4 years, 8 months, and 1 day. Human desires are bottomless pits and trying to fill them is an unending task. Don’t indulge in such inexhaustible pursuits.

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[The problem is we are getting t]oo much dopamine and not enough serotonin, the neurotransmitters of the brain’s “pleasure” and “happiness” pathways… Despite what the telly and social media say, pleasure and happiness are not the same thing. Dopamine is the “reward” neurotransmitter that tells our brains: “This feels good, I want more.” Yet too much dopamine leads to addiction. Serotonin is the “contentment” neurotransmitter that tells our brains: “This feels good. I have enough. I don’t want or need any more.” Yet too little serotonin leads to depression. Ideally, both should be in optimal supply. But dopamine drives down serotonin. And chronic stress drives down both.

Too many of our “simple pleasures” have morphed into something else – a 6.5-oz soda became a 30z Big Gulp drink; an afternoon with friends gave way to 1,000 friendings on Facebook. Each of these momentary pleasures is just that – momentary. But chronic dopamine from your favourite “fix” reduces serotonin and happiness.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/09/pursuit-of-pleasure-modern-day-addiction

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Beware of the elusive and destructive “pursuit of happiness.”  Don’t buy into the lie.  Happiness is like a butterfly.  No matter how fast you run and how hard you work, it will continue to elude your grasp so long as you chase it.  However, if you bathe, wear bright clothes, find a peaceful spot in the garden, and sit still, you’ll find that butterflies may come to you.

Happiness is like that.  When you are too busy chasing after the things that make you happy, you get caught up in the chase and fail to slow down to enjoy the moments that make up life, those moments in which happiness is hidden and waiting to be discovered.  For example, happiness is being with you, watching you play, hearing you tell your stories and your discoveries, seeing the brightness in your eyes.  The activities in which we are engaged in those moments are unimportant.  If I over-emphasize those activities and put too much import in making sure they are perfect (as we are apt to do), I would have overlooked those moments of happiness from simply being in your presence.

Tips for Getting a Butterfly to Land on You

If you’re lucky, a butterfly might land on you while you are in the exhibit. Though there’s no guarantee this will work but, you can do a few things to increase your chances. The best rule of thumb is to act like a flower:

  • Wear brightly colored clothes. I have a bright yellow and orange tie-dyed shirt that always seems to lure butterflies to me.
  • Smell sweet. If you’re wearing a skin lotion or perfume that smells a bit like flowers, that attract a hungry butterfly.
  • Stay still. Flowers don’t move, so you won’t fool a butterfly if you’re walking around. Find a bench and stay put for a while.

https://www.thoughtco.com/prepare-for-a-visit-butterfly-house-1968200

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgDy-WQnC5M

But, worse, in truth, the “pursuit of happiness” in modern time has turned into nothing but the unrelenting pursuit of pleasure.  We stuff ourselves with Doritos, sodas, and other junk food because food scientists at Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, and elsewhere found the exact chemical formula to ensure those chips, drinks, etc. stimulate our taste buds and ensure we cannot stop at eating just one chip, one sip, etc.  See, e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html.  Gaming companies spend billions of dollars and countless hours scouring psychological studies and techniques to ensure their games produce the optimum mix of reward and chance to ensure that players would spend hours hooked to the game.  Social media giants are no less devious.

As stated in the Guardian article above, dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter that tells our brain Doritos taste good and you should have another.  Unfortunately, that way lies food addiction and obesity.

On the other hand, serotonin is the contentment neurotransmitter that tells us we’ve had our fill of the good stuff and should stop.  While serotonin cannot be found in chips, sodas, and video games, it can be yours with a massage, meditation, outdoors activities in the bright sunlight, exercise, or a healthy diet.  See, e.g., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/; and, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201111/boosting-your-serotonin-activity.  (Yeah, there’s science behind that as well … the good science, not the science that feeds the greed.)

My sons, don’t feed the black hole that is man’s unquenchable desires.  If you chase after pleasure, you will find it a relentless and endless pursuit.  Our brain is hardwired to adapt, so a new watch or a new game will quickly lose its luster as you adjust to having it and reset your sight on something different. See, e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/07/magazine/the-futile-pursuit-of-happiness.html.

Still yourself.  Enjoy the moment and the people around you.  Help those less fortunate.  Work with others to build a better community for yourselves.  I promise that you will find the effort extremely rewarding, and happiness will ensues.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

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4 years, 7 months, and 8 days. Adopt the habits of the successful, not the unsuccessful.

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7 daily habits of rich people that you should copy

Habit #1: Exercise

In his research, Corley found that rich people exercised an average of 30 minutes, four days a week. So whether it’s a high-intensity CrossFit workout or a walk with my wife, I dedicate an hour a day to fitness. While I used to squeeze in workouts whenever I could spare the time, I now make it happen no matter what….

Habit #2: Build relationships

Relationships are the currency of the wealthy, Corley says. I keep a running list of positive influencers in my life and regularly connect with them. I call to say hello and listen to what’s going on in their lives….

Habit #3: Visualize your goals

Daymond John from “Shark Tank” has shared that he looks at his list of seven goals—each with an expiration date and action plan—when he wakes up and before bed. I wanted to attack my goals with the same intensity….

Habit #4: Read. A lot

According to author and speaker Grant Cardone, the most successful CEOs read an average of 60 books a year, whereas the average American worker reads just one—and earns 319 times less. After setting my own goal of consuming two books a month, I followed Corley’s other tips to make time: I stopped watching TV and listen to audiobooks in the car….

Habit #5: Practice affirmations

Self-concept is a huge influence on your quality of life. The more you like yourself, the higher your self-esteem and well-being. Once I learned this, I made up daily affirmations related to the most important areas of my life, from faith and family to business….

Habit #6: Volunteer

In his study, Corley found that 72% of the wealthy volunteer for at least five hours a week, compared with just 12% of the poor. Of course, there are many reasons to volunteer, but he says the rich use the opportunity to expand their network of like-minded people….

Habit #7: Confide in a mentor who’s been in your shoes

Even the most successful people on earth value mentors who’ve walked in their shoes and made it to the other side. Mark Zuckerberg credits Steve Jobs as his mentor, and Bill Gates has talked about how Warren Buffett mentored him through challenges at Microsoft.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/7-daily-habits-of-rich-people-that-you-should-copy-2017-08-09?link=sfmw_tw

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai, now compare that list with the list of the habits of unsuccessful people.

7 Habits of Poor People that You Should Avoid.

1. Buying small stuff. Have you tried going to a “bargain”? And when you go home, you realized you have bought some small stuffs that when you add them it cost you about more or less P500? Or did you try to go to Divisoria and spent almost P1000 for little things that you don’t really need? These are some of the bad habits of poor people, buying small stuffs that they don’t actually need.

2. Depending on one job only. One source of income is fine but it cannot give you an abundant life. It will just drive you around to the poor road and never get out of it. That’s why I don’t believe in the famous saying, “live within your means, I say instead, “increase your means”. Living only in one income will just allow you to survive life but cannot give you wealth. That’s how poor people work. They depend on one income only for the rest of their life.

3. Spending money for a “good luck”. I used to live in a community where everyone was poor, including my family. It’s only now that I recall that people there have common spending habit, they include “jueteng, gambling and lotto” in their budget. They believe in good luck to have money without realizing that doing these hurt their budget and worst making them poor as always.

4. Neglecting to save and invest. These two things are actually not included in the vocabulary of poor people. Even though they have full time job, it’s not their habit to save nor to invest. This is probably the reason, why they keep borrowing money when there is an emergency or occasion. That’s why in their next salary, they run short and borrow again, repeating the cycle.

5. They love to “rest” rather than think, plan and do more. Poor people always rest. They always long to lie down after meal, watch “teleserye” and sit down for a long period of time instead of thinking or planning about their work, plans etc. Poor people failed to recognize the power of thinking. Idowi Koyenikan once said, “never underestimate the power of thought; it is the greatest path to discovery”. It’s probably one of the reasons, why they don’t discovery new ways to improve their living. They are lack in “thinking time”.

6. They maintain poor friends. Jim Rohn says, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend time with”. So if you are poor, chances are, you surround yourself with poor or nearly poor people. That’s the habit of poor people, they fail to meet new friends intentionally. Friends who are rich and successful. That’s probably the reason, why they remain poor, because they don’t hear anything new, they see new opportunity and worst, and they adopt poor mentality.

7. They don’t read. Try to visit the home of rich and poor people, the rich man’s house has library and the poor man’s house has no library or even small collection of books. Since they failed to read, they miss the opportunity to learn new things, to read success stories that they can emulate and to learn tips on how to have financial freedom.

http://changeforlifesuccess.com/7-habits-poor-people-avoid/

Now, let’s be clear: I’m not saying eschew the impoverished and those down on their luck.  Monetary wealth may be a temporary state for those rich in thought, spirit, and friends.  They will find a way to be successful … they may not end up with a lot of financial wealth, but their lives will be rich and meaningful.

On the other hand, I am saying avoid the whiners, the nay-sayers, and those who forever blame others for their own lack of success.  Avoid these like the plague.  They will only drag you down.  Theirs is but a life of misery.  Everyday is but another opportunity for them to affirm how others are cheating them of their future, how others have it good and have the smile of fortune while misfortune dogs them, etc.  They fail to acknowledge how their negativity and misery chase away opportunities and the smile of fortune.

  1. Read voraciously
  2. Exercise daily
  3. Believe in yourselves
  4. Help others
  5. Make friends
  6. Follow your dreams
  7. Do your best always
  8. Ask for help when you need it
  9. Be grateful for your health, your intellect, your friends, your family, the opportunities you’ve been given, and the opportunities you will be able to cultivate

Be well, my sons.  Be happy.  Be successful in life

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 3 months, and 4 days. Remember to breathe deeply, and recipes for simple meals.

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For generations, mothers have encouraged children to take long, slow breaths to fight anxiety. A long tradition of meditation likewise uses controlled breathing to induce tranquillity.

Now scientists at Stanford University may have uncovered for the first time why taking deep breaths can be so calming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/well/move/what-chill-mice-can-teach-us-about-keeping-calm.html?_r=0

My dearest and most beloved Shosh and Jaialai:

Breathe, my sons.  When anxious or stressed, just take deep breaths and breathe your way to calmness and peace.

I know must be very hard for you without me there.  Shosh, I remember that one time after your mom and I had separated, I came to your school concert, and, afterwards, you just came up to me, leaned your head against my shoulder and cried for the longest time.  I worry for you because you wear your heart on your sleeve and you are my sensitive boy.  Jaialai, I equally worry about you because you are introverted and hold everything in.  As your child therapist said, you worry about whether you’ll get your needs met.  I worry because if only your mom had attended more of the debriefings following your weekly therapy (which I paid for out of pocket), she would have better understood your needs.  As it was, she attended only one debriefing during your year and a half in therapy.  I took you boys to therapy every week, even on weeks when you stayed with your mom.

God, I miss you guys!  It is a physical pain, not just an emotional state of grief.  Know that no matter what happens, I will always love you.  Also, remember, it’s what people do that counts, not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

I also worry about what and how you’re eating.  Back then, despite working 90-100 hours per week in a high paying and stressful job, it was your maternal grandmother and I who did most of the cooking everyday.  Now that your maternal grandmother had passed away and I am not there, who cooks for you?  What do you eat?

Shosh, you are older.  I suspect the burden falls to you now.  I’m sorry.  Learn to prepare easy but healthy meals.  Don’t over-indulge in the spicy Korean noodles, which I know you love, Shosh.  Remember, Jaialai said you once ate so much at your mom’s that it made you throw up?

Try not to eat out too often.  In the divorce filings, your mother’s financial records showed that she spent almost $1000 per month eating out everyday.  I hope that is not happening.  Restaurant food tend to be tasty but less healthy for your because they have greater salt content, etc.

Yesterday, I made the Caveman version my favorite snacks, deviled eggs.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe/.  Instead of going through the trouble of mixing all the ingredients into the yolk, I simply cut the hard-boiled eggs (which I’d cooked over the weekend and kept chilled in the fridge) in half and putting each of the ingredients directly onto the yolk.  While it wasn’t as pretty as the normal deviled eggs, it was tasty nevertheless.

Another simple dish I often resort to is baked chicken.  It’s easy. Do the following:

  1. Get drum stick, chicken thigh, or other parts
  2. Put the chicken in a plastic bag and put in a tablespoon of salt, a little black pepper, a little minced garlic or garlic powder, a tablespoon of olive oil, and enough balsamic vinegar to coat all the chicken pieces.  If you want more depth of flavor, you can also add a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or longer if possible.
  4. Preheat the oven to 390 degree Fahrenheit, line the metal tray with tin foil, then bake the chicken for about 25 minutes on the middle rack.
  5. Eat it with rice or bread and a side of salad.  It’s a very tasty, healthy and simple meal.

I also make lots of sandwiches and pasta.  Remember how I used to heat up a Italian seasoning and fresh garlic in a little butter and olive oil, then mix in pasta and sprinkle it with a little bit of Parmesan cheese before serving it to you guys?  That’s a simple dish.  You can always throw in a little basil, tomato and/or bell pepper to add more depth and dimensions.  For sandwiches or wraps, the easiest thing you can do is get a Costco roasted chicken, tear off chunks of meat and put it into a sandwich or flour tortilla, then throw in some lettuce and ranch dressing and call it good.  It is simple, healthy and delicious, remember?

Cooking doesn’t have to be hard.  Just be creative, and be caring.  Meal time was always a special time for us, remember?  We used to cook together, then everyone would sit down at the dinner table to enjoy our meal and each other’s company, remember?

Cooking is more pleasant as a group activity.  Cook with Eli.  Use the internet to find easy, 3-4 ingredient recipes.

Eat well, and breathe, my sons.

All my love, always.

Dad