2 Basic Truths of Life That You Must Know

1. Life is difficult- Life is, and will always be difficult. Throughout our lives there will be challenges and curveballs thrown at us. We can never know what lies ahead. As I’m sure we have all experienced, we might have a great week, and then the following week have a completely crappy week. One second you are on top of the world and the next you are in the bottom of the barrel. That is what life is; a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs, that in a sense are necessary, because sometimes it takes bad moments, in order to appreciate the good ones. Furthermore, we have to be real, and accept that life its not hassle free, we must accept the challenges that life brings and enjoy the journey with the good and the bad. Even through bad experiences, there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.

2. The difficulty of life applies to everyone- Yes, everyone, even though you might think that certain people have the perfect life; they actually don’t. Their lives are filled with problems just like yours and mine. We all have problems, problems are not exceptions, they happen to every single person on this earth. However, the scope of the problems and the frequency might be different for each individual person, but believe me, they are there. So don’t beat yourself up thinking others have it better, and stop wishing you had a life like theirs, because sometimes other people could be experiencing problems worse than the ones that you are going through. Ultimately, we all experience life’s problems, failures, and losses.

In conclusion, accept these two facts of life, so you become better equipped to take on the challenges that life will bring you. Know that life is difficult and it’s not fair, but you have to face it head on, in order to grow. Know that with every problem comes an opportunity, and with every opportunity comes a problem. Also, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others; it is really not productive for us. Lastly, there will never be an easy way through life; there are no shortcuts, we will all struggle, and we will all face a series of problems through our journey. The problems will vary on our journey, but know that they will be there.

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PS- It always nice to hear that my words can inspire someone. I have always said that even if I just inspire one person then this blog is a success.

Simple might not be sexy, but it gets the job done

We all know that we live in a complex world; the beauty in this world of ours is that the simpler we live our lives, the better. If we live simple we will enjoy the process; we will enjoy our lives. I don’t know if you are familiar with the story about the fox and the hedgehog? In this story, the author, Isaiah Berlin, breaks down all the people in this world into 2 categories: hedgehogs and foxes. Foxes are complex creatures that try to do many things at once, but rarely accomplish anything. Foxes are beautiful, with their nice furry tales and pointy ears. On the other hand, hedgehogs are weird-looking creatures, but they are simple; they just look for food and take care of their home, but they are really good at it. I believe about 95 percent of the population are Foxes. These are people that try to do many things, people that live complicated lives, people that think they know everything and that everything they do is exactly right. The other 5 percent are hedgehogs; the simple people, the ones that have one vision and a purpose in life. Contemporary geniuses, like Freud in psychology and Einstein in physics, were hedgehogs; Freud with his concept of the subconscious and Einstein with his theory of relativity. These two men were not flashy, they were in fact not even considered attractive; however, they knew the world and its complexity, but they broke down this complexity in their mind to something simpler. Furthermore, the footprint they have left in this world will stay until the end of our civilization. Let’s now think about our lives, are they complex or simple? Think of the categories in the wheel of life.

1. Physical- do you have a fairly simple diet and exercise program? Or are you always worried about your weight and diet patterns?
2. Social- How are your relationships? Full of drama or pretty clear cut? Do you still act as if you were in high school filled with gossip and worrying about what others think?
3. Spiritual- Either you are a believer or your not? Pick a side don’t believe just what benefits you.
4. Financial- Handling finances might seem like a complicated matter but is not, live below your means, save, spend, invest and give. That’s it! No need to worry about how the market is or all the media frenzy about the economy.
5. Career- Are you doing what you love, are you good at it? Does it make you money? Or are you unsatisfied with your job and jumping from place to place looking for the better dollar? Are you constantly thinking of different things to do for a living and just looking for the next better “job”?
6. Intellectual- Are you continuously improving yourself? Or did you think education ended with your formal education?
7. Family- I left family at the end because it is the toughest in my opinion to control. The other 6 we can choose, but we can’t really choose our family, we are born into it. However, do try to live as simple as you can, leave drama out, don’t get so caught up in grudges or stupid fights, set your boundaries and be supportive without enabling bad behavior.

I hope all these questions make you think a bit, and I would like to leave you with one last question;

Are you a fox or a hedgehog?

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FACTS ARE BETTER THAN DREAMS

It is extremely important to have faith and to be optimistic—but equally important, is to be a realist and understand where you stand in life. This, in fact, is a paradox; you must be a dreamer and think of big things, but at the same time you have to face the brutal facts of your situation. I have always advocated that we could see the world through two sets of eyes, optimistic and pessimistic, glass half full or half empty. However, we must always have our feet planted in our reality. In order to go out there and reach for our dreams, we must have a solid benchmark of where we are starting and from there see what is attainable. For example, a child born in a foreign country could have been brought to the US as a baby, grow here, love this country, serve in the military, become a politician, but will never be the president of the United States. Unless the law, only a US born person can be president, changes, this is impossible. I believe this statue will probably never change; so he or she will never become president. Does that mean they give up? Well no, but they can’t focus all their attention into becoming president, it would be an unrealistic goal. Another example would be if I tried to play in the NBA. I don’t consider myself short in normal standards, but compared to those guys I would look like a little kid playing basketball with grown ups. With this is mind, it is probably wise for me to do something other than basketball for a living. These two might seem like very general examples, but my goal is to get you thinking in reference to your own personal goals and aspirations. I don’t know what those are, so you are going to have to write them down, face your current facts and be completely honest with yourself. Ask yourself the question; are these realistic? Sometimes only until we are completely real and honest with ourselves, is when we begin to change.

Tip of the week: Think of a situation in which you have not faced the facts. Maybe you are in denial or just don’t want to believe it, but remember facts are better then dreams, so face the facts and take action.

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Planning your one and only life

Planning is such an important concept of a person’s life, the problem is that most people spend more time planning their vacation, then planning what they want their life to look like. Plans are made so you dictate what you want your life too look like. For example, plan where you want to live, what career to have, when do you want to marry, and when or if to have kids. Furthermore, what would you like to be doing in 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? Or even 20 years? We must first plan our life and then through are choices get there. If you don’t design your life, then someone else will design it for you. We need to be doing things intentional and on purpose, especially with the choices that shape our life. Half of the year has gone by already, so set up a plan for what you want the rest of this year too look like for you, what do you want to do? What goals can be achieved by the end of the year? Design what your life should be like these last months of 2014. This year seems to be going really quick for me, but one of the things I am noticing is that the older I get, the faster time seems to go. Time is a dimension, and is all about perception. When you are having a good time or doing work you love, time flies, but when you are doing something you don’t enjoy; then time seems to pass by very slow. The reality is that time is the same for me and you, it is not faster or slower; time does not forgive and it will pass for everybody, so design your life, and do what you want to do, stop wasting time on things that are not going to get you where you want to be.

Remember, always when you set down plans or goals, they must always be in writing. There is something powerful about writing things down!

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I don’t want a good life

I’m reading this great business book called Good to Great by Jim Collins. The book is fantastic and should definitely be read by anyone with a business mind. Collins and his colleagues studied companies that suddenly sky-rocketed and went from GOOD TO GREAT. The purpose was to find out what the secret of these companies was and what moves were made by these companies that gave them their breakthrough. I am only a few chapters into the book, but what I want to focus on today on a particular topic that Collins analyzes in the very first Chapter: GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF GREAT. Think about it, Collins says why don’t we have great schools? To which he responds, because we have good schools, why don’t we have a great government? Because we have a good government, and more profoundly, WHY DON’T WE HAVE GREAT LIVES? Because we rather settle for good lives. I am almost 100 percent sure that everybody wants to live a good life, and I think everybody will agree with me on the 3 things that we all generally want out of life:

1. Be Happy
2. Be Healthy
3. Be reasonably Wealthy.

Frankly, I do want these 3 things and I do want a good life, but after reading this chapter it challenged me to stop thinking about wanting a good life; I don’t want a good life, I want a GREAT life. We only get one shot at this life so why should we settle for good when we can have great? Why settle and conform rather than becoming the best we can be? As they say, be the change you want to see in the world. If you want to have a better life be a better person, if you want better friends be a better friend, if you want a better relationship with your spouse be a better husband or wife, if you want better kids, then be a better parent, if you want a better boss, then be a better employee. It goes back to the law of reciprocity, that exactly what you send out is exactly what you get back. I think if we keep aiming higher every time and try to continuously be better, we will reach greatness.

One quick tip: When we are asked “Hi how are you?” we generally say “Good and you?” If you want to live a great life, then I challenge you to change your answer and from now on when people ask how are you doing respond “Great and you?” It is a very simple and subtle change, but it can make a big difference on the way you are perceived by the other person and it can set a tone for a completely different mood.

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I have a right not to go to school

Although every person has the right to not go to school or to not get a degree; I believe, we do not have the right to not get an education. We need to be consistently learning; always asking questions, because there are always people out there that know things that we do not know. Technology has changed the face of education at such a tremendous magnitude that we literally have knowledge at our fingertips. Any question we have can be quickly answered trough a “google” search. During times of change, only the learners will move on and be successful. Just like in business: if you keep doing business like yesterday, you will not be in business tomorrow. The only constant in this world is change. As we carry on in this journey called life, we need to be learning every single day. We need to accept the fact that learning will be a never-ending battle. You might have finished your formal education, but you are definitely not done learning. We need to possess a teachable spirit. Being teachable is a choice, you decide intentionally to have the right attitude and mindset to keep learning in life. We need to have an open mind because a close mind will not create opportunities. For example, I want to know everything there is to life, I try to have a beginner’s mindset for everything and try to listen all I can. However, I am realistic and I will not know everything in this world, but I do know that I will continue to learn everyday and that I will die asking questions. Wisdom is gained through a lifetime of listening and asking questions. Ultimately, we learn by asking questions. In formal education, we are giving tests full of questions to find out if we know the material, but in life we must ask our own questions and test ourselves. Asking questions at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day will help us reflect on the learning opportunities each day brings us.

What Happened to repairing things?

 

In Today’s culture, even though there is more advocating in recycling and sustainability, we seem to be wasting other things. Do you remember VCRs? What happened when they stopped working? What would you do when the TV suddenly started showing weird lines? The norm was to take them to a repair shop and get them fixed at a price way below the initial retail. We would do the same with our refrigerators, washing machines, stereos, shoes and even our own clothes. Before it was not a big deal to patch a clothing item or put a new sole in your shoes. However, times have changed, how many TV repair shops do you see around anymore? How many shoe repair places are still in business? I’m sure if you look around your neighborhood it would be hard to find any of these places. The main reason for this trend is that these commodities have become cheaper as relative to our income, meaning that our incomes have grown and the cost to produce these items have gone down. So now instead of repairing things, we just go out there and get a new one. The problem with this issue is that it has changed our mentality to “used” not being good anymore. People now hesitate to buy “used” stuff, afraid that they will not work. For example, cars, a lot of people would rather go in debt and be suffocated by a car payment, because they think a used car is not reliable. Believe me, even new cars break down, expensive cars still get flat tires. Another example can be with washer and dryers, you can usually get a pair for around 200$ “used,” but instead we decide to load up our Best Buy card and get a washer and dryer set that cost us over a 1000$. In a culture that already spends more then they make this issue should be taken into consideration. If you make millions of dollars a year then you can probably ignore this post, but if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with nickel and dime.

 

 

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