Friday, May 31, 2013

Are you a good person?

     No you're not. You may do good things now and then, but no one is totally good all the time. No one is "a good person." We're good. We're bad. We're kind. We're mean-spirited sometimes.
     In other words—we're human.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The tiniest little thing can turn a life around.

     You know, if you don't think your life is going to work out, you're right. You've got to believe that things can turn around on a dime. If you're like, 'Oh, that'll never happen for me' then stop reading right now because this post isn't going to do you any good.
     One tiny thing happens and the world changes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Encourage somebody today

We live by encouragement and die without it—slowly, sadly and angrily. —Celeste Holm

Encourage somebody today. And that doesn't mean you have to give them a pep talk or a pat on the back. A simple smile might do the trick or just showing up for something important to them. Sometimes just your attention can be a life saver. And as always, as you give, so you get.

I'm living proof of needing encouragement. There's nothing earth shattering going on in my life right now, but I am working very hard with nothing to show for it. It's okay. I enjoy what I'm doing. But today I just got bogged down in this scary zone, where it seemed nothing I was doing was working, and what little I was doing could be disastrous. I got pretty low.

Then from out of the blue I received a couple of emails. Man, I'm telling you they just  turned my whole day, my whole life around. People need to know that other people care about them. And not just close family members. We all need each other. So say hi to the mailman. Look for the opportunity to encourage somebody and you'll find it, as there are a lot of hurting people in the world. (Like the saying: Be kind to everyone you meet today because everyone you meet has a great big problem.)
     So encourage somebody today and hopefully somebody will encourage you too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Can a person be too enthusiastic?

In baseball if a player is trying to stretch a double into a triple, and he is busting his butt, running hard, and he slides, but he over-slides the base and gets tagged out, well, chances are that third base coach is just going to pat that player on the back. But he made an out, you might be thinking, the coach should be disappointed, so why would he pat him on the back? He'd pat him on the back because the player made "an error of enthusiasm." If the player had been lazy running the bases and got tagged out, then the coach would've been angry.

But is enthusiasm always a good thing?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

Well, we've all known the Katie Couric or Richard Simmons sort of perky people. The kind of people that are naturally disposed to being enthusiastic. But for the rest of us...

I think for the rest of us, to have enthusiasm is work. I mean that in a good sense. Just like to have hospitality is work. If people come to your house and find it clean and welcoming, if they find food and beverages in the fridge, well, that doesn't just happen. It takes work.

It's the same with enthusiasm. Most people don't wake up bursting with a zest for life. They have to work at it. Oh, I'm sure over the course of time, enthusiasm builds and develops a momentum of its own, but in general it is self-called-up.

But can you have too much enthusiasm? Well, if you've ever seen a Richard Simmons exercise video you would say, "Undoubtedly, yes." But I don't think you can be too enthusiastic. If it's genuine, that is.

Many people resent other people's enthusiasm. They do so because it reminds them of what they lack. Or perhaps of what they've abandoned years ago. And the flip side of the coin is people who work at being enthusiastic often feed off of other's enthusiasm.

So no, you can't be too enthusiastic.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ever feel like the "Dumbest guy/woman in the room"?

     You know, kind of like the opposite of "the smartest guys in the room." Lately I've been feeling pretty dumb lately. I've never been great at grasping thing in a comprehensive way, but lately I've been hitting new lows in that area. It's humiliating.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Getting it done.

     I used to be a real estate agent. I liked certain aspects of being one, but what I really took away from the job was the expression: We got it done! The notion is that real estate deals are often hard to put, and hold, together. Both buyers and sellers think they're not getting a fair shake. Often they resent the real estate agents' commissions (I think they may have something there), and all kinds of things can go wrong to wreck the deal. Through it all the agents (for both the buyer and the seller) maintain a camaraderie, a bond—despite being on opposite sides—in hopes of completing the deal. It may be nerve wracking. It may be ugly. The deal may have been hanging by a thread. But when all is said and done and the deal finally closes, ahh, what sweet satisfaction to say: "We got it done!"
     And there are broader parallels.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mystics vs. Rationalists.

     I'd like to see that one. It would be an epic battle. Kind of like the Cubs vs. the White Sox. Or like you always wonder about animals facing off in the wild. What would win in a fight between an alligator and a Grizzly bear? Really if you think about it, in a sense both mystics and rationalists are freaks. But do they know something the rest of us don't?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Do you believe in destiny?

     It's such a great concept. This from the German poet Schiller:

There's no such thing as chance; and what to us seems merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.

     Yes, destiny is such a great concept. I wish it were true. I hope it's true. But I'm just not so sure it is. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Can you win by losing?

     We all know the "tough guy" cliches about winning and losing. "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser." "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." etc. etc. Read the sports magazines and newspapers and you'll hear more tough guy talk about winning and losing. They'll feature the hockey fights and show the bloodied, humiliated losers. But if you ask me, those people are the real losers.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Should you keep going when nothing EVER seems to go right?

     Everybody can deal with occasional disappointments. We know disappointments are a part of life. But how do you deal with disappointments when they are seemingly endless. You know what it's like. You keep fighting and fighting and battling through—and what's your reward? More battles to fight.
     I have no easy answer for this one. If you're looking for one from me you can quit reading now.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Seduced by technology?

     I'm really just a writer. But eight months or so ago I was going to use this commercial service to format and distribute a novel of mine as an e-book. It was all so easy. They formatted it. They were going to give me a copy of the e-book. I was going to check it for errors. Then they were going to distribute it, keep records of the sales, etc. etc.
     Then, being ever diligent in my preparation, I just did some additional research into it and found that it really wasn't that difficult to format the book on my own. So I checked into that a little more. And I found, hey, they were right—it really wasn't so difficult to do the formatting.
     And that led to a little more googling and downloading some free formatting software and joining a forum where people helped each other with the formatting. And then I got interested in doing my own e-book covers and I downloaded some photoshop software and joined another forum to help with that. And then I got interested in...
     Bottom line: I haven't written hardly a word for the last eight months.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Anti-depressants anyone?

     I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm not dispensing medical advice. I don't pretend to fully understand serious depression. But  I can speak from my own personal experience dealing with depression.
     The American medical model is pharmacological. It  is reactive, rather than preventative. Doctors need to diagnose a disease and then they treat it (almost always  with drugs). The notion of preventative medicine or maintaining optimal health is completely foreign to most American doctors. Bottom line: if  you're depressed, chances are overwhelming that they're  going to give you anti-depressants.
      The question is—should you take  them?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Can obsession be a good thing?

     I admire scientists, mathematicians, inventors. They all seem so utterly and endlessly and categorically committed to their pursuits. This on the mathematician Archimedes in Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Romans:

And thus it ceases to be incredible that (as is commonly told of him) the charm of his familiar and domestic Siren made him forget his food and neglect his person, to that degree that when he was occasionally carried by absolute violence to bathe or have his body anointed, he used to trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and diagrams in the oil on his body, being in a state of entire preoccupation, and, in the truest sense, divine possession with his love and delight in science.

     Could you see this this guy at the beach, tracing Isosceles triangles and Venn diagrams on his belly slathered in Coppertone?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The futility of judging.

     I had a neighbor once. Every time she left her apartment she'd slam her door. I was like, 'She is so angry. What is her problem?'
     Ironically, the woman seemed quite nice whenever I would run into her. But then more door slamming. And again, I was like, 'What is her problem?' For over a year this went on.
     Then the woman moved out, and a janitor was in the hall working on her door. I stopped to talk to him, thinking he was repairing all the damage the slamming had caused. But when I asked him what he was doing, he said, "I have to shave one side of the door down. The door got warped and you couldn't close it without slamming it."
     Ha! So all my thoughts about my neighbor's anger: DEAD WRONG AND A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Give away to get.

     Today I was playing golf with a friend. I was pretty hot, pretty tired, but we were having fun. Then my friend hit a shot into the woods. He was like, "Oh, I really hope I find my ball. It was a good one." Well, he never found his ball, and I could see how disappointed he was. Not making a big deal out of it, I reached into my golf bag and tossed him a really good ball and said, "Here, you can have this one." Well, he hit his shot and when I started walking I hardly even took a single step and there, right in front of me, nestled down in the grass was a brand new ball that was way better than even the really good ball I'd given my friend.
     That is the principle of give away to get.