Get it all in

A few weeks ago while shopping with my wife in a department store we walked past a full length mirror on display. My wife mentioned that, after we finish remolding our bedroom she would like a full length mirror in that bedroom. That mirror immediately made me remember a full length mirror at a work site and the words someone had taped to it. The mirror had the words, check yourself out this is how everyone else sees you.

I have heard many people apologize for the way they have treated others. Most of the apologizes begin with intentions and something along the lines of this is not what I intended.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux

I think very few people wish to hurt or offend others. That being said offensive often happens and when it does and is so egregious that it is made known to the offending party something better than an apology may need to happen like an open honest discussion.

With an open and honest discussion about how and why someone was offended we may be able to prevent further offensive.

The United States of America fought a civil war. The southern part of the country wanted to keep slavery legal and the northern part did not. The war ended the north won and slavery was made illegal. The slavery in the United states was human chattal slavery and all the slaves were Africans or African Americans. Even after slavery the racism that created the slavery system still persisted and even persists now in the United States.

The southern part of the United states flew a battle flag during the civil war. The battle flag of the south was called the stars and bars. The flag offended many black americans because it was flown by the army that fought to keep their race enslaved and later on that same flag was flown by groups that participated in systematic racism. One side fought to keep this flag as a state flag even though it was used by racist organizations commiting racists acts. The desire to keep the flag shows that an open and honest dialogue about the United States history with racism still had not taken place. This all took place in 2004.

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Fast forward to 2012 when an unarmed black juvenile was shot to death for “being in the wrong neighbourhood”, by an overzealous neighbourhood watch member. The neighbourhood watch member was found not guilty ad got away with murdering a black child. Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was murdered. A hashtag on social media sparked a movement and by 2014 the Black Lives Matter Foundation was born. The movement was not received well by some and is still not received well by many here is another example of a lack in open and honest dialogue about the United States and racism.

Now in 2023 there is a banner in the state of New Hampshire that reads “Keep New England White“. Here is yet again more proof that the open and honest dialogue about the United States history and current racism has not taken place. I do not think the United States can move any further with regards to creating a better society without having this honest and open dialogue about the racism.

Without this open dialogue we as a nation are looking in a mirror that only shows us our best qualities and not the whole picture. It is time to come together and see the entire image and make some changes.

What to do

I had and still have a list of New Years resolutions that i am still trying to achieve. I am however currently about a half a month behind schedule. I am having some trouble with starting this year.

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Man on Fire a movie starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning was an amazing movie. Denzel was a bodyguard for Dakotas character and bonded with the young girl. The movie is a sweet action movie that is totally worth watching. Denzels character was the bodyguard and driver for the young girl and because he was the driver he had to pick up Dakota from her swim meet. Dakotas character was the strongest and fastest swimmer but she could not win her meet. She could not win a meet because she left the starting block late. Denzel worked with Dakota on “freeing herself” from the block and timing with the pistol. Working together enabled her to dominate at the next meet.

Problems getting started is no reason to quit. Everyone will probably experience problem getting started at one time or another and the answer is to acknowledge the issues and address them not to quit. January is half over but 2023 has just begun. Do not give up on your resolutions just because of a rocky start. I certainly do not plan on giving up on one single resolution.

It wasn’t designed for that

As a software engineer I have been in meetings and watched users of software that I had written or modified use the software in a different way than it was intended to be used. This is common with any tool. Tools that are designed for one use then used for another can become a huge safety hazard, and can damage the tool. The job that is completed using the wrong tool may also be lower quality. So, even though it is done it is not best practice to use a tool for a task that was not intended for that tool.

Researchers say that 5 minute walks every half hour can counteract the health determinants associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The human body is meant to be physically active not sedent. An inactive lifestyle causing many health issues, physical health as well as mental health. Take time today and everyday to get up and get moving.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Jim Rohn

It is tempting to try to separate mind, soul and body. It is this abstraction that some of us use to justify a sedentary lifestyle. We claim that we do not have time to focus on the body because we are working on our mind or soul but the body mind and soul are all connected and working on one while abandoning the other is foolish. Today get outside walk just take five minutes every half hour.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

Science continues to research the human body and continues to discover that, the human body needs to be active and outdoor. Outdoor activity makes us happier and healthier and is needed so take a breath and a walk today.

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Time to re

I finished a chair over the weekend. I cut and screwed together all the wood for the chair and (insert humble brag here), it looked pretty good. I used some smaller wood screws but assumed that the c HD air would be fine. I stood the chair up and then of course I sat in the chair. The chair was barstool height.

As I sat I felt better about my choice for smaller screws, then from about 4 feet I fell right on my but. I wasn’t seriously injured but I did feel some pain. My pride is hurt and my but is bruised. It is time for me to recuperate, redesign and rebuild.

I will have a cahir that I have built it will just take a little longer than I expected it to take.

Life will break the trick is not to let it break you. We all face setbacks but we cannot allow them to define us.

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Set backs cannot demolish you without your permission

Hiral Nagda

There is a growing thought that, success without failure is impossible… I know mind-boggling right? So what is when I win without loosing? Well that is just luck.

Success is something which happens a consequence of our actions. Luck is something that happens based purely on chance. So failure is and will always be part of the process that brings us success. There is no shame in failure only n giving up.

There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.

Robin Williams

I swear it’s not too late

From the steps of the Lincoln memorial Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I have a Dream Speech”.

I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Two years later on March 25th 1965 in Montgomery Alabama Martin Luther King Jr. looked out at the crowd from the steps of the capital building and gave his “Our God is Marching on speech”.

And, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow,

Keeping watch above his own.

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. lived in violent times and died violently. If Martin Luther King Jr. were not assassinated and he were still alive today he would be 93 years old, however chances are high that he would not be alive today. The Life expectancy for African American males in the United States is 68 years old (white males in the United States have a life expectancy of 77 years). It seems that violence is still with us and it can feel like it will be with us always but, I can imagine and hope for a time when violence is not a dominant human trait. Why can I do this? I can do this because of data and science.

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We are living in one of the most peaceful times in the history of the earth. Recorded human history of the earth. I know that it doesn’t feel peaceful, and I agree that it is still far to violent on the earth, Russia just invaded the Ukraine and the continent of Africa feels like it is always in a state of violent political upheaval, however the numbers show that violence is decreasing

Violence has been in decline over long stretches of time, and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.

Steven Pinker

There is a theory among evolutionary biologist and it is called Self Domestication. To make a long theory short and put it in laymen’s terms, self domestication among humans purposes that large societies and communities domesticate the species through capital punishment or exile of the violent members of the species. As humans evolve to become less violent we notice physical changes, smaller teeth, less dense bones, more reproductive cells and smaller hearts. So the science is growing and still learning but right now it looks like humanity is becoming domesticated and far less violent.

I can believe and hope for a more peaceful future because of science and date. I will always hope for and work towards a more peaceful future because I cannot imagine living any other way. I refuse to give up on the idea that humanity can do better.

The other side

Between the years 1991 and 1999 there was a tv show I watched named “Home Improvement”. The series was a comedy about the the Taylor family told through the perspective of the patriarch Tim Taylor . Every week Tim would navigate a family issue in a pretty funny way. Often Tim would turn to his next door neighbour Wilson for some advice and as a sounding board. Wilson would stand on the other side of the fence with his face half hidden by the fence and tell Tim a story and offer some insightful wisdom about the situation the Taylor family was in.

I loved Wilsons mystery (the audience was only permitted to see half of Wilsons face), stories and advice. Wilson had a PHD in language and would often begin his stories to Tim by explaining the etymology of a word or phrase.

Tim: What a mess. [Wilson is barbecuing]
Wilson: Hi Tim!
Tim: Hi Wilson. Boy does that smell good. Baby back ribs?
Wilson: No, no, no. Squirrel. I tell you Tim. This is what it’s all about. Catch of the day cooking. Sun setting. Men standing around the campfire, telling stories. [Tim sits on the back porch]
Tim: Mind if I tell you a story, Wilson?
Wilson: Campfire’s lit, good neighbor.
Tim: Jill doesn’t get the job she wants, I tell her not to feel bad, she gets angry.
Wilson: Hm-hm-hm-hm. Hm-hm.
Tim: Alright. So then I tell her what she should do, she jumps all over me. And then walks away.
Wilson: Sounds like you were having an asymmetrical conversation.
Tim: Asymmetrical?
Wilson: Hm.
Tim: How d’you spell that?
Wilson: Let’s just say one-sided. You see Tim, by nature, men are problem solvers but Jill didn’t want you to solve her problem. [Tim comes over to the fence]
Tim: She didn’t?
Wilson: Oh, no, no. She just wanted you to listen while she shared her feelings.
Tim: Just stand there and listen? W-wouldn’t, wouldn’t that be like not doing anything?
Wilson: Sometimes the best thing you can do, Tim, is nothing.
Tim: [Grunting] Oh. Jill got mad at me because I didn’t listen to her!
Wilson: No, I think she got mad at you because you blew up the damn dishwasher.

Script excerpt from The Home Improvement Pilot Episode.
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Wilson used the word asymmetrical to explain to Tim what was going on, Wilson gave definition but did not stop there. Defining what is going on helps but it is and should always be a starting point for humanity. I think about gender when I think about definition and why do certain parts of the population fail to recognize more than two genders.

Defining a person gender is difficult primarily because a gender is a social construct not a biological one. Society and roles in that society determine ones gender not their sex at birth. There are within the North American culture about 68 genders. Gender is how a person identifies within a culture and it matters because identity matters, it is part of who you are. I was born at a time when people born with male sexual organs were assigned a male gender and people with female sexual organs were assigned a female gender. This mattered because as the male or female grew up they were demonized for participating in acts that were designated for one gender or the other. Only men work outside and act as protectors and only women wear makeup and play with dolls and cook and clean.

Defining gender helps, however only defining gender can hurt. We need to know why you or I are the gender that we identify with. Often when we do a self review we find that we are not the gender we were assigned at birth.

Understanding the why is important we could all do well with our own Wilson type of neighbour and friend.

Is it better really?

Prior to joining the military I was unfamiliar with the expression., “if you are not 15 minutes earlier you are late”, I was however very familiar with the expression, “better late than never”.

Is it really better to be late to something than never show up at all? I think the answer is always yes. Of course it is. Why is it better to be late than never? That is a better and more layered question.

Being late to a function brings judgement to others that were on time or early to the function. One thing that is almost always considered when judgement is past is intention of the party being accused, ie john wasn’t late for his appointment he simply didn’t show at all, he obviously doesn’t care about this appointment at all. When we arrive even if it is late we show that we did care and intended to make it to the appointment.

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What effort is applied when we simply abandon a pursuit? No effort right? You quit when you do not show up at all versus showing up late. Quitting is not good. I know that there seems to be a movement now called “quiet quitting” and quitting seems to be in style but it is bad to quit. Rest is fine and often needed but if you are doing something good you should never ever quit.

Survival can be summed up in three words — never give up.

Bear Grylls

Change direction, but never give up. Rest but never give up. Regroup but never give up. When you simply do not attend something you have given up.

What happens now? I have been a basketball fan since my father put a hoop up in my driveway. Love watching playing and coaching basketball. Basketball is played in 4 quarters and many analyst of the sport say that the 1st and 4th period of a game have 80% of the action in them. of the 80% 60% is usually in the 4th period. If you simply miss a whole game you will miss 100% of the action if you are late you may still participate in 80% of the action. Sometimes the best part of an appointment happens later than the start.

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Finally never doing something is not trying and trying is important for a person’s mental health. Trying something healthy is important for someone’s mental spiritual and often physical health.

So Is it better to be late than never? Absolutely it is but it is best to be on time, but if you are running late be sure to still arrive and arrive safely.

Once you realize this…

I was working at a job that I enjoyed, however promotion was not on the horizon for me or my colleagues. The inability to rise in my role compelled me to look for other opportunities, I applied for a role that had what seemed like a clear career path. I was called in for an interview and told by one of the hiring managers that the interview went well. This was the day after the interview, three days later the same hiring manager let me know that the company went in another direction. I was not devastated but felt rejection and was surprised at how much I felt. I thought about how I could’ve interviewed differently and what questions I may have gotten wrong on the interview. Honestly, I was a little surprised at how much rejection like that affected me, then I read an article that had an excerpt in it. The excerpt explained what it meant to surrender the outcome, and just how powerful this was.

We cannot control many things, I could not control the way that the hiring managers at the software company looked at me and my resume and experience. Understanding that helped me deal with rejection. Now I take a moment and review all situations to understand what is in my control and what is not. That is what surrendering the outcome means. When you surrender the outcome you understand what you can control and focus on that. The outcome matters less than the journey to get to that outcome.

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I coached little league and I would tell the players that, “win or lose doesn’t matter what matters is how we play the game.” This is a lesson I myself learned early on in life but quickly forgot as I grew up. I became more concerned with the outcome in the form of a paycheck or praise promotion and recognition. I lost focus of what was in front of me and what I could control and moved it to things I couldn’t control like the perception of myself in others and their recognition.

This year is a good time to teach ourselves that, we can only control what is right in front of us and we are foolish when we focus on things that we cannot control. Three things we can control are

Mindset

Be positive

Attitude

Treat others well

Actions

Work Hard

Make it count

It is January 2nd 2023 here on the east coast of the United States of America. Happy New Years!!

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I have asked a few people now tow questions. Did you make new year’s resolutions and if so what are they? My wife wants us to travel more (loved that answer). Others want to get in better shape and many do not make resolutions. When someone tells me that I always ask why and the answers seem to fall intoone of two categories.

The first category is one of resolve versus pragmatism. Those folks understand that they may want to change but will not change. In this case I would argue that the want is not sufficient and perhaps a good resolution this year would be to find motivation. Last year I heard some many people speak about the why. There was a book written by Simon Sinek in 2011 titled “Start with The Why”. The book is for leaders and deals with inspiring the culture of the work place were that leader works. For anyone who lacks motivation I encourage you to look into the works of Simon Sinek as well Eric Thomas and Les Brown. These guys can help get you motivated, some of the biggest fires in the world were started with the smallest sparks.

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The second category one of significance of the date Jan 1st. The argument is that Jan 1st is just another day. I find this argument a little more interesting than the prior one however at it’s heart it is also a matter of motivation. I was very young when I first read and was confused by the phrase;”today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Really confused.. My birthday was the first day of my life, not today however the rest of my life was something new and different. After sorting out what that meant I felt empowered. The silly turn of phrase empowered me and gave me hope. Everyday I was able to look at it as a new slate carrying forward my knowledge but also looking towards new accomplishments. That phrase put me in the mindset of growth.The growth mindset is one in which we make our seconds, minutes hours and days count. The days are not arbitrary and meaningless if we use them. Days spend building bonds with family and friends become meaningful and future loving memories. Days that are spent learning and building are days that bring reward and satisfaction.

If you haven’t already make those resolutions and if you have hold your head up hgh because this year 2023 will be an awesome one for you!!

It’s that time of the year

I love sharing on this blog.I really do. I am not the best writer in the world and this post gives me some much needed exercise. It is good to be consistent and reliable and I try to write at least one post on every workday however it is also important to take some time off.

Time off is good for rest and recovery. Here in the United States there seems to be a large amount of our citizens that are workaholics. Did you know that average worker in the United States works 1 767 hours a year? Now the rest of the world averages 1 687 hours. What is 100 hours? That is almost 2 and a half work weeks. What is 2 1/2 work weeks? that’s two on week vacations and one half a week vacation a year. Or two one week vacations and some days off for health.

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Vacations give us time to increase mindfulness, heart health and reduce our stress. It is important to take vacations, and we all should do it. That being said I am taking a break from this blog.

Again I love posting here everyday but I will not be posting here until the new year 2023 baby!! I may do some reposts though. WordPress is full of some amazing talent and that needs to be shared. (we will see about the reposts)

Thanks for all the likes, the comments and the shares this year. I love people, espically amazing ones like all the people who read comment like and share this blog.

Happy holidays everyone. I will see you next year!!