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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is there security in wealth? Can money make you happy?

While planning this post I asked a friend of this site what she would like me to tackle as a topic. At first she stated that she was not sure but then immediately came up with, “How about security for money? Many people think being secured is about having money.” (By the way, her site is called Adventures of a Comsci Student and the address to her site is http://comscistudent.blogspot.com )

First, let’s look at the word security. Again back to my trusty Encarta Dictionary which defines security as follows, state of feeling of safety, freedom from worries of loss, something giving assurance, safety, precautions to maintain safety, asset deposited to guarantee repayment, and guarantor. There are more, but these should suffice. Apparently security is a hefty word affecting everything from emotion to financial growth. So on to the first question, “Is there security in having money?”

Money like everything else in your life is a tool, a weapon if you will. Like I have said before, weapons are only as good or effective as the person using them. This being the case, all weapons (or tools if you prefer) are just as capable of being a liability as they are of being an asset. Case in point, we have all heard of unfortunate chainsaw accidents as well as stories of the guy who won millions in a lottery only to end up broke and in jail a relatively short time later. We should now be able to deduce that money, in and of itself, cannot provide security. Can money move you in the right direction?

There is an old saying that money begets money. It is usually taken to mean that when you have money and invest it wisely, the more money you will make to reinvest. This cycle continuing until you’re extremely wealthy living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Try looking at it this way. I have been saying that positivism and decision making, motivated by positivism, will create results filled with positive energies that translate into the attraction of a multitude of opportunities, which if taken advantage of, will better your position in your own universe. Could you agree that wealthy folk have fewer monetary worries than us average folk? The amount of worries may stay the same or even increase, but the focus will change. Once wealthy, priorities with regards to money usually evolve from trying to create wealth to maintaining, expanding, and guarding it. The stress and worry involved in not having money is and of itself a factor which drives negativity making being positive about money itself a difficult task indeed. So if the presence of money can foster positivism and the absence of it breed negativity, we now have a catch22. What comes first?

Ultimately, you CAN be positive and CREATE the environment for opportunity even without money. You just have to decide that this is what you want and make it happen. You will see that the more opportunities that you are presented with and take advantage of the easier it will be for you to advance your position in your own universe. Can money move you in the right direction? Yes it can, but the initial lack of it will have to be overcome by “YOUR DECISION” to change your position in your own universe.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Are you waiting for that perfect someone or are you with someone you want to be perfect?

Governments have spent billions trying to avoid landmines. Here we are purposely stepping on them. If anything, we are here to try and help those that are coming up the path behind us.

The first word that I want to address is “perfect”. Is there such a thing? I believe in the pursuit of perfection. If you aim for the stars, you are sure to hit clouds. The problem with the “concept” of the word perfection is that it’s very perception is relevant to the one making the observation. How many of us have stood in front of a painting with a small sign beneath it declaring it a “masterpiece” while thinking that you wouldn’t hang it in your garage, yet somebody out there was willing to spend millions on it. Go figure. So is it okay to seek the perfect partner? Yes it is.

Here is the catch. Because everything can be perfect relevant to the person making the observation, the observation itself will be tempered by the condition of that persons universe at the time the observation was made, perfect perfection cannot truly exist. Can you name one thing that without exception, everyone who was exposed to it, would think that it was perfect? I did not think so. (This not being a perfect observation, somebody will think I lost my marbles.)

We are all in a state of change. Every day when you wake up, you are not the same person that went to sleep the night before. Thus the old saying, “change is the only constant”. This being the case, you can always pursue perfection tempered by the knowledge that the pursuit will never end.

We now know how to deal with our expectation of perfection. Let’s add to the flavor of the stew by slowly stirring in acceptance and gratitude to the mix. We must strive for personal control of our universes. Part of doing that entails following paths in our lives that make us the very best we can be. We do this so that we can protect and serve those that we hold near and dear to our hearts. Whatever life situation you find yourself in, including relationships, you need to ask yourself if it drives or hinders your attainment of your life goal. If you say no, then corrective measures need to be taken. But if you say yes, then you have by doing so, indicated acceptance of your situation. Once you have accepted your situation, you now “accessorize” your universe by showing gratitude for those things that you do have that further your pursuit of your life goal. When you move into a house or apartment, do you put your couch in the middle of the living room and think that you are happy with your new abode? You most likely will want to paint the walls, put up a picture, and change the shower curtains, right? You may never be able to add that second floor, but you accepted what was there, and were grateful for the protection your home provided for you.

You are thinking that is all well and good for those that are still looking. What about everybody that is already in a relationship? Well, I suggest that you read the previous post,”Is LOVE ever enough?” Well is it? Once you have answered this question and decided that the WHO is who it should be, then the steps are the same. You have made the educated decision to accept your situation. You now have to strive to make it what you want it to be first remembering that you can only change or control your own universe. The power that you do have is that through positivism and gratitude, you can affect change in those around you. Notice I said “affect” not outright change. The key is to do constant assessments of your situation and modify your decisions accordingly. When you ride a bicycle or drive a car, you will find that you make subtle adjustments as you move along to keep you on the path, right? Life is the same way.

Wait for that perfect somebody or is that somebody perfect? The pursuit of perfection is the key. Just remember that the expectation of perfection is unreasonable. Our mantra here is to be the very best you can be, not be perfect. Take care until next time.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Is LOVE ever enough?

When is LOVE just not enough? Enough for what you might ask. I think that we need to explore just what love is a little more.

Why doesn’t he/she love me? I have done everything I can for him/her and I feel so unappreciated. Have you ever found yourself asking these questions? You might need to examine what love really is.

What is LOVE? Well the Thesaurus in my trusty Microsoft Word defines it as follows: to feel affection for, adore, worship, be in love with, be devoted to, care for, find irresistible, be keen on, be fond of, and lists hate as the antonym of LOVE. The defining factor in all of these examples is that they are all “outward bound” acts. LOVE is something you give and not something that can be expected in return.

Love has many defining factors depending on where it is coming from. Mother, father, child, sibling, teacher, mentor, or even coaches have the ability to love you. Each one of those people that I just mentioned will love differently depending on their individual life experience. Each one of us has experienced love in different ways from the time of our births. The ideal of love has been burned into us by our life’s experiences and decisions. (And Hallmark card quotes)

We have all heard the term “unconditional love” have we not? Again, it is an ideal which is outbound by nature and by its own name more in line with what we are discussing here today. You cannot hear that term and expect unconditional love. You have to be the one to be willing to give it. You have to make the decision that you will love, serve, and protect the target of this priceless gift whether or not the same energy and devotion is ever returned to you. A parental relationship is where you most often see this kind of love thrive, mothers more specifically. We have all heard of the mother that still housed her floundering 29 year old “child” who is still trying to find his/her niche in the world. That floundering “child” by the way verbally and in some cases physically abusing the doting mother. Yet there he/she is, cowering in the safety of mom’s apron. Ask her if LOVE is enough.

Now we look at marriage. You were attending a party when out of the corner of your eye you spot her/him. Out of the corner of your eye you notice her/him glancing your way. Before you realize it you are out on your first date ordering that house salad when you would have ordered the full rack of beef ribs with all the fixins. In a flash a diamond ring is purchased and being gingerly placed on a delicate finger. You turn around and running by at breakneck speed is your son being chased by his sister with a pair of scissors. Now you want to ask if LOVE is enough. Your decision making abilities have brought you this far. Now where will they take you?

It is now when the word martyr comes into mind. Does anyone have to martyr themselves in a marriage? Well if you consider yourself one, you have already given up and left. Love is no longer what you have to give. Self pity and regret are what now consume you. By staying in this situation you are perpetuating the negativity that you so desire to escape. It is akin to a drowning person asking for a glass of water. The real tragedy here is the fact that the negative energy you are creating is affecting those around you also. Maybe better said to say that it is infecting those around you. It would be virtually impossible to maintain any level of positivism in this situation. I ask you again, Is LOVE ever enough?

Is LOVE ever enough? That can only be determined by the person giving it. You need to look within and decide that you want to be where you are at. That you have a clear understanding of what particular situation you are in and once you have decided that you are “all in” you need to make clear decisions as to how your decision will effect those around you. Remember that you should make decisions that first improve your position in your universe with the intention of improving the position of those that you love in theirs. LOVE is always enough. The real question is, FOR WHOM?

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Speak up about poor service and give people a chance to shine.

Part of owning your universe is defending your right to be treated well in everyday situations. In short, when you are a customer, you should be given every courtesy and respect that should be given by a business wanting your loyalty and more importantly, your money.

The other day a good friend of mine invited me and my family to watch Iron Man at a local shopping center called Rockwell. Yes I am a fan of these comic book based movies. Shoot me.

Rockwell Power Plant Mall is an upscale shopping and dining destination. This mall is a very nice place. One of the attractive features here is the fact that there are not that many people walking around so the environment is unhurried and relaxed.

We arrived a bit early for the movie. My friend had actually pre-purchased the tickets so there was no need to stand in line. Deciding that we were all hungry we began the difficult process of choosing which of the many fine restaurants we would eat in. Finally after careful deliberation and a couple of false starts, we chose a place called “Kaya”.

Located in what would be considered the “food court” of this mall, Kaya is competing with several of Manila’s heavy hitters in the restaurant industry. Kaya itself focuses on Korean fare on a somewhat affordable level compared to other similarly apportioned establishments. The restaurant itself is relatively small but nicely decorated in what could be considered a fusion style of modern Asian design and Denny’s. You would have to read a menu to fully realize that this was a Korean restaurant.

Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted by several employees repeating what I think was “welcome” in unintelligible Korean. I asked to be seated in a place that had an electric outlet nearby because I knew that the battery of my laptop was running low. Without hesitation the server lead us to a table near the kitchen entrance and after seating us, proceeded to pass out menus.

It was when the server came to take our orders that the problems started. First, my wife usually does not order anything when we dine out with our two children. There is inevitably a large amount of leftovers which she then happily consumes so as to not waste perfectly good food. The problem here is that to keep the pricing deceptively reasonable, it appears that the portion sizes were kept very small. I did not have a scale with me but it seemed that the portions were approximately 80 grams or so. When you order kalbi ribs a good portion of that will be bones. This order did not go very far and we were forced to order more items. Good for the restaurant but does not make you feel like you are getting very much value for the buck. I would have preferred to have been charged slightly more and been pleased with what was brought to the table. My wife had a sour look on her face almost the whole time. Not only was there nothing left for her but the kids wanted more.

I on the other hand was “watching” everybody eat. Yes I said watching. My food was missing in action. My friend followed up twice. Each time he would ask where my order was our server would rush off never to be seen again. The third time we followed up, another server came back informing us that all the items we ordered had been served already. By this time, the group had finished eating and I was upset and hungry. I immediately called for the original server. When she arrived at the table I tried to ask what had happened to my order. Not having a good answer to my question, she said sorry and asked if I still wanted it. That was the last straw, I asked for the manager.

Her name is Cynthia A. Esperanza. She introduced herself as the manager of the restaurant. After explaining what happened she called the server over to ask her side of the story. The server to her credit admitted that she made a mistake. Ms. Esperanza then explained that the server would be disciplined and apologized for any inconvenience before she returned to the kitchen. I thought that the problem was solved. I was still not happy at this point and definitely still hungry.

After a few minutes a server came out with two bowls of ice cream. I thought it was a nice gesture and thanked the server. I thought again that the problem was solved. I was less hungry and a little happier by this time.

A few minutes later, two full plates of cool delicious watermelon, and two plates of sweet sliced pineapple were placed in front of us. The group was shocked. I was impressed. I called the manager to tell her that I was very happy with her attitude towards customer service. I could not think of anything else that she could possibly do to show us how much she did not want to loose our business. After we paid the bill, she had one more surprise. As we walked out of the restaurant, she handed me my missing order. Incredible. She even handed my two kids lollipops as we left. I will definitely be dining here again.

My point in telling you this story is two fold. First, when you do not get what you are paying for, you must not be afraid to speak up. By “letting it go” you are actually empowering the negative service to continue and affect others. You are also perpetuating being a victim. This negative energy will remain within you attracting more such incidents. Secondly, this manager should be very secure in the service industry that she chose as a career. She was willing to make decisions that some may think went above and beyond what was necessary to not loose a customer’s loyalty. To her it was a natural decision which demonstrated that she has taken ownership of this business. This is an invaluable asset in an employee and the owners of Kaya should be happy to have her on board.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana. Scandal or Stupid Decision?

Miley Cyrus, maybe better known as Hannah Montana, is in the spotlight yet again, not because of a great new song but because of what appears to be “inappropriate” pictures taken with her father who is also her manager.

I viewed an online video of the photo-shoot where these photos were created. Did I perceive the set up to be inappropriate? Let’s take a closer look.

Miley was dressed in jeans and a tank top. During the video she playfully hung upside down during the setup of the shoot like any girl her age would, but in front of the camera gone were the girlish and sometimes goofy smiles she is so well known for. What posed in front of the camera was a blossoming young woman becoming used to her feminine charm and power. I was surprised to see her father come onto the set and strike a reclining pose sitting on the floor resting on one arm. Miley then “decorated” her father by leaning onto him then lying next to him with her head resting on his lap.

What was my initial impression? Inappropriate. She was not just being a girl hanging out with dad shooting some promotional shots. She was not being Hannah Montana in those shots. The poses with the dad were not your average daughter and dad shots. The eye to eye contact captured in the shots did not have parental overtures. If I did not know that this was a father and daughter, I would have believed that these two were intimately involved.

Do I think that they are having some kind of illicit relationship? No I do not. Was this a textbook example of incredibly poor judgment? Yes it was. Some image consultant probably advised them to do this photo shoot saying that Miley has to develop her image after Hannah Montana. That she will not be a kid forever. Show the fans that she is maturing and in connection with that, not be type cast as a Disney character for the rest of her career. Was this good advice? Maybe it was. But the execution was a blunder in the umpteenth degree.

Lastly, the dad was the most to blame for this situation. He is her manager. More importantly he is her father. He is there to not only protect her business interests but to help her make the proper decisions regarding her image and lifestyle. To help her learn the thought process that goes into making good solid decisions for herself. What I saw was an aging man who enjoyed the attention he was getting to the detriment of his daughter. He was posing for his fans trying to look cool and attractive. He was not there trying to look like Miley’s dad.

Another example of how your bad decisions can have far ranging effect on those around you. Ego strikes yet again and claims two more victims.

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