Monday, September 26, 2016

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

4551.  Foods that you can eat at restaurants: A)  Meat (i.e., not fried & without sauce); Always try to add vegetables to your meal; B)  Mongolian: Anything except skip the sauce and the fried rice; C)  Thai: 1.  Stir fried vegetables with meat; 2.  Chicken satay – no peanut sauce; 3.  Tom Yum soup; 4.  Koo Moo Yang; 5.  Papaya salad; and 6.  Larb; D)  Japanese: 1.  Sashimi; 2.  Teriyaki without the sauce; and 3.  Brown rice sushi/nigiri (after the first 3-4 weeks); E)  Chinese: 1.  Vegetables with meat; 2.  Ma Po tofu/eggplant; and 3.  Peking duck without the pancakes and sauce; F)  Indian: 1.  Tandoori (i.e., chicken, lamb & vegetables); 2.  Mint masala; and 3.  Chicken saag.  Avoid the heavy curries; G) European/American: 1.  Salad; and 2.  Grilled piece of meat with vegetables; and H) Latin American: 1.  Ceviche; 2.  Guacamole without the tortilla chips; 3.  Grilled fish/meats; and 4.  Fajitas without the tortillas;
4552.  You can try to avoid risk, but it’s impossible to manage every variable.  You simply cannot control the future or other people’s choices and actions;
4553.  You do have two options: to retain risk or transfer risk;
4554.  Trying to avoid risk is really just retaining it.  And purchasing insurance is how you transfer risk through auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance and more.  These are proven ways to transfer risk from yourself to insurance companies.  And in doing so, you’re protecting yourself, your family, your assets and your ability to produce;
4555.  The other value of insurance is protecting your human life value.  It protects your peace of mind, your creativity and your ability to perform at your best.  When you know that you’ve transferred risk with insurance, you can let go of worry and produce at the highest levels;
4556.  “Safe” isn’t safe.  Chasing your dream in life (yes the risky one that’s impossible to guarantee) is the safer choice;
4557.  If you’re not truly passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll always subconsciously limit yourself.  Like putting an imaginary brick wall between you and your true potential;
4558.  The safe choice is just another way of guaranteeing you never become happy;
4559.  When you pursue your passion, you have a chance to be really, really great at something because you actually care;
4560.  When you pursue your passion, you won’t waste years of your life on things you don’t care about.  Every second of every day will feel meaningful no matter what;
4561.  The fact is, most people choose a safe path in life because the end result (even if it’s mediocre at best) is guaranteed;
4562.  You want that guarantee.  You can see it way off in the distance.  The path to it is crystal clear.  And does following your passion have that same guarantee?  No, it doesn’t.  But what you lose in a guarantee you gain in happiness;
4563.  By following your passion, you’ll force yourself to be the smartest, best version of you and you’ll love every second even if you fail.  There’s the safety you’re after.  Real safety comes from being great at something.  And the only way to become great is to be absolutely crazy about it.  You can’t fake passion;
4564.  (Just remember) the safe path is the scary one;
4565.  If you want to make an unbreakable piñata, ask Becky (Henry);
4566.  If you want to give your oatmeal some flavor, try some adding (some) blueberries or raspberries;
4567.  Apparently, Ann Gillespie, who played “Jackie Taylor” on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” is a senior associate rector at (Historic) Christ Church in (Old Town) Alexandria;
4568.  William Duvall (the current lead singer of “Alice in Chains”) sounds just like Layne Staley;
4569.  “Alice in Chains” has a lot more hit songs than I realized;
4570.  Axl Rose can be punctual;
4571.  Axl Rose’s voice (actually) isn’t shot;
4572.  Guns N’ Roses live sounds like you’d want them to sound;
4573.  Slash is an amazing guitarist;
4574.  Richard Fortus (the lead and rhythm guitarist for Guns N’ Roses) is a pretty good guitarist too;
4575.  Axl Rose can whistle . . . and he actually does when performing “Patience;”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

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

4501.  There are 56 names for sugar;
4502.  (American) teenagers consume on average 30-41 teaspoons of (total) sugar per day;
4503.  Palates that are conditioned for higher levels of sweetness, crave more of them;
4504.  I (quite) like the fruit & nut bread at Society Fair ( in (Old Town Alexandria).  It’s like raisin bread on crack;
4505.  The day after a (Washington) Nationals win and save, you can bring in your ticket stub to (a) Chick-fil-A for a free chicken sandwich;
4506.  You can make Skittles-infused vodka by (simply) putting your favorite Skittles flavor in a jar with vodka and letting them dissolve.  (Who knew?)  Blend the mixture with ice and Sprite/club soda. . . . Enjoy;
4507.  Thoughts that generate bad feelings are resistant thoughts.  Any thought that puts a barrier between what you would like to have and your ability to attract it into your life is resistance;
4508.  Stress doesn’t exist in the world.  There are only people thinking stressful thoughts;
4509.  Stressful thoughts all by themselves are a form of resistance.  You don’t want stressful, resistant thoughts to be your habitual way of reacting to your world.  By practicing thoughts of minimal resistance, you’ll train yourself to make this your natural way of reacting and eventually you’ll become the tranquil person you desire to be, a stress-free person free of the “dis-ease” that stress brings to the body;
4510.  You always have options.  In every situation, you can choose how you are going to deal with it and how you are going to feel about it;
4511.  Wherever you find yourself in your life, whatever the circumstances, you can make the situation into a learning or growing experience and you can choose not to be emotionally immobilized;
4512.  You may find it much easier, albeit far more self-destructive, to give in to adversity and become a victim of your sour feelings.  But if you are effective enough at not having victim expectations, you can also work at turning misfortune around and even making it work in your favor.  The cornerstone of your attitude must be alertness for taking advantage of your situations, making your expectations revolve around wanting to emerge as a non-victim and looking hard for the right kind of opportunity.  Even if the opportunity does not surface, you can keep your attitude positive so that your glumness does not blind you to potential advantage;
4513.  You are the product of what you choose for yourself in every life situation.  You do have the capacity to make healthy choices for yourself by changing your attitude to one of creative aliveness.  By being ever alert for turning adversity around, by improving your attitudes and expectations for yourself and by fearlessly implementing risk-taking alternatives, you’ll soon be gratified by the way your life can take a turn for the better.  Be fully alive while you’re here on this planet; you’ll have an eternity to experience the opposite after you leave;
4514.  You only live once, so you should live this life to the fullest.  Be the best you can possibly be.  And don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way;
4515.  And there’s one other incredibly important (yet often forgotten) element: Planning for the future.  If I’ve only got one life to live, I’m going to think about the future.  To put it bluntly, planning for the future is the difference between success and failure in life.  And it’s not that planning instantly makes you successful.  It doesn’t.  It’s that not planning means you have no goal in mind; no target to aim for; no bar to hold yourself to;
4516.  If you could succeed without risking failure, it wouldn’t be meaningful;
4517.  If you’d rather stay in your comfort zone than have a shot at living your dream life, there’s nothing anyone can do to help you;
4518.  Life, and not just any life, your life, is moving forward whether you’re ready or not;
4519.  You need to decide what you want out of life; not the specifics; the big picture.  Planning ahead is about the intangible side of things.  It’s about thinking and knowing what really matters to you.  What does matter to you?  If you can’t instantly answer that, you’ve got a lot to think about;
4520.  When you’d rather fail than not try at all, you know you’re on the right track;
4521.  Almost half of borrowers with FICO (credit) scores below 550 became 90 days delinquent at least once during a mortgage;
4522.  The lowest FICO (credit) scores you can get a loan with is between 560 and 580;
4523.  For a person with a FICO (credit) score of 800 or better, only 2 out of 10,000 became delinquent on their mortgage;
4524.  Lenders began to take a closer look at FICO (credit) scores and this is what they found: 1.  FICO score: 595 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 2.25 to 1; 2.  FICO score: 615 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 9 to 1; 3.  FICO score: 630 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 18 to 1; 4.  FICO score: 645 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 36 to 1; 5.  FICO score: 660 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 72 to 1;  6.  FICO score: 680 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 144 to 1; 7.  FICO score: 700 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 288 to 1; and 8.  FICO score: 780 – Odds of a 90-day delinquent account: 576 to 1;
4525.  Every 20 points of a FICO (credit) score affects your interest rate about 1/8th of a point;
4526.  Some of the things that affect your FICO (credit) score: 1.  Delinquencies; 2.  Too many accounts opened within the last 12 months; 3.  Short credit history; 4.  Balances on revolving credit are near the maximum limits; 5.  Public records, such as tax liens, judgments or bankruptcies; 6.  No recent credit card balances; 7.  Too many recent credit inquiries; 8.  Too few revolving accounts; and 9.  Too many revolving accounts;
4527.  Borrowers with credit scores over 740 get the best interest rates.  For each reduction of 20 points, the interest rate increases by approximately 0.125%;
4528.  What your FICO (credit) score takes into consideration: 1.  Payment history – 35%; 2.  Amounts owed – 30%; 3.  Length of credit history – 15%; 4.  New credit – 10%; and 5.  Types of credit used – 10%;
4529.  A mortgage issuer would ideally like to see: A)  1 mortgage; B)  1 line of credit (if you own a house); C)  1-2 car loans; D)  1 MasterCard or Visa (card); and E)  1 American Express card;
4530.  One credit inquiry will usually take less than 5 points off a credit score;
4531.  3 steps to credit improvement: 1.  Pay all your bills on time (i.e., payment history makes up 35% of your FICO (credit) score); 2.  Keep revolving balances low – ideally to 30% or less of your available credit; and 3.  Only open new credit when you need it;
4532.  Higher starting credit scores and first-time negative actions have significant credit score impact;
4533.  The greatest credit score impact occurs in the first month following the action;
4534.  Scoring impact from negative actions diminishes over time and with improved, sustained behavior;
4535.  Late payments on larger, secured debt (i.e., mortgage) are generally more consequential to a credit score than late payments on smaller, unsecured debt (i.e., credit card);
4536.  If you have to pay something late, pay a credit card late.  Do not pay your mortgage late (if you can pay for it);
4537.  One 30-day late payment to your mortgage will drop your credit score 100-150 points and it will affect your credit score for a year;
4538.  If you have more than 1 mortgage payment late, you will not be able to get a loan (i.e., 2 30-day late payments or 1 60-day late payment);
4539.  A balance above the credit limit impacts your credit score negatively, similarly to a late payment, regardless if the balance is $1.00 over the credit limit or $100.00 over the credit limit;
4540.  A FICO (credit) score of 740 or over is considered “excellent;”
4541.  A FICO (credit) score of 700 (to 739) is considered “very good;”
4542.  The credit scores you get when you order them from the consumer credit agencies are not the same scores used in the mortgage business.  The scores you get are usually 10-50 points higher than those in the mortgage industry because the consumer credit agencies do not use as much data and their algorithms are different (i.e., concerned about mortgage default v. credit card default);
4543.  The 3 bureaus for business credit reports are: 1.  Equifax; 2.  Experian; and 3.  Dun & Bradstreet;
4544.  2 simple rules to follow to stay healthy and fit: 1.  Stop eating gluten; and 2.  Stop eating refined sugar;
4545.  Eat as much as you want of: 1.  Fibrous vegetables; 2.  Unprocessed meats (excludes deli, cured & smoked meats, sausage & bacon); 3.  Fish & shellfish as long as it’s not smoked.  There are no rules about the frequency you can eat these foods, but you should try to eat a lot more fibrous vegetables than meat, fish or shellfish;
4546.  For the first 3-4 weeks, you can eat these foods to offset hunger (and then gradually reduce their consumption afterwards): 1.  Nuts – 3-4 large handfuls a day; 2.  Healthy oils (i.e., coconut & olive oils) – 3-4 tablespoons a day; and 3.  Avocado – 1-2 avocados a day;
4547.  Avoid these foods for the first 3-4 weeks and afterwards you can have these amounts of servings: 1.  Lower glycemic fruit (i.e., berries & grapefruit) – 2-3 servings a day; Eat at breakfast or lunch (so your body can work them off).  You can add 1 serving on a workout day especially before a cardio workout; and 2.  Complex carbs (i.e., starchy vegetables – peas & sweet potatoes; whole grains - quinoa & brown rice);
4548.  What to eat for breakfast: 1.  Eggs with vegetables (i.e., omelet with mixed vegetables cooked in olive oil & avocado on the side; spinach salad with grape tomatoes & peppers with poached eggs; hardboiled eggs on a kale salad with peppers, mushrooms & onions); 2.  Add chicken to an omelet or salad; 3.  Cauliflower or nut bread with tomatoes, onions & avocado or with almond or cashew butter; 4.  After 3-4 weeks, you can add fruit (i.e., bowl of berries or grapefruit) and complex carbs (i.e., brown rice or quinoa); and 5.  Grilled chicken/fish with steamed vegetables;
4549.  What to eat for lunch and dinner: 1.  Meat/fish with vegetables cooked in healthy oil; and 2.  After 3-4 weeks, you can add fruit and complex carbs with lunch;
4550.  What type of snacks to eat: 1.  Nuts (i.e., almonds, walnuts & cashews preferably) – preferably raw nuts then roasted nuts with light salt – no nuts with coatings; 2.  Vegetables (i.e., cherry & grape tomatoes, bell peppers, celery & carrots) – no dressing; 3.  Avocado; and 4.  Meat (i.e., steak, fish or chicken);

Monday, June 20, 2016

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

4451.  The less scary option is almost always the wrong choice;
4452.  Be confident in your ability to work.  You don’t have to work hard at everything, but you do have to work hard towards what you want to achieve.  Focus your efforts on your goals.  Never use yourself as your biggest excuse;
4453.  Don’t seize opportunities, create them.  Opportunities won’t always knock at your door, sometimes you have to create them for yourself.  Be resourceful.  Think outside the box;
4454.  Time is your most precious resource, use it wisely.  Time is the only thing we can never get back.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.  Live each moment dedicated to your goal.  Every passing minute is your chance to make your big break;
4455.  Live your life driven by purpose.  Everything you do should be towards your big picture goals.  Be selfish.  Eliminate distractions, obstacles and barriers.  Evaluate by asking yourself, “Will this help me get there?”  “Do I really need this?”  The answers will sometimes surprise you;
4456.  You can always improve.  You can always be better.  Comfort can be a curse.  Never get too comfortable or overly confident about where you are at any given moment.  Imagine if you pushed yourself to work that extra 10% towards an even bigger goal each day.  What would that amount to over a lifetime?
4457.  If it is to be, it’s up to me;
4458.  Working hard is when you stop making excuses for your own laziness;
4459.  The harder you work, the easier life gets.  The more you take the easy route, the harder life becomes;
4460.  6 (human) needs that must be met (for long term fulfillment): 1.  Certainty; 2.  Uncertainty – variety, surprise, have things that we’re not expecting happening, adventure; 3.  Significance – need for a feeling like your life is significant, it’s important, it’s significant, it’s unique in somewhat, it’s special, that your life has some kind of purpose, your life has some kind of meaning; 4.  Connection and love; 5.  You must grow; and 6.  You must contribute beyond yourself in a meaningful way;
4461.  Most of us don’t need to have a lot happen to meet our needs;
4462.  The burnt almond torte from Prantl’s Bakery ( in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a nice, toffee crunch to it;
4463.  People judge you based on how you see yourself.  Not the other way around;
4464.  Nobody has the power to stop you unless you give it to them.  So don’t;
4465.  All talk + no action = a recipe for accomplishing nothing;
4466.  All pain comes from feeling like one or more of your six needs is not being met;
4467.  Three major varieties of white wine, Riesling, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, visualize them as skim milk, whole milk, and cream.  Before you’ve even tasted the wines, you have an idea of where they stand from light to heavy.  Do the same for reds; pinot noir: skim milk; merlot: whole milk; cabernet sauvignon: cream;
4468.  There is some technique involved in winetasting.  What you want to do is pick up your wineglass by the stem (not the bowl) and swirl.  The air will turn up the volume on the aroma.  There are chemical reasons for this, but maybe it's easier to understand by imagining yourself on a hot, listless day.  In the distance there’s a guy barbecuing, but he’s too far away for you to see or smell a thing.  If, however, a strong wind were to blow in your direction, your nostrils might twitch at the airborne molecules of ‘cue.  So stick your nose in that glass and inhale.  But equally crucial are the taste buds aligning the insides of your mouth.  Don’t gulp the juice straight down; the flavors will zoom by.  Let the wine coat the inside of your mouth before you swallow, and you’ll soon be tuned in to the music;
4469.  The winemaker is like a record producer looking for harmony and balance in flavor.  The acidity in a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc should not squash the fruit.  Nor should the tannins that come off red grape skins, the ones that bring a dry sensation to your palate, block out the fruit in a cabernet sauvignon;
4470.  Wine is simply here to help us celebrate the joy as well as push us past the tragedy.  “Give me wine to wash me clean from the weather-stains of care;”
4471.  If you want to improve your life, it’s not going to be comfortable.  You have to take risks.  You have to face your fears.  You have to do what most people won’t;
4472.  When you know, deep down, that an important life decision is staring you right in the eyes, you just do it.  Unconditionally.  No questions asked.  You make the same choice that your future self (in ten years) would want you to make;
4473.  Once something feels like a chore, it’s impossible to improve;
4474.  People put off what really matters because they’re convinced there is a “perfect moment” later.  There is no “perfect moment.”  That doesn’t exist.  You know what happens to people who wait for the perfect moment?  They never find it;
4475.  Apparently, Poe Dameron (i.e., Oscar Isaac) is a normal guy.  He lives (in a 4th floor condominium) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn . . . and he likes to play the guitar (at all hours of the day);
4476.  When you completely avoid discomfort, growth is impossible;
4477.  Ironically, by avoiding the pain of awkwardness and rejection, you end up with the greatest pain there is . . . loneliness;
4478.  There’s only one way to solve loneliness.  And that’s by building real relationships.  That requires putting yourself out there and meeting new people.  And in the beginning, it’s going to be very uncomfortable;
4479.  Chipotle shrimp coleslaw is kind of tasty;
4480.  Rose Byrne looks like Gillian Anderson;
4481.  Canada Dry diet ginger ale (actually) tastes pretty good;
4482.  Diet Mountain Dew doesn’t taste too bad either;
4483.  Values are really the emotional states that you and I believe are most important for you to either feel or avoid.  If you value something and you want more of it, it’s probably because you link to it a large level of pleasure.  If you value something that is you think it’s important to avoid, it’s probably because you leads to a lot of pain;
4484.  Your values determine your direction;
4485.  People do more to avoid pain than they’ll ever do to gain;
4486.  When power napping, don’t sleep for more than 20 minutes.  You don’t want to enter R.E.M. sleep;
4487.  The 20-minute power nap (sometimes called the stage 2 nap) is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano;
4488.  Try drinking a cup of coffee before a 20-minute power nap.  The caffeine should hit you about the time you wake up;
4489.  Don’t wear boxer shorts when doing yoga.  They can ride up and be (very) uncomfortable;
4490.  I (actually) sleep better using a sleep mask.  Who knew?
4491.  Declutter you counters: A messy counter can actually compel you to eat more, according to a study released last year that Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Slim by Design, co-authored.  The researchers found that women with messy kitchens – think: newspapers, dishes, bills and more – ate twice as many cookies and snacks as women in a kitchen with clear counters who had access to the same snacks.  Further study showed the difference seemed to be tied to how stressed the women felt – a disorganized kitchen led to out-of-control eating;
4492.  Store special kitchen tools or appliances: You may love your vintage Kitchen Aid mixer or custom Bundt pan collection, but these items can draw you to special occasion foods more than everyday healthy choices.  Hide them, store them or move them to the basement.  As you declutter your countertop, only keep appliances on hand that will make healthy eating easier, such as the blender for smoothies.  And ditch the easily accessible toaster: Wansink’s studies found that men in households with a toaster on the counter weigh an average of four pounds more than their neighbors who hide this common appliance;
4493.  You can display a fruit bowl: In Wansink’s research, people with cereal, soda and other snacks displayed on their counters weighed, on average, 20 pounds more than those who kept no food out.  On the other hand, he found that putting fruit in a nice bowl, conveniently located, increased how much kids take by as much as 104 percent;
4494.  Eat dinner off your salad plates: Wansink’s studies show that the bigger the plate, the more we fill it and the more we eat – up to 22 percent more.  Aim to use salad plates in the 9- to 10-inch range, which you can fill with a more reasonable portion.  But you shouldn’t go below 9 inches, either: “At that point you know you are fooling yourself and you go back for seconds or thirds or fourths,” Wansink says.  The same rule applies for serving spoons (a bigger scoop can add up to 14 percent more food) and bowls too;
4495.  Swap your rocks glasses for highballs: The same logic for plates applies to your glasses too.  Wansink found that people perceive tall, thin glasses as holding more than short, wide glasses even when they actually hold the same volume.  As a result, people poured (and then consumed) almost 30 percent more when using the short glasses. “Opt for the illusion of the tall glass and don’t pour all the way to the top,” he suggests.  Make your taller, thinner glasses your everyday drinkware;
4496.  Retire your serving bowls for everyday dinners: Big serving bowls on the dinner table for family-style eating only invite us to consume more, Wansink says.  “On average, people eat 20 percent more of any food served off of the table than served off of [the] counter or stove,” he says.  Serve any higher calorie food in the kitchen onto individual plates.  That doesn’t mean you need to toss out all of your beautiful serving pieces – use them for special occasions when you expect to indulge or for everyday meals, where you can serve salads or light vegetable sides family-style.  Even better?  Repurpose those dinner plates as vegetable platters;
4497.  Pull your grandmother’s cookbooks out of storage: It’s no surprise that portion sizes have gotten larger over the years; in fact, Wansink discovered that calorie counts in the Joy of Cooking increased by 44 percent per serving over the past 70 years and seven editions.  “If you need to use a modern cookbook, think half,” he says.  “Make it and put half in the freezer before dinner starts;”
4498.  Haul your Costco busy to the basement: Studies show that we eat half of what we purchase within the first week of buying it, and if we buy bulk, well . . . you do the math.  So if you buy large quantities for the cash savings (or the hungry teenagers in your house), put what you need right away in the pantry and then move the extras deep in storage.  Consider a “kids only” snack drawer out of reach of your regular path through the kitchen.  Another idea is to take bulk and items and break them into small, single serving packages;
4499.  Play hide and seek with your food: Wansink says we eat what we see.  Reorganize so your dishes are stored in any glass cupboards and then move food and snacks behind closed doors.  He also recommends hiding any unhealthy foods in foil or in opaque containers, since leftovers wrapped in plastic or in clear containers get eaten faster.  Place healthier choices, like crudités, in glass containers, since you’ll be more likely to reach for those first.  And if you find yourself digging into your pantry multiple times a day, consider moving it to another spot altogether (if it’s practical), such as an old coat closet, basement or anywhere that requires you to walk a little further to get to food.  “We keep all of our snacks in the laundry room,” Wansink says.  “If we want a snack, we know where to find them, but it’s not as easy as trolling through the cupboards;”
4500.  Of all of the packaged food in the grocery store, 74% are spiked with sugar;

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rules to live by:

1.  If it frightens you, do it.
2.  Don’t settle.  Every time you settle, you get exactly what you settled for.
3.  Put yourself first.
4.  No matter what happens, you will handle it.
5.  Whatever you do, do it 100%.
6.  If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.
7.  You are the only person on this planet responsible for your needs, wants and happiness.
8.  Ask for what you want.
9.  If what you are doing isn’t working, try something different.
10.  Be clear and direct.
11.  Learn to say “no.”
12.  Don’t make excuses.
13.  If you are an adult, you are old enough to make your own rules.
14.  Let people help you.
15.  Be honest with yourself.
16.  Do not let anyone treat you badly . . . no one . . . ever.
17.  Remove yourself from a bad situation instead of waiting for the situation to change.
18.  Don’t tolerate the intolerable – ever.
19.  Stop blaming.  Victims never succeed.
20.  Live with integrity.  Decide what feels right to you, then do it.
21.  Accept the consequences of your actions.
22.  Be good to yourself.
23.  Think “abundance.”
24.  Face difficult situations and conflict head on.
25.  Don’t do anything in secret.
26.  Do it now.
27.  Be willing to let go of what you have so you can get what you want.
28.  Have fun.  If you are not having fun, something is wrong.
29.  Give yourself room to fail.  There are no mistakes, only learning experiences.
30.  Control is an illusion.  Let go; let life happen.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

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

4401.  Good sex consists of two people taking full responsibility for meeting their own needs.  It has no goal.  It is free of agendas and expectations.  Rather than being a performance, it is an unfolding of sexual energy.  It is about two people revealing themselves in the most intimate and vulnerable of ways.  Good sex occurs when two people focus on their own pleasure, passion and arousal, and stay connected to those same things in their partner.  All of these dynamics allow good sex to unfold in unpredictable, spontaneous and memorable ways;
4402.  When recovering “nice guys” decide they will no longer settle for anything less than good sex, they begin to take responsibility for doing something different.  They let go of the concept of being a great lover.  They practice being clear and direct.  They choose available partners.  They don’t settle for scraps.  They decide that bad sex is not better than no sex!
4403.  If you don’t want to drink, but look like you are, try (Angostura) bitters and (club) soda;
4404.  The majority of “nice guys” have not lived up to their full abilities or potential.  Since nice guys spend so much time seeking approval, hiding their flaws, playing it safe and doing the opposite of what works, it makes sense that they would typically fall short of being all they can be.  This is perhaps the greatest tragedy wrought by the nice guy syndrome; countless intelligent and talented men wasting their lives and wallowing in the mire of mediocrity;
4405.  Most “nice guys” initially go to counseling to deal with the way their life paradigm is affecting their intimate relationships.  These relationship problems often overshadow the reality that they are equally dissatisfied with their job, career or life direction in general.  The dynamics that keep nice guys stuck in dysfunctional, unsatisfying relationships are often the same dynamics that keep them stuck in dysfunctional and unsatisfying vocations;
4406.  There are numerous reasons why “nice guys” tend to be less than they can be in life, work and career.  These include: 1.  Fear; 2.  Trying to do it right; 3.  Trying to do everything themselves; 4.  Self-sabotage; 5.  A distorted self-image; 6.  Deprivation thinking; and 7.  Staying stuck in familiar, but dysfunctional systems;
4407.  The one common factor at the core of every problem experienced by “nice guys,” it would be fear.  Pretty much everything nice guys do or don’t do is governed by fear.  Their thoughts are funneled through fear-encrusted neurons in their brains.  Their interactions are dictated by the politics of fear;
4408.  “Nice guys” are afraid of making a mistake, afraid of doing it wrong, afraid of failure, afraid of losing it all.  Right alongside these fears of disaster is the paradoxical fear of success.  Nice guys are typically afraid that if they are truly successful: 1.  They will be found out to be frauds; 2.  They won’t be able to live up to people’s expectations; 3.  They will be criticized; 4.  They won’t be able to handle the increased expectations; 5.  They will lose control over their lives; and 6.  They will do something to mess up everything.  Rather than facing these fears, real or imagined, nice guys typically settle for operating at a fraction of their full potential;
4409.  The essence of all life is evolution and change.  In order for this process to occur naturally and completely in an individual, a person has to be willing to let go of control.  Letting go allows the beautiful, serendipitous chaos of creation to resonate through one’s self.  The result is a dynamic, fulfilling life’
4410.  “Nice guys” are obsessed with trying to keep their lives smooth and uneventful.  They do this by trying to “do it right” and following the “rules.”  Unfortunately, this life strategy is the most effective way to put a lid on any creative life energy.  This lid kills their passion and prevents nice guys from living up to their full potential;
4411.  Self-imposed limits that make many “nice guys” dissatisfied, bored or unhappy with their lives and vocation: 1.  Trying to do it right robs nice guys of their creativity and productivity; 2.  Striving for perfection keeps nice guys focused on their imperfections; 3.  Seeking external validation and approval keeps nice guys stuck in mediocrity; 4.  Attempting to hide flaws and mistakes prevents nice guys from taking risks or trying something new; and 5.  Following the rules make nice guys rigid, cautious and fearful;
4412.  As children, “nice guys” did not get their needs met in timely, judicious ways.  Some were neglected, some were used, some were abused and some were abandoned.  All grew up believing that it was a bad or dangerous thing for them to have needs.  All grew up convinced that if they were going to have anything in life, it would be up to them.  Consequently, nice guys are terrible receivers.  They are terrified of asking for help.  They are completely miserable when others try to give it to them. They have difficulty delegating to others;
4413.  Because “nice guys” believe they have to do it all themselves, they rarely live up to their full potential.  Nobody can be good at everything or succeed all on their own.  Nice guys believe they should be able to.  They might be jacks-of-all-trades, but they are typically masters of none.  This childhood conditioning ensures that they will never be all they can be in any area of life;
4414.  Because of their fear of success, “nice guys” are masters of self-sabotage.  They undermine their success by: 1.  Wasting time; 2.  Making excuses; 3.  Not finishing projects; 4.  Caretaking other people; 5.  Having too many projects going at once; 6.  Getting caught up in chaotic relationships; 7.  Procrastinating; and 8.  Not setting boundaries;
4415.  “Nice guys” are typically good at looking just good enough.  But to be really great, to really rise to the top, invites too much unwanted attention and scrutiny.  The bright lights of success threaten to illuminate their self-perceived cracks and flaws.  Consequently, nice guys find many creative ways to make sure they are never too successful.  If they don’t start something, they won’t fail.  If they don’t finish something, they won’t be criticized.  If they have too much going on at once, they won’t have to do any one thing well.  If they have enough good excuses, people won’t expect too much of them;
4416.  When you take away the pain, you take away the drive to change so now change is not a “must” it’s a “should” and so you keep on feeling bad about yourself and never really getting what you deserve;
4417.  If the present is painful, you can always escape to the past.  If the past is painful, you can always make up a future that’s better because no one really knows what the future is;
4418.  Most people live in a world called “no man’s land.”  They’re in a place where they’re not really happy, but they’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it and that’s the worst possible place you can be.  That’s called “being in a rut;”
4419.  Change is never a matter of ability.  It’s always a matter of motivation (i.e., leverage);
4420.  Success without fulfillment is failure;
4421.  Because their needs were not met in a timely, judicious fashion in childhood, “nice guys” developed a distorted view of themselves.  With a naive, immature logic they came to the conclusion that if their needs were not important, neither were they.  This is the basis of their toxic shame.  At their core, all nice guys believe they are not important or good enough;
4422.  As a result of their inability to fix, please or take care of one or more parents, many “nice guys” developed a deep-seated sense of inadequacy.  They believed they should be able to do the job.  Nevertheless, they never could seem to do it right or good enough.  This internalized sense of inadequacy and defectiveness is carried into adulthood.  Some nice guys compensate by trying to do everything right.  They hope that by doing so, no one will ever find out how inadequate they are.  Other nice guys just give up before they try;
4423.  This feeling of inadequacy prevents “nice guys” from making themselves visible, taking chances or trying something new.  It keeps them in the same old rut, never seeing how talented and intelligent they really are.  Everyone around them can see these things, but their distorted childhood lenses won’t let them accurately see their true potential and ability.  The result of this distorted self-image is an emotional and cognitive glass ceiling.  This invisible lid prevents nice guys from being all they can be.  If they do try to rise above it, they bump their heads and tumble down to more familiar territory;
4424.  Not having their needs adequately met in childhood created a belief for “nice guys” that there wasn’t enough of what they needed to go around.  This deprivation experience became the lenses through which they viewed the world.  This paradigm of scarcity and deprivation makes nice guys manipulative and controlling.  It causes them to believe they better hang on to what they’ve got and not take too many chances.  It leads them to resent other people who seem to have what they lack;
4425.  Because of their deprivation thinking, “nice guys” think small.  They don’t believe they deserve to have good things.  They find all kinds of ways to make sure their view of the world is never challenged.  They settle for scraps and think it is all they deserve.  They create all kinds of rationalizations to explain why they will never have what they really desire.  Because of their self-fulfilling beliefs, nice guys rarely live up to their potential or get what they really want in life;
4426.  Two major factors prevent “nice guys” from getting what they want in love.  The first is that they tend to recreate familiar, yet dissatisfying relationships.  They find partners who will help them create the same dysfunctional kinds of relationships they experienced as children.  These men then frequently see themselves as being victims to the dysfunction of their partners.  Nice guys have a difficult time seeing that they were attracted to these people for a reason.  Second, nice guys rarely experience the kind of relationships they want because they are bad enders.  When a healthy person would pack up and move on, nice guys just keep doing more of the same, hoping that something will miraculously change;
4427.  “Nice guys” aren’t much different in their jobs.  They are attracted to careers and work situations that allow them to recreate the dysfunctional roles, relationships and rules of their childhood.  They often see themselves as helpless victims to these situations.  Rarely do they see why they need these systems to be the way they are and that they have the choice to leave;
4428.  Unconsciously recreating familiar family patterns in their jobs and careers keeps “nice guys” stuck and dissatisfied.  While they are perpetuating the dysfunction of their childhood, they rarely do what they really want or rise to the top of their chosen vocation;
4429.  Most folks, “nice guys” included, do not consciously take responsibility for creating the kind of life they want.  Most people just accept where they are and act as if they have little power in shaping an exciting, productive and fulfilling life;
4430.  What one man can do, another man can do.  Think about it; if others have taken charge and created lives worth emulating, so can you.  The only thing stopping you from having the kind of life you really want is you.  It is time to start charting your own path, making your own rules and making your dreams a reality;
4431.  A major reason “nice guys” frequently fail to live up to their potential is that they believe they have to do everything themselves;
4432.  In most situations, “nice guys” aren’t victims to others, they victimize themselves;
4433.  In order to start getting what they want in life, work and career, recovering “nice guys” have to make the conscious decision to get out of their own way.  One way of doing this is by changing the way they think about change.  This begins with nice guys becoming aware of why they unconsciously create so many barriers that keep them feeling stuck.  A mortgage, a wife, a lack of a degree, debt and children are all just excuses.  Making significant life changes doesn’t require chucking all these things.  It means seeing them for what they really are, excuses, and taking small steps in the direction one wants to be going;
4434.  Due to their early life experiences, “nice guys” tend to be ruled by deprivation thinking.  They believe there is only so much to go around and if someone else already has a lot, there is less for them;
4435.  “Nice guys” have a difficult time comprehending that we live in an abundant, ever-expanding universe.  They tend to see the goodies as being in short supply.  They hang on tightly to what they’ve got, fearing there won’t be more when it is gone.  They believe they have to control and manipulate to ensure that what little is out there won’t go away.  They play it safe not trusting that their needs will always be abundantly met;
4436.  The world can’t give us something that we’re not ready to receive.  Since deprivation thinking keeps a person holding tightly to what he already has, there is no receptivity for receiving more;
4437.  Take a couple of deep breaths and exhale slowly.  Clear your mind.  Once you are relaxed, picture yourself living in an abundant world.  In this abundant world, there are no restraints or limitations.  Good things flow past you continuously.  Imagine every abundant thing you have ever desired – car, home, friends, love, joy, wealth, success, peace of mind and challenge.  Visualize yourself living your life surrounded by this abundance.  Repeat this visualization several times a day until it begins to feel real to you.  Open your arms, your heart and your mind.  Get out of the way and let it happen;
4438.  By taking responsibility for creating the kind of life you really want, you can become all that you were meant to be;
4439.  3 steps to create lasting change: 1.  Get leverage (i.e., understand the reasons why you must change); 2.  Interrupt the limiting (or disempowering) pattern; and 3.  Create an empowering alternative (pattern) and reinforce/reward it (i.e., notice it, give it pleasure, acknowledge it & reward it) until it becomes habit;
4440.  The secret to reinforcing something is give it pleasure give it rewards;
4441.  Until you put somebody in a peak state, everything you’re going to get is going to be less than who they are and what they’re capable of;
4442.  How to keep momentum: 1.  Put yourself in a peak state by radically changing your physiology, radically changing your emotions or both; 2.  You must find your passion (to keep your peak state); 3.  You must decide, commit and resolve what you’re going to do with your passion; and 4.  You must get yourself to take massive action;
4443.  To keep momentum going, you have to take that passion and do something with it;
4444.  A decision made from a “should” is not a real decision because you don’t act on it.  You do it for a little while.  You never really not only decide, but to commit and really resolve that no matter what you’re going to make it happen;
4445.  Starbucks changed the redemption policy for their “Birthday Rewards.”  The redemption period is now four days, starting two days before your birthday and expiring the day after your birthday;
4446.  Barry Trotz (the head coach of the Washington Capitals) is about my height;
4447.  A three-ounce serving of fish is about the size of a checkbook;
4448.  Action is momentum;
4449.  People will do more for others they care about than they’ll ever do for themselves;
4450.  Successful people use stress as fuel.  Stress provides motivation to attack whatever challenges stand in their way.  When you’re stressed out, realize it’s because you’re doing something meaningful.  Learn to enjoy the discomfort of stress and fight through it.  That’s how you improve yourself in spite of stress;

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;