In the Scheme of Things …

Small talk with little substance…”bears no fruit” with casual acquaintances, groups or strangers.

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There was a study that someone conducted in regard to the attention span of the average listener.  It concluded after 25 seconds if the listeners had no interest in what you were saying… they tuned you out and were no longer listening.  (I am sure that I have made a lot of 25 second speeches without knowing it).  We sometimes initiate questions that promote longer answers (unintentionally) than we are prepared to listen to. For example: “How was your golf game today”? “Well on the first hole I knocked one out of bounds and three putted…then on the second hole”….and so on….get the point. The question that deserves a 25 second or less response… “What score did you shoot today”?

We all ask questions or make statements that are not meant to initiate a conversation…but as a means of politeness or awareness of one’s presence. Such as “How are you today?”… “Have a good day”… “Good golf shot”…etc…all of these can be responded to in no more than one or two words….and should be.

If you are trying to start a conversation that has value beyond 25 seconds…then ask a question to someone who has a source of knowledge to the question you are asking….and then be prepared to listen to the answer. Conversation should be an exchange of ideas or at least a learning experience.  Remember when you are talking “you are only learning what you already know”…and if your dialog extends beyond 25 seconds it should have interest to the other party.

There are some basic rules that we should all engage in such as:

…never ask a question that you know will embarrass or make the other person feel inadequate.

…questions concerning religion and politics are not good topics…if you know the other person’s views are different from your.

…having an opinion and elaborating on something that you know nothing about is more dangerous than not having an opinion at all. This one is a confirmation to the statement “I thought he was smart until he open his mouth and removed all doubt”.

…people usually would prefer talking about themselves or their own experiences with you listening …rather than listening to you talk about yourself.

Now I have just stated what I believe to be the proper protocol for starting an intelligent conversation with a casual acquaintance, group, or a stranger in the proper setting.

With that said… if you should run into an “old friend” that you haven’t seen in some time… in an informal setting such as on the golf course or like…none of the above applies…the proper greeting would be to extend you hand for a hand shake, smile and verbalize… “Damn you are as ugly as I remember”…It’s a guy thing…we wear it like a badge of honor….and it took less than 25 seconds.  Disclaimer: I would not necessarily recommend this greeting to the more intelligent gender…women.

 

 DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance

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“Fork in the Road”… “People, Places and Events”

Age constitute a series of chapters filed with people, places and events in one’s life with the passing of time.

As one gets older there is a tendency to bring into focus the “memories” of those events. For a moment separate the memories of those events from a specific decision that you made (or someone made for you) that led you to where you are today….that decision probably created the majority of those memories good or bad.

With that said…I thought that I would back track and try to identify the major “fork in the road” that has led me to the present.

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I now live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metro-Plex area of Texas…and have for the majority of my life (at my age it is safe to say the majority).  After college I was given a job opportunity that provided me a choice to move to one of several different cities in Texas…San Antonio, Houston and Ft. Worth.  I chose Ft. Worth because I had a brother that lived there at the time. Even though my brother and I had no direct conversation that influenced me to move to the area…the fact is “just because he lived there”…I made a quick decision at that time that has since fill the majority of my life…(he moved out of State less than a year of me moving here).

I could have just as easily chosen Austin, San Antonio, or Houston….but I didn’t. That one decision led me to all the people and events that have filled my life since.  Any other decision that I would have made at that time would have led me to a life filled with different people and events. To me its mind boggling to think for example…if I had moved to Austin at that time in my life…Where would I be today?  That one choice…that one turn in the road…has filled the majority of my life and has influenced who I am today.

Take a moment and reflect on a decision that you made…or didn’t make…that brought you to where you are today.  I not talking about the events that may have influenced the changes in your life…but the one major decision that you made that led you to the surroundings of where you are today.

Someone once said, life is what happens as you are making plans…our every day life becomes a bumper car ride with people and events being the rails that keep us on that continuing path.

If you under 30 years of age…there is a possibility that you haven’t encountered that major “fork in the road”…only detours…and only time will tell.

If you have reached an age where there is more time behind you than in front of you…then I  challenge you to isolate the ‘fork in the road” …and then wonder…what if? 

 

 DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance

Where do you live?

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This question doesn’t pertain to a geographical area…but one of your mind-set and reality.

Even though our body lives in the present, our thoughts and decisions do not always follow it’s lead.

In my opinion there is no right or wrong answer to this question… and its above my pay grade to judge, but I do find it interesting to analyze myself as well as others based on their actions.

If you should decide to do the same consider the three components of past, present and future.  Start with a 100% and start moving the scale based on your mind-set and the decisions that you make in your daily life….and analyze the results.  If the end result doesn’t  provide a form of contentment  within yourself …just remember only you have the ability to change it.

I know many people who live the majority of their time in the past.  When you are around them they are always reflecting on the past and most of their conversation always starts with… I remember when…They retain the same small circle of friends that they have brought with them to the present to relive those past moments  ever time they get together.  Current events or future plans are very seldom discussed…unless it’s a conversation about when they plan to get together again.

I am a person who lives the majority of his time in the present.  There are many poetic clichés that I could use to reference this…but I won’t.  For me…the past is the past…I can’t change it…its over.  I do have what I refer to as 15 second flashbacks …some are painful…some are happy moments but the more time you spend there the more you steal from the present. The future for me is about 2 weeks from the present.  Is this a healthy environment to live in?…probably not if you ask an economist or financial planner.  I have become comfortable and content with my life… by doing what is necessary in the present… to produce the financial means for that comfort.

The people that live for the future are some of the most optimistic people that I know. They are certain that there is a future and are constantly preparing for it. These individuals tend to lose site of “living life in the present” by only preparing for the future…and when (and if) their definition of the future arrives unfortunately their health and physical condition may prevent them from enjoying the fruits of their labor. The only thing that I am certain about is that the past is gone… the future is not guaranteed and at the time I wrote this…there was a present.

So…back to the original question…where do you live?

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DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance.

The Six Principals of The Ten Commandants

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Religion is a sensitive topic to write about…and I am sure that I will offend some/or most…but that is not my intent.  I asked myself prior to writing this piece “How many religions are there in the world?”…so I Googled the question and was surprised at the multitude of answers. The answers ranged from 11 to over 4,000…in terms of organized human religious beliefs.  Obliviously in the end it boils down to the acceptance of one’s own definition of religion and belief….which brings me to this point…

With so many contributing factors that create wars and unrest in the world that stem from a combination of politics, greed, power, and suppression why is it that the religious aspect always seems to be attached to the conflict regardless of the complexity of reasons.

I was taught that religion is a spiritual belief of faith…and that there is a better life after this world…if one believes. So why should there be so much conflict about religion in this world…that is a matter of another world?  There are elements of each “religion”…that end up producing a better afterlife…if you believe. I find it interesting that the people that “do not believe”…find religion annoying and want to alter the principals of the “believers”… and the “believers” want to impose their beliefs on the “non believers” or other religions that are different from theirs. . Confusing?…yes it is, but in the end it is not about religion on this earth…it’s the fear that each is going to dominate the other and impose their values, beliefs and life style on their way of life….its about political structure and the fear that the one with the most power will rule over the other.

My Son pointed out to me in a conversation that we were having…that the last 6 of the 10 commandants really have more relevance to respect, goodness and human rights than a reference to an afterlife affirmation.  Even though I am ignorant of the teachings of the different religions I do recognize the goodness of individuals that try to live by the principals of those six commandants.

If each individual…regardless of religion… adopted the “last six commandments as principals” to live by…this world would be a much better place.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance.

Unquestioned Compatibility…

older-couple-still-in-loveI am truly amazed in today’s world when an individual actually finds another human being who is truly compatible with his/her thinking, likes and dislikes and tuned into the same universe….the odds are not as good as you might think….I was lucky without a doubt.  The instant diversions of sexual attraction, outgoing personality, and small talk can sometimes prevent deep soul searching  compatibility from being discovered…but I believe in a passing moment I saw a unique testimonial a few years ago of a couple who had beat those odds…

My wife and I were taking a 3 day trip by train for the pleasure and experience of it.  Trains travel through areas that provide an opportunity for one to see things that you normally wouldn’t see speeding down a busy highway…this was one of those occasions.  We were sitting in the dinning car at a table draped with a white linen tablecloth and a center piece of fresh flowers (which was very elegant and relaxing) waiting for our evening meal to be served. As we looked out enjoying the views of the passing country side through the floor to ceiling window… I saw a modest white farm house with a large sweeping front porch.  There was a wide set of stairs leading up to the porch…and perfectly positioned on each side of the first steps were two “white porcelain toilets with black seats” and flowers protruding from them.  The black seats were in the up position.

I turned to my wife and said, “Can you imagine at some point this couple probably had a conversation that started like this…Honey (as they were drinking their morning coffee) I was thinking about putting two white porcelain toilets out front today and planting flowers in them…what do you think?  Her reply…I think that would be beautiful…do you need any help?”

That my friend…would be two people who have reached the depths of soul searching compatibility.  I would liked to have met those people…I am confident that they placed those toilets there to please themselves…not to impress me in that passing moment.

 DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance.

Success vs. Success

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If you look for a definition of success you will find multiple explanations or interpretations that usually lead to more questions.  The general acceptance of success is defined as…

“the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted…the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status”.

The most interesting question is the simplest of all “What does success mean to you?”

Success is not the same for all people…the most common perception is…the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.  The other side of the coin could be described as self-confident, contentment, awareness, fulfillment…knowing “who you are” is more important than “how other people perceive you”.  We are all wired differently and it’s not that either of these two or correct or incorrect…and if a person possesses a combination of these…so be it. I believe that personal success is only obtainable when you “reach” an understanding within yourself.

Here lies the purpose for this thought:

We are taught at an early age to strive and plan for success…and specific people were pointed out as examples that had reached that plateau…only to find out later in life that some of those examples were the most insecure, unhappy and self-destructive individuals that you could  possibly imagine.  Perception does not always reflect reality…contrary to the over used phrase of “perception is reality”.

Surface observations do not always reveal the truth.  It reminds me of the old line “are you going to believe me or you’re lying eyes?”  If you judge an individual only by fame or fortune rather than by ones’ self contentment …then you may be judging a false sense of success.  I have seen individuals that have achieved monetary wealth and fame…and yet still strive for other people’s approval and acceptance because of their own insecurity.  Success is not a group-awareness but self-awareness. In my opinion the more important question.. as it pertains to “success” is simple… “Have you achieved self-confidence and happiness within yourself”?

It is never too late in life to achieve success…sometimes the achievement is the “discovery” not the intended journey.

 

 DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance.

When understanding…was simple

the-simple-lifeI grew up in a time when understanding…was simple.

Prime example is the first twelve years of my formal education. I knew in advance that the purpose for attending school was to receive an education in order to improve my chances of becoming successful.  The word “successful” is a subjective word meaning different things to different people…which we will discuss another day.

Ok….let me backup a little…in the first few years of my education I couldn’t even conceive the words that I just used above…must less spell them. The first few years were spent learning (without my awareness) to interact with other kids, structure, sharing, respect for authority, discipline…and heartache.  Yes…heartache, there was a little girl in the third grade that was cute that had absolutely no interest in becoming my girl friend.

Beyond those first few years I gained the “simple understanding” of several things. If I didn’t listen and study…not only would I not learn…but there would be consequences. I would not be promoted to the next grade level with my friends if I didn’t meet the minimum academic requirements… that my family who cared about me would be disappointed… that it was my fault that I didn’t pass because I didn’t apply myself because of my priorities.  I had a great deal of respect for my teachers and their attitude toward us as developing individuals. That respect never wavered…even when I was sent to the Principal’s office to have my ass whipped…that’s right …have my ass whipped.  I didn’t need a thirty minute lecture or therapy session with the Principal, I knew what I had done was wrong and I new the consequences beforehand…it was my choice.  I also knew when I got home that my Pop would not be going to the school the next day to try and have the Principal fired…but that he would just whip my ass to reconfirm the Principal’s action.  I began to make better choices after a couple of those sessions.

This was also an age that you learned in life that everything was not necessarily equal.   I am hesitant to use the word “fair” because to me that meant you “cheated or didn’t play by the rules”. Today I feel that word is used more too express “resentment or entitlement”. It was a time…if you didn’t win your ball game…it’s was because the other team was better that day. It was fair…it just wasn’t equal on that given day. You also realized that your physical skill level may not be equal to some of your team mates, but you didn’t resent their talent…you used it as an incentive to play your best.

The first twelve years of my formal education was for the purpose to help me reach a level of knowledge and understanding that should benefit me in making choices in the “real world”.  There would no longer be a bell ringing every 50 minutes to direct me to the next event of my life… it was my time to make my own choices in life…the understanding was simple.

 

 DISCLAIMER: The information presented is either my opinion or information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and factual; however, I make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy thereof. Any errors, including misuse or misspelling of words is either due to my fingers hitting the wrong keys, oversight, or my own ignorance.