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?”

Monday, February 22, 2016

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

4101.  The real economic value of permanent life insurance is not in the rate of return on the cash value, nor in the ability to borrow at low rates, nor in the estate created for charity or heirs upon death, nor in the tax treatment of the policy.  Rather it lies within the world of economic possibility that opens up to the insured during her/his own lifetime because of the certainty s/he now has because of the contract guarantees and the resulting choices s/he can now make in other areas of life without fear, worry or doubt.  The insured quite literally becomes the beneficiary of her/his own life insurance policy during her/his own lifetime;
4102.  Transferring risk opens up possibilities that are unavailable to us when we retain them.  When we create certainty in our lives, we act much differently than we do when we’re operating in a risky environment;
4103.  Certainty dramatically increases our productivity;
4104.  The more certainty we can create in our lives, the more likely we will be to produce and to take on projects that we otherwise wouldn’t even consider.  Conversely, the less certainty in our lives, the more fear; and the more fear, the less productivity;
4105.  One critical way to remove fear and to increase certainty in our life is to transfer our risks through the proper use of insurance;
4106.  Many people focus on which doctors are available under their medical insurance while ignoring the lifetime maximum benefit of the insurance.  This should be a primary consideration because if your lifetime max is low, it can be eliminated by a single catastrophic event and then you would be unprotected;
4107.  The more assets you have, the more insurance you should have because the more risk you have of lost production;
4108.  Understand the difference between debt and liabilities and wisely incur and leverage the right liabilities to increase your prosperity;
4109.  Companies need to have rules – that’s a given – but they don’t have to be shortsighted and lazy attempts at creating order.  Whether it’s an overzealous attendance policy or taking employees’ frequent flier miles, even a couple of unnecessary rules can drive people crazy.  When good employees feel like big brother is watching, they’ll find someplace else to work;
4110.  Treating everyone equally shows your top performers that no matter how high they perform (and, typically, top performers are work horses), they will be treated the same as the bozo who does nothing more than punch the clock;
4111.  It’s said that in jazz bands, the band is only as good as the worst player; no matter how great some members may be, everyone hears the worst player.  The same goes for a company.  When you permit weak links to exist without consequence, they drag everyone else down, especially your top performers;
4112.  It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated.  Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all.  Rewarding individual accomplishments shows that you’re paying attention.  Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done.  With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right;
4113.  More than half the people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss.  Smart companies make certain that their managers know how to balance being professional with being human.  These are the bosses who celebrate their employees’ successes, empathize with those going through hard times and challenge them, even when it hurts.  Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates.  It’s impossible to work for someone for eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your output;
4114.  It may seem efficient to simply send employees assignments and move on, but leaving out the big picture is a deal breaker for star performers.  Star performers shoulder heavier loads because they genuinely care about their work, so their work must have a purpose.  When they don’t know what that is, they feel alienated and aimless.  When they aren’t given a purpose, they find one elsewhere;
4115.  Talented employees are passionate.  Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction, but many managers want people to work within a little box.  These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions.  This fear is unfounded.  Studies have shown that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm;
4116.  If people aren’t having fun at work then you’re doing it wrong.  People don’t give their all if they aren’t having fun.  The idea is simple: if work is fun, you’ll not only perform better, but you’ll stick around for longer hours and an even longer career;
4117.  Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers;
4118.  We do want to avoid true debt (i.e., having more liabilities than assets), but we don’t want to avoid incurring liabilities (i.e., owing something to someone else) that can be beneficial to our productivity, value creation and prosperity;
4119.  In many instances, the way to increase our prosperity and wealth is to increase – not decrease – our liabilities;
4120.  The name of the game of wealth is not to focus on ridding our lives of as many liabilities as possible.  Rather, it’s to identify which liabilities are consumptive (i.e., take more value from our lives than they put into it) and which are productive (i.e., provide more value to our lives than they take from it) and then focus on increasing our productive liabilities;
4121.  A productive liability always creates a corresponding asset – an asset that we never would have had access to had we not incurred the liability;
4122.  Every asset comes with a corresponding liability, at least in some form;
4123.  To me,( Aunt Rosie’s) loganberry drink tastes like a melted, cherry slushy;
4124.  Alexander Ovechkin is (only) the 3rd player in NHL history to score (at least) 30 goals in each of his first 11 seasons in the league (joining Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner);
4125.  Say what you mean and do what you say;
4126.  The Rolling Stones are (huge) blues fans;
4127.  Keith Richards (from “The Rolling Stones”) seems like a pretty interesting (and cool) dude;
4128.  The Rolling Stones are named after Muddy Waters’s song of the same name;
4129.  Keith Richards thinks he’s a better bass player than he is a guitarist;
4130.  The average American spends more on coffee and soda than they do on post formal education;
4131.  If you’re not receiving the love you desire, it seems like a pretty good idea to explore what’s creating this.  Most of us want to place the blame for lovelessness on something external to ourselves.  That’s a waste of time and energy, but it often feels good because blame seems to alleviate the pain, even if only briefly.  However, blame energy only helps you remain out of balance, whether you’re blaming yourself or someone else.  Being in balance is centered on the premise that you receive in life what you’re aligned with.  You get what you think about!
4132.  While you may justify your loveless state with thoughts of being unappreciated or choose to see the whole world as an unloving place, the fact remains that you’re experiencing the imbalance of not feeling good because you don’t have enough love in your life.  Waiting for others to change or for some kind of shift to take place in the world to restore you to balance won’t work without your commitment to take responsibility for changing your way of thinking.  If that’s left to others, you’ll turn the controls of your life over to someone or something outside of you.  And that’s a prescription for disaster;
4133.  If feelings of being shortchanged in the love dimension are a part of your life then it’s because you’ve aligned your thoughts and behaviors with lovelessness.  By failing to match your desire for love with thoughts that harmonize with this powerful desire – for example: I’ve never been able to sustain a loving relationship.  I’m not really attractive enough to have someone love me in the way I want to be loved.  People are cruel and take advantage of me.  I see hostility and anger everywhere.  This is an uncaring world with a shortage of love.  All of these thoughts (and others like them) create a point of attraction that’s way out of balance with a desire to receive abundant love.  You attract into your life precisely what you’re thinking about and you’ve inadvertently joined “Club Loveless” with a membership that includes a majority of the entire population – that is, people who feel shortchanged about the amount of love that’s failing to pour into their empty hearts.  All of this is reversible by shifting your alignment and removing the resistance to the fulfillment of your desire for love.  You begin by ending your search for love;
4134.  To balance your life with more lovingness, you need to match your thoughts and behaviors with love.  This means noticing when you’re inclined to judge yourself or others as though you or they are unworthy of love.  This means suspending your need to be right in favor of being kind toward yourself and others and deliberately extending kindness everywhere.  This means giving love to yourself and others rather than demanding love.  This means your loving gesture of kindness is heartfelt because you feel love flowing from within – not because you want something in return.  A tall order?  Not really, unless you believe that it’s going to be difficult;
4135.  Embrace the love from within.  Don’t doubt or judge your love or the love you receive.  You can be in a loving state just by looking from within.  Once you remove judgement and love yourself, you’ll find that you receive love from many places;
4136.  The first step in true happiness in life or any situation is letting go.  Don’t hold on to anger, grief, sadness or hate.  Once you forgive and let go, you can live a rich, fulfilling life;
4137.  Living by letting go means releasing worry, stress and fear.  When you promote your sense of well-being in the face of what appears as danger to others, your alignment frees you from pushing yourself to act in a forceful manner;
4138.  Rather than telling yourself: With my luck things aren’t going to work out for me, affirm: I am open to allowing what needs to happen.  I trust luck to guide me.  This change in your thinking will serve you by guiding you to live in the flow.  Peace will replace stress, harmony will replace effort, acceptance will replace interference and force and good luck will replace fear.  You’ll become what you think about, so even things that you previously believed were evidence of bad luck will now be viewed as what helps you move toward greater harmony;
4139.  A person, who becomes conscious of the responsibility s/he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for her/him or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away her/his life. S/he knows the “why” for his/his existence and will be able to bear almost any “how;”
4140.  We create power in our lives when we create a context to live into and up to;
4141.  Creating a future vision and setting future goals is how we live by design, rather than by default.  Without a future vision, life just happens and we spend our time and energy dealing with problems.  We’re not creating what we want, but rather reacting to what we don’t want;
4142.  It doesn’t matter how friendly your tone is or how honey sweet you are in a conversation, when you start your sentences with one of these words (or both), the message to your recipient is “You are wrong.”  What are these conversation stopping words?  They are “no” and “but.”  These words don’t say, “Let’s discuss this” or “I’d love to hear what you think about this” to people.  They say, unequivocally, “You are wrong and I am right;”
4143.  Where can you find (over) a dozen, tall, slim, long-haired blondes and brunettes with great legs (Irish dancing) in slinky outfits?  The answer is: Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games;”
4144.  The decades of Irish dancing have really taken a toll on Michael Flatley;
4145.  It’s (kind of) cool seeing children inspired to dance after seeing a great performance;
4146.  Luisa breathes (kind of) quickly;
4147.  My (late) uncle, John, played the violin and guitar;
4148.  Why is it that pictures (always) seem to look better in black and white?
4149.  Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky is a psychology professor at the University of California – Riverside.  One of her main discoveries is that we all have a happiness “set point.”  When extremely positive or negative events happen – such as buying a bigger house or losing a job – they temporarily increase or decrease our happiness, but we eventually drift back to our set point.  The breakthrough in Dr. Lyubomirsky’s research is that you can make yourself happier – permanently.  Dr. Lyubomirsky and others have found that our genetic set point is responsible for only about 50% of our happiness, life circumstances affect about 10% and a whopping 40% is completely up to us.  The large portion of your happiness that you control is determined by your habits, attitude and outlook on life;

4150.  When you accomplish something great, that high won’t last.  It won’t make you happy on its own; you have to work to make and keep yourself happy;

Sunday, February 7, 2016

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

4051.  You personally don’t need money in order to launch your business; you don’t need money to make money.  The prime mover in this case is still you and your human life value.  If you need cash to start a business, you’ll need to develop the concept, research, provide evidence of a demand in the marketplace, perhaps write a business plan, do as much implementation as you can and then convince other people to give you the money you are looking for;
4052.  The “solution” to put more money into things – with little thought given to strategic use and wise management – in an effort to make them more productive is evidence of a society that believes that money is a primary cause of action and production, that money has power and that material things have intrinsic value.  Oftentimes giving an individual, a company or other institution more money for the sake of having more money develops a system of waste, misallocated resources and entitlement;
4053.  When people or institutions claim that they need more money in order to be more effective and productive, more often than not what they actually need is better management rather than more money;
4054.  Ignorance is one of the most uncomfortable feelings to deal with, yet truly scrutinizing our beliefs is key to our progression;
4055.  Without actually knowing a person intimately, understanding her/his intentions, purposes, mission, and mindset, we have no way of accurately judging her/his life;
4056.  Exploitation can only occur in an environment of deception or coercion.  But again, we cannot find evidence of either in the amount of money that individuals have, since money is a byproduct, an aftereffect.  The only way to determine if a situation is exploitative or beneficial to all parties is to know the people involved;
4057.  The belief that money comes through exploiting others is a false conception that thrives in an atmosphere of scarcity.  In abundance, every transaction, economic and otherwise, is a win for all parties involved.  In scarcity, we believe that we can only win if other people lose.  Hence, if we want to win, we’ve got to make other people lose;
4058.  Just because a person doesn’t have a nice house and car doesn’t mean that s/he doesn’t create a lot of value in the world and neither does it necessarily mean that s/he’s broke.  People are assets, not material things.  Material things are external reflections of what is going on internally in the minds of people, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that those with little or no material things are poor or that those with a lot are rich;
4059.  Pride and envy are two aspects of our tendency to judge people based on their material possessions.  They emerge in our lives when we place the emphasis on material things, not on people.  The truth of the matter is that, just like money, in a world of cause and effect, value creation is the cause and material things are the effect;
4060.  Virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private;
4061.  One of the most important lessons we can learn in our quest to prosperity is that we don’t have to wait until we have money to be able to prosper.  Prosperity is achieved by creating value, by maximizing our human life value;
4062.  Having more money doesn’t change our fundamental nature; it merely brings out more of who we already are.  If we’re charitable by nature, more money will give us more opportunities to be more charitable.  If we’re naturally greedy, more money will allow us to be greedier.  The point is that we must become our ideal selves in the present moment, regardless of the amount of money that we have.  Money can neither save us nor damn us; that choice is up to us as individuals;
4063.  A chicha morada (i.e., Peru’s classic beverage made of purple corn, pineapple & spices) reminds me of pomegranate-cherry juice;
4064.  The pepperoni sauce at Graffiato (GraffiatoDC.com) in D.C. is good, but a little overrated;
4065.  Pepperoni sauce tastes like tomato soup with a “hit” of pepperoni;
4066.  To prosper, we must relinquish our grip on selfish and shortsighted desires and serve others.  The paradox is that the less we focus on our desires and the more we help others get what they want, the more we get of what we want;
4067.  Our happiness or misery doesn’t depend on the amount of money we possess.  There are miserable people with money just as there are miserable people without money.  If we’re not happy, then we’re not prospering.  Our happiness is the single best indicator of our level of abundance.  Prosperity brings happiness and happiness brings prosperity.  You can’t have one without the other;
4068.  That which we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly;
4069.  If you want to elevate your life and become a manifester, then you have to change what you’ve believed to be true about yourself that has landed you where you are;
4070.  In order to increase our chance of healthy rewards, we must do everything in our power to decrease our risk or chance of loss;
4071.  No investments are inherently risky; it is people who make them safe or risky.  It is people who make investments productive or not.  Just as money and material things have no intrinsic value, neither do investments.  What is risky to one person could be the safest investment in the world to another;
4072.  Your primary concern with any investment – even more important than the potential returns – is the value proposition.  If you know exactly how you are creating value in the marketplace, your chances of failure are significantly reduced.  If you do good market research and know that people will value what you’re doing, then you have an excellent chance of success, depending, of course, upon your skill in implementation;
4073.  The way to mitigate risk with any venture is through increasing knowledge and applying universal principles.  Investing well is a product of knowledge, not of luck;
4074.  The investment standards that Warren Buffett adheres to are the following: 1.  Know what you own; 2.  Research before you buy; 3.  Own a business, not a stock; 4.  Make a total of only twenty lifetime investments; and 5.  Make one decision to own a stock and be a long-term owner (i.e., Buffett is speaking of something entirely different than the “long-haul” accumulation approach; he’s teaching you to hold on to a stock because you’ve done proper research and you know it will increase in value.  He’s not talking about holding on and riding out downturns in the market because of fear of loss);
4075.  What we must realize is that every decision we make in life involves opportunity costs – every decision, without exception, means sacrificing the potential benefits of the paths we don’t take.  Therefore, the goal isn’t to eliminate opportunity costs; it’s to recognize them, take them into account and by so doing maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of each of our decisions;
4076.  The most important way to overcome the myth of risk is to learn how to reduce your risk to near zero in any investment opportunity.  This is accomplished through education, understanding your abilities and how to produce value with them and aligning with principle instead of being driven by technique and strategy alone;
4077.  Karl Alzner is (now) the (Washington) Capitals leader in consecutive, regular season games played at 423 (and counting);
4078.  We are taught that insurance is a necessary evil at best and that the smartest route is to get minimum coverage with the lowest possible premium payments.  The underlying goal is to accumulate enough assets to be “self-insured” – to have enough money in the bank to cover every eventuality that insurance would protect us from.  Once we achieve this state, we can eliminate any insurance that we aren’t required to carry by law and save the expense of premiums.  The fact is that there’s no such thing as self-insurance; either you have insurance or you don’t.  You either have a way to transfer your risk of loss or you retain that risk;
4079.  Simply having a lot of money in no way protects you from the loss of that money.  In fact, the more money and assets a person has, the more important insurance becomes to protect her/him from the risk of loss.  Self-insurance is really no insurance and the unnecessary assumption of risk;
4080.  The best way to be financially free and to feel confident in utilizing our assets productively is to reduce the risk of losing those assets, including our own knowledge and abilities.  By transferring risk to those more efficiently equipped to manage it (i.e., insurance companies), we protect ourselves from unforeseen losses and release the fear that we might not have accumulated enough assets to cover the losses we might face.  Proper insurance coverage can dramatically improve our ability to think abundantly and therefore be creative and productive;
4081.  The national average percentage of uninsured motorists is 13.8 percent;
4082.  When we retain risk we’re hesitant to act and to produce because we’re not certain what the result will be.  Hesitation means decreased productivity and decreased productivity means that we’re kept from living up to our full potential;
4083.  Every moment you spend worrying about loss is a moment that you are not thinking productively and you can never recapture those lost moments;
4084.  When we utilize insurance properly, we can have true peace of mind and be actually protected from negative circumstances.  We must never confuse peace of mind with laziness and naïveté – true peace of mind comes from applied knowledge, which requires effort and stewardship.  The less worry we have in our lives, the more productive we will be and insurance is one excellent way to legitimately eliminate worry;
4085.  People should transfer as much risk as possible away from themselves.  The less risk a person is exposed to, the more wealth s/he can create;
4086.  Being self-insured requires allowing vast resources to sit stagnant;
4087.  The best way to reduce our insurance expenses is to get as much insurance as possible;
4088.  Insurance coverage must be designed to protect human life value, not just property value;
4089.  Insurance coverage increases our financial freedom and productivity, regardless of our age or financial situation;
4090.  The more assets a person has, the more insurance s/he should have;
4091.  Apparently, antiperspirant with aluminum chloride causes those (unsightly,)yellow, underarm stains on white t-shirts;
4092.  It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice;
4093.  48% of mortgage foreclosures are caused by disability;
4094.  3% of mortgage foreclosures are caused by death;
4095.  Men have a 43% chance of becoming seriously disabled during their working years;
4096.  Women have a 54% chance of becoming seriously disabled during their working years;
4097.  At age 42, it is 4 times more likely that you will become seriously disabled than that you will die during your working years;
4098.  Many people focus on low deductibles when purchasing insurance, but then only file claims that are well above their deductible and don’t file claims that are smaller because they are trying to keep their premiums low.  If you aren’t going to file claims below or at the lower deductible, save yourself some money and get a higher deductible;
4099.  If your investment in an insurance policy keeps you thinking productively, indemnifies you against loss and provides a return on your investment, you have increased the productivity of your assets;
4100.  Many at-risk products or investments, such as Variable Universal Life, mutual funds, IRAs or 401(k)s, may work out great in hindsight, but people will not feel safe making significant, bold choices in other areas of their lives based on the expected performance of these assets because there is little certainty ahead of time.  They will be in a cautious, wait-and-see mode through most of their lives;