is neither a prison nor a palace of ease, but rather for instruction and discipline.

This world has been good to all of us.

a toast. my wish.

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”


The mind is the most powerful weapon known to man. It simply cannot be controlled or contained by an outside force, however formidable that force may at first appear. Throughout history, tyrants have tried to control those who opposed them, but eventually these rulers discovered the power of the imagination was far greater than the threat of the sword. As Victor Hugo said, "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come."