Friday, September 22, 2017

You Are What You Repeat

I've been seeing a physiotherapist for the last several months due to a tragic reading in bed accident that injured my shoulder. I'll be alright. My physiotherapist has a sign on his door that says, "You are what you repeat." That is very true in many aspects of life. Physically, I'm working on getting my shoulder back to 100%. Incidentally, my injured shoulder has never moved correctly. As a kid I thought I was double jointed but really, I most likely hurt myself when I was young and didn't heal properly. Now, 30 years later, not only am I trying to heal my most recent injury, I'm trying to repair damage from my childhood. Things are moving along nicely. It's so strange to think that I'll be able to move my arm in a way that was impossible for me most of my life. The secret, not that its a secret, is to repeat certain movements that activate specific muscles and restore range of motion. My shoulder is what it repeats. For decades I've been repeating improper movements and making them the unconscious function of my shoulder. I am now actively and consciously moving properly so that eventually my shoulder will function in the correct way without my constant attention and self awareness.

But that statement is true in other areas of our lives too. If you want to lose 30 pounds, you must eat sensibly and exercise on the first day. And then repeat it. And then repeat it again and again until it is no longer a diet and fitness regime, it is simply who you are.

If you want a million dollars in your bank account, you don't need to go find one big score. You need to earn a dollar and then save it. And then do it again and again until you reach your goal. If you don't repeat the steps required to reach your goal you will never reach your goal.

You are what you repeat so start doing what you want to be doing. Stop doing what you don't want to do. And then repeat.

Friday, July 28, 2017

It's Good To Have Goals

I have arrived.

Professionally, personally, relationally, financially.

I'm still working on the spiritual part of my life but that is a quest that doesn't end until one dies.

It's good to have goals. Without goals there's not much reason to get out of bed in the morning. I've achieved quite a few of my goals over the last couple years. I recently received a raise and promotion at work. I am where I want to be until I retire. It happened much sooner than I expected. I got married almost 2 years ago. I lost the 30 pounds I gained 3 years ago. I've swam with sharks. I completed a triathlon last year. Basically, I have reached most my goals in life already. I've scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef, been to the Arctic Cirle, seen the Northern Lights, jumped out of a plane, gone bungy jumping, etc.

It's time for new goals. I'll add kids to the list. Financial freedom. Disney World. Buy one last house. Get one more degree. One more triathlon. See the Egyptian Pyramids and Dubai. That will keep me busy for the next few years.

Without goals you will never achieve anything substantial in life. However, without a plan to reach your goals, you are just a day dreamer wasting time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Make It Real

It doesn't have to be your dream if you make it your reality.

(Be prepared to work for it though.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Recognizing Happiness

A coworker shared the following parable with me a couple days ago. He was talking about how he was re-evaluating his life and how he reads this story every couple days to remind himself of what's important.


One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.
About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”
The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”
“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.
The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.
“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.
The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”
Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”
The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”



A couple days ago another coworker told me how he was working 100 hours a week at 2 different jobs and his own side business to earn money to pay for things like an extra vehicle, fancy clothes, and dance lessons for his 4 year old daughter.


I think it is more important to recognize happiness than chase it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hello

Way back in the day, when I used to play guitar at church, I would take the hymns we were practicing and change the music. It's amazing to see how versatile some of these 300 year old lyrics really are. I'd change them up into country, jazz, and rock.  One of my favourites was turning Blessed Assurance into a 90's hip hop rap. Just imagine it.

Anyway, I came across Leo who does something similar with current songs. Here's Adele's Hello. I think it's better than the original.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Truth in Love

I have difficulty sharing the truth in a kind way. My default position tends to be rather blunt. Shotgun honesty. I'm working on it. The first phase of my recovery is just holding my tongue. Sometimes I don't need to correct someone. It just doesn't matter. If there is a major consequence as a result of someone doing something wrong based on a lie I will step in, but those situations are not nearly as common as I used to believe.

My guiding principle to sharing truth is giving everyone the benefit of the doubt that everyone wants to know the truth. Sometimes the truth contradicts what one wants to believe is true or contradicts one's feelings. Those are the areas I'm working at sharing the truth in a more loving manner. I try to treat people as though we are on the same team, with the same goal (the truth), rather than the opposition. The truth doesn't care about your feelings, but I do. I try to put myself in another person's shoes. What would it mean to my paradigm, my world view, my life, if I learned something I held as absolute was completely wrong?

Here's some examples from my life I'm currently mulling over.

A co-worker can't meet the type of guy she wants to end up with. She's fat. She asked what do guys want. The harsh reality is that guys don't want to be with a fat girl. They aren't attractive. If a guy is not attracted to you, you can have all the "personality" in the world and it doesn't matter. That's the truth. Get over it. If she were to lose weight she would have a much larger pool of guys to draw from with lot more quality guys in the pool.

A friend has started a business. It's a recreational business that few would be interested in other than a specific niche. Unfortunately its also quite easy to do at home without having to buy a lot of expensive materials. In my opinion its a very bad business idea. I think it will fold in under a year, after losing a lot of money. However, all our friends are telling him how great it is. I think a true friend should tell him to cut his loses and get out now.

An acquaintance is constantly posting "politically" correct soap box one liners calling on all the social justice warrior talking points. Its annoying seeing her "preach" all her untruths and opinions validating her own sense of virtue and superiority. One of her fake injustices is cultural appropriation. First, that's not a bad thing. Get over it. But secondly, and most hypocritically, she (a Caucasian) went to Africa and adopted a black baby. Let that sink in. If cultural appropriation is "bad" then the absolute worst version of cultural appropriation would be to appropriate a human baby of a different culture and race. This is one of the examples in which I have absolutely no compassion when sharing the truth. I'm patient with stupidity, not those who are proud of it.

If the truth offended you, I'm not sorry about that.

Friday, February 10, 2017

When The Man Comes Around


My friend recently found out her husband is dying. The doctors say he has less than 5 years to live. He could be dead tomorrow. There's no operation and no medication that can stop this. Only a miracle will change the inevitable.

I don't know what it would be like to know how little time you have left on this side of eternity. I'm sure it would make any person re-evaluate their life. We all know we have a limited number of days but we all assume that those days numbers in the tens of thousands. I mentioned in early blog posts about sudden illnesses and deaths that affected people I know much earlier in life than is expected. My cousin lost his wife to ALS. A coworker has learned she has MS. They were both younger than I am. Another coworker lost his daughter to cancer. She wasn't even 10. My parents are currently older than their parents were when they died. No one knows for sure how many days or years they have left. And yet, I would guess that we waste so much of our time on things that don't matter in the larger scheme of things.

My friend is preparing to be a widow in her 30s with 3 kids under the age of 9. Now that the reality of mortality has set in their priorities have changed. Life is not about going to work right now, even though money will be important in the future. They want to spend time together. They want to make videos for their kids to remember their dad.

I'm planning to live beyond 100 years old. How should I prioritize? Do I live like today is the first day of the rest of my life or live like today will be my last? What's the middle ground?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Proverbs XXI

If you're going to fish you need the right bait.
If you're going to hunt you need the right weapon.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ads

I'm trying to remove as much advertising from my life as possible. I hate it. I hate being exposed to marketing designed to make me want or buy something. I think I'm good at ignoring the advertising thrust on me but I can't be 100% confident that I'm operating of my own free will. I drive the same car as Tony Stark. Is that a coincidence? There's a lot of interesting research being published over the last 5 years or so regarding the affects of advertising exposure.

First, studies say that the average North American encounters about 5000 ads a day. Some are blatant and others are more subtle. The 30 second commercial is an example of a blatant advertisement. So is a billboard. Brand name labelling on clothes or electronics are more subtle advertisements as well as product placement in movies.  There are are a lot of ads that fall somewhere in between on the marketing spectrum. I know I will never be able to filter them all but I have decided not to knowingly subject myself to all these messages.  

Studies focused on the effects of advertising on children has discovered that the more ads a child is exposed to the more materialistic they tend to be. The more materialistic a child is, the unhappier the child is as well. It is a bit of a chicken/egg problem though. Are unhappy kids seeking out ads to find products to make them happy or does exposure to adds make them want material items which leads to unhappiness when the things don't make them as happy as promised? I'll let you decide.

It has also been observed that people who have viewed food advertisements before meals eat up to 45% more food than those who were not exposed the the advertisements. I think this shows causality and answers the question from the paragraph above.

Studies using multiple test groups have found an interesting link between marketing and emotion. One group was shown two products, stating that one is inferior to the other based on certain reasons. The test group was shown pictures of the inferior product with things people generally associate with pleasant feelings such as sunsets, Christmas, and baby animals while the superior product was displayed with generic items and backgrounds. The second test group was show photos of the items, each displayed with the same generic items and backgrounds. After viewing the pictures both groups were asked to pick the best product. Almost 85% of the people who were shown the positive emotional pictures chose the inferior product, even after being told several minutes earlier why the product was inferior. The generic test group chose the superior product almost 100% of the time. Coca Cola is a master at emotional advertising. Their most memorable adds have no product information at all. They rely almost completely on creating warm fuzzies for the viewers.

Advertising works. And that's why I want out. I want to be free of the undo influence of product peddlers. Previous to this decision I think I managed to keep the influence of advertising to a minimum in my life. I am not a very materialistic person and I don't have a desire for the bigger and better product X. However, I have seen more targeted ads trying to work their way in to my life and I am tired of being on the receiving end. From a technological stand point there is a lot that can be done to keep the ads away. I'm doing what I can on that front.

I will never be 100% free of this Matrix, but I will do what I can to come close. I know I will be happier because of it.