5 years, 4 months, and 14 days. Keep your eyes on the prize.

 

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https://content.artofmanliness.com/uploads/2009/05/trduty.jpg

 

The Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt

theodore roosevelt pointing speaking president early 1900s

TR’s life shows us that hard work, tenacity, and a desire to do the right thing can get you far in life. In the most memorable section of his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech, Roosevelt captured his life philosophy in just a few sentences. “The Man in the Arena” tells us that the man we should praise is the man who’s out there fighting the big battles, even if those battles end in defeat. In our day, when cynicism and aloof detachment are considered hip and cool, TR reminds us that glory and honor come to those “who spend themselves in a worthy cause.”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/manvotional-the-man-in-the-arena-by-theodore-roosevelt/ (emphasis added)

My dearest dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I apologize for the absence.  The days have been challenging.

When the going gets tough, I seek comfort in the words of T.R. Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech.  It is far better to have tried and failed (even failed greatly) than to have never tried at all.  People can bitch and moan all they want, but unless they are willing to pitch in and help bring about improvement, they are just wasted breath.

Unfortunately, too many these days are but useless talking heads.  I shall never forget a Superbowl ad I saw years ago:  two consultants were pitching an action plan to a company executive who replied, “Great!  I want you guys to execute that plan.”  The two consultants then laughed and said something to the effect of, “We are consultants.  We come up with the ideas, but we don’t know how to do it.”

Consultants these days are a dime a dozen — many are fresh out of college.  Without substantive knowledge and experience, on what are they basing their critical thinking and analytical skills?

Can critical thinking actually be taught?  Decades of cognitive research point to a disappointing answer: not really.  People who have sought to teach critical thinking have assumed that it is a skill, like riding a bicycle, and that, like other skills, once you learn it, you can apply it in any situation.  Research from cognitive science shows that thinking is not that sort of skill.  The processes of thinking are intertwined with the content of thought (that is, domain knowledge).

….

Thought processes are intertwined with what is being thought about.

Willingham, Daniel T., “Critical Thinking: Why Is It So Hard to Teach?” American Educator (Summer 2007), 8-10.

Thus, the lesson of the day is two-fold: gain substantive knowledge, and use it.

Be good, my sons.  Live well.  Be happy.

All my love, always,

Dad

P.S., I leave you with two additional thoughts.

 

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5 years, 3 months, and 10 days. Living a good life is challenging. Live well anyway.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Today is a hard day.  Actually, it’s been a hard week.

But, no one promised you life would be easy.  If anyone did, he or she lied.

Life is a struggle … to do the right thing, to do the best you can under the circumstances, to be true to yourself despite pressures from all sides to conform to the wishes and demands of others, etc.  As Anton Chekhov said, “Any idiot can deal with a crisis; it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.”

Live well anyway.  What choice have you?  You could lie, cheat, steal, and boot-lick your way up, but there is no honor in that.  Further, you will find that path unpleasant on the way up and that it never ends.  Change is a constant, and you must constantly kiss ass to remain in the position.  Is it really worth it?  Would you rather live honestly or would you rather be a two-faced, back stabbing bootlicker who’d sell his own mother for profit?

Be true to yourself, my sons.  It’s a tough road, but it is one that will enable you to look back on your life with pride.  It will give your life meaning, and will give reasons for those who matter in the world to celebrate your life instead of long for your death.  See, e.g., https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/us/barbara-bush-dead.html; and, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/04/18/southwest-airlines-victim-jennifer-riordan/527363002/.

Buck up!  There will always be difficult days. But, strive to live such that more of your days are pleasant than unpleasant.

We are surrounded by ankle-biters, who will never amount to much.  But, that is the nature of ankle-biters: they are often of low- or poor-skills, will never make much of their lives, and are best at pulling others down to their levels.  Ignore them if you can, deal forcefully with them if you must, but spend most of your time pursuing your goals and dreams.  Your success is what they fear most … because it makes more stark their failures.

Be you.  Be the best you.  Find joy wherever and whenever you can.  Make it a priority to spend time with friends and people who love you.  Make friends.  Let nature nourish your body, heart, mind, and spirit.  Experience life.

Love with all you heart and soul because that is the only way to love and live.  To hedge your bet or to reciprocate only the feelings of another is to empower your mind to cage your heart and imprison it in fear.  Don’t do that.  Experience life.  With great love may come great loss, but at least you would have loved and lost rather than to have never experience such miracle and exquisite beauty.

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All my love, always.  You are the best of me.

Dad

P.S., don’t buy the “fake news” crap that the dishonest espouses.  Reputable newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post build their reputations over decades, and have processes in place to protect the hard-earned good-will and reputation they cultivated.  They make mistakes, as all humans are want to do, but they try to be fair and accurate.  That is a lot more than others who won’t even bother to be fair, accurate, or even truthful.

Congratulations to the New York Times, Washington Post, Arizona Republic, and others on their Pulitzer Prizes.  http://www.pulitzer.org/prize-winners-by-year/2018.

5 years, 3 months, and 8 days. Make a good first impression: be well-informed.

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A Harvard study revealed that it typically takes eight subsequent positive encounters to change another person’s negative opinion of you.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2015/02/10/the-do-over-how-to-correct-a-bad-first-impression/#3dece3f055f6

 

 

Recognize that changing someone’s perception will take time. As stated earlier, no matter who you are, you will inevitably make a less than positive impression on someone. While some have suggested that it can take months or even years to erase a bad first impression, a Harvard study suggests that it will take eight subsequent positive encounters to change that person’s negative opinion of you. In this context be persistent and patient.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140424005629-3411076-how-to-overcome-making-a-bad-first-impression

 

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

People are often full of shit.  Many will bluster or drone on and on about that which they know little.  They may cite one study or one source to validate their point.  Be not like them.

Be well-informed.  Read voraciously.  Read from diverse sources from different continents to combat biases and to gain greater perspective.  Think deeply and critically about what you read, see, and hear.  Never swallow wholesale what someone pitches; everyone has his/her biases.  Figure why they’re saying what they’re saying (e.g., are they paid to say it?), what they are omitting, what their assumptions are, etc.

One of my favorite dialogues are from the movie, The Negotiator, with Samuel Jackson and Kevin Spacey:

Now you're a history buff?
                 
I generally read histories and biographies.       

Don't believe everything you read.              

I didn't say I read just one book.                

I try to read all books on a subject.  You know, try to get all the facts...                

...and then decide for myself what really happened.

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/n/negotiator-script-transcript-kevin-spacey.html (emphasis added)

Too many people are careless with their reputation.  They say or repeat nonsense and expect there to be few consequences for spouting crap.  They are wrong.  People of caliber notice.  They, then, give wide berth to the uninformed for, except as sheep and mindless consumers, not much good come of being uninformed.

Remember, everything we say and do reflect well or poorly on us, as individuals.  Everything about us communicates something about ourselves.  Thus, strive to make a great impression.  Speak well.  Be thoughtful.  Be well-mannered.  Exude confidence.

Bad first impressions are extremely difficult to correct: people rarely give you eight chances to counteract that one bad first impression.  Their impression of you will color their view of all you do.  If they think you are smart, they will pass off a mistake as a one-off event and not let that affect their judgment of you.  Conversely, if they think you are an idiot, they will think something you did well is but a fluke and you remain an idiot.

Life is hard enough as it is.  Why would you choose to make it harder on yourselves by giving bad first impressions?  Don’t do it.

Be well-read, thoughtful, well-mannered, and kind.  Make a great first impression.

All my love, always,

Dad

P.S., all is not lost if you made a bad first impression.  It just means you have a lot of hard work ahead of you to correct it.

The Do-Over: How To Correct A Bad First Impression

 Last year I wrote about the nature of first impressions. We’re continually told of the importance of making positive first impressions, especially given how quickly we determine them. Some research suggests that first impressions can be so powerful that they’re weighed more heavily than fact. We know that making a good first impression is critical to success in both our jobs and personal lives, but the fact is that sometimes we flub them. Whether because of pressure, nervousness, a wrong approach, or distraction, we don’t always show up the way we intended.

The question then becomes, how do we correct a bad first impression?

Here’s the good news: impressions evolve over time. You may not get a second chance to make a first impression, but you can create an opportunity to correct one. Here are five ways to do so:

Realize that an initial impression is just that – a beginning.

We’ve all changed our opinion about someone the longer we’ve known them. Consider a colleague that you initially thought was standoffish, but after sharing a project realized was someone who just took a while to warm up.

If we look at first impressions as make-or-break opportunities, then it’s easy to make excuses for not trying to correct them. Instead, consider that impressions continuously evolve with multiple touch points. If you want someone to get to know the real you, then put yourself in front of them. Ask the person to lunch or volunteer to help them. By witnessing your skills and personality over a longer period of time, their perception of you can grow.

 Remember that repeated, small interactions build trust fastest.

A Harvard study revealed that it typically takes eight subsequent positive encounters to change another person’s negative opinion of you. So be persistent and play the long game.

Further, small, predictable interactions increase trust greater than a one-time splashy event. Take the pressure off yourself to knock someone’s socks off, and instead focus on demonstrating your value over an extended period of time. Strive to be consistent, follow up, and follow through.

Ask for a chance to correct.

Being straightforward can help minimize misunderstandings and reframe the discussion. Consider simply saying, “I feel like we got off on the wrong foot. Can I take you to lunch?”

Honesty can be a game changer in any relationship and goes a long way toward changing someone’s perspective. If you feel that there’s a failure to connect interpersonally, provide your view of the situation and then vet it with the other person. Admit what caused your behavior that may have led to a wrong impression. If you have a family issue that caused you to be disengaged during a meeting, then say so. If the other party is as open minded as most people hope to be (more on this next), then they should give you the benefit of the doubt.

Remind the other person how open-minded he or she is.

Many people have what psychologists call an egalitarian goal, which means that they work hard to be open minded and fair in their interactions with others. Research shows that when you remind someone of their fairness, they will more conscientiously work to live up to that assessment.

Practically speaking, this means that after a less than stellar first interaction, you can send a follow up email and compliment the other person on their open mindedness or fairness in evaluating people. Or recognize how their perspicacity must be a real asset in their job. Reminding the other person of their egalitarian goal will help them remember to be more open minded in their perceptions of you.

Ask them for advice – on anything.

According to Wharton School professor Adam Grant, asking for advice is a smart way to be influential. Grant discusses one study in which researchers asked people to negotiate the possible sale of commercial property. When the sellers asked the buyers for advice on how to meet their goals, 42% were able to come to an agreement that made both sides happy.

“Asking for advice encouraged greater cooperation and information sharing, turning a potentially contentious negotiation into a win-win deal. Studies demonstrate that across the manufacturing, financial services, insurance and pharmaceuticals industries, seeking advice is among the most effective ways to influence peers, superiors, and subordinates,” Grant writes.

If you feel that you didn’t make a positive impression, follow up and ask the other person for advice on some aspect of work. This also allows you to get in front of the person again and make a new impression. Psychologist Robert Cialdini says that by asking for advice, you suddenly “have the basis of an interaction.” Advice can always be returned, as can a thank you.

Comment here or @kristihedges.

Kristi Hedges is a leadership coach, speaker and author of The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others. She blogs at kristihedges.com.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2015/02/10/the-do-over-how-to-correct-a-bad-first-impression/3/#7bbbb0f874de

 

5 years, 3 months, and 6 days. Be kind to your audience.

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Pity the readers.

https://kmh-lanl.hansonhub.com/pc-24-66-vonnegut.pdf (emphasis added)

http://kmh-lanl.hansonhub.com/pc-24-66-vonnegut.pdf

My dearest and most precious Shosh and Jaialai:

Kurt Vonnegut said it best and most succinctly:  “Pity the readers.”  Be kind to your audience.  They occupy not your life and live not in your head; thus, they have the difficult task of trying to follow your thoughts — be it in written or oral form.  Help them.

First, know your audience.  Who are they?  What do they want out of the interaction with you?  What are their interests?  What are their levels of education?  What is their frames of reference?  For example, if you were talking to high school graduates who are sports fanatics, and you peppered your conversation with quotes from a philosophy book, do you think your audience would be hooked by your presentation or bored?  Know your audience.  Speak their “language” — be it words, anecdotes, imagery, etc.

Second, as the speaker or writer, IT IS YOUR JOB to communicate your thoughts clearly to your audience.  Don’t shirk your duties.  Worse, don’t blame your audience for your failure to do your job.

For example, your job as the writer is to help your readers understand what you are saying by clearly giving them roadmaps and textual clues for them to follow along.  Thus, use signals – such as commas, and words like “but” – to tell readers what to expect and to better help them understand your points.

Shosh, when you were a toddler, you visited me at the office and scared my staff.  Ms. T asked why you liked construction equipment or something that simple.  You responded with, “Well, I like them for three reasons.  First, …”  Your detailed analysis as well as clear and organized thinking freaked them out.  Mr. D said he’d rather have kids who are not as smart since they would be easier to teach.

In life, you will find that if you care about your audience, they will care about you in return.  Do the hard lifting and complicated analyses for your audience and explain complex ideas in simple terms for your audience, and they will knock down your door to get to you and your services.  I promise.

Be well, my sons.  Live well.  Be happy.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

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, 7 months, and 7 days. Read and learn the lessons of those who came before us.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Shosh, when you were young, you were a voracious reader.  Your mom did one thing right: she read to you constantly.  As a result, you had a huge vocabulary and were a smart little tyke!

Unfortunately, Jaialai, when you were about one, I lost my job as a result of blowing the whistle against the Enron of Healthcare and your mother had to go back to return to work because no one wanted to hire a whistleblower.  I stayed home to watch you, but was also occupied with the lawsuit against crooks who were ripping off the sick and dying; thus, I failed to read to you as often as your mom did for Shosh.  But, you still ended up being brilliant!!!!

That said, we tried to read to you both when we had the opportunity.  I hope you continue to read voraciously in my absence.

Books are wonderful things.  In addition to exposing us to far flung places in distant lands, they also introduce to us ideas that help shape our understanding of the world in which we live.  The wisdom of those who came before us is passed down in stories captured and preserved in those great instruments of knowledge: books.  Appreciate them.  Be kind and gentle to them.  Be grateful for the knowledge they bring and the authors who made such transfer of knowledge possible.

The lessons of yesteryears remain amazingly relevant today.  For example, today, I finished Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, and found a quote towards the end of the book that captured well current events of the day.  Speaking to the protagonist (a journalist who had managed to spend years in Indochina to cover the conflict there without investing himself in any side), one of the characters said, “[O]ne has to take sides.  If one is to remain human.”  Page 166.

Life requires us to choose.  Will you side with might or right?  Will you choose to help the oppressed or the oppressors?  To do nothing in the face of evil is to give tactic approval to that evil.  Don’t.  Choose wisely.  Read voraciously and gain the wisdom of those smarter than you or I.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 6 months, and 26 days. 1668 days. 40,032 hours. 2,401,920 minutes. 144,115,200 seconds. Too long!

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I had a dream about you last night, Shosh.  I was helping you with your homework assignment on sharks.  We caught a baby shark, and I tried to put a nose ring on it to keep it on a leash.  Note to self: sharks hate nose rings.

Remember how we used to draw pictures of dinosaurs, construction equipment and starfish?  You used to have an immense curiosity about those things and we constantly read about or talked about them.  Once, when you were about 3 1/2, we were at the aquarium and looking at the tide pool/touch pool where a number of different starfish was on display.  You pointed to a starfish and said that it was a leather starfish (the second one above).  The aquarium guide “corrected” you and said it was an ocre starfish (the top one above).  You disagreed and tried to explain to her that it was a leather star.  She wouldn’t have it.  I smiled and told her that she should listen to you.  She decided to go off and consult her books.  Shortly thereafter, she returned to apologize and confirmed that it was a leather star.

Three lessons reveal themselves here.  First, don’t believe in “experts” just because they are experts.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Sometimes, “experts” are too smart for their own good and can be blinded by their own “expertise” and blinded to the data confronting them.  Second, always pursue what you love.  Be curious. Be intensely curious.  Life is an unlimited buffer if you nurture that curiosity.  Third, trust yourself.  Be willing to entertain other ideas, even opposing ideas, but never jettison your thoughts because it’s expedient, because an “expert” said you’re wrong, or because others disagree with you.  If you are right, you stay right even if everyone disagrees.  If you are wrong, you remain wrong even if everyone agrees.  Don’t worry everyone else.  Trust in yourself.

All my love, always,

Dad