Sunday, May 15, 2016

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

4351.  Apparently, “Gigi” Hadid was born on April 23rd;
4352.  The choices we make today lead to the opportunities we have tomorrow;
4353.  Multiple new studies of consumer buying habits and behavior find that spending on yourself alone is seldom as satisfying over the long-term as sharing with others, and better still, giving selflessly;
4354.  Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, authors of “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending,” conducted one experiment in which they handed out Starbucks gift cards on a university campus.  Some students were instructed to buy treats for themselves.  Another group was asked to pass their gift cards on.  A third group was asked to purchase something for a stranger and to spend time with that stranger at Starbucks.  When Dunn and Norton followed up, they found the happiest gift card recipients were those students who treated a stranger and then shared in the experience;
4355.  Perhaps more relevant to all of us, Dunn and Norton report that consistently using available funds to purchase experiences, such as trips, concerts and special meals that are shared with family or friends, always produces longer-lasting satisfaction than buying material goods for ourselves alone.  An added benefit of such social spending is that it often draws us closer to those with whom we share the special experiences;
4356.  People who are grateful are likely to be happier, hopeful and energetic, and they possess positive emotions more frequently.  Individuals also tend to be more spiritual or religious, forgiving, empathetic and helpful, while being less depressed, envious or neurotic;
4357.  One simple way to cultivate gratitude is to literally count your blessings.  Keep a journal and regularly record whatever you are grateful for that day.  Be specific.  Listing “my friends, my school, my dog” day after day means that “gratitude fatigue” has set in.  Writing “my dog licked my face when I was sad” keeps it fresher.  The real benefit comes in changing how you experience the world.  Look for things to be grateful for and you’ll start seeing them everywhere;
4358.  Living wealthy can be achieved not by doing anything differently, but by simply appreciating what we already have;
4359.  Happiness must be in the journey if there’s even a chance for it to be in the destination;
4360.  Live deliberately and make good decisions today to unleash your happiness;
4361.  A number of traits to consciously look for when creating new romantic relationships (in no particular order): 1.  Passion; 2.  Integrity; 3.  Happiness; 4.  Intelligence; 5.  Sexual assertiveness; 6.  Financial responsibility; and 7.  Commitment to personal growth.  “Nice guys” have a strong tendency to try to do everything “right.”  This list isn’t meant as a magic formula.  There are no perfect people and no perfect relationships.  But by consciously looking for the traits listed above in a prospective partner, nice guys can save themselves a lot of grief and improve their chances of actually finding what they are looking for;
4362.  Women consistently say that even though they may be initially drawn to a “nice guy’s” pleasing demeanor, over time they find it difficult to get excited about having sex with him.  Often the partner feels defective, but it is really not her fault.  There is just very little about the nice guy persona to flip a switch or arouse a prospective partner.  Once again, by doing the opposite of what works, nice guys prevent themselves from getting the sex they want;
4363.  There’s not much nightlife in Havre de Grace, Maryland;
4364.  (I can say) ‘’ve met (former University of Virginia basketball player) Jason Clark (at Jamie & Ty’s wedding);
4365.  Life is not linear.  Neither should the pathways of getting started;
4366.  As recently as the 1970s, a teenager had a number of options after graduating from high school: get a good-paying job right away, enlist in the military, find an apprenticeship in a trade or go to college.  A teenager today really has only two of those options still available; the military or college.  Fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military, so most go to college right after high school.  Many of them are simply not ready for college or need a break from the intensity of school;
4367.  The greatest damage rejection causes is usually self-inflicted.  Indeed, our natural response to being dumped by a dating partner or getting picked last for a team is not just to lick our wounds but to become intensely self-critical.  We call ourselves names, lament our shortcomings and feel disgusted with ourselves.  In other words, just when our self-esteem is hurting most, we go and damage it even further.  Doing so is emotionally unhealthy and psychologically self-destructive yet every single one of us has done it at one time or another;
4368.  Most rejections, whether romantic, professional, and even social, are due to “fit” and circumstance.  Going through an exhaustive search of your own deficiencies in an effort to understand why it didn’t “work out” is not only unnecessarily, but misleading;
4369.  When your self-esteem takes a hit it’s important to remind yourself of what you have to offer (as opposed to listing your shortcomings).  The best way to boost feelings of self-worth after a rejection is to affirm aspects of yourself you know are valuable.  Make a list of five qualities you have that are important or meaningful – things that make you a good relationship prospect (e.g., you are supportive or emotionally available), a good friend (e.g., you are loyal or a good listener) or a good employee (e.g., you are responsible or have a strong work ethic).  Then choose one of them and write a quick paragraph or two (write, don’t just do it in your head) about why the quality matters to others and how you would express it in the relevant situation.  Applying emotional first aid in this way will boost your self-esteem, reduce your emotional pain and build your confidence going forward;
4370.  As social animals, we need to feel wanted and valued by the various social groups with which we are affiliated.  Rejection destabilizes our need to belong, leaving us feeling unsettled and socially untethered.  Therefore, we need to remind ourselves that we’re appreciated and loved so we can feel more connected and grounded.  If your work colleagues didn’t invite you to lunch, grab a drink with members of your softball team instead.  If your kid gets rejected by a friend, make a plan for them to meet a different friend instead and as soon as possible.  And when a first date doesn’t return your texts, call your grandparents and remind yourself that your voice alone brings joy to others;
4371.  Emotion is created by motion;
4372.  Who you surround yourself with, who you associate to is who you will become;
4373.  The point in which change happens is a decision.  Every change in your life that you want will come from something simple, a decision;
4374.  Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning you give it;
4375.  You can’t control all events, but you can always control what things mean.  When you control the meaning of something, you control the key and the secret to life itself at least the quality of life you want;
4376.  Massive action can be a cure-all when you know what you’re after and you know why you want it;
4377.  The number one fear people have is failure.  The reason is that if they feel that they fail, they won’t be loved.  They’ll be rejected.  They’ll be hurt.  They’ll be judged.  So what they’re really afraid is losing love.  And they think this failure will lead to that rejection or loss of love;
4378.  The truth of the matter is you can’t fail unless you don’t try.  If you try something and it doesn’t work, you just learn from it and it’ll make you better the next time you go about it;
4379.  Know what you’re getting;
4380.  You need to have sensory acuity.  Sensory acuity is the idea that you want to become acutely sensitive to whether what you’re doing is working or not;
4381.  If you’ve tried everything, you’d have what you want;
4382.  Whatever you perceive, will be true for you;
4383.  The first belief you must have to have lasting change is that change is a “must” and not a “should;”
4384.  Should never happens.  “Should” you do when it’s convenient.  Should is not consistent;
4385.  It must change and I must change it.  I can change it;
4386.  The past does not equal the future;
4387.  You have to be able to look forward and create what you want even if you’ve never been able to do it before.  This moment is new;
4388.  If you live in the past, your future will be the same way;
4389.  All beliefs carry with them consequences and human behavior is belief driven;
4390.  When you’re talking with someone and you want to deepen the relationship, ask them about their future.  What are they working toward?  What has them excited?  What are their goals?  As they begin answering your questions, focus on listening for both what they are saying and what they are not saying.  The answers you hear (or don’t hear) can tell you what you need to know, which is where the person needs help;
4391.  If nothing comes up or you need more clarification then follow up and ask them what challenges they are facing with achieving their goals.  Ask what is stopping them or slowing them down.  Ask about their obstacles.  Once again, listen carefully and watch for opportunities to learn about them;
4392.  Specifically, as they are talking, listen for two things: 1.  What is their “currency?”  A person’s currency isn’t necessarily money, it’s what is important to them.  If you understand someone’s currency, you can help them by truly building value for them and enhancing the relationship; and 2.  Where do they need support?  This is the most important thing you can know about someone if you want to cultivate powerful relationships.  Once you know what they value and where they need assistance, you can go to work figuring out two things: 1.  Can I personally deliver value or support them in some way?; and 2.  If I can’t create value for them, who do I know that can?  The first one is self-explanatory, but the second question is the more valuable of the two.  You can only help a limited number of people personally, but when you tap into your network, you can exponentially expand the amount of value you can provide;
4393.  Value follows value.  Relationships bring opportunity;
4394.  Mental capital makes you valuable to others, which allows you to build relationship capital.  Relationship capital then helps you to associate with high-quality people who think at a higher level and teach you new things;
4395.  All significant behavior patterns are the sum of many, much smaller behavior patterns.  The most effective way to change a behavior is to change its smallest elements;
4396.  Until a “nice guy” can be sexual with himself without shame, he won’t be able to be sexual with another person without shame;
4397.  Until a “nice guy” is comfortable giving pleasure to himself, he won’t be able to receive pleasure from someone else;
4398.  Until a “nice guy” can take responsibility for his own arousal and pleasure when he is by himself, he won’t be able to take responsibility for his own arousal and pleasure when he is with someone else;
4399.  Until a “nice guy” can be sexual with himself without using pornography or fantasy to distract himself, he won’t be able to have sex with someone else without needing similar things to distract him;
4400.  Fantasy is a form of dissociation, the process of separating one’s body from one’s mind.  When a person fantasizes while being sexual s/he is purposefully and actively leaving her/his body.  Fantasizing during sex makes about as much sense as thinking about a Big Mac while eating a gourmet meal.  About the only thing fantasy accomplishes is to distract a person from her/his shame and fear or cover up the fact that s/he is having bad sex;

Monday, May 2, 2016

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

4301.  You are not a better or worse person if you live differently from your neighbor;
4302.  Don’t spoil your kids.  Give your kids enough so they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing;
4303.  Communication is one of the greatest skills you can learn;
4304.  Look at everyone else’s mistakes – and don’t repeat them.  The best thing is to learn from other guy’s mistakes.  General George S. Patton used to say, “It’s an honor to die for your country; make sure the other guy gets the honor;”
4305.  Don’t follow the pack.  You need to divorce your mind from the crowd.  The herd mentality causes all IQ’s to become paralyzed.  Smart doesn’t always equal rational.  To be a successful investor you must divorce yourself from the fears and greed of the people around you, although it is almost impossible;
4306.  Know what you don’t know.  There is nothing wrong with a “know nothing” investor who realizes it.  The problem is when you are a “know nothing” investor, but you think you know something;
4307.  The only person that is hurt when you harbor resentment is yourself.  The person who you think wronged you, continues on with their life, often none the wiser.  So you have to stop hurting yourself and move forward with a positive attitude;
4308.  Luck may play a role in life’s outcomes or some of them at least, but achievement is far more frequently a result of effort, a consistent, daily investment of self.  Life and success are about more than hanging in there – they are about bringing your best fight to the fight, every time;
4309.  Multiple studies have proved that companies that show up in lists like Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” financially outperform those that don’t;
4310.  When all that you have been defined by ceases to be and you still know who you are and like what you know – then you have truthfully succeeded;
4311.  True success can only be attained when everyone involved wins and there are no losers in any way;
4312.  You may think no one is looking at your feet, but the correct stance can demonstrate confidence.  Standing with your feet too close together can make you appear timid;
4313.  As a general rule of thumb, aim for a stance that’s in line with your hips and shoulders.  You want to have your feet about a foot apart, pointing outward;
4314.  Angling your feet outward and in the direction of the person you’re speaking with shows interest, trust and receptiveness, while a closed stance can convey disinterest;
4315.  Strong eye contact is probably the single greatest indicator of confidence.  If this is something you struggle with, try looking at the other person’s eyes for two seconds, looking at their nose for two seconds, looking at their mouth for two seconds and then looking at their face as a whole for two seconds.  Continue this rotation throughout your conversation;
4316.  The best piece of advice for people who want to appear more confident is to focus on the people they’re engaged with rather than worrying about how others perceive them.  The bottom line is be interested, not interesting.  Be more focused on the other person and what message is being communicated than focused on yourself and your self-consciousness;
4317.  As you act, so you become.  As you change your body language, so you become;
4318.  It (really) sucks running out of data only halfway through your monthly plan;
4319.  The “Mayflower Hotel” in D.C. is owned by Marriott (International);
4320.  It’s pretty annoying not having water (especially if you’ve just worked out and want to take a shower);
4321.  The enmeshing “nice guy” makes his partner his emotional center.  His world revolves around her.  She is more important than his work, his buddies and his hobbies.  He will do whatever it takes to make her happy.  He will give her gifts, try to fix her problems and arrange his schedule to be with her.  He will gladly sacrifice his wants and needs to win her love.  He will even tolerate her bad moods, rage attacks, addictions and emotional or sexual unavailability – all because he “loves her so much.”  They are like little dogs who hover beneath the table just in case a scrap happens to fall their way.  Enmeshing nice guys do this same hovering routine around their partner just in case she happens to drop him a scrap of sexual interest, a scrap of her time, a scrap of a good mood or a scrap of her attention.  Even though they are settling for the leftovers that fall from the table, enmeshing nice guys think they are getting something really good;
4322.  On the surface it may appear that the enmeshing “nice guy” desires and is available for an intimate relationship, but this is an illusion.  The nice guy’s pursuing and enmeshing behavior is an attempt to hook up an emotional hose to his partner.  This hose is used to suck the life out of her and fill an empty place inside of him.  The nice guy’s partner unconsciously picks up on this agenda and works like hell to make sure the nice guy can’t get close enough to hook up the hose.  Consequently, the nice guy’s partner is often seen as the one preventing the closeness the nice guy desires;
4323.  The avoiding “nice guy” seems to put his job, hobby, parents and everything else before his primary relationship.  He may not seem like a nice guy to his partner at all because he is often nice to everyone else but her.  He may volunteer to work on other people’s cars.  He may spend weekends fixing his mother’s roof.  He may work two or three jobs.  He may coach his children’s sports teams.  Even though he may not follow his partner around and cater to her every whim, he still operates from a covert contract that since he is a nice guy, his partner should be available to him, even if he isn’t available to her;
4324.  Both patterns, enmeshing and avoiding, inhibit any real kind of intimacy from occurring.  They may help the “nice guy” feel safe, but they won’t help him feel loved;
4325.  It is human nature to be attracted to what is familiar.  Because of this reality, “nice guys” create adult relationships that mirror the dynamics of their dysfunctional childhood relationships.  If he was abandoned in childhood, he may choose partners who are unavailable or unfaithful;
4326.  Occasionally, the person the “nice guy” chooses to help him recreate his childhood relationship patterns isn’t the way he unconsciously needs her to be when the relationship begins.  If this is the case, he will often help her become what he needs.  He may project upon her one or more traits of his parents.  He may act as if she is a certain way even when she isn’t.  His unconscious dysfunctional needs may literally force his partner to respond in an equally dysfunctional way;
4327.  We tend to be attracted to people who have some of the worst traits of both of our parents.  Instead of blaming your partner for your unconscious choice, identify the ways in which s/he helps you recreate familiar relationship patterns from your childhood;
4328.  “Nice guys” have difficulty getting the love they want because they spend too much time trying to make bad relationships work;
4329.  When healthy individuals recognize that they have created a relationship that is not a good fit or that a partner they have chosen lacks the basic qualities they desire, they move on.  Due to their conditioning, “nice guys” just keep trying harder to get a non-workable situation to work or get someone to be something they are not.  This tendency frustrates everybody involved;
4330.  Even when “nice guys” do try to end a relationship, they are not very good at it.  They frequently do it too late and in indirect, blaming or deceitful ways.  They typically have to do it several times before it sticks;
4331.  There are no perfect relationships.  There are no perfect partners.  Relationships by their very nature are chaotic, eventful and challenging;
4332.  When a recovering “nice guy” sets boundaries with his partner, it makes her feel secure.  In general, when women feel secure, they feel loved.  She will also come to know that if her partner will stand up to her, he is also likely to stand up for her.  Setting boundaries also creates respect.  When a nice guy fails to set boundaries it communicates to his partner that he doesn't really honor himself, so why should she?
4333.  Second Date Rule: If this behavior had occurred on the second date, would there have been a third?
4334.  Healthy Male Rule: How would a healthy male handle this situation?
4335.  Wounded people are attracted to wounded people.  When “nice guys” enter a relationship, they frequently choose partners who look more dysfunctional than they do.  This creates a dangerous illusion that one of them is sicker than the other.  This is a distortion because healthy people are not attracted to unhealthy people – and vice versa;
4336.  If you have one obviously wounded person in a relationship, you always have two, no exception;
4337.  I (think I) have male “resting bitch face” (i.e., “RBF”);
4338.  Why do I feel pissed (off) for being shamed (by a total stranger) into standing for the National Anthem?  (I think) it's probably because (of insecurity that) I want people to think I'm a good person and her glaring disapproval made me feel otherwise.  (Deep down) I know I was wrong, I just didn't like being called out on it;
4339.  Parents don’t like it when you talk about (sex) orgies on cruise ships when they’re sitting in the row in front of you with their kids at the circus;
4340.  Most dogs that behave badly have been conditioned to do so by ignorant or inconsistent owners;
4341.  In many ways, humans aren’t much different from pets.  People often behave the way they have been trained to behave.  For example, if a person gives his dog a treat when he pees on the carpet, the dog will keep peeing on the carpet.  The same is true for humans.  If the “nice guy” reinforces his partner’s undesirable behaviors, she will keep behaving in undesirable ways;
4342.  In dog obedience school, if you want an undesirable behavior to go away, you stop paying attention to it.  The same is true in relationships;
4343.  When applying for a job, your focus should be on the person or company that you want to start paying you.  More specifically: 1.  What basic qualifications is this employer looking for?  If I’m being honest with myself, do I meet these basic qualifications?; 2.  Why does this employer need someone in this position?; 3.  What problem(s) are they trying to solve with who they hire for this role?; and 4.  What specific qualities or experiences have I had that can solve the employer’s problem in a unique and effective way?  If you can answer these questions honestly, you will stop wasting your time applying for positions that are not a good fit.  Your résumé will jump out at the employer as someone who understands what they’re looking for;
4344.  If you can articulate someone’s problem better than they can, they will automatically assume you have the answer;
4345.  A lot of the time, an employer is ultimately trying to solve one of two problems when hiring: 1.  How does our company make more money?; or 2.  How does our company save more money?
4346.  Dr. John Gottman has spent decades studying interaction between couples.  He’s amassed so much data that he can sit down with any couple, and within a few minutes of watching them converse, predict with 94 percent accuracy which couples will later divorce.  He took his mathematical formulations even further to discover a magic ratio which he uses in his predictions.  He discovered that couples who maintain a ratio of five positive interactions to each negative interaction have relationships that last.  Marriages that fall below a five-to-one ratio usually fail;
4347.  If you were to reward your most important clients, what would you do?  How much effort would you be willing to put into it?  How about spending that time, energy and attention on your wife/marriage?
4348.  If you make sure to treat your spouse as good as or better than you treat your customers, it will be easier to maintain a healthy five-to-one ratio of positive and negative interactions.  And it will be easier to have a long, happy marriage;
4349.  Quality questions create a quality life.  Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers;
4350.  I think it’s true that everyone is perfect (the way they are) in that everyone has the ability (in themselves) to succeed and be an ideal version of themselves, but that doesn’t mean that they’re there yet and that it won’t take self-improvement, hard work and determination to get there;

Monday, April 18, 2016

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

4251.  The 7-Eleven chicken sandwich is decent. . . . It’s no Chick-fil-A, but it’ll do;
4252.  All cruelty springs from weakness;
4253.  The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination;
4254.  “Nice guys” are terrible receivers.  Since getting their needs met contradicts their childhood paradigms, nice guys are extremely uncomfortable when they actually do get what they want.  Though most nice guys have a difficult time grasping this concept, they are terrified of getting what they really want and will go to extreme measures to make sure they don’t.  Nice guys carry out this unconscious agenda by connecting with needy or unavailable people, operating from an unspoken agenda, being unclear and indirect, pushing people away and sabotaging.  A good illustration of this dynamic is the way nice guys commonly try to get their sexual needs met.  Many nice guys express a heightened interest in sex, yet they frequently feel frustrated in their attempts to get these needs met.  This is usually because their actions pretty much guarantee that they won’t get what they believe they want;
4255.  “Nice guys” have an uncanny knack of picking partners who, because of childhood sexual abuse or other negative experiences with sex, tend to have a difficult time being sexually expressive.  When these partners do make themselves available to be sexual, it is not uncommon for nice guys to do something that further ensures that they don’t get their needs met.  The nice guy may respond by taking control rather than letting the sexual experience unfold.  He may focus on his partner’s sexual needs before she has a chance to pay attention to him.  He might start a fight by making a comment about her weight or her past unavailability.  All of these strategies pretty much ensure that the nice guy won’t have to experience the fear, shame or anxiety that might get triggered if he actually allowed someone to focus on his needs;
4256.  Imperfect humans can only connect with other imperfect humans.  Most folks tend to be attracted to individuals who have some substance and sense of self.  Chameleons usually don’t draw much of a crowd or get many ovations;
4257.  When a child’s needs are not met in a timely, healthy manner, the child may come to believe s/he is “bad” for having needs.  S/he may also think that it is her/his needs that cause people to hurt her/him or abandon her/him.  Typically people respond to these inaccurate interpretations of their life events by developing a number of survival mechanisms;
4258.  For “nice guys,” trying to become needless and wantless is a primary way of trying to cope with their childhood abandonment experiences.  Since it was when they had the most needs that they felt the most abandoned, they believed it was their needs that drove people away.  These helpless little boys concluded that if they could eliminate or hide all of their needs, then no one would abandon them.  They also convinced themselves that if they didn’t have needs, it wouldn’t hurt so badly when the needs weren’t met.  Not only did they learn early not to expect to get their needs met, but also that their very survival seemed to depend on appearing not to have needs.  This creates an unsolvable bind: these helpless little boys could not totally repress their needs and stay alive and they could not meet their needs on their own.  The only logical solution was to try to appear to be needless and wantless while trying to get needs met in indirect and covert ways.  As a result of these childhood survival mechanisms, nice guys often believe it is a virtue to have few needs or wants.  Beneath this facade of needlessness and wantlessness, all nice guys are actually extremely needy.  Consequently, when they go about trying to get their needs met, nice guys are frequently indirect, unclear, manipulative and controlling;
4259.  Ben’s Chili Bowl is overrated;
4260.  Life is not smooth.  Human existence is by nature chaotic.  Life is filled with experiences that are unpredictable and beyond anyone’s control.  Therefore, trying to create a predictable life in which everything always goes as planned is an exercise in futility;
4261.  Personal power is a state of mind in which a person is confident s/he can handle whatever may come.  Personal power isn’t the absence of fear.  Even the most powerful people have fear.  Personal power is the result of feeling fear, but not giving in to the fear;
4262.  The most important aspect of reclaiming personal power and getting what one wants in love and life is surrender.  Surrender doesn’t mean giving up, it means letting go of what one can’t change and changing what one can;
4263.  Letting go doesn’t mean not caring or not trying.  Letting go means letting be.  It is like opening up a tightly clenched fist and releasing the tension stored inside.  At first the fingers will want to return to their former clenched position.  The hand almost has to be retrained to open up and relax.  So it is with learning how to surrender and let go;
4264.  Pick one area in your life in which you routinely feel frustrated or out of control.  Step back from the situation.  Is the difficulty you are having with the situation the result of you trying to project the reality you want to believe onto it?  If you had to accept the reality of this situation, how might you change your response to it?
4265.  Your feelings are just feelings, they won’t kill you.  Regardless of whether a person is feeling anxious, helpless, shameful, lonely, rageful or sad, her/his feelings aren’t life-threatening;
4266.  Feelings are an integral part of human existence.  By learning the language of feelings, a person can begin to let go of a lifetime of unnecessary baggage.  As they do, they experience a newfound energy, optimism, intimacy and zest for life;
4267.  Some guidelines about expressing feelings: 1.  Don’t focus on the other person (i.e., “You are making me mad.”).  Instead, take responsibility for what you are feeling (i.e., “I am feeling angry.”); 2.  Don’t use feeling words to describe what you are thinking (i.e., “I feel like Joe was trying to take advantage of me.”).  Instead, pay attention to what you are experiencing in your body (i.e., “I’m feeling helpless and frightened.”); and 3.  In general, try to begin feeling statements with “I” rather than “you.”  Try to avoid the crutch of saying “I feel like” (i.e., “I feel like you are being mean to me.”);
4268.  Fear is a normal part of human experience.  Everyone experiences fear, even those people who seem to be fearless.  Healthy fear is a warning sign that danger may be approaching.  This is different from the fear “nice guys” experience on a daily basis.  For nice guys, fear is recorded at the cellular level.  It is a memory of every seemingly life-threatening experience they ever had.  It was born of a time of absolute dependency and helplessness.  It originated in not having their needs met in a timely, judicious manner.  It was fostered by fearful systems that discouraged risk and rewarded conservatism.  It was heightened by the reality that life is messy and chaotic and any kind of change promises a journey into the unknown (i.e., memory fear);
4269.  As a consequence of playing it safe, “nice guys” experience a lot of needless suffering.  Suffering because they avoid new situations.  Suffering because they stay with the familiar.  Suffering because they procrastinate, avoid and fail to finish what they start.  Suffering because they make a bad situation worse by doing more of what has never worked in the past.  Suffering because they expend so much energy trying to control the uncontrollable;
4270.  Facing present day fears is the only way to overcome memory fear.  Every time someone confronts a fear, s/he unconsciously creates a belief that s/he can handle whatever it is s/he is afraid of.  This challenges her/his memory fear.  Challenging this memory fear makes the things outside of her/him seem less threatening.  As these things seem less frightening, s/he feels more confident in confronting them.  The more this confidence grows, the less threatening life seems;
4271.  List one fear that has been controlling your life.  Once you decide to confront the fear, begin repeating to yourself, “I can handle it.  No matter what happens, I will handle it.”  Keep repeating this mantra until you take action and stop feeling fear;
4272.  When people are learning to tell the truth I encourage them to pay attention to the things they least want others to know, what they least want to reveal.  These are the things they are most likely to hold back – and the things they most need to tell;
4273.  Telling the truth is not a magic formula for having a smooth life, but living a life of integrity is actually easier than living one built around deceit and distortion;
4274.  Choose one area in which you have been out of integrity.  Identify your fear that keeps you from telling the truth or doing the right thing.  Then go and tell the truth or do what you have to do to make the situation right.  Tell yourself you can handle it.  Since telling the truth may create a crisis for you or others, have faith that everyone involved will survive this crisis;
4275.  Before you can start setting boundaries, you have to become aware of how much you back up from your line to avoid conflict or to keep the peace.  Observe yourself.  Do you say “yes” when you would rather say “no”?  Do you agree to do something to avoid conflict?  Do you avoid doing something because someone might get upset at you?  Do you tolerate an intolerable situation, hoping that it will just go away?  Write these observations down;
4276.  Men born after World War II had the misfortune of growing up during the only era of recent western history in which it was not always a good thing to be male.  This was primarily the result of two significant family and social changes in the post war era: 1) boys were disconnected from their fathers and other healthy male role models; and 2) boys were forced to seek approval from women and accept a female definition of what it meant to be male.  As a result of these two dynamics, many boys and men came to believe that they had to hide or eliminate any negative male traits (like those of their fathers or other “bad” men) and become what they believed women wanted them to be;
4277.  Most “nice guys” believe that by repressing the darker side of their masculine energy they will win the approval of women.  This seems logical considering the anti-male climate that has permeated our culture since the 1960s.  Ironically, these same men frequently complain that women seemed to be attracted to “jerks” rather than nice guys like them.  Many women have shared that due to the absence of any discernible life energy in nice guys, there is little to be attracted to.  They also reveal that their tendency to be attracted to “jerks” is because these men have more of a masculine edge to them;
4278.  As “nice guys” try to avoid the dark side of their masculinity, they also repress many other aspects of this male energy force.  As a result, they often lose their sexual assertiveness, competitiveness, creativity, ego, thirst for experience, boisterousness, exhibitionism and power;
4279.  One of the most visible consequences of the repression of masculine energy in “nice guys” is their lack of leadership in their families.  Out of fear of upsetting their partner or appearing too much like their controlling, authoritarian or abusive fathers, nice guys frequently fail to be the leader their family needs.  Consequently, the job of leading the family often falls on their wives.  Most women don’t want this job, but end up taking it by default;
4280.  Women view men who try to please them as weak and hold these men in contempt.  Most women do not want a man who tries to please them – they want a man who knows how to please himself.  Women consistently share that they don’t want a passive, pleasing wimp.  They want a man – someone with his balls still intact;
4281.  Masculinity denotes strength and power.  Because of their conditioning, “nice guys” tend to fear these traits.  As a result, they often become emotionally and physically soft.  Some even take pride in this softness;
4282.  Embracing one’s masculinity means embracing one’s body, power and spaciousness.  In order to do this, recovering “nice guys” have to stop putting junk into their bodies and train them to respond to the physical demands of being male.  This involves eating healthy foods, eliminating drugs and alcohol, working out, drinking lots of water, playing, relaxing and getting enough rest.  Whether the nice guy stays fit by running, swimming, weight training, martial arts, playing basketball, volleyball or tennis, this physical strength translates into self-confidence and power in every other aspect of his life;
4283.  Most “nice guys” do not report having had a close relationship with their father in childhood.  Either their fathers were passive, unavailable, absent or defined in some negative way.  Reclaiming their masculinity requires that nice guys examine their relationships with their fathers and take a look at them through adult eyes;
4284.  For “nice guys,” reexamining their relationship with their fathers means seeing their dads through their own eyes as they really are.  It means taking them out of the gutter or off the pedestal.  This may require that nice guys hold them accountable by expressing their feelings to them – including rage and anger.  This is essential, even if these men are dead.  Sometimes this takes place in their fathers’ presence, sometimes not.  It’s not so important that the father is available to do this work.  What is essential is that recovering nice guys embrace the male heritage they and their fathers share.  The goal is to find a way to view their fathers more accurately.  Recovering nice guys can begin to accept these men for who they were and are – wounded human beings.  This shift is essential if nice guys are going to view themselves more accurately, accept themselves for who they are and reclaim their masculinity;
4285.  Embracing masculinity involves coming to see dad more accurately.  To facilitate this process, create a list.  On the left side, list a number of your father’s characteristics.  Write the opposite characteristic on the right side.  Indicate where on the spectrum between the two that you see yourself.
4286.  When recovering “nice guys” do this exercise they are often surprised at what they discover about their fathers and themselves.  They often see how they have made their fathers into a caricature – a distortion of who they really are.  They may realize that if the man they have become is based on a reaction to how they saw their fathers, they too have become caricatures.  Remember, the opposite of crazy is still crazy.  They realize that if their lives are a reaction to dad, then dad is still in control.  They discover that they can be different from dad without being the opposite.  They often come to realize that they have more traits in common with their fathers than they had previously realized or wanted to accept;
4287.  The American Bar Association reports that 89 percent of all divorces could be traced to fights over money;
4288.  A study performed by Utah State University professor Jeffrey Dew found that couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month;
4289.  The study reported that of all the most common things couples fight about – including chores, in-laws, spending time together and money – money disputes were the best harbingers of divorce;
4290.  Even though “nice guys” often profess a deep desire to be intimately connected with another individual, their internalized toxic shame and childhood survival mechanisms make such connections difficult and problematic;
4291.  Intimacy (i.e., knowing the self, being known by another and knowing another) implies vulnerability.  Intimacy requires two people who are willing to courageously look inward and make themselves totally visible to another.  Internalized toxic shame makes this kind of exposure feel life-threatening for “nice guys;”
4292.  Intimacy, by its nature, would require the “nice guy” to look into the abyss of his most inner self and allow others to peer into these same places.  It would require him to let someone get close enough to see into all the nooks and crannies of his soul.  This terrifies nice guys because being known means being found out.  All nice guys have worked their entire lives to become what they believe others want them to be while trying to hide their perceived flaws.  The demands of intimacy represent everything nice guys fear most;
4293.  The “nice guy’s” ongoing attempt to hide his perceived badness makes intimacy a challenge.  The moment they enter a relationship they begin a balancing act.  In relationships, a life-and-death struggle is played out to balance their fear of vulnerability with their fear of isolation.  Vulnerability means someone may get too close to them and see how bad they are.  Nice guys are convinced that when others make this discovery, these people will hurt them, shame them or leave them.  The alternative doesn’t seem any better.  Isolating themselves from others recreates the abandonment experiences that were so terrifying in childhood;
4294.  Even though it may look like many of the problems “nice guys” experience in relationships are caused by the baggage their partner brings with them, this is not the case.  It is the relationship the he and his partner co-create that is the problem;
4295.  It is true that “nice guys” often pick partners who appear to be projects, and indeed, they do at times pick some pretty messed up people.  The fact that these partners may have challenges – they are single moms, they have financial problems, they are angry, addictive, depressed, overweight, non-sexual or unable to be faithful – is precisely the reason nice guys invite these people into their lives.  As long as attention is focused on the flaws of the partner, it is diverted away from the internalized toxic shame of the nice guy.  This balancing act ensures that his closest relationship will most likely be his least intimate;
4296.  How do you know you’re getting old?  The answer is: White underarm hair;
4297.  Invest in yourself.  Imagine that you had a car and that was the only car you’d have for your entire lifetime.  Of course, you’d care for it well, changing the oil more frequently than necessary, driving carefully, etc.  Now, consider that you only have one mind and one body.  Prepare them for life, care for them.  You can enhance your mind over time.  A person’s main asset is themselves, so preserve and enhance yourself;
4298.  Learn to be lovable.  The most powerful force in the world is unconditional love.  To horde it is a terrible mistake in life.  The more you try to give it away, the more you get it back.  At an individual level, it’s important to make sure that for the people that count to you, you count to them;
4299.  Forget the Joneses.  You shouldn’t increase your cost of living without improving your standard of living;
4300.  Sometimes spending is OK, too.  There are benefits to spending now.  It is not always better to save 10% than 5%, but definitely better than spending 105%;

Monday, April 4, 2016

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

4201.  The more we focus on value and quality, the more productive we can be;
4202.  Price should always come after value has been considered.  I’m not saying that we should live expensive lifestyles for the sake of lavish living – I’m talking about value and productivity.  It’s a given that if we’re comparing two items with equal value we should choose the less expensive item.  Stinginess and greed are equally destructive to human life value, but there are no universal guidelines for what prices represent the best value for an individual;
4203.  Value is closely aligned to, if not synonymous with, productivity.  When we’re comparing items to purchase, one might be cheaper than the other, but when the more expensive one has more value, it could make you more productive and the obvious choice should be the higher value.  It might cost you more money immediately, but in the macro view it will actually bring more money into your life;
4204.  To the extent that we focus on price at the expense of value, we create a market for mediocrity and poor quality;
4205.  Every dollar we spend is an invitation to whatever we spend it on to be a part of our lives; it is tangible evidence of what we consider valuable.  Every time we buy a mediocre product, we send the message that we want to live in a mediocre world.  When we purchase high-quality products, we send the message that quality and value are more important to us than price alone;
4206.  When we are overly concerned about price we adopt the do-it-yourself mentality that shuts off the option of leveraging other people’s abilities in our lives;
4207.  You can never know if any financial proposition will get you to where you want to go if you don’t know where you want to go;
4208.  You can guarantee success by aligning with principle, but it takes a dedication to education, a willingness to act and the courage to break through the stronghold of the myths and not follow the crowd.  It takes a consistent effort to choose faith in principles over the fear of how you might look to others.  It takes the ability to see past your present actions and thoughts to envision the end results and to ask yourself if it’s worth it to do what everyone else is doing even though it’s not working;
4209.  Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts;
4210.  If something is clearly wrong and ridiculous in one context, the chances are good that it will be ridiculous in other contexts as well.  Ironically, most people act in their financial lives in ways that they never would in any other area of their lives.  An excellent way to test if a financial teaching is a myth or not is to apply it to any other area of your life and see if it holds true;
4211.  Always be aware of how little you really know and never stop doing everything in your power to increase the depth and breadth of your education;
4212.  St. Patrick’s Day at Murphy’s (Irish Pub) in (Old Town) Alexandria is like any other day at Murphy’s.  There’s just more drunk people;
4213.  When you say “yes” to most everything and then later have to say “no” because you’re overcommitted, the outcome usually isn’t very pleasant.  A “Yes No” two-step leads you off course and out of alignment with your purpose.  It also disappoints friends, family and colleagues who rely on you;
4214.  On the other hand, saying “no” to nearly everything first and then carefully selecting the choices and commitments that truly merit your precious time and energy is life affirming;
4215.  When you bestow your “yes” upon a carefully considered request – as opposed to doling out a reflexive nod – you’ll also discover that you have time for the activities that matter most.  And when you are fully engaged with no excess time, you know you’ll be working on the priorities that matter most to you and most closely correlate with your purpose;
4216.  Dispense your “yeses” wisely.  Keep in mind it’s always better to say “no” upfront than to disappoint people later – or worse still – to stray far from your purpose because you casually uttered a three letter word;
4217.  When your body is metabolizing alcohol, it’s not metabolizing fat;
4218.  Roger Daltrey (the lead singer for “The Who”) doesn’t look like he’s 72;
4219.  Zak Starkey (the touring drummer for “The Who”) learned to play the drums from Keith Moon (the deceased drummer for “The Who”);
4220.  How risky something actually is has almost nothing to do with how risky we think it is;
4221.  People think skiing is safer than flying on a commercial aircraft, that smoking is less dangerous than being around handguns, and that nuclear power plants are riskier than cars.  But in each instance, the opposite is true;
4222.  Flying is the safest way to travel.  In the U.S., years often pass between deaths on a commercial airliner, whereas skiing and snowboarding deaths average 40 per year;
4223.  Two of the deadliest things in America are cigarettes and cars; each day the totals average 1,213 U.S. deaths from cigarette-exposure and 115 U.S. deaths from auto accidents;
4224.  Americans consistently rate nuclear power as one of the most dangerous of all technologies, it’s actually safer by any objective measure than most other forms of power.  A study from NASA’s Goddard Institute estimates that using nuclear power instead of fossil fuels actually saves lives;
4225.  When we are faced with fear, we can overcome it by answering the following questions: 1.  What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if my fear occurs?  2.  What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if I never overcome or eliminate this fear?  3.  What’s the best possible outcome I can expect if I don’t overcome or eliminate my fear?  4.  What’s the best possible outcome I can expect if I do overcome or eliminate my fear?  Answering these questions helps us to consciously deal with unconscious, instinctual fear.  It helps us realize that the outcome of not confronting and productively dealing with our fear is much worse than avoiding the things we fear;
4226.  Only when the structure is in place can true creativity flourish;
4227.  If you have your time properly scheduled each week, then you won’t feel guilty for enjoying a break, long weekend or even a vacation because you know that everything else that needs to be done is already accounted for;
4228.  An example where structure counterintuitively provides a higher quality of life is tracking and planning spending.  Being financially organized gives you permission to feel good about spending any “fun money” while still making progress on your savings, loan payments or investment funds.  In these cases, clarity and structure help you break free of worry, uncertainty and guilt;
4229.  Create a “Not Doing List” based on where you have made mistakes, been burned or found yourself in bad situations in the past.  Look at each scenario and create a rule that will keep you from making that same mistake in the future;
4230.  Write down your priorities and rank them.  Put this list in a place where you will see it daily and use it as a guide for making decisions aligned with your purpose and long-term happiness;
4231.  Determine if there are any other structures that could support your success and implement them.  Some examples might be having rules about how you schedule your time, rules about how to treat employees and clients or even rules around your health.  Determine at least one place where structure would support you and get it in writing;
4232.  You are responsible for all of your investments.  If you jump into an investment without doing the proper research then you are to blame because you invested irresponsibly.  That’s true whether the investment is successful or not;
4233.  The majority of “nice guys” are talented, intelligent and moderately successful.  Almost without exception though, they fail to live up to their full potential;
4234.  The opposite of crazy is still crazy;
4235.  An integrated man is able to embrace everything that makes him uniquely male: his power, his assertiveness, his courage and his passion as well as his imperfections, his mistakes and his dark side;
4236.  An integrated male possesses many of the following attributes: 1.  He has a strong sense of self.  He likes himself just as he is; 2.  He takes responsibility for getting his own needs met; 3.  He is comfortable with his masculinity and his sexuality; 4.  He has integrity.  He does what is right not what is expedient; 5.  He is a leader.  He is willing to provide for and protect those he cares about; 6.  He is clear, direct and expressive of his feelings; 7.  He can be nurturing and giving without caretaking or problem-solving; and 8.  He knows how to set boundaries and is not afraid to work through conflict;
4237.  An integrated male doesn’t strive to be perfect or gain the approval of others.  Instead he accepts himself just as he is, warts and all.  An integrated male accepts that he is perfectly imperfect;
4238.  We need to determine for ourselves how much we’ve allowed others to decide issues such as what we do, where we live, with whom we live and even how we’re treated.  We must know that absolutely no one else truly knows and feels what we’re here to accomplish, so we must give ourselves permission to hear our inner guidance and ignore the pressure from others.  The willingness to listen and act on our inspiration, independent of the opinions of others, is imperative;
4239.  When we begin to follow our ultimate calling, there will be a lot of resistance.  However, as we gain the strength to ignore the pressure to conform, resistance will diminish and ultimately change to respect.  When we steadfastly refuse to think, act and conform to the mandates of others, the pressure to do so loses its momentum.  All we have to do is endure some initial disapproval such as dogmatic persuasion, anger, pouting, silence and long-winded lectures and then we’re on our way to inspiration rather than frustration;
4240.  The people who receive the most approval in life are the ones who care the least about it – so technically, if we want the approval of others, we need to stop caring about it and turn our attention to becoming an inspired being of sharing;
4241.  Attempting to do something, even if it doesn’t succeed, is inspiring because we don’t tend to regret what we do, we regret what we didn’t do.  Even following a futile attempt, we’re inspired because we know that we gave it a shot.  It’s wondering whether we should or shouldn’t try something that leaves us feeling stressed and incomplete;
4242.  Sometimes the only way to move forward is to revisit the things in your past that were holding you back.  You have to deal with them head on, no matter how scary they may be.  Because once you do, you’ll see that you can go further than you ever imagined;
4243.  We tend to eventually despise whatever we make into our god.  When our god fails to respond in the ways we expect, we tend to respond in one of two ways.  We either blindly intensify our acts of worship or lash out in righteous anger;
4244.  “Nice guys” have a difficult time comprehending that in general, people are not drawn to perfection in others.  People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems and an individual’s life energy;
4245.  Humans connect with humans.  Hiding one’s humanity and trying to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless and uninteresting;
4246.  “Nice guys” work so hard to be smooth so nothing can stick to them.  Unfortunately, this Teflon coating also makes it difficult for people to get close;
4247.  It is actually a person’s rough edges and human imperfections that give others something to connect with;
4248.  Taking good care of the self is essential for changing one’s belief about the self.  If someone believes s/he isn’t worth much, her/his actions toward her/himself will reflect this belief.  When someone begins to consciously do good things for her/himself, these actions imply that s/he must be worth something;
4249.  Positive affirmations can help change a person’s core belief about her/himself.  Affirmations replace old, inaccurate messages about the person’s worth with new, more realistic ones.  When used alone, the effects of affirmations are usually short-lived.  This is because these messages are contrary to the oldest, deepest beliefs the person holds about her/himself.  Affirmations are only effective when used along with other processes that help change the person’s core beliefs;
4250.  If you want to win Rémy Martin’s “The Heart of Cognac Experience’s” mixing lab competition (to try and replicate Rémy Martin VSOP), try 6 ml of 4 year-old, 16 ml of 8 year-old and 8 ml of 14 year-old eaux de vie;

Monday, March 14, 2016

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

4151.  Your happiness, or lack thereof, is rooted in your habits.  Permanently adopting new habits – especially those that involve intangibles, such as how you see the world – is hard, but breaking the habits that make you unhappy is much easier;
4152.  There are numerous bad habits that tend to make us unhappy.  Eradicating these bad habits can move your happiness set point in short order;
4153.  Amazing things happen around you every day if you only know where to look.  Technology has exposed us to so much and made the world so much smaller.  Yet, there’s a downside that isn’t spoken of much: exposure raises the bar on what it takes to be awestricken.  And that’s a shame, because few things are as uplifting as experiencing true awe.  True awe is humbling.  It reminds us that we’re not the center of the universe.  Awe is also inspiring and full of wonder, underscoring the richness of life and our ability to both contribute to it and be captivated by it;
4154.  Isolating yourself from social contact is a pretty common response to feeling unhappy, but there’s a large body of research that says it’s the worst thing you can do.  This is a huge mistake, as socializing, even when you don’t enjoy it, is great for your mood.  Recognize that when unhappiness is making you antisocial, you need to force yourself to get out there and mingle.  You’ll notice the difference right away;
4155.  We need to feel in control of our lives in order to be happy, which is why blaming is so incompatible with happiness.  When you blame other people or circumstances for the bad things that happen to you, you’ve decided that you have no control over your life, which is terrible for your mood;
4156.  It’s hard to be happy without feeling in control of your life, but you can take this too far in the other direction by making yourself unhappy through trying to control too much.  This is especially true with people.  The only person you can control in your life is you.  When you feel that nagging desire to dictate other people’s behavior, this will inevitably blow up in your face and make you unhappy.  Even if you can control someone in the short term, it usually requires pressure in the form of force or fear and treating people this way won’t leave you feeling good about yourself;
4157.  Judging other people and speaking poorly of them is a lot like overindulging in a decadent dessert; it feels good while you’re doing it, but afterwards, you feel guilty and sick.  Sociopaths find real pleasure in being mean.  For the rest of us, criticizing other people (even privately or to ourselves) is just a bad habit that’s intended to make us feel better about ourselves.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t.  It just creates a spiral of negativity;
4158.  Complaining is troubling, as well as the attitude that precedes it.  Complaining is a self-reinforcing behavior.  By constantly talking – and therefore thinking – about how bad things are, you reaffirm your negative beliefs.  While talking about what bothers you can help you feel better, there’s a fine line between complaining being therapeutic and it fueling unhappiness.  Beyond making you unhappy, complaining drives other people away;
4159.  People will like your clothes, your car and your fancy job, but that doesn’t mean they like you.  Trying to impress other people is a source of unhappiness because it doesn’t get to the source of what makes you happy – finding people who like you and accept you for who you are.  All the things you acquire in the quest to impress people won’t make you happy either.  There’s an ocean of research that shows that material things don’t make you happy.  When you make a habit of chasing things, you are likely to become unhappy because, beyond the disappointment you experience once you get them, you discover that you’ve gained them at the expense of the real things that can make you happy, such as friends, family and taking good care of yourself;
4160.  Life won’t always go the way you want it to, but when it comes down to it, you have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else.  Happy people make their time count.  Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, they reflect on everything they have to be grateful for.  Then they find the best solution available to the problem, tackle it and move on;
4161.  Nothing fuels unhappiness quite like pessimism.  The problem with a pessimistic attitude, apart from the damage it does to your mood, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect bad things, you’re more likely to get bad things.  Pessimistic thoughts are hard to shake off until you recognize how illogical they are.  Force yourself to look at the facts and you’ll see that things are not nearly as bad as they seem;
4162.  Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions.  They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves.  People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spirals.  You can avoid getting drawn in only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary.  Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke?  You’d distance yourself and you should do the same with negative people.  A great way to set limits is to ask them how they intend to fix their problems.  The complainer will then either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction;
4163.  You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better and you probably do.  But what about the people who drag you down?  Why do you allow them to be a part of your life?  Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them.  Life is too short to associate with people like this.  Cut them loose;
4164.  The Happiness Research Institute conducted the Facebook Experiment to find out how our social media habits affect our happiness.  Half of the study’s participants kept using Facebook as they normally would, while the other half stayed off Facebook for a week.  The results were striking.  At the end of the week, the participants who stayed off Facebook reported a significantly higher degree of satisfaction with their lives and lower levels of sadness and loneliness.  The researchers also concluded that people on Facebook were 55% more likely to feel stress as a result;
4165.  The thing to remember about Facebook and social media in general is that they rarely represent reality.  Social media provides an airbrushed, color-enhanced look at the lives people want to portray.  Take it sparingly and with a grain of salt;
4166.  Having goals gives you hope and the ability to look forward to a better future and working towards those goals makes you feel good about yourself and your abilities.  It’s important to set goals that are challenging, specific (and measurable) and driven by your personal values.  Without goals, instead of learning and improving yourself, you just plod along wondering why things never change;
4167.  Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination.  Danger is real.  It’s the uncomfortable rush of adrenaline you get when you almost step in front of a bus.  Fear is a choice.  Happy people know this better than anyone does, so they flip fear on its head.  They are addicted to the euphoric feeling they get from conquering their fears;
4168.  When all is said and done, you will lament the chances you didn’t take far more than you will your failures.  Don’t be afraid to take risks.  People often say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you?  Will it kill you?”  Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive;
4169.  Like fear, the past and the future are products of your mind.  No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.  Happy people know this, so they focus on living in the present moment.  It’s impossible to reach your full potential if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of the very moment.  To live in the moment, you must do two things: 1.  Accept your past.  If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and it will create your future.  Happy people know that the only good reason to look at the past is to see how far you’ve come; and 2.  Accept the uncertainty of the future and don’t place unnecessary expectations upon yourself.  Worry has no place in the here and now;
4170.  Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe;
4171.  We can’t control our genes and we can’t control all of our circumstances, but we can rid ourselves of habits that serve no purpose other than to make us miserable;
4172.  Use liabilities wisely and productively and remember that what makes an asset productive or not is you – how you decide to utilize the asset and how you apply your human life value to it;
4173.  Using liabilities wisely and productively means never borrowing money for personal consumption (i.e., consumptive liabilities);
4174.  Consumptive liabilities are any liabilities that do not produce a subsequent positive cash flow.  They are liabilities that incur an expense only, without a corresponding income from the acquired asset.  They take more money out of our pockets than they put in;
4175.  A good rule of thumb is never to borrow money to purchase things that don’t directly increase cash flow;
4176.  Choose your consumption wisely.  Never incur consumptive liabilities that exceed your assets and, therefore, put you into debt;
4177.  Never borrow to consume.  A good way to make sure you stick to this rule is to pay cash for everything that does not directly produce for you;
4178.  Do you want to live a life of mediocrity?
4179.  We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves;
4180.  If you want to guarantee yourself a lifetime of misery, be sure to marry someone with the intent of changing their behavior;
4181.  It is ridiculous to believe that we should strive to get rid of all of the liabilities in our lives.  Liabilities in and of themselves are value neutral – they can be either productive, consumptive or destructive depending on how we use them.  What’s productive for one person may be consumptive for another and vice versa.  It is our knowledge and financial intelligence that determines their productivity or lack thereof;
4182.  Price is a small concern relative to value.  Focus primarily on value and you will make and save more money in the long run;
4183.  Some people buy things they don’t want because they “got a deal,” others don’t buy what they need and can afford because it’s “too expensive.”  Price certainly is and should be one factor in our financial decisions – just not the main basis for our buying decisions;
4184.  According to the Federal Reserve Bank, 40% of American families spend more than they earn;
4185.  The natural result of buying the cheapest products and services with little or no regard to value or utility is stagnation and mediocrity;
4186.  Living within our means is important, but too often people are limiting their productivity through confining budgets; their primary focus is on not spending too much, as opposed to creating more value and increasing their productivity.  Rarely do people who hold to strict budgets think about ways to increase the size of their budgets;
4187.  Approximately 14% of Americans use half or more of their available credit and this group carries an average of 6.6 credit cards;
4188.  As long as we’re focused on price alone we’re never able to dream, envision, create and find solutions;
4189.  Savers and spenders both make the majority of their financial decisions based on price.  Spenders gloat about all of the “good deals” that they constantly find; savers are smug about not buying things.  Where spenders get excited about the items they found for cheap, savers derive a sense of fulfillment by not making purchases that, in reality, they probably should have made.  Spenders are reckless and foolhardy with their spending; savers are stingy and have limited productivity.  Both of them ignore value; the spenders buy lots of low-quality items and savers don’t buy much of anything, even when there are valuable things that would make them infinitely more productive if they could convince themselves to part with the cash;
4190.  Neither spenders nor savers focus on productivity – the spender is a profligate waster of productivity, while the saver is too busy conserving productivity (which is also a form of waste, since unused productivity can’t be regained).  Spenders exceed their current productivity, while savers suffer from considerable amounts of unused and unutilized potential.  Neither of these types is primarily focused on how they can create value in the world and neither of them fully understand stewardship; spenders consume value and savers hoard and limit value;
4191.  We should never stop learning.  The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential;
4192.  Recent research from the University of Rochester found that when you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are byproducts of neural activity when you’re awake, from its neurons.  Your brain can only adequately remove these toxic proteins when you have sufficient quality sleep.  When you don’t get high-quality deep sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc and ultimately impairing your ability to think – something no amount of caffeine can fix.  This slows your ability to process information and solve problems, kills your creativity and increases your emotional reactivity;
4193.  Price is (or should be) a relatively petty concern when it comes to making financial decisions.  It should be one factor, but it should never be the most important factor.  We must learn to make decisions based on what we want, rather than what we think our current income limits us to.  We don’t have to be subject to prices.  We set the intrinsic valuation that determines our perspective of anything external to us, including and especially the price of any product or service.  We decide what anything is worth to us and we don’t have to accept any price, any lack of quality or any deficiency of value;
4194.  A negative mind will never give you a positive life.  So think positive;
4195.  The “Chick’n Shack” at Shake Shack is (pretty) good, but I still like the taste of a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich more;
4196.  The weekend of daylight savings time, the Metro closes the moment the clock moves forward an hour from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM;
4197.  The (annual) St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C. is pretty similar to the (annual Ballyshaners’) St. Patrick’s Day Parade in (Old Town) Alexandria;
4198.  Both savers and spenders fall prey to the “Costco” mentality or the habit of buying things in bulk that they don’t really use.  The spenders are excited about all of the stuff they buy, while the savers are excited about all of the money they “saved” because they bought in bulk quantities.  The problem is that many false myths are perpetuated by our inability to differentiate between price and cost, price and value, and saving and utilization;
4199.  A bargain is something you cannot use at a price you cannot resist;
4200.  The most important thing to consider with all of our purchases should be value with the corollary of productivity.  Before we ever ask, “How much does it cost?” we should ask more important questions like, “Will this help me to increase my productivity?”  “Is this item of a high enough quality to meet my wants?”