Monday, June 29, 2009

Advice on Advice

Do you think lying to your spouse – significant other – is a bad or a good idea?

I’ve been married long enough to be aware of the female “trap – test” questions:
“Do you think my boobs are too small?”
“Do you think my butt is too big?”
“Do you think my younger sister looks younger?”
But even when you are prepared, the timing will always get you!

…We were getting ready to go to a party when I entered the bathroom to comb the little hair I have left.
My wife was putting on makeup, when suddenly she turned around and asked:
“Do you think I am gaining weight?”
I had to stop to suppress the “Honey you look like a young and sexy Ms Piggy” thought.
I turned around and to my delight, without a pause, I heard my self saying:
“Honey, you look perfect to me!”
She gave me the “you passed the test” smile and at that moment I knew I would have a great evening :)

After 13 years of marriage and two pregnancies she looks amazing – even with the 20 pounds extra, but telling her the truth wouldn’t be a good idea.
Some how – and please correct me if I am wrong – I believe that she expects me not to tell her the truth – on that particular question - and to argument my thought; two days latter she announced me:
“I think I need to loose 10 pounds.”
This means she knew that she has gained 20!
(It also means the next couple of weeks the whole family would be on rabbit food diet – which I don’t like very much - but then again I need to loose some of my “love handles” as well :)

So do you still think, lying to your significant one is a good or a bad idea?
Exactly my point!

The complexity of human behavior and the complexity of human relations makes impossible to come up with universally applicable rules.

So, do you think tying up your lover and spanking them is a bad or a good idea?
Guess what?
Somebody out there would find it extremely pleasing and exciting but also somebody else would not.

So I always cringe when I see the big titles on the cover of some popular magazines:
“10 ways to spice up your love life!”
“20 ways to please your woman!”
“30 ways to improve your relationship!”
“Somebody out there is going to be in big trouble taking advice from a magazine!”

So here is my advice on “advice”:
Advices are not to be taken literally but rather inspirationally.

In other words never follow an advice because you trust the source but rather follow an advice because you trust yourself!
Easier to say than to do – true!
But it is better to make a mistake on your own than on somebody else’s advice :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tips & Tricks II

We can summarize the last post with the immortal words:
“If life gives you lemons – make lemonade”
And let’s continue the exploration of the work process…
Work can burn out negative energy but also can burn YOU out.
So it is essential to talk about “work management.”

First – get out a piece of paper and a pen.
Make out a list with two columns.
On the left column list all the physical work you have to do.
That might be gardening, fixing up or remodeling around your house, working on your car or any other manual hobbies you might have and of course sports or the gym work out.
(For good measure end the list with physical things you would like to do but are not currently doing.)

On the right column make a list of the mental or intellectual work you have to do.
Learning a new computer program, a foreign language, doing your taxes, working on your blog, creative or artistic hobbies, painting, writing, etc.
Also end the list with non physical things you would like to do in the future.

Now here is how you “layer” your work in order to prevent burn out and maximize your efficiency and productivity:

Always start the morning with the hardest mental task you have that day.
Work on it as hard as you can until you start loosing concentration and stamina.
Stop and switch to a physical chore.
Work on this as hard as you can.
The moment you start showing signs of fatigue stop, take a short shower and switch back to your mental task or to your next mental assignment on the list.

Keep on doing your work in this “layered” fashion until you are done with your list.
Make a new list for the next day :)

Note: This works well for students and self employed people.
If you are employed into a 9-5 job you are basically screwed – Your most productive hours of your life are taken by your employer :)
Never the less, you should still apply the “layering” technique to the reminder of your day work.

Always finish your day with a physical work task.
This is as important as not eating anything 4 hours before bed time.
It will ensure a good night sleep which in turn will ensure a good working next day.
Do not make the mistake I’ve done and go on the internet to relax before going to bed.
Most likely you will end up going to bed at 2 or 3 AM mentally exhausted.

If this ever happens to you do not go to bed, instead go into a power work out.
Something like high intensity cycling, weight lifting or aerobics.
Do not worry abut loosing sleep time, you will loose even more tossing and turning in your bed if you don’t do your work out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tips & Tricks

Long time a go in a galaxy far, far away…
I was a cadet in the naval academy.

Not a big deal, but for a while I had to give up my privacy.
Living in a dormitory with 100 other men.
Sharing common showers and living quarters.
And of course not a living woman around.

That of course raised a big question.
How do you deal with the raging hormones of a 19 years old man?
At least till the weekend leave…

Purely by accident I found out that after playing intensely for an hour or two of basketball my horniness went down and actually I did not have to deal with the problem… until at least the next day of course.
So every time I was horny and had no other means to deal with the problem, I would hit the gym and burn out the extra sexual energy.

So here is the tip for today:

Instead of crying over being dumped by your lover or chewed up by your boss:
Hit the gym!
(Beat up a gym bag and pretend it is the hated enemy.)
Instead of hitting the refrigerator for the ice-cream or the chips – or even worse the bottle and the drugs:
Burn out your anger, pain, fear, jealousy, sadness or whatever!
(It would not solve your problem but at least you’ll be in excellent shape :)

Now here is even a more excellent tip:

Many of the most amazing human creations – novels, poems, paintings, are deeply rooted in human suffering and misery.
Think Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Baudelaire, and van Gogh
Some of my favorite music – Beethoven, Mahler, are stories of human hurt and agony.
(Just put on Mozart’s “Requiem” and you’ll understand what I mean.)

So instead of wallowing in your own tears and self pity why don’t you write a novel about it?
Why don’t you take your heart breaking story and turn it into a movie script?
Energy is energy; it doesn’t have to be positive to move you and if it moves you, it doesn’t have to move you on a self destructive path!

So if you have problems think of them as a source of energy.
Burn it up or use it in a creative way.
Whatever you choose don’t let your negativity take over your life.

You will not like where sorrow will take you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The game of Life

Do you play chess?
I do and I like it a lot.
If you can’t relate to chess maybe you play something else:
Bridge, poker, tennis, golf, bowling, pool…
If you don’t play anything, you really need to get a life :)

Playing is part of life.
Actually being an adult is being a child with real toys.
If you think the whole life “thing” is serious you need to lighten up.
Life is short and then you die!
So, you better learn to enjoy it – fast!

But I digress.
So when you play a game, you like to win - right?
Not quite for me!
See, if I play chess with a really bad player and I kick his ass every game I don’t like it.
I like an opponent that wins from time to time :)
So it is not the wining that really maters, is it?

What about loosing a game?
Well, if I get an opponent that beats the crap out of me I don’t like it either :)
But if I loose from time to time, it actually makes me feel good.
It makes my victories so much more worth it!
It gives me respect for my opponent and actually some how I even enjoy his victory.
How strange is that?

I’ve been writing for a while now about living in the moment, about taking action, about turning dreams into reality and I miss this little point:
It is not the winning or the loosing that matters in life.
What matters is to be in the game of life, not on the side bench.
What is really important is to enjoy life.

What ever you are doing if you are not enjoying yourself you are doing it all wrong!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Acting Emotionally

For the last couple of posts we have been discussing the concept of living in the present.
Our future and our past, our dreams and our experiences are tied together by this “present” moment and the mastering of “here” & “now” is the mastering of one’s destiny.
Pretty much it all boils down to the fact that we can only act in the moment of “now”

Well, it is all fine and dandy, but as some of you have pointed out even after understanding these basic concepts we still have problems applying them in the real life.
We are paralyzed by our emotions and unable to act.
So what is this anxiety, this fear that is stopping us from acting and what can we do about it?

In our quest for action we have two basic fears:
The fear of failure and the fear of success.
First let’s see how we can recognize them.

The fear of failure manifests itself by the inability to start a project.
People that are afraid of failure will act only when the pain of not acting is greater than the pain of failure.
Failure looms big in the beginning but as we progress in our endeavor we reach a critical point where we can see the looming success around the corner.
At this point acting becomes easier and easier as we are more and more convinced of our impending success.

The fear of success manifests itself by the inability to finish a project.
If you are in this group you have no problems starting a project or even multiple projects at the same time.
As success is very far from you in the beginning, your acting is very easy, but as the project advances to the tipping point where success looms around the corner your fear kicks in and you start sabotaging the project.
You will find excuses for not continuing or even stop without any excuse until the project fails.

So what can we do about this?
The very fact that you are aware about your emotional state it will be of great help but even then you might need to outsmart your emotions.
Here is how you can trick yourself in accomplishing a task.
(Remember you are dealing with your emotions so these tactics make no logical sense whatsoever :)

Dealing with the fear of failure:
Start your project with the end - postpone as much as possible the beginning of the project
Let’s say that you want to open a business.
Do not open the business, instead do the other things like finding a distributor or a vendor, secure capital, find a place for your business or the equipment you’ll need.
In other words do as much as possible to reach the tipping point before you actually open the business!
(Remember do not try to make any sense out of this – it is purely emotional :)

Dealing with the fear of success:
Start right at the beginning – postpone the end of your project as much as possible.
Let’s say you start a restaurant business.
Before reaching the tipping point and success is not yet in sight, change the end of your project.
Go for a franchise of your business – take your business nationally.
When you are about to succeed in that, change the ending again – go internationally!
(Remember do not try to make any sense out of this – it is purely emotional :)

Another thing to remember is that your fears might be different for different actions.
You might be afraid of success in your business but at the same time you might be afraid of failure in your relationships – which is what most people are :)
So evaluate each situation separately and come up with the best plan to bypass your emotions.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Successful Dreamer

It seems to me that the world is getting increasingly biased, split, separated in two:
On one side there are the “practical” people that believe dreaming is a foolish waste of time.
(Watch out they are taking over the world!)
On the other side there are the “dreamers”, the idealists that believe it is better to be pulled by your dreams than to be pushed by your bills.

In this dichotomy I am feeling like an odd bird because I believe in the practical dreamer, the “successful dreamer” as I call it.
Let me put it this way:
Not all dreamers are successful people but all successful people are great dreamers :)
My quest has always been to empower the dreamer, to turn the dreams into reality.

Here is where the living in the “now” doctrine comes in.
Look at yourself as a construct in time.
See yourself as a tree.
Your roots are stuck in the past from which you draw up your wisdom and experience.
The future is the crown of the tree where inspiration and imagination are assimilated from the universe, like the light energy is gathered from the sun.

Between your past and your future, between your memories and your dreams there is the trunk of the tree, the moment of now.
The trunk of the tree it doesn’t look like much – and I understand why dreamers get stuck in the past or the future but you see, the moment of now is the key of turning your dreams into accomplishments.

Without the moment of now you can not turn your dreams into visions.
Without the moment of now you can not turn your experience into an action plans.
Living in the “now” means bringing your future and your past together into action.
The moment of now makes you a whole being.

Acting in the moment of now, as boring and hard it might seem is the only way to grow.
If you understand this concept of being a construct in time and the power of “now” you are ready to become a “successful dreamer”
All you have to do is start accomplishing things.
And that is the easiest part to do!!!

Just in case you don’t know how to accomplish the things you want, here is a short reminder:
(just click on this link :)How to accomplish more

Monday, June 15, 2009

The art of Here and Now

Everything there is, is part of a chain – the chain of cause and effect.
Nothing just happens by accident. Not even wining the lottery.
(You still have to buy a ticket before that could happen :)

A hundred year old oak tree was once a tiny acorn.
A successful business was once a start up.
A happy relationship was once a simple “Hello”
If you can see this, you are half way into understanding the power of here and now.

There are people living in the past, always dreaming about the good old days, always talking about what could have been and about lost opportunities.
And there are people living in the future always dreaming about things to come about what it will be and about future opportunities.
But they are not going anywhere, anytime because you can not plant an acorn; start a business or say “hello” in the past and the future is not here yet.

Between the “I should have” “I could have” “I would have” and “I should” “I could” and “I will” there is that magic window of opportunity called “I can”
This is the time to start the chain of events that will lead you to success.
This is the time to plant your seed.

Go back to your dream and trace your steps backwards from the future success to the present action.
See yourself in the moment of success.
See yourself one step before that.
Then another step before and another one, until you see yourself planting the seed in the moment of now.

Do this exercise for all the dreams you have.
Make a list of all your “seeds” you have to plant.
Do it!

The art of here and now is the art of seeing the seed that is in your dream.
The art of here and now is the art of seizing the opportunity.
The art of here and now is the art of acting without delay.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Present

We are beings of both material and spiritual make.
And although we are especially aware of our material existence, quite often we forget, or are not aware, of our spiritual being.

Our spirit, soul, mind, call it what you will, is a construct in time.
As our body is a structure in the three dimensional physical space.

We live our lives in the illusion of a concomitant existence, but the reality is that we manifest our existence only in the here and now.
You can not eat the meal of yesterday and you can not spend the money of tomorrow.
We can not be in two places or two times simultaneously :)

Yet so many of us are spending our spiritual existence in the past feeding our souls with leftovers of the past experiences until there is nothing left to nourish us.
Or even worse; live our life in the future, always window shopping but actually never getting to enjoy the real experience.
Always craving but never quenching the hunger.

So this is the gift the gods have given us and I would like to remind you about it:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Image and self esteem

Here is a popular icon of the "modern life" religion:
Is the "super model" our contemporary Aphrodite ?
Are these pencil thin women looking like angry, pissed off teenage boys, the image of feminine beauty and grace?
...Not in my opinion and not in the view of anybody I know.

You might think that after spending billions in market research and advertising, the people in charge of the fashion industry and its media propaganda machine would have figured out what beauty looks like.

Well, they have!
Watch any beer commercial or any other TV or print add that targets the male population and you will see lots of - actually only - attractive young women.
Women with voluptuous shapes, smiling faces and sex appeal galore.
None of the super models in those ads.
Why? Because they know what men like and consider attractive.

So then what are the fashion magazines full of super models?
Well, by the look of it they are selling stuff: clothing, jewelery, accessories and cosmetic products for women.

How many women actually identify themselves with this image?
Not many I know of.
Actually according to the statistics over 60% of the adult women in USA are overweight.
So if you want to sell to the American women shouldn't the models be representative of that population?
After all, all the men in the Viagra commercials look eerily like me and not like male models :)

So, if the "super model" is not the goddess of beauty and they are not selling garments and cosmetics what purpose do they serve?
They are selling low self esteem!
That's right. They are selling an impossible to achieve self image.
They are selling self loathing and self contempt.

Why would they do that?
Because happy, content, secure, self assured, self loving women and men don't buy crap they do not need in order to make them feel better!

(It is a sad marketing deception - much like Microsoft selling you a crappy operating system so then they can sell you the new and improve crap that will fix the old crap.
But it is actually a trap, because no matter how many operating system you will buy you will never get one that really works because that would put Microsoft out of business :)

Same concept: The fashion industry sells you low self esteem through the "super model" icon and then offers to fix that by selling you the crap that is supposed to make you feel good about yourself.

And don't get me wrong. They do that with the men too.
The American male is the model of sexual frustration and low self esteem.
It is just that we don't kill ourselves trying to maintain that pencil thin anorexic look.
We just keep on buying that beer, hoping that one day if we buy the right beer we will get laid by those voluptuous girls in the commercial :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The imperfection of perfection

- Do you think I should get breast implants? – She asked me.
- Do you think a perfect silicone rose is more beautiful than a wild desert rose? - I replied.
- No… but most men love women with large breasts.
- And would you marry or even date a man that likes you for your large implants?
- No, but that would make me feel good about myself. Would make me feel prettier…

...Imagine you could live in a perfect world.
A world where all women would have the same perfect tits and same perfect lips.
We would all be the exact perfect clones of the perfect man.
A man of perfect height, perfect muscle tone, perfect hair, perfect blue eyes and perfect skin color
– It already sounds like Hitler’s paradise – doesn’t it?

Imagine we all lived in the same perfect house and drive all the same perfect car.
The weather would be the same every day – perfect.
We would all have perfect marriages and perfect kids that did only perfect things.
We would all live the same perfect life and die the same perfect death.

(I hope this feels as creepy to you as it feels to me :)

Or maybe, imagine an extraterrestrial expedition coming to Earth and looking at us.
Would they have an Extraterrestrial edition of Vogue to compare us with all the other beings in the universe and say:
- Look at those awful looking creatures – no one race of green humans - only ugly shades of brown!
Or this:
Do animals look at each other and say:
- My God she’s got a big ass! - Or:
- Look at that zebra – her stripes are so not symmetrical LOL!

So, did God made a mistake creating an imperfect word and is expecting us to fix it up?
Or, God indeed created a perfect word and we are screwing it up?
If God – or natural selection and evolution if you prefer the long name – intended the world to be perfect he or it would make the world perfect. – Don’t you think?

I think so too.
I think petite or bountiful breasts are perfect.
I believe you can be a perfect small person or a perfect tall person, a perfect. handicapped person or a perfect autistic person.
Perfect isn’t to be somebody's else perfection, but to be perfect who you are.


At least that is what I believe :)

Be perfect, be loved!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The perfection of imperfection

It was on the last winter vacation when my wife and I decided that we need some quality time away from the kids.
We hired a nanny and decided to take a 3 day romantic ski trip.
We packed our bags with the strict necessities – incense candles, strawberries, whip cream and fine wine – almost forgot the skis :) and way we went to Mammoth Mountain.

The trip was unusually quiet.
No more “are we there yet?” no more arguing over the DVD, no more fights every five minutes.
We even could listen to our favorite music on the way, chat for a while and just hold hands like high school sweet hearts.

“This is going to be perfect” I was thinking to myself driving.
3 long nights of passionate love making without worrying of waking up the kids.
No more covers pulled over, no more lights off and pulled down blinds.
No more feeling like robbing a bank in the middle of the night!

So we get lodged in the hotel, light up the candles, open up the wine and one hour later – that’s including all the preparations – the night of passionate love making ended in a mutual agreement that a night of good and quiet sleep was as romantic as love making.
We decided we will resume the romance as soon as we recharged our batteries – and no I don’t mean that literally.

The next day was perfect.
Perfect weather, perfect snow.
We ski all day long, had a lovely diner and went back to the hotel.
This time we did not light up the candles or put on romantic music; we went directly for the ointments.
Nothing feels as good after a day of skiing as a rub with Ben Gay and Icy – Hot cream.
What sex?
We crawled into bed and decide to postpone the romance for the next night.

But the next day disaster strikes!
We woke up in the middle of a blizzard.
The perfect weather was gone and the slopes were closed because of the high winds.
We had to make a decision:
Stay, and hope the weather changes.
Or; cut the trip short and head back for home.

So here we were, driving back after just 2 nights and 1 day of ski vacation.
The truth was that we both wanted to go back.
The truth was that we spent more time worrying about what the kids were doing that enjoying the vacation.
But we did not want to talk about it. We just knew it and that was just fine.

We got home in the evening and the kids screamed and jumped all over with joy.
So here I was laying on my bed with both my daughters in my arms, trying to avoid Lucky – our dog – French kissing me and in my mind I was thinking.
This romantic trip turned out to be a disaster, but for some strange reason it felt perfect to me.
I wouldn’t have change anything of it, even if I could.
For some strange reason we all want our lives to be perfect.
The fear of failure tells us to keep it safe.
Our bruises and scars remind us that the road out there is tough.
We build walls around our bodies and our souls to protect us.
We decide to stay inside instead of venturing out.

I know the road out there is full of bumps and pot holes but I decided that the bruises and scars are worth the journey.
I’m not afraid of pain anymore. As long as I can feel pain I know I am alive.
I don’t see my scars as ugly anymore. I see them as badges of courage.
I decided to live instead of slowly dying.

I don’t expect my life to be perfect anymore.
I expect it to be better than that.
I expect my life to be awesome!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gratitude: The great attitude

All things start with a thought.
Our thoughts and the thoughts of the people around us turn into actions.
And our actions turn into lives.

Have you ever received a thank you note for a job well done, a favor or a good deed?
How did it make you feel?
Did it make you feel good about yourself?
Did it make you feel doing more good?
Yup, gratitude makes us loving as ingratitude makes us hateful.

Do you see what’s going on when you are grateful?
Gratitude connects us in a special way.
Gratitude is the link that completes the circle of universal consciousness.
Gratitude or ingratitude is the feedback you give to the universe.

By practicing gratitude you are manifesting your spiritual power.
By practicing gratitude you invoke the infinite potentiality of life.
You are casting away the darkness and invoke the light; in you and the people around you.
Your life is defined by your attitude to gratitude!

Too many times we forget to give thanks, to appreciate, to reward and to cultivate the light in our lives.
Too many times we focus on fighting the negativity of life and take for granted the people that make our life bearable.
Too many times we neglect giving our gratitude to the people we love the most.

So why don’t you take it upon yourself to give a little extra gratitude to that special one in your life?
Buy them a bouquet of flowers and just say “This is for you my love!”
They will be taken by surprise and ask “What for?”
“For all the times I have forgot to be grateful to you.”

Why don’t you do something special for them?
A nice diner, tickets to a show they love or take them on a weekend excursion.
I know times are hard and money might be tight. But that is an even greater reason to show your gratitude.
Be creative. And NO sex is not a favor unless you are a girl :)

And since you are in that gratitude mood why don’t you do something for the other people around you.
Buy a box of doughnuts and take it at work tomorrow morning.
Put a note on the box “In gratitude for all your help.” Or something nice like that.
Or maybe just send a nice thank you email with a nice greeting card to all the people you know to tell them:
“I’ve been meaning to show you my gratitude for being my friend”

And let’s not forget the most important person in your life.
Why don’t you treat yourself to a little gratitude ;)
Dress up a notch for a change. Take yourself to a nice dinner. Dress up!
Go to a museum, a concert, a theater or even a comedy club.
No, nudie bars – or any bars - are not a showing of gratitude!

(I do this silly thing for myself - I wear cologne. It makes me feel good about myself.
I love expensive cologne but I never wear them because in USA that is kind of gay.
But now I am too old and I really don’t care what other people think – well I do, but it doesn’t bother me anymore :)

I know you might be single and lonely but that is no reason not to feel great about yourself.
After all, if you don’t show gratitude to yourself how do you expect anybody else to do it?

And last but not least:
Let me express my gratitude to all my cyber friends out there on the internet.
Thank you for your support, your comments and your friendship.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The secret teachings of Buddha

I know, I know, there are no secret teachings of Buddha so let’s say “the less talked about facts of Buddha”

Like: Did you know Gautama Buddha was a spoiled brat?
Yup! It seems that our venerable teacher had a youth of incredible luxury.
His father – a minor king – offer him such a life that he was totally removed from any unpleasant facts of life, to the extreme that old people were forbidden to appear in his presence so the site of old age wouldn’t upset the little prince.

But of course as any spoiled brat he wanted more so one day - he was 29 – he disregarded his father wishes and ventured out of his palace.
To his surprise he discovered that people get old, get sick and die.
Imagine that; to be 29 and find out you are not going to live forever!

Did you know that at that time he was not at all interested in attaining enlightenment?
Nope! He was quite upset with the idea of getting old and dying, so he decided to go and find the secret to overcome old age, illness, and death.
So he and a couple of friends went around India to study with the finest and greatest teachers of the land.

Here’s another little known fact:
Gautama was the most horrible student ever.

He never agreed with his teachers, always asking questions, always getting into arguments, never following the holly scriptures.
A total pain in the ass student, he moved from one teacher to another, from one guru to another, from one discipline to another.
Never satisfied, never content until after six years of searching he ran out of teachers ;)

At the age of 35 Gautama realized that the knowledge he was seeking was no were to find in this world and departed from his scholar friends to meditate under a Bodhi tree.

Did you know that Buddha found his path to enlightenment only when he stopped following other gurus foot steps?
Did you know that Buddha found the answers he was looking for only when he stopped looking for answers in the outside world and start looking for answers inside him?
Did you know that after his awakening Buddha thought that the dharma can not and should not be taught and he accepted to become a teacher only because one of his friends insisted?

So maybe there is a lesson in Buddha’s life more valuable than the lessons in his teachings.
Maybe there is a secret teaching of Buddha after all :)